UGANDA CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY ANSWERS ISSUES RAISED BY MEMBERS OF THE PARLIAMENT’S COMMITTEE ON STATUTORY AUTHORITIES AND STATE ENTERPRISESES –COSASE IN ARUA
The Management of Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCCA) has come out to clarify on a number of issues which have been presented out context by the media following the organization’s interaction with Members of the Public Accounts Committee of the Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) in Arua.
In reference to the cost for the on-going construction of a perimeter fence around Aura Airfield at Uganda shillings 687,928,079 by M/s Lodina Investment Limited, it is important to note that the contract was awarded through a competitive open domestic bidding process in line with the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets (PPDA) Act.
The perimeter fence is a chain-link mounted on concrete poles (with long service life in mind), and will cover a total length of approximately seven (7) kilometers around the airfield, on completion.
The contract price also included relocation of a community access road and demolishing structures from the land recently acquired from the community. Given the magnitude of the task, previous Engineering estimates had projected the cost to be in the range of 750 million shillings, but following the competitive process that the procurement was subjected to, the best evaluated bidder was at 687.9 million shillings only. The cost is very competitive and not exorbitant as may have been insinuated in certain circles.
It is also important for the public to note that the perimeter fence for Arua Airfield is a chain link (not wall fence), just like that of Entebbe International Airport. The chain-link fence is preferred for safety reasons so that in case of an aircraft accident in the course of landing or take-off, the damage to the aircraft is reduced from what the case would be in case of crashing into a wall fence. This is a safety consideration.
The other issue misrepresented in the public domain was the procurement of Airport Terminal lounge seats and baggage trolleys supplied for use at Arua Airport by M/s Eclipse/Edilsoil J.V.C Ltd, an authorized local partner of M/s KUSCH+Co GmbH, an internationally recognized Germany manufacturer of Airport furniture.
The supply was for 60 lounge seats configured into 4-seater and 5-seater configuration plus 40 baggage trolleys at a cost of Uganda Shillings 243,386,680. Contrary to the wrong impression created that each lounge seat and trolley cost Uganda shillings 2,400,000, the total cost of the project covered Travel Luggage Trolleys (40), 4-seater Bench Airport seats (5 units totaling 20 seats), 5-seater Bench Airport Seats (8 units totaling 40 seats), back-to-back connection bars, shipping, delivery and tax incidentals, among others. For the record, and in specific terms, each travel trolley cost 1.7 million Uganda shillings, each of the lounge chairs in the 4-seater configuration cost 1.6 million Uganda shillings and the chairs in the 5-seater configuration each cost 1.4 million shillings.
The procurement of the items went through an Open competitive bidding process and M/s Eclipse/Edilsoil J.V.C. Ltd emerged as the best evaluated bidder for delivery of the quality products that are expected to stand the test of time, with a life-span of over 20 years backed with a 10-year warranty. In case any of the items breaks before the warranty date elapses, the manufacturer is supposed to replace it. Many airports procure such durable and high-quality furniture to be used for more than 15 years.
It is not prudent to buy seats that would require replacement in a few months. The decision to procure this type is informed by high quality, durability and the need for standardization in order to have similar seats to those used by other international airports. The market survey had an estimate of Euros 48,425 (about Uganda Shillings 208,227,500), exclusive of taxes.
Even some local companies competed in the bid, but did not meet the high product standard specifications, which are commensurate with similar products used at other airports in the world. In relation to the trolleys, for instance, they have an automated and effective breaking mechanism with self-adjustment, which enables a loaded trolley to stop as soon as the handler releases the handle, even when on a slope, among other advanced features. Such a trolley certainly does not cost the same as a basic one on the local market, let alone the materials from which it is made.
It is now becoming common to find inaccurate and distorted claims about airport projects being posted on social media, which is unfortunate. The Authority appeals to all stakeholder to verify facts before misleading the public.
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