Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe has expressed disappointment over the importation of graduation gowns from China.
On Wednesday, URN broke a story quoting Makerere University officials confirm that they had secured 7,000 out of the more than 13,000 gowns required for the 70th graduation ceremonies scheduled for next week.
Sources disclosed to URN that the gowns had just arrived from China, which explained their delayed issuance to students.
The news triggered an outburst on social media with some people questioning whether the country lacks capacity to produce gowns locally.
This morning, Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, said they are equally concerned by the contractor decided to import the gowns instead of supporting the local economy.
“Of course this is going to be addressed by Council. Council is the overall governing body it is going to ask questions why did it happen like this? And once council address that we will inform you,” Professor Nawangwe said.
Nawangwe had initially said they were expecting gowns from Team Uniform Limited, the sole supplier of the patented Makerere University Graduation gowns.
“Where he makes them, how he makes them provided he makes them to the desired standards and specifications that we have given him that is what is important,” Professor Nawangwe.
He however argues that as a public institution, they are bothered that the local producers were edged out by the supplier.
Upon arrival of the first consignment of the gowns, Alfred Masikye Namoah, the Makerere University Academic Registrar instructed all College and School Registrars to report to the central stores to collect the gowns for the graduands in their respective colleges.
The distribution of the gowns kicked off this morning in various units of the institution. Our reporter visited the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES and College of Education and External Studies (CEES) where the distribution was already taking place, amidst scuffles and congestion.
By 1:00PM, there was no sign of distribution of gowns at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS). Prospective graduands were seen walking from corner to corner of the faculty of arts building.
In 2018, Makerere University imposed a mandatory fee of Shillings 98,000 on each student for a patented Gown. Unlike in previous years, students are expected to only use the exclusive Makerere University Graduation gown.
Nawangwe blames the late distribution of the gowns to the late supply by the contractor who he says demanded for advance payment, which wasn’t done in time.