In the statement, Kabatsi explained actions taken to enforce adherence to building standards and regulations on the numerous accidents occurring at building sites. It followed a directive by the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga in the aftermath of an accident in which a building collapsed in Kansanga and claimed g 12 lives.
The Ministry of Works is unable to effectively enforce standards
and quality of ongoing constructions due to the lockdown occasioned by
the outbreak of COVID-19. This is according to the
State Minister for works Joy Kabatsi in a statement presented to Parliament on Thursday.
In the statement, Kabatsi explained actions taken to enforce adherence to building standards
and regulations on the numerous accidents occurring at building sites. It followed a directive by the Speaker
Rebecca Kadaga in the aftermath of an accident in which a building collapsed in
Kansanga and claimed g 12 lives.
Kabatsi says that 'criminals' are taking
advantage of the lockdown to erect substandard buildings that have in some cases
collapsed and claimed lives. She, however, says that there is very little that the government can do about it because those in charge are still under lock.
The Building Control Act of 2013 establishes the
National Building Review Board to monitor infrastructure development and ensure
that standard construction is adhered to among others.
But the Minister says that due to the current
lockdown, the technical staff on the board which is supervised by her Ministry
cannot do their work and that criminals have exploited the situation to do
shoddy works leading to the collapse of buildings.
She asked parliament to bear with the Ministry saying
that they are to deal with the challenge after the lockdown.
//Cue in; “but because of…
Cue out…of their work.”//
In response to the Minister’s statement, Nakifuma
County MP Robert Kafeero Ssekitoleko said that the board charged with the
responsibility of supervising construction work has not been facilitated to
carry out its operations.
“I am aware that since the board was operationalized
last year, the only funding it has received from the budget has been to cover
their salaries and in the coming financial year the Government allocated the
board only Shillings 6 billion to operationalize its work so the minister has
to come clean and say the truth,” said Ssekitoleko.
Kasambya County MP, Gaffa Mbwa Tekamwa wondered why
the Minister whose Ministry is giving out stickers for transport during the
current lockdown failed to ensure that her essential workers are catered for. “How can she turn around to say her technical people
can’t do their work because of the lockdown yet the sector they supervise has
continued to operate fully,” Mbwa Tekamwa questioned.
Abraham Byandala, the Katikamu North MP told parliament
that there is laxity in ensuring the quality of construction. Byandala said that each division in Kampala Capital
City has only one infrastructure inspector who cannot carry out thorough
supervision. Kampala has five divisions including Nakawa, Kawempe, Central,
Rubaga and Makindye.
Kadaga wondered why the ministry of works
was treating the collapse of buildings as an emergency yet the challenge has
persisted over the years.
In his previous addresses on the lockdown, President
Yoweri Museveni allowed construction works to continue but directed that
workers sleep at the building sites to tame the spread of coronavirus.