Shs 2.7 billion supplementary budget for Lubowa hospital supervision

Ministry of Health officials were on Thursday afternoon left dissatisfied after Parliament’s Health Committee rejected a supplementary request of Shs 2.7 billion for supervision of the controversial Lubowa International Specialized hospital project.

The Health Ministry recently tabled a 31.8 billion supplementary budget to settle five items including allowances for Covid 19 for six months from October 1st to March 1st 2022, Court settlements for Sino Africa medicines and supervise works at Lubowa hospital. The ministry requested that the supplementary budget be drawn from the US$ 10 million reimbursed by World Bank to Government of Uganda for purchase of Covid-19 vaccines.

However, Members on the Parliament’s Health Committee unanimously dismissed the plea on grounds that it would be illogical to approve funds to supervise a site whose project has never kicked off.

Hon. George Bokha Didi (NRM, Obongi County) said “Ever since we visited the Lubowa Hospital site, to date we have never received any feedback on where we are on this Shs 14 trillion project that raised the hopes of Ugandans.”

Hon. Florence Nebanda (NRM, Butaleja District) said: “The project was launched in 2019 on a two-year contract; the contractor is supposed to handover the project to government within 10 years but they are not on schedule and seem unbothered and we do not see value for money,”

Shs 2.7 billion supplementary budget for Lubowa hospital supervision

However, the Minister for Health, Hon. Jane Ruth Aceng said her Ministry needs to supervise works:

“When we are constructing a hospital, we normally have supervisors as consultants; we can either hire a consultancy firm or get a consortium of engineers. We were told that there was no money for hiring a firm; the money we are requesting for is to facilitate a consortium of contractors,” she said.

Aceng used the same sitting to request the committee to approve a Shs14.7 billion supplementary budget for the ongoing rehabilitation of Mulago National Referral Hospital whose works commenced in 2013.

“Since 2013, we have been on rehabilitation of Mulago Hospital; by the time we finish, it will be old.  Some of the equipment we provided are becoming obsolete,” she said. 

The ministry also requested for Shs3.6 billion for rehabilitation and expansion of Busolwe Hospital, Shs6 billion for repair and maintenance of oxygen plants said to have been overworked during the Covid-19 pandemic and Shs8 billion to clear outstanding allowances for Covid-19 staff.