Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has instructed that Members of Parliament and staff of Parliament should use the National Carrier – Uganda Airlines while on official duty.
The directive is carried in her letter dated October 16, 2019, to the Clerk to Parliament Jane Kibirige. The letter is copied to Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah and all Members of Parliament.
Kadaga says that since Uganda Airlines is now operational, it was important for the Parliamentary Commission to support the National Carrier.
“I, therefore, write to instruct you to ensure that all official trips of the Members of Parliament and the staff of Parliament while on official duty to destinations where the Airline operates are scheduled with Uganda Airlines,” reads the letter.
Uganda Airlines started commercial operations on August 23, 2019, with a flight to Nairobi, Kenya. It has since had flights to Juba (South Sudan), Mogadishu (Somalia) and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
Tororo South MP Fredrick Angura supported Kadaga’s directive saying that it was only incumbent on government to see how to support the National carrier to grow.
However, Dokolo South MP Felix Okot Ogong disagreed advising parliament and Ugandans that Uganda Airlines needed to be managed as a business on its own.
“There should not be other influence because when there is a directive that means other people are now managing Uganda Airlines which is totally bad. It should be managed as a business with principles and business strategy,” said Ogong.
He added that members should not be forced to use what may not be the best for them and that their choice should be directed by what the Airline offers.
Nakaseke South MP Lutamaguzi Ssemakula also disagreed with the KKadaga’s directive saying that using Uganda Airlines should be by choice and not force since people like him are suspicious of it given the nature of operations of the country.
Kadaga’s directive follows that of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni issued on August 5, 2019, in a Cabinet memo ordering all government officials to take Uganda Airlines whenever they are going to destinations it flies to. The President then directed all cabinet ministers and ministers of state to ensure that his directive is carried out.
In 2017/2018 financial year, Uganda spent up to 421 billion Shillings on travel with all expenditures going to other airlines over the years. Government officials travel a lot for training, bench marking trips, and conferences and analysts say this is a key constituent of travelers that the airline has to tap into to be viable – in a country where most people don’t fly.
However, analysts warned that the airline should not allow travel on credit because the government, oftentimes delays paying arrears something that may affect the Airline’s operatives.