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Fort Portal Mayor Protests Blocking of World Bank Funding

Last year, a private firm, KPMG released a report on the performance of the municipalities. However, during the assessment, it was discovered that Fort Portal lacked a substantive engineer, and was instead using the services of Kabarole District Engineer, Steven Wakatama.
Nyakana road in Fort Portal town was constructed using World Bank money. With the municipality being blocked from funding in the next financial year, roads in a terrible condition may not be constructed.

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The Mayor Fort Portal Municipality, Rev Willy Kintu Muhanga, has protested the move by the World Bank to block funding for infrastructure development.

Since 2014 Fort Portal has been one of the 14 municipalities in the country benefiting from World Bank funding under the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development – USMID program to boost infrastructural development.

Other municipalities include Arua, Gulu, Lira, Soroti, Moroto, Mbale, Tororo and Jinja. Others are Entebbe, Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale, and Hoima. 

Last year, a private firm, KPMG released a report on the performance of the municipalities.

However, during the assessment, it was discovered that Fort Portal lacked a substantive engineer, and was instead using the services of Kabarole District Engineer, Steven Wakatama.

As a result, the municipality was blocked from the second phase of funding for failing to meet the required standards.

The funds worth 5 billion shillings were to enable the municipality construct roads, improve solid waste management and among others.

Muhanga says that they advertised twice for the position of a municipal engineer but attracted no applicants. He also says that USMID required all applicants to have a Master’s Degree in engineering with a five-year work experience and should be registered with the engineers association.    

He also says that they failed to attract applicants because of the low pay of 1.3 million shillings per month.

According to Muhanga, they contacted USMID, who then advised the municipality to employ an acting engineer as they look for a substantive one. 

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The blocking of funds has already stirred anger among some residents.     

Nyakato Rusoke, a resident of Kitumba, East Division, says that the Mayor and his executive should have done all it takes to see that the required staff are in place.

Thomas Kakuru, another resident says that blocking of funding will worsen service delivery in the municipality.     

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However, Muhanga says that he plans to meet ministers from the region and the Fort Portal Municipality Member of Parliament Alex Ruhunda to intervene.

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In the first phase of the USMID program, 54 street lights were installed along major roads and streets in Fort Portal, construction of the lorry park and tarmacking Nyakana Road.