Friday February 26 2016

Minister challenges new UWA board to build capacity

Former tourism minister Maria Mutagamba (2nd R,

Former tourism minister Maria Mutagamba (2nd R, front row) shakes hands with Mr Benjamin Otto as she welcomed the new board of trustees of Uganda Wildlife Authority at the Kampala Serena Hotel in 2016. PHOTO BY Stephen Wandera 

By Jonathan Adengo

Kampala. Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities minister Maria Mutagamba has challenged the newly appointed Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) board of trustees to build capacity in order to deliver its mandate to the people of Uganda.
“At the end of the year, we should be able to evaluate you basing on what you have been able to do,” Ms Mutagamba said.

She reiterated what is expected of the new board, from the strategic planning and budgeting which is in line with the UWA policy of 2014, review protected areas, build adequate capacity for UWA, among others.
The minister was speaking on Wednesday during the inauguration of the new board that took place at the Kampala Serena Hotel.

The new board comes in office nearly a year after the expiry of the old one.
The nine-member board, chaired by Mr Benjamin Otto, will serve for the next three years.
Mr Benjamin Otto is a former permanent secretary in the ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry.
Other members include Dr Pantaleon Kasoma Mukasa Banda, the executive director of Jane Goodall Institute, a global conservation organisation; Mr Batuma Mbabazi, the investor behind Bunyonyi Overland Resort and Rushaga Gorilla Camp Bwindi, who will represent tour operators on the board; and Dr Nalwanga Diana Wabwire, who has a vast knowledge of bird species having worked with birds’ conservation community since 2002.

Others are Mr Leonard Wamakote, Mr Edward Kakuyo Kagumaho, a distinguished UN retiree, Mr Edward Baliddawa, the leader of Busoga Tourism Cluster, and Dr Barirega Akankwasah, a representative of the Ministry of Tourism.
Returning to the board is Ms Zigiti Zeridah, an economist with vast knowledge in public sector budgeting, is a member representing the Finance, Planning and Economic Development ministry; while Dr Andrew Ggunga Seguya, who is the executive director UWA, will serve as board secretary by virtue of his position.

According to Mr Patrick Mugoya, the permanent secretary ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, the delay to appoint a board since March last year, is regrettable.
“The circumstances that led to this delay were entirely beyond our control,” he said.
Mr Otto will be required to perform delegated powers of the Tourism minister and as such, will be under her direct supervision.

The board will be expected to work closely with the ministry which is the parent institution to steer the authority and guide management on execution of UWA mandate.
The board is drawn from a rich experience of individuals who have served both with the ministry of Tourism and also have vast knowledge in management, ICT and accounting.

Contribution to GDP
According to the Tourism ministry abstract 2014, the tourism sector, contributes about Shs6.5b to Gross Domestic Product.

There has been a growth from Shs5.6b recorded in the 2013/14 financial year. The growth translates into 9.9 per cent contribution to GDP up from 7.9 per cent in 2013/14.
The growth, according to the ministry, has been a result of an increased visitor numbers, which in the 2014/15 financial year, grew from 1,206,334 to 1,266,046.

Vision 2040
According to the Uganda Vision 2040, the tourism sector is set to become the mainstay of the economy contributing the highest foreign exchange earnings, tax and non-tax revenue, employment and GDP as a whole. It also projects that Uganda will be one of the top five tourist destinations in Africa and among the top 10 long haul tourist destinations in the world.