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Gov't Extends Contract for Kitgum Market Construction for the Second Time

The contractor commenced works in June 2019 and was meant to deliver the project in July this year. However, in April this year, the government extended the contract by five more months until November 30 when the contractor cited inability to deliver the project due to the effects of the first wave of the coronavirus disease-Covid-19.
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The Local Government Ministry has again extended the deadline for the completion of the Multi-billion Kitgum central Market. This is the second time this year the ministry has extended the deadline for the completion of the Shillings 23 billion market being undertaken by China State Construction Engineering Corporation Ltd. 

The contractor commenced works in June 2019 and was meant to deliver the project in July this year. However, in April this year, the government extended the contract by five more months until November 30 when the contractor cited their inability to deliver the project due to the effects of the first wave of the coronavirus disease-Covid-19.

Through its supervising consultant SABA Engineering PLC, the contractor on October 18, 2021 applied for another extension from the November 30 deadline. The contractor again highlighted the effects of the second wave of coronavirus disease (Covid-19), which saw the site closed for more than a month upon the death of senior staff who succumbed to COVID-19 and three other workers tested positive.

In response to the request, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Local Government, Ben Kamumanya in a November 11 letter granted the contractor a 60 days’ contract extension with effect from November 30.  In his letter to the Managing Director SABA Engineering PLC seen by this reporter, Kamumanya said that the Ministry had reviewed the reasons the contractor had based his claims.

“We are also mindful that the current contractor’s contract is expiring on November 30 and the physical progress as your report of September 30 was 65 percent against the time progress of 93 percent and the major reason for this time lag being the claim highlighted above,” Kamumanya’s letter reads in part.

Adding that “Following the above observations and your analysis, therefore, I hereby approve the change order No.3 to re-extend the completion time for the contract for construction of Kitgum Central Market in Kitgum Municipality, Kitgum District under MATIP-2 Contract No.MoLG/MATIP-2/WRKS/2018-2019 Lot 11 for 60 days as per your recommendation.” 

Kamumanya, however, advised both the contractor and the project manager to ensure that within the additional time, all outstanding issues affecting timely contract implementation are addressed. Kitgum Municipal Council Town Clerk, Emmanuel Banya told Uganda Radio Network-URN in an interview over the weekend that they expect the contractor to substantially complete the market within the additional time.

Banya notes that there are incidences where the market site is closed without the knowledge of the Municipal council officials, which drags the contract dateline. He notes that recently, Municipal Officials and the Resident District Commissioner, William Komakech sat with the contractor and the project manager to find solutions to the persistent closure of the market without official notification.

Banya says they have proposed routine COVID-19 testing for all workers at the site including those who are currently home before resuming work to ensure health safety does not again lead to the closure of the site.

Kitgum District Chairperson, Christopher Obol Arwai described the persistent closure of the market site as an excuse on the side of the contractor for failure to timely deliver the market. He says the district and Municipal officials will soon meet with the contractor to ensure the project is delivered on time for the intended beneficiaries. 

According to the contractor’s report, the work stands at 65 percent against a time progress of 93 percent. The African Development Bank-ADB under the second phase of the Market and Agricultural Trade Improvement Programme (MATIP-2) funds Kitgum central Market construction.

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