By Simon Turibamwe
Finance Minister Matia Kasaija has rocked the boat like never before by disbanding the entire governing board for Uganda Investment Authority (UIA). In a letter dated 6th March 2019, Kasaija wrote as follows: “Following the assent to the Investment Code Act by the President on 20th February, I have in accordance with Section 4 of the Act appointed a new board of directors effective 1st April 2019. The purpose of this letter is to request you to bring to the attention of the members of the board that following the enactment of the new investment law, their membership has been terminated and new board appointed. Please prepare a smooth transition to facilitate continuity of the operations effective 1st April 2019.” Addressed to the outgoing board chairman Emily Kugonza, Kasaija’s letter was titled “Appointment of directors of the board of Uganda Investment Authority.” It was copied to PSST Keith Muhakanizi, Investment Minister Evelyn Anite and the acting ED UIA. In accordance with Kasaija’s latest action, UIA which always had 13 members on the board will now have only 7. On the old board its only Kugonza and Fred Opolot that have been retained largely to enable the organization benefit from the institutional memory the two are believed to poses. Some of the old board members who are now sick and shedding buckets of tears include Olive Kigongo, ex-Arua MP Betty Adima and Prof George Piwanga who will be remembered for leading the war that saw former ED Jolly Kaguhangire Kamugira herded out of the UIA offices like chicken thief.
In a phone interview with this news website, UIA line minister Evelyn Anite rationalized the contents of her senior Matia Kasaija’s letter. She explained that it’s not true that Kasaija retained 7 as opposed to 13 board members because he hated anyone but this is so because the new Investment Code Act restricts membership to only 7 in order to enhance efficiency. “Priority had to go to private sector which is why 5 of the 7 members are actually representatives of private sector,” Anite explained. She also revealed that carrying out comprehensive restructuring will be a priority assignment for the new board. “In fact they are assuming office at a time when UIA has no substantive ED and recruiting one will be one of the first undertakings for them,” Anite said. Arua-based business lady Naima Obusan and as well as celebrated political economy analyst Morrison Rwakakamba are among those who were named on the new board. Mulengera news understands that Rwakakamba (a former State House employee who has lately been very critical of the system) was considered inevitable because of the extent to which he influenced the enactment of the new Investment Code Act. Whereas many private sector actors stayed away and never appeared before the relevant Parliamentary Committee, Rwakakamba was very enthusiastic and several times addressed the committee in a manner that greatly enriched the resultant piece of legislation. “Having just returned from Harvard University, Rwakakamba carried out a lot of research and generously shared with committee members and in the end more than 70% of what eventually became the Act was as a result of his input. That explains why he was made a board member in the anticipation that he will be able to participate in the implementation of what many consider to be his law,” a well-informed source said of the very intelligent young man from Rukungiri. It was also revealed that because of the manner in which the very domineering Piwanga had unproductively turned UIA board meetings into lecture sessions, President Museveni and his finance advisors did not have much appetite anymore to have professors on the UIA board. For comments, call, text or whatsapp us on 0703164755.