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UNRA reviews contractors, donors warn against personalities

By Vision Reporter

Added 30th June 2015 10:05 PM

Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) is to review all contractors and classify them according to their capacity, the agency’s boss, Allen Kagina has disclosed

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Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) is to review all contractors and classify them according to their capacity, the agency’s boss, Allen Kagina has disclosed

By Taddeo Bwambale

Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) is to review all contractors and classify them according to their capacity, the agency’s boss, Allen Kagina has disclosed.


The new measure is intended to reduce delays in scrutinizing contractors during bidding process for infrastructural projects.

“We have many contractors but they don’t have the same capacity. When you put out an advert, many apply and it takes a long time to verify those who qualify,” she said.


Executive Director Uganda National Roads Authority, Allen Kagina, during a meeting between URA and Donors funding the roads sector at Kampala Serena Hotel on June 30 2015. PHOTO/MIRIAM NAMUTEBI.

She explained that the contractors would be ranked into classes, with a special category for local contractors, who often miss out on key infrastructural projects due to capacity constraints.

Kagina was addressing a meeting between UNRA and development partners funding the roads sector held at Serena Hotel Tuesday.

The meeting was meant to discuss the ongoing reforms at UNRA and seek views of donors on the institutional and management direction of the institution.



Giorgio Ficarelli, Head of Infrastructure European Union, giving a speech at a meeting between UNRA and Donors funding the roads sector at the Kampala Serena Hotel on June 30 2015. PHOTO/ MIRIAM NAMUTEBI.

Kagina, who took the reins as UNRA executive director in May, told delegates that the reforms were intended to turn the institution into a world-class roads agency within five years.

Previously the head of Uganda Revenue Authority which she is credited for reforming, Kagina has undertaken an overhaul of UNRA by terminating contracts of several officials in June.

The reforms will last six months and will address lengthy procurement procedures, corruption and capacity gaps that have held back the institution in its seven-year history.



Allen Kagina, Executive Director UNRA (left) having a chat with Christina Calvo, Country Director World Bank (right) during a meeting between UNRA and donors funding the roads sector at Kampala Serena Hotel on June 30 2015. PHOTO/MIRIAM NAMUTEBI.

Giorgio Ficcarelli, a representative of the development partners at the meeting said the restructuring process should focus on creating a strong institution, instead of personalities.

“We applaud the initiative of restructuring but our experience is mixed. We have seen a different kind of attitude, of depending on a single person,” he stated.

“I think it is important that the system is well-organised, clear and simple so that anybody can implement it; we should not rely on a specific person to ensure the process is well managed.”

Ficcarelli revealed that the donors had earmarked a new round of funding for the roads sector and were willing to help UNRA in the restructuring process.

“New funds are available for the next five or seven years. We are ready to support any serious effort to improve the efficiency of the sector and particularly, UNRA,” he stated.

He said the donors were confident that the priority given to the reforms at UNRA would improve efficiency.

Ficcarelli asked UNRA to separate functions of some of its staff to get rid of malpractices, noting that some officials involved in selecting contractors are also involved in implementation.

UNRA is in charge of a 21,000km national road network, of which only 4,000km (19%) has been paved. Works on 1,463 are ongoing, of which 250km are financed by donors.
 

UNRA reviews contractors, donors warn against personalities

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