KAMPALA – The Kampala Capital City Authority has put stringent measures for evaluation of bidders in the upcoming African Development Bank (AfDB) funded US$ 288 million city Road projects.
The AfDB funding is expected to help work on roads including Eighth Street, Fifth Street, Portbell Road, Sixth Street, Sentema Road, Seventh Street, Old Portbell Road, Sir Appollo Kaggwa Road, Salaama Road, among others, covering over 70 kilometres of tarmac.
But following the previous experiences with the delays in implementing the ongoing World Bank funded projects in which both the Minister for Works Gen. Katumba Wamala and former Minister for Kampala Betty Amongi put the KCCA on notice not to consider delaying contractors in future projects, the new team at KCCA has but the evaluation team under strict instructions consider a bidders’ historical performance track record on previous contracts (both in Uganda and abroad with various organizations) as a top evaluation factor.
The development has caused trouble for some bidders for the new AfDB road projects, which are to be implemented under 5 lots, two of which advertised earlier this year. According to top officials at KCCA, some bidders in efforts to intimidate and blackmail the KCCA staff and circumvent the process have resorted to circulating dossiers targeting some of the top KCCA officials including Deputy Executive Director, Eng. David Luyimbazi, Eng. Mirembe Nnassuuna and George Makajuma a Transport engineer in the African Development Bank.
Some of the bidders include China Railway Group, China Railway No. 7, China Communications Construction Company, China State Engineering Corporation, Sino Hydro Ltd, Zhongmei, for the bids which were returned in March 2021 and are still under evaluation.
Officials say that with the evaluation process is still ongoing, the attacks on KCCA top officials like Eng. Luyimbazi, who is part of the new team at KCCA under Executive Director Mrs. Dorothy Kisaka look premature because the KCCA deputy ED is not part of the evaluation team and has no chance of personally favouring any bidders.
Eng. Luyimbazi , in his capacity as Deputy Executive Director oversees the KCCA technical wing and has led the process of ensuring that the bidding documents capture historical performance as an evaluation factor as part of the new management’s effort to cause improvements where problems existed. This requirement has raffled some feathers according to sources.
“It is obvious that the disgruntled bidder/s that are fomenting this discourse have accomplices who are internal KCCA staff,” a source said, adding that the procurement process has established checks and balances that cannot allow the alleged excesses to take place, and the obvious attempt to portray the KCCA Deputy ED as the alpha and omega of issues at City Hall is baseless because the ED Ms Kisaka has the final decision and is currently managing the process.
When contacted about the circulating dossier, Eng. Luyimbazi said he will not be intimidated, because causing change in proper implementation of projects and putting public interest first, will require to take some hard decisions.
“The evaluation process is still ongoing, why are people panicking?” he asked, reasoning that being not part of the evaluation team, the accusations were wild.
KCCA has been grappling with the issue of contractor performance which has hindered the turn around for major projects in the city, causing traffic management issues among other.
The situation of delayed projects especially under the World Bank funded $175 million Kampala Infrastructure Development Program (KIIDP2), currently under construction led to a letter of concern from the Minister of Works and Transport Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala.
The funding for the projects became effective in May 2015 and were supposed to be finished by June 2019 but due to a combination of poor contractor performance and COVID–19, the projects are still ongoing.
In his letter to KCCA dated March 17, the Works Minister for example warned about seriously violations by one of the contractors China State Engineering Corporation that put road safety and traffic management at stake.
Responding to the Works Minister’s letter, former Minister for Kampala Hon. Betty Amongi Ongom said in view of the serious issues raised by the World Bank over contractor performance on projects, some of the poor performers should be excluded from future projects.
“I take note that we still have upcoming road works to be contracted out and I hope you will take cognizant of the performance of the companies as per concerns raised by both myself and the Minister of Works,” the minister wrote.
According to minutes of a meeting between the World Bank and the KCCA political and technical wings after the funders supervision visits, poor performance of some contractors (including China State Construction) was a big problem.
It is understood, that some of these are seeking to circumvent the procurement process by intimidating and blackmailing officials.