Mbarara City to Lose World Bank Funding Over Multiplex Fate
Mbarara City is on risk of lose World Bank Funding under USMID Program due to the delayed contract by Multiplex Engineering Company who have failed to complete the three roads they contracted for in 2021.
Multiplex was awarded a contract of 2.86km for three roads in Mbarara which included Galt, Stanley and Major Victor Bwana roads at a tune of UGx 23B. This contract started in 2021 and it was a one year contract, however, it’s October 2023 and the project has never been completed and it has reached only 75%.
Last week, a team of World Bank representatives in conjunction with the team from USMID Secretariat visited all the ongoing USMID Projects in Mbarara to observe how their funds are being used. They visited all roads that are being constructed by CICO construction Ltd, they also visited the Rwebikoona paving ground that is being worked on by KWED construction Company and finally they also visited all three roads that are being constructed by Multiplex Engineering Company. These were accompanied by the City Authorities including the Representative of the president (RCC) Mbarara City Col. James Mwesigye.
Among the teams was World bank-USMID team and the Team Leader was Stephen Ajalu, also senior Urban specialist, Phan Huyen, World Bank Urban development specialist and co-Task team leader of USMID, Vincent Byendaimira ,Ag director physical planning and Urban Development, Pada Joseph, water Commissioner Urban Development.
Later, there was a session of discussion at Adit Mall to review the findings during the touring of these roads.
However, it was found that there are loopholes in the contract of Multiplex Engineering Company whereby it has failed to complete the works on the three roads that are within the contract.
According to Phan Huyen, World Bank Urban development specialist and co-Task team leader of USMID, she revealed that the world bank is committed to support Uganda in infrastructure development especially in urban Centers. She said that support will continue once the money is used for the work that was meant to do.
She said that Mbarara received about 23b to work on three roads as mentioned above and some work has been done but it is not enough due to the delays. She also advised that Mbarara City and its contractor (Multiplex) must work hard to ensure that by December, the three roads are finished if they want additional money from the World Bank.
“You have to ensure that these projects which are ongoing must be done or completed between November and December 2023, then by January 2024 they should be winding up with small works in the process to handover this project. Otherwise, if these delays continue, it may cause disruptions and Mbarara City may lose the chance to get additional money from the World Bank” said Phan Huyen.
One of the Officials from USMID said that there are some issues within procurement which he demanded that there should be some change. He added that Mbarara will have to produce accountability on how the 23B will have been used. That the accountability will determine whether they should be added some other money or on how much the City shall get.
Multiplex is a local contract that took the contract as a cluster project in Mbarara City, Ntungamo Municipality and Kabale Municipality all under USMID program, but up to now, none of the roads has been completed since it was given this contract.
Eng. Moses Bossa, MD Multiplex said that as a Local Contractor company, they did not have enough capacity in terms of funds so they borrow money from Banks at 18% interest to buy equipment, something that has been a challenge for them and this has become hard for them to complete the work in time. He added that they were interrupted by the relocation of government utilities like UMEME, Water and others. On this point, NEMA took a lot of time to approve them to work on the environmental areas for activities like stone quarrying. He pledged that they are hopeful by December, much of the work on these roads will be done.