Will President Museveni halt the UBC advertising directive after meeting NAB on 10th August? The Big question still ponders over many media outlets country wide.
Museveni who issued advertising directive to have all government advertising go through Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) and Vision Group has agreed to meet the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) on 10th August to seek second opinion as confirmed by the Principal Private Secretary. The Directive however comes as a resolution to revamp UBC following a letter from the Managing Director Winston Agaba on underfunding.
According to the letter dated 23rd March 2023 to the office of the Prime Minister, any accounting officer found not complaint risks dismissal. In response, the Ministry of Finance moved to implement the directive as quoted in the Budget Executive Circular (BEC) for financial year 2023/2024 though a section of the Parliamentary Caucus call the move illegal and unfair. NAB responded by issuing boycott of government activities coverage, what is termed as a black out until the directive is halted.
NAB argues that the move to convert UBC into media agency in a competitive sector is not only illegal but it undermines the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda as well as weakens the private sector which is the core of the economy.
Different scholars, economists expressed concerns why government would deviate from its own mandate to develop, strengthen and promote the private sector, which itself in the past privatized state-owned entities. Dr Patrick Wakida a senior political analyst believes the move will kill liberalization of the economy something Museveni himself tried to promote. He added that UBC According to survey has about 1.8% of the target market share hence the objective of the advertisement will not be met.
It’s not about who will have the last laugh, it’s about a free economy where everyone can compete fairly. We’ll, it seems inflation and high taxation isn’t enough worry, Ugandans should prepare for the worst should such monopolistic decisions continue to surface.