At least 24 employees of the Masindi based Radio Kitara 96.9 FM also known as Masindi Broadcasting Services have lost their jobs after the director decided to shut down its operations on Tuesday, May 31, 2022.
In his communication to the staff on Tuesday morning, the Managing Director who is also a former Senior Presidential Pilot, Maj Gen Mohammed Alifaijo Kiiza, said his decision to shut down the 21-year-old station came as a result of the biting financial crunch.
Some former staff members said Gen Kiiza told them that the financial crisis rendered him unable to pay their monthly emoluments and also meet other operational costs since the station had reached a shutdown point.
Mr Moses Andama, a former news reporter at Radio Kitara, said although the station was closed down, the Managing Director paid each of the former staff 10 months of their remuneration ahead depending on their salary scale.
The former Programme Director, Ms Annette Najjemba, said she has to stand the irreversible decision since the director pronounced his inability of continuing paying them given that the radio was experiencing a financial crisis.
The Radio Kitara ex-station manager, Mr William Rwebembera, confirmed that the radio had for the past three years been operating at a loss.
Asked about the businesses the radio had in form of adverts, the former manager said the former Board of Directors is engaging the clients on the way forward.
When contacted, Gen Kiiza confirmed the closure saying the current economic crisis and lack of business coerced him to shut down the station explaining that it had been operating at an absolute loss for three years which also affected the renewal of the operational licence.
He said the radio had been operating without a transmitter which was contrary to regulations of the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC).
The retired senior army officer revealed that the station transmitter broke down in 2021 and it could not be repaired due to the worsening financial crisis.
Mr Kiiza added that in March and April this year (2022), the radio failed to raise money to pay staff salaries; forcing him to look for other sources to pay them and ultimately close shop.