UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | The government of Uganda and real estate muloodi Sudhir Ruparelia are set to construct a joint venture Convention Centre at Commonwealth Speke Resort Hotel Munyonyo at a cost of USh 147 billion, despite opposition from members of the National Resistance Movement caucus.
There is great urgency around the Convention Centre project, which must be completed and fully functional within 8-9 months in order to host the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in January next year, followed by the South Summit of the G77 and China, and other meetings.
The government’s involvement in the project has been facilitated by the Ministry of Finance, which presented a supplementary request to Parliament of UGX. 86.4 billion to co-invest in the project.
The Finance Minister explained that it was necessary to find a partner like Sudhir for such an urgent project that requires a lot of money, as the government lacks enough money to build its own convention centre.
However, not all members of the government are in support of the partnership. Members of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) caucus rejected the proposed handout of over USh 140 billion to Sudhir to refurbish the Resort. The MPs refused to back the joint project, citing that it wouldn’t benefit the taxpayers. They argued that once completed, the convention center would belong to Sudhir and not the government.
On the other hand, some NRM lawmakers, including Rosemary Nyakikongoro (Sheema District Women legislator), defended the public-private partnership, arguing that the government could not build facilities of such magnitude given the rate at which it constructs its structures such as Parliament’s chambers and Finance House among others.
“The Government is going to host so many meetings and yet we do not have the facilities. We need to partner with a private developer for us to move fast. The government cannot develop such a facility and complete it within time,” said Nyakikongoro.
Despite the disagreement among some members of the government, the Convention Centre project is still set to move forward.
The government has cleared its part of the financial obligation amounting to USh86.4bn through Uganda Development Corporation which owns shares on behalf of the Government, and the architectural designs and bill of quantities for the engineering works are in the process of being prepared.
Once completed, the Convention Centre will comprise a 3500-seat ultra-modern auditorium, a suspended restaurant overlooking Lake Victoria, and additional smaller conference rooms for sideline meetings during the NAM.
About the NAM Summit
Preparations for hosting the upcoming Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit began in 2019 when Uganda was endorsed as the NAM chat from 2023 to 2025.
The NAM summit will be held at the Speak Resort Munyonyo, and the construction of the Convention Centre is an integral part of the preparations for the summit. About 126 heads of state are expected to attend the conference in Kampala.
The Non-Aligned Movement was founded in 1955 during the Asian-Africa meeting in Bandung, Indonesia, and pursues decolonization. It brings together countries that are not aligned with any of the rival eastern and western power blocs.
In the post-independence period, the movement has become a powerful bloc advocating for political and economic rights and canvassing positions of member countries on global affairs. The government aims to bolster its position on the international scene through hosting the two summits.
The Kampala summit was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and was last held in Baku, Azerbaijan, in October 2019.
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