Fort Portal City authorities call for extension of USMID project as deadline nears

FORT PORTAL, November 27, 2023 – Fort Portal City authorities have called for the extension of Uganda Support to Infrastructure Development [ USMID ] project, nearly 10 days to the end of the deadline.

The Shs 20 billion project that is expected to end on December 6, 202, has so far reached 75 percent completion as Mill-lane, Mugoma and Kahungabunyonyi roads are being worked on.

According to the Fort Portal City mayor, Betty Mujungu, if the project time frame is not extended, the city will not be able to independently fund the completion of the road works as it is financially incapacitated.

She made the call days ago during the inspection of the ongoing works on the roads, by the officials from the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development [MLHUD].

Mujungu said give the speed at which works are progressing, chances are high that the December 06, deadline will not be met and therefore request for an extension to enable the contractor to complete the road works.

“If the deadline is extended, we are optimistic that we shall be able to have a complete project that will benefit the people of Fort Portal City,” she said.

She added that as the urban authority, they have struggled a lot with the contractor for the ongoing projects because there was a period when there were no works being carried out which she said such challenges were out of their control as the city authority.

The Fort portal City Engineer, Herbert Kaihura said the prolonged rainy season has also contributed to the delayed completion of the project.

The Commissioner Urban Development in MLHUD, Joseph Walter Pade said the government is in discussion with World Bank for the extension of the project as some municipalities are still behind schedule in the implementation of the roads project.

“Project extension is inevitable because it is not a miracle that the remaining 25 percent can be complete within the remaining project period. As of now, we are not sure if the extension will be granted” he said.

He however noted that they are working within their means to ensure the works are complete.

Other factors that led to delays

According to Kaihura, the initial bids from the contactor exceeded the available budget , resulting in prolonged negotiations.

He said the construction was also delayed because they did not receive road designs in time.

“Though the contract was officially signed on April 14, 2022, construction work did not commence until June 6, 2022,” Kaihura said.

China Railway 18 Group Company Limited, the project contractor attributed the delays in the completion of the project to the local sub-contractors.

The objective of USMID is to enhance the institutional performance of urban local governments- cities and municipalities to improve urban service delivery. The participating Local Governments are; Arua, Lira, Gulu, Soroti, Entebbe, Mbale, Tororo, Jinja, Masaka, Hoima, Fort portal, Mbarara, Kabale and Moroto, among others.

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