City Hall, the head offices of KCCA
The Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has revealed that the money released for fixing roads across the city was used to pay off contractors as to convince them to take up more work.
The revelation was made by Dorothy Kisaka, Executive Director while appearing before Parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) that had summoned the Authority to provide an update on how far they have gone on fixing the roads in Kampala, following the social media uproar that birthed the Kampala Pothole Expo.
Kisaka said, “Is there an issue that money may not be spent? That can’t happen because by the time this money was released, KCCA was heavily indebted to the contractors. We have already started on that process of paying contractors who we owe so that they can do for us even more work so there is no issue that the money we can return the money, it can’t happen.”
Her remarks were in response to a concern raised by MPs on whether the Authority will be in position to absorb all the money that has been released with hardly two weeks to the end of the Financial Year to which Ferigo Kambale (Kasase Municipality) asked, “We are happy to note that all the money has been released and as we talk now, we have less than two weeks and 70% is covered, as we repair roads now, how much money do you still have? How are we sure that in the next two weeks, all this money will be absorbed so that we don’t have that problem of unspent balance being taken to the consolidated fund?”
Mpindi Bumali (PWD Representative) argued that it appears that there is no will or money is going to go back and yet most roads around the City are still in a sorry state and no money allocated to the repairs should be returned.
He said, “Our concern is that we still have many problems and that money shouldn’t go back but when you say that this hasn’t been our problem, it is the problem attributed to the mechanism of finance, and I am not seeing that commitment that before the end of the financial year, that money is going to be spent and we shall not have potholes, and you know that when money goes back, the chances of getting it back absorbed.”
Joel Ssenyonyi, Chairperson COSASE asked KCCA to ensure that the money meant for road repairs isn’t returned to the consolidated fund like the case was last Financial Year where money meant for the recruitment of teachers and health workers for the KCCA schools and health workers was returned to the consolidated fund, despite the deplorable state in which the facilities are operating.
“Now you are saying 70% has been done, and the people out there will confirm have these people fixed 70% of the problem? Because 70% when I was still in school was Distinction 2, so I don’t know whether the dwellers in Kampala can give you 70% in as far as fixing the pothole is concerned. We don’t want a repeat of the same because the potholes are numerous and if some people hear that money has been sent back to the consolidated fund meant for roads, people will not take us seriously,” said Ssenyonyi.
Justus Akankwasa, Acting Director Directorate of Engineering and Technical Services informed the Committee that due to the public outcry, all the Shs24.9Bn that was budgeted for repair of roads in Kampala was released, prompting the Authority to embark on the 45 day program to carruy out repairs on 13,500Sq metres of potholes and repairs 33,000 square meters on road maintenance.
He however warned that there are some roads that will have potholes for some time because they have already been given to contractors including roads on sixth street, seventh street, fifth street, Sir Apollo Kagwa Road, and Port Bell road under African Development Bank project, with works having started on some of these, while the others are still having their contracts being negotiated.
Some MPs asked KCCA to clarify if the Shs24Bn was part of the Shs6Bn that President Museveni had directed Ministry of Finance to release in the midst of the protest, to which Kisaka replied that the money President Museveni directed to be released was part of the annual budget and his directive was to only pressure the Ministry to release the money.
David Luyimbazi, Deputy Executive Director KCCA revealed that although the Authority requires about Shs100Bn annually for repairs and maintenance of works, but only Shs24.9Bn was availed and some of the money goes towards paying off contractors remarking, “Most contractors were highly indebted to us, we were highly indebted to contractors which debts hadn’t been run down in the budget.”