BY INKE BRIAN and TIBAINGANA FRED
The Uganda Travel Agents Association (TUGATA) and Uganda Tourism Association (UTA) have condemned Government’s decision to abolish travel agents to engage in travel transactions.
Addressing the media at Hotel Africana, the President Uganda Tourism Association (UTA) Pearl Kakooza H. says the decision by government is indirectly denying them opportunity to work.
Pearl Kakooza who also doubles as the Chairperson TUGATA maintains that Government need to revise its decision saying there exists over 400 travel agents in Uganda employing over 4000 people majority of whom are Youth and women.
Last month the Government issued an order restraining travel agents from selling Air tickets advising travelers to instead deal directly with Airlines.
According to the travel Agents the decision was not in good faith because time to time travel agents have been known to be dealing in travel tickets as one of their day to day business.
Kakooza adds that by the closure of the financial year 2017/2018 the air ticketing agents have managed to contribute UGX 5 billion in Pay as you earn (PAYE) a corporation tax to the Government.
Kakooza insists that government risks to loose UGX 3 billion and 2.5 billion as NSSF remittances from the people employed by the industry.
Kakooza revealed that Government of Uganda owes Travel Agents a debt of 4.5 trillion which accrued as a result of pending debts onto air tickets on government ministries and agencies.
Agents under their umbrella have threatened to sue the Government for the unpaid air tickets which was supplied to various Government Ministries and Agencies.
TUGATA board Advisor Kayondo Everest wonders that despite Uganda being blessed with Mountain Gorillas it’s charging cheaply at 600 dollars compared to its counterparts Rwanda and Congo whose costs goes up to 1500 dollars.
According to Kayondo, its high time Uganda rekindles its airline if we are to meet the standards just like its counterparts who are earning highly out of the Gorillas.