MPs right to reject quick loan approval

Sunday February 17 2019

 FDC spokesperson Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda

FDC spokesperson Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda. PHOTO BY MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI  

By HGK Nyakoojo

For once, I agree with parliamentarians (Ssemujju Nganda, Muhammad Nsereko and Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi, and others) who expressed disquiet about minister David Bahati’s demand for “expeditious” approval of guarantees for loans to finance a private company. Mr Bahati is seeking to $380m guarantees for a hospital belonging to a foreign investor. We are so hooked on to that we will do anything for a foreign investor, however ridiculous, unethical and anti-citizens. He argues that the hospital will save $73m spent on treatment abroad.
The first question is, why should government guarantee loans for a foreign-owned company for an investment that is purely private and commercial? If the hospital was to offer free medical services to ordinary Ugandans, I would understand government bending over backwards to oblige the investor. That (free treatment) will not happen and so I agree with the MPs who insist on due parliamentary process before making the country enter into a trap it will most likely never get out. Secondly, will this hospital save $73m? Not likely and this is why.
The bulk of that $73m is spent on our “big men”, not your ordinary citizen. We also know that the big men love to travel abroad at our expense, sick or not sick. Therefore, a new hospital or not, they will still want to go to South Africa, India or England for treatment.
HGK Nyakoojo,
Buziga, Kampala.