Uganda Airlines ownership puzzle continues

Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah was forced to defer debate on the Budget Committee report for the approval of a Shs 280 billion supplementary budget request for the revival of Uganda Airlines, after the Minister of Works and Transport Monicah Azuba Ntege tabled documents to prove government ownership of the airline.

Both the majority and minority reports from the committee indicate that government owns only two shares worth Shs 200, drawing questions in regard to who owns the 1,999,998 shares.

The airline was incorporated as Uganda National Airlines Company Limited on January 30, 2018 with an initial capital of Shs 200 million divided in 2 million shares each worth Shs 100.

The Minister of Works and Transport, and the Minister of Finance are the listed shareholders each holding one share despite government investing more than $22.9 million (about Shs 107.7 billion).

“The taxpayers of this country are being used to procure aircrafts for which we have no ownership. We are informed that Uganda Airlines has been patented by individuals. Let us be sincere to ourselves, let us give further scrutiny to this process,” Arua Municipality MP Kassiano Wadri said.

Wadri was backed up by Kassanda North MP Patrick Nsamba Oshabe who implored MPs to streamline the process of the revival of Uganda Airlines.

Kassanda North MP Patrick Nsamba Oshabe

“It is incumbent upon this House that this airline is handled the way it should be, Tanzania has just revived Air Tanzania which is fully owned by the government of Tanzania, same with RwandAir and Ethiopian Airlines. It would be great to hear that Uganda Airlines is owned fully by the government.  Why is that at this point in time we are requiring the ministries of Finance and Works to own the airline, and have individuals as the directors?” Oshabe submitted.

Erute South’s Jonathan Odur wondered why government is investing $29.9 million for an airline company that has a share capital of Shs200 million.

“This Parliament owns the country a duty to stop people who want defraud the taxpayers, we don’t have money to buy six aircrafts and hand them over just like that,” Odur said.

In response, Azuba tabled documents that showed that all the two million shares in the airline are held by the government with each of the Ministries of Works and Finance holding one million shares.

Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah directed that the documents be uploaded on the MPs’ Ipads and also directed the committee to scrutinize them and make necessary changes to its report.