The Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) has ordered the management of Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) to shut down any broadcasting stations that have outstanding debts with them.
The decision came after the UBC Managing Director, Winston Agaba, reported to the Committee that the Corporation had Ushs 1.49 Billion in debts owed to it by other broadcasting companies and business entities.
“The Corporation has over time accumulated a lot of bad debtors many of which have failed to pay and so we were thinking of writing off these debts,” Agaba said.
However, the Committee objected to UBC writing off the debts insisting that all necessary steps must be taken to recover the money.
“You cannot offer a service without pay and just let it go,” the Committee Chairperson, Hon. Anita Among, said adding that, “a bad debt must be declared a doubtful debt and this has not been indicated in the documentation provided.”
Hon. Abraham Byandala (Katikamu North) added that, “UBC should pick a leaf from other organisations on how to handle bad debts owed to it from other government institutions so that this money can be recovered.”
The former Managing Director of UBC, Edward Musinguzi Mugasa, recommended a number of guidelines to follow before writing off the debts. “You need to first establish whether the companies owing UBC this money still exist and also push for legal help from courts before writing off such a debt,” Mugasa said.
The Committee directed that no exemption should be made to radios and televisions using UBC transmitters that owe the corporation money and that they should be switched off effective September 2016.