By Edward Baliddawa
Dear Members, as we continue to come to terms with the devil that has robbed us of our brother and friend, Gideon Badagawa and as we continue to console with the bereavement in the country and in particular the business fraternity and the family.
I would like in just a few words to throw light on how the fallen comrade Gideon was very instrumental in the resuscitation and the re-development of the Crested Crane Hotel, Tourism and Hospitality Training Institute in Jinja, a strategic government investment for economic growth.
As many may recall, for some good years, things had gotten to a real standstill at the Institute in every aspect. Simply put, the Institute had gotten to a situation where closure was becoming the only viable option.
However, when government lobbied the World Bank for a loan to revamp and computerise the Land Registry (I believe that ndugu Hon. Daudi Migereko was a key actor in this effort at the time), the Uganda Services Registration Bureau and the Tourism Sector, Gideon Badagawa came in strongly to urge all those who were working on this loan package to consider in specific terms of funding the institute in Jinja because to him, this was a critical facet in the upgrading of the country’s hospitality capacity and quality.
Indeed, an amount of $12m out of the total loan package of $106m was put for the re-development of the Institute in Jinja. This was included in the loan package under the Tourism Development and Support line of the loan.
After succeeding in getting that done, Gideon embarked on galvanising support for this funding. He reached out to the parent Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiques, Ministry of Finance and other key players.
I remember being in a series of those meetings both in his office at PSFU and at Ministry of Finance offices in particular with Dr. Peter Ngategize, the Head of the Competitiveness and Enterprise Development Unit in the Ministry of Finance.
Even when the loan request went to Parliament for approval, Gideon was very actively participating in the process.
It was a great relief when the loan request was eventually passed.
Throughout his discussions with the World Bank and Ministry of Finance, Gideon emphasized the need for the establishment of an independent implementation framework that would ensure that the money secured isn’t swallowed by any one of the three identified beneficiaries.
A project implementation group called *Competitiveness and Enterprise Development Project* ( CEDP) was set up under the auspices of PSFU and supervised by Gideon Badagawa.
Gideon Badagawa has been keen and personally so involved in ensuring that the commitments that were made in the loan requisition for the three participating agencies
Although, the Institute is not yet fully completed, we can all nevertheless attest to his effort and his passion for the development of Busoga.
At PSFU, Mr. Gideon Badagawa has been the perfect Executive Director of an agency to whom many in management positions have been looking to.
He understood and practiced good Corporate Governance while ensuring that whatever he put his mind to do was accomplished in dignity. He was an amiable person, friendly, easy to get along with and passionate about the need for social economic transformation of Uganda through empowerment of both the informal and formal private sector.
We shall for sure miss his wisdom, candour and humility.
Fare thee brother Gideon! You added your building brick.
May the Almighty grant you a peaceful eternal rest!
The author is former MP for Kigulu North