A number of key government agencies have developed draft guidelines that will govern the use of remotely piloted aircraft systems also known as drones in the country. The agencies include Civil Aviation Authority Uganda (CAAU), the Uganda Communications Commission, Uganda Police, Uganda People’s Defence Forces, Uganda Revenue Authority and a few other agencies last week held a public workshop to sensitise members of the public on the new guidelines.
During a workshop held at Mestil Hotel in Kampala, key representatives of the government bodies met to deliberate on the regulations but also obtain feedback on how best to ensure utilization without inflicting harm to society.
Addressing the drones’ sensitization workshop, Eng. Ronnie Barongo, the CAA Director for Safety, Security and Economic Regulation revealed that the regulations are still in draft form and stakeholders are to be sensitised and exchange feedback.
The workshop come in the wake of the increase in the number of drones that are being imported into the country and being used, especially for purposes of photography.
Police says that there are now 312 drones registered in 2018/2019 up from just130 that were registered in 2017/2018. It was also revealed that out of the 442 drones Uganda Revenue Authority cleared, only 191 have been authorised to operate with the rest either operating illegally or unused at all.
Joseph Bogere, an official from UCC revealed that many individuals are using drones for fake applications but they are trying to see how to harmonise spectrum for drones.
He also urged drone users/ importers to first certify the systems with Civil Aviation and get approval by UCC before use.
“UCC is looking at how to recognise the increasing use and demand for various applications and services. Our concern is to ensure those harmonised spectrum are available for unmanned aircraft systems.
Maj. David Risoke from UPDF urged drone users to first check laws in place before using them for both commercial and personal purposes.
He further observed that the regulatory measures are aimed at increasing security because drones if they fall in wrong the hands, can be used to carry explosives, chemicals, radiological or biological hazards using their Global Positioning System (GPS) technology.
Although drones are a recent phenomenon, especially in Uganda they have been in existence for more than a decade but mostly used by the military.