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Govt Move To Secure Shs1.3 Trillion Loan For Hospital Investor Irks MPs

The proposal by Government to issue promissory note to an Italian investor to a tune of USD379.71m (about Shs1.39 trillion) for the construction of an international specialized hospital in Lubowa along Entebbe road has irked a section of MPs.

A promissory note is a financial instrument that contains a written promise by one party (the note’s issuer or maker) to pay another party (the note’s payee) a definite sum of money, either on demand or at a specified future date. A promissory note typically contains all the terms pertaining to the indebtedness, such as the principal amount, interest rate, maturity date, date and place of issuance, and issuer’s signature.

The hospital will be constructed by Roko Construction Company.

While introducing the proposal before Parliament, David Bahati, State Minister for Planning said the decision by Government was premised on the fact that non communicable diseases are on the rise, with government having spent USD70m  (about Shs256.9bn) in 2014 alone due to the absence of specialised hospital in the country.

Information from the Ministry of Health indicates that the major medical conditions for which treatment abroad was sought are cancer, kidney transplants, heart and brain surgery and other conditions requiring treatment not available in Uganda.

According to the Treasury, after every milestone in the construction, Ministry Health engineers will satisfy works and government will issue promissory notes for the facility meant to sit 32 hectares of land in Lubowa. Government donated the land to the investor.

The Committee on National Economy is currently scrutunising the proposal.

The proposal indicates that the facility will be divided in four zones including clinical, education, recreation and housing zones and will have 54 Oncology beds, 27 infectious disease beds, 27 medical beds, 16VIP beds, eight ICU beds, as well as 60 outpatient beds.

The specialized hospital will also come with 54 surgery beds, 27 pediatrics beds, 27OBGYN beds, 16 intensive Care, 8 neo-natal ICU beds and 11 operating theaters.

Questions on the price of the hospital were raised by Thomas Tayebwa (Rubanda North) who gave an example of Makerere University that has been working on a plan to build the same facility with a South African firm agreeing to have the facility established at USD350,000 per bed.

Tayebwa explained: “Makerere University has been working on specialised teaching hospital when we did the different entities we approached in Netherlands, South Africa, they said the ebst way you can judge the hospital is on the bed capacity. They put a cost a bed capacity USD350,000 and they said they will give us the best equipment. When I look at phase 1 and I look at the cost, it will mean that this hospital a bed will be costing USD940,000 nearly three times the price. Have we reached too far to say that we can’t get fairer deal?”

Busongora County North , William Nzoghu wondered where the Government is getting the spirit of guaranteeing a project by a private investor yet it has failed to complete some of the facilities like Kiruddu hospital

Mukono Municipality MP,  Betty Nambooze tasked Government to reveal what the investor was bringing on board given that the he was getting free land and guaranteed funding from Government.

Arua Municipality lawmaker, Kasiano Wadri called out the Ministry of Health for exaggerating the money spent on referrals abroad after the 30th June 2016 Auditor General Report indicated that from 2014-2016, Government referred 154 patients abroad spent and spent USD 2.837,908.

“In your response, you have quoted USD73 spent in 2014. I am at loss who to believe; the Ministry or Auditor General whose facts are authenticated from records from Ministry of Health?” Wadri wondered.

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