Government is in advanced discussions with the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) to build a home for ministries, according to Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda.
Dr Rugunda is optimistic that the arrangement will help the government to save up to Shs 90 billion, currently spent annually on office rent for government ministries and agencies.
Rugunda’s disclosure came after Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kuteesa said that the country’s public administration sector faces inadequate office accommodation that hinders their work.
“Annually both abroad and here in the country, we spend billions of shillings on rent, can’t we find a mechanism in future where we can build and use this rent money to pay for ownership?,” Kuteesa questioned.
Kuteesa also hinted on working with NSSF where the government can guarantee the builders the amount currently paid in rent per annum so that eventually, the buildings can be owned by the government.
Speaking during a cabinet retreat on the review of government performance for financial year 2016/2017, Dr Rugunda said that the expense can be meaningfully invested through NSSF and build what he described as a “government campus”.
“It is true that there are advanced discussions now between government and National Social Security Fund about putting up a government campus. Actually we spend over Shs 90 billion on rent per year and there is no doubt that that money could be invested in building a government campus and it is what is going to happen,” Rugunda said.
In its 2012 survey, the research department of parliament indicated that government rents almost 75 percent of its accommodation hence spending huge sums of money on paying private landlords.
It showed that government expenditure on rent had increased from Shs 3 billion in 1999/2000 to Shs 28 billion in 2011/12. This figure now stands at Shs 90 billion according to Premier Rugunda.
Some of the government ministries and departments currently spending big on rent include ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development housed in Simbamanyo House behind Central Police Station on George street, ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs housed along Parliament Avenue in Baumann House owned by businessman Sudhir Ruparelia, Ministry of Local Government which stays in the NSSF building (Workers House) and others.
The Judiciary rents Twed Towers housing the High Court Land Division, High Court Civil Division Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court. Other court buildings are also rented save for the Commercial court.