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Leaders raise queries over Shs1b maternity project

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By Zadock Amanyisa

Bushenyi District leaders have raised queries about a Shs1 billion maternity ward being constructed at Kashambya Health Centre III in Bitooma Town Council.

The project, which is being built with funding from the World Bank, includes a general maternity ward, staff house, four-stance VIP shower, placenta pit, medical waste pit and incinerator. The project, which started a month ago, is supposed to be completed in 15 months.

But according to the district leaders, the contractor, Excel Construction Limited, does not have bills of quantities [a document prepared by a quantity surveyor or cost consultant to define the quality and quantity of works required to be carried out by the main contractor to complete a project] and progress reports on site, which complicate their monitoring of the project. 

While monitoring the project on Wednesday, the district leaders, who included councillors and Ms Jane Asiimwe Muhindo, the resident district commissioner, said as a result, they cannot tell whether the contract is conforming to the project specifications in the contract.

“There are documents that we cannot do without. For example, if I had bills of quantities, I would check and verify, but now, I cannot do that. How do I also report to my bosses on the progress of the project?” she said.

“In the next meeting, we want to see bills of quantities and progress reports to avoid going for future post-mortem. It is improper for government money to come here with no bills of quantities and we are just here wearing reflectors on the site,” Ms Muhindo added.

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The district leaders also demanded to know why building materials such as bricks and cement were being made from the project site and taken to other areas.

“The local people are becoming so suspicious because they see materials being taken away,” the RDC said.
The councillor of Bitooma Town Council, Mr Nganwa Bororwa, said the local people have not been involved in the supervision of the project.  “People have been asking me on how they can come in since a project management committee was not formed,” he said.

Mr Nganwa added that there have been complaints of exploitation of the casual labourers.
“We demand explanation on these issues since the project is being done in our area. We need to be informed so that our work of monitoring can be easy,” he said.

What project managers say
The unidentified project engineer for Excel Construction Company refused to speak to journalists. But Mr Douglas Muwonge, the social, safety and environmental specialist at the Ministry of Health, said the bills of quantities and other key project documents will be availed in a month’s time.

“We shall have the documents before the next site meeting, which is in a month’s time because the person who was contracted to do the documents has to arrange for all the regions in the whole country. So, before the next site meeting, you will have the documents,” Mr Muwonge added.

Mr Dennis Galabuzi, the Ministry of Health civil engineer, said the contractor is implementing other projects in different areas and that they are using Kashambya as a processing centre for the building materials.

“The issue of having one machine serving different sites was foreseen. We did that to ensure that all the projects can run at the same time. In this region of Bushenyi, all sites are moving. The question should be; does the site have good quality blocks? And that is addressed by us having a supervisor here,” he added.

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