Legislators have resolved that Uganda National Airlines Company Limited should be established through an Act of Parliament.
The lawmakers also recommended that the ground handling services at Entebbe International Airport should revert to Uganda National Airlines Company Limited.
The legislators also agreed that a substantive Board should be constituted and it should report before a parliamentary committee.
These resolutions were adopted as amendments to the report of the Budget Committee during the debate on the supplementary expenditure schedule No. 2 for financial year 2018/2019, which includes Shs280b to be paid for the first batch of six Bombardier CRJ900 aircrafts to be used by the national carrier.
At a sitting of Parliament chaired by the Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah on Friday, 29 March 2019, Jonathan Odur (UPC, Erute County South) moved that the company should be established through an act of parliament.
“It has been a practice that once government is forming a company, we do it through an Act of Parliament. That means two people cannot sit and allot shares,” said Odur.
Hon Muhammad Nsereko (Ind. Kampala Central) moved that the ground handling services at the airport should revert to the airlines company for it to be profitable.
“The rights to own the ground operations in Entebbe International Airport should be owned by the company,” Nsereko said.
The Chairperson of the Budget Committee, Hon Amos Lugoloobi while presenting the report said that upon the instruction of the committee, the Minister subsequently tabled before the Committee a new special resolution of the company and return of allotment of shares compatible with the requirements of Parliament.
“The company rectifies the allotment of shares filed with the Registrar of companies on the 11 July2018 by filing a new one, and that the shareholders should be named as Minister of Works and Transport (Hon. Monica Azuba Ntege) and Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development- (Hon Matia Kasaija),” said Lugoloobi.
The committee also recommended that the allotment of shares are Ministry of Works and Transport (Monica Ntege Azuba) 1,000,000 ordinary shares and Minister of Finance and Planning (Matia Kasaija) 1,000,000 ordinary shares.
Azuba apologized for the earlier mishap and withdrew the special resolution and return of allotment tabled before the House on 27 March 2019.
“The registration process had gaps and for that, I regret on behalf of myself, Government, the Ministry and the Company,” said Azuba.
On 26 March 2019, MPs were shocked to learn that Uganda owned only two out of two million shares of Uganda National Airlines Company Limited, leaving 19 million shares in the hands of unknown individuals.
But in a twist of events on 27 March 2019, Azuba said that as at 26 March 2019, the company was wholly owned by government. She said her Ministry and that of Finance are the only shareholders.
While some legislators were in agreement with the recommendation from the budget committee to approve the supplementary schedule, others argued that the funds should not be approved before ownership of the company is clarified.
Hon. Elijah Okupa (FDC, Kasilo) said whilst it is right to approve the supplementary budget, disciplinary action should be taken against the Minister of Works.
“The Minister has come to say that she regrets, we should not disown her but should ‘cane’ her so that next time she can be a better minister,” said Okupa.
Hon. Barnabas Tinkasiimire (NRM, Buyaga West) warned against approving of funds for the aircrafts before ownership of the airline is known.
“If we went ahead to approve resources and it emerges that it is not Uganda that owns the airline, what happens,” Tinkasimiire said.
Hon. Theodore Ssekikubo (NRM, Lwemiyaga) said that approving the supplementary budget would be a mistake because it would profit individuals and not the government.
“Before you buy aircrafts, there are certain measures to be put in place. Some basics are needed to operate an airline. Entebbe airport is under ENHAS which is owned by an individual (Sam Kutesa),” said Sekikubo.
The committee in its report also recommended that Parliament closely monitors the operations of the company through presentation of bi-annual reports.