Kampala. The Ministry of Finance has engaged National Social Security Fund (NSSF) to build headquarters of government ministries and agencies at J&M Airport Hotel in Bwebajja on Entebbe Road.
The Finance minister, Mr Matia Kasaija, revealed the development during an interview at the ministry headquarters in Kampala last Friday.
Mr Kasaija said the investment is an indirect loan from NSSF to government, adding that it will be repaid using rent money the government ministries, departments and agencies have been paying to landlords.
“We have concluded the biggest hurdle which was the cost of the land and now we have agreed on the price. NSSF is funding the project as an investment; it is like an indirect loan to government.
It will be recovered from the rent that ministries have been paying,” he said.
During a tour by the parliamentary committees on Natural Resources and National Economy in Sonde and Namugongo suburbs last Thursday, the director of engineering services of National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC), Mr Alex Gisagara, showed the MPs the investments NWSC is undertaking to increase water supply in Kampala area.
Mr Gisagara told the committees that most utility companies and Kampala Capital City Authority’s department of Physical Planning and the Ministry of Lands have been holding joint discussions on how to implement construction of offices at Bwebajja.
“They will need well serviced infrastructure like piped water, sewerage services and telephone lines for internet. It is also hoped that the campus will decongest the city by having ministries in one area as it used to be previously when all of them were in Entebbe,” he said.
Asked about the NSSF venture to build the Bwebajja offices, Mr Gilbert Kermundu, the government chief valuer, said they were assigned to find out the market value of the 19.135 hectare-land (47.301 acres) which they calculated at Shs90.4 billion.
The NSSF managing director, Mr Richard Byarugaba, confirmed the Bwebajja deal and said construction will start in 2019.
“Government was looking for a place to move all its ministries to reduce the cost on rent and we saw an opportunity to make money for our members. That is why we decided to invest,” Mr Byarugaba said.
However, Mr Usher Wilson Owere, the chairman general of National Organisations of Trade Unions (Notu), said they were not aware of the investment plan.
“We can see why the minister was fighting to have [Patrick Byabakama Kaberenge] on the NSSF board so that they can have easy access to workers’ savings but we shall not allow that to happen,” Mr Owere said by telephone yesterday.
The hotel is among the controversial properties which were hurriedly put up ahead of the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting which was hosted in Kampala.
Government advanced the owner Joseph Behakanira (now deceased), billions of shillings to complete the hotel to accommodate the CHOGM delegates.
However, the hotel was not completed in time and the guests did not use it.
By Daily Monitor