Health Minister Aceng Defends Request for Shs2.7 Bn over Lubowa Hospital Supervision

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Minister of Health Dr. Jane Aceng, defended the recent request for an additional Shs2.7 billion for supervising works at Lubowa Hospital.

Minister Aceng explained that the funds will facilitate the movement of the consortium of engineers from the Ministry of Works and Ministry of Health to supervise works after the new contractor takes over the site, as the government did not allocate any funds for consultancy services.

During a meeting with the parliamentary committee on Thursday, January 11, 2024, George Bokha the MP for Obongi County, questioned why the Ministry of Health had recently requested Shs2.7 billion for supervision work at Lubowa, despite the fact that work had been stalled for two years.

“This Committee was there two years ago, work had stalled, a supplementary budget was requested for supervision of works, you don’t supervise stalled works, and you supervise work in progress. What was the basis and rationale for requesting funds for supervision when the entity knows work stalled,” asked Bokha.

However, Aceng stated that they have never been given money for supervision although the hostels were completed and supervised by the engineers from the ministry.

“Money has never been provided for supervision (Lubowa Hospital) even when they have completed the hostels those ones were supervised by our engineers at the Ministry of Health. This money (Shs2.7Bn) is being provided because now, there is a contractor on the ground and that contractor is expected to start work, I haven’t been there myself to see if they have started but the engineers have to report on the ground,” Aceng said.

“For those two years when there was no work, there was no supervision, now work has to commence and there must be supervision. And recall, there was a lot of building material that was bought and is on the ground, we need to know if it is of good use. Whether the contractor can still use them, is all that is required. So leaving the contractor to go on the ground alone would be disastrous to us,” Aceng added

Meanwhile, Dr. Charles Ayume, who doubles as the chairperson of the Health committee and MP of Koboko Municipality has asked the government to halt the construction of Shs1.44 Tn Lubowa Specialized Hospital due to the sky-rocketing public debt that has hit Shs97 Tn.

“You are very aware that our economy isn’t very healthy. You saw the Auditor General’s report, our national debt is about Shs97Trn, and I am not sure where we shall get money for some of these projects. But we also thought that can we suppress any new infrastructure projects including Lubowa and we complete what is at stake. Because some of them need Shs2Bn or Shs3Bn”, Dr. Ayume said.

He also appealed to the Ministry of Finance to provide some small amount of money to complete the projects that he considered to be at stake.

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