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Contractor Asks for 15 Months to Complete Kabalega International Airport :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Contractor Asks for 15 Months to Complete Kabalega International Airport

Amos Muriisa, the Communications Manager at SBC, explained in an interview with Uganda Radio Network-URN that they are seeking for more fifteen months to allow for the completion of crucial remaining works, such as the construction of the control tower, installation of electricity, Installation of CCTV Cameras, fiber optic cables and other operations at the airport.
Construction works at the airport. The contractor is seeking for more 15 months to fully handover the facility to the government.Photo by Emmanuel Okello

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The completion of Kabalega International Airport, in Hoima district, has suffered a big setback with the contractor SBC seeking for more than fifteen months to have works completed. 

The contractor, a joint venture of Israeli-British firms, Shikun and Binui International-SBI/Colas Limited, had initially planned to hand over the airport to the government in October this year.

However, Amos Muriisa, the Communications Manager at SBC, explained in an interview with Uganda Radio Network-URN that they are seeking more fifteen months to allow for the completion of crucial works, such as the construction of the control tower, installation of electricity, Installation of CCTV Cameras, fiber optic cables and other operations at the airport. 

According to Muriisa, initially, the airport was designed to have a mobile control tower, however, the design was changed, and the airport will have a fixed control tower.   

According to Muriisa, the change in the design of the control tower impacted a lot on the progress of the construction of the airport hence causing delays.

//Cue in: “We have had…

Cue out:…proposed fifteen months.”//

Muriisa explains that the contractor needs an additional 160 billion Shillings to have the remaining works completed. 

//Cue in: “Because this is… 

Cue out:…to 160 billion.”// 

Dr. Micheal Mugerwa, the Oil Refinery General Manager explains that negotiations are on with the government to allocate them additional funding so that the remaining works at the airport are immediately executed within the fifteen months they have asked to have the airport fully operationalized. 

//Cue in: “Current plan for… 

Cue out:… short-term opportunity.”//   

Construction works of the USD 309 million Airport financed by Standard Chartered Bank started in April 2018.  

The Airport is one of the key support infrastructures for the next course of the fast-paced activities leading to commercial oil production. 

Kabalega International Airport, financed by Standard Chartered Bank with a budget of USD 309 million, will have the capacity to accommodate four cargo planes simultaneously.   

The airport will feature a fire station, apron, control tower, accommodation facilities, parallel runways, taxiway, air rescue firefighting house, power substation house, communications and navigation systems, perimeter fence, and air-ground illumination system, among other facilities. The runway, measuring 3.5 kilometers in length and 45 meters in width, is 99 percent complete.  

The cargo terminal building, limited-capacity passenger terminal building, air rescue firefighting house, power substation house, and air-ground lighting system are all complete. Currently work at the airport stands at 95 percent.

In February 2023, the contractor halted the construction works at the airport following the government’s failure to allocate more than 126 billion Shillings to complete the remaining works.   

The contractor then said that the funds were needed to complete the control tower and other operations at the airport.   

During a field visit at the airport then, State Minister for Works Fred Byamukama said that the government was investigating the contractor for allegedly exaggerating prices for some construction materials meant for the construction of the airport.  

He said the contractor is suspected to be conniving with some top government officials to swindle money meant for the construction of the airport.     

He added that the contractor under unclear circumstances demanded an extra 126 billion Shillings from the government to complete works at the airport yet the government had cleared two hundred sixty-four million Euros needed by the contractor for the entire project.  

Byamukama said that the government was negotiating with the contractor but would consider terminating the contract if negotiations did not yield. 

However, in April 2023, the contractor resumed construction work after they reached a consensus with the government.

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