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Amending the Civil Aviation Act 1991 and what it means for Uganda

Published 3 months ago -


On the 24th of May 2017 the state Minister for the Ministry of Works and Transport Aggrey Bagiire introduced the Amendment bill before Parliament titled the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill 2017. The bill is being reviewed by Physical infrastructure committee of parliament before any amendments can be considered.

The Civil Aviation Authority (Amendment) Bill 2017, Cap 354 seeks to address and make the following changes to the Act of 1991. To re-designate Civil Aviation Authority as the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority; To re-designate the managing director as the director general; To empower the director general to take specific actions without consultation with the Minister; To provide for the establishment of an independent accident and incident investigation unit and for related matters. To directly work with the International Civil Aviation Authority.

uganda-airlines
Uganda-airlines

From the above, the following can be implied to be the intentions of the Civil Aviation Authority Amendment Bill 2017,

The changing of name to Uganda Civil Aviation Authority seems to be a rather fair amendment to nationalize the authority and make it own up to its responsibilities. Secondly renaming the managing director to Director General appears at the face of it that the Civil Aviation Authority is trying to separate its self from being under the control and armpit of the Ministry of works and transport.

According to Richard Miller Bird, Milka Casanegra in their book ‘’Improving Tax Administration in Developing Countries, Volume 19’’ one of the ways to create independence, self-reliant and strengthen oversights is to create an independent role outside the exiting positions just like Museveni did when he appointed a Kampala Chief Executive Officer.

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Thirdly, empowering of the then will be director general to make specific actions without consulting the Minister for works tends to give the same more authority which will in most case be unchecked. According to Aristotle, checks and balances are very vital in any system if it is to succeed and also ensure fair and balanced system and minimizes shortcomings.

In addition, creation of an independent investigation unit will make and allow for proper, quick and timely investigations, after all separation of powers is key for any institution to perform to its best as according to Gramling, Audrey In their journal “Addressing Problems with the Segregation of Duties in Smaller Companies.” CPA Journal 80.7 (2010).

However, it also leaves room for uncontrolled and unmonitored actions that may interfere with the progress and performance of other functioning bodies. But also this will lead and increase in administrative costs yet resources are limited.

In conclusion, the amendment of the CAA bill seems to be a very fundamental step, because it seeks to incorporate the standards set by the International Civil Aviation Authority, to include but not limited to proper management by setting new duties for the Director General and also setting a different investigation body for accidents which will allow for proper and efficient investigation strategies.

While at the same time allowing the Authority to continue with its core objective  a dead rats odor is looming behind the objective of the Bill most especially when it comes to oversight and monitoring of the body.

This is because the bill attempts to dissect the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority from having to directly report to Ministry of works and Transport in addition to giving the Director General the power to make decision consulting the Minister for Works and Transport.

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Background

on 8th February 1991, the Civil Aviation Act was enacted, which establishes the Authority responsible for air craft maintenance, register, approval and regulation to be the Civil Aviation Authority. The Act also names the highest individual in the Authority to be referred to as Managing director. The Act limits the actions of the Managing Director to the extent that these specific actions are approved and endorsed by the Minister of Works and Transport.

As per the Act, the Civil Aviation Authority is under the supervision and Authority of the Ministry of Works and Transport. Furthermore, the law provides that accident and investigations shall be investigated and assessed by the Authority its self.

The Civil Aviation Act 1991 is law that Establishes the Civil Aviation Authority, a statutory body responsible for maintenance of aircraft registry and oversees the approval and regulation of civil aviation. Civil Aviation is one of two major categories of flying, representing all non-military aviation, both private and commercial subject to the standards set, monitored and governed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). ICAO is an agency of the United Nations.

It established the Treaty which was formulated during the International  Civil  Aviation  meeting  held  in  Chicago  in  1944 during the convention on  the  International Civil  Aviation. This Convention is also known as the Chicago Convention to which Uganda is a signatory.

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