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Merging of tourism agencies put on hold over debts

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UTB boss, Lillian Ajarova
UTB boss, Lillian Ajarova

The Minister of Public Service, Wilson Muruli Mukasa says the proposed merger of tourism agencies remains a big doubt.

In a statement to the press, Mukasa says the proposed merger which was meant to realign the functions of agencies and prevent duplication of roles and waste of public funds has been put on hold because of a number of issues that need addressing before the merger takes place.

“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 To scrap them you need to go back to Parliament and have the laws repealed.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.”

Cabinet had agreed last September to merge tourism agencies like Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC), Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), Uganda Wildlife Authority, and Uganda Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary into specialized departments under the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities.

The only agencies that were to be preserved are Kampala Capital City Authority, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) and the National Medical Stores (NMS) but disband, merge or transfer up to 60 other such agencies back to parent ministries.

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