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Minister Joy Kabatsi Grilled Over Collapsing Buildings

Members of Parliament have tasked the Ministry of Works and Transport to present a detailed report to the House on the rampant collapse of buildings in the city.

This follows a ministerial statement presented to Parliament on Thursday, 21 May 2020 by the Minister of State for Transport on the action taken by the ministry to enforce adherence to building standards and regulations on the numerous accidents occurring at building sites, compensation of affected persons and steps taken to stem the reoccurrence of such accidents.

The Minister of State for Transport, Hon. Joy Kabatsi, said the Building and Construction Board, which is charged with supervising construction sites, has been greatly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown and has not been able to supervise works.

She added that reprobates have taken advantage of this period to put up buildings that have been collapsing. She said only after the lockdown with the return of the engineers responsible that the ministry can be able to fulfill its duty and curtail such mishaps.

“If there are buildings coming up in a rush during this period, we need to wait for the appropriate time for our engineers to intervene,” she added.

However, the MPs found the minister’s statement unsatisfactory adding that the matter was dire and required expeditious action from the ministry.

The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, remarked: “Is the Ministry of Works closed? If not, then the engineers ought to report back to duty and handle the matter”.

She added that collapsing buildings should constitute an emergency situation that dictates express action from the engineers in charge of supervising of the buildings.

The Butemba County NRM MP, Hon. Pentagon Kamusiime added that the systems within the government must be functional regardless of the prevailing situation.

“We need an assurance from the minister that means are devised within the ministry to manage these unscrupulous actions,” he added.

Hon. Joy Ongom (UPC, District Woman Lira) further said that the minister was seemingly not in charge if she cannot take charge of the matter.

“Buildings, time immemorial have been collapsing and this is not the first time so the lockdown due to the pandemic should not be an excuse. The minister ought to take this seriously,” Ongom added.

Hon. Robert Ssekitoleko, (NRM, Nakifuma County) and Chairperson of the Committee on Physical Infrastructure said that in an interaction with Executive Secretary of the Building and Construction Board, he ascertained that it was poorly funded.

“From its inception, the Board does not have sufficient funding to execute its mandate which involves supervising building construction projects,” he supplemented.

Hon. Ssekitoleko, however, said that a provision for money amounting to Shs 6 billion for the Budget of the Financial Year 2020/2021 was made to operationalise the Board.

The Speaker directed that the minister deploys the concerned engineers to do ground work on the matter and report back to Parliament the following week.

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