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Minister Anite Furious as URA Dumps UTL Lines to Join MTN

Minister of State for Investment and Privatization Hon Evelyn Anite has threatened stern action against Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and other government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that “adamantly” rejected the recent presidential directive for them to start using only UTL voice and data services.

Minister Anite while speaking to ChimpReports this morning, described these government bodies as “defiant” and said soon they will be required to give a formal explanation for their behavior.

In September last year, government though the Finance Ministry directed all government MDAs to start using Uganda Telecom for all their Voice and Data needs.

In addition to the Minister’s directive, On January 8, 2018, Museveni ordered all MDAs to procure all their data services from UTL, noting that “this liability situation is not as bad as has been portrayed by corrupt officials that had been sucking the company, paying themselves huge salaries.”

Government, ever since appointing new leadership at the mismanaged UTL, has been making efforts to make the heavily indebted company relevant on the market again.

Weeks later in March, however, a source at the Nakawa based tax body told ChimpReports a decision had been taken for staff members to drop their UTL lines and acquire MTN lines.

Indeed at the beginning of this month, several of the senior URA staffer’ UTL numbers were inaccessible including that of the Authority spokesperson Vincent Seruma.

On reaching the landline contact of one the URA offices, we were given Mr. Seruma’s new MTN line.

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Minister Anite says she has written to URA and other MDA’s about the president’s directive, and will be sending another reminder next week.

The minister told us ever since the directive came out, a total of 180 MDAs have so far subscribed to UTL services and many more are subscribing.

Among those that have complied, she said, include the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, as well as Parliament.

“The President’s directive  is national policy. These (URA and other MDAs) are defying the president’s directive,” she said.

“We have given them the deadline of 20th next month. If they don’t obey the directive, they will have to write to explain why they aren’t.”

But the URA spokesperson denies shutting down UTL lines and also claims he hasn’t seen the letter from the Minister.

Prodded on why his UTL line went off for weeks and why he has a new number, he insisted that our reporter calls his old UTL number.

After three attempts, the old line went through.

On whether the tax body would be in position to abide by the Minister’s 20th May deadline to have fully switched to UTL, Seruma said, “I have not seen a formal complaint from the minister; I would be happy to hear from her and then confer with the Commissioner General.”

The URA mouthpiece also would not tell us the company currently providing them with data services, saying he wasn’t at liberty to do so.

Meanwhile Minister Anite told our reporter that she is currently writing a report on all MDAs that have complied with the directive and also those that haven’t, which she will present to the President by the close of this month.

On whether some MDAs were unhappy with the UTL services quality, Anite said this is no longer an issue.

“No one can complain of poor service because the service is excellent,” she stressed.

“All those who are using the service including Ministry of Finance, are not complaining. Who are these People not to comply? They are just being defiant, but we are also compiling their list and we will be turning it to the appointing authority.”

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