Early Sell-Off for Ugandan Enterprises

Article excerpt

A number of important public companies which the Ugandan Government had intended to retain will be offered for sale to reduce Government involvement in business, the Minister of State for finance and Economic Planning, Mr Rukakaire Methews, has announced.

The Minister, who is now in charge of the privatisation of state assets, said the Government would revise the classification of enterprises for sale provided for in the 'Public Enterprises Reform and Divestiture Statute' (PERDS), saying, "We should be able to come out with the final classification very soon".

President Museveni had dissolved PERDS on January 3 this year amid unsubstantiated claims of rampant corruption within its controlling body. Mr Rukakaire took over the task of selling off Uganda's non-performing and loss making state enterprises as a result.

Economists say Mr Rukakaire is in a position to speed up the exercise since he has the authority to make vital decisions without referring to any other Government officials as was the case with the former PERDS coordinator.

Under the original classification, the state had intended to retain at least 10 enterprises, a majority shareholding in 17, and a minority shareholding in a further 20. It was to fully privatise 43 enterprises, and liquidate 17 others.

The Minister has since hinted it likely that enterprises like the Uganda Commercial Bank and the Telecommunications Department of the Uganda Posts and Telecommunications Corporation will be offered for outright sale. He did however say that the two giant corporations were among those in which the state wanted to maintain a majority shareholding. The others include the Sheraton Kampala Hotel, Kilembe Mines, the National Insurance Corporation Uganda Dairy Corporation and the Steel Corporation of East Africa Ltd.

According to the original statute, the state was required to retain 100% shareholding in the Uganda Electricity Board, the Uganda Development Corporation, Uganda Properties, the National Water and a sewage Corporation and the Uganda Development Bank. …