Jinja | RedPepper Digital – The construction of the Uganda Hotel and Tourism Training Institute (UHTTI) is in the final stages of completion.
According to Roko Construction spokesman, Bernard Muhangi, the client Private Sector Foundation, Uganda (PSU) is happy with the quality of the works, refuting allegations made over the weekend that the Government was in the final stages of terminating the contract over shoddy work.
Roko has a running contract with the Government of Uganda represented by Private Sector Foundation Uganda to construct the Uganda Hotel and Tourism Training Institute (UHTTI) phase one.
“Notably, the client had secured funds for phase 1 which constituted Construction of a Hotel block, a demonstration kitchen, laundry house, Gatehouses, powerhouse, external works and electrical reticulation, garbage collection house and mechanical reticulation,” Muhangi said.
He added: “Roko is currently finalising with phase one works and the remaining 10% of the works shall be deferred to the additional second floor works.”
Muhangi said the allegations published in the local media on Monday 8th November alleging shoddy work and progress at 50% are untrue but ‘targeted towards tarnishing Roko’s reputation’.
“It’s really very disturbing to note that a building whose electricals, finishes and civil works are complete is at 50%. This is not a standard engineering measure; It’s absolutely not true that progress is at 50%.”
“Current progress is at 90% and this can be clarified by the consultants’ progress reports to the client,” he said.
He revealed with additional funding, the client expressed interest to construct an additional floor (second Floor) of approximately 2,010 m2 with the associated civil works, mechanical and electrical installations.
“With the additional floor, some works couldn’t be completed as they shall be affected during construction of the new floor and such works shall be deferred to the additional floor works (Phase one Additional Floor works) for example the finishes to some rooms, stairs, corridors and other access areas, mechanical installations and equipment that can only be installed on the completed second-floor roof slab plus the ducting and conduiting, electrical final fixes and external finishes,” Muhangi explained.
On quality issues, the mouthpiece said Roko Construction Limited would never, compromise on quality as ‘this is our core value and that’s what we stand for’.
“Stating that the building is of poor quality is utterly false as there are always processes of getting samples and approvals as well as test reports for whatever material that is installed or fixed.”
Muhangi said Roko is ISO 9001:2015 (Quality Management Systems) certified.
He said there is a team of consultants who are professionals in the construction industry and have been monitoring and inspecting works executed and have not raised any red flag to do with the quality of works.
“There are always quality checks made for all the structural components and finishes as well as services on this project. We condemn such statements that are intended to tarn Roko’s reputation in the market,” he warned.
He admitted that Roko like any other company in the world has had some challenges as a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
However, he quickly noted that despite such challenges, the company has never compromised on quality.
“There were delays on completion for which extension of time claims were evaluated and granted accordingly. Extensions are never granted without good contractual reasons,” he added.
The company also dissociated itself from one Benson Blasi who has been making statements in the media.
“Blasi has never worked for Roko and can’t represent the company interests. This is fraudulent and intended to spoil our reputation. We condemn and demand that such statement with ill intentions targeting Roko without any basis and facts be retracted immediately,” he said.
In 2018, the government of Uganda received financing from the International Development Association (IDA) toward the cost of the Competitiveness and Enterprise Development Project (CEDP), and it applied part of the proceeds (UGX11bn) of this credit to payments under the Contract for the Construction of the Uganda Hotel Tourism and Training Institute (UHTTI) on Plot 3 and 5 Nalufenya Road, Jinja, Uganda.
Roko Construction Ltd (Main Contractor) entered into a contract with the Government of Uganda represented by Private Sector Foundation Uganda to construct the Uganda Hotel and Tourism Training Institute (UHTTI) phase I on 7th March 2018.
The site was handed over to Roko on 10th April 2018 for commencement of works for a construction period of 12Months and completion by 10th April 2019. Extension of time awards at no cost were given to 30th August 2019, 13th December 2019 and 14th February 2020 respectively due to Variations and additional works to the contract.
Furthermore, due to the effects of Covid-19, restrictions and directives, the contractor’s operations and cash flow was affected and an extension was granted with no costs up to 30th September 2020 and 9th January 2021 to implement mitigative measures, completion was further jeopardized by the second wave of Covid-19 in the country and the expected completion of phase 1 works is this year.