Kabale is famously referred to as the “Switzerland of Africa” partly due to its skin-biting cold mornings and evenings. Through this fluctuating weather, a group of primary school going children had been accustomed to singing songs for a synchronised rhythm as they rowed small canoes through the dusk and dawn to navigate the waters of Africa’s deepest Crater Lake – Bunyonyi to get to their school located on Bwama Island. All this is about to change.
Uganda Revenue Authority, together with 27 partners, have donated a motorboat and life jackets to safely ferry these pupils to school. The boat, together with 70 life jackets have been handed over by the area Member of Parliament, Hon David Bahati and URA’s Commissioner General John R. Musingiz, to the school management and community leadership to ensure the children’s safety while they navigate the lake and sustenance of the boat on the Lake Bunyonyi waters.
URA’s heed to this cause came after a series of stories ran in 2017 capturing the plight of children. In response, URA sought partnership with several organisations and 27 companies came on board taking part in the first charity football encounter between The Tax body and the Taxpayers dubbed The Tax Derby. The taxman lost that game in a penalty shootout following a stalemate but the children of Bwama won big as they were the recipients of the proceeds from the game.
The thirty-seater boat that has been handed over today cost UGX 115 million, of which the partners contributed UGX 73,652,000 and URA topped up with UGX 41 million.
“I am delighted that we are handing over this albeit after a few delays. The boat was initially estimated to cost UGX 80m. However, market prices shot above our estimates to over UGX 100m which delayed our delivery because URA had to go through a longer process to raise a top up of over UGX 40m,” said CG Musinguzi.
CG applauded the children from Bwama Primary School for enduring the different hardships and persisting to attend school to make something of themselves and their future.
“I urge you dear children not to falter even during hardships because you will one day emerge winners. The hard times are preparing you for the great things ahead. Make the best out of your situation and prepare to become our great leaders tomorrow,” CG encouraged the children.
CG further pledged URA’s support to the school community and urged the leadership to maximise and sustain the small donation as they wait for the plans from government towards the development of the area.
Hon Bahati was overjoyed with URA’s contribution to the area as he also appreciated URA’s growth in revenue performance in the last 30 years.
“I am grateful for the kindness that URA has exhibited in this cause because on top of revenue growth in the last 30 years, they as staff and management, do raise funds to support communities through CSR initiatives like this one. My people and I are grateful for this kindness,” said Hon Bahati.
The MP further pledged UGX 10 million towards the maintenance of the boat and also noted that government is planning to bring two ferries that will connect and ease transport to and from Bwama Island.
“I would like to mention that government has pledged to bring two ferries that will ease transportation. We anticipate that the ferries will be built by January 2022. However, while we wait, let us appreciate this great gift from URA and her partners,” added Hon Bahati.
This initiative is part of the broader Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities prioritised by URA staff as a way of effecting social change in the communities in which they operate.