Controversy broke out almost immediately when a local daily newspaper published a report alleging that the government was in the final stages of privatizing the country’s single international airport and concessioning it out to a Chinese consortium, which apparently also consulted for, but not managed, Singapore’s Changi Airport.
However, in the light of past “hot air” investors claiming a multitude of things, few of which later on – upon eventual due diligence or other reviews conducted by sectoral experts or parliament – turned out to be correct, caution and transparency are obviously the main issues here.
Issue was also taken with the fact that apparently no public advertising for the allegedly planned concession has taken place, as would ordinarily be the case under the relevant laws and regulations in place in Uganda. For a project of this scale, international tendering would arguably be the best option, and would deliver the best financial results. Being transparent would also help, rather than holding sessions behind closed doors, which are only bound to raise suspicion and bring about accusations of underhanded deals.
What was apparently most disconcerting for some critics was the fact that the company is on record, through their website (www.cai.sg/portfolio/portfolio.htm#uganda), for having “reviewed the airport’s operations and made recommendations for improvements to the airport” and having “reviewed the Entebbe International Airport Master Plan.”
These reviews are seemingly now ending in recommending themselves as the future airport managers without bidding – a move presumably aimed to shut out competition and get a deal for “peanuts.”