The State minister for Water, Mr Ronald Kibuule, flew in a police chopper to Rukungiri District to investigate why a Shs44b World Bank-funded water project in the area has delayed, senior ministry officials who called on Daily Monitor yesterday, have disclosed.
Explaining the circumstances under which the junior minister flew in a police chopper that later landed in the neighbouring Ntungamo District, Mr Dominic Kavutse, the commissioner of Urban Water and Sewerage Services, said Mr Kibuule was on a fact-finding mission following complaints by the Rukungiri District leadership over delays by Technofab Engineering Ltd to deliver the project by September.
The project is supposed to draw water from River Kahenge and supply it to Rukungiri Municipality and the surrounding areas. The works commenced on July 14, 2016, but to date, little has been done, according to Rukungiri Municipality mayor Charles Makuru.
“We have been having monthly meetings and we discovered the contractor delayed to mobilise equipment …and personnel for the project,” Mr Kavutse said yesterday.
“The minister had to fly to Rukungiri with the Permanent Secretary [Mr Alfred Okot Okidi] to inspect the project and interface with leaders there to resolve the matter,” he added.
Yesterday, Mr Makuru told Daily Monitor that they are facing it hard to explain to the electorate why the water project that is intended to serve thousands and has passionately waited for is delaying.
“I do not know why the contractor has delayed. The contractor is supposed to deliver the project in three months from now but what is on the ground is like only 25 per cent [of the work done],” Mr Makuru said by telephone.
But Mr Richard Matua, the assistant commissioner for Urban Water and Sewerage Department, said after they noticed the delays, they had to write and visit the company headquarters in India.
The company explanation, Mr Matua said, was that they had encountered a hard rock where they were supposed to pass pipes and compensating people was also challenging.
“Most of the people supposed to be compensated are illiterate who do not know or have bank accounts yet all payments are supposed to be made through banks and this took some time,” Mr Matua said.
He said the project will be delivered but the contractor has asked for more time until December, but that decision cannot be made without consulting the World Bank, the project financiers.
On Tuesday, Mr Kibuule alongside other people stirred excitement among residents of Ntungamo Town when he swooped in a police helicopter at around 4.30pm. The minister later, after this paper’s inquiry seeking why he had landed in Ntungamo, said “I was coming from Rukungiri for a water project.”