HomeBUSINESSMbarara; Town Clerk, Mayor Crush over Contract Termination.

Mbarara; Town Clerk, Mayor Crush over Contract Termination.

Joshua Nahamya,

Mbarara

Market completion delays continue to hamper traders and food vendors in Mbarara City as ROKO Construction Company fails to hand over the facility in the agreed period.

Theophilus Tibihika, the town clerk in Mbarara City says the regional market project which was handed to ROKO Construction Company on February 14, 2018, at a contract sum of 21,111,929,638 was supposed to be handed over on October 9, 2020.

Numerous contract extensions have been agreed on and the last one being late January 2021. 

However, Mayor Robert Kakyebezi says the works are still lying at 95% as the artisan regional market facility remains unroofed.

“The contract for Mbarara central market has been extended for more than three times and we expected the contractor to have finished by the end of January 2021 but as you visit the market nothing much has changed.” Kakyebezi said

Other remaining works include; installation of water tanks and tiling the floor surface.

Kakyebezi asks why the presidential pledge under the Markets and Agriculture Trade Improvement Project (MATIP) meant to alleviate poverty and improvement of agricultural trade has only stalled in Mbarara.

“Why did other markets get completed in Tororo, Soroti but not the one in Mbarara City that has stalled completely?” he asked

Mayor Kakyebezi observed that the contractor is weak to fulfill the contract agreement.

“He has no capacity to finish up the work in time and if is weak the ministry should terminate his contract and get us one capable of finishing up the hindered work” Lord Mayor explained

Kakyebezi says he is soon petitioning the local government over the fate of the Mbarara central market.

“On Wednesday next week I am traveling to Kampala to meet the local government minister and the permanent secretary to explain as to why the delayed completion of Mbarara market facility,” Kakyebezi said

Mayor Robert Kakyebezi (L) and Town Clerk Theophilus Tibihika (R) in a Presser on Friday-Joshua Nahamya.

“For us we are demanding the ministry of local government not the contractor because we have no business with the contractor and for that matter the ministry should come up very clearly and tell us what is going on because my people I lead overtime have been crying for market services they want to reoccupy their market which was supposed to be finished one year back but up now we are still here” he adds

However, Eng. Willie Swanepoel, the Contract Operations Manager Roko Construction Company insists that the company is demanding some amount of money from the government to finish up the work.

“I can’t risk employing more workers when I don’t have what to pay them.Even you can’t make orders for the roofing when you are not sure of meeting the payments so government has frustrated the works it is to blame” Swanepoel explains

The Town Clerk confirmed that the contractor owes the government some amount of money which he did not disclose that has caused financial issues for ROKO to proceed

“This market has been extending and has delayed to be completed but the reason is that the contractor is demanding some money from the central government and as council we have no relations on that ours is just supervision and monitoring on ground” Theophilus explained

Mbarara Town Clerk Theophilus Tibihika engaging Journalists in a Presser on Friday at Mbarara Council Hall .Joshua Nahamya

He also says that the kind of contract awarded to the contractor has continuously grappled with the completion of the Mbarara Central Market.

“This is an admeasurement contract where we pay upon completion of works so if ROKO cannot get money and finish the work it becomes very difficult for the ministry to pay,” says Theophilus

Donozio Kibanda, Secretary for Publicity Mbarara Central Market Vendors Association stressed that traders have given the government an ultimatum of one month to complete such that they can reoccupy their market facility.

“I can assure you that it’s been two years when traders have been patiently waiting but now we are impatient to such delays. Don’t get surprised to see most of us on the streets demonstrating for our market” Kibanda explained

He says that where they reallocated business is not going on well because of bad rains and impassable routes to the market.

“Independence park we temporarily occupied the premise but by look of things we might stay there for good because the contractor is not showing any willingness of finishing our market,” says Kibanda

The town clerk insisted that the construction company got financial issues which the central government is trying to negotiate and see how best they can be supported.

“I have been informed that discussions have been going on and ROKO is preparing to resume the constriction works starting with next week,” says Theophilus

However, Theophilus recommended that the ministry should not think of terminating the contract but rather give the contractor the benefit of doubt.

“terminating the contract also takes time and to get another contractor to finish up the work also requires more time but the simplest of it is to remain patient and end all the issues with the contractor such that he can hand over our market” Theophilus advised

“The remaining works are around 5% so before we hurry to terminate such a big contractwe would rather be patient and work out means of supporting the contractor to ensure that he finishes” he added

The Town Clerk asked the Mbarara community to remain patient for the remaining works to get completed.

“People shouldn’t be bitter with us. Sometimeseconomic problems even extend to the private sector but the government is committed to ensure that they finish”. Theophilus encouraged

“Realities sometimes are different from wishes but I appeal to the people of Mbarara to exercise patience becausegovernment is doing all it takes to ensure that the market is completed and handed over” he added

Of course, we are not comfortable it’s a disservice to the public but you know when you are viewing the matter from far it’s not like when you are managing it because we also want our people to go to the best but we are denied says Theophilus.

“I have not yet aggregated its economic effects but definitely we have been losing revenue though we can’t quantify the loss but once completed we shall be collecting some revenues from the modern market” the Town Clerk explained

However, Amos Katureebe, City councilor Nyamityobora B calls for deeper investigations alleging that some corruption tendencies are going on within the market construction processes.

“I call upon the president to cause a forensic audit because you can’t extend the market contract every month for a period of over two years” Katureebe advised

Currently, the ministry officials have not yet decided on the matter of whether to add ROKO to another contract period or to decide the way around. This website is there to update you on the next step followed/course of action.

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