Tororo: Stalled projects ripping off the taxpayer

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Tororo: Stalled projects ripping off the taxpayer
One of the projects that is rotting away in Tororo

TORORO | There is fear among leaders in Tororo that the taxpayer will lose billions of shillings on stalled projects in the municipality as some of the government projects that are yet be concluded begin to wear out even before completion.

This after stalling for years.

One of the stalled government projects is a storey structure at Uganda Cooperative College that is meant to house administration offices and lecture rooms.

The project was handed over to Nokas Construction Company in the Financial Year 2019/2020 at a cost of about Shs3 billion.

But even after raking 60 percent of the total project cost in advance payment, the project that was meant to be completed within 18 months has been abandoned at a roofing level.

The project has since stalled for four consecutive financial years.

The abandonment of the project has, however, not stopped government from continuing to remit funds.

The monies have continued to come but returned to the Consolidated Fund each year.

"This money keeps on going back to bank of Uganda but later sent back. We have even received it again in this financial 2023/24," Teddy Makola, the Tororo Municipality education officer, said.

In this financial year, Sh650 million was been disbursed by the Education ministry to complete the structure to have students of Uganda Cooperative College shifted out of the old asbestos-roofed structure they are currently in.

This as ministry of education orders for a new contractor to conclude works since the current contractor has abandoned the project.

But as search for new contractor continues, there are concerns that some parts of the structure is falling off and will have to be demolished and rebuilt.

"A team of engineers from Ministry of Education recently came and assessed the structure," said Kenneth Orono, the Tororo mayor.

"During their assessment, they realised that the building, especially the roofs, has started falling off and needs to be put down and re-roofed. This means that government will have to provide us with more money."

Besides the Uganda Cooperative College structure, Kyamwinula Health Centre II upgrade is yet another project that has lagged behind within the municipality.

The project that is ripping off the taxpayer by over Shs800 million was meant to have been handed over last year but even after paying about 20 percent of the monies to the contractor, the project remains a skeletal white elephant.

And with just a month to the end of financial year, there is already fear that over Shs600 million meant for this project will be automatically swept back to the Treasury come the end of this financial year.

"We don't have any option but to allow this money go back since the project can't be completed by the end this financial year," Mayor Orono said ruefully.

"However, we're worried that this money may not again come back since it has been revolted twice already."

The two projects adds to the many other government projects stalling in the district. But why would a contractor abandon project even after receiving advance payments?

To the office of the Residence District Commissioner (RDC), the mess is blamed on both technocrats and contractors.

According to RDC Albert Amula, many times district technocrats do not monitor projects giving contractors a leeway to either do shoddy work or work at their pace, hence delaying projects.

With several government projects said to be stalling while others require breaking before completing, there is fear that government is most likely to lose huge sums of money.

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