What you need to know:
- The Finance ministry has asked for additional Shs319 billion for the same project.
Legislators on the Committee of Finance were yesterday dismayed to discover that no construction works are being conducted on Lubowa International Specialised Hospital on the Kampala-Entebbe Road.
The acting commissioner in-charge of infrastructure at the Ministry of Health, Mr George Otim, said the contractor that had earlier been outsourced to handle the project abandoned it citing a number of challenges, including language barrier. The said contractor was, however, not disclosed.
He also revealed that the works at the site were at 23 percent, but only at foundation level.
“The scope of the works involve a six-storied building, but we have only done the foundation. The hostel and the training school are also at foundation. In fact we are done with foundation of all the facilities,” Mr Otim said added.
He was responding to MPs who had accompanied Finance minister Matia Kasaija and his deputies Amos Logoloobi (planning and development) and Henry Musasizi (General Duties) for on-site visit to establish the progress of works.
The visit was occasioned by persistent demand by legislators on Wednesday afternoon, following a submission by the Ministry of Finance that there were construction works at the site.
The ministry was persuading Parliament to okay the inclusion of another Shs319 billion in the 2022/2023 Financial Year Budget for the same project in addition to Shs348 billion.
Mr Otim added that there are two structures being constructed, which include the staff hostel and training school. The construction of the two buildings is being done by locally-outsourced contractors whose details were withheld by government officials.
Even when MPs claim there are no pronounced ongoing works on site, government has persistently asked for Shs319 billion to be advanced to the same investor, reasoning that failure to do so attracts undisclosed dire effects.
The lawmakers on the committee, including Mr Karim Masaba (Mbale Industrial Division) and Mr Gerald Nangoli (Elgon County) have vowed not to approve the money.
Mr Nangoli faults government for outsourcing an investor who has since failed to deliver on the mandate.
“The blame goes to government. Why should we continue releasing more money when there is no work done? It means that this is a brief case company,” Mr Nangoli said.
It is against this backdrop that the lawmakers insisted on their earlier position in the report tabled on Wednesday in which it resolved not to advance Shs319 billion in the Financial Year 2022/2023.
The committee recommends that a value-for-money audit is done by the Auditor General. But before the audit, the committee has requested for documents, including copies of the agreement signed between government and the investor and financing contracts.
The MP for Otuke County, Mr Paul Omara, said: “The intention [examining documents] is to see whether we have the opportunity to see violations in the contract by the investor.”