The Committee on Trade Tourism and Industry has tasked the
Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) to account for the 360 million spent during the Dubai
UTB led by its Executive Director Lilly Ajarova today
appeared before the committee who were probing into concerns arising from
Ugandans participation in the Dubai Expo in the United Arabs Emirates.
The committee was concerned that the officials used most of
the 360 million shillings in per diems and other expenses like meals and
entertainment instead of action tourism promotional materials.
According to their accountability, 53 million shillings was
spent on Air tickets and visas, PCR testing for COVID-19 costed 28
Million shillings, Per diem for traveling delegation 83 million, promotional
materials which included kitenge bags, safari hats, gomesi and Kanzu’s totaling
to 20.5 million shillings.
items included baskets for display which cost 3 million
shillings, production of two short films 10 million shillings, 4 gift packs
for panelists 2 million shillings, courier of promotional materials to UAE Bahrain
and Qatar 7.1 million shillings, travel trade in Abu Dhabi 68.5 million
shillings, travel trade in Dubai 68.5 million shillings and the meeting for senior executives
meeting 12.4 million shillings among others.
in: “Seven from Uganda…
out:…and the CEO.”//
members of parliament on the committee expressed concern with the items
that Uganda Tourism board spent their
funds on. Mbarara City South Division MP and Chair of the Committee, Mwine Mpaka wondered what criteria the board used to select tour companies they took to the expo.
Buhweju county MP Francis MwIjukye was
shocked to learn that most of the money was spent on other items which did not
involve promoting the country.
//Cue in: ”This budget if…
out:… for per diem.”//
district woman MP for Hoima Harriet Businge questioned why most of the money was
spent on welfare and not promoting the country as was expected.
in: “At key tourism…
out:…very bad eye.”//
Igara West MP Mbwatekamwa Gaffa wondered what kind of Kanzus, Kitenge and
Gomesi cost 20 million shillings and wondered why of all people Uganda
Tourism board had to facilitate the Executive director of Uganda wildlife
in: “As a committee…
out: …we supervise UWA.”//
Mbarara city woman MP Rita Atukwasa asked the board to explain Uganda's brand
and unique tourism offerings.
in: “You promote unique…
out:…we saw was different.”//
informed the committee that they do not have an actual expenditure as they are yet
to account for the funds, but assured MPs that its the budget they had used. He
says they took people to facilitate tourism engagements to kick start the
recovery of the tourism sector.
//Cue in: “The budget was…
Cue out:…the tourism business.”//
meeting however came to an abrupt end after realizing that the board had shared
with them a revised budget instead of the actual expenditure. Mpaka tasked the
team to return with full accountability.
in: “We are going…
out:…their bidding documents.”//
The Dubai Expo was originally scheduled for October 20,
2020 to April 10, 2021 but was rescheduled over COVID-19 to October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022. More than 192 Countries, including Uganda are participating in the Expo showcasing their
products, tourism potential and investment opportunities among others.