By Paul Kiwuuwa
IN a case of more is not enough, Ministry of Works has asked for another sh700m through the Parliamentary Commission in order to complete renovation works on Development House, to relocate MPs offices from Baumann House.
According to Legal and Parliament affairs committee chairman Stephen Tashobya, Parliament pays sh3.6bn annual rent for Baumann House.
“We have decided to end our tenancy agreements for renting Baumann House come March next year to save money and move to the rent-free Development House.” Tashobya said.
Presenting the progress report on the renovations of Development House on Tuesday at Parliament, the state minister for transport Dr. Stephen Chebrot revealed the shortfall.
“Due to unforeseeable circumstances we have a shortfall of sh700m for the renovation of Development House from the original budget of sh2.1bn.
“Work may stall at Development House if Parliament fails to avail the funds.” Chebrot said.
The ministry of works and transport is responsible for supervising and overseeing renovation and repairs of government property such as Development House, according to Tashobya.
Parliament has a total of 386 MPs and over 100 of them lack office space. Some of the MPs occupy Parliament building while others occupy Baumann House rented by Parliament.
MPs during Tuesday’s session. There are 386 MPs and over 100 of them lack office space. Photo by Maria Wamala
The ministry of works assistant commissioner Edward Ssimbwa explained that the sh700m will be used to renovate the leaking roof, electrical works, extra civil works, and external works on the parking yard, replacing the old fence, and gates.
Ssimbwa added that the money will be used to renovate elevators, install CCTV cameras for security, firefighting equipment and plumbing works.
The clerk to Parliament Jane Kibirige said Parliament Commission had budgeted sh12bn for construction and roofing of an additional 6th floor on the parliament building and renovation of Development House this financial year 2014/2015.
“Part of the funds received will also be used for renovation of Development House at a cost of sh2.1bn” Kibirige said
However Ministry of Finance budget director Kenneth Mugambe who represented Minister Maria Kiwanuka was not sure if the ministry will be able to finance the sh700m.
“I cannot comment on this issue but I don’t know where the funds will be relocated from” Mugambe added.
“We demand to know why the officer never budgeted for such important works, this is incompetence of the highest order” Isingiro South MP Alex Byarugaba said.
Ndorwa county MP Wilfred Nuwagaba proposed to give four days to Chebrot and his team to write up a comprehensive report accounting for what the sh2.1bn and the additional sh700m will do.
Last February, the Ministry of Education and Sports vacated to Legacy Towers on Plot 5, Kyadondo Road, in upscale city suburb Nakasero in Kampala to pave way for MPs’ office accommodation.
The ministry will be renting there until government provides a permanent home.