A cluster of companies sub contracted by TBEA Hengyang Transformer Company Limited has reassured MPs on their ability to deliver, in the face of persisting claims of their incompetence and the project being impossible to execute.
MPs on the Committee on Natural Resources are entertaining a petition from whistleblowers, who claim the companies lined up as sub-contractors lack the capacity to do the work, and that the cost attached to the project makes it even more impossible.
Parliament has been approving back to back loans to finance the Rural Electrification Agency’s ambitious plan to widen the country’s electricity cover in the countryside.
Committee Chairperson Dr Keefa Kiwanuka opened the meeting by outlining the issue at hand.
“A number of companies have petitioned Parliament saying there was an advert inviting companies to apply; they applied but instead of giving them the offer, they were dropped because they were asking for too much,” said Kiwanuka.
“They say that those who have accepted the contract cannot break even and that you have not been given a clear scope of work; that you don’t have a Bill of Quantities and so on,” he added.
The petitioners contend that the companies which have been sub-contracted have been shortchanged, but that they are incapable of admitting that because they are blinded by the offer, which they said is in fact way too low for the kind of work required.
Appearing before the Committee on Thursday, 17 October 2019, the sub-contractors disputed the claims, saying the petitioners are sour-graping for failure to win the contract, and that they are well aware of the work they are expected to do.
Ms Annet Nampala of Vimi Investments, one of the sub-contracted companies, said the offer is good.
“You’ll notice that we have been working in previous contracts for $850, so this rate by TBEA of $1400 is the best we have had,” she said.
On lacking the scope to deliver, Nampala said the claims are without basis.
“This is the usual scope of work that we have been undertaking so there is nothing new; we have the capacity to transport material,” she said.
They are, however, concerned about the slow pace of events, singling out the delays in design works which they say has taken long and is frustrating.
“If there were no delays by now we would have completed 20 per cent of the works; TBEA has been telling us they have been waiting for the design for now over two months,” said Mr Salim Mwase, who represented SAGEM, an energy company.
MPs warned the contractors of the political significance of the project, saying there is no room for failure because of the campaign promise to deliver electricity to the rural areas.