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Among directs Tayebwa to visit Lubowa ‘Hospital’ after LoP was blocked

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Speaker Anitah Among expresses disappointment with security for reportedly blocking opposition MPs who had gone for an oversight visit to Lubowa Hospital.

Yesterday, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LoP), Joel Ssenyonyi, along with other opposition legislators, were blocked from accessing the construction site of Lubowa Specialised Hospital. 

“Yesterday, LoP led a team to one of the institutions that we have been giving money to, and that is Lubowa Hospital. To my surprise, I was told that the team was denied access to see what was happening where our money had gone. It is very unfortunate because we are doing what we are mandated to do,” she said.

Among said; “I will therefore task the Minister of Health to inquire into the circumstances under which the LOP and his team were blocked and report to this House. In addition, the House requires a progress report on the International Specialised Hospital Lubowa before we embark on the appropriation process.”

She has assigned Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa to lead a team to visit the Lubowa Hospital construction site on Wednesday.

“I am told the team was denied access, and that is very unfortunate. On Wednesday, the Deputy Speaker should go to Lubowa and give us a report.” she said

In March 2019, parliament approved the request by the ministry of finance to issue promissory notes for the construction of Lubowa Hospital to the tune of $379.71 million (about Shs1.44 trillion).

The project was launched in 2019 on a two-year contract; the contractor is supposed to handover the project to the government within 10 years; however, they are not on schedule.

Earlier this year, the Health Committee rejected a supplementary request of Shs2.7 billion by the Ministry of Health to supervise the construction of the Lubowa International Specialised Hospital, tasking the ministry to present the status of the hospital.

The country’s public debt as of June 30, 2023, stood at Shs96 trillion. The domestic debt stock stands at Shs43.6 trillion, while the external debt is Shs52.4 trillion. The public debt has increased by 107% in the last five years.

Minister of Health, Jane Aceng, defended the recent request for additional Shs2.7 billion for supervising works at Lubowa Hospital, saying that the funds will facilitate the movement of the consortium of engineers from the Ministry of Works and Ministry of Health to supervise works after the new contractor takes over the site because the government didn’t allocate any funds for consultancy services.

“For those two years when there were no works, there was no supervision; now work has to commence, and there must be supervision. And recall, there was a lot of building material that was bought and is on the ground; we need to know if it is of good use. Whether the contractor can still use them is all that is required. Leaving the contractor to go on the ground alone would be disastrous to us,” Aceng said.

She said money has never been provided for supervision at Lubowa Hospital, even when they have completed the hostels; those ones were supervised by our engineers at the Ministry of Health. This money (Shs2.7 billion) is being provided because now there is a contractor on the ground, and that contractor is expected to start work. I haven’t been there myself to see if they have started, but the engineers have to report on the ground.

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