Kampala, (UG): The Ministry of Education and Sports has commenced construction of its own headquarters. This initiative is anticipated to result in annual savings of 4.5 billion shillings, which they have been spending on rent.
Currently, the ministry rents office spaces for its technical staff, and departments in various private buildings, including Legacy Towers in Nakasero for higher education and basic education officers, Rwenzori Courts for various projects, and Statistic House, which houses the Sports department, among others.
Janet Kataha Museveni, the Minister of Education and Sports while commissioning the project noted that having their own headquarters has been one of the priorities for the ministry over the years and now seems that their dream is in view.
The First Lady added that aside from the cost savings, the decentralization of offices across the city has posed challenges in terms of coordination within the ministry. She expressed optimism that this situation will soon be resolved.
The minister made the remarks on Thursday during the groundbreaking ceremony at the construction site situated in Kyambogo, adjacent to Kyambogo Primary School.
The new building aligns with the government’s initiative to curtail rental expenses. Existing data indicates that the government allocates over 100 billion Shillings annually to cover rent costs. This has garnered criticism from various quarters, including opposition leaders and NGOs, who argue that the amount spent on accommodations could adequately fund the construction of modest ministry headquarters for those without shelter every year.
In 2021, the Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija, outlined a plan to consolidate government ministries and agencies currently leasing private properties into the Bwebajja Airport Hotel complex on Entebbe Road. The primary aim of this strategy is to reduce the financial burden associated with renting.
Ketty Lamaro, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, noted that the construction project is estimated to cost 61.9 billion Shillings, with 68 percent of the financing coming from a loan obtained from the Islamic Development Bank, while the government will contribute the remaining 32 percent.
Lamaro further mentioned that the contract for the construction of the headquarters has been granted to a collaboration between Sadeem Al Kuwait General Trading and Contracting Company and Dott Service Limited. She emphasized that the ministry will oversee the timely completion of the project and ensure that the government fulfills its financial commitments on time.
The planned headquarters complex will consist of two towers, one with eight floors and the other with ten floors. Additionally, the complex will include a 600-seat auditorium and two parking decks. Upon completion, the headquarters will be capable of accommodating more than 700 staff and is expected to be ready within 18 months from the commissioning date.
The Ministry of Education is now a part of the growing educational cluster in Kyambogo, which is evolving into an educational hub. This cluster includes several educational institutions such as Kyambogo University, Uganda Business and Technical Examination Board (UBTEB), the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), Uganda National Examination Board (Uneb), The Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), and the Education Service Commission, and others.
The idea of establishing ministry headquarters in Kyambogo was initially conceived in 2010. While the Ministry and the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) were allocated land for this purpose, the Ministry did not proceed with its project but NCHE constructed its own headquarters.
In 2015, as part of the BTEVT support program, the government engaged the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to fund the project, naming it the “Skills Development Headquarters Building.” Initially, the project faced delays as contract-related issues were ironed out between the government and the bank. However, in 2020, both parties reached an agreement, and the project was approved.
The Islamic Development Bank has emerged as a prominent source of funding for our educational projects. Currently, they are backing our efforts to enhance training infrastructure and supply equipment at six National Colleges. These institutions encompass Unyama National Teachers’ College in Gulu, in addition to the five Uganda Technical Colleges situated in Elgon, Lira, Bushenyi, Kichwamba, and Kyema.
Within the same initiative, the bank is also aiding the expansion and provision of resources to nine Technical Institutes distributed across the country. These institutes are located in the districts of Kabale, Kakumiro, Sembabule, Masaka, Mayuge, Busia, Moyo, Oyam, and Napak.
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