CAA: ENTEBBE AIRPORT IS SAFE, HASN’T BEEN SOLD TO ANYONE
By Joel Mugabi
Air transport regulator Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) has dismissed reports that Entebbe International Airport could be at risk of being taken over by the Chinese Exim Bank over terms of a loan government secured to undertake expansion and improvement of the airport.
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Days ago, media reports claimed that a Shs1.1 trillion or $325m loan approved by the ninth Parliament could had come with terms that were unfavorable for Kampala and put the country’s sovereignty at the mercy of Beijing.
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Reports indicated that the loan agreement gave Exim Bank of China the sole authority to make approvals for withdrawal of funds from the Authority’s accounts, approve annual and monthly operational budgets and to inspect books of accounts for both UCAA and government.
But John Vianney Luggya, the UCAA Manager Communications and Corporate Affairs, has told Mulengera News that the allegation that Entebbe International Airport has been given away for cash is false.
“Government cannot give away a national asset like an international airport. We have said it before and repeat that it has not happened, and is not going to happen. There isn’t an ounce of truth in this, and it should be disregarded with the contempt it deserves,” Luggya added.
He further explained that while it is true that UCAA opened up a Sales Collection Account in Stanbic Bank where all the Authority’s revenues are deposited in line with the Escrow Account Agreement terms, it very clear that this “does not mean that anyone is to control our finances.”
“The Authority enjoys the freedom and liberty of spending what is collected (as per the budget). The lender’s monitoring of the account is only similar to what happens when one gets a salary loan or any other loan for that matter, and the bank requests that the salary is channeled through their bank. It does not mean that lending bank takes over your salary,” he explained.
He also assured Ugandans that there was nothing to worry about since the country was within the seven-year grace period during which only interest is paid, adding that government has not defaulted on interest payment obligations. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org).