ENTEBBE: The army should undertake its own construction projects to avoid high contractor costs and grow its skilled force, President Museveni has said.
The President made the remarks on November 7 as he commissioned the new Special Forces Command headquarters in Entebbe named “Gen. Y. K. Museveni House”.
The three-storey facility, built by the SFC construction unit, cost Shs3.48b as contrasted with Shs9b quoted by an external contractor.
President Museveni also commissioned newly built dormitories for soldiers, renovated houses for non-commissioned officers, gun shades and a 30,000-litre fuel pump.
These cost Shs1.1b and all the work was executed in 23 months.
Gen. Museveni commended the SFC construction unit for working in a disciplined manner and reducing the costs of the project.
“With the private contractors, you could have spent three more times instead of Shs3.48 billion that have been used,” he said.
He said contractors take up construction projects without having cash in hand.
“They borrow money from commercial banks at a high interest rate, pay VAT at 18%, they lack the means of transport for materials,” he said, adding that these hike costs to above 70% of the normal bill.
“That is why I kept asking why you can’t take up construction of your buildings by yourselves?” he said, imploring soldiers to undertake similar projects for other installations in military premises like schools.
Encouraging more involvement of the UPDF construction unit, the President noted that it was incorrect for military buildings to be built by private contractors since it raised issues of breach of privacy.
He asked the SFC construction unit, comprising 1,000 soldiers, to polish their skills and gain experience which could see morph into an international construction company.
The Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs, Adolf Mwesige, said the construction work followed counsel of the President to ensure quality work is done in minimal time with no controversy associated with government projects.
“The private contractors could not have done such work in two years,” he said.
The Deputy Chief of Defence Forces, Lt. Gen. Wilson Mbadi, said the facility would provide a good working environment for soldiers and help the troops to remain together as an organic force to deliver services effectively.
The Commander SFC, Maj. Gen. James Birungi, thanked the President for his guidance and support to both UPDF and SFC for the accomplished tasks and future undertakings.
“Infrastructure development for any society is a sign of good leadership in readiness and training,” he said.
Maj. Gen. Birungi further pledged that the construction unit will continue to execute its work diligently.
“Kazi tuta fanya sisi wenyewe (we shall undertake the work ourselves),” he said.