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Phase 2 of optic fibre project continues

By Vision Reporter

Added 10th February 2010 03:00 AM

WORK on the second phase of the national transmission backbone infrastructure project is going on despite a parliamentary directive stopping it, MPs heard yesterday.

WORK on the second phase of the national transmission backbone infrastructure project is going on despite a parliamentary directive stopping it, MPs heard yesterday.

By Catherine Bekunda

WORK on the second phase of the national transmission backbone infrastructure project is going on despite a parliamentary directive stopping it, MPs heard yesterday.

Information and communication technology (ICT) minister, Aggrey Awori, told the parliamentary committee on ICT yesterday that his ministry recently realised that the contractor had gone ahead with the work.

The committee last year directed Huawei Technologies, a Chinese company, to halt the implementation of the second phase until anomalies in the first phase had been rectified.

However, the Inspector General of Government okayed the project, saying work should continue as long as the damage done in the first phase was corrected concurrently.

The second phase, which will cost $60m (about sh114b), involves the extension of fibre optic cables to the border towns of Malaba, Nimule and Katuna. It will also involve laying 1,543km optic fibre cables.

The project is meant to link Uganda to the submarine cable on the East African coast and provide faster and cheaper internet access.

Andrew Lutwama, the National Information Technology Authority executive director, said: “We are still evaluating the work but more than 60% is complete.”

Awori told the legislators that the ministry was not supervising the contractor as they awaited legal advice from the Solicitor General on how to proceed.

“We have, however, directed that they conform to our quality assurance process and standards,” he told the members.

The Kawempe North MP, Sebuliba Mutumba, argued that the ministry should produce evidence, in writing, showing that it stopped the contractor from implementing the second phase.
“We may exonerate the ministry and then Huawei presents papers that authorised them to go on with the project,” he said.

Phase 2 of optic fibre project continues

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