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Health Minister: Lubowa hospital project on course

FILE PHOTO: Lubowa hospital

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The proposed International Specialized Hospital Uganda is on course contrary to allegations of missing funds, the Health Minister, Jane Ruth Aceng has revealed.   In March, parliament approved a guarantee of USD 379 million (1.4 trillion Shillings) for the construction of the specialized Hospital in Lubowa in Wakiso district.

The project is a brainchild of Enrica Pinetti, an Italian investor of Finasi Roko Construction SPV Limited, which specializes in the construction of turnkey health care facilities.

Uganda agreed to finance the firm to construct and run the specialized facility and payback the money within eight years from the commencement of operations.

However, recently parliament called for investigations into reports that more than 140 billion Shillings set aside for the construction of the Hospital had gone missing.

It followed reports by the Soroti Municipality MP, Herbert Ariko indicating that the East and Southern Development Bank released Shillings 327 billion on May 16, 2019 to finance the project.  He however, said that Stanbic Bank where the money was channeled only released 188 billion Shillings.

On Tuesday, Health Minister, Jane Ruth Aceng, said the Lubowa hospital project was on course, adding that there is no need to worry about the claims of missing funds.   According to Aceng, if any money is to get lost at this point, it will not be government funds since it is only issuing promissory notes as a guarantee to secure the money.

Aceng says as far as they know, Finasi-Roko is still in the process of securing money to start the project.  She says claims of missing funds are misguided and an effort to frustrate the project.

Asked the exact time when the project will start, Aceng said there is a timeline for the construction and the modalities of monitoring and evaluation.

The minister also said they cannot terminate the contract of Francis Wakabi, the Ministry of Health owners Engineer whose contract ends in July, saying they could be dragged to court.

According to Aceng, they are ready to employ a new group of engineers once  Wakabi’s contract expires.

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



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