By Christopher Nyeko

GULU: The construction of the 31 billion shillings Gulu University Business Development Centre has stalled due to the lack of funding.

The University Secretary Mr. David Obol Otori said in 2019, the government embarked on the construction of the Business Development Centre which was supposed to be completed in July 2023.

The multi-billion building which would house over 5,000 students, contains the central teaching facility, canteen and mini auditorium has however been knocked dead end as the construction work has stalled for over eight months due to lack of funding from the University.

Otori told this publication on Monday that the University has paid only 8 billion shillings to the constructor leaving a debt of 23 billion shillings.

The Gulu University Deputy Public Relations Officer Mr. James Ojok Onono said the Institution management committee awarded a contract to Chongqing International Construction Corporation {CICO} under contract number 30/122/043/772 at a tune of 31 billion shilling and the contract was signed on June 19th 2019.

On the 1st July 2019, the University handed the construction site to the contractor which marked the commencement of construction work on 1st August 2019.

On 26th April 2022, CICO however abandoned the site due to lack of funding.

Budget Cut

“Our budgets were slashed by 40% by the ministry of finance hence paralyzed many projects run by the University,” Ojok said.

Letters seen by this publication indicate that Gulu University has written to the ministry of finance twice but the ministries responded that “the country is still recovering from the effect of corona virus”.

In a snapshot, Gulu University management had not been able to implement several key infrastructural projects in the financial year 2022/23 due to a budget shortfall of about four billion shilling by the government.

The university council had an estimated budget of 57.7 billion however approved and passed a budget of 53.7 billion shilling.

However this approved budget was cut by 40% hence leaving several proposed projects either underfunded or unfunded.

Some of the university affected infrastructural projects include procurement of computers for the computer laboratory at a tune of 559 million shillings, extension of local area network at the institutes of peaces and strategic studies at 149 million shilling, renovation of business and development studies lecture room 55 million shillings

Ojok lamentably said for stance fund have been allocated for the construction of teaching hospital budgeted at 7 billion shilling

‘’As the University management we are engaging the ministry of education and finance to consider funding Gulu University as required enabling the University to deliver education services to the citizens of Uganda,’’ he said.

In the same way no funding was allocated for recruitment of academic and administrative staff despite the university staffing level standing at 25%. The recruitment was estimated to cost 6.13 billion shillings.

Students Speak Out

The Gulu University Guild President Mr. Alfred Anyama Berliner said due to the surging population, students are squeezed in small respective lecture rooms citing that it affects their learning.

‘’Due to inadequate lecture rooms, some students are forced to attend lectures in an erected tent, from under trees or even to endure scorching sunshine which is inconducive for learning proposes,’’ he said.

Anyama told this publication that in the dry season, strong winds interfere with lectures while during the rainy season, some students miss lessons, mostly those who study under trees.

“The University lacks enough learning materials and equipment especially in the department of information and communication technology (ICT) where all the computers installed at the computer laboratory are faulty”.

Shanurah Yeko, one of the female students pursuing bachelor’s degree in information and communication technology (ICT) told UGReports in an interview that students are now required to carry their personal computer to attend the practical lesson.

‘’We don’t have a lecture room, this very computer laboratory also serves as our lecture room” she noted.

About Gulu University

Guly University has a population of over 5000 students. The Main Campus is located in Laroo-pece Division Gulu City.

It’s among the eight oldest regional public Universities in Uganda whose major source of funding comes from the central government.

Gulu University motto, “for community transformation” was started in 2002 on 200 Acres land belonging to the then Gulu district farm institutes.

The University was not allocated SEED funding which would have helped to put the infrastructural development.

SEED funding is the huge chunk of money allocated, approved and disbursed from the central government as a startup capital to put infrastructure in a newly proposed government tertiary institution, secondary or public learning institutions such as university.

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