UGANDA, Namanve | Real Muloodi News | Enrica Pinetti, the entrepreneur who came out on top to construct and run the Lubowa International Specialised Hospital, has been given even more public land in Namanve Industrial Park by the Ugandan Government through the Ministry of Finance to construct a coffee processing plant.
The Finance Minister Matia Kasaija confirmed that he had signed a contract on behalf of the Ugandan government to this effect.
“The project implementation agreement with the Board Chairman of Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Limited Ms Enrica Pinetti is to establish a Coffee processing plant at Kampala Industrial and Business Park, Namanve,” Kasaija stated.
According to Kasaija, the coffee facility would have a total capacity of 60,000 tonnes of coffee per year. Nonetheless, it will begin with 27,000 tonnes of processing, and the firm expects to generate 246 employment for staff and skilled labourers.
Kasaijja, who praised the “coffee value addition project,” said it is critical to help coffee farmers obtain better deals.
Hon. Matia Kasaija says: “Middlemen have been taking much of our money. We will earn more money from our sweat.” Construction will commence within one year.”
It is unclear why the government has offered additional public resources to Pinette when she has has not delivered on her promise to implement the Lubowa hospital project within 2 years. The hospital project is yet to commence, 3 years after the agreement was made.
When approached, Finance Ministry spokesperson Apollo Mughinda stated that he was “unaware of the specifics of this situation.”
The Background Story
In March 2019, parliament authorised the Ministry of Finance’s proposal to secure a loan to build a specialised hospital in Lubowa by signing a promissory note of USD379.71 million, or nearly USh1.4 trillion.
The government stated that the 264-bed facility, run as a world-class globally certified hospital, would be built on 32 hectares in Lubowa, Wakiso district. It would be split into four clinical, educational, recreational, and housing zones. The hospital was to be prepared to treat cancer, heart problems, organ transplants, fertility therapy, highly specialised procedures, and bone marrow transplants.
Following a request by Italian investors Finasi Roko Construction SPV Limited, a substantial component of the FINASI-Roko consortium, the government sought parliamentary approval for the project. This company specialises in the development of turnkey health care facilities.
Surprisingly, some claim Pinetti stole cash from the much-needed hospital to establish a private coffee processing facility in Namanve. It is alleged this sparked a feud between Pinetti and the Roko construction business, whose profile she had leveraged to secure public money to build the hospital. Pinette and Roko differed about who would carry out the civil works at the hospital.
Pinetti was able to expel Roko from the site and substitute it with Power Guizhou Engineering Co. Ltd, a Chinese construction business, with the help of Finance Ministry officials. Nonetheless, Roko was the government-approved contractor, while FINASI supplied the equipment.
Roko has refused to lower its construction fee, claiming that doing so would jeopardise the quality of civil works and harm its hard-earned reputation.
Enrica Pinetti vowed to build the hospital in two years and then administer it for six years before handing it over to the government.
Three years later, the Lubowa hospital building site is covered in dust, with civil activities at the facility stalled for the previous two years.
In May 2021, the construction manager stated that civil works had been halted due to COVID-19, high rains, and financial flow concerns, forcing Health Minister Ruth Aceng to extend the deadline by 15 months.
Aceng informed the parliamentary health committee that the project owner Eng was scheduled to appear on February 10, 2020. George Otim amended the construction schedule and authorised a three-month extension due to poor weather conditions in the Lubowa region caused by heavy rain.
Concerning the three extensions requested owing to the consequences of the COVID-19 lockdown, a 12-month extension was requested.
“The project duration currently signed and approved is 39 months, the lapse duration is 689 days. Last year, the project finish date is September 9 2022,” said Aceng.
READ MORE LIKE THIS: