Legislators are opposed to the approval of a Euro 10 million loan from the Government of Italy to finance the Karamoja Infrastructure Development project under the health sector citing irregularities in the unit cost of houses for medical workers.
The Report from the Committee on National Economy raised an alert on the unit cost of shs175 million for a semi-detached two bedroom house to be built under the project with MPs saying it was “an over-inflated figure”.
The loan-funded project seeks to improve universal health coverage in the Karamoja region including new health centres and medical facilities including tools, medical equipment and wards among others.
The components of the project include infrastructure development, equipment and retooling for primary healthcare, consultancy and, project management.
The Government of Italy will give Euro 10 million to the Government of Uganda with a repayment period of 11 years. The loan will address the funding levels and budget constraints in the Health Sector.
The Bududa District Woman MP, Hon. Justine Khainza supported the plan to borrow money to uplift the health sector especially in the Karamoja region, ‘ which has been in the dark yet our goal is for uniform development across the country’.
“However, I have my reservations for the cost of shs175 million to build two bedroom houses for the staff; is there a way we can mitigate this cost because it seems exorbitant,” she added.
Hon. Nathan Nandala Mafabi (FDC, Budadiri West) said that money allocated for the development of Karamoja needs to be appropriately utilized without any wastage because the region is lagging behind in development.
Karamoja, he said, needs to be developed and more money needs to be allocated to it.
“The Committee needs to investigate and interrogate the cost of this housing. This money should be used to build two houses of the same nature on the same cost,” Mafabi said.
Mafabi added that the inflation of costs of units has always been a trick of many government technocrats in order to benefit and that such monies are hard to recover once spent.
The Minister of State for Finance, Hon. David Bahati however, revealed that the unit cost of shs175 million is for four houses.
The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga said government had built structures of similar nature costing less than shs50 million calling for further scrutiny of the cost of the housing units.
Kadaga directed the Clerk to Parliament to confirm the composition of the housing units with the Ministry of Health.
Debate and consideration of the loan was deferred pending this confirmation.