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Staff Warn New UCAA Boss Bamwesigye over ICAO Compliance Inspection

Another staff says Bamwesigye must lobby for extra funds because these funds are pegged to addressing staffing shortfalls, regulating safety and standards that could put UCAA in trouble when the International Civil Aviation Organisation-ICAO audits Uganda. "The ICAO audit is due this year and remember in 2014, that audit resulted in the closure of Air Uganda and suspension of Air Cargo."
Fred Bamwesigye (in the lead), the Acting Director General at UCAA takes MPs for a guided tour inside the passenger terminal at Entebbe Airport


A cross section of staff have listed a number of things they want the newly appointed Director General of Uganda Civil Aviation Authority- UCAA, Fred Bamwesigye to address.

Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala, the minister for Works and Transport, appointed Bamwesigye as UCAA's substantive DG. Bamwesigye took charge on October 1.

The staff, who spoke on condition of anonymity for personal and job security reasons, have listed their expectations of Bamwesigye.

Most of the staff want Bamwesigye  to lobby for increased funding to the regulatory body so as to attract and retain staff,  reinstate allowances of staff, complete capital development projects and other activities. The warn that underinvesting in equipment and staff might make the Authority score poorly in the next International Civil Aviation Organisation-ICAO audits. 

Dennis Oloro, a Senior Economic Regulation Officer, says Oloro says workers  are largely excited about Bamwesigye's appointment because  they believe he will now fast track the decision making process, especially those that relate to human resource.   "The absence of a substantive DG for over a year made it difficult for certain decisions pertaining staff allowances, recruitment and regulation in general to be made."

   

Oloro is  also the representative of UCAA workers in the leadership of Amalgamated Transport and General Worker′s union (ATGWU). The union covers workers in the private security,  road transport, civil aviation industry, logistics and general workers in support services in Uganda.

He says Bamwesigye should consider looking into the human resource issues at UCAA. "Bamwesigye is a good listener and very grounded in human resource management. So workers expect him to engage them on a regular basis so as to achieve target."

"He has shown that he is competent in managing people because he joined UCAA as the human resource director," Oloro says. "Even when he was later appointed the Deputy Director General and then acting DG for a over a year, he made staff feel important. We now hope he can push for attraction, retention and motivation of staff before the board and  the line ministry."

UCAA currently employs over 1,200 staff. However, this is less than 60 percent of its approved staff structure. As a result, Oloro says Bamwesigye should ensure vacant positions such as the directors for finance and human resource management, safety inspectors for flight operations, airworthiness and licensing among others are filled.

"We would like staff to be remunerated like our counterparts in the civil aviation authorities of Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and other regions in Africa because UCAA has a high staff turnover," Oloro adds.

A flight operator, name withheld, agrees with Oloro, saying "I earn 7 million shillings as gross per month and yet the pilots I license earn a minimum of 8,000 US Dollars, about 29 million shillings. I know its hard for UCAA to pay me that amount but a salary raise in the range of 15 million shillings would be great."

Other staff want Bamwesigye to fast track completion of capital development projects such as the upgrade and expansion of Entebbe International Airport and the other 13 regional aerodromes including Gulu, Arua and Kasese.

"We trust Bamwesigye and hope that his leadership will result in UCAA securing a minimum of 150 million US Dollars to develop each of the aerodromes in Gulu, Arua and Mbarara to handle international passengers and 23million US Dollars for the remaining aerodromes that will handle domestic travelers," one of the staff in the regional airports department said.

Another staff says Bamwesigye must lobby for extra funds because these funds are pegged to addressing staffing shortfalls, regulating safety and standards that could put UCAA in trouble when the International Civil Aviation Organisation-ICAO audits Uganda. 

"The ICAO audit is due this year and remember in 2014, that audit resulted in the closure of Air Uganda, suspension of Air Cargo," said the staff.

Apart from lobbying for increased funding, some UCAA staff say Bamwesigye needs to get tough on government agencies that owe the regulator a total of shillings 90 billion. The amount has accumulated in the last three years for services such as parking, navigation, office and ground rent, utilities and passenger services among others.  The defaulters include Parliament, Uganda Revenue Authority, Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Bamwesigye agrees, but says the works ministry has pledged to  spearhead  in demanding from the defaulting ministries, departments, agencies and parastatals to clear their outstanding debts.

"If the entire debt is cleared, we shall be able to fund some of the capital development projects,"  Bamwesigye adds.

Bamwesigye adds that he will also lobby for increased funding because UCAA is currently collecting about shillings 7 billion per month, down from shillings 30 billion monthly before the outbreak of COVID-19.

He says UCAA needs shillings 400 billion annually to maintain and enhance safety and security measures at Entebbe Airport and other activities that aim at ensuring the passenger is safe, satisfied and  very enthusiastic to  return to Uganda.

Other staff say Bamwesigye should push for domestication of the Montreal Convention 1999 to ensure rights of air transport consumers are protected. The convention establishes airline liability in the case of death or injury to passengers, as well as in cases of delay, damage or loss of baggage and cargo. 

"At the moment, UCAA cannot do anything if a passenger's baggage or cargo is delayed, damaged or lost because there is no legal provision in Uganda," one staff asserted.

However,  some  staff are unhappy about Bamwesigye 's appointment. They say he will divide the authority further.  

"There has been a lot of intrigue and infighting amongst staff for jobs and promotions and those in Bamwesigye's camp will now reap big," predicted one worried staff." We wanted a new person who could neutralise the cliques for and against Bamwesigye."

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