Six months after construction launch, the land meant to accommodate a Shs33 billion maternity and pediatric complex lies vacant as Hoima regional hospital continues to grapple with facility shortage.

Leaders in Hoima are concerned over the delayed start of the construction of the four-story maternity and pediatric complex.

With the hospital struggling with congestion, the leaders have appealed to the government to make a follow-up with the contractor.

Local media understands the National Enterprise Corporation, the commercial arm of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces, is the firm contracted but efforts to get a comment from the corporation were futile.

A part of the iron sheets surrounding the land highly guarded, not even a trip of sand or bricks are evident at the site six months since the launch happened in October last year.

According to acting hospital administrator Tom Ediamu, they received Shs1.5 billion, which was wired to the account of NEC but they are also surprised that construction is yet to commence.

The Nile Post could not independently prove the veracity of the claims.

“For us we did not even touch the money, it came direct to the account of NEC but we are yet to see any constructions start,” Dr Ediamu said.

“Our hospital has old fashioned structure which are small and yet we receive a lot of patients for as far as Kyankwanzi, Mubende and Kiboga but we have no space, now some are sleeping on the veranda, corridors, we appeal to government to speed up the construction so that we can offer services to the populace.”

During a recent an unscheduled visit to the construction site, Hoima City Woman MP Nyakato Asinansi wondered that all along she was seeing an enclosed place knowing that construction was taking place.

“Imagine normally I visit the hospital when I’m around Hoima, I used to see the place closed and believed work was going on, but it’s a shame that its just sealed off and nothing is happening when as parliament we just passed ten billion to kick-start the construction of the complex,” she said.

“This is unacceptable, I’m going to follow up with the ministry, table it in Parliament as a matter of national importance.

“When money is passed it has to do the work.”

The Hoima City East mayor John Bosco Muhanuzi says sometimes they wonder how government works, that the place where the new complex is going to be constructed had a maternity ward that could accommodate some patients but it was put down before knowing that funds were available to start the construction.

“I want to know why they put down the old maternity ward that used to accommodate our mothers if they were not ready [to start work],” he said.

“Now see six months nothing is taking place, our mothers and children are suffering, you visit the hospital and get touched patients are lying on veranda, hospital corridors, on the floors this is really bad, we want government to be intentional and have the money available construction takes place,” Muhanuzi added

However, Hoima Resident City Commissioner Badru Mugabi says the problem is not the contractor, but rather the ministry that changed the design at the last minutes after NEC had finalised the process.

At first the complex was meant to be a one hundred fifty bed capacity at a cost of Shs15 billion, but the ministry changed it to 250-bed capacity which will now cost Shs33 billion, necessitating new designs.

“We don’t have to fault the contractor, he had planned well, but at the last minute the ministry changed the design from a 150-bed structure to a 250-bed capacity structure,” Mugabi said.

“That no doubt called for a change in design and that can take time, but also whereas the earlier plan was Shs1.5 billion for the 15-bed structure, now it’s Shs33 billion which has to be found, but we were informed it will be released in installments for three to four years.

Whereas Mugabi says the new design is far more complete to have the construction start, Nyakato says a lot of answers are needed from the ministry especially with why they plan and then make changes at the last minute when actually it has a financial implication to the country that is already struggling financially.

“Alright, the RCC says NEC is almost ready with the new design, what have they used it’s tax payers money, an increase in budget all that is money,” Nyakato said.

“Why does the ministry do poor planning, we need to hold them accountable, I will not stop here I must rise the matter in Parliament so that we avoid a similar occurrence here or elsewhere in the country.”

SOURCE: Nile Post

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