Defence ministry put to task over delayed Shs106bn UPDF hospital

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Defence ministry put to task over delayed Shs106bn UPDF hospital
An artist's rendering of the project

The Ministry of Defence has been asked to get on with the Shs106 billion UPDF National Referral Hospital in Mbuya, a Kampala suburb, to ensure its speedy completion.

The hospital was expected to be in use by 2022 but even when the project was extended to 2023, the site remains a site with bushes.

In 2021, President Museveni commissioned the army hospital which was expected to start operations a year later. But to-date the hospital only hosts structures with site yet to be completed

An audit by the Auditor General in October revealed that, so far, Shs69bn has been paid to the contractor, China National Aero-Technology, an international engineering corporation, out of the Shs106.2b budgeted for the project.

With this sum, it was expected that the works would be at 90 percent if not completed by June 2023. The project is only at 70% according to the audit.

It added, the works on site had stalled and the contractor was absent.

This drew the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee to a site visit only to find disused equipment they say seems to have been abandoned long ago.

"Can you explain to us why you ran away from the site since October?" AG Muwanga Kivumbi queried.

The Chinese contractor fronted by the State minister for Defence pledged the hospital would be completed by the close of the year 2024, emphasising that they can not afford the UPDF hospital to be equated.

The contractor blamed part of the delays on the Covid-19 pandemic disruptions.

Occupancy is counted at 250 beds initially but the plan was revised to accommodate cancer and heart diseases causing an addition of 75-bed capacity.

This meant an increment of 15 per cent on the actual cost causing an addition required of 7.5bn.

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