UBC seeks UGX 1 Billion to air 2019 AFCON games

UBC seeks UGX 1 Billion to air 2019 AFCON games
Uganda's national football team, The Cranes

Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) is seeking an allocation of 1 billion Shillings to broadcast the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations games. The tournament starts this week in Egypt.

According to a letter to Parliament, UBC Managing Director Winston Agaba said UBC requires support to acquire rights to broadcast the tournament which starts on June 21.

The Letter shows that UBC had engaged the African Union of Broadcasting (AUB) in a negotiation which was concluded with a final offer of Euros 350,000, earning a 53 per cent discount from the initial offer.

AUB is a professional body composed of the national radio and television organizations of the African States involved in the exchange of indigenous programming.

In the letter, Agaba appealed to the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga to lobby for the required funds from the government to ensure that the Uganda Cranes games are aired freely to Ugandans. The Uganda Cranes team kicks off its games on Saturday against the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

At the time the letter came out, Jinja Municipality West MP Moses Balyeku had expressed worry that Ugandans, who cannot afford pay television services, might be denied an opportunity to watch the Africa Cup of nations games if the National Broadcaster does not acquire rights to air the games.

State Minister for Planning David Bahati told parliament that his ministry had not been approached about the required funding, neither from the Ministry of Education and Sports nor the Ministry of Information.

State Minister for Higher Education, John Chrysostom Muyingo sought guidance on whether it was his ministry’s responsibility to requisition funds for UBC or the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) ministry.

Kadaga then directed the ICT ministry to immediately seek for the funds from the Finance Ministry and also give an update to Parliament on Thursday.

However, Opposition Chief Whip Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda questioned what the over 70 billion Shillings loan that parliament approved for UBC was used for if it cannot be used to clear simple things like obtaining broadcasting rights.

The Uganda Cranes delegation of 23 players and 13 officials arrived in Cairo, Egypt on Monday.