The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has asked President Yoweri Museveni to reconsider his recent directive that all government advertising be routed only through Uganda Broadcasting Cooperation (UBC).
In a letter dated March 6, Museveni wrote to the Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja directing that all government advertising be done through UBC, and that any accounting officer that deviates from the directive be dismissed.
Museveni’s directive followed a letter from UBC managing director, Winston Agaba who had complained about under-funding by the government and denial of advertisement by accounting officers.
However, the broadcasters’ body has protested Museveni’s directive, saying it is unfair to the private media sector.
According to a letter dated March 23, 2023 seen by the Nile Post, NAB chairman Kin Kariisa has written to the President, asking him to halt the directive.
Kariisa noted that whereas NAB agrees with the rest of the directives in Museveni’s letter with emphasis on the need for funding/financial support by government to UBC/SIGNET to enable it deliver its mandate to the public/country, they are concerned that the directive will eat into the private media business.
”We are concerned that the directive will have a chilling effect on accounting officers not to give business to the private sector players hence affecting our business,” Kariisa said in his letter.
Kariisa reminded the President that the private media sector has been and is still supporting various government projects and campaigns including the Covid-19, Ebola, Emyooga, PDM, and many other developmental, awareness and sensitisation initiatives.
He further noted that the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government has been promoting the agenda of private sector driven economy, and that such directive might be interpreted to be against the same and detrimental to private media businesses since government is one of the main advertisers and clients of the media.
Kariisa, thus asked Museveni to reconsider his directive.
“In the above spirit, please consider this to be our formal and official request that the implementation of the above directive be halted, and a meeting be held with the stakeholders at your earliest convenience to address the concerns and find a viable and lasting solution,” Kariisa’s letter reads in part.
It should be noted that in his letter, Museveni had also directed that in the budget of 2024/ 25, government should start allocating UBC Shs30 billion per annum.
With that money, Museveni said UBC would use part of it to buy the state of the art equipment.