The Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) has asked government for Shs50b to facilitate activities they will be running on their various media platforms for the proposed 2021 scientific elections.
Mr James Tumusiime, the UBC board chairperson, told Saturday Monitor that the organisation was dropped at the last minute in the national budget and didn’t have finances to conduct activities such as hosting campaigns ahead of next year’s general election.
Mr Tumusiime said they had a meeting with ICT minister Judith Nabakooba on Thursday to see if they can get money for the electronic elections and had had an earlier engagement with both Finance Minister Maria Kasaija, and Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga about two weeks ago.
He, however, didn’t disclose the details of their discussion but was optimistic that the money will be availed to support them.
Mr Tumusiime referred this newspaper to UBC’s managing director, Mr Winston Agaba, for their funding requests.
“We were not allocated money in the Budget. We are still haggling. We were left out at the last minute in the national Budget. Immediately after that, government pronounced itself on that huge responsibility which they had given us,” Mr Tumusiime said.
He added: “We have to keep pressing. Otherwise, if they don’t fund us, how are we going to conduct these exercises? We assume they can see it’s essential.”
Mr Agaba explained that they need between Shs40b to Shs50b to run these activities on the television station and 11 FM radio stations across the country.
He explained that the money will be used to upgrade their equipment to enable them reach every home, especially in hard-to-reach areas.
The funds will also help in recruitment of more staff to beef up the team and buying transmitters for the whole country to ensure equal airtime is given, especially to presidential candidates.
Currently, Mr Agaba said their transmitters reach about 75 per cent of the country.
“We have asked for additional funding to to do DTH (Direct to Home) as opposed to digital terrestrial transmission. Digital terrestrial transmission is what we shifted to when we went digital from analogue. Once we have the hybrid running, we can be sure the rest of the country will be accessing television and the radios,” Mr Agaba explained.