William Komakech, the Kitgum Resident District Commissioner, says the disagreement between the two firms has greatly affected the progress of the work. Komakech says the poor working relationship between the firms visibly manifest by quarrels in their site meetings.
The unhealthy relationship between China States
Construction Engineering Corporation Ltd and consultancy firm Saba Engineering
Private Ltd Company is likely to affect progress of the multi-billion Kitgum
main market construction.
Construction of the Shillings 23 billion market with funding
from the African development bank [ADB] under the second phase of the Market
and Agricultural Trade Improvement (MATIP) program commenced in June this year.
However, stakeholders in the district say disagreements
between the two firms over decisions and approvals crucial in the smooth
progress of the market construction are raising eye brows.
Engineer Alfred Alexis Abonga, the project support officer at
Kitgum municipal council revealed on Monday that Saba Engineering officials
have been slow in responding to major requests for approvals from the
contractor. He made the revelation during a site visit at the market
with Kitgum district leaders on Monday.
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Abonga for instance said the contractor was on two separate
occasions unable to carry on with work for weeks after hitting large deposit of
underground water and rocks at the construction site.
He notes that when
a request was sent to the consultant to approve for variations that hadn’t been
anticipated in the contract, the consultant took a long time to respond,
putting work on halt for weeks.
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Abonga says although the challenges were addressed paving way
for construction of the septic tank where large deposits of underground water
was found, stake holders have to intervene and ensure the two firms relate well.
He however says construction work is moving well noting that
the excavation of the basement, concrete blinding work and casting of retaining
wall in block A are all complete, adding that the contractor is set to start
installation of columns.
William Komakech, the Kitgum Resident District Commissioner,
says the disagreement between the two firms has greatly affected the progress
of the work. Komakech says the poor working relationship between the firms
visibly manifest by quarrels in their site meetings.
He says his office has since ordered for an in
house meeting next week to address the problems affecting the relationship between
the consultant and contractor.
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Komakech also noted that there is need by both the consultant
and contractor to address the plight of their casual laborers who over the
weekend staged a strike over delayed payment and poor working condition.
More than 40 workers at the market site laid down their tools
and pitched camp outside Komakech’s office on Saturday requesting the intervention
of district leaders into alleged, mistreatment by the contractor.
They highlighted delayed and meager payment, lack of meals,
safety gears and health insurance for the sick and injured workers and unfair
dismissal from work among others.
An engineer from Saba Engineering who didn’t want to be named
since she doesn’t speak for the firm acknowledged the conflicting communication
between the consultant and the contractor.
She however, says whereas
they have been swift in decision making, the contractor has been giving excuses
of delays but notes that they will ensure the discrepancies are addressed.
Construction of the market is expected to take two years.