Mayors have appealed to the President to look into the way in which road constructions in their municipalities are being handled. According to the new system, the central government contracts a company to work on the roads in at least five municipalities.
Previously, the municipalities contracted their own companies. â€œWe were able to scrutinise and supervise the companies effectively because we contracted them,â€ says Entebbe mayor Steven Kabuye at a meeting of municipality leaders last week.
The mayors claim the new system hinders development in most municipalities and town councils. On average, municipalities like Jinja and Mbarara have around 50km of tarmac roads and 50km of murram each. However, most town councils like Ssembabule and Nakaseke have at least 20km, mainly of murram.
â€œWe have little input in the entire process, yet we are supposed to be the beneficiaries,â€ says Mukono mayor Johnson Muyanja Ssenyonga. He says under the system, contracts are signed with little involvement of the municipality leaders. â€œAs a result, the contractors have failed to complete most of the work assigned to them,â€ he says.
Omega Construction Company is being accused of doing shoddy work in Lira.
In the 2008/09 budget, the Government increased funding in the roads sector to sh1.2b. As a result, funding to urban roads was also increased.
However, according to Susan Kataike, the senior public relations officer in the works and transport ministry, most of the urban leadersâ€™ complaints are false. She says the ministry did consultations before the system was put in place.
â€œWith the increase of funding in the roads sector, it was agreed that urban council roads be paved because most of them have heavy traffic,â€ she says.
Kataike says the works ministry consulted the ministries of finance and local government and they agreed that further consultations be held with urban councils.
â€œIt was also agreed that urban councils would raise at least sh50m to qualify for a top-up and have a given number of kilometres of their urban roads paved,â€ she says. Kataike explains that it was also agreed that Class A contractors do the construction work because they are competent. However, each of them was given more than one town because of the high mobilisation costs that would have been incurred, had they been given only one contract.
â€œIn the contract documents, the town councils are the clients and the town engineers are the supervisors, assisted by consultants, as advised by the ministry,â€ she explains.
This, she says, indicates that urban leaders have a big role to play.
MAYORS PETITION PRESIDENT OVER ROAD CONSTRUCTION