The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) has thrown the future of Laico Lake Victoria Hotel into limbo after they vowed to demolish part of the hotel premises to give way for the construction of the Entebbe Expressway project.
During the Entebbe Expressway Project affected Persons (PAP) awareness meeting that was held on Wednesday at Entebbe Municipal Council, UNRA’s Entebbe Expressway Land valuer Moses Kintu stated that part of Lake Victoria Hotel premises are in a road reserve and therefore will have to be demolished.
Kintu Moses revealed that according to the survey data UNRA obtained from survey and mapping department, Lake Victoria Hotel encroached on government land.
Lake Victoria Hotel structures to be demolished include 240,000 liters water reservoirs building, building housing the perkins 550 KVA generator, a 200,000 USD modern storage facility building, entire hotel car parking space and a modern air-conditioned garbage room.
Speaking on behalf of Lake Victoria Hotel during the meeting, Sentamu Haruna, the Hotel financial controller categorically stated that once all the listed buildings are demolished, Lake Victoria Hotel will be no more.
“Laico Lake Victoria Hotel isn’t opposed to the Entebbe Expressway project but our major concern is where to relocate once the buildings are demolished. Lake Victoria Hotel was bought from government in 2002 in a very bad shape and nothing was mentioned about the hotel encroaching on the road reserve. We aren’t interested in the compensation money from UNRA; all we want is for Lake Victoria Hotel to be preserved because it has a rich history being the first hotel that was constructed in Uganda in 1948”, a visibly bitter Sentamu Haruna assured the UNRA officials during the meeting.
Sentamu Haruna added;
For instance last month Lake Victoria Hotel paid a total of Shs200m Pay As You Earn (PAYE), Shs166m as Value added Tax, Shs 88m to Umeme and Shs23m as withholding tax which all indicate that Lake Victoria Hotel is contributing to the growth and development of Entebbe Municipality and the Nation. The hotel has a number of contracts with suppliers and guests booking in advance and most importantly the hotel accommodates the largest number of Airline crew, tourists, international business visitors, government visitors and company conferences and once the hotel is demolished, we shall lay off all the employees who total to 179 staff.
After Sentamu Haruna made his candid submission, UNRA officials who compromised of Moses Kintu (UNRA Land Valuer), Phiona Nanozi (UNRA senior Land surveyor), Juliette Oyellah (manager land Valuation UNRA) and Elizabeth Nimusiima (Sociologist Land acquisition UNRA) tasked Lake Victoria Hotel to formally write to UNRA clearly stating their concerns.
Sentamu Haruna and other projected Affected Persons (PAPs) also suggested during the meeting that instead of demolishing Lake Victoria Hotel, let UNRA demolish the Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation (UPPC) buildings which are dilapidated and no longer serve the purpose.
The Entebbe Municipal Council Deputy Town Clerk, Dan Fred Lutaaya defended Lake Victoria Hotel stressing that the hotel is the blood and soul of Municipal Council because of the huge amount of local revenue it pays.
According to UNRA’s Moses Kintu, all structures and buildings located along Kampala, portal and circular roads will have to be demolished to give way for the Entebbe Expressway project and all the land lords have been advised to hand over their land titles and copies of lease agreements as soon as possible to UNRA to avoid any inconveniencies.
Another Entebbe Expressway project affected persons awareness meeting will be held on August 16, 2017 at Entebbe Municipal Council and a six member committee chaired by Dr. Alex Opio is tasked to serve on behalf of all the affected persons in Entebbe Municipality to ensure that the process is transparent.