MPs Concerned by Govt’s Failure to Take up Premier Modi’s offers

ndian Prime Minister, Modi signs the visitor book as the Speaker looks on when he visited Parliament in 2018

Government has failed to take up two offers including the construction of a convention centre made by Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in July last year.

Legislators were Tuesday surprised to learn that government has failed to fulfil its obligations required to receive the two offers, which also include the construction of a cultural centre in Jinja.

Government was meant to provide land for the two centres.
During his visit to Uganda, Premier Modi committed his government’s support to construct a world class convention centre in Entebbe and a cultural centre in Jinja, all named after Mahatma Ghandi, India’s a civil rights non violent independence activist.

“Jinja district local government failed to locate land for the cultural centre at the Source of the Nile, while the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development failed to get land in Entebbe,” said Government Chief Whip, Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa during a House sitting on Tuesday, 17 September 2019.  

Nankabirwa added that upon the advice of the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, government declined an offer of industrial machinery to support agricultural value addition on grounds that financing importation of such machinery will worsen the national debt burden.

Members criticized government on delays to follow up the pledges and said that Uganda risked losing the offers.

Hon Anifa Kawooya (NRM, Ssembabule district) disputed reports on failure to allocate land for the two centres and blamed government’s laxity to fast track offers from the international community.

“In the earlier years, I attended a meeting in India where Uganda was given land to construct the Uganda High Commission but up to now our government has not responded and the offer elapsed,” said Kawooya.

Hon Robert Ntende (Ind., Bunya South) disputed the allegations of failure to provide land by Jinja district local government saying that a section of legislators from the region have assurance from the local government that land is available at the source of the Nile for the Mahatma Gandi cultural centre.  

“[We] interacted with local government of Jinja, [who] say that land is available and government is free to go and verify this,” said Ntende.

Parliament is concerned that any further delays by government to provide facilities required by the donor may lead to withdrawal of the outstanding offers.

This compelled the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga to direct the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development to ascertain land availability in Jinja and Entebbe and report to Parliament on Thursday, 19 September 2019.

“It will be really deplorable for a friend like Modi to give us so much and we don’t use them; let the minister tell us whether land is available,” she said.
Progress has however been made to meet requirements for a cancer machine and vehicles.

Nankabirwa said that 88 vehicles for military and civilian use will be delivered in three months and that a cancer therapy machine has already been delivered.

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