The Minister of Information and ICT, stomach Hon Frank Tumwebaze has asked UBC Managing Director Winston Agaba and the Board of Directors led by Simon Kaheru to show cause why they should not be kicked out for not performing their functions.
In what appears the beginning of a massive overhaul of the troubled public broadcaster, Tumwebaze said the management of UBC while appearing before the committee of ICT of Parliament failed to give a “clear work plan justifying the critical needs of UBC” and how the proposed allocation of Shs 20bn of Cabinet would be absorbed.
In his letter dated June 19, Tumwebaze said the “purported work plan they presented to the committee of Parliament neither had the approval of the Ministry and board nor did it follow the guidance the ministry gave to UBC in various top management meetings in line with the priorities of the revamping plan.”
He said the Permanent Secretary/ICT and his team on his instructions had to “re-write the plan and re-submit” it to Parliament for consideration.
ChimpReports understands UBC was under instructions to carry out an “engineering audit into the equipment of UBC” with the aim of acquiring new ones.
It was also expected to prioritize the restructuring of the broadcaster to give it appropriate staff and also put in place a marketing strategy so as to raise revenue and make UBC self-sustaining.
Management was further expected to lay out a mechanism for sourcing and producing superior content relevant to the programming needs of a national broadcaster.
Interestingly, the minister said the board and management of UBC have never given a clear work plan on how to implement the above priority areas that the ministry guided on.
“Your recent restructuring plan submitted to my office which among other issues proposes to double the number of staff of UBC to more than 1,000 employees is unacceptable,” warned Tumwebaze.
“The proposal on staff numbers is not only alarming, but lacks the logic of how he huge wage bill will be sustained,” advised the minister, adding, “It makes an already bad situation worse.”
The UBC has for many years been on what insiders describe as “life support” due to shortage of funds, outright corruption and incompetence.
Staff spend months without pay.
The equipment has been rotting away while the content is not only unappealing to the 21st century audience but also tasteless.
Yet, government continues to sink in billions of shillings of taxpayers’ hard earned income.
Kaheru speaks out
Board Chairman Simon Kaheru on Tuesday told ChimpReports that, “The Minister has oversight at UBC and his concerns have to be taken seriously.”
He further said the board would “show cause, as he has requested, and will stay committed to the path we are on of revamping UBC but while moving at a faster, more guided pace.”
Upon being appointed minister, Tumwebaze promised to crack the whip with the view of breathing new life into the ailing broadcaster.
He commissioned an inquest into the broadcaster’s operations. The committee advised him to take action.
ChimpReports understands ghost employees were recently found on the UBC payroll, leading to the quizzing of the human resource managers by police.
But many wondered why the MD was spared yet he is the overall head of the institution.
In his missive, Tumwebaze asked the MD to show cause why she shouldn’t be “deemed unable to perform the functions of his office and as such demand from the board action in accordance with section 11 (5) of the UBC Act.”
The Minister further asked the board members why they shouldn’t be held responsible for “failing to perform their functions as spelt out in section 8 of the UBC Act 2005, and particularly in sections 8 (c) and 8 (e).”
The Minister tasked the Permanent Secretary Vincent Bagiire to lead the “revamping process of UBC and ensure that implementation of the above priority interventions starts without further delay.”