The Finance parliamentary committee yesterday visited and assessed the progress of the Lubowa International Specialised hospital project in Wakiso following the ministry of finance’s request for an extra 319 billion shillings in the next financial year budget.
However, it was beyond wonderful as the lawmakers touched the site surface and all they could see was a next abandoned stuck on the foundation level, with merely no activity seeming to be taking place and less than a handful of workers scattered around the premises. The legislators could not believe their eyes as the undertaking bosses asserted that 23.3% of the work had been completed and it was at its final stage.
It should be understood that the Lubowa hospital contract was handed over to Finasi/ Roko led by Italian investor Enrica Pinetti on the 10th of June, 2019, with the target of constructing a 264 super specialised intended for treating deadly chronic diseases which could see them flying out of the country for better medical services to an end. This was to operate on loan facilitation of 1.4 trillion from the government of Uganda and payable back in 7 years. However, 240 billion went missing before the work started. The construction was expected to be completed by June 2021.
The minister of health Hon. Jane Ruth Aceng told parliament on the 28th of April, 2021 2months to the submission month, that the contract had been extended for 15 months on the 10th of February, 2020 by George Otim the company representative who amended it and approved it attributing the extension to Covid – 19 and heavy rains around Lubowa area.
Brian Luswata, the legal officer of the contractor explained that due to the Covid-19 lockdown, workers were trapped abroad and shipments could not move.
With the current demand for the project time extension up to 2years (2024) and a budget supplement of up to 319 billion shillings, members of Parliament got furious and concluded that there had been a lack of value for money this proposed the termination of the contract as the company representative George failed to avail documents demanded by the committee hence prompting a suggestion for a facility lockdown and massive investigations be done.
“So when you tell me it will be me, you should be the one to say this project must be finished and handed over to the government of Uganda by such a day,” said Hon. Matia Kasaijja the finance minister while at Lubowa yesterday. “Mr Contractor work within that time but when you live the contractor to determine then am sorry,” Kasaijja expanded speaking to the finance committee lawmakers.
The committee chairperson, Keefa Kiwanuka ordered the developer to provide the required document by close of business on Friday to help them file a report to the main house.