In July 2021, our revolutionary leader, President Yoweri Museveni, directed that all new Government schools and hospital projects should be handled by the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) Engineering Brigade.

As usual, naysayers criticized the move. However, the President had foresight. 

In fact, in his directives, he added, that all Government agencies, ministries and departments undertaking construction projects must use the UPDF Engineering Brigade.

The President’s wise decision was anchored in the fact that over time the UPDF has built the capacity of the Army Construction Brigade. 

This brigade has been very instrumental in implementing many projects ranging from simple to high-level and advanced construction projects. 

By engaging the UPDF Engineering Brigade, the country has saved over time, billions of tax payers’ money, which has in many cases, been subjected to corruption by civil servants.

The UPDF Engineering Brigade is also spends less money, produces high quality work and all projects undertaken by the Army Construction Brigade take a shorter completion time.

Once the Army is crafted into construction works, delays that have over time clogged Government construction projects, are avoid.

The facilities constructed by the UPDF Engineers’ brigade include Lwampanga health center III and Moone primary school in Nakasongola District, among others, which have all been completed on time.

In 2019, when the Army signed an agreement with state owned Kiira Motors Corporation (KMC) to construct a car assembly plant in Jinja District, the project, which was projected to take ages to be completed, is now about to be launched, after just five years.

Another advantage the Army’s Construction Brigade has over the local private companies is that it uses army recruits as a source of cheap labour, which makes the costs of its operations low.

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For instance, if one is to look at the construction of several facilities in the country, including the Namugongo Martyrs Shrine, Mbuya Military Referral Hospital, Kololo Independence Grounds and Housing units in various army barracks throughout the country, it is evident that UPDF’s Engineering Brigade is a force to reckon with when it comes to the construction industry.

The Engineering Brigade also constructed the UPDF Mubende Hospital that provides artificial limbs to soldiers who lose limbs during war as well as the new shs7.9B state of the art facilities at the National Institute of Leadership (NALI) at Kyankwanzi in Kyankwanzi district. 

It should be noted that private construction companies wanted Government to pay sh500b for the construction of NALI facilities.

The same UPDF Engineering Brigade was involved in the clearing of the floating island that had antagonized the generation of power at the Nalubaale dam in Jinja two years, a move, in my opinion, which showed the sophisticated expertise of the Army engineers.

ENTER NAMBOOLE

So, having failed in all attempts to revamp Namboole Stadium, Government felt it proper to hand it over to the UPDF Engineering Brigade.

Within a short time, all the land titles that had been separately acquired by private individuals off Namboole land, were secured.

The renovation exercise, which many had costed at over sh470b, was cut to sh97b, and the progress of the works are tremendous.

In fact, when the Speaker of Parliament, Annet Anita Among, visited the place, this week on Monday, she was taken aback by the expertise that the UPDF Engineering Brigade has employed to renovate the stadium, which has been selected to host the African Cup of Nations competition in 2027.

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“I would like to thank the Engineering Brigade of the UPDF for their exceptional work so far. I am extremely impressed by the UPDF Engineering Brigade for what you have done at Namboole Stadium,” the Speaker of Parliament, Among, said.

It should also be noted that UPDF is not the only army in the world that is engaged in construction works.

In Tanzania, the Army is involved in big Government projects such as the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway that is being undertaken by the Chinese.  The Army unit has at least 57 professional civil engineers and mechanics participating in the project. 

In Egypt, which the Ugandan engineers want to emulate, the Army construction unit handles most of the government projects and is exempt from taxes like Import tax, sales tax (VAT) and corporation tax.

The Egyptian military owns 51 percent of this company, while the remaining 49 percent is vested in the state-owned New Urban Communities Authority. The Army was also contracted to undertake the Suez Canal expansion project.

So, it is better for all countrymen and women to support UPDF’s Engineering Brigade.

The writer is the Deputy RDC Manafwa a member of the rotary club of Kasangati

The post KAGENYI LUKKA: UPDF has done a tremendous work in the construction industry appeared first on Watchdog Uganda.

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