Mbarara district officials are angry at the Ministry of Education and Sports for delaying to clear the contractor for the ongoing district selected school projects under the Uganda Teacher and School Effectiveness Project (UTSEP).
UTSEP is a grant by the World Bank under the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), to boost Uganda’s education system.
A number of government primary schools have benefited under the project which started last year.
The project funds construction of 4-7 class blocks, toilets and furniture at the various schools.
First Lady and Education Minister Janet Museveni, has commissioned a number of completed facilities in the districts of Karamoja, Isingiro and Kabale and others.
However in Mbarara the project has stalled and the Education Ministry is being blamed.
David Balaba, the managing director Bana Enterprise Ltd — which was contracted for 5 schools in Mbarara district – told district leaders during a site tour at the schools that works have been slowed down by failure by the ministry to release funds.
The benefiting schools are Kibaare P/S, Kongoro P/S, Binyuga P/S, Kashenyi P/S and Rwobugoigo P/S.
Work at these schools, Balaba said, was supposed to have been completed by July this year, but the buildings are still at roofing level.
The contractor says the ministry agreed in February with the district that the paper work would be negotiated within a week to release the money; no funds have ever been released.
“This one has affected our work progress. Right now we could be plastering and finishing, but we are still at 40%.”
Balaba revealed that he has written a number of letters to the ministry but no response has ever been availed.
He says the contract sum for the 5 schools is 2.7 billion excluding government taxes.
Concerns have now started emerging that the World Bank could terminate the grant if there is no ongoing work on the ground.
Councilor Asaph Muhangi representing Ndeija Sub County at the district noted that the district is likely to lose the 2nd phase of the GPE project.
“This would be unfortunate for Ndeija because we have 2 other schools to benefit in phase II,” said the councilor.
Commenting on the concerns however, Mbarara RDC Maj. Martha Asiimwe said the contractor should have been with the capability to complete the work and wait to be paid by government.
“Winning the contract, government saw that you’re able, so with or without our money you can continue and they pay you with time.” said the RDC