Uganda’s tourism agencies relieved as government makes u-turn on merger
Uganda’s government has made a U-turn on merger of tourism agencies, since Cabinet made the decision almost a year ago. The affected tourism agencies included the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC), Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), Uganda Wildlife Authority, and Uganda Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, which were to be merged in specialized departments under the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities.
The proposed merger which was meant to realign the functions of agencies and prevent duplication of roles and waste of public funds, fell flat on its face after Public Service Minister Honorable Wilson Muruli Mukasa, under whose docket the responsibility falls, flatly admitted in a press statement that: “Some of these agencies were established by Acts of Parliament. To scrap them you need to go back to Parliament and have the laws repealed. Others have accumulated debts. You cannot just scrap them (without paying the debts). Those who will be laid off need to be paid. If you don’t pay them they will take you to court. So Cabinet is still studying the matter. Once it is done, it will come up with a report.”
A related ETN article published on 13th September 2018, headlined ‘Uganda Tourism agencies absorbed by parent Ministry in major restructuring’, accurately predicted “dead on target’ that government would come full circle on their decision premised on their previous habit, precisely in 2001 when a similar decision was made only for government to rescind later.
Moreover, shortly before last years decision, the Uganda Tourism Board had just conducted massive restructuring of their entire management and staff, which heralded a new team led by Lily Ajarova. This did not make sense for an agency intended to fold in the next three years. No surprises as we await the cabinet report.