Fort Portal Municipal Council Stuck With Ugx 3.2bn USMID Funds

2927 Views Fort Portal, Uganda

In short
The first phase of the project was supposed to start in 2012, but nothing is on ground, despite the availability of the funds.

Fort Portal Municipality has failed to utilize Ugx 3.2 billion meant for the Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) Project. The project is a World Bank initiative designed to improve performance of selected Local Governments (LGs) to improve urban service delivery.
 
This would be achieved through expanding urban infrastructure and enhancing the capacity of the selected municipal local governments to generate own source revenues, improve urban planning, and strengthen financial management, procurement, environmental and social systems.
 
The first phase of the project was supposed to start in 2012, but no works started, despite the availability of the funds. Key projects that were meant to be worked on include the expansion and tarmacking of Nyakaana, Kaboyo, and Lugard roads, renovation of the Bus Park, improving the drainage system and construct more markets in the three municipal divisions, among other things.
 
According to David Baguma, the Chairperson of the Municipal Development Forum (MDF), which is charged under the USMID project to supervise the project, says that several challenges have hindered the project from taking off.
 
Baguma says that the two contractors who had been selected to do construction works refused to start work under unclear circumstances. Baguma says that the municipal authorities are still looking for another contractor.
 
He also states that the MDF lacks facilitation for its activities. Baguma says that the forum needs funds to conduct house to house meetings and public rallies, with a view of sensitizing the public about the project. He adds that the project can't start when residents in the municipality are ignorant of the project.
 
Paul Omoko, the town clerk says that he isn't sure when the actual works would begin. He also expressed fear that the funds will be returned to the World Bank if they aren't utilized.
 
Francis Kamara, a resident of Fort Portal says that the municipal authorities should treat the project as a priority for development of the municipality, because it will provide the municipality with adequate funds to meet their strategic infrastructure investment needs, which has been lacking due to the low revenue.
 
Cue in: "they should take it serious…
 
Cue out: "…improve roads in the area."
 
The 5-year USMID project is being implemented in other municipalities which include Arua, Gulu, Lira, Soroti, Moroto, Mbale, Tororo, Jinja, Entebbe, Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale and Hoima.
 
In Hoima, the project has faced resistance from property owners as they demand adequate compensation for the structures which may be damaged during the road works and infrastructure expansion.

 

About the author

Emmanuel Kajubu
Emmanuel Kajubu is proud to have been the first Ugandan journalist to write in depth pieces about the Tooro Kingdom institution. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Tooro Kingdom is what made him privy to the splits in the royal family. These splits almost challenged Tooro Omukama Oyo Nyimba Iguru's reign.

Culture, agriculture and the environment are just two areas of many of interest to Kajubu. As long as he has held a pen, Kajubu has also written about public policy, health and crime.

Kajubu is keen on impacting his society not just as a writer but also a trainer and mentor. Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.