By Spy Uganda
The government of Uganda in partnership with businessman tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia have agreed to build a modern Convention Centre at the Commonwealth Speke Resort Munyonyo to host the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit and the South Summit of the G77 and China.
The Ministry of Finance has finalized the budget and presented a supplementary request of UGX86.4 billion to the Parliament. These funds will be used to co-invest in the project.
MPs on the Budget Committee appreciated the foresight of the project and have indicated the request will be approved.
The Convention Centre is supposed to be fully functional by January next year in time for the NAM Summit. NAM has 120 member states that are not aligned to either the eastern or western power blocs and it was founded during the Asia-Africa meeting in Indonesia in 19555.
Uganda was endorsed as the NAM chair from 2022 to 2025 and as such will host the meeting next year. The government is banking on the summit to improve the country’s international image.
Once completed, the centre will have a 3,500-seat ultra-modern auditorium, a suspended restaurant overlooking Lake Victoria and smaller conference rooms or sideline meetings during the summit.
During an NRM caucus closed door meeting chaired by Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, some MPs asked why government was entering a joint venture and not constructing their own.
However, several MPs reasoned that the government lacks the capacity to build facilities of such magnitude and the timelines at which it constructs its own structures such as Parliament’s Chambers and Finance House cannot meet the timelines for the summits.
It was also noted that the Conventional Centre will be vital in future summits of international magnitude that the government will host.
Sudhir has a track record of meeting construction deadlines at the same time delivering world class facilities. It is not the first time he will deliver a successful Public Private Partnership project as in 2007, he was able to deliver the Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort that hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting (Chogm). The centre has gone on to host several high-profile meetings over the years.