Construction works at Hoima international airport have resumed, a month after the contractor halted construction works citing a lack of funding from the government.
The contractor for the airport construction works, a joint venture of Israeli-British firms, Shikun & Binui International-SBI/Colas limited halted the construction works at the airport in February following the government’s failure to allocate them more than 126 billion Shillings to complete the remaining works.
During a field visit at the airport In February, State Minister for Works Fred Byamukama said that the government was investigating the contractor for allegedly exaggerating prices for some construction materials meant for the construction of the airport. He said the contractor is suspected to be conniving with some top government officials to swindle money meant for the construction of the airport.
He added that the contractor under unclear circumstances demanded extra 126 billion Shillings from the government to complete works at the airport yet the government had cleared two hundred sixty-four million Euros needed by the contractor for the entire project. Byamukama said that the government was negotiating with the contractor but would consider terminating the contract if negotiations did not yield.
Amos Muriisa, the communications manager at SBC told URN that the funds were needed to complete the control tower and other operations at the airport. However, he told URN on Friday that the contractor and government reached a consensus to resume work and is optimistic that they will meet the set deadline and hand over the airport to the government by June.
The USD 309 million Airport financed by Standard Chartered Bank will have a capacity of accommodating four cargo planes at ago, a fire station, an apron, a control tower, accommodation facilities for the workers and Parallel Runways, a Taxiway, air rescue firefighting house, power substation house, communications and navigation systems, perimeter fence and air-ground illumination system among others.
Construction of the runway, which is 3.5 kilometres long and 45 meters wide is 98 complete, while the cargo terminal building, the limited-capacity passenger terminal building, the air rescue firefighting house, the power substation house and the air-ground lighting system are all between 89 to 90 per cent complete.
The Airport is one of the key support infrastructures for the next course of the fast-paced activities leading to commercial oil production. Currently works at the airport stands at 89 per cent. Construction works at the airport commenced in April 2018 and are expected to be completed in June this year