Xia Nenghai, CIWEC project manager for the $567m Isimba hydro power dam, yesterday told lawmakers that the company (CIWEC) is financially constrained.
KAMPALA - China International Water and Electric Corporation (CIWEC) has blamed the government for the delayed construction of a bridge across river Nile linking the districts of Kayunga and Kamuli.
Xia Nenghai, CIWEC project manager for the $567m Isimba hydro power dam, yesterday told lawmakers sitting on the physical infrastructure committee that the company (CIWEC) is financially constrained on account of failure by government to release outstanding $42m contract sum.
The 800m public access bridge is part of the contract for Isimba hydro power dam which was commissioned by President Yoweri Museveni in March last year.
With the contractor delaying to erect the bridge as per the Isimba dam contract, Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga last year directed the committee to investigate allegations that sh24b meant for that venture was "eaten" by technocrats in the ministry of energy.
"We have requested a commercial bank to lend us $15m to ease our financial constraints. The Bank is Spanish but it has a branch in China. We are paying a lot of interests on this loan," Xia said.
MPs heard that ministry of energy has not paid CIWEC any penny since March last year which has undercut its capacity to retain and pay engineers.
However, Xia assured lawmakers that there is no possibility of CIWEC abandoning the site at Isimba without erecting the bridge on account of the $36m performance bond is executed.
A performance bond, also known as a contract bond, is a surety bond issued by an insurance company or a bank to guarantee satisfactory completion of a project by a contractor.
For the case of the Isimba project, the moment CIWEC leaves without building the bridge, Uganda will cash in on the performance bond immediately.
Asked by the committee chairperson, Eng. Kafeero Ssekitoleko whether the delay has not been partly to technocrats in government diverting sh24b meant for the bridge to personal use, Xia said he has no knowledge on the aforesaid sum that has long made rounds in the media since last year.
"The bridge will be delivered before the end of the year if all goes well. There has been a delay also due to technical concerns," Xia noted.
According to the original design, the bridge at Isimba was meant to be erected on the dam. However, according to Xia, it was agreed that out of technical and security concerns the bridge be moved 500m downstream.
Concerning security concerns, Xia told MPs that a truck bomb detonated on a bridge built over a hydro power dam has the capacity to structurally impair it.
MPs James Baba, Rose Mutoni Masaba and Amos Lugolobi told Xia about an earlier meeting with the implementing agency in the government which informed them that over 92% of the contract sum had been released thus far.
"If Government gives you more money, then it means that you would have received 100% of the contract sum even before building the bridge," Mutoni said.
When commissioned, the Kamuli-Kayunga Bridge will become another route to eastern Uganda, and in a way relieve pressure on the new bridge at Jinja.