Parliament has directed the ministry of health to sit with BMK constructions and negotiate terms to see BMK complete the construction of maternity health units in selected districts across the north and West Nile which stalled after the ministry of health canceled BMK’s contract over the slow progress of works.
The ministry has been given up to 10th January to report back on the way forward.
The chairperson of the parliament’s health committee Dr. Charles Ayume presented a report before parliament on the investigations into a dispute between the ministry of health and the BMK constructions over the untimely construction of maternity health units in selected districts across the north and West Nile areas by BMK. The report indicated that the failure of BMK to complete the construction of 14 maternity wards was due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The committee went on to recommend parliament cause a meeting between the Ministry of Health, Attorney General, and BMK Constructions to see how the contract terms can be renegotiated to allow BMK to complete stalled works.
BMK constructions were awarded Shs 23bn contracts to construct maternity health units in 14 selected districts, but the 16 months of the contract elapsed when the contractor had executed only 60% of the works. This forced the ministry of health to cancel the contract on grounds of slow progress. Now MPs demand the ministry of health to allow BMK to complete works before the Word Bank Program expires in June 2023.
MPs wondered why the ministry rushed to cancel the BMK’s contract with a local firm yet it has been so lenient with international contractors by granting them extensions every time they seek them.
But the minister of state for primary health care Margret Muhanga insisted that BMK did not show the capacity to complete work on time which is why they terminated the contract.
However, the leader of the opposition Mathias Mpuuga accused ministry officials of soliciting a 10% kickback from the contractor which frustrated the progress of works.
The minister of general Duties Justine Kasule Lumumba who represented the leader of government business agreed with parliament and promised to engage the government to support the local firm BMK to finish the constriction works. She expressed the need for the government to support local contractors
Parliament adopted the health committee report and gave the ministry of health up to 10th January to report back to parliament on the progress of the recommendation to sit with the contractor and renegotiate terms.