MPs question Contract for expansion of Entebbe International Airport

MPs question Contract for expansion of Entebbe International Airport

There was no due diligence before the government contracted Seyani Brothers to modify the passenger terminal building at Entebbe International Airport.

This is part of the findings by the committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises –COSASE, which is scheduled to debate before parliament.

Parliament tasked COSASE on October 28, 2021, to inquire into the matter when the Bukooli Central MP, Solomon Silwanyi raised the matter based on information from a whistle-blower.

Silwanyi then told parliament that there was misuse and mismanagement of funds collected at the toll gate at Entebbe International Airport (EIA), accumulation of unpaid leave allowances and non-remittance of NSSF deductions.

This came up as COSASE was assessing and evaluating the operations of the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA).

In their report, the COSASE Chairperson, Joel Ssenyonyi notes that Seyani Brothers did not submit a qualified surveyor for the project as required in the standard bidding document.

He also says that there was no evidence that a qualified surveyor was used in the project implementation as well as the required staff and equipment.

The Modification of the Passenger Terminal Building is one of the projects that UCAA is undertaking under the National Civil Aviation Master Plan that was launched in 2015.

The project comprises re-modeling of the existing Departure Areas, conversion of the existing Trunk Road into a departure Check-In-Hall, construction of a 4-Storey new concession block, a New 4-Lane Elevated Trunk Road, and a Connection Bridge to access the Departures on the First Floor of the Existing Terminal Building, external, drainage, and landscaping.

UCAA contracted M/s Seyani Brothers in 2016 to undertake the modification works. COSASE says that the project was implemented in phases.

The first phase involved the construction of the 4-level structure, external finishes of the structure, raised access road, and the internal finishes of the departures floor.

According to Ssenyonyi reports, the works were completed in December 2020 with a defect liability period ending in December 2021.

“Currently, part of the departure area has been opened for use by passengers and airport stakeholders. In terms of financial performance, the contractor had been paid all the certificates, including the 5O% of retention.

The 50% remaining retention would be paid when due (after the defects liability period). Construction Works Supervising Consultant, Messrs. Ssentoogo and Partners, Architects and Planning Consultants were appointed to facilitate implementation of the Construction Works,” said Ssenyonyi

He further reported that a review of the Designs with Airport stakeholders and documentation for the project was carried out.

He recommended that instead of two separate buildings, one building should be constructed combining Departures and Arrivals in line with the existing Terminal Building.

Ssenyonyi said that this would effectively and efficiently address the issues of congestion, facilitation and security.

He also told parliament that the re-scoped project or new design would increase the cost by Sh 6.4 billion from Sh 42.69 billion.

Separation of Domestic and International Terminals

The Nakawa West MP recounted that while approving the loan, Parliament recommended that separate terminals be built for international and domestic traffic, according to the UCAA Master Plan.

He however said that this was ignored during the project implementation leading to the construction of one building combining domestic and international terminals.

Ssenyonyi also observed that the departure drop-off road lacks a ramp to ease accessibility to Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and that the rooms reserved for health checks are too small.

He recommended that the departure drop-off road be redesigned with a ramp to ease accessibility for PWDs and access to the health port be improved.

“UCAA should ensure that for future projects, all stakeholders are consulted, and comprehensive needs assessment undertaken at planning and tendering stage to avoid variations,” Ssenyonyi recommended.

Regarding rental arrears by different government entities at Entebbe, COSASE recommends that UCAA should come up with a policy to guide its business with Government entities and draw up a recovery plan for the debts.

According to Ssenyonyi, different government entities were in rental arrears worth Shillings 102.4 billion, adding that the arrears date back to 2006.

The debtors include the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs, Uganda Revenue Authority, Uganda Air Cargo, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Internal Affairs, National Metrological Authority and others

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