Speaker calls for scrutiny of SGS agreement

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has called for further deliberation on the agreement and negotiations between government and the Socie’te Generale De Surveillance SA (SGS), a company meant to carry out mandatory inspection of vehicles.  
The Speaker’s directive followed a heated debate after the Minister of Works, Gen Katumba Wamala presented a statement on the status of mandatory motor vehicle inspection project.

The Minister of Works and Transport, Gen Katumba Wamala, said from the recommendations of the Attorney General, the Ministry initiated contract re-negotiations  with SGS to review the vehicle inspection fees among other issues.
” We did negotiate and we revised the fees; for example there were disparities in the charges. Motor cycles were mandated to pay inspection fees far more than for inspection of commercial buses,” he said.

Katumba Wamala added that the periodic mandatory motor vehicle inspection was needed to ensure vehicles are road-worthy as a vital component in improving road safety.
” Every year, the country continues to lose many lives in road accidents that can be avoided. The automated vehicle inspection services through SGS will not only improve road safety and reduction of emission from vehicles but will also wipe out corruption tendencies associated with manual vehicle inspection schemes where there is a lot of subjectivity by inspectors,” he added.

The Shadow Minister for Works and Transport and also Busongora Member of Parliament, Hon. William Nzoghu said that apart from the company having substandard equipment, government should be able to take over the exercise other than giving it to a private firm.
“We are asking why government cannot take over the project right away; it has the capacity and the personnel. SGS has been disqualified in other countries, so why are we bringing them on board when they were actually blacklisted?” he said.

Hon. Elijah Okupa, (FDC, Kasilo County) said that having a harmonized report was more crucial at this time.
“We should take the report back to the committee and resolve the issues raised by the House. We need to sit with the ministry otherwise if we proceed this way, it will be very difficult,” Okupa said.

Hon. Maurice Kibalya, (NRM, Bugabula County South) said that they had earlier requested in the minority report that the pre-qualification for these services be re-advertised.  
“We faulted SGS right from the beginning; how SGS got the contract was wrong. Why are we investing in this company yet the SGS that was here had failed in countries like Russia?”  he said adding that, ‘we had requested government to re-advertise, open up more companies so that we get value for money and not the Ministry re-negotiating contract details’

Speaker Kadaga said the debate had not previously concluded with a vote on the committee report.
“I propose the Minister submits the highlights and findings to the committee. Let them harmonize and we see how much was lost and then we move,” she said.

In 2015, Government through the Ministry of Works signed a contract with SGS to undertake mandatory vehicle inspection services. The object of the project was to improve road safety and protect the environment by eliminating defective vehicles.

Adapted From PaliamentofUganda

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