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MPs Want UBC to Merger with New Vision to Reduce on Accumulated Debts

A section of Members of the Budget Committee in Parliament has suggested that Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) is wound up or be merged with the New Vision Printing and Publishing Company.

This followed a report from parliament’s Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) committee indicating that the national broadcaster requires 87.9 billion Shillings to offset arrears accumulated over the last two years.

The ICT committee report for the next financial year’s sector budget estimates was presented to the Budget Committee by Vice Chairperson Nathan Igeme Nabeta. It shows that UBC owes 46.4 billion Shillings to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), 15 billion Shillings to Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), 7 billion Shillings to UMEME, 6 billion to general suppliers and service providers, 5.47 billion shillings in staff gratuity, and 3.8 billion Shillings for Intelsat Satellite Services, among others.

The other obligations include 1.9 billion Shillings in legal compensations, 760 million Shillings for the Communications Commission’s 2 per cent levy, 315.6 million Shillings to National Water and Sewerage Corporation, 77.5 million Shillings for the National Information and Technology Authority (NITA) and 192.4 million for Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).

This debt portfolio prompted queries from MPs on why UBC accumulates arrears despite previously being funded heavily while working on the revamping exercise. West Budama North East MP Fox Odoi Oywelowo described UBC as a bankrupt entity that needs to be wound up.

Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda proposed that UBC be transferred to Vision Group under the proposed government merger of entities. He said that this will help in the better management of the national broadcaster. 

Sheema South MP Prof. Elijah Mushemeza said that UBC was not living up to expectations, and adds that if UBC cannot deliver with the money that it has received from the government over the years, then it needs to end its operations.

In response to queries raised by MPs, Nabeta said that UBC is one of the issues that government needs to look at in terms of mindset change.

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