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Parliament spends Shs 1bn on hiring tents for 11 months

The two tents at parliament

The two tents at parliament

Parliament has spent over Shs 1 billion to hire two tents being used for plenary sessions due to Covid-19 restrictions.

In March last year, parliament's sittings were shifted from the main chambers to the parking lot to observe the Covid-19 standard operating procedures. The legislature has since then been paying Shs 8.5 million daily to hire the tents.

This figure when summed up over the 11 months that the tents have been hired amounts to over Shs 1.1 billion. Parliament has had to foot a monthly bill of over Shs 102 million as tent rental costs. Parliament broke off for close to two months for elections and holidays.

According to officials from parliament, it was agreed that the parliamentary commission pays bills for only three days when the house sits that is Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.   

Parliament's acting director of communications and public affairs, Helen Nanteza Kawesa, the hiring of the tent was unavoidable because parliament needed to continue sitting but also respecting Covid-19 restrictions.  

Kawesa says parliament plans to buy its tent in the next financial year going by the trend Covid-19 is taking. Kawesa says a 30x40 meter tent will be adequate social distancing during parliament's plenary session.

“As you are aware, we hired the tent because nobody knew if one day Covid-19 would be there or not, but also if it would take longer. So for the future, we are procuring our tent” she said on phone.   

The tent, if purchased will save parliament millions of shillings that go into tent hire for different events like the end of year parties, festivals, and celebrations among others. 

According to bid documents, M/S Karid Investment limited T/a Tents 4 U emerged best-evaluated bidder to supply parliament with a tent of Shs 358 million. 

Other bidders like, M/S Silk Events, were unsuccessful after they failed to provide the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) clearance certificates, bid security, evidence of having made similar supplies, and submitted a transactional tax clearance certificate addressed to Uganda Revenue Authority.   

M/S Gray Point Holdings were unsuccessful over NSSF remittance while M/s Luminous limited failed at the financial stage.

© 2016 Observer Media Ltd