Legislators have urged the government to consider merging Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) and New Vision following reports of non-performance.
MPs made this proposal while scrutinizing the budgetary allocations to UBC for the financial year 2023-2024, arguing that the government should not continue injecting money into an entity that has consistently underperformed.
“UBC is not living up to the expectations of the citizens. I want to believe that if UBC cannot deliver with the money we have already given it, then either wind it up or transfer it to another able agency,” said Hon. Elijah Mushemeza (Indep., Sheema County South).
Mushemeza said that the Shs66 billion that UBC is seeking for digital transformation lacks grounds for its justification.
“People do not see the results; I find it hard to recommend giving money to something that remains abstract. What minds are you going to change with your abstract technology? It needs to be unpacked,” said Mushemeza.
This was during the Budget Committee meeting, in which Hon. Igeme Nathan Nabeta, presented the report of the Committee of Information, Communication, Technology, and National Guidance, on the budgetary projections of the ICT sector for the financial year 2023-2024.
Nabeta reiterated that the government could make a policy shift that would enable UBC to generate its own income through advertisements.
He suggested that all government-owned entities advertise on UBC rather than in private media.
MPs stated that Parliament has allocated money to UBC for years and are disappointed that the entity is uncompetitive in the market while other government-owned media, such as the New Vision, are making financial strides.
“They have emancipated that entity; after all there is duplication. Almost all that UBC does, New Vision does too; New Vision runs programmes countrywide and in local languages. Let UBC go to New Vision which is operating efficiently,” said Hon. Ibrahim Ssemujju (FDC, Kiira Municipality).
The West Budama North East MP, Hon. Fox Odoi-Oywelowo, said the committee report reflected UBC as a bankrupt entity, with arrears of over Shs87 billion, and wondered why it is not yet dissolved.
“Such entities are not resuscitated, they are wound up. I do not know why we should keep dumping money into something with no fruits,” said Odoi-Oywelowo.