Lubowa hospital project has no contractor on site

TheExecutive Director of Kawempe Hospital, Dr Nehemiah Katusiime, and Health minister Jane Ruth Aceng interact while appearing before the Health Committee at Parliament on April 19, 2022. PHOTO/DAVID LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the Health minister admitted the project had stalled for several reasons. She said discussions have been held with the developer, Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka, President Museveni and the office of the Leader of Government Business in Parliament, headed by Ms Robinah Nabbanja, who also serves as the Prime Minister.

Parliament. International Specialised Hospital of Uganda (ISHU) does not have a contractor on its 32-hectare piece of land at Lubowa.
Contractors either provide materials or labour to do a job. 
The revelation was made yesterday by Mr George Otim, a Commissioner for Infrastructure at the Health ministry while interfacing with members of Parliament’s Health Committee, who were receiving responses on the Ministerial Policy Statement for the Financial Year 2022/2023.
“As I speak, the developer does not have a contractor on the ground, they are in the process of getting another one,” Mr Otim said.

“Mr chair (person), you are aware that initially, they were supposed to work with Roko [Construction Ltd] but that did not. They engaged another contractor who was disengaged and has [since] left. So, the developer right now is looking for a new contractor to implement the work,” Mr Otim said.
Works at the hospital have hit a setback in the previous years because of contractor woes. In May 2019, Roko Construction Company petitioned court seeking to stop Finasi/Roko Construction SPV Ltd and Finasi International FZC from interfering with their work and to be in possession of the site for the proposed hospital.
Other challenges Mr Otim said the previous contractor faced included poor weather, the Covid-19 pandemic and financial cash flow problems.

Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the Health minister admitted the project had stalled for several reasons. She said discussions have been held with the developer, Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka, President Museveni and the office of the Leader of Government Business in Parliament, headed by Ms Robinah Nabbanja, who also serves as the Prime Minister.
“During our discussions, several amendments were made so as to ensure that the project goes on course. The developer has sought the money and a new contractor to continue work,” Dr Aceng said.
“Some of the government documents were amended, including a period of extension of work. A committee was put in place to follow up the construction work and a group of engineers to supervise the work,” she added.
Mr Otim said the work is being done internally by “employing a team of workers to do whatever they can do,” while on the main hospital block, there is no work going on.

Key interest
Ms Enrica Pinetti, the investor behind the controversial Lubowa Project,  is the same woman who penned an agreement with the Finance ministry on a coffee deal that has elicited an uproar in the country since last week.
Ms Sharon Balmoyi, the Woman MP representing Gulu District, said it was disappointing to have Ms Pinetti jump into the coffee deal before completing the Lubowa project.
Dr Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary at the Health ministry, assured legislators that they had previously held a ministerial meeting where it was agreed to strengthen the supervision of the committee (conducting the Lubowa hospital work). 

Funding
    Parliament approved a request from the Finance ministry to issue promissory notes worth $378 million (about Shs1.3 trillion) for the project in February 2019. 
      Then, there was the Shs348 billion that the Accountant General said the developer had earlier been given for the Financial Year 2021/2022.


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