For 28 years, National Enterprise Corporation (NEC), the business arm of UPDF, has operated without a substantive board, raising queries from the Auditor General.
However, the army last month, through the Defence and Veteran Affairs ministry, appointed Lt Gen James Mugume to chair the 13-member board.
According to sources at the ministry headquarters in Mbuya, Gen Mugume’s recent appointment comes after a long period of inactive tasks at the Military Land Division, where he is also the chairman.
The Military Land Division, which Gen Mugume heads, the source said is relatively inactive since much of the public land that the Military Land Board superintends over is covered under the Uganda Land Commission jurisdiction.
While inaugurating the new board on Wednesday, Col (rtd) Charles Okello Engola, the minister of State for Defence and General Duties, said Gen Mugume had been selected because of his experience.
Gen Mugume will work together with Maj Gen James Mugira, who was appointed the managing director of the army’s business arm in 2016.
Col Engola said NEC was central in the development of military technology and in the areas of research and offering social services.
NEC is a state corporation established in 1989 by an Act of Parliament to serve as a commercial arm of the UPDF.
However, the enterprise has severally suffered significant setbacks, including allegations of corruption and years on inactivity.
Gen Mugume, a former deputy army commander, is also a presidential adviser on Defence, and remains the chairperson of the military land board.
Under Gen Mugira, NEC has taken several successful attempts at revamping the corporation such as restocking NEC Farm Katonga and reviving the Luwero Industries.
Other subsidiaries such as the NEC Works and Construction Company as well as NEC Tractor Project are on track. The army is producing bottled drinking water, Uzima Water.