Mbarara City leadership demand bidders more than Shs236m in arrears

Mbarara city is demanding more than Shs236m from bidders in arrears after they defaulted on their contracts.

During a council meeting held on Tuesday this week at Mbarara City Council hall, it was discovered that bidders were not meeting their arrears since December 2021.

In a report read by Eunice Asiimwe, City Councilor representing People with Disabilities [PWDs] and Chairperson Multipurpose Committee, Mbarara City is losing a lot of revenue as a result of conspiracy, connivance, and poor management of revenue collection by the district Executive.

Members of the committee scrutinized the bidders’ position and noted that most contracts have defaulted and no action has been taken despite several council resolutions

Defaulted contracts include; street parking [106,462,425], Nyamityobora weekly market [5,092,000], Bikadde market [2,056,382], charcoal sellers [3,884000], Kikoona market [3,874,400], Nyamityobora market [36m], Koranorya market [8.6m], Biharwe matooke market [6.6m], pick-ups [20,237639] among others.

The report further shows that there are a lot of irregularities and connivance at the tendering stage of revenue sources that procuring contractors goes beyond the scheduled time.

“It was noted that some bidders who defaulted were the ones who won tenders year in and year out. Besides, the tendered prices are sometimes reduced especially in the second month of the contract. For example, street parking, Koranorya market and Kikoona market whose contracts run for long periods” Asiimwe explained.

The committee also discovered that since 2020, the bidder of Kikoona market in Ruti ward was paying the council only Shs3m instead of 16.5m per week. It is alleged that the bidder connived with the contracts committee to cause financial loss to the city council, some few technocrats at Mbarara city council, and politicians to reduce the money from Shs16.5 to only Shs3million causing a financial loss of Shs1.2b.

The said contract was awarded to Tukaham Enterprises allegedly belonging to Jomo Mugabe, the Mbarara City South Mayor which is tantamount to conflict of interest.

When asked, Mugabe refuted the allegation saying, he does not own any tender in Mbarara City Council.

Asiimwe said, all the city contracts made, lack a proper management plan due to the lack of contracts managers.

“The contract managers could have assisted Senior Assistant Town Clerks at the divisions to fully perform their duties and sign contract agreements,” she emphasized

James Agaba, the Principal Commercial Officer, Mbarara City who doubles as the Chairperson of the contracts committee, denied reducing Kikona market revenue from Shs16.5m to Shs3m.

“I am the one who awarded the contract at Shs16.5m so I don’t know who authorized the contractors to pay only Shs3m,” Agaba said.

Richard Mugisha, the Deputy City Clerk said, the district Executive has been busy promising to invite them within one week’s time to harmonize on the default position.

“I go by the statement of the Mayor because we have been busy but we promised that by the close of Friday we shall have invited them for a meeting” Mugisha said.

“It wouldn’t be prudent for the Executive to run a similar parallel activity of engaging these people; but with your permission by next week as my senior stated, we shall do the needful” Ronald Taremwa, the City Finance Chairman representing Mbarara City North B added.

The matter sparked bitterness as Councilors continued demanding an explanation from the Executive why contractors that have defaulted are still running the same tenders.

“It’s so unfortunate hearing such statements coming from the Deputy Mayor and the Deputy City Clerk that they have been so busy to attend to the resolutions that were made by the supreme authority of Mbarara City” Jenina Kyomuhendo-Female Youth Councilor Mbarara City

“This does not only mislead but indicates neglect of duties because we had resolved that all the service providers with running contracts should be invited for a discussion because our budget is now being threatened by the poor performance,” Enock, another Councilor representing male disabilities adds

Way forward

Bonny Tashobya, the City Speaker, asked the City Clerk to incorporate a digital system under the revenue department to always declare the revenue collections in Mbarara City.

“City Clerk, stop basing on the reports presented to you, lets institute a clear system where we always know what has been collected because we are always left in the dark. Like now, we don’t know whether the Executive always pockets what they collect or bank it in our accounts.”

Through the Speaker, the Council also directed the Executive to terminate contracts of all business people who have failed to pay the awarded tenders.

“We have resolved as Council that some contracts like street parking, Koranorya market, and Kikoona market should be considered for termination if the contractors adamantly refuse to pay. You cannot tell me that you were supposed to pay Shs7m per week and then you start by paying Shs200,000; that is impossible. You are actually defrauding people who give us money because this is the exact money, we use to grade our roads,” says Tashobya

“As councilors, we are saying those bidders should be called here not later than Friday and then we ascertain the nature of the problem,” he adds

“Members, let’s not play around with Council resolutions because this is a matter that involves millions of shillings and we are looking for revenue. We don’t have any other resource envelope to work for the people in our respective constituencies” Tashobya says

Christopher Aine, the Deputy Resident City Commissioner [DRCC] encouraged the council to always award contracts to competent business people.

“Why can’t we get serious with these bidders? How can someone really get a tender and play around with it? If someone can’t really perform, why don’t you drop him and get serious competent business people to take over the contracts? Aine asked.

“If you cannot manage a tender, please leave it for those who can manage but we cannot just be consuming resources from the central government while we are failing to perform our obligations” he added

Mbarara City council has so far received the 3rd quarter of central government grants worth Shs15,750,915,321 from the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development [MFPED] and the city has so far collected Shs1,326,676,000 which is 15 percent of the total budget.

The post Mbarara City leadership demand bidders more than Shs236m in arrears appeared first on The Cooperator News.