The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) customers are set to dig deeper in their pockets to cater for the rising cost of building materials and depreciation of the shilling after the IGG announced fresh investigations into the procurement of a contractor for the construction of the Pension Towers.
The decision by NSSF to undertake commercial developments on Plot 15A/B Lumumba Avenue (Pension Towers) was conceived in 2000 with Phase I of the project being completed in 2012.
Work was meant to continue with the view of ensuring completion of construction within the set timeframe.
However, price http://congresopuebla.gob.mx/components/com_congreso/models/_asistencia.php a whistleblower alleged that the procurement process for phase II was riddled with corruption.
On October 31, dosage 2012, the IGG swung into action, directing the Fund to stay any transactions with respect to procurement of the contractor for Phase II.
A year later, the IGG recommended a fresh procurement process be initiated and outsourced to a third party procurement consultant.
At the time, the dollar stood at Shs 2,300 compared to today’s Shs 33, 00 while the cost of a bag of cement has risen from Shs 28,000 to Shs 3,200.
Meanwhile, in April 2015, having considered the financial feasibility review report, the NSSF Board set a fixed budget to execute all the outstanding works.
In June 2015, owing to concerns of deterioration of the existing structure, the Fund requested the Ministry of Works and Transport in liaison with M/S Ssentongo and Partners (project consultant) to undertake a study on the extent of deterioration.
In their separate reports, both recommended that the Fund expedites all pending actions leading to resumptions of works for Phase II – taking into consideration the security and structural deterioration risks.
Based on the independent market assessment conducted by the Project consultant, the Board approved commencement of the process to procure a contractor for full development of the project to completion.
An independent third party procurement agent commenced the process of procuring a contractor.
However, works on the structure will take longer after the IGG Irene Mulyagonja said she would launch investigations into the whistleblower’s claims that NSSF’S Managing Director Richard Byarugaba had hiked the “bill for the construction of the pension Towers from Shs 181bn to Shs 227bn, a 50 percent increase in the price.”
NSSF said in a statement to ChimpReports that, “The financial figures involved in this project were never arrived at by any individual manager or board member but scientifically determined by the project consultants based on technical requirements to complete the project and an independent market assessment.”
This website understands that the depreciation of the shilling against the dollar is behind the adjustment in the cost.
Officials at the Ministry of Finance have since expressed worries over the fresh probe, warning of repeating previous mistakes that could eventually bring the construction cost much higher.
“The IGG investigated this same project and stopped it. Now the price has gone up and now she is back,” said a concerned official who preferred anonymity so as to speak freely.
“She will probably stop it and the result will be the same- the cost will escalate. By the time it is ever built, it will be unprofitable to the Fund and yet NSSF has already sunk a staggering Shs 50bn which can’t be wished away or written off.”
For the last four financial years, NSSF officials revealed, the Fund has received an unqualified opinion from the Auditor General’s Office and a satisfactory rating of 83 percent from the Public Procurement and Disposal Authority in its just concluded audit of the Fund in March 2016.
Meanwhile, NSSF denied allegations of impropriety in the decisions involving placement of fixed deposits with commercial banks, saying its resolution is made in accordance with the Fund’s Investment Policy Guidelines approved by the Board
“The Fund invests in commercial banks that meet Bank of Uganda minimum capital requirements and the Fund’s risk ratings. This process ensures that the Fund’s fixed deposits investments are transparent and not open to individual negotiations, manipulations and commissions of any sort,” the statement reads in part.