THE European Union (EU) will not meet additional financial claims towards the completion of the northern bypass, the ring way around Kampala aimed at decongesting the city centre by diverting heavy traffic going from eastern to western and northern Uganda.
â€œWe have already agreed to pay an extra 4 to 5 million euro (sh9b to sh11b), which is the value of additional works done. But we cannot meet the contractorâ€™s latest financial claims, amounting to $5.5m (sh10b),â€ EU head of operations, Costas Tsilogiannis, said yesterday.
The EU is contributing 41 million euro (sh90b) to the construction of the bypass. The ring is part of the bigger Northern Corridor project, aimed at linking Mombasa through Kampala with Rwanda, Burundi, East Congo and South Sudan.
But the main contractor, Salini, an Italian company, keeps producing new financial claims. â€œIt is up to the ministry to decide on these claims. It is not possible for us to pay additional money as the financial year of our resource envelope has closed,â€ Tsilogiannis added.
Of particular concern to the EU is the slow pace of the works. â€œThe road was supposed to be completed in November 2006. But today, the progress is valued at 60%. At this pace, it will only be completed by March 2008. We are very concerned about these delays.â€
The maximum penalty for delays is $5.5m (sh10b), the same amount Salini is asking for in additional financial claims.
The issue was also discussed by the parliamentary committee on physical infrastructure on Tuesday. The committee, chaired by Nathan Byanyima, learned that Salini demanded extra money to cater for unforeseen changes in the design.
According to Sam Otada, the government tried to avoid densely populated areas to reduce money for compensating landlords.
As a result, the route was redirected to wetlands, which pushed up the cost, given the weak surface.
The committee was debating a petition by MP Ssebuliba Mutumba, protesting the delay in the completion of the road which, he claimed, caused the floods at Bwaise late last year.
MPs noted that there was no valuation report on the progress. They also criticised Salini for sub-contracting to other companies, which they suspect to be part of the problem.
The committee, which is supposed to produce a report on the matter by January 30, is set to tour the bypass and assess the progress of the works before summoning the contractors.
Donors reject sh10b for Northern