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MPs query $379M Gov’t support to Lubowa hospital investor

Impression of the proposed ISHU in Lubowa. Ground breaking was done by President Museveni in 2017

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Members of Parliament have questioned the move by Government to guarantee a loan of $379 million to an investor for the construction of an International Specialized Hospital in Lubowa, Wakiso district.

The government approved the construction of the hospital, to be operated as a world-class internationally accredited facility to treat conditions for which Ugandans have been traveling abroad. It will have a 264-bed specialized Healthcare capacity, inclusive of an 80-bed oncology center, a doctors and Nurses school and accommodation, a 9MW power house and the proposed National Ambulance control center.

The government had however sought authorization of parliament to issue Promissory Notes of up to US$379 million for the project designed as a public private partnership following a proposal provided by FINASI International, a major member of the FINASI-RoKo consortium.

A promissory note is a document containing a promise to pay money to a specified person at a specified period. In this case, the Investor will put in his money to establish the hospital and the government will pay back this money later. The implication is that Government will guarantee clients to the hospital.

But MPs asked why the government has to invite an investor, who wants it to guarantee them huge sums of money.

Obongi County MP Kaps Hassan Fungaroo asked Parliament to consult Ugandans on whether they would like such an investment yet Referral Hospitals in the country are struggling. He asked the house to send the request to a parliamentary committee to consult Ugandans.

Workers MP, Dr Sam Lyomoki says Uganda still needs US$ 6.5 million for the completion of Mulago Hospital yet the government is going ahead to guarantee millions of US dollars to a supposed investor.

This forced the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah to refer the matter to the Committee on the National Economy. He gave the committee 20 days to conclude the matter.

Construction of the hospital has delayed since 2014 due to challenges of land ownership and fund guarantees. In the agreement, the government is expected to take over the hospital after 10 years. Uganda spends over US$180m to treat officials abroad for specialized conditions.

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