The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has tasked the Ministry of Energy to do whatever it takes to build the disputable Isimba Public Access Bridge as soon as possible.
The Bridge which connects Kayunga and Kamuli districts was negotiated as part of the Isimba Dam construction project and they were supposed to be constructed together.
Last month on 20th the Speaker had asked for an explanation about the bridge from the Ministry where she also raised concerns over the possibility of embezzling over Shs 24 billion by some of the government officials meant for the construction of the bridge.
In the same spirit on Thursday during the plenary sitting of Parliament, she again demanded an explanation why the bridge is not built. She also said that the people of Kamuli will protest over government’s failure to build the bridge which is integral in linking Kamuli to Kayunga.
“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. Now 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.
The matter started when the Minister of State for Minerals, Peter Lokeris, gave a report on the engineering design and construction of the Isimba Public Access Bridge yet it was supposed to be built and finished together with the recently launched Isimba dam.
Lokeris said that the delay in constructing the bridge is due to 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 Shs 400bn 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.
James Waluswaka, Member of Parliament 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 Shs128bn 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.
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