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Entebbe Airport Unfriendly for PWDs -MPs

Joel Ssenyonyi, who is COSASE chairperson and Nakawa West MP, and the other committee members including Mpindi, Alex Ruhunda of Fort Portal Central Division questioned UCAA officials about the absence of rumps at the existing passenger terminal buildings and also the modified building that will be an extension for the current departures and arrivals sections.
Bumali Mpindi and Joyce Acan (on wheelchair) complain about the absence of ramps at the airport

Audio 4



Members of the parliamentary committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities, and State Entreprises-COSASE are concerned about the lack of rumps at Entebbe international airport.

Though lifts have been installed inside the existing and modified passenger terminal buildings, legislators noted that persons with disabilities have difficulty accessing and moving inside the airport due to the absence of rumps.

The MPS, led by representatives of PWDs, Mpindi Bumali  and  Joyce Acan, expressed their concerns while evaluating the various activities under the upgrade and expansion of Entebbe airport on Friday.  

The committee was following up on the responses to audit queries  provided by Uganda Civil Aviation Authority -UCAA officials. The audit queries include delayed completion of the upgrade and expansion of Entebbe Airport and that there was no open bidding for contractor for the project. 

Joel Ssenyonyi, who is COSASE chairperson and Nakawa West MP, and the other committee members including Mpindi, Alex Ruhunda of Fort Portal Central Division  also questioned UCAA officials about the same matter.

Fred Bamwesigye, the UCAA Director-General noted that rumps were included in work plans. But Twesigye said rumps were not planned for.

Ssenyonyi thereafter told UCAA to address the issue because accessibility to and within the airport must be ensured for all passengers as stipulated by the International Civil Aviation Authority Organization-ICAO. 

//Cue in:"Honourable Acan, can....

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Mpindi says it is important for representatives of PWDs to look out for such gaps in various projects.

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Apart from the absence of ramps, MPs also looked into the audit query that indicated that UCAA abandoned works for a security search park, shelter, and road at the airport after spending shillings 3.7 billion. UCAA contracted IBB International to undertake the project at a cost of shillings 4.7 billion in the 2013/ 2014 financial year. The contractor went on-site in October 2018. However, works stalled in 2019 and the project remains incomplete.

The search park project  road works  start from Protea Hotel to the junction adjacent to UCAA head offices.

Eng. Richard Ssebamala, who is also a civil engineer, says the auditor general should conduct a forensic audit on the upgrade and expansion project of the airport.

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Bamwesigye however defends the cost of the search park project, saying most of the money was spent on building a four-lane road of 600 metres.

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Ssebamala says the UCAA management keeps lying about the overall progress of the upgrade and expansion project. 

"For instance in October 2020, UCAA said the overall progress of the project is 75.11 percent. This week, they have told us that the overall progress is 75 percent. So what has the contractor done in the last one year?"Ssebamala added.

The project was planned to be implemented in two phases. The first one running from 2016 to 2022 and the second ending 2023.

The first phase worth Shillings 1.1 trillion was driven by the rising number of passengers and cargo volumes handled at the airport and the need to improve customer experience, safety, security and compliance with regulations. Before the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Entebbe Airport was handling an average of 70,000 metric tons of cargo every year up from 6,600 tons in 1991

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Passenger numbers also grew from 118,527 in 1991 to 1.9 million in 2019. The first phase of the project covers among others the construction of a new passenger terminal building, cargo center, strengthening of the airport runways and their associated taxiways and rehabilitating three aircraft parking aprons.

Eng. Ayub Sooma, The Director Airports and Aviation Security  at Uganda Civil Aviation Authorit told the committee members that at least 75.2 percent of the project is complete. He said the project executed by China Communication Construction Company (CCCC) is expected to be completed on December 5th, 2022. He says the project was initially expected to be completed by May this year. But due to delayed payment and additional works on cargo building changes, the completion date was extended by over a year.

He added that the construction of the new cargo center has been completed.  It will also  house cooling facilities, auxiliary business outlets and a freight forwarder’s parlour. It is projected that the cargo volumes will increase to 172,000 tons by 2033.

Apron 1 has been resurfaced and additional parking space constructed. The additional parking space has been equipped with floodlights and a fuel hydrant system connected to the new fuel farm constructed 2 kilometers away from the current passenger terminal.

The works on the new passenger terminal building have stalled because it will result in the demolition of the existing import cargo facilities, adjacent to the old passenger terminal. It will have, among others, three aerobridges and a new baggage handling system, bringing the total number of aerobridges at Entebbe airport to five.

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