The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has told the Ministry of Energy to do whatever it takes to build the contentious Isimba Public Access Bridge connecting Kayunga and Kamuli districts.
The Isimba Public Access Bridge was negotiated as part of the Isimba Dam construction.
“I warned the President and the Minister of Energy against commissioning the Isimba Dam before the bridge which is part of the project is constructed but they went ahead to do,” she said during the plenary sitting of Parliament on Thursday 12 November, 2019.
The Speaker added that the people of Kamuli will protest government’s failure to build the bridge which is an integral in linking Kamuli to Kayunga.
“I cannot travel home to Kamuli anymore through Kayunga which is the shorter route; the road is broken the bridge is not there so I cannot even access the ferry,” she said.
Kadaga was responding to a report by the Minister of State for Minerals, Peter Lokeris, on the engineering design and construction of the Isimba Public Access Bridge presented to Parliament on Thursday.
The Speaker had asked for an explanation about the bridge from the Ministry 20 November, 2019. Then, she raised concerns over the possibility of embezzlement Shs24 billion by government officials meant for the construction of the bridge.
Minister Lokeris attributed the delay in constructing the bridge to the land acquisition process involved in the area and especially the unprecedented cost of claims.
“Today the total compensation claims of the Isimba Hydropower Project amount to over Shs400 billion which is affecting the ability for us to complete the entire project,” he said.
He however said that the progress of works was approximately 22 per cent which includes 18 piles out of a total 78 piles that provide support of the bridge.
The Minister also said that the hydropower plant and transmission line was completed before its commissioning in March 2019.
Hon. James Waluswaka (NRM, Bunyole West County) said that when he visited the project site, the contractor, China International Water and Electric Corporation reported that they had not been paid US$35 million meant for the construction of the dam.
“The contractor said they will not be able to complete the bridge by December 2020 because they have no money to proceed considering the fact they have not received all payments for the section of the dam,” he said.
The Speaker asked the Committee on Physical Infrastructure to investigate conclusively the project and report back to Parliament.