Public projects and contracts are intended to improve the lives and livelihoods of the citizens in the country. However, most of the public contracts in Uganda don’t fully achieve their goal due to political interference from leaders who have become the main beneficiaries instead of the citizens.
Speaking during a stakeholder workshop on enhancing value for money in public contracts and services in Ntungamo organised by Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC), Singahakye Denis, Ntungamo district LC 5 Chairperson noted that political Interference from leaders greatly affects implementation of projects.
“We have a lot of shoddy work done because some of our political leaders despite having less knowledge and technical capacity to monitor projects involve themselves in bidding and contracting processes for their own hidden intentions. District technical teams are often times left out,” he said.
Singahakye adds that most leaders are ignorant about monitoring and open contracting, their major interest is how to make money or benefit from the projects rather than welfare of the intended citizens.
“Most of these leaders target brown envelops from contractors and incase of poor work they cannot raise a finger to point out mistakes or criticisms”
Assumpta Kebirungi, a member from UGANET a civil society Organisation points out lack of collaboration between government and civil society organizations as a challenge in contract performance.
”The goal of social economic transformation can be achieved if government partners with civil society in doing checks and balances to enhance transparence and accountability,” She said.
Concluding his remarks, the chairman noted that much as there are a number of challenges in contract performance in the district, to solve them, access to information should be granted right from the time calls for bids are sent out till the end of the project.
“Access to information should be exercised for citizens to fully intervene since implementation is done at the grass root level and this should be done right from the bidding process,” Singahakye added.
Majority of the participants noted illiteracy, corruption, lack of involvement, lack of transparency and accountability as major challenges in success of contracts in their district.