Ntungamo Municipality is still facing numerous challenges in the implementation of the Shs12.5b urban infrastructure road project.
While conducting a progress visit Thursday municipal and World Bank officials found that out of Shs12.5b allocated to the municipality, only Shs5b had been absorbed while Shs7.5b had been returned to Treasury because of slow implementation.
The projected which is funded by the World Bank is implemented under the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development Additional Funding (USMID) programme.
On Thursday, a technical committee which was composed of engineers, planners, environmental and social experts, were in Ntungamo Municipality assess progress of ongoing works.
Mr Jacob Kafureka, the Ntungamo Municipality mayor, noted that because the municipality lacks a physical plan, it faces a number of challenges while implementing road works.
“This is part of the cause for these delays,” he said, noting that relocating service lines for water and electricity to give way for road works has also been a challenge.
Local leaders in some of the implementing municipalities for the USMID programme have repeatedly raised the issue of lack of physical plans for delayed project implementation.
However, Eng Richard Kyobe from Multiplex-DITACO JV, which is the implementing contractor, reported that part of the delay had been due to a court dispute over a commercial house that is within the design corridor.
“We are required to pay Shs200m to compensate the owner to allow us right of way in Cell 09, Miro 2 Central Division. We pray it is resolved as soon as possible,” he said.
It should be noted that this particular World Bank USMID programme funding does not cater for compensation.
Mr Robert Nyamugo, the Ntungamo Municipal Town Clerk, noted that they have been engaging to find a solution.
Roads being funded under USMID in Ntungamo Municipality include Kajinya-Tindibakira, among others.
Mr Nyamugo also noted that funds under institutional funding is largely spent on improving municipal assets and skilling staff, among others yet collected revenues is still low to support infrastructure development.
“Our budget under revenue collection is just Shs800m. There is a lot of demand and interest for the USMID Programme. We pray that once our implementation gets better, the business environment will improve and enable us to gather more revenue to support other services,” he said, noting that in the third phase of donor development support, a new modern market will be constructed in Ntungamo as a measure to uplift livelihoods of people.
Dr Isaac Mutenyo, the USMID AF Programme coordinator, said there was need for municipal authorities to resolve matters of right of way amicably at the earliest opportunity.
“The timeframes for these roads to be completed is within a year’s time from now. It will not be extended,” he said, noting that the contractor must also comply with design and contract specifications use the right material in quality and quantities.