COSASE members at Arua Airfield

The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has clarified on the misrepresentations made on some of the findings by the Parliamentary Committee on Commission Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) when the Committee members visited Arua Airfield in Arua last week.

According to the COSASE chairman, Joel Ssenyonyi, he said that the committee found out that Shs687 million was spent on a wire fence. Also, several baggage trolleys and seats were bought and the seats were interlocked; each single seat before interlocking cost Shs2.4m and each trolley Shs2.4m as well.

CAA said in a statement; “In reference to the cost for the on-going construction of a perimeter fence around Aura Airfield at Shs687,928,079 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.”

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“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.”

According to CAA, 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.

CAA says contrary to the wrong impression created that each lounge seat and trolley cost Shs2,400,000, 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 Shs1.7 million, each of the lounge chairs in the 4-seater configuration cost Shs1.6 million and the chairs in the 5-seater configuration each cost Shs1.4 million.

“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,” the statement read.

CAA further says 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,” the authority said.