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CSOs ask gov’t to rethink Lubowa hospital project

FILE PHOTO: Proposed Lubowo hospital project

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Civil Society Organisations want government to conduct a cost benefit analysis on terminating or continuing with the agreement for the proposed construction of the International specialized hospital of Uganda.

The Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI) and Uganda Debt Network-UDN, say the proposed facility by FINASI/Roko is a risky venture for Uganda.

Recently, parliament approved a guarantee of US$ 379 million (about Shillings 1.4 trillion) for the construction of the Specialized Hospital in Lubowa in Wakiso district.

The proposed facility with a 264-bed specialized Healthcare capacity will be operated as a world-class internationally accredited facility to treat conditions for, which Ugandans have been travelling abroad.

These include among others cancer, heart diseases, organ transplant, fertility treatment, highly specialized surgeries and bone marrow transplant among others.

However, during a press conference held at SEATINI offices in Bukoto on Tuesday, the CSOs noted that following concerns of value for money, the already existing health challenges and high indebtedness of the country, it is not yet late for Government to save the country from the risky venture.

Kiiza Africa, the Programmes Officer at SEATINI, said a Cost Benefit Analysis will give a way forward on ascertaining the strengths and weaknesses of the project, how and whether Uganda will benefit from it.

Kiiza said the project didn’t follow the proper process of granting contracts through the private public partnership (PPP) act, saying there was also lack of transparency.

Faith Lumonya, the programs officer at SEATINI, said if the project is to continue, a robust monitoring and evaluation framework with adequate baselines and key performance indicators should be established.

She however, asked government to rethink the project before it is too late.

Michael Mugisha from Uganda Debt Network, said the issuance of promissory notes might worsen the already worrying debt level of the country and further lead to fiscal distress, which could result to

Nathan Irumba, the Executive Director SEATINI, said Government will be held responsible in case the investor defaults on the loan or lose the project to a sham investment.

Irumba says Government should avoid entering into agreements that subject it to investor state dispute settlements in courts of international arbitration.

Irumba also called on Government to fund Mulago National Referral Hospital, which is financially constrained. Government is expected to take over the specialized hospital after ten years, according to the agreement.

FINASI-RoKo consortium has reportedly innovated and developed specific know-how in the Healthcare field delivering state of the art facilities and providing solutions and added value services to its clients.

Some of its projects are Sharg Al Nile hospital in Khartoum and Famboni General Hospital in Comoros among others.

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