“YOU HAVE NOT COME TO MILK UPPC BUT TO ADD ON IT”
The minister for the presidency Milly Babalanda has inaugurated a new board of Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation (UPPC) with a strong warning to the members not to ashame the president and the ministry.
“Please don’t ashame us because the president knows you and has trust in you. Go and work” she counseled.
The minister warned the team against engaging in corrupt tendencies, saying corruption is an enemy. She asked the team to be focused and embrace teamwork which will enable them to push the Corporation to greater heights.
“This Corporation is totally business. Move around and look for business. Don’t sit in your offices and wait for it. I urge you to love your job, love to work and love your country. Add value to your country because I want UPPC to be the leading Corporation not only in the region but even in Africa” she said.
The minister who presided over the swearing in ceremony for the new board led by chairperson Joachim Buwembo at her office boardroom, asked the board to immediately start work warning that there is no time for more jokes. She said to get to this level, it was a long and learning process.
Babalanda said that managing a crisis like the one that has existed in UPPC wasn’t an easy task as there were many negative forces that were fighting from all sides.
“We thank God for shaming the detractors whose main goal was to malice and sabotage. We’re now glad that the new board has been appointed” she said.
She said identifying the team wasn’t easy as there was a lot of lobbying with all ministers and other government stakeholders proposing names to sit on the eight-member board. She said the proposed names were in 100s but finally, cabinet approved the eight members.
Babalanda said UPPC has been in the media for both good and bad publicity, adding that some people think it’s an entity where people come to share money.
“There’s no idle money at UPPC. There’s no money for sharing. Your work is to create avenues to make this money. There’s a weak attitude that the board shares every coin generated. We have come to help UPPC make money but not to make money for ourselves” she advised, adding that soon the office of the president is going to organise an induction workshop for the board.
She asked the board to work well with management to identify and address gaps in the Corporation, carry out restructuring, setting business targets, work towards providing modern machinery and also deal with acts of indiscipline in the Corporation.
“Jokes are over. Starting today, please let us be serious. I don’t want to go back to COSASE over issues I don’t know. I don’t want to be part of the corruption sagas. My job is to supervise you. So, be careful while handling the activities of the Corporation. You have not come to milk but to add on the success of UPPC. Be patriotic” she told the board.
Meanwhile, the secretary office of the president Hajji Yunus Kakande said the president attaches a lot of importance to the UPPC, the reason he; in 2016 had to look for a Germany investor to come to invest in UPPC which resulted into a merger. In this merger (Uganda Security Printing Company) government has 51% shares and the Germany consortium Veridos (41%).
“Already, that merger is bearing fruits. A year from now, all our passports, driving licenses will be printed here. Every year Uganda loses a lot of money in printing. UPPC has a very bright future than it has been having because it’s now merging with a foreign company for 15years. After 15years, the Germans will leave and the factory reverts to Uganda” he said.
He informed the new team that the previous board was suspended and some of the managers because of corruption. He asked the board to guide management to achieve it’s plans as set out by the acting managing director Kenneth Oluka. He however, said that in spite of the challenges UPPC has been facing, it was not listed among those loss-making entities as it made some minimal profits.
“We think that in the next 10years, UPPC will be among the best performing organizations not only for making money but also for socioeconomic transformation of Ugandans” he said. He advised the board chairperson Buwembo to always listen to his members and also the technical team especially on matters of procurement. He said it is high time UPPC makes its own money to buy equipment as there’s no money to come from the consolidated fund.
“Don’t think you will get money from consolidated fund. That I can assure you. It stopped sometime back. So, chairman, this is the time you must tighten your belts to make money. Create efficiency in UPPC and only the sky will be the limit for you” he said.
The acting managing director Oluka welcomed the new board, saying over a year back, it has been difficult for them at UPPC when there was no board. He commended the office of the president and the minister for standing in to bridge the leadership gap at UPPC in absence of the board. He said this intervention enabled the Corporation to carry on with it’s activities as it kept getting guidance from the minister and the technical team. He said the new board comes at a time when there’s a lot of work that they will do together.
Oluka said management embarked on the development of a new 5-year strategy whose focus is to provide service delivery by improving people and governance operations, customer service and ensuring sustainability.
Under this, UPPC plans to acquire modern machinery, revamp the printing school, revitalize the Publishing mandate of UPPC among other projects.
“There’s huge potential. For example in ministry for education, there’s a lot of printing material for learners. We should be the ones that should be supplying all learning materials for all schools. Even the PDM program, there are lots of things we can do like on pillar number 7 which talks about mindset change. We can determine its success” he said adding that the Corporation is not only focusing on business from MDAs but also the private sector including universities.
“Madam minister, we request that even with the new board in place, your stewardship continues to UPPC and that of secretary office of the president” he said.
In another development, the board chairperson Buwembo who’s a veteran journalist thanked the minister for entrusting them with this job. He pledged to give all his energies, connections and intellectualism to develop UPPC, adding that the board will prioritize technology.
“We commit to do everything within the law. The lawyers on the board are not by mistake but because of their competence and good work. We shall fumigate all snakes at UPPC so that we’re not affected by their poison” he said. The board includes among others
Joachim Buwembo (Wakiso) Sadat Kisuyi (Bugweri) and Jolly Kamugira Kaguhangire (Mbarara) who’s also former executive director Uganda Investment Authority.