Although the Inspector General of Government wants the Chinese firm CICO off the Mukono-Katosi road works, local leaders are pleading for it to stay.
Mukono LC-V Chairman Francis Lukooya said on Wednesday that the government should allow CICO to proceed with the construction since “they have at least done about 8 per cent of the work.”
IGG Irene Mulyagonja recently ordered the National Roads Authority (UNRA) to expel CICO, saying the Chinese firm colluded with another firm, Eutaw, to fraudulently win the tender for the 74-km road. However, Lukooya says the IGG is out of touch with the feelings of the affected residents over the matter.
“We shall go with other leaders, meet the president and tell him that we need the Chinese company to proceed with the construction,” Lukooya told a meeting at Kisoga village, Ntenjeru sub-county, involving locals and UNRA officials.
Mukono south MP, Bakaluba Mukasa, who believes CICO will do quality work, spoke against contracting another company because the government could incur extra costs. He added that the government should come in and monitor CICO’s work to ensure value for money.
The UNRA head of corporate communications, Dan Alinange, told the meeting that the authority had not yet “chased” CICO. He added that if the company on ground (CICO) is to go, “as technicians, we want to be assured of the immediate company coming in.”
The meeting was requested by the district leaders after learning of the IGG’s order on CICO, amid fears that locals whose property was affected by the road may not be compensated Alinange assured people of their compensation after the Finance ministry has processed for them tax identification numbers (TIN).
“This week, we have been given Shs 5bn to proceed compensating you. However, the ministry is hardening the process by asking for TIN numbers,” Alinange said. “We shall request your leaders to put pressure on the Finance minister so that this process is quickened.”
Residents were, however, opposed to the TIN issue, arguing that their compensation money could be taxed by Uganda Revenue Authority.
One resident, Pastor Evelyn Kyakonye, wondered as to “why is the Finance ministry requesting for it [TIN] only on Katosi people?” To this Alinange responded that it is a new initiative by the government that whosoever is receiving any payment from the government must have a TIN.
Other residents, The Observer talked to, said they were planning to walk to Parliament to petition Speaker Rebecca Kadaga. About 1,000 people have been compensated out of more than 5,000.
The Mukono resident district commissioner, Capt Kigozi Kaweesa, urged the residents to be patient, saying the road would eventually be constructed, only that it has to follow the right procedures.