By Ivan Mwine
The Prime Minister of Uganda Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabbanja, has come to the rescue of the cash-strapped Church of Uganda by donating Shs50M towards clearing a Shs60Bn loan it owes Equity Bank.
The financial aid was delivered Sunday by premier Nabbanja, who handed over the money to the Archbishop His Grace Dr. Steven Kazimba.
The money is aimed at helping the Church of Uganda make part payment towards the Shs60Bn loan it acquired from Equity Bank to finance the Church House Project.
While handing over the money to Dr. Kazimba, Nabbanja said that she had come up with the money after sacrificing her first salary as Prime Minister.
The Church of Uganda is facing financial hurdles after Equity Bank threatened to auction the multibillion Church House building on Kampala Road because of the unpaid debt that has since risen to Shs60Bn with interest.
Sources say Equity Bank, which extended a Shs41Bn loan ($10m and another Sh5Bn) towards construction of the 16-storeyed building, is demanding about Shs60Bn, although there are other entities that the church owes billions as a result of the same project.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, according to sources, the Church asked Equity Bank for a one-year moratorium as they look for funds.
“But the one-year reprieve was not helpful because it appears the church has failed to clear the loan and the bank continued charging interest, which has pushed the loan higher,” explained the source.
Following the crisis, we have learnt that the church has since launched a fundraising drive to look for money to pay off the debt.
The church, according to sources, is also banking on recovering the money it is owed by the Government as compensation for its land in Entebbe, although this is yet to come.
The money is reportedly over Shs10Bn. Sources within the Anglican Church contends that whereas the Catholic Church received the money for their Entebbe land through the intervention of the late Kampala Archbishop Cyprian Lwanga, the Church of Uganda has not got its full compensation for the land in the same area.
The fundraising has been endorsed by the Church of Uganda Board of Trustees after a board standing committee recommended that it was the only viable option to save Church House.
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