By George Busiinge
In February 2018, SBC Uganda Ltd commenced the construction of Hoima International Airport. The initial handover of what has come to be known as the oil airport was in February 2022 but was later extended to June 2023.
Barely four weeks to the handover, SBC Uganda has laid down their tools due to the government’s failure to address some of the concerns like variations of material prices brought about by the global economic crisis and inflation, among other factors.
SBC Uganda has asked the government to revise the terms of the contract because the prices of materials used to construct the airport, like cement, steel and fuels, among others, have gone up and surpassed the contract money agreed upon.
The government has refused to give the contractor more money, saying that what was given to them is enough to complete the remaining work something that has angered and rattled SBC Uganda who has since absconded from work.
In January 2018, Standard Chartered Bank, with guarantees from the United Kingdom Export Finance agreed to lend Uganda 307 million Euros for the construction of Hoima International Airport for a period of three years.
State Minister of Works and Transport, Fred Byamukama, has unsuccessfully intervened in the matter, saying the work has overstayed and should be handed over on the agreed time frame or else SBC Uganda risks having the contract terminated.
The Minister has accused some top officials in the government of trying to swindle 28 Million Euros. He said they are currently carrying out investigations on some of the top government officials involved.
He has further revealed that the government will not face any legal implications because it is the contractor who is running away from work.
Amos Muriisa, the SBC Public Relations Officer, says they have had several engagements with the government but their concerns have not been attended to for close to one and a half years.
He has however distanced the company from the allegations of working with mafias in government to scam the said money.
The Hoima District Chairperson, Kadir Kirungi, has asked the government to intervene in the matter because some of the workers of SBC are the ones suffering yet they have families to look after.
Hoima District Resident District Commissioner, Rogers Mbabazi, has requested workers to stay calm as government settles its grievance with their employer.