Members of Parliament (MPs) on the Committee of ICT have asked government to legally disengage Signet from UBC.
The MPs recommended that government should create its own company, that is fully owned by government with its own mandate, deliverables, board and secretariat that is different from UBC.
The recommendation was part of the report on Ministerial Policy Statement and Budget Estimates for Financial Year 2022/23 that was presented by the ICT Committee chairperson Moses Magogo on Tuesday.
“We recommend that Signet is legally disengaged from UBC by creating its own company fully owned by government..,” Magogo said in the report.
According to Magogo, the Shs 7.5 billion that has been allocated for UBC should be given to Signet to install the DTH services for the Free-To-Air services in order for television services to reach each and every corner of the country.
The MPs also want the Shs 2.5 billion to be allocated to Signet and not UBC so that they upgrade their “dilapidated” National Television Operating Centre in Kololo.
Magogo said in the report that in the next financial year, funds in par 2 and par 3 a should be withheld until Signet is disengaged from UBC.
The MPs also suggested that after the disengagement, Signet should also revise its charges from the shs 12 m that they currently charge per month to shs 5 million per month.
Signet was born after a digital migration policy recommended that the national broadcaster; Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) be split into two segments; the content generation arm (UBC) and signal distribution arm (Signet).
Last week, broadcasters under National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) requested MPs for a permanent solution to address the challenges arising from Signet Uganda’s services.
The NAB Uganda executives led by Next Media Services CEO Kin Kariisa said that they wanted Signet to be separated from UBC.
“We request that Signet and UBC be separated so the money we pay to Signet is exclusively for its operations and not those of UBC as is currently the case,” Kariisa stressed.
NAB also proposed that every government programme should have at least a 1% budget component every financial year for sensitisation and awareness dedicated to buying media across all platforms (TV, radios, online, newspapers) so that citizens are updated on these projects.