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Equal Opportunities Commission to Spend UGX 200m on Rent Every Month

Currently housed in Plot 7 Luthuli Close, Bugolobi, on the outskirts of Kampala, the commission employs 49 members of staff, in five departments; Finance, Administration, Legal Services and Investigations, Education, Training, Information and Communication, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation.
Kingdom Kampala that will house Equal Opportunities Commission
The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) will spend up to 208 million Shillings every month to rent offices at the newly constructed Kingdom Kampala Building, along Nile Avenue.

The Commission is a statutory body mandated to eliminate discrimination and inequalities in Uganda. It is also tasked, as part of its mandate, to monitor, evaluate and ensure that policies, laws, plans, programs, activities, practices, traditions, cultures and customs among various entities, do not enhance imbalances.

Currently housed in Plot 7 Luthuli Close, Bugolobi, on the outskirts of Kampala, the commission employs 49 members of staff, in five departments; Finance, Administration, Legal Services and Investigations, Education, Training, Information and Communication, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation. 

However, it will now be moving into the luxurious Kingdom Kampala building, which emerged the best bidder to provide service of office space at a cost of 208,313,070 per month. Kingdom Kampala is owned by city mogul Sudhir Ruparelia. 

The other bidder, Amin Virani of Arrow Centre was disqualified after failing to present a copy of the tax clearance and bidder’s social security clearance, for the year 2019.  

URN has learnt that the commission will take one of the 10 floors at the building which will also host other sections like hotels, conference facilities and events space of up to 16,500 square meters. The Building also houses corporate office space of about 40,000 square meters and a shopping centre and entertainment facilities worth 30,000 square meters plus residential apartments.   

A square meter at the facility is rented at a cost of USD 18 (66,000 Shillings). Tenants are also charged an additional service fee and Value Added Tax. For payment of 200 million Shillings, an Organisation only gets a space covering 304 square meters without the additional fees.   

However, Obongi County MP Kaps Hassan Fungaroo says that the move is totally unfair to the economy and people of Uganda. He says that the proposal implies that in just two years, the Equal Opportunities Commission will spend up to four billion Shillings on rent, and advises the commission to acquire a loan and construct its own building. 

"It is very unfair, for an entity of Equal Opportunities to spend so unfairly and yet several people are suffering and disadvantaged, it means they are depriving other people of services," Fungaroo told URN on phone.

The government spends up to 90 billion Shillings annually on rent of space for its agencies, ministries and departments., according to a statement to parliament submitted by Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda. 

Until recently, Uganda Revenue Authority spent up to 250 million Shillings on rent every month, for its four offices in Kampala namely; Old Kampala, Nakawa, Bwaise, and Crested towers offices before they were all housed at the new URA Tower in Nakawa.  

The Uganda Retirements Benefits Authority-URBRA, with an approved position of 54 workers rents its offices at plot 1 Clement Hill Road (four floors) at 240 million annually.

 

Other government ministries and departments currently spending big on rent include ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development housed in Simbamanyo House, the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs housed along Parliament Avenue in Baumann House, owned by businessman Sudhir Ruparelia, and the Ministry of Local Government which rents space at Workers House, and others. 

The Judiciary also rents Twed Towers housing the High Court Land Division, High Court Civil Division, the Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court.

However, the government recently announced that it was in advanced discussions with the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) to build a government campus, as a home for all its ministries. 

Keith Muhakanizi, the Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury told URN that the government set a limit within which an entity can spend on rent. However, he could not divulge details. Our attempts to speak to Sylvia Muwebwa Ntambi, the Equal Opportunities Commission Chairperson are still futile.      

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