By Andrew Irumba Katusabe
Last week, Kiira Municipality MP, Hon Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda was quoted in a video clip that made rounds on social media, in which he seemed to be blaming city businessman Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia for having government MDAs (Ministries, Departments and Agencies) among his clients in his various real estates around Kampala. Nganda claims that Sudhir gets a lot of money per month from Government MDAs as his tenants. But Hon.Nganda, by omission or commission missed out to also tell the world how much money Dr Sudhir invests in the buildings and maintenance of such magnificent facilities that attract the Government to abandon their own and rent from the private sector!🤣 Nganda also didn’t tell us how much money Sudhir pays back to the same Government through taxes! Could it be that Government enjoys doing business with Sudhir because he doesn’t dodge his tax obligations? In other words, Government is sure it will collect back that money.🤣 Sudhir could be the biggest taxpayer in Uganda. It’s also a fact that there are indigenous Ugandans here who do huge projects with Government but later evade taxes (I can give you statistics if you need them). By the time URA is convinced to rent your building, your balance sheet on your tax obligations must be clean. So why not also highlight that, but only highlight the fact that URA is renting his premises? Let’s also look at how many Ugandans Sudhir employs and the multiplier effect.
Let’s be honest for once at least, every tenant on a building is attracted by good facilities that have 24/7 customer care services including uninterrupted power supply, water supply, garbage collection, guaranteed security, not just parking but security ample parking space, affordability, swift response team on any issue and the general serenity of the neighbourhood. This has nothing to do with the face of the owner of the facility. Dr Sudhir has mastered the art of doing business and understands the power/importance of a satisfied client.
Therefore, instead of Hon.Ssemujju accusing Dr.Sudhir, he should beseech the government which he serves to emulate Dr. Sudhir and start mastering the above skills because this is a competitive economy, where a customer chooses who to serve them better, accusing the service provider for being chosen is an amateurish argument.
Sudhir invested billions of money in those buildings and continues to do so through the over 6000 workers for all kinds of services on the premises to ensure his clients get the best experiences. So instead of accusing him, copy what he’s doing and doing it better, Government offices will shift to their own buildings. This is not POLI-TRICKS, this is purely business based on a give-and-take basis between a client and a service provider. I don’t think they’re on his buildings because they love him so much.
BELOW IS AN FDC PARTY TWEET CONTAINING SSEMUJJU’S VIDEO
EXORBITANT RENT: What is so special about Sudhir Ruparelia?🤷♀️
Hon. Ssemujju Nganda Ibrahim breaks down how the NRM regime pays Sudhir UGX 2.9 billion per month.
Sudhir MUST be aware that all this money will be recovered once the dictator falls. pic.twitter.com/0Bo2d8hTld
— FDC (@FDCOfficial1) June 2, 2023
Why Did Government Privatize Its Own Hotels including Nile Mansion Now Serena Hotel?
One should remember that at one time Government owned Hotel buildings across the country. One of such is the now Serena Hotel Kampala. The reasons, among others, were that it couldn’t maintain them up to standards and compete with the private sector hotels. They opted for PPP (Public Private Partnerships) with those who could manage the task.
One needs to look at this in a broader context. Look at the conditions of all Government buildings across the country that house Government offices, like Courts, District Administration Blocks, RDC offices, Agricultural extension workers’ offices, schools, roads, etc. You will appreciate why in Kampala, where Sudhir has buildings, many of these MDAs opt to rent his facilities rather than Government facilities. In fact, Sudhir should start building structures across the country near every Government office and provide better facilities. Sudhir should invest in road construction as well, like the Entebbe Expressway road toll, to give alternative routes to the same direction as those of the government. I’m imagining how beautiful Sudhir Road toll road would look like, the maintenance routine works would be first class. In developed countries, rich people like Sudhir actually construct roads and collect money from those who would like to use them. They simply provide alternatives to public roads.
Let Hon.Ssemujju explain whether it’s Sudhir who entices Government workers not to go to Mulago Hospital but private hospitals like Aghan Khan in Kenya, Europe, America, and Asia. Is it Sudhir’s problem that they don’t have faith in their own? the answer is no. So accusing Sudhir of understanding the market needs and providing alternatives is equivalent to a man who fails to impregnate his own woman but puts the blame on the size of the bed, the geographical location of their bed, and weather conditions (too cold/ too hot)!
For instance, I have personally been to OPM’s office along Sir Apollo Kagwa Road near the Uganda Media Centre and there’s no water in the toilets or power sometimes. And hygiene is wanting. If you’ve been a visitor there, you will realize that its lift has very dim light (some lights went off years ago now), tiles are loose inside the lift, the lift smells inside, and at the entrance down and in the basement, it’s very dirty and smelly. When you look at it outside, the walls have gone years without being washed. But across it, the Kampala Kingdom on the other side is cleaned thrice every day. So, are you going to accuse Sudhir for attracting OPM offices to his building soon?! I have been to parliament at one time and there’s no TP in the loose. Go to any police facility you will see. Just stand at look at Nsambya, Naguru police barracks, why wouldn’t police officers in that facility opt to rent at Sudhir’s buildings if they had the option? This example can be contextualized in every Government facility and service to understand it better. Therefore, the focus should be on why they like renting private buildings. It doesn’t matter to whom and how much they pay monthly, but rather why they pay.
Finally, it’s actually not only Government that’s attracted to Meera Investments (Sudhir)’s facilities alone. The private sector actually is the biggest consumer of Meera Investments’ facilities, not the Government. The private sector books space on Sudhir’s buildings while still under construction. I have evidence because Mr Kagwa Moses, whom I snatched from NSSF and took him to become Kampala Kingdom’s site manager when it was being constructed then, was the one In-charge of such bookings with such clients and whenever I would visit his office, he would give me these details. Why is this so? Because they’re guaranteed of the issues I talked about above.
On Simbamannyo Building:
It should be remembered that by the time Dr.Sudhir bought Simbamannyo building, the ministry of gender was already a tenant there. The former landlord is late Engineer Kamya. So why is it a concern now when it’s Sudhir but was never a problem before he acquired it from the former landlord?
Construction of Non-aligned Movement Conference At Munyonyo
You see, what Ssemuju is not telling you is that Government jointly owns Speke Resort Munyonyo and, in their evaluation, these partnerships with Dr Sudhir have worked well, compared to other slippery Ugandans, who speak the truth by accident. Most Ugandans change like chameleons in business, Sudhir keeps his word. His word is final. That’s why they want to continue investing with him jointly. Because they are also benefiting from his vast personal business experience acumen. So Government has a percentage to contribute to the construction of the conference as part of their shareholders’ obligations. Sudhir doesn’t want to know where Government is going to get this money from, Government can even decide to sell its kidney (if it has one) in order to play its part. So whether it’s coming through parliament for approval or State House, or heaven, that’s not Sudhir’s business. Each party has a role to play in a joint venture. So don’t say it’s Sudhir who wants the money, no. After all, the convenor of this non-aligned movement is not Sudhir, it’s Government.
Government has a lot of land everywhere, they can even decide to build the conference elsewhere without Sudhir. So they know better why they want Sudhir to be the one to host them. If Hon.Ssemujju has a bigger facility already built, since he is in parliament, he can actually interest the speaker to send committee members for inspection and advise accordingly. So it’s wrong to fault Sudhir for doing his business very well.
Lastly, I would have joined Hon.Ssemujju if he had volunteered the information that Sudhir is evading Government taxes, or he’s not paying his workers or any sort of illegal. But he’s accusing him of being shrewd in the market, what law has he broken?!