President Yoweri Museveni has turned against private media owners and ordered his government to stop doing business with them.
In a letter to the Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, the President has instructed all accounting officers to solely allocate advertisements to one Radio and Television station UBC or face dismissal from civil service.
The letter dated March 6,2023 written in response to issues raised by UBC Managing Director Winston Agaba,the President wants Ugx 30bn allocated to UBC annually with effect from FY 2024/2025 and all government advertising placed with it.
The President also wants the penalties on NSSF and PAYE waived off despite the same being mandatory. Accounting officers have been put on notice and threatened with dismissal.
This is a growing trend in government that has increasingly ring – fenced trading within itself hence eliminating private players.
In recent times,construction of government projects has been allocated to the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces that has just completed the construction of a perimeter wall for Mandela National Stadium Namboole, printing works are now a reserve of the Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation (UPPC) and the New Vision while supply of furniture has gone to Uganda Prisons Service.
With an end to procurement of media services, the Uganda Communications Commission will slowly be disbanded since it will be left with regulating telecom companies as private media exits market. The regulation of telecoms will also be short-lived as government plans to recapitalize Uganda Telecom and effectively ask all government organs to use UTL.
In all government offices, only UBC will be watched. State House staff will also begin to watch UBC since as it stands now, few of them can ably talk much about UBC’s programing.In fact, government has been forcing media houses to broadcast all state functions as obligation without pay.
I want to believe that a smart presidential aide with vested interests in UBC could have influenced the President’s latest stance against the very industry his government has nurtured and should be proud of.
The letter has sent shock waves among private media owners like a doom’s day trigger. Is the president whipping the industry for being a channel of growing dissent against his government. Faced with incessant opposition voices and growing pressure on his government to account and deliver to the masses,
Interestingly, majority of the radio and television stations in Uganda are owned and run by regime apologists, politicians occupying high level offices in government.
Has the President thought them insignificant to deny them business in so harsh a matter that he threatens accounting officers with dismissal?
What more in left of a free – market economy or liberalization of the economy.
President Museveni has ordered accounting officers to cut business ties with private media and only deal with UBC radio and TVs.