I refer to the article by Brian Musasizi on the rot in the Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation (UPPC) in which he analyses the Auditor General’s report for the financial year 2021/2022 that exposes a decline in profits and returns in assets in the Corporation.

While I do not dispute the findings of the Auditor General, I wish to state that UPPC is on course to provide excellent printing and publishing services to Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and the Private Sector.

The following factors explain the reasons for poor performance and some of the areas of good performance highlighted by the Auditor General:

Reasons for poor performance of the UPPC

The UPPC Senior Management has spent one year under Police and IGG investigations on allegations of corruption. The affected senior staff have been reporting to police headquarters on a weekly basis.

The cases under investigation are several, including those filed by individuals and the one filed by the Minister for the Presidency.

These investigations have greatly affected performance of senior management who continue to operate while on police bond.

As such, there has been no stable leadership at the UPPC for the last one year. UPPC largely gets business from printing Government documentation from MDAs. The Private Sector has been slow to give business to UPPC, instead preferring to use cheaper sources at Nasser Road and elsewhere.

The situation was made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic that ravaged the economy resulting in reduction in funding to MDAs. MDAs are now forced to prioritise and rationalize their printing activities.

Even the workshops, seminars and awareness drives that used to give UPPC business have dwindled, meaning that overall, it’s difficult to get business from the MDAs.

Some MDAs also do not respect the President’s directive that requires them to give their printing jobs to UPPC and the New Vision. Instead, they opt for the cheaper sources at Nasser Road, where quality may be compromised.

Additionally, for much of this financial year 2022/23, UPPC has been paying fines on the court cases left behind by the old management. This has affected its financial performance.

There has also been the challenge caused by former management where the UPPC mandate of printing the Uganda Gazette had been usurped by the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB). The URSB was competing with UPPC and this affected the income expected from the Gazette.This matter is, however, being handled by the Attorney General.

 Areas of achievement 

However, UPPC has worked to clear much of the accumulated taxes and liabilities caused by the former management.

Even some of the individuals on interdiction have been cleared of financial liabilities. The Corporation is now cleared of debts and is working without tension and undue pressure.

The good performance in the 2020/21 Financial Year was brought about by the election season that yielded UPPC some good business from the mandatory gazetting of leaders in the Uganda Gazette and the printing of LC1 stamps.

These two big jobs were given respectively by the Electoral Commission (EC)and the Ministry of Local Government.

Steps being taken to address challenges

The UPPC is undertaking the following steps to improve the situation: Appealing to the IGG and the Police to expedite the investigations so that the senior managers can concentrate on their work. At the moment, the key managers are on interdiction and several staff are in acting capacity. We aim to have stable management and leadership at the corporation.

Asking Cabinet to recommend a new Board for the UPPC. For the last one year, the Corporation has had no board, making it very hard to transact business because there are issues that require Board resolutions. The UPPC is upgrading old machines and procuring new machinery that can ably compete in the market. The procurement process is ongoing and works on upgrading old machines has, as well, started. The UPPC is doing awareness campaigns to attract the Private Sector. There are good signs in this direction.In Conclusion, the issue perhaps is not retardation of the UPPC but a need to address gaps at the Corporation. We are working hard on a permanent solution. We thank our partners and loyal customers for giving us business and pledge better quality and efficiency in line with our post-120-year anniversary Strategic Plan.

Rebecca Nyakairu,Head, Public Relations,Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation (UPPC).

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