Uganda Airlines: Shs 280 bn passed, MPs now turn to Minister Azuba

Parliament on Friday passed the government’s supplementary budget request, giving a badly registered Uganda National Airlines Company Ltd Shs 280 billion to conclude the purchase of six aircrafts for the revival of Uganda Airlines.

Works and Transport Minister Monica Ntege Azuba offered an apology to the House for the flawed registration process the company to manage the national carrier but her apology was not convincing enough to the MPs that calls for her resignation started.

On the floor, Kasilo MP Elijah Okupa demanded for disciplinary proceedings against Azuba before Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah reinforced the call.

“Let us admit that there have been gross errors, mishandling of documents, people running around as if they don’t think… in fact from the speaker’s chair, you wonder if there is a government and there are people thinking ahead; we wouldn’t be in this situation. It is unfortunate that I am not the president, I would have sacked a few people,” Oulanyah said.

Oulanyah was to later tell the MPs that know what they are supposed to do under the circumstances.

When he finally adjourned the House, a number of MPs were heard in the corridors of Parliament threatening to embark on the process of censoring Azuba.

The State Minister for Planning David Bahati however put the blame on some unnamed government legal officers whom he said mishandled the process, and were to face “serious consquencies.”

Earlier, the Budget Committee chairman, Amos Lugoloobi had told MPs that government preferred to incorporate a new company name, Uganda National Airlines Company Limited so as to avoid any liabilities arising out of the former companies.

“Government has in the past incorporated two companies: Uganda Airlines Limited (1999) and Uganda Airlines Holdings Limited (2000). The former has never been activated, while the latter was wound up and is under liquidation. According to the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), the two former companies were government owned companies and the government had an option to run the airline on any of the two or incorporate another company,” Lugoloobi told Parliament.

The committee report indicates that government had been advised by the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) that the name, Uganda Airlines Ltd is available for use by government.

The committee report was adopted with amendments that require an Act of Parliament that places the airline under Uganda Development Corporation (UDC), with the same company taking over ground handling services at Entebbe International Airport.