YUMBE. Yumbe district council has for the first time, appreciated the works done by the local contractors in the district.

In the past, councilors were known for fighting the local contractors, accusing them of doing shoddy work in the district.

As a result, the members of the council were planning to blacklist local contractors who have been doing substandard works in the district. The district engineering department was also on the spotlight for most of the mess in the works sector.

With the numerous refugee programs, many contractors have been attracted to construction works in the district but complaints emerged after some became non-compliant to the district officials.

The district council after the presentation of the committee recommendation on Friday decided to pass a resolution that 80 per cent of the contract works done by the implementing partners be given to the local contractors for the good performance they have exhibited of late.

Mr Alli Drasi, the committee chairperson for works department said there are many organizations involved in construction works in the settlement and the host community but they are not in touch with the district committee.

"We recently moved in the camps and realized that our local contractors are doing the best and you may think they are international contractors unlike others who are from outside the West Nile region,” Drasi said.

But Mr Toah Sebbi, the councilor representing Yumbe town council said the issue of empowering more local contractors is a good idea but people were also complaining of local contractors for doing shoddy work.

"Our local contractors who have been doing works here at the district were criticized by you (councilors) on allegations of substandard works. Now when it comes to the implementing partners (IPs) in the refugee program, you say our boys (local contractors) are doing better, is this not a contradiction of the highest order? Sebbi asked.

He demanded explanations from the district engineer on the allegations of shoddy works because the council recommended the district engineer to follow up the construction works by the IPs in the settlement.

While responding to the concern on shoddy works, Mr Bernard Ayimani, the Yumbe district Engineer said; "Though the district council assigned me to follow up the works the partners are doing which include supervision and certification, I wish to inform the council that, the implementation of the activity has become a challenge".

"Since that council resolution was passed, no partner with the exception of UNHCR, AIRD, and UNICEF are able to come and facilitate the district Engineer to verify the activities which are being undertaken in the settlement,” Ayimani stressed.

Mr Abib Kato, the deputy speaker told the district engineer not to keep quiet over such matters.

"If you are facing difficulties, report back to either the council, committee or the executive. Such challenges can be managed and we need the names of such non-compliant IPs so that we can deal with them accordingly," the speaker said.

Mr Jaliwiny Silimani Jalwiny, the Yumbe chief administrative officer welcomed the idea of promoting local contractors and said the move will help in building their capacity.

He, however, advised that for a local contractor to compete favorably, the person must have capital, prepare the necessary documents, pay income tax and have everything that is required in place so that at the time of evaluation, it becomes easy for the person to go through.