“Under the conditions of getting funding from the China Exim bank, the contractor had to be Chinese."
Even though the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project has started recruiting human resource to undertake Uganda’s part of East Africa’s biggest ever civil engineering undertaking, some people still have queries about how the contract for the works was awarded.
Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) executive director Cornelia Sabiiti has explained why the PPDA Act was not used during the selection process for a contractor to undertake the works.
“The China Exim bank had conditions as a funder, and under the PPDA law, it is very clear that if government of Uganda is entering into a bilateral or multilateral agreement with a foreign government, and there are conditions in regard to that funding, and in regard to the procurement of the project, those conditions will supersede the PPDA law,” she explained.
The $3.3b deal between the government and China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC) to undertake Uganda’s segment of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project was signed in March last year in the Chinese capital Beijing.
“Under the conditions of getting funding from the China Exim bank, the contractor had to be Chinese, the project should be bankable, and that there should be feasibility study.”
Sabiiti was responding to a query from the audience on whether the PPDA Act was used in the selection of the contractor during the dialogue on public procurement organized by the Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda on Thursday at Hotel Africana in Kampala.
In October 2014, Presidents Yoweri Museveni, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Salva Kiir of South Sudan launched the construction of the $8b SGR in Kampala.
The development of the SGR, being jointly undertaken by Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan to is line with a growing trend all over the world. About 60% of all railways around the world are now upgrading to SGR status.
The SGR is being fast-tracked boost the efficiency of freight and passenger traffic across the four countries.