KAMPALA – Government has pleaded with Parliament to urgently endorse a supplementary budget of UGX280 billion that is meant for the payment of two Bombardier CRJ 900 aeroplanes from Canada that will restore the national airline.
Appearing before the Budget Committee of Parliament on Wednesday morning, State Minister for Finance in charge of Planning David Bahati said the money, which is part of USD190 million firm (UGX711 bn) for four jets, is required within 10 days to clear the two aircrafts so that they can be released and imported into Uganda.
Last month, the manufacturer released a video test flight for one of the jets through YouTube.
However, the committee chaired by Ntenjeru North MP Amos Lugoloobi wondered how such astronomical sum will be obtained internally in 10 days.
But Mr Bahati said the money can be obtained from proceeds of the MTN license and the capital gains tax proceeds from the Petroleum Fund.
“Instead of borrowing externally we shall use proceeds from MTN license and capital gains tax to be used to complete the first phase required in the next ten days,” he said.
Uganda has operated without an airline for the last 17 years, after the liquidation of Uganda Airlines in 2001 which had been founded by deposed president Idi Amin in 1977
The National Development Plan (NDPII) listed revival of a national airliner as third on a list of six public investment projects lined up for implementation in the air transport sector in the period between 2015/16 – 2019/20.
The revived national carrier has been registered as a limited liability company under a new name—Uganda National Airlines Company—as opposed to being established as a parastatal. Previously, Uganda Airlines was part of the Uganda Development Corporation, which was supposed to be the government’s investment arm.