The Minister of Works and that of Finance (representing the two shareholders of Uganda Airlines) have cautioned the new Board of Uganda Airlines to exercise a high level of integrity and patriotism while executing their duties.
The Minister of State for Finance-General Duties Henry Musasizi said: “You need a good strategic plan with a good business model & well directed to favourably compete in the market & make profit for the Government of Uganda.”
Musasizi made the remarks while co-officiating at the swearing-in ceremony of the new Board of Directors of the national carrier at Hotel Africana in Kampala.
The new Board of Directors of Uganda Airlines Company Ltd is chaired by Priscilla Mirembe Serukka, the Managing Director of Kairos Consult and a seasoned management executive with over 21 years experience building successful investment portfolios in 5 Eastern African countries.
Minister Musasizi’s senior colleague Gen. Katumba Wamala, the Minister of Works and Transport, asked the new board to pick lessons from collapsed airlines throughout the world to ensure the Ugandan national carrier achieves success.
Gen. Katumba said: “Work hard to achieve the break-even point of the Uganda Airlines. Make it competitive but to also compete favourably and better.”
Gen Katumba also asked the new board not to be motivated by money but instead to serve their country.
The Ministries of Finance and Works each own 50% shareholding in the airline, on behalf of the people of Uganda.
Other members of the new board are Patrick Ocailap (Deputy Secretary to Treasury, Samson Rwahwire, Herbert Kamuntu, Namugambe Barbara, Omoding Abdi Karim & Captain Ebrahim Kisoro Sadrudin.
Her Worship Katushabe Prossy, Deputy Registrar High Court presided over the swearing in ceremony.
The Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury Ramathan Ggoobi who also witnessed the swearing in of the new board added to Minister Musasizi’s words of caution saying that there is no room for wastage and mismanagement because a lot of public money has been invested into the company for its strategic nature.
Ggoobi said: “We have made huge investments into Uganda Airlines. We have invested more than UGX 2 trillion in it and this has been strategic. There are very few investments of that magnitude in this country and we have used money from public coffers. I therefore want to see effective and efficient management of this airline. This is not a request but a directive.”
Ggoobi added: “From today, there is no room for corruption, mismanagement and wastage of resources because this is a strategic investment.”
Ggoobi challenged the airline to exploit the vast market potential of aviation in Africa by providing air transport to Ugandans seeking to travel to other African destinations.
He said: “Uganda Airlines must save Ugandans from the agony of flying in Africa. There is no room for corruption and management incompetence, un professionalism and wastage of resources in Uganda Airlines” Ramathan Ggoobi, to the new Board of Directors.
The new board comes in against the background of gross financial mismanagement in the young company which forced President Yoweri Museveni to disband the former board that was chaired by former MP Perez Ahabwe.
The former Board was disbanded on orders of President Yoweri Museveni last year after it got involved in fights for money and positions with the top management as well as with officials from the Ministry of Works and Transport.
Some of the often cited mistakes by the former board of the national carrier was to award exorbitant salaries to staff.
For example, the airline’s first CEO Cornwell Muleya was awarded a hefty salary of close to UGX120 million per month.
Through his lawyers, Muwema and Company Advocates, Muleya recently issued a notice of intention to sue for wrongful dismissal and is seeking reinstatement to his former position, an apology and compensation for damages amounting to UGX3.5bn.