Associated Websites





Product & Services


2nd -10th October 2013

"National Focal Point for Export Development"

The Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UNCCI) 

Uganda Wildlife Authority

African Trade Insurance Agency
A multilingual financial institution providing export credit insuarance, political risk insuarance and investments. 

The National Social Security Fund (NSSF)

43,626 visitors and 87,252 pages viewed since 9 July 2013 (incl. Qmag) - source: Google Analytic

                                                                                    see Media for the source

UTB: Tourism earns economy Shs7.3b
The Tourism Sector Performance Report indicate that tourism continues to be a pillar of Uganda’s economy, contributing nearly Shs7.3b to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the financial year. This translates into 9 per cent of the country’s GDP. This was an increase from Shs6.3b.Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) chief executive officer, Mr Stephen Asiimwe, attributed the growth to increased interest in Uganda’s tourist destinations.“Many people are coming for leisure but the rise is also a result of increased investments. The government has invested in infrastructure whereas private sector has put up more hotels,” he said. Read more
Governor Bank of Uganda Mutebile: What Crane Bank takeover means
The suspension of Crane Bank top management by the Central Bank will have no bearing on the daily operations of Uganda’s fourth largest bank by assets.Crane Bank, Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, the governor Bank of Uganda (BoU) said, was “a significantly undercapitalised institution” but they (BoU) had appointed a statutory manager who would continue running the affairs of the lender without interruptions.The Central Bank revised the minimum capital requirement to Shs25b, below which any bank cannot be allowed to continue operating.“Crane Bank will remain open and its operations will continue normally, under the management and control of Bank of Uganda,” Mutebile said in a statement issued after the takeover. Read more
African economy to rebound in 2017: development bank
Africa's economic growth is expected to dip before rebounding  to remain the world's second fastest growing region after east Asia, the African Development Bank said.Africa's growth in Gross Domestic Product is expected to fall to 1.9 percent this year from 3.6 percent, but it will rebound to 3.2 percent next year, the bank said in its economic outlook report for the continent. The rebound is expected on the back of a "recovery in the world economy and a gradual rise in commodity prices", said Abdul Kamara, Sudan representative of the bank, presenting the report in Khartoum.Despite the slowing growth rate, the continent remained resilient."In countries where weather conditions were favourable, agriculture boosted growth, but drought or floods slowed down growth in countries in east and southern Africa," the bank said in a statement."In resource-rich countries, growth slowed down as lower commodity prices strained government budgets and affected investment." Read more
Mr Phrase Lubega, the general manager, Mobile Financial Services: Shs1b loaned through mobile phones
The mobile micro-lending and saving platform, MoKash, has been adding an average of 15,000 customers per day, reaching 920,000 over the period. Launched and operated by MTN Uganda and the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA), MoKash allows mobile phone owners to save and apply for micro-loans. This is the first platform operated by both a telecom company and bank that could carry out the function of a commercial bank.“The biggest contributor is that the service is affordable, extremely simple and convenient to use with all transactions being completed in a matter of seconds.To access the service, a customer does not go through a protracted registration and verification process or need to visit a banking hall to sign various documents,” Mr Phrase Lubega, the general manager, Mobile Financial Services, told Daily Monitor in an interview.Read more
Secretary to the Treasury, Mr Keith Muhakanizi: Shilling strengthens against the dollar as PTA loan comes
The Uganda Shilling has started recovering from some of its losses and experts predict further gain after the long awaited PTA Bank loan comes through.In a bid to support the struggling Shilling, government embarked on the process of securing a $200 million (Shs690 billion) from the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank, known as PTA Bank.In an interview with Daily Monitor the Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Treasury, Mr Keith Muhakanizi, confirmed Parliament’s clearance of the PTA loan after Cabinet’s earlier approval.Read more
Finance Minister Matia Kasaija: World Bank faults Uganda over low loan absorption
Development partners are concerned about the delayed utilization of money borrowed, says finance minister Matia Kasaija. The World Bank has raised concern over the Ugandan government's low absorption rate of loans.Talking about the negotiations he had with the World Bank, finance minister Matia Kasaija said that the development partners are greatly concerned about the delayed utilization of money borrowed.“Their biggest concern is low absorption for loans," he said when asked. The Word Bank suspended support to Uganda and this has put the implementation of the country’s budget at stake since World Bank is one of the major sources of funds for the country’s budget.In a cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda said Uganda has lost about sh92b due to delayed utilization of borrowed money.Read more
Bank of Uganda reduces CBR to 13 percent
Bank of Uganda (BOU) has reduced the Central Bank Rate (BOU), as it looks to stimulate demand in the economy. In the Monetary Policy Statement issued, Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, the BOU Governor, revealed that the CBR would be reduced from 14 percent to 13 percent; a factor that is expected to contribute to domestic economic growth.“Given that core inflation is the forecast to remain around the medium term target of 5 percent, there is room to support the domestic economic growth momentum especially against the ongoing global economic slowdown. Therefore, the BOU believes that there is scope to ease monetary policy,” Mutebile said in a statement. Read more 
Is Uganda's economy due for another structural adjustment programme?
The suspension of World Bank loans and tedious negotiations government has to do to resolve the impasse brings back to memory the days Uganda had to adopt painful policy and institutional reforms in order to qualify for similar loans and grants. Many still blame the World Bank and her sister institution, the IMF, for the pain of retrenchment of public sector employees, demobilisation of soldiers, scraping of produce monopolies and selling of public corporations like the Uganda Commercial Bank and Uganda Airlines. I have mentioned the last two for a reason. I hear talk of reviving them!While the mode of implementation of the SAPs in terms of speed and lack of management of negative side effects will remain questionable, the intent was justified to a great extent. I know the underlying economics is complex and fit for a Masters level class but, what can one do for an economy whose structure is so distorted and needs to be adjusted? I guess you do just that - structural adjustment. Read more
Crane Bank: Services in all Our 46 branches going on normally
Crane Bank limited has broken the silence on the rumors about its closure and news of the Bank seeking to sell shares to potential investors, an issue that has caused unrest among the Bank’s customers.The issue was escalated by social media messages, especially on Whatsapp which alleged that an insider in the Central Bank of Uganda (BoU) had warned Crane Bank Customers to withdraw their money in a week’s time, a statement which BoU disowned.“It has been brought to our attention that messages have been circulating on whatsapp instructing depositors to withdraw their money from Crane Bank within the next week. We wish to categorically state that these messages were not issued by the Bank of Uganda,” Christine Alupo, Bank of Uganda’s Director Communications said in a statement released.Following the bank statement, several images of people lining up in front of Crane Bank, started making rounds on social media, with claims that those were people lining up to withdraw their money as advised by the “Bank of Uganda Insider.” Read more
Minister Tumwebaze urges Posta Uganda to adjust to new technology
The Minister for ICT and Technology Frank Tumwebaze has advised postal services provider Posta Uganda to adopt fast to new technological trends or face collapse.The minister said that the 65 year old company must adjust its services to the changing digital climate, and only then will it be able to catch up with the speeding technological developments.Posta Uganda which is owned majorly by the Finance Ministry was only known for moving letters in envelops from one point to another, more so in schools and public offices. Indeed, the company still has over 300 offices in different parts of the country.“At my secondary school I used to send letters to my girlfriend using Posta Uganda but now it’s not as necessary as then, because children use technology and the message is transferred very fast  which may take days for Posta to deliver’’While addressing the media at the Uganda Media Center, Minister Tumwebaze urged the leaders of Posta Uganda to introduce transportation services for bigger packages and also track them using for instance GPS technology just like the Uganda Revenue Authority does. Read more
State minister for industry, Michael Werikhe: Cosmetics manufacturers urged to seek regional markets
The state minister for industry, Michael Werikhe, has called upon Ugandan cosmetics manufacturers to seize trade opportunities with in the East Africa region and other global markets, to increase visibility of local brands in global markets.According to Werikhe, this would also multiply Uganda’s export volumes and level the balance of trade, which currently stands at a deficit of more than $3b (5.697 trillion). “These products are globally competitive in quality, but if we do not market them at the global level, we shall continue to lose as government and as individual manufacturers,” he said.This was on the side-lines of his tour of the Radiant cosmetics manufacturers premises at the UMA show grounds, Lugogo. Werikhe noted that Uganda’s economy is heavily dependent on imports and import demand still big, despite the progress made to narrow.“Therefore, if we are to achieve sustainable growth and development and structural transformation in Uganda, we must strengthen our external performance,” he said. He also emphasized the need for trade facilitation for Ugandan SMEs, noting that majority collapse due to skilling and market gaps. Read more
Busoga coffee farmers to negotiate own prices
Busoga Kingdom has secured a lucrative market for coffee farmers in the sub-region, Daily Monitor can reveal. The deal struck with German company Neumann Kaffee Gruppe (NKG), one of the world’s leading players in the coffee value chain, will eliminate the middle man from the picture, leaving the farmers to directly negotiate for what is due to them as opposed to what is meant for them. Busoga Kingdom Prime Minister, Mr Joseph Muvawala revealed the deal, saying the reward that will be accrued from this move will be far better than the proceeds gotten out of sugarcane growing in the region.Read more
BoU Assures Customers: Crane Bank is Safe
Bank of Uganda has come out to assure Crane Bank customers about the safety of their money following news of the Bank seeking to sell shares to strategic private investors, an issue that has caused discomfort among the Bank’s customers.The intervention comes amid panic amongst Crane Bank customers in response to rumors that have been circulating over social media, suggesting that the central bank instructed depositors to withdraw their money .“It has been brought to our attention that messages have been circulating on whatsapp instructing depositors to withdraw their money from Crane Bank. We wish to categorically state that these messages were not issued by the Bank of Uganda,” Christine Alupo, Bank of Uganda’s Director Communications said in a statement.She confirmed that they had received several enquiries about Crane Bank, which is one of 25 commercial banks licensed and supervised by the Central Bank.Read more
UMA: Manufacturers welcome Museveni pledge to lower power tariffs
Manufacturers have welcomed President Museveni’s promise to lower electricity tariffs to boost local production for export and create employment. While opening the 24th International Trade Show at the Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) showground in Lugogo, Kampala, President Museveni promised to lower electricity tariffs from $11 cents to $5 cents. “Power from Nalubale Power Station is $1 cent while Bujagali Power Station is $11 cents. I negotiated with Bujagali owners when I was in New York and they have agreed to bring it down to $7 cents. But through my own tricks, I will bring it down to $5 cents,” the President said. Mr Museveni, however, warned that “this tariff is only for manufactures and maybe people in the hotel industry and not for preachers at night, Nsenene (grasshoppers) hunters and dancers in night clubs.”He didn’t set timelines on when the new tariffs would take effect. Read more
Chief executive officer, Mr Ibrahim Kaddunabbi IRA: Insurance Authority to return security deposits
Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) has issued an ultimatum to insurance companies and brokers that ceased operations to apply for withdrawal of their security deposits or risk losing their money. 36 firms will benefit from this gesture.“We gave them a deadline that if they do not pick that money, they cannot come out and claim for that money,” communications officer IRA Ms Mariam Nalunkuuma said in an interview on .This follows a statement issued by chief executive officer, Mr Ibrahim Kaddunabbi that read, in part, “The authority informs the unlicensed insurance players who have ceased operations and have not yet applied for the withdrawal of their security deposits to submit the information here below.” Read more
Prof. Mwambutsya Ndebesa: ‘Foreign investments, trade agreements stifling growth of Ugandan businesses’
Campaigners have asked government to revisit the trade and investment agreements between Uganda and other countries which they say favor foreign investment at the expense of local businesses.They are advocating for fast-tracking of the Investment Code to ensure that such agreements benefit Uganda as much as they do good to the other parties.During a stakeholder meeting organized by Southern and Eastern African Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI Uganda) in Kampala, Prof. Mwambutsya Ndebesa said the disadvantages of foreign direct investments in Uganda outweigh the benefits.The most predominant of all he said is capital repatriation which is a creation of the move by government to liberalize the economy.“While we encourage foreign investment, we don’t see technology transfer, research development; job creation and knowledge spill-over to the local Ugandans. Our trade deficit is very high and our saving rate to GDP stands at 10 percent to GDP,” Prof. Ndebesa said. Read more
UNBS: Government releases new oil standards
As Uganda approaches the oil production phase, the government has issued standards that sector players will be required to adhere to.Uganda, which imports all petroleum products, will by a 2020 official projection start oil production that will see it exporting crude oil or refined products that will have to adhere to international standards. The 195 standards are expected to be adhered to by suppliers, exploration companies, oil companies, the oil refinery and distributors of refined products.“Uganda imports all its petroleum products requirements from overseas. In order to guide the importation of products and foster local production of petroleum, there was a need to develop a wide range of standards for the petroleum sector,” said Ms Patricia Ejalu, the deputy executive director Technical Operations at the Uganda National Bureau of Standard (UNBS) at the launch. Read more
President Museveni directs on locally produced goods
Government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) should begin procuring locally made products, President Museveni has directed.Despite private sector cries for years to have the government procure locally made goods, there has been a preference for foreign manufactured goods over locally made products by the government MDAs.This according to the private sector leadership in the country explains why the nascent manufacturing sector is not as vibrant as it is should be.Speaking at the 54th Independence Celebration held in Luuka, Busoga sub-region, President Museveni who also ordered that the uniforms for men and women in the army and police be made here instead of being imported as it is the case, said it is time the country stopped donating jobs to other economies. Read more
MGLSD: Gov’t pledges increased support for youth apprenticeship
 The government has pledged to further support youths under different apprenticeship programmes in order to bridge the employability gaps.Meantime, the government has urged all stakeholders to prioritize hands-on training to promote the culture of setting up different business modules.Kyateka Mondo, the commissioner for youth affairs at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, said: "Investing in the young people creates a good precedent of developing a nation because these youths can create opportunities for fellow youths."This was during a graduation ceremony of 300 youths under the Youth Engaged Programme (YEP) in Kawempe.The YEP programme is facilitated by Century Entrepreneurship Development Agency (CEDA) International.Read more
Why NSSF interest to members fell to 12.3%
NSSF’s investment returns were almost a replica of the weak economies within East Africa. This translated into a 12.3 per cent interest for members on their account balances, down from 13 per cent. The lower returns on some investments saw the after-tax profit of the Fund decline to Shs491b from Shs641b.This was reflected in the plunging of the stock markets in the entire East Africa that led to a drop in the value of shares that NSSF held. The regional markets were specifically under pressure from investors who had been pulling back to investments in markets such as Uganda because of the decision made in Washington. Read more
Kyambadde urges new export board to narrow deficit
Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde has commissioned a new 12-member team to head Uganda Export Promotion Board (UEPB) with a task of increasing the country’s exports.While handing over the mantle to Mr Nimrod Waniala Nakisisa, the new UEPB chairman, in Kampala, Ms Kyambadde said: “As a board, you ensure efficient and full service delivery to export Uganda to a middle income country.”Ms Kyambadde urged the members to ensure that the country’s exports growth helps to narrow the trade deficit.Whereas total exports grew by an annual average of 13.8 per cent, the country’s trade deficit was widening at an annual average of 9.98 per cent over the same period.The trade deficit is not on account of declining exports but rather fast growing import demand.Read more
MSH: Government to take over NHCC
The government has decided to take over total ownership of the National Housing and Construction Company to ensure adequate provision of low cost houses to public servants.The revelation was made by Mr Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister of State for Housing while presenting a statement on the International Habitat Day in Parliament.National Housing and Construction Company was fully owned but now 51 per cent is owned by Uganda and 49 per cent by Libya….we have taken a decision to acquire 100 per cent of shares,” Mr Baryomunsi said.He said government intends to recapitalise the Housing Finance Bank to offer low interest loans to public servants to acquire mortgages.This, Mr Baryomunsi said, would be spearheaded by a Shs30 billion revolving fund. “One of the challenges we have in the housings sector is lack of long-term credit which is affordable and sustainable,” he said.Read more
Museveni brands imported product users foolish
President Yoweri Museveni has said Ugandans are only stupid when they lament about the rising levels of unemployment in the country yet on the other hand continue buying Chinese products at the expense of the locally made ones.Speaking during the launch of Muyoka Sacco at Mengo Secondary School in Kampala on Saturday afternoon, Museveni said Uganda is a blessed country with a lot of resources which can be put to use to solve the unemployment problem, but said people are lazy to tap in this chance.The President checks some of the products made by the Muyoka Sacco members The President checks out some of the products made by the Muyoka Sacco members“Why should we continue crying over unemployment yet we continue buying products like shoes from China and Italy. We have over 14 million cattle in Uganda and these can provide skins to be used in the making of shoes here in Uganda,” Museveni urged.“Why should you go to Dubai to buy furniture when we can make our own here? How can a desert country continue selling us furniture when we have our own forests? We need to wake up and start making our own products.” Read more
President Museveni: URA tasked to increase revenue to Shs34 trillion
President Museveni has asked Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to increase the tax to GDP ratio to at least 20 per cent by 2020. This means the tax body would have to increase its collections from Shs11.2 trillion to Shs34 trillion. URA’s revenue collections are at 12.78 per cent, the lowest in the region. This is also lower than the regional sub-Saharan Africa average of 18 per cent. Mr Museveni challenged URA to tap into the informal sector to widen the tax base. He also said they would convert the 68 per cent households involved in subsistence farming to commercial farming as a way of broadening the tax base.“Although this figure is still low, one of the lowest in the region, efforts are being made to enhance the capacity of URA to widen the tax base to increase revenue collections from areas that are untaxed like the informal sector,” he said in a speech delivered by Mr Ruhakana Rugunda, the Prime Minister. Read more 
Mr Wilbrod Humphrey Owor, the executive director UBA: Banks start drive to reduce overhead costs
Commercial banks under their umbrella organisation, Uganda Bankers Association (UBA), have started a series of consultative meetings with various stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the high cost of credit in Uganda. During a presentation to MPs on Monday, Mr Wilbrod Humphrey Owor, the executive director UBA, said banks were undertaking collaborative projects that involve shared technology platforms to reduce the cost of delivery of services and increase their outreach.“In order to promote financial inclusion and bring the informal sector into the financial system, the banks plan to approach agency banking via a shared inter operable platform for all banks and also between mobile network operators MNOs and capture all e-wallet transactions in the banking system through which monetary policy can be transmitted,” Mr Owor said. Read more
Museveni opens the 24th International Trade Fair at UMA show grounds
President Museveni has officially opened this year's international trade fair that kicked off on the 3rd of this month ending 10th October.He called on manufactures to be more creative and innovative so as to find market for their products both in regional and international markets.The fair under the theme "Empowering Women Parity in Manufacturing" is aimed at drawing the attention to the under representation of women in manufacturing.A total of 1350 exhibitors are taking part in this year's exhibition, with a special section for agribusiness exhibition and more than 240,000 visitors are expected to attend.Doris Kaiyura, a farmer is exhibiting a unique security item in form or birds like the geese. These are birds in the duck family,In the agriculture section, Greening environment technologies a private company promoting fruit tree growing is selling a variety of fruit tree seedlings.This is aimed at making it easy for people to access quality seedlings so as to increase fruit growing for health living and income generation.Read more
UN: Inequality increasing climate impact on poor people - report
Climate change is taking its largest toll on the world's poor, aggravating existing inequalities, a new report launched by the United Nations has found.The report, titled Climate Change Resilience - an Opportunity for Reducing Inequalities, found that governments can play a significant role in reducing the risks faced by the most vulnerable.Climate change is blamed for extreme weather conditions across the world. The report suggests that governments have been negligent by not closing the gap between the rich and poor, putting their own people in harm's way."While there is considerable anecdotal evidence that the poor and the vulnerable suffer greater harm from climate-related disasters, the report determined that much of the harm is not by accident, but that it is due to the failure of governments to close the development gaps that leave large population groups at risk," the report states. Read more
Slow Food International: Ugandan food crops showcased at Italy show
More than 7,000 farmers from 143 countries were in the Italian city of Turin, for an international exhibition--Terra Madre Salone del Gusto--organised by Slow Food International.They displayed their cultural foods as well as how the crops and animal products are prepared.Uganda, as one of the participating nations, is gifted with a wide variety of food crops. But many of them are little known and face extinction due to a shift by farmers to grow crops that are more demanded by traders seeking satisfy foreign markets.For instance, by promoting the "rolex chapatti", we encourage the farmers to grow more wheat, which originated from foreign lands.Yet we are gifted with indigenous food crops, edible insects, fish species, local mushrooms, and some animals and herbs that would give a visitor an idea about the Ugandan cuisine. Read more
Roger Sekazira, the chief executive officer of Roke Telecom: Internet providers divided over licenses to new players
With numbers of internet service providers (ISP) and mobile network operators (MNO) increasing, some companies are feeling the pressure from the competition and have come out openly to ask the Uganda Communications Commission to stop issuing out new licenses.Roger Sekazira, the chief executive officer of Roke Telecom, the company that partnered Google to offer cheaper internet services in Kampala and some surrounding areas, said the sector was growing but had been monopolized by a few players, leaving other smaller players struggling to survive."We know that the numbers of smartphone users are increasing, but the internet penetration is only at 37 per cent. We know that there are many companies that have not grown because of competition," he said.Sekazira added: "What we are asking is that the regulator (UCC) reduces the number of players; government should consolidate what already exists other than giving new licenses if we are to grow." He made this call while addressing different telecom companies and internet service providers at the Capacity Africa 2016 conference held in Kampala. Read more

Mr James Makumbi, the chairman of ICT Association of Uganda: Startup firms tipped on sustainability
Experts in the ICT (Information Communication Technology) industry have appealed to startups to create sustainable businesses instead of relying on grants and donor funds. Although there is potential for social impact among Uganda’s innovations, the local start-up scene struggles to remain sustainable.“A lot of Ugandan startups are companies that run on free money, but we are looking for people who can sustain themselves and keep attracting that funding,” Mr James Makumbi, the chairman of ICT Association of Uganda, said during the Seedstars World competition for business startups in Kampala.Mr Makumbi also said innovators need to think beyond their ideas and businesses to provide solutions that are not only relevant to local problems, but also solutions that work within Uganda’s technological infrastructure Read more.
MFPED: Gov’t sign EUR 75M grant with Germany for electricity transmission 
Government through the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development has signed a bilateral financial cooperation agreement with the Federal Republic of Germany.The cooperation agreement covers two projects that government of Uganda intends to carry out in the Energy sector. These include; Mbale- Bulambuli Transmission Line up to EUR 40 Million and Mbarara- Masala Transmission Line up to EUR 35 Million.Government was represented by the State Minister for Finance, David Bahati and the Germany Ambassador, Peter Glomeyers signed at the Ministry Headquarters.“The Agreement we have signed covers two projects in Energy, these projects are in line with government priorities and objectives as laid out in the NDP II,” said Bahati.“One of the objectives under the Energy sector is to expand the electricity transmission lines to evacuate power from generation plants; this is what the two projects are set to achieve,” Bahati observed.Bahati has appealed to the Ministry of Energy and UETCL who are the implementers of the projects to speed up preparatory work including compensation of people affected by the projects to ensure that the projects take off in earnest.Read more
UWONET: Government urged to prioritize sustainable business projects 
The government has been urged to ensure strict monitoring of projects to promote sustainable livelihoods among Ugandan women. The government was also tipped to refrain from dispatching financial support without monitoring to encourage more investment options.Rita Aciro, executive director at Uganda Women's Network (UWONET) said this in an exclusive Interview with New Vision in her office in Kampala. Aciro observed that what is key in addressing issues of women is encouraging them embrace projects that can contribute to both the community and their well-being.Home Business Government urged to prioritize sustainable business projects No queuing at this year's international trade... Previous Story Image Image UMA in fact-finding mission for the Production... Next Story Government urged to prioritize sustainable business projects. Read more
Ugandans asked to exploit S. Africa trade opportunities
The former Finance minister has urged Ugandans to maximise trade opportunities with their South African counterparts to benefit from their trade associations.Ms Maria Kiwanuka highlighted five areas of investment that Ugandans can benefit from by trading with the South Africans.The areas, which range from distribution, agri-business, manufacturing, financial sector and niche tourism, among others, will improve the economy through employment and foreign direct investments.“As South African businesses, you are all about having a sustainable and profitable business whereas for us Ugandan businesses and government, we are about having an economic sector that is affordable and relevant to our aspirations,” Ms Kiwanuka told a forum for South African businesses in Uganda.South African businesses in Uganda dominate the key sectors of finance, electricity generation, tourism and retail among others. Read more
Implications of the World Bank loan suspension
Ugandan government officials are engaged in shuttle diplomacy to have the World Bank’s suspension on new lending lifted. Troubled by the potential implications, the scampering of the government is visible as projects in agriculture, health and infrastructure could stall due to the suspension. The World Bank noted that it had put on hold new loans because of low absorption capacity and poor administration of the government on funded projects.The estimation is that about 80 per cent of the funds remain un-utilised by the Uganda government, bringing into question their capacity. The $1.5b (Shs5 trillion) that the World Bank has decided to suspend would have been to finance several projects, allowing the government to use its own generated funds for other purposes. The government is already concerned and, has a task of convincing the Washington-based lender on why the suspension should be lifted.Read more
UNBS: Why supermarkets in Uganda should meet quality marks
Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) awarded Nakumatt (U) Ltd’s chain of Supermarkets an international quality mark: International Standards Organisation (ISO) 9001-2008 certified. The standards body claims Nakumatt met customer, statutory and regulatory requirements applicable at both international and national level before it was awarded the ISO 9001-2008 certification.This means Nakumatt is the only retail supermarket in Uganda that has achieved this certification whose scope covers the retailing of household and consumer goods in Uganda.The ISO 9001:2008 is a written standard that defines the basic elements of a quality management system that organisations should adopt to ensure that their services meet or exceed customers’ expectations. Read more
MLHUD: Lands ministry looking for investors in housing sector
The ministry of lands housing and urban development has launched a search for investors in the housing sector to provide cheap but decent houses. This is one of the alternatives of helping Ugandans access decent accommodation at affordable rates, since many cannot afford the rates offered by National Housing and Construction Company.At National housing, a three bedroomed house goes for about sh300 million which majority of Ugandans cannot afford, according to minister of state for housing, Dr.Chris Baryomunsi."As government plans for the army, policemen, teachers, the rest can benefit if more investors are attracted into the country to invest in such sectors," said Baryomunsi. The other alternative according to the minister is to reduce taxes on construction materials like, cement, roofings and floor tiles, iron sheets, iron bars among others to bring their costs for all to afford."I have interfaced with some investors from Brazil with latest technologies in housing who are willing to come and talks are continuing with others in Europe among other countries," said Baryomunsi. The other option which government is pursuing is the creation of a fund for credit in Housing Finance Bank to offer credit at low interest rates compared to the rate of 23%.Read more
‘Capping interest rates isn’t the answer’
Banks are the intermediary, or go-between, in Uganda’s financial system. They perform this role by carrying out three main functions. First, banks are institutions where people can deposit their savings and in return, earn interest on these savings. Secondly, banks are responsible for the payments system which we all rely on to pay salaries, pay bills, to trade and do business. Thirdly, banks issue loans to the general public. As of The total amount of money lent out by banks in Uganda to the general public was Shs11 trillion. That is the equivalent of about 15 per cent of the country’s total Gross Domestic Product.Read more
URSB: Register trademarks, local enterprises advised
Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) has urged Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to register their trademarks in order to protect their businesses.A trademark is a sign used to distinguish the goods and services offered by one enterprise from those of another. By its nature, it should be distinctive and not mislead clients.It may consist of any word, symbol, design, slogan, logo, sound, smell, colour, label, name, signature, letter or number.“It helps to protect your business against counterfeits. If you have a registered trademark and you raise a complaint, we can get the enforcement unit to confiscate the counterfeit because they are usually cheaper and this spoils your business,” Ms Jane Okot, the URSB deputy registrar general, said during a sensitisation workshop for SMEs in Kampala.Establishing a trademark compels business owners to create quality products that boost loyalty from customers. Read more
Investors reject two-year licence for free zone areas
Investors looking to establish facilities in Uganda’s free zones have raised concerns over the licensing regime being proposed by the government.The Uganda Free Zones Authority (UFZA) had proposed that an investor will be required to have a licence renewal after every two years. An investor can apply for developers, operator or managers licence.However, investors attending the free zones forum said this was a short period that would not attract investment.“The two-year period of licence renewal does not work in favour of the investor. If after every two years I have to walk to the authority to get a licence renewed, then it defeats the essence of a free zone,” Ms Florence Kata, the managing director of Canaan Flower Farms Uganda, said.Read more
NITA: Government launches free internet service in Kampala
Kampala city dwellers are to start enjoying free internet access.The ministry of Information, ICT and Communication and the National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA U) commence the trial run in Kampala’s central business district and parts of Entebbe.Mr Frank Tumwebaze, the Information, ICT and Communication minister, who announced the development at Media Centre in Kampala, said: “We will be providing free Wi-Fi services between 6pm and 6 am on weekdays, and at the weekends. Wi-Fi will be free from Saturday 3pm through to Monday 6 am.” Mr Tumwebaze added.He said free Wi-Fi services will be offered at the Kampala Capital City Authority Street Carnival on Sunday where revellers will enjoy the service throughout the day. Read more
UBOS: Construction Inputs’ Prices Soar
The prices of inputs for the whole construction sector which includes material prices, wage rates and equipment hire rates have gone up by 2.2 percent.Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) Executive Director Paul Mungyereza attributed this to an increase of 1.0 percent in input prices of non-residential buildings.He further cited an increase of 15.5 percent in prices for inputs of residential buildings.The inputs in the construction sector that make a greater proportion of the construction costs include timber, PVC/HDE Pipes, water tanks, burnt clay bricks, tiles, cement, concrete articles, steel bars, roofing sheets and electric materials.Others are aggregate, lime, diesel, bitumen, labour and equipment hire.Economists say high prices of construction materials have multiplier effects on the industry as they lead to fluctuation in construction costs and the eventual abandonment of projects.Other implications are completion at the expense of other projects, delay in progress of project works, loss of employment, other valuable projects not being commissioned and poor workmanship as a result of the use of low-quality local materials.Mungyereza spoke at a press briefing in Kampala while unveiling the Producer Price Manufacturing Index and Construction Sector Indices. Read more
NSSF take over of Uganda Clays hits snag
The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) conversion of debt-to-equity in Uganda Clays may take longer than expected after the Fund revealed it needs another investor to come on board.It has been about two years since NSSF made the decision to convert about a Shs20 billion debt owed by UCL to more shares in the clay products manufacturer. The conversion would have seen NSSF increase its stake in UCL from 32.5 per cent to about 65 per cent.“Unfortunately, if we were to convert our debt into equity because we have seen the valuations, NSSF’s holding in UCL would exceed 49 per cent. Unfortunately, 49 per cent is the threshold that we cannot exceed on a company. What we are doing is trying to look for a co-investor. We have had some targets of co-investors,” Mr Richard Byarugaba, the NSSF managing director, told reporters. Read more
Museveni appeals World Bank over loans, sends delegation to plead
President Museveni has written to the World Bank (WB) promising that his government is addressing the structural gaps and other loopholes that compelled the bank early this month to announce withholding of more than $1.5b (Shs5 trillion) in new lending until further notice.The President’s letter to WB, also copied to senior officials in the Ministry of Finance, is part of efforts by government to salvage the loans and save many projects whose failure could have wide economic and political ramifications.The secretary to the treasury, Mr Keith Muhakanizi, confirmed that the President has engaged the WB to resolve the issue.Read more
COMESA to discuss business visa
COMESA has invited representatives of the private sector associations, immigration experts and diplomatic community from the member countries for a two-day consultative dialogue on new measures to facilitate movement of business persons in the region.The COMESA Business Council Consultative Dialogue on the Movement of Business Persons will take place in Lusaka, Zambia today and tomorrow. Its main objective is to review and validate the proposed COMESA Business Visa.Anchored on the theme, "Facilitating the movement of business persons, trade and regional integration" the dialogue will enhance deliberations between the private sector and governments on pertinent migration issues to ensure that the existing policies contribute to increase trade, tourism flows, and business engagement in the region.Sandra Uwera, the CEO of the COMESA Business Council (CBC) observed that despite business persons being the engine of trade and regional integration, the frameworks for their movement have not been facilitative enough to embrace them."The proposed COMESA Business Visa; a novel concept in the region, will be an answer to facilitating and expediting the movement of business persons in the COMESA region as well as increase trade and integration," Uwera said. "The common visa and multiple entry scheme will be a welcome instrument that will spur business and regional integration." Read more
NSSF net profit drops by Shs156b
The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) members are likely to get a lower-interest return on their savings after the Fund posted a drop in net profit for the financial year due to a myriad of factors.The weak economy, sluggish performance of East African stock markets, depreciation of the Uganda Shilling and election cycle influenced NSSF’s reduced income and profitability.During a press conference, the Fund declared after tax profit of Shs491b down from Shs647b mostly due to a drop in unrealised income because of the fall in the value of shares held in companies. It is from the after tax profit that members are paid and interest is determined. Unrealised income is a profitable position that has yet to be sold in return for cash, such as a stock position that has increased in capital gains but still remains open. Read more
PPDA amending procurement law
The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Asset Authority (PPDA) are in the process of amending the procurement laws in order to create efficiency in the procurement process.Moses Ojambo, the PPDA Director in charge of Capacity Building and Advisory Services said the amended law would focus much on issues intended to minimize forgeries, fight corruption and reduce time wastage in the procurement and tendering process.He noted that PPDA body has been facing challenges including long bidding periods, corruption in the bidding process, forgeries by service providers, time wastage during evaluations leading to poor service delivery.He added that to fight forging of bid securities by companies, the amended law will replace bid securities with what he called Bid Securing Declaration.  “Companies that were formed  forge documents to portray them as having been formed long time ago,” he saidHe was addressing journalists at the sidelines of a one day consultative meeting organized for procurement officers from northern and eastern regional local governments in Lira, northern Uganda. “Because we have challenges in the bidding period which is so long leading to inefficiency, we are going to create changes that will limit time to advertise for bid opportunities from 20 to 15 working days, then from 30 to 20 working days. Read more
UNBS: Governments develops standards for petroleum sector 
The standards will be launched in Kampala, according to communication by UNBS to stakeholders.“In order to ensure compliance in the production of oil and gas in Uganda and also provide for quality assurance in the importation of petroleum products into the country, there was need to develop a wide range of standards for the petroleum sector.” the communication signed by Deputy Executive director Technical, Patricia Ejalu said.This, she said, was to “enable Uganda petroleum products to meet the local and international markets requirements and thus assuring market access.”Standards provide detailed characteristics of processes, products and services which may not be included in the law or regulations.“Standards play a vital role in streamlining and regulating the petroleum industry,” Ejalu explained. Cabinet approved the National Oil and Gas Policy for Uganda to guide the development of the country’s oil and gas sector. Read more
High lending rates: Government should intervene in failed market, BOU
The cost of money has been blamed for the very high interest rates in Uganda. However, an analysis on the actual cost of money incurred by banks and the spread seem to be telling a different story.According to the Annual published supervision report by Bank of Uganda (BoU), the cost of money (Interest expense)was only 12 per cent of the banks’ gross interest income and 11 per cent, implying that the rest (about 90 per cent) was funded by the interest free deposits. The report further confirms that 88.1 per cent of bank funding in Uganda is from deposits, begging the question whether the Central Bank Rate (CBR) has a notable influence in determining interest rates. The percentage of interest expense contained in the lending rates was only about 2.89 per cent of the 25 per cent (market) interest rate, 2.66 per cent of 24 per cent and 2.61 per cent of the 23 per cent. This negates the argument that the high interest rates are a derivative of the high cost of money. Read more
Now is the time to revive textile industry
Time has come for Uganda to do whatever it takes to develop her own strong and vibrant textile and clothing industry using our excellent cotton which is being exported 96 per cent and above in raw form. What we are not doing right as a cotton growing country is to continue giving away millions of jobs to outsiders by not adding value to our very good cotton.If the government was serious and implemented the National Textile Policy by creating the National Textile and Clothing Development Authority, this country would be creating 5,000 jobs every year across the value chain i.e. from growing cotton to garment manufacture for school uniforms, bedsheets for internal consumption and exports, etc. Because this country has not seriously implemented the National Textile Policy, textile firms like African Textile MILL in Mbale, Lira Spinning Mill, Mulco Textiles in Jinja, Rayon Textiles in Kawempe etc, have closed and yet the policy had measures and plans to revive these key industries in this country.Read more

NSSF sashes interest rate to members
The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) is looking to slash the earned interest to its savers accounts, to a yet to be announced rate.The unpleasant decision is in reaction to a myriad of setbacks, both national and regional that shocked the Funds’ performance through the Financial Year. NSSF’s Managing Director Mr. Richard Byarugaba made the announcement while speaking the press at the Workers House in Kampala.The MD named some of the reason to the impending cut on the savers interest, as the country’s poor economic growth, the volatility of the Uganda Shillings, the coming of regional stock markets and the uncertainty caused by the general elections. NSSF announced a remarkable increase in the interest rate payable to savers of 13%, up from 11.5%.This translated into Shs 514 billion which was credited on the members’ accounts compared to Shs 366 billion paid.“The return paid to members every year depends on the financial performance of the Fund,” explained the MD Byarugaba today.“The tough investment environment, modest growth of the economy, the effects of the stock market across East Africa, the effects of the depreciation of the shilling, have affected the Fund’s financial performance, and in effect, may affect the return the Fund will pay to members.” Read more
Minister of gender permanent secretary, Mr Puis Bigirimana: Govt to extend interest-free loans to women groups
More than 2,000 groups of women will acquire interest-free loans worth Shs43 billion from the government under the Uganda Women's Entrepreneurship programme (UWEP).The Ministry of Gender permanent secretary, Mr Puis Bigirimana, said the move aims at lessening financial hurdles that limit women from kick-starting and expanding enterprises."Women entrepreneurs are constrained by limited access to finance as they attempt to grow their businesses. UWEP will promote women's economic empowerment through entrepreneurship skills," Mr Bigirimana said.He was speaking during the orientation workshop for district leaders in Kampala. The workshop attended by about 40 district officials was convened to shed light on the implementation of the programme.Statistics from the Uganda National Household Survey show that the unemployment rate among women has increased from 2.2 per cent to 11 per cent.The  UWEP programme document indicates that women account for 86.2 per cent of actors in the informal sector. Read more
Kenya to keep importing maize from Uganda as farmers decry market shortage
Kenya will not stop importing maize from Uganda despite concerns from farmers that the imported commodity is eating into their market share, the Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett has said.According to Mr Bett business between Kenya and Uganda will continue seamlessly since the East African Community is a Customs Union."We are not supposed to stop maize from coming in, we are a bloc, we are the East African Community and we have signed a protocol. We challenge our farmers to be more competitive in crops production in order to remain relevant in the market," said Mr Bett.He added: "But we really find that the crops from Uganda are more competitive than ours and this should challenge our farmers to be more competitive."Mr Bett, who was speaking on Friday during the official opening of an agri-business trade fair at the University of Eldoret in western Kenya, disclosed that a team has been set up to carry out a survey on maize pricing which will be profitable to local farmers.Read more
MEMD: Uganda in new search for refinery investor
Three months after RT Global Resources pulled out of negotiations to construct the oil refinery, government has launched a search for a new investor. Dozith Abeinomugisha, the Assistant Commissioner in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, says government has restructured the entire oil refinery project and is looking for a new investor."Initially, we had a Public Private Partnership, but I think you are all aware, that Rostec [RT Global Resources] has left and now we are looking at restructuring the project to make it public-led instead of private sector-led, so that government takes majority of the shares and the private developer takes a smaller share," Abeinomugisha said. Abeinomugisha was speaking at the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP) member's annual general meeting at Kampala Serena Hotel.The refinery was to be constructed through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) with a private lead investor contributing 60 percent of the investment while government, and possibly its EAC member states, contributed 40 percent equity. The Tanzanian and Kenyan governments have already expressed interest in taking up 8 and 2.5 percent stake respectively. Read more
BOU: Hard times ahead after World Bank cash freeze
Yet again, the private sector could be crowded out of the credit market as government turns to domestic borrowing to cover gap left by the World Bank, a move likely to slow down growth, writes ALON MWESIGWA. Ugandans will find it hard to borrow if government chooses to get money from the domestic market to fill the gap left by the World Bank's recent cash freeze, a Bank of Uganda official has warned.Appearing on Capital Gang radio show, Thomas Bwire, a senior principal banking officer at BOU, said: "Their [World Bank's] getting out implies [government] will put more pressure on the domestic borrowing."Ironically, the development lender's concern is that Uganda has failed to absorb most of the money the former has advanced to it. The bank announced that it had decided to stop new lending to Uganda, as it reviews ongoing projects. Read more
MAAIF: Government to use enterprise selection strategy to transform agriculture
Government is to use the enterprise selection strategy to transform the agriculture sector from a small holding to commercial and viable business .This is one of the 13 points of the agriculture transformation agenda that was introduce to cabinet retreat by the president during a cabinet meeting.This was revealed by the minister of Agriculture animal Industry and Fisheries, during a ministerial meeting on Agriculture transformation alongside the Africa Green Revolution forum meeting in Nairobi,organised by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).Through enterprise selection, farmers will be assisted to choose enterprises that suit the available piece of land with the help of officials from the ministry."Commercial farming doesn't necessarily mean having a big size of land. It means using what you have profitably and choosing the right enterprise and this is what we are encouraging our farmers to do," said Ssempija. This has already been realized in Vietnam where farm enterprises like fishing, piggery, bee farming, vegetable growing among others have been embraced by farmers with small pieces of land and many are now exporting, added Ssempija.Read more
How Katosi road money was shared
Former country manager of Chongqing International Construction Corporation (CICCO), a road construction company, has revealed how the Shs24 billion dubiously paid for the Mukono-Katosi road works, was shared out.Mr Niu Hong, currently a consultant with CICCO, told the Anti-Corruption Court at Kololo that he was a co-signatory with Mr Apolo Senkeeto to a joint account opened by Eutaw Construction Company where the Shs24 billion was deposited.He said on November 8, 2013, he received a call from Senkeeto telling him about the contract. Mr Hong said he called Senkeeto to his office and Senkeeto showed him a letter of award of contract to Eutaw from the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA). Mr Hong said, Senkeeto again called him to tell him that the contract had been signed.Read more
Uganda: Bank of Uganda 'Unaware' of Crane Bank sale
Bank of Uganda (BOU) is yet to receive official communication on the proposed move to sell shares in Crane bank.Christine Alupo, director for communications BOU, says the central bank has not received any request from Crane bank to approve change in shareholding. Sudhir Ruparelia, the proprietor of Crane Bank has confirmed that he is in talks with what he calls a "strategic partner" to acquire stakes in the bank. In a statement issued on Friday last week, Crane bank said they had initially wanted to float shares on the stock market but now want private equiURNty instead.Ideally, the bank said, they are looking for a partner with regional or continental footing. Media reports have suggested that the potential Crane bank partners are South African, although other sources also suggest they may be Ethiopian. Details on the "strategic partner" are not public yet.An entity who did due diligence for an interested party in the Crane bank shares acquisition declined to divulge any details citing confidentiality. Read more
ICPAU: Accountants to undergo practical training
The institute of chattered public accountants (ICPAU) has introduced a practical accountancy training module, which according to officials will lift the quality and integrity of Chattered Public Accountants in the country.According to Uthman Mayanja, chairman of the Accountants Examinations Board, the training will also provide valuable work experience that students usually lack at the end of their training programs. “We want to sharpen and add to the knowledge and skills students obtain during normal CPA training, but also make them absolutely competitive in any part of the world,” he said.Mayanja was speaking on the sidelines of the, CPAU exam release at the Imperial Royal Hotel in Kampala He said the training, which was rolled out, will empower aspiring CPAs in accountancy related topics, to operate competently before they are passed out as professional accountants.The institute’s decision to offer the training, however, comes at the time when it is also concerned over the quality of instruction given to students, with a less than 50% pass rate recorded at every sitting. Read more
What Uganda can learn from Kenya’s interest rate capping
Kenya has written a law that puts a cap on lending rates at 4 per cent above the Central Bank Rate (CBR), among other clauses. This means that banks will not be allowed to lend at interest rates above the CBR+4 per cent. For example, the current CBR in Kenya is 10.5 per cent. This means that it will be illegal for banks to issue new loans above 14.5 per cent. This new amendment in Kenya’s Banking Act has stirred a hot debate within Kenya, the East African region and globally. The global economy has reduced control of economic indicators. The world has never seen the level of economic freedom enjoyed nearly everywhere. In the years gone-by, government used to control nearly everything.Uganda’s economy, fore example, has evolved from the pre-colonial medieval economy, through the ‘enclave economy’ under the British imperialist government, to the post-independence ‘control model’. Read more 
Parliament should free BoU from government arm-twisting
Although in the Bank of Uganda (BoU) Act 1993 edition, BoU is a corporate entity, the political influence that the bank suffered during Idi Amin Dada has been sighted under the present government like; printing paper money without a financial plan to support government spending spree programmes, and arm-twisting BoU to sanction risky credits to government backed firms which as individual companies hold no bank accounts against which they can access loans. In real terms, BoU is not a commercial bank to do the business of lending money to individuals or business entities. Such acts impinge Article 162 (2) which cushions BoU from the direction or control of any person or authority. In the end, such monetary episodes continue to fuel inflation, poverty and political problems.Read more
BOU: To cap or not to cap interest rates?
James Obuku imports goods from China for retail purposes. At the height of the depreciation of the Shilling, Obuku took out a loan at an interest rate of 28 per cent which kept on fluctuating because it was not a fixed rate loan. As such, he paid through the nose. If Obuku attempts to borrow again today, he says he will be given credit at an interest rate of 25 per cent which is still high. With the current (Central bank rate) CBR at 14 per cent, this implies that the commercial banks will be getting a profit of 11 per cent. According to Bank of Uganda (BoU) statistics, the interest rates charged by commercial banks have averaged at 21.3 per cent since the start of the millennium and about 21.7 per cent.Some experts have blamed this on BoU, saying tightening the CBR – the regulators tool for macroeconomic management – amounts to further increases in the cost of credit. But its easing is not followed by a corresponding reduction in lending rates. Read more
Low inflation will create sustained growth - Mutebile
The governor of Bank of Uganda, Mr Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, has said the Central Bank’s policy of maintaining low inflation will help the country achieve sustainable economic growth, job creation and structural transformation.Addressing MPs during a sensitisation workshop under the theme: “Role of the Bank of Uganda in ensuring macroeconomic stability,” Mr Mutebile said since the 1990s, BoU has agreed with the government to pursue a 5 per cent target or less for annual core inflation.He said the target has been stated publicly in many official documents such as the current National Development Plan and budget speeches.“We aim to achieve this target of 5 per cent for core inflation on average over the medium term, rather than in every single month. It is not possible to hold core inflation constant at 5 per cent, month after month, because core inflation is unavoidably subject to shocks, such as those from the exchange rate or food prices, which sometimes push it above 5 per cent . Read more
Deputy Governor Bank of Uganda, Mr Louis Kasekende : Strengthen integration, regional states advised
The Deputy Governor Bank of Uganda, Mr Louis Kasekende, has advised policy makers to strengthen regional integration to pave way for East African Monetary Union and subsequently the single currency.The East African Community (EAC) countries have signed a protocol committing them to introducing the East African Monetary Union (EAMU) in 2024.The economic rationale for monetary union is to facilitate transactions within an integrated economic area, eliminate risks which might arise from unforeseen currency movements and the costs of exchanging currencies in order to complete transactions.Mr Kasende said this implies that the benefits of EAMU can only be fully realised when there is comprehensive economic integration within the EAC, not just free trade in goods but also free trade in services and free movement of factors of production. Read more
How URA’s tax reforms changed Uganda’s fortunes
Uganda’s tax revenue stood at a paltry 5% of GDP, while the country struggled to pull itself from the effects of past wars, which had eroded its macro-economic stability.Revenue at the time was heavily dependent on export taxes, which discouraged exports, although later, this was replaced by import taxes.A revenue body known as the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) was then established in 1991, by an act of parliament, to collect all government revenue and facilitate trade in Uganda.A number of tax reforms had been instituted, and revenue collection was on its way to making the country more self-sufficient from complete donor dependency.“Over the past 25 years, we have seen a number of reforms that have revived the tax system, to a level where we are now respected and recognised in global taxation circles for the efficiency of our tax systems,” Dickson Kateshumbwa, the commissioner for customs says.According to kateshumbwa, the growth in domestic revenue in Uganda has hardly kept pace with the growth of the economy especially the growing expenditure demands.He says the absolute expansion in the size of the government budget over the years explains the increase in the budget deficit, which is partly financed by external borrowing. Read more
Uganda risks losing Agoa deal over used clothes ban
Uganda risks being phased out of African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) deal if it bans the importation of used clothes, Daily Monitor has learnt.African Growth and Opportunity Act is a United States Trade Act which allows market access to the US from selected sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries, including Uganda.In a courtesy call to the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga recently, the US ambassador to Uganda, Ms Deborah R Malac, discouraged the move to ban used clothes on the grounds that it could jeopardise free trade between the two countries.While clarifying on the matter, Mr Christopher Brown, the US embassy spokesperson, in an email said the ban could impact on creation of employment both here and in US.“The move will jeopardises the spirit of free market whose basis resulted into Agoa,” Mr Brown said.
If the plan to phase out used clothes is actualised, there will be no Agoa for Uganda as the situation may not deem it fit.Read more
Uganda loses sh1.5 trillion in tax exemptions
Non-government organizations (NGOs) have called on government to pursue a balance between tax and investment regimes to ensure people’s rights but also promote investments at the same time.  This should be done by governments taking serious their obligations under the tax and investment policies and how they impact on human rights obligations.These are some of the recommendations made by SEATINI Uganda and OXFAM following a study on tax regime in Uganda that showed that Uganda lost sh1.5 trillion in the financial year 2013/14 in tax exemptions.Tax exemption refers to a monetary exemption which reduces taxable income. Tax exempt status can provide complete relief from taxes, reduced rates, or tax on only a portion of items.The report titled "Fair Tax Monitor" was conducted by the Southern and Eastern African Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI) and OXFAM in 2015.Findings from the study showed a revenue shortfall of 6.4% of GDP in 2015/2016 which will now be footed by the poor through regressive tax policy measures, explained Faith Lumonya, program officer in charge of Trade and Investment at SEATINI Uganda.Read more
Saccos to get Shs3 billion in cheap credit loans
Mr Haruna Kasolo, the Minister of State for Microfinance, during a meeting with District Commercial Officers (DCOs) in Kireka, said government, through the Microfinance Support Centre, will give out these loans over seven years. These loans will be paid back at an interest rate of 9 per cent."This September, we have worked out a programme to extend Shs3b in form of affordable credit to SACCOs. I want to make sure that people have access to cheap credit where they are not required to mortgage their houses," he said.Financial inclusion is the delivery of financial services at affordable costs to sections of disadvantaged and low income segments of society. For every month, 17 SACCOs will receive these loans.About 68 per cent of Ugandans do not access credit facilities from banks while those that do, acquire them at high interest rates.Mr Kasolo pledged to ensure that SACCO lending rates are lowered to 20 per cent per annum. Read more
Mr Wilbrod Owor, the executive director Uganda Bankers Association, Do not cap interest rates, says experts
Experts have warned that the move for a private members Bill to control interest rates in Uganda, if approved, will have adverse effects on the economy.The Civil Society Budgetary Advocacy Group (CSBAG) has suggested a private members Bill to amend the Financial Institutions Act to include an interest rate ceiling of 5 percentage points of Central Bank Rate (CBR). This implies that with the current 14 per cent CBR, commercial banks would not be allowed to lend at above 19 per cent.Mr Wilbrod Owor, the executive director Uganda Bankers Association, in a statement issued to Daily Monitor on Tuesday, said: “Interest control regime would stifle free market forces, discourage credit growth, constrain sector appetite and encourage black credit market at very high cost and terms.”He added that besides there is little evidence to show that the same laws have yielded growth in credit for other countries. The interest rate stands at an average of 23 per cent. Read more
Nucafe to promote Uganda’s coffee in US
The National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises (Nucafe) is to market Uganda’s coffee in the Unites States.The move is intended to boost the visibility of Uganda’s coffee in the world’s most powerful country.This follows a match-making meeting between Nucafe executive director Joseph Nkandu and US investors in agribusiness value addition, including Chromatic Coffee and Seva Coffee, held in Silicon Valley, California, recently. Nkandu said though the Government targets to export 20 million bags of coffee, insufficient marketing of the commodity in key consuming countries like the US could hamper its plan.“Uganda’s coffee is not known in key coffee consuming countries like the US. Our coffee is just used as a blend, but we want to change this trend and start having it on the shelves in the US,” Nkandu said in an interview recently.
The executive director Uganda Coffee Federation, Betty Namwagala, earlier said despite Uganda being one of the leading exporters of coffee in Africa and the 10th producer globally, its brand as a country is not seen anywhere on the global supermarket shelves even when the coffee as regarded of best quality. Namwagala said there should be a deliberate effort to take Uganda’s coffee to the international supermarket, rather than it being used as a blend for redeeming other coffees.Read more
Stanbic Bank Uganda acquires $55m loan facility from Dubai
Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited, (Stanbic Uganda) a subsidiary of Standard Bank Group Limited (Standard Bank Group), signed a US$ 55 Million two year term loan facility today in Dubai. Emirates NBD Capital Limited was the Sole Co-ordinator and Bookrunner of the financing.Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait K.S.C.P, Bank of Baroda, SBM Bank (Mauritius) Ltd and The Commercial Bank (Q.S.C.) joined the transaction as Mandated Lead Arrangers. The financing, which will be used for general corporate purposes, including, but not limited to finance exclusively in the specific sectors of energy, agriculture, mining and quarrying, manufacturing, trade, transport and telecommunications, infrastructure, electricity and water, construction and real estate, was oversubscribed from the initial launch amount of US$ 40 Million.  The facility pays 275 basis points margin over LIBOR.Dr. Rassem Zok, CEO MENA, Standard Bank of South Africa Limited (DIFC Branch), stated that “the fact that Middle Eastern and International banks have returned to participate in this re‑issue for Stanbic Uganda confirms both the positive outlook for the Ugandan economy and confidence in our Standard Bank Group’s leadership in corporate and investment banking in Sub‑Sahara Africa”. Read more
URSB: Registration bureau to tackle copyright law bottlenecks
The Uganda Registration Services Bureau is working on a programme to address the low understanding of the copyrights law in the country.According to Ms Fiona Bayiga, the director Intellectual property at URSB, among some of the suggestions by the URSB directorate, is amending the law to focus on areas that need to be changed to reflect on the needs of the moment.“Consultations have not yet begun because we have to start the process of procuring the consultant first. I cannot talk about what amendments, but we shall be looking at what the users would like to have,” Ms Bayiga said during a workshop at the offices in Kampala.The understanding of copyright laws have been low on account of low level of awareness of the intellectual property and laws being too complicated for the common man to understand.Read more
Gov’t urged to ensure locals benefit from oil
As Uganda prepares to draw its first oil, Buliisa County MP Stephen Mukitale has called upon government to put in place mechanisms through which licensed oil companies will sell it to Ugandans.In an interview with XFM, Mukitale revealed that oil prices are usually unstable due to the forces of demand and supply on the international market which in turn leads to fuel prices being hiked on the local market.“The problem with the oil value chain is that crude oil volatility doesn’t necessarily relate with the downstream petrol station price” Mukitale said.“It is true that crude oil has fallen from $120 to $35 but you will not find that change reflected at petrol stations because of the value chain. The pump price is still high” he added.He said that clear cut mechanisms on how the oil is to be priced will not only help Ugandans to benefit from the resource, but will also contribute significantly to the country’s economic development. Read more
ICO: Coffee prices go up
Local coffee farmers have a chance to produce more coffee. Dorothy Nakaweesi explains why.
Coffee farmers can now earn more money since global prices have gone up by 4.4 per cent.
According to the International Coffee Organisation (ICO) monthly report, the composite-a bench mark price of coffee increased from 127.05 cents of a dollar per pound in June to 132.98 cents of a dollar per pound.
ICO report attributes the price increase to the second frost scare in Brazil and the recovery of the Brazilian Real.
Global exports in the first nine months (October-June) of the coffee year 2015/16 were 85.1 million bags, up by 0.2 per cent compared to last year.
"Robusta exports were 6.5 per cent lower compared to the same period last year on account of poor Robusta crop and Arabica exports were 4.6 per cent higher than last year due to favourable weather in Brazil and Colombia," ICO report noted.
Experts say the increase in global prices is a good sign to Ugandan farmers and the country's already poor export revenues. Read more
Minister of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT),Mr Frank Tumwebaze:  How innovation fund will boost start-ups in Uganda
Opportunity is on the rise in Africa. I have been worried that Uganda will be left out, until Mr Frank Tumwebaze was appointed Minister of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT). However much entrepreneurs and innovators try, making real progress without a supportive government is difficult. Governments that take bold action to support innovation will create jobs and change the lives of the population.Do not get me wrong Mr Tumwebaze and the government of Uganda will not perform miracles overnight but I see a ray of hope.The new minister called for a forum with ICT innovators. On August 30 and September 1, the President wrote a letter directing for a fund to be created for ICT innovation. If you are not impressed by the $4.5 million (Shs15.3 billion) you will surely be impressed by the turnaround time.Read more
EAC: What next after regional heads defer EPA deal?
In a frantic attempt to salvage the bloc’s position, the East African Community (EAC) Heads of State agreed to extend the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement with European Union (EU).Despite this development, some member states such as Kenya and Rwanda have already put pen to paper while Uganda has expressed desire to follow suit, saying this is a life time opportunity that should not be allowed to slip away. Tanzania’s President John Magufuli, who is the chairman of the EAC summit, said they need more time to discuss the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) agreement further.For that, it was agreed that after three months, (in January 2017), a harmonised regional position would have been arrived at.Originally, the deadline for the agreement, but some member states including Kenya and Rwanda could not wait to sign it as Uganda indicated interest to follow suit. Read more
EAC: Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania target private investments worth U.S.$10 billion
East African countries want private investors to take up projects worth about $10 billion to fast-track economic development and lift millions out of poverty.Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda unveiled projects worth $9.9 billion at a recent Global African Investment Summit held in Kigali.Analysts believe the three countries are capable of attracting investors because East Africa still presents opportunities for businesses looking for quick returns on investments.Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania presented projects valued at $7.3 billion, $1.5 billion and $1.08 billion respectively. This points to the region's growing appetite for private capital inflows to stimulate growth.Tanzanian authorities are looking for investors in the rehabilitation and expansion of three airports and also construction of a new one. It is hoped the investments will help foster regional integration, and boost intra-African trade as well as tourism.According to Clifford K Tandari, acting executive director of the Tanzania Investment Centre, construction of a new airport at Msalato is in the pipeline to the travels to new capital Dodoma. The project is estimated to cost at least $165 million. Read more
MPs asked to enact competition law to cap interest rates 
A senior economist, Fred Muhumuza, has called upon the Members of Parliament to enact a competition and policy law in order to cap the interest rates."Setting up competition law and policy should be done as soon as possible to address interest rates problem," Muhumuza told the lawmakers.The interest rates on average are at 26%.He explained that if the MPs push for the new law commercial banks can't sell the property of a borrower or close a business of an individual because he/she is protected by the law and with the law in place the banks will be tamed. Muhumuza who is also a senior lecturer at the School of Economics Makerere University was speaking during the breakfast meeting on interest rates and conflicts in the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) with Local Government operations The breakfast meeting was organized by Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group.  Presenting a paper titled Pressure behind Uganda interest rates the economist advised the lawmakers either to move a private members bill or wait for the government to table Read more
DTB recognized as best innovative bank
Diamond Trust Bank has for the third time been recognized by Customers as the Best Innovative Bank during the People's Choice Quality Awards 2016’.The award was presented during a colorful event officiated by the Minister without Portfolio Hajji Abudu Nadduli at Imperial Royal Hotel in Kampala. DTB was considered to be the best innovative bank because it’s the only institution in the banking industry with a payment platform that enables business (merchants) to receive payments instantly from customers via mobile money to the merchant’s bank account.The service called Pay Easy was launched recently and has quickly gained momentum due to the ease at which both corporate and individual customers are able to transact business and make payments across mobile money and banking platforms. Samuel Muyingo, the of Head of Money Transfers and Marketing, spoke at the occassion. He said: “the innovations consolidate Diamond Trust Bank's position as a market leader in the use of technology-led financial service products which is in line with our vision of enabling people to advance with confidence and success by not only offering innovative products and services but also delivering them in a way which is both convenient and secure."He added that a number of banks have rolled out mobile banking service but over and above the mobile banking platforms, DTB Mobile banking also has a unique feature that enables their customers to stop a cheque but no other bank has this feature on their mobile banking platform.Read more
Umeme: 5,000 households to be connected to power free of charge
 Sarah Ndagire, a housewife in Lwadda village Matugga Wakiso District central Uganda, has longed to connect her two tenements to the electricity grid.However, the connection fees, which range from Shs98, 000 to Shs326, 000, stood between her and her dream.According to the National Service Delivery Survey Report, six in every ten Ugandan shy away from connecting to the grid because of high connection fees.And seven in every 10 say the government’s performance in ensuring access to affordable electricity is bad.Now, Ugandans who live within a five–kilometre radius of the Kawanda–Masaka power transmission line but are not connected to the grid will be – “free of charge”.State minister for mineral development Peter Lokeris launched the programme  in Matugga, one of the suburbs north of Kampala. Read more
FSDU: Uganda has highest mobile money fraud cases - report
More than half of Uganda’s mobile money agents have reported the highest incidents of fraud among the eight countries studied, a new report reveals.The report by Helix Institute of Digital Finance and Financial Sector Deepening Uganda (FSDU) says Uganda’s fraud rate stands at 53 per cent, closely followed by Tanzania at 42 per cent and Kenya at 22 per cent.The Agent Network Accelerator Survey (ANA) report on Wednesday at Sheraton Kampala Hotel is based on a research carried out on 2,288 mobile money agents interviewed across the country.“In spite of provider and regulator efforts, the percentage of agents who report having personally or through one of their employees experienced fraud has in the last year doubled and the levels are higher than in any other ANA country,” the report reads in part.Despite these challenges, the report faults the country for the low regulatory compliance saying on average, only two per cent of customers show an ID when performing a transaction. Read more
African Leaders and developments partners to invest more than US $30 Billion in Agriculture
The Agriculture sector has received a boast of $30bn to promote investments in the sector that will increase production and employment for small holder farmers for the next ten years.The collective pledge was made at the ongoing Africa Green Revolution Forum in Kenya.The commitments were made at the official opening of the sixth African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) that has attracted more than 1,500 influential figures from 40 countries for three days of brokering new agricultural initiatives.This is the first wave of support for the new "Seize the Moment" campaign, backed by the African Union Commission, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), key NGOs, companies and donor countries.While African agriculture has seen significant progress in the last ten years, the "Seize the Moment" campaign is an acknowledgment that much more is needed for African countries to achieve inclusive economic development to realize the international community's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), explained AGRA president, Dr.Agnes Kalibata.Joined by Presidents Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, they pledged to steer reforms in the sector to deliver on both the political and policy agenda. To take lead, President Kenyatta announced additional funding to the sector of $200bn targeting 15,000 youth into agriculture. Read more
Development bank gets Shs54b for local projects
The Uganda Development Bank Limited (UDBL) has concluded negotiations with The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) to secure Shs54.08b ($16m) for financing several projects. The BADEA team concluded the agreement with UDBL with the facility focusing on projects in the agribusiness, manufacturing, education and health sectors. “We are happy with the tremendous job UDBL is doing for Uganda. We believe we have the right partner with them and this facility will go a long way in concretising our long working relationship while helping businesses to prosper,” Dr H A Elbashir, the BADEA team leader, told the management of UDBL. UDBL, the only wholly owned government development bank, is now at the forefront of the ambitions of the government to provide lower interest financing to several strategic sectors in the economy. Read more
NSSF managing director Byarugaba wants liberalization of Pension Sector fast-tracked
NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba has advocated for the enactment of the Retirement Benefits Sector Liberalization Bill 2011 by Parliament saying it will go a long way in making positive reforms within the pension sector.While Ugandans continue to decry the high interest rates, Byarugaba notes that the Bill will attract more players in the sector as well as release the pressure currently exerted on commercial banks.The NSSF MD was speaking Wednesday at the opening of the annual conference for the Institute for Certified Public Accountants in Uganda (CPA) at Imperial Botanical Hotel in Entebbe. The reason as to why the interest rates have sky rocketed in Uganda is because all the liquidity comes entirely from commercial banks. There’s no source of funding for short time financing (below 10 years) except Uganda Development Bank,” he said.“Liberalization will bring the cost of money down because we shall have new products that enable working Ugandans access their retirement savings at an early age.”He explained that NSSF is currently the only formal pension scheme in Uganda that relies on consistent contributions by members unlike the public service scheme which draws funds from the consolidated fund.“The problem with this is that its scheme will then compete with public services which have the same source of funding.” Read more
MTN Group, MMI holdings announce strategic partnership
MTN Group and MMI Holdings have Wednesday announced the launch of a micro insurance joint venture, branded aYo. The joint venture will benefit from the scale, combined expertise and market access of both companies, to provide a strong basis to compete in a changing mobile financial services industry.Insurance penetration is low in many countries across Africa, and utilising the resources and capabilities that each of MMI Holdings and MTN provide, aYo will be able to improve this to offer relevant, accessible and easy to use insurance solutions to consumers.Commenting on the partnership, Herman Singh, Group Chief Digital Officer of MTN said that “as MTN, we are excited about this partnership as it gives us an opportunity to further expand our bouquet of mobile financial services offerings across our footprint. Working with MMI, and harnessing the rapid growth of mobile on the continent, we will be able to leverage our core competencies, strong brands and scale to deliver much-needed insurance solutions to our customers.”Danie Botes, Group Chief Operating Officer of MMI Holdings remarked that “the partnership with MTN will create new revenue streams for MMI, help achieve significant scale, explore opportunities in new markets and segments, and capitalise on the growth of micro insurance on the continent. The partnership will also allow us to further extend our client-centric vision of financial wellness across the Africa continent.” Read more
KACITA: Traders want equal access as Kenya opens new terminal
The spokesperson of the Kampala City Traders Association (Kacita), Mr Issa Sekitto, has called for equal treatment and access to systems of clearance as Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) launched a new terminal at Mombasa port.“Equal accessibility to the tax system will help speed up the clearing process for goods. Uganda’s tax system ESCUDA is open to the Kenyans unlike the SIMBA, clearing system which is only accessible to Kenyans,” he said.“As long as the issues are not addressed, we shall only benefit from the increase in capacity at the port but will still face challenges trying to clear the goods,” Mr Sekitto said.“Anything that concerns the capacitation of the port is welcome although in our opinion as Kacita, a dry port at the side of Uganda would have been the best option because a lot of cargo is abandoned at the Mombasa port,” he said.Read more
ERC: Kenya's power imports from Uganda now rise 32%
Kenya's electricity imports from Uganda grew by nearly a third saddled by the shutdown of geothermal power grid for lines maintenance.Kenya imported 40.7 million kilowatt hours (kWh) from Uganda compared to 31 million units - marking a 32 per cent growth, according to official data.This is a departure from last year when East Africa's largest economy cut by half electricity imports from Uganda following the injection of the additional 280 megawatts (MW) geothermal power to the national grid a year earlier.Kenya has a direct transmission line connecting with Uganda via Tororo, enabling bulk power trade.Kenya cut off a third (200 megawatts) of cheaper geothermal power from the national grid due to lines maintenance, creating room for increased uptake of alternative power sources, according to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).The energy regulator said construction works at Suswa substation on the Maai Mahiu-Narok highway prompted Kenya to temporarily withdraw the geothermal energy. Read more
AGRA: Importation of food failing Agriculture Transformation in East Africa 
Continued importation of food items into East Africa will not transform agriculture from where it is. This is so because the money meant to help a small holder farmer transform, is sent out of the country to buy from the other farmer.For example, currently the East African region imports Rice work $35billion while Africa as a whole is spending close to $45billion on the same crop.This is according to the President of the African Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) Dr.Agnes Kalibata. She was speaking at the launch of the sixth African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) where stake holders including heads of state will brainstorm on ways of transforming.The week-long meeting that kicked off on Monday is running under the theme Seize the Moment and Deliver Major New Investments for the African sector at the UN headquarters in Nairobi."We are sending out all this money in terms of jobs and opportunities for our farmers by importing food and sending the money to their counterparts, it is not helping us at all," said Kalibata. Read more
Maize prices rise despite harvest season
Maize farmers have reason to smile as prices for both fresh and dry maize rise, which could mean higher income for them.The increase, farmers say, is due to a short supply on the market given that there was crop failure country-wide due to the long dry spell.Joseph Ouma, a produce dealer, told Daily Monitor that the May dry spell hit when most of the maize in the field was flowering.The harvest season for maize begun in August and ends this month.“Dry maize is Shs700 up from Shs600 in July while at farm gate, fresh maize is Shs400 for a big cob and Shs200 for a small one,” Ouma noted. “Those who roast maize now sell a big one at Shs600-Shs700”David Kaye, a maize trader in Mubende District, says a kilo of dry maize is Shs850 to traders from Kenya and Tanzania and to local agro-processors.Read more
Museveni arrives in Rwanda for Investment Summit
President Museveni has arrived in the Rwandan Capital Kigali for a two-day investment summit.The summit which is organized by the Global African Investment COMESA and the Government of Rwanda is being hosted by the President of Rwanda Paul Kagame and is aimed at promoting investment in a various sectors including: education, ICT, development and the economy.The President who traveled by road from Kabale to Kigali, was received at the Rwanda border by the Minister for Infrastructure Development James Musoni and other Rwandan officials and Uganda’s High Commissioner to Rwanda Richard Kabonero. In Kigali, the President was received by Frank Mugambagye, Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Uganda, Uganda’s Minister for Information and ICT Frank Tumwebaze and State Minister for Investment, Evelyn Anite.President Museveni has indicated his commitment to developing foreign direct investment and international participation in the social and economic development of the Great Lakes region, saying, “This is the right time and Uganda the right place because of the big East African market and vast profitability opportunities now available.”Museveni has consistently urged investors to regard Uganda and Africa as a crucial investment destination because of steadily increasing purchasing power and growing market.According to the 2016 Foreign Direct Investment (fDi) report, foreign investment into African projects increased by 0.6 per cent . Read more
Alpha Capital: Shilling tipped to emerge stronger 
The shilling marginally declined due to uptick in interbank demand but quickly regained as end month corporate obligations and central mop up operations weighed in. The market was relatively square.In the treasury bill auction, yields came off slightly, holding on the trend seen in the last couple of auctions at 14.147%, 15.107% and 16.407%.  The auction was oversubscribed. Going by the outturn, there was negligible presence of offshore interest.In the international currency markets, the US dollar held firm ahead of the US non-farm jobs report which was expected to provide yet again a useful lead on the US interest rates in the near term.Alpha Capital Partners Stephen Kaboyo noted that the Pound Sterling kept up supported by improved consumer confidence and rising British house prices.“Outlook suggests that the shilling may firm up (this week) due to limited local shilling liquidity and lackluster demand,” he said.The dollar was trading at 3,370.21/3,380.21 buying and selling respectively at most commercial banks in the first trading session, slightly up from 3,370.82/3,380.82 at the close of business. Read more
MPs give foreigners in retail business three months to quit
Members of Parliament on the Trade, Industry and Cooperatives committee have given foreigners who are in the retail business a three-month ultimatum to either invest in bigger projects or return to their countries.The decision was made yesterday during a meeting between the MPs and city traders after the latter petitioned Parliament about the influx of foreigners in retail business.Legislators observed that whereas majority of foreigners, especially Chinese, come to Uganda as investors, majority of them have flocked Kikuubo and other urban centres for retail business, something the traders said, has affected Ugandan traders because they no longer make sales.The committee chairperson, Mr John Bosco Lubyayi (Mawokota South) noted that as MPs, their salaries are drawn from taxing traders and that it would be inconsiderate for Parliament to watch on as their businesses collapse. Read more
IRA: Shs200b paid out to insurance claimants
A total of Shs200 billion was spent on clearing insurance claimants in the last fiscal year, Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) has revealed.Mr Protazio Sande, the IRA assistant director marketing and development, said insurance companies in totality collected more than Shs600 billion but spent Shs200b remedies for clients.Basing on these figures, Mr Sande dismissed what he termed as mere talks that insurance companies do not compensate their clients when disasters arise.“I know the insurance industry is not 100 per cent perfect. But I don’t believe insurers do not clear covers. If that was the case, how come our statistics show Shs200b was used to sort out damages incurred by clients?” Mr Sande asked.He made the remarks at the annual insurers’ sports gala at Gems Cambridge International in Mutungo, Nakawa Divison, in Kampala. Read more 
Agri-Point Initiatives: Strengthen Saccos to fund agriculture, activists tell government
The government should strengthen Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (Saccos) if farmers are to access quick and affordable finances, a micro business development expert has advised.Mr Humphrey Mutaasa, the managing director of Agri-Point Initiatives, said research has shown that farmers fear to approach banks for loans due to lack of security, something that can be solved if Saccos were strengthened. Saccos are not yet regulated but efforts are underway by government to have them regulated under the Micro Deposit Taking Institutions (MDI) Act, once Cabinet approves and Parliament endorses amendments to the law.The move will safeguard the financial deposits of an estimated 620,000 customers across the country. “You cannot send a peasant to a bank to access funds. Many farmers have never seen or entered a bank; they have land but no land titles. How do you expect that person to access money from the bank?” Mr Mutaasa asked. Read more
World Bank Body tips firms on Corporate Governance
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has urged companies in Uganda to practice good corporate governance to attract capital locally and internationally for expansion and long-term sustainability of various investments.The IFC, a private wing of the World Bank, said sound corporate governance makes companies stronger, more efficient and more accountable to the general public.In an interview with Daily Monitor last week at Kampala Serena Hotel, IFC corporate governance officer Africa corporate governance programme, Ms Rose Lumumba, said companies must practice good corporate governance to grow their business."With good corporate governance structures and practice in place, businesses mitigate risk, safeguard against mismanagement and are able to make investment and more capital which gives them the fuel for growth," she said.Ms Lumumba said companies should have training budgets for corporate governance for their staff because corporate governance is something that they cannot avoid. Read more
PSFU: Stop importing goods made locally - Private Sector
Local manufacturers have appealed to government to include them in the procurement processes, saying this would reduce capital flight from the country and promote local investment.Mr Gideon Badagawa, the executive director Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), said it was time government stopped importing goods made by local industries."Including local producers in procurement processes would not only reduce on capital flight but also promote production and competition at external and internal market. The government will be able to know what it gets from local producers and what should be imported," Mr Badagawa said.He made the remarks at a three-day expo organised by PSFU, Kampala City Traders Association (Kacita) and Kampala Business Forum at Uganda Manufacturers Association grounds in Kampala.He said the importation of goods made locally was a betrayal to national economy and the fight against rampant unemployment. Read more
National Housing set to resume low-cost estates
National Housing and Construction Corporation (NHCC) has said they are resuming the construction of low cost housing estates countrywide to address the housing needs of the middle-income population.While commissioning the NHCC Impala Apartments in Namungoona, Mr Parity Twinomujuni, the NHCC chief executive officer, said during its inception in 1953, NHCC was meant to construct low cost houses to sell to Ugandans in a profitable and sustainable manner so that they live in organised settlements.However, when president Idi Amin took over power, that vision was lost and the subsequent governments never bothered to maintain that vision.“We constructed estates in Bugolobi, Kyambogo, Jinja, Mbarara, Kabale and other major towns and there was an impact on the quality of lives of people living there,” he said. Read more
High interest rates not to blame for loan defaults - Central Bank
The Deputy Governor of Bank of Uganda (BoU), Mr Louis Kasekende, has said the rising number of loan defaults in the banking sector cannot be blamed on the high interest rates but on businesses diverting borrowed money. Non-performing loans as a percentage of total loans has shot up from 4 per cent in June last year to 7 per cent. Commercial bank lending rates are at an average of 23 per cent. “A recent review by Bank of Uganda to ascertain the reasons for the non-performance of large credit facilities in commercial banks indicated that only a paltry 0.3 per cent of non-performing loans could be attributed to high-interest rates,” Mr Kasekende said at the launch of the Orient Bank Business Club, a financial literacy programme. He said the current level of interest rates is not at their historical average over the last few years, an assertion contrary to what economists and banks have pointed out to be responsible for the rise in loan defaults. Read more
Alpha Capital Managing Director Stephen Kaboyo: Shilling to stay stable
The shilling is projected to stay stable over the coming week due to even demand and supply.Alpha Capital Managing Director Stephen Kaboyo says although Bank of Uganda was expected to have an auction yesterday, portfolio flows targeting the treasury bills auction were not expected to generate a significant impact.He adds that the US Federal Reserve’s recent indication that interest rates are likely to go up sending a negative sentiment for riskier assets going forward.The shilling marginally weakened on account of uptick in interbank demand as most corporates remained out of the market due to end month tax obligations. Read more 

UTB: Uganda Tourism takes promotions to Rwanda regional expo
A delegation of Ugandan tour operators, hoteliers and other tourism stakeholders is in Rwanda for the Kwita Izina ceremony and exhibition.This regional expo comes after a Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) led team returns from the UK’s biggest birding expo in Rutland. Kwita Izina, the mountain gorilla naming ceremony, now in its 12 year is to have the first ever exhibition.The Uganda delegation has members from the Association of Uganda Tour Operators, the Uganda Hotel Owners Association, Uganda Tourism Association, Uganda Wildlife Authority and the Uganda Tourism Board among other tourism stakeholders.Stephen Asiimwe, the UTB Chief Executive Officer, says Kwita Izina is one of the three regional expos that are designed to promote both Rwanda and East Africa region.“Under the Northern Corridor Infrastructure Project (NCIP), Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda market themselves as a single tourist destination,” says Asiimwe.“As part of the engagement, each country has chosen a signature event with Kenya taking on Magical Kenya Expo, Kwiti Izina for Rwanda and Martyrs Day for Uganda,” says Asiimwe. He adds that the partner states now actively work to support each other regionally and internationally. Read more
Nile Breweries unveils new look
Beer company, Nile Breweries Limited (NBL), has launched a new corporate identity, which it says is meant to align it to changing consumer needs and tastes.While unveiling the new company outlook on Monday, Mr Greg Metcalf, the NBL managing director, said since 1951 when the company was established, it has been using a roaring lion as its logo, which is old yet times and customers have changed.“Sometime in 2008 when I was attending a business function, I told some consumer that our brewery is in Jinja and he described it as a rural brewery because he thought this company is small yet today it is a dominant player in the beer industry,” he said.He added that as the leading company in innovations in the industry, there was need to change the company corporate identity to reflect its corporate vision and show the consumers and other players in the industry that this is a progressive company.Read more
CMA: Securities exchange ordered to refund Shs220m to investor
The Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) is paying the price for a trading decision made as it was fined by the regulator, Capital Markets Authority (CMA), and ordered to refund Shs220m to an investor. CMA announced it had fined the USE for breach of rules after an investigation that has lasted more than one and half years.“In accordance with Section 99A of the CMA Act (as amended), which authorises the CMA to impose and collect penalties by way of fees against any person for breach of the Act or any regulations under it, the CMA directed the USE to refund the client (Norfund) Shs220.3m.CMA also imposed an administrative penalty of Shs19.2m on USE to be paid to the CMA,” a statement issued by the CMA reads. Read more
BOU: Banks turn away borrowers to avert bad loans
A salaried employee with one of the telecommunication companies walked into a commercial bank to secure a loan at the end of July but to his surprise, he was turned away. He had been a customer of the bank for at least seven years. But the bank denied him a salary loan, asking him to wait for two months for a possible consideration.Indicators are pointing to commercial banks slowing down on lending because of the increased risk profile of clients due to the headwinds in the economy. With the exception of foreign currency loans, the Shilling loans, which most businesses and individuals rely on, have been flat, according to statistics from Bank of Uganda (BoU). According to BoU statistics, total private sector credit stood at Shs11.4 trillion, it had marginally increased to Shs11.5trillion. This indicates growth of less than one per cent. Furthermore, figures from two listed commercial banks for the first half of the financial year indicate a similar trend.Read more
EAC countries to help Agro processors cope with effects of climate change
EAC countries have been advised to build the capacity of Agro processing industries in respective countries, so that they can be able to cope with emerging issues of climate change.Effects of climate change on the industry include reduced raw materials due to either prolonged dry spell or flooding which all lead to food losses among others.The call was made by the minister of state for Industry in the ministry of trade, Michael Werikhe Kafabusa while officiating at the first PACT EAC regional meeting at Silver Springs Hotel recently. It was organized by SEATINI Uganda and CUTS International.The project Promoting Agriculture climate Trade (PACT) linkages in East Africa Phase2 builds capacities of East Africans for climate change awareness, trade driven, and foods security enhancing agro processing in the region.Werikhe said that Agro industrial development presents substantial prospects for the region generating economic growth, new sources of food and income leading to poverty reduction."It is therefore important to support them through capacity building so that they are aware of the realities of climate change in their works and prepare them so that they can remain productive in the face of effects of climate change," said Werikhe. Read more
USE: Securities exchange market registers Shs10 billion drop
The decline in equity prices at most counters saw Uganda Securities Exchange’s (USE) total market turnover falling by Shs10.8b in the second quarter of the year, a development which has hurt both the institutional and retail investors.Statistics by USE reveal that the market realised a total turnover of Shs41.5 billion from a volume of 305.6 million shares that were traded during the second quarter of the year compared to Shs52.3 billion realised from more than 202 million shares traded.The USE chief executive officer, Mr Paul Bwiso, told Daily Monitor in an interview that the decline was due to a fall in prices of shares as a result of low demand.“The lack of demand during the second quarter was caused by the issue of high interest charged on government securities; treasury bills and bonds. This development saw the investors shifting their investment from equities to government securities where they were getting higher returns and it was risk free investment to the investors,” he said. Read more
Museveni asks Japan to open its market to Uganda
President Yoweri Museveni has asked Japan to open up its market to Ugandan goods and services so as to facilitate trade between the two countries. Museveni who met with the Japanese Prime Minister, Chinzo Abe Sunday in Kenya said Uganda has for long supported the Japanese economy and it is time the Asian economic giant did the same.“Good projects have been undertaken between Uganda and Japan. I am pleased with progress in the construction of a bridge in Jinja, the roads in Kampala that include flyovers and hospitals,” Museveni told PM Abe.He noted that for there to be stronger cooperation between Uganda and Japana, there must be a balance of trade. Uganda has over the years bought Japanese manufactured equipment especially for building infrastructure as well as vehicles.“We have bought from Japan for a long time. Uganda, for example, began buying Japanese cars before independence,” said the President.“Since then, we have bought more from Japan than it has from us. We have supported the Japanese economy and prosperity. We have supported your factories and helped you get jobs. Japan should now create a balance of trade.” Read more
MEMD: Toshiba Corporation to invest in Uganda’s geothermal power
Japan’s Toshiba Corporation has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Uganda’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) on a comprehensive partnership in geothermal power.The agreement will see the parties collaborate in power generation projects, including personnel development, according to statement released Sunday by the energy ministry.The parties signed the MOU during the Tokyo International Conference on African Development 2016 (“TICAD VI”), that ends today in Nairobi, Kenya.Toshiba will collaborate in the development and supply of major equipment for a geothermal power plant, create operation and management guidelines, and cooperate in personnel development, the statement said.“The development of Uganda's geothermal energy resources is in line with our energy policy objectives of increasing power generation capacity and diversifying our energy mix in order to achieve least cost, affordable and stable energy supply”, said Dr. Fred Kabagambe-Kaliisa, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, at the signing ceremony. Read more
210 entrepreneurs graduate from Stanbic Bank mentorship programme
210 Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) owners have Wednesday graduated from a one year business and mentorship programme supported by Stanbic Bank in partnership with Enterprise Uganda.The program which  was initiated to improve the capacity of Small businesses to become more self-sustaining by acquiring specialized skills on how to handle financial and administrative management.The Entrepreneurs were taken trained in different pillars of business including talent management, Team building, Finance and capital, Marketing and customer care among others.The training was also aimed at helping SME owners identify profitable investment opportunities for future growth.During the graduation ceremony, Kevin Wingfield, Head of Personal and Business Banking at Stanbic Bank noted that “SME’s from the back bone of our economy, constitute the bulk of the private sector, are one of the largest employers and generate a considerable amount of tax revenue.”“The challenge however, is that the majority of business owners in these companies have never been formally trained to run their companies professionally , as a result many struggle over time and collapse after a few years,” he added. Read more
To curb post-harvest losses, hope lies in strengthening cooperatives
Post-harvest losses are food losses. Each step of the way from farm to market, there are more and more losses.In a developing country like Uganda, food security relies on producing and storing major staple crops such as grain. However, post-harvest commodity losses remain particularly high.More than 25 per cent of the grain produced is lost in the entire post-harvest chain before reaching the consumer.These losses occur at every stage: harvest, transport, drying, shelling, winnowing, sorting/packaging, storage, and even during transportation to the market and in-market storage. Read more
KCCA should follow international municipal governance models
I was invited to speak at a workshop on Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) on the subject, “The Kampala we want”. The letter inviting me specifically asked me to “highlight the lacuna in the law and possibly make proposals to strengthen the administration of Kampala capital city.” To my surprise, one of the divisional mayors was so incensed with my views that he asserted that they were brought in bad faith.The city is currently governed by the Kampala Capital City Act of 2010, which provides for setting up an Authority with a Lord Mayor and an Executive Director appointed by the President pursuant to Article 5 of the Constitution, which vests the administration of the city in the government. This differs from the previous law under which the city was equated to a district and a directly elected mayor performed the district chairman role.Read more
MPs to quiz UNRA over Shs16bn payments to pro-NRM law firms
Ugandan lawmakers have plotted to question Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) for paying a staggering Shs15,563,305,267 in the space of less than two years to law firms whose owners or associates are tightly connected to the National Resistance Movement party. ChimpReports landed on documents submitted to the Parliamentary committee on Commissions Statutory and State Enterprises detailing how a dozen law firms received the colossal amounts payable in professional fees in different cases that the roads authority was involved in.The documents are expected to be opened in the committee sitting where officials from UNRA and owners of law firms are to face Members of Parliament on how the stunning payments were quantified.According to the documents, few notable firms took big share while others got more than they asked for. Sebalu & Advocates where the NRM former Legal Director James Sebugenyi is the central actor, got a mindboggling Shs4,425,462,670.Mr. Sebugenyi was also among the 40 lawyers that represented the NRM in the presidential election petition filed by former candidate Amama Mbabazi at the Supreme Court.The law firm represented the authority (UNRA) in 17 cases notably the one involving the allegedly United States ghost construction company Eutaw. Read more
UCDA: Low consumption affecting Uganda coffee prices, incomes
For a long time Ugandans have been steered to believe that the coffee they grow is simply a cash crop. And with 80 per cent of the population involved in agriculture, coffee growing has been a mainstay and cash crop for most households in the country.As a result, coffee has remained the single leading export commodity which has earned the country second position as Africa’s leading exporter after Ethiopia.Ethiopia, which is thought to be the birth place for coffee in Africa, is not only leading in production but also one of the largest consumers on the continent where coffee follows visitors at every mile of the trip.Ideally, one would think the story is the same for Uganda which is ranked as the second largest coffee producer in Africa and tenth globally. Read more
EABC in anti-illicit trade campaign
Illicit trade includes, but is not limited to, intellectual property infringements and trade in substandard goods that pose or cause health or safety risks, parallel imports and undeclared local production, smuggling of excisable goods and a variety of illicit financial flows.Although progress has been made in several areas, a lot more still ought to be done to win the fight against illicit trade, the East African Business Council (EABC) chief executive officer, Ms Lillian Awinja, has said.Illicit trade includes, but is not limited to, intellectual property infringements and trade in substandard goods that pose or cause health or safety risks, parallel imports and undeclared local production, smuggling of excisable goods and a variety of illicit financial flows.Ms Awinja said: “Evaluation of illicit trade and its effects is challenging, as such trade operates outside of the law, making it hard to access data on it.”In trying to address this vice, the EABC in collaboration with Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) and Kenya’s government are organising a high level second Regional Anti-Illicit Trade Conference in Nairobi, Kenya.Read more 
Paroma Enterprises: Uganda to start manufacturing car spare parts
At a time when the unemployment level has hit the roof, people stuck in the unemployment statistics have reason to smile. Chinese company, Sinotruck International partnered with Ugandan company, Paroma Enterprises in an agreement that will create 1000 jobs for the youths in Uganda. The partnership of the two companies, according to Francis Bukenya, the C.E.O of Paroma Enterprises is set to orchestrate the building of a factory that will manufacture spare parts for heavy duty trucks."When the factory starts to run, and these spare parts start being produced and distributed all over Africa as projected, jobs will be created for the Ugandans. But more importantly the fact that we will be manufacturing the spare parts and assembling them will serve to imply that we will actually be manufacturing cars in Uganda. This is a great opportunity for Ugandans," relayed Bukenya. Sinotruck, a Chinese transportation channel that has extended its works in different parts of Africa has embarked on widening the market for their products.
"We are aiming at helping Uganda get access to products that they don't produce like the heavy duty trucks and motor spare parts as a way of widening our market base" explained Mrs Lily Lee, the General Manager of Sinotruck. Read more
Uganda Clays eyes regional markets - first stop in Rwanda
Uganda Clays Ltd plans to enter the regional markets via Rwanda, following heightened competition in Uganda, coupled with the closure of its South Sudan operations.Its new target markets include eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, northern Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.By press time, the Uganda Securities Exchange-listed UCL had not published its half-year financial results. The company posted a $2.3 million profit.Rogers Mawanda, commercial manager and head of communications said that South Sudan was UCL's second largest market, contributing 35 per cent of the company's revenue, but when civil war broke out in the country, the firm closed operations. This has affected its financial flow.Consequently, the company has been struggling to pay a $5.9 million debt from Uganda's pension body, the National Social Security Fund. Read more
UPDF, prisons to modernize Kampala industrial parks
Government through the Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development has committed to develop infrastructure, more so roads drainage channels and buildings in and around Kampala Industrial Area (Nakawa) and the Business Park in Namanve. This follows reports of appalling conditions of the infrastructure around these areas, which tends to slow down business therein.The minister of State for Privatization and Investment Hon Evelyn Anite made known the government commitment while on a guided tour of the two parks.Anite said after the tour that she had indeed noticed the infrastructural challenges around the areas.She said plans are underway by government to construct better tarmac roads, sewerage plants and more power lines around these areas.This project according to the minister is estimated to consume up to UGX50billion shillings.
The Infrastructure development around the park, she said was recently directed by President Yoweri Museveni. Because of resource limitations however, Anite said the ministry has decided to source services of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) and the Uganda Prisons.The national army’s construction and engineering unit is known for a number of projects including renovation of the Kololo Independence Stadium. Read more
How URA loses Shs50bn annually in shipping industry
Uganda looses up to 50 billion shillings annually in revenue due to failure to enforce the Marine Act, leading Insurance broker Aon’s Chief Executive Officer Mr. Maurice Amogola has said.He said that much of the cargo being shipped in to the country is not insured locally, shifting the benefits to foreign insurance firms and economies.Mr. Amogola called on the Uganda Revenue Authority, the chief tax collector to move in fast to seal the anomaly, a move that could significantly boost their collections and push the country closer towards achieving the middle-income economy status.“Goods coming to Uganda should be insured in Uganda. This will give the country good revenue and create employment locally and stimulate economic growth”, Mr. Amogola said.He said that insuring goods with international firms can lead to delays as it can take longer time to make follow ups and receive compensation, leaving the clients frustrated.“If one has a problem in Mombasa or gets problems when the goods are on transit to Kampala it will take them a long time even to get the insurance company in Europe or other overseas countries to assess the damage. Local companies are best suited to sort out the issues because they are readily available”, he added. Read more
Boards of government bodies inefficient, says UNBS
The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has said it is embarking on training all board members of government institutions to equip them with modern management standards to improve efficiency.While addressing journalists, Ms Patricia Ejalu, the deputy executive director UNBS, said the ISO 9001 management standards provide modern standards which the board members should acquaint themselves with so as to acquire skills to provide strategic leadership and policies to the institutions they supervise.This, she said, ensures their sustainability and profitability.“The efficiency of a board is seen from the services or products of the company it supervises. Such a company does not have to struggle for customers because its services or products speak for themselves,” she saidMs Ejalu said if board members are equipped with such skills, the companies they supervise would reduce losses because of the management systems they would have set..Read more
Tourism Promotion: German journalists visit Uganda,UTB
A team of four senior journalists from Germany are on a tour in Uganda as part of the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) strategy to open Uganda to German speaking Europe.The tour also commonly known as a familiarization (fam) trip is the first from KPRN one of the agencies President Yoweri Museveni commissioned to market and promote Uganda tourism in the global market. KPRN represents Uganda’s travel and tourism business interests in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The other firms are PHG for North America and Kamageo for UK and Ireland.The media team includes KatrinSchreiter, of theMADSACK Media Group; Margot Zeslawski, FOCUS; Jutta Lemcke, srt; Thomas Krüger, Flying Media.The group was today unveiled by the Tourism Minister Hon Ephraim Kamuntu at the Uganda Media Center. According to the minister, the team has visited various tourist attractions around the country. They have been to the Queen Elizabeth National Park where they took a boat launch on the Kazinga channel and a game drive. From QENP, the team moved south to the famous gorilla highlands to track gorillas in the Mgahinga National Park. Read more
Finance minister Matia Kasaija: Businesspeople promoting corruption, Kasaja
Finance minister Matia Kasaija has accused the business community of promoting corruption saying they prefer giving kickbacks to dodge right processes. Mr Kasaija, who was speaking as chief guest at a high level dialogue on the role of private sector in the delivery of sustainable development goals (SDGs) in Kampala, said most businesspeople bribe officials to secure contracts or to avoid taxes.“I know there is what we call commission in business. It is given after a deal has been done like a handshake. But this business of do this for me I will give you this has stalled the fight against corruption. You business people like evading processes and taxes,” he said.Mr Kasaija was responding to Mr Patrick Bitature, the chairman Private Sector Foundation Uganda, who in his speech castigated government for failure to fight corruption.Governments are expected to achieve SDGs by 2030 which include zero hunger, good health and wellbeing, quality education, gender equality, decent work and economic growth and institutions.Mr Kasaija, Mr Bitature and other stakeholders agreed that the goals are achievable if there is social, political and economic will of every citizen, especially in the fight against corruption.The minister urged the business community to help the government in the fight against unemployment through continued investment, warning that unemployment, if not addressed, may soon cause mayhem in the country. Read more
No looming debt crisis in Africa - AfDB
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has dismissed fears of a possible debt crisis in Africa saying most of the countries in the continent are still in sustainable debt level to their Gross Domestic Product (GDP).The pace at which public debt has increased in most African countries has been significantly higher in the recent years attracting concerns from the international community and the local public that countries are headed for debt crisis.Increase in external debt is as a result of governments in the region stepping up borrowing for infrastructure development to foster long term economic growth and development.Speaking during the Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI) workshop on strengthening Uganda’s public debt management capabilities at Kampala Serena Hotel, the AfDB chief economist Uganda country office, Dr Alex Rwabizambuga, said: “We should not be alarmed that debt crisis is looming in Africa. Read more
UNECA: Uganda needs more effective industrial policy
Uganda should focus on developing a more effective industrial policy based on its economic specificities and the opportunities created by regional integration.
This is according to the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Uganda country profile report that was launched at Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala. The report notes that despite an economic growth rate reaching 5.2 % on average, Uganda's strong economic performance has not kept in pace with its East African neighbours, the sub-regional average growth rate was 6.9%. It said the growth rate not proven efficient enough to create quality employment and economic diversification. While the national poverty rate declined to 19.7 per cent, from 50 per cent, more than 40% of the population is still classified as being insecure (living below twice the poverty line) the report notes. Dr Rodgers Mukwaya, economic affairs officer UNECA, Sub-Regional Office for Eastern Africa said Uganda has achieved remarkable economic growth, and yet the strong performance has not generated economic diversification. Read more
IMF: Uganda’s public debt to keep rising
The International Monetary Fund projects that Uganda’s public debt will keep raising to 2021 due to ongoing ambitious infrastructure investment by government.
Uganda is facing a problem of infrastructure deficit, which is affecting the country’s long-term economic development and is the reason why government has scaled up investment infrastructure development by borrowing to close budget deficits for infrastructure development. In an interview with Daily Monitor recently, the International Monetary Fund Resident representative in Uganda, Ms Mira Clara, said: “The ongoing ambitious infrastructure investment scaling up will result in an increase of the public debt, with total public debt projected to peak in FY2020/21, at about 50 percent of GDP (and external public debt at about 36 percent of GDP), and decline thereafter, as the scaling up process is completed.” Read more
KCB to link SMEs with foreign companies
The Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Uganda is set to link more than 500 small and medium enterprises in Uganda with foreign companies in the UAE, France, China, England and USA to help their businesses expand.The enterprises are registered under a business investment club, which the bank’s officials say will also benefit from investment advisory, reduced interest rates on loans and subsidised travel rates as they explore business opportunities in other countries.“This is how an institution growth together with the market. Uganda has a very entrepreneurial population but due to capital inadequacies and knowledge gaps, the businesses collapse before their second birthday. Here, we are trying to help some of them grow, and in turn, they will also help others, “said Mathias Muhimbisa, the bank’s executive director. Muhimbisa was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of the business club at the Kampala Imperial royal hotel on Friday evening.He said the bank’s move is partly in response to the country’s need to create more jobs in the economy, which is closely linked to the successful development of the SME sector.“More than 80% of Ugandans are employed in the SME sector, and we cannot ignore that this is where growth and development of this nation will come from. As a bank, therefore, we shall help as much as we can but also, make a bit of money,” he said. Read more
UCC: Foreign trips key for Uganda communication sector’s growth
The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has broken silence on spending millions of shillings on foreign travel, saying it’s provided by law and that benefits of engaging international communication agencies and players surpass the cost of the trips.The media last weekend reported that large sums of money from UCC were blown on foreign trips by its officials and other senior government bureaucrats.UCC Communications Director Fred Otunnu told ChimpReports the regulatory body cannot operate in isolation if government is to adopt the trending international technology practices.“The law (Section 5 (1) (Q) of the UCC Act) mandates the Commission to represent Uganda’s communication sector at national and international fora and organisations relating to its functions,” said Otunnu.He pointed out that UCC officials are obliged to attend international conferences as they also coordinate the participation of other interested groups such as MPs, academia and civil society.Uganda, represented by UCC, is a member of several international communication organisations including Universal Postal Union, Pan Africa Postal Union, African Telecom Union, Commonwealth Telecom Oraganisation, International Telecom Satellite Organisation and East Africa Communications Organisations. Read more
EAC improves ranking in doing business - World Bank report
The move by the regional states to interconnect its infrastructure has elevated the East African countries’ (EAC) status in the World Bank logistics ranking.
The improvement is an important indicator in attracting foreign investment into the region.The ranking is a tool created to help countries identify the challenges and opportunities they face in their performance on trade logistics and what they can do to improve their performance According to the World Bank Logistics Performance Index, a survey conducted by the institution on the efficiency of trade logistics in 160 countries, has seen EAC countries, among them Uganda, climb up the efficiency ladder.The survey indicates that in Africa, the regional countries competed strongly, with Kenya being ranked second, Uganda coming fifth, and Tanzania and Rwanda settling in the tenth and eleventh position while Burundi occupies the 13th place. Read more
UCDA kicks off campaign to boost coffee consumption
A campaign to motivate Ugandans to consume coffee has been started.According to the architects of this move including Inspire Africa, Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) and Usaid Feed the Future, think that in the next five years, local consumption will have improved to 20 per cent up from 3 per cent.The campaign starts with a coffee expo, barista competition and coffee cocktail in Kampala.Mr Nelson Tugume, the chief executive officer Inspire Africa, during the launch of the campaign in Kampala on Tuesday, said: “Coffee being the second most traded commodity in the world market after oil, an increase in local consumption to only 20 per cent will drastically bump up the economy.” Read more
Comesa to train suppliers on markets
Lack of information to local, regional and international markets is one of the biggest challenges small agro-food suppliers are experiencing, thereby missing out on contracts offered by large retail outlets and hotel chains.In trying to close this gap, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) business council (CBC) through a ‘Local Sourcing for Partnerships Project (LSP) training phase two, will teach small suppliers on how to access these markets.According to Ms Sandra Uwera, the CBC executive director, the second training phase which is on at Kampala Serena Hotel, will see selected suppliers be mentored on closing these market gaps. The programme is supported by the Private Sector Foundation Uganda. Read more
PSFU: Businesses warned against abuse of environmental laws
Businesses targeting the European market have been warned against abuse of environmental and social laws because European countries are beginning to use them as excuses to deny entry of goods to their countries.While launching the corporate social responsibility awards  at the Uganda Manufacturers Association Show Grounds in Kampala, Mr Gideon Badagawa, the executive director Private Sector Foundation Uganda, said companies which do not respect the environment, do not relate well with people and those which use their profits to cause social disorder, risk being blacklisted from the European markets because corporate social responsibility is now a global trend. Read more
Crown Beverages Limited slashes soda prices again
Crown Beverages Limited (CBL), a leading soft drinks bottler in Uganda, has reduced its retail price for the 330ml pack size by Shs200 from Shs 1,200 to Shs1, 000, in an effort to make their products more affordable for their customers.According to Jeff Sekandi, CBL’s Head of Marketing, this move is intended to ensure CBL customers continue enjoying the company’s quality brands including; Mirinda, Mountain Dew, Pepsi Cola, amidst increasing cost of living.“We understand the need for our clients to consume our products, but we also understand the macro factors affecting the economy. The cost of living is high and yet the expenditure is constant if not increasing. So, in putting those considerations together we have decided to cut down on the soda prices to help our clients enjoy our products,” said Sekandi.“We did the same in May for the 500ml, we cut the prices from shs1700 to shs1500. We have decided to do it for the 330ml as well. It is also worth noting that these price cuts are for a promotional period only.” Sekandi added. Read more
Minister Kyambadde woos Polish investors
The Ugandan minister of trade and industry, Amelia Kyambadde, has called upon investors from Poland to take advantage of investment opportunities in Uganda.While meeting the chief executive of Geneva Capital Group (DSBJ), Jerzy Bednarek, in Kampala, Kyambadde told him of the areas Poland can invest in.She talked of investment opportunities in the leather industry, oil and gas, agriculture, minerals development, manufacturing and information communication technology (ICT), transport and logistics and tourisms and wildlife, among others. The current production by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is 201,600 pairs of shoes and 115, 200 pieces of small leather goods, added the minister.Regarding ICT investment opportunities Kyambadde said Polish investors can inject money in software development, hardware assembly, multi-media development, film industry and graphics and rural communication.And in the oil and gas sector, she said Poland can plough capital venture in extraction, refinery, energy generation, supply of goods and infrastructure. Read more 
Stanbic Bank posts shs 107bn profit
Stanbic Bank Uganda has posted a significant growth in its total assets which grew by 17 percent to Ugshs4.5Bn according to the bank’s half year performance for the financial year.The report further indicates a 28 percent year on year revenue growth from UgShs. 261Bn  to UgShs. 334Bn.While releasing the results for 2016’s first half , Stanbic Bank CEO Patrick Mweheire said; “We are very pleased with our performance and the resilience demonstrated by our diverse business inthe first half of the year. Our diversified business model enabled us achieve these commendable results.”In terms of net profits, Stanbic posted a 57 percent growth supplemented by an increase in deposits from UgShs. 2,319Bn to UgShs. 2,838Bn . Mweheire attributed this to increased confidence among the bank’s clientele coupled with good riskmanagement. The bank’s market share also grew by 18% maintaining its lead in the financial sector.So far, Stanbic Bank has the third least lending rate at 23% behind Citi Bank (20%) and Tropical Bank (21%) which Mweheire said will continue on a downward trend reflective of the Central Bank rate. The Central Bank lending rate reduced by one percentage point from 15%. Read more
DTB opens collection point at NIRA centre
Diamond Trust Bank Uganda Ltd (DTB) has opened a payment collection point at the National Identification & Registration Authority (NIRA) Centre in Kololo in a bid to ease the registration process for those seeking NIRA services.The opening of the banking facility eases the process of registration and reduces the time spent from the previous six hours to two hours. The DTB Collection Point will be open from Monday to Friday from 8 am to 5 pm.Commenting on the partnership with NIRA, DTB Managing Director Mr. Varghese Thambi said the bank was happy to play a facilitating role to ensure that all citizens enjoyed their right of registration and recognition a factor that is key to ensuring proper planning for national development.Speaking at the launch of the collection centre, NIRA Vice Chairperson Hon. Ruth Kavuma commended DTB for bringing its services closer to the people and urged those that have not been registered to do so because it’s now easier and faster to undergo the process. Read more
KCB Bank’s new business club to create opportunities for SMEs
KCB Bank Uganda has launched a business club aimed at widening business opportunities to its customer and to strengthen its foothold in the small and medium enterprise sector.Through the club named “KCB Business Club”, the bank’s customers will benefit from reduced cost of borrowing, SME business advisory services, seminars and workshops, as well as local, regional and international business trips.Speaking during the launch of the club, Mathias Muhimbisa, the Executive Director KCB Bank, said the business club is a strategic move by the bank to solidify its presence in the SME sector.“Most of our SME’s are skewed towards trading, by bringing them together we are giving them an opportunity to tap and learn from each other,” said Muhimbisa. He added; “We hope to build their capacity through the international business trips where they can tap into new and emerging markets across the world.”Economic growth and job creation are closely linked to the success of the SME sector.SMEs, however, struggle to grow past the 5-year mark as due to lack of access to capital and poor managerial skills.According to Mr. Muhimbisa, the club will provide an opportunity for businesses to have access to a reduced cost of borrowing as well as training workshops on business management. Read more
MTN launches mobile Money savings, loans
MTN Uganda in partnership with the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA)  launched a mobile money savings and Loans feature in a bid to further financial and digital inclusion in the country.Dubbed ‘MoKash’, the feature allows MTN mobile money users to acquire micro loans at the comfort of their mobile phones and to save while earning an interest According to Charles Mbiire, the MTN board chairman, MoKash is meant enhance the quality of life for all Ugandans, regardless of which part of the country they’re in or their status in society.“MTN is passionate and committed to the economic advancement of Uganda as a country, and we are truly excited about the prospect of a technology-driven society that ushers Uganda into the Middle Income status in the next few years,” Mbiire said.“By launching Savings and Loans on the Mobile Money platform, MTN not only re-enforces its leadership position, but also sets the pace for an era in which financial services are a real possibility to everyone in the country.”The feature was officially launched by H.E Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, the Vice President of Uganda who was representing President Museveni. Read more
Farmers want reduced interest rates
Farmers  are appealing to government to lower interest rates so that that they can borrow money and improve their farming systems.
The call was made by David Muwonge, the deputy executive director the National Union of Coffee Agribusiness Enterprises (NUCAFE) during a workshop in Kampala. Muwonge said that although there has been a reduction in interest rates from 28% to 21%  for some associations like Kabonera Coffee Farmers Association, rates are still high."Reduction in the interest rates will enable us farmers increase investments into production which will lead to quality production and better returns and payments.” It is possible to have preferential interest rates that are well guided for agriculture just like in countries like Ethiopia which have deliberate financing options for agriculture, said Muwonge.The agricultural sector is still grappling with challenges such as inadequate financing, fake agro inputs, pests and diseases. But Muwonge said these can be addressed through banks and by making agriculture financing cheaper. Josien Sluijs director platform for inclusive finance, said smallholder farmers need financial assistance. “Financial services are often an obstacle in increasing smallholder farmers' production and yet they play an important role in food provision.” Read more
Grain traders ask EAC govts to support inter-regional business
Grain traders have called on the Eastern African Community governments to support intra-regional trade in staple foods to achieve food safety in the region.Through their umbrella organisation the East African Grain Council (EAGC), the directors while meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, underscored the role of trade in facilitating the movement of food commodities from surplus production areas to deficit areas. EAGC board chairman Dr Bernard Otim (Uganda), in a communication, said: "Trade was the only sure way for the people to transact and exchange value and thereby raise the standards of living of the citizens. We call upon EAC governments to commit to supporting regional integration and facilitate trade."The EAGC directors asked national and regional governments to institute a model of engagement with the grain stakeholders for evidence based consultative processes before any ad hoc policy decisions are enacted. Read more
Minimum wage debate draws mixed reactions from economists
As Ugandan workers wait for the minimum wage, some economic think-tanks have poked holes in the struggle, saying this may not be the most important challenge the country is facing.A minimum wage is a standard benchmark below which an employer is expected to pay workers to ensure fair return. A minimum wage objective protects those employees who are not under unions and cannot negotiate for better terms and conditions with their employers.The new minimum wage Advisory Board, which was appointed by government , is expected to deliver its final report to the Labour minister and to Cabinet with recommendations on whether Uganda should set up a minimum wage or not.In his analysis, associate professor and senior economist at College of Business and Management Sciences at Makerere University, Mr Asuman Gulooba, shares: "... in regards to the current development challenges, a minimum wage may not be the most important challenge that Uganda needs." Read more
Ugandan judge to head Seychelles’ Anti-Corruption Commission
The appointment is a big endorsement of the competence of Uganda’s judicial service.Several Ugandan judges including former Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki have participated in building Seychelles’ judicial capacity.“One of the first tasks of the Anti-Corruption Commission will be to recommend to the President, in accordance with Section 19 of the Anti-Corruption Commission Act, the appointment of a Chief Executive Officer who will be responsible for implementing the decisions of the Commission, and for the effective management of the affairs of the Commission,” said the statement.According to the Seychelles’ president, the Anti-Corruption Commission will have powers to investigate, detect and prevent practices linked to corruption on top of receiving complaints and launching investigations into such practices in government departments.The decision to create an Anti-Corruption Commission was announced by President Michel in his State of the Nation Address.Justice Gaswaga served the Judiciary of Seychelles, initially as a Magistrate and later as a Supreme Court Judge. Read more
EADB to train 600 medical practitioners in cancer management
In light of the ever growing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), East African Development Bank (EADB) is rolling out an ambitious medical training programme aimed at sensitizing the citizenry of four East African states; Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda where EADB has operations.The programme; East African Development Bank Medical Training and Fellowship Programme aims at increasing the number, quality and deployment of medical professionals in public service so as to cushion the burden of NCDs.The program aims to have trained 600 medical professionals specializing in the treatment of cancer and neurological disorders in the East African region.Ms. Vivienne Yeda, the Director General of EADB says the program will focus on early detection, research and treatment of cancer and neurological neurological disorders especially in communities and areas where access to qualified professionals remains a challenge.“EADB’s overriding objective is to promote social and economic development of the member states. We have thus identified Non Communicable Diseases as an area that is often not taken too seriously despite the severity,” she explains.Ms. Yeda also disclosed that EADB sought the partnership of the British Council and the Royal College of Physicians in this initiative. Read more
President meets Chinese investors
President Yoweri Museveni held a meeting with Chinese investors who called on him for a discussion.The meeting follows a directive that was given by the president while addressing government ministers and their permanent secretaries at the National Leadership Institute in Kyankwanzi that Asians and foreigners must be discouraged from getting involved in small scale businesses in Uganda..According to officials the president and his guests discussed matters of mutual interest. The President urged entrepreneurs from China to invest more in the Ugandan economy especially in areas of agriculture, energy and textiles among others. He said that Uganda is ready to partner with anybody as far as business enhancement in the country is concerned.He also reminded his guests that Uganda is very rich and has abundant natural resources. He, therefore, called on the Group to invest more in the country and tap into the still unexploited business opportunities that Uganda offers. Read more
Nema and Era partner to protect environment
The environmental watchdog National Environment Management Authority has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Electricity Regulatory Authority (Era) to cooperate on environmental protection.The MoU signed last month seeks to avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts by either party, to avoid the imposition of unnecessary regulatory burdens on businesses, and to augment the responsibilities of both parties in the regulation of the environment.Era chief executive officer Dr Benon Mutambi said: "Through collaboration with Nema, we have heightened integration of environmental considerations into the execution of our mandate in regard to issuing licenses and prescribing the conditions and terms of the licenses issued."Nema boss Dr Tom Okurut said collaborating with Era presented the environmental authority with the least-cost option of managing the environment. Read more
IGG protests lack of political will to fight corruption
As President Museveni seeks to put the fight against corruption at the heart of his Kisanja Hakuna Mchezo tenure, meaning a term of no games, the Inspector General of Government has spoken about the frustrations she has encountered in the war against graft.In her paper to the Cabinet retreat entitled: "Achieving Zero Tolerance to Corruption", the IGG, Ms Irene Mulyagonja, lists the obstacles to the fight against corruption, singling out absence of adequate political will, insufficient staff and poor facilitation to the Ombudsman.Ms Mulyagonja noted that there is need to empower her office to keep ahead of the sophistication in corrupt practices such as use of IT to steal from government, loopholes in the Leadership Code and Anti-Corruption Act. Read more
Standard Chartered Bank launches ‘Here for Africa’ campaign
Standard Chartered Bank Uganda has Wednesday launched a new campaign aimed at re-affirming the bank’s commitment to invest in Africa. The ‘Here for Africa’ campaign is set to be rolled out with a series of activities over the period.It looks to exploiting Africa’s potential by supporting key sectors such as infrastructure, telecommunications, transport, retail and trade.Standard Chartered Bank has a footprint of 16 African markets over the last 150 years. It services over one million retail customers across the continent and over 20,000 commercial, corporate and institutional clients. Razia Khan the Group’s chief Economist for Africa noted that; “Africa is a key emerging market globally and a continent on the rise with vast financial and business opportunities.”“We believe in forging new partnerships which deliver tangible value for not only our clients but all member African economies,” Khad added during a news conference at the Standard Chartered Bank head office in Kampala. Read more
Cost of South Sudan crisis hits traders
Arua Park, once the bustling section of downtown Kampala, has lost its mojo to the war in South Sudan, writes ALI TWAHA & ABUBAKER MAYEMBA. The chaos that defined the stretch at Arua park has been replaced with calm, while the groovy hype that hovered over the area has turned moody. Arua park is the main hub for those travelling to South Sudan.But since the war broke out  - life has turned sulky in South Sudan. Ali Amin, a truck driver with Nile Coaches company, said the number of customers has tanked."We used to have customers from South Sudan to buy goods from here, and then export them via Koboko and Nimule. We can no longer take luggage to Juba since the war began," he said.Sylvia Nalubuulwa, the attendant at Crown Coaches, says they have reduced the number of buses they flag off to Juba, the capital of South Sudan. Read more
Sudan war pushes down tomato prices as farmers incur losses
With renewed conflict in South Sudan, which is a vibrant market for various commodities from Uganda, farmers and traders are already feeling the pinch.This is because the prices for most foodstuffs, such as tomatoes, which they export up to Juba, have dropped, as the market can no longer be accessed.John Ntege, a tomato farmer in Bwetyaba village, in Kayunga Sub-county, Kayunga District, says the prices which rose in June to Shs170,000-Shs200,000 a box, fell after the war broke out in South Sudan. The price for a box of tomatoes now ranges from Shs50,000 to Shs80,000."The conflict in South Sudan cut off our main export market, creating a monopoly for traders from Kenya and a few local traders, who have since exploited us by lowering the prices," notes Patrick Musaazi, another tomato farmer in Bukolooto, Kayunga District. Read more
EAC: Business council cautions on domestic tax harmonisation
Tax harmonisation across the East African Community (EAC) member States is the way to go if the countries in the bloc are to attain economic union, the East African Business Council (EABC) has said. The countries’ huge disparities in tax administration and systems have had a negative effect on achieving principal freedoms enshrined in EAC customs union and common market.In trying to rectify these disparities, experts from the member States have resumed discussion on how harmonisation of domestic taxes will be handled.Speaking at the opening of the technical working group meeting in Arusha - Tanzania, the executive director EABC, Ms Lillian Awinja, said: “Tax harmonisation is an element that runs through all stages of EAC integration, including the EAC customs union, common market, monetary union and political federation.” Read more
UNBS seizes substandard cosmetics, iron sheets
The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has impounded 80 cartons of cosmetics and 300 pieces of substandard iron sheets from the market in an operation conducted in the capital Kampala.According to a statement released by UNBS, the cosmetic products had prohibited substances including mercury and hydroquinone contrary to the Uganda Standards in the protection of public health.“Cosmetic products with Mercury and Hydroquinone are cancerous, they weaken internal organs such as kidney, liver, and they cause skin discoloration, reduction in the skin’s resistance to bacterial and fungal infections among others,” the statement read in part.The products which included White Secrete Lightening Body Lotion, Bio Perfect Light, Lemon Clear, and Skin Light brands, are believed to have been imported from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Togo, and Ivory Coast through the Kasese border post of Mpondwe and Bunagana in Kisoro. Read more
Agriculture SMEs not benefiting from EAC markets
"As a result many still carry out informal trade, produce goods that are not on demand, don't know the standards that are required, that is why they continue making losses," noted Serwada. She was officiating at the closure of the training program of Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Limited (UWEAL), The Grain Council of Uganda (TGCU) under the theme "Tapping into Regional Markets of Food Staple" at their offices in Bugolobi."Through such trainings Kilimo Trust is leading the way in action required to make the EAC Food Security Action Plan a reality as it is building a mass of skilled business leaders who can effectively tap into the regional markets," said Sserwada. She explained that the EAC Food Security Plan that was endorsed by heads of state, calls for a joint approach on food security, increase in production and trade of staple foods and move them in areas with a deficit in the region, among others. Read more
UNACC: Create special fund for biogas, manufacturers tell govt
Government should create a special fund to subsidise the production of biogas energy, members of Uganda National Alliance on Clean Cooking (UNACC), an association of renewable energy producers, has asked.If government subsidises their production costs, UNACC members said it will lower the cost of production thereby increasing uptake of biogas energy, create jobs, save the environment and manufacturers will cash in.“From the fieldwork we have done, there is demand for cleaner and readily available energy from biogas but many people cannot afford Shs2 million to construct a digester,” Eng Christopher Kato, a biogas manufacturer and member of UNACC, said in Kampala. Read more 

MOE: Gov’t invites 3 Nigerian companies for production sharing agreements
Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development announced completion of evaluation of bids for the first competitive licensing round and invited the successful companies to negotiate Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) for the different oil blocks. Four companies were shortlisted and invited to negotiate for PSAs for blocks and they are; Armour Energy Limited (Australia) for the Kanywataba Block; Walter Smith Petroman Oil Limited (Nigeria), for the Shallow and Deep Plays in the Turaco area; Oranto Petroleum International Ltd (Nigeria) for the Shallow and Deep Plays in the Ngassaarea and Niger Delta Petroleum Resources Ltd (Nigeria) for the Shallow and Deep Plays in the Ngassaarea. According to a statement issued by the Ministry, Government will negotiate five PSAs with these companies and issue five exploration licenses, upon successful negotiation. The five PSAs are one for the Kanywataba block and two for the shallow and deep plays of the Turaco and Ngassa blocks respectively.Negotiations for the five PSAs will commence and are expected to be concluded. Read more
URA to issue Certificates of Origin
A Certificate of Origin is a shipping document indicating that shipped export goods are wholly obtained, produced, manufactured or processed in a particular country for easy traceability. The URA commissioner general, Doris Akol made the announcement during a meeting held on the Electronic Single Window project implementation team and over 180 exporters.The meeting deliberated the implication of the Finance Act whose implementation follows the directive by the Minister of Finance in the budget.“Issuance of CoO by URA will lead to immediate reduction of key export costs like payment of CoO and registration fees with the reduced costs totalling to over US$50,000” said Akol.  Forecasts indicate that the change and a fully implemented Electronic Single Window (ESW) will enable businesses to save over US$500,000 annually, thanks to the creation of the ESW system.Read more
Nuhu Sajjabbi, manager of Busoga Sugarcane Growers Association: Cane growers demand inclusion in operation wealth creation
Sugarcane growers in Busoga sub-region are demanding for inclusion in governments Operation Wealth, a program started to enhance household participation in commercial agricultural production. The program, which runs under the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), is used for community mobilization, distribution of agricultural inputs, and facilitation of agricultural production chains across the country.But cane growers in Busoga region say the program has sidelined them. The region has close to 25,000 sugarcane growers who have been mobilized and facilitated by the five sugar factories in the sub-region. Nuhu Sajjabbi, manager of Busoga Sugarcane Growers Association says they have tried to acquire agricultural inputs through the Operation Wealth Creation program in vain. Read more
CYF: Youths to march to parliament in support of bailouts
A group of youths have organized a procession to Parliament in solidarity with local business owners who are reportedly set to receive financial support from government.The news of the so called bailout for 65 companies which are said to be deep in debts has since attracted largely negative remarks from civil society organizations, politicians and the public.The youth however, under their organization The Corporate Youth Forum (CYF) said the local companies must get this backing or the country’s economy with be under threat. According to the group’s publicist Brian Lubega, they are marching to Parliament to push the MP to expedite this bail out arrangement. Lubega told a press conference at Makerere University that his group is fighting only  for what is good for the country’s economy. Read more
Mr David Nyakundi Bonyi, chief executive officer UBRA: 89 per cent of Uganda’s labour force get no pension
Uganda continues to experience low levels of pension coverage as the majority of the labour force remains uncovered by the various schemes in the country.According to the Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA), at least 13 million people out of the total labour force of about 14 million do not have access to pension, which risks bringing poverty in old age. This amount accounts for 89 per cent of the 15.6m labour force in the country.With the majority of that labour force in the informal sector, access to money after retirement is highly unlikely.“We have a huge informal sector where a lot of money is generated. It is our interest to extend coverage to these informal sector workers because they also need to save for their old age income,” Mr David Nyakundi Bonyi, the chief executive officer UBRA, said at the release of the Pension Industry Performance. Read more
Political interference affecting tax collection – URA official
Failure of the government to put tax revenue into good use that benefits the society is the major challenge affecting tax collection in the country, a senior official has said.According to Mr Evaristto Mugisha, the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) official attached to Domestic Taxes Department, tax collection is affected by government’s challenge of striking a strategic balance between desire for tax revenue and appeasement of certain factions of society to gain political popularity.“The sentiments expressed by politicians have at times been contrary to tax legislations implemented by URA and the obvious is jeopardising tax yields and putting the professional independence of the authority under suspicion,” he said. Read more
Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde: Uganda calls for increased trade among fellow LDCs
Uganda has called for improved trade among the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), saying it is the only way they will be able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) by 2030. During a general debate on how to achieve Agenda 2030 at the 14th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD 14) held in Nairobi, Kenya, Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde said: “There is need and urgency to improve infrastructural interconnectivity amongst LDCs in order to address the low level of intra trade among these countries.”The UNCTAD 14 conference was held under the theme: “From decision to action: Moving towards an inclusive and equitable global economic environment for trade and development”. Read more
Mbale market vendors decry high loan interest rates
Vendors at Mbale Central market have decried the high interest rates they are charged when acquiring loans from commercial banks.
The market which occupied by over 6000 vendors, has only three small scale SACCOS, a situation that has forced many of them to rely on loans from commercial banks and private financial dealers to sustain their businesses. Bakar Nabende, a vegetable vendor at the market said it has proved difficult for many to sustain businesses due to lack of small scale business friendly loans.“Every month we see our colleagues packing their belongings heading back to the village because business has collapsed, we need urgent intervention from government,” Nabende who also doubles as the chairperson information and research committee at Mbale central market said. Read more
NUCAFE executive director Joseph Nkandu: Coffee exports drop
Uganda's leading export commodity coffee records indicate a decline in both volumes and value. statistics from the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) indicate that, which is the ninth month on the coffee calendar, there was a 7 per cent and 4 per cent decline in volume and value, respectively.Industry experts blame the poor performance on the dry spell in the country.The executive director National Union of Coffee Agribusiness and Farm Enterprises, Mr Joseph Nkandu, said: "Climate change is having a toll on output from the field especially in areas south of the Equator. Farmers did not deliver much and this affected the value too." Read more
China skilling Uganda's agricultural technicians to boost production
About 21 km north of the Ugandan capital Kampala, in the quiet environs of Makerere University Agricultural Research institute, a Chinese instructor demonstrates how to use Chinese farming technology to boost production.His students, agricultural technicians drawn from different parts of the east African country carefully listen and watch every move with a keen eye.The over 30 technicians are attending the Chinese funded training course on cultivation techniques. The participants are focusing on increasing the production of rice and millet which are key cereals in ensuring food security in Uganda.Read more
Museveni salutes the flourishing balance of trade between Rwanda and Uganda
The president of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has appreciated the flourishing trade partnership between Rwanda and Uganda.In his key note address at the opening of the government and political leaders retreat at Kyankwanzi. Museveni said Rwanda and Uganda's export and import of goods and services is on good footing.He noted that; " Uganda exports US$263 million worth of goods and services to Rwanda. Rwanda, in turn, is exporting US$78 million worth of goods to Uganda. Through Rwanda Airlines, Uganda is currently contributing about US$ 24.1 million to the prosperity of the people of Rwanda... "Here we reproduce his full speech as presented to the NRM Central Executive Committee, cabinet and permanent secretaries gathered at Kyankwanzi. Read more
EABC: Regional traders continue to face hurdles on central corridor
Delays in clearing goods, corruption and theft at the Port of Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania, and high fees charged by some regulatory agencies continue to hurt trade along the Central Corridor, officials have said.Members of the East African Business Council (EABC) brought the matter up during a Public-Private Dialogue (PPD) in Dar-es-Salaam.Traders also complained about value added tax (VAT) charged on auxiliary services levied on goods on transit.Omar Kassim, chairperson of Uganda Clearing Industry and Forwarding Association (UCIFA), said the issues need to be addressed to ease doing business. Kassim, who is also EABC vice-chairperson for Uganda, said, for instance, clearing of goods in Tanzania takes 10 days on average, while in Rwanda the same task takes a maximum of three-days."Long clearing time in Tanzania is attributed to complicated documentation and compliance activities as businesspersons require 10 documents to import or export to Tanzania," Kassim said. Read more
China and UK companies based in Uganda agree to collaborate
China and UK businesses operating in Uganda have agreed to work together to boost their businesses and projects to present higher values of goods and services to Uganda. This was during the 4th China-UK business networking event. It was held at the Chinese Embassy in Kololo Kampala.The Chinese ambassador to Uganda Zhao Yali said, the purpose of the event was to facilitate discussions between Chinese and UK companies to work together in 'the third country market' such as Uganda. He said the meeting follows China's go global strategy which encourages Chinese companies to work abroad and partner with foreign companies. He said Chinese and British companies have strengths and opportunities in different areas and by collaborating they can achieve more.Read more
URBRA: Uganda’s retirement benefits sector grows by 25%
Uganda’s pension sector has registered growth in its asset base at a rate of 25% in assets from Ugsh 5.2 trillion  to Ugsh 6.5 trillion. Total inflows include employers’ and members’ contributions, income from rents, interest, capital gains and dividends.The ratio of pension assets to GDP edged at 8.1% compared to 7.2%. Similarly, return on investment grew by 18.2% according to Uganda Retirements Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA).The sector performance report, at least 16 employers introduced retirement saving schemes. Of these, 6 were occupational pension schemes, 10 employers and an additional 2 informal sector schemes for workers who were registered.While briefing the media on the performance of last financial year, URBRA Executive Director David Nyakundi Bonyi attributed the growth in the sector to sensitization, good governance and increased realization of the importance of saving among Ugandans. Read more
Sudhir explains businesses losing property to banks
One of Africa's richest men, Kampala property mogul Sudhir Ruparelia says no bank is interested in taking the property of a client who defaults on a loan.In an exclusive interview, Sudhir told The Independent that when clients default on loans and banks are forced to foreclose, there are usually no buyers for the mortgaged property and the lenders lose because their "funds are stuck in the structures".Sudhir who has, according to the 2016 Forbes richest list, seen his net worth shrink by about US$300 million to US$800 million was commenting on the growing list of foreclosures affecting top property developers and dealers.Once seen as a flourishing segment, Uganda's property market is looking rather off-color with slow sales, sliding prices/rent, and the unsold inventory is rising.There has been an increase in property repossessions by various lending institutions as a result of bad loans due to high interest rates. This has in turn created fear to acquire mortgage among potential property buyers or to use their property as collateral for loans to finance other business ventures.Read more
IMF cautions government on role of central bank
As the Bank of Uganda (BoU) celebrates 50 years of existence, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has cautioned Ugandan policy makers to avoid giving conflicting roles to the Central Bank with policy aspects which do not fall under its core functions in economic management.In a developing economy, the Central Bank performs both traditional and non-traditional functions. The principal traditional functions performed are the monopoly of currency note issue, banker to the government, bankers’ bank, lender of the last resort, controller of credit and maintaining low inflation/stable exchange rate. All these functions are related to the foremost function of helping in the economic development of the country.Read more
GICL Insurance firm loses Shs700m tax appeal case against URA
Insurance firm, Goldstar Insurance Company Limited (GICL) has lost a case challenging a Shs699, 319,467 tax assessment by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).The Tax Appeals Tribunal (TAT) ruled that URA was entitled to impose income tax assessments totalling to Shs699, 319,467 on GICL.“The application is hereby dismissed with costs to the respondent. The respondent properly assessed the income tax and the applicant was obliged to pay Shs699,319,467 as income tax for the years of income,” the TAT panel comprising Dr Asa Mugenyi, Dr Stepehn Akabway and Mr Siraj Ali, said at the Tax Appeals Tribunal.Read more
S. Sudan woos Ugandan traders back to Juba
South Sudan has asked Ugandan traders to go back and resume their business operations, saying the situation is under control.Mr John Luk Jok, the minister of Transport, said calm has been restored in their country and that the situation is improving very fast.“The incident in Juba (South Sudan capital) was unfortunate and of concern to us. But I want to assure the people that the situation is normalising very fast. The level of security is well. We welcome all people who have been doing business to come back and resume work,” said Mr Jok. Speaking at the inauguration of Golden Wings Aviation flights between Juba and Entebbe in Uganda at Entebbe International Airport, Mr Jok also apologised for the incident. Read more
Our savings are not for bailouts – Managing Director NSSF Richard Byaruhanga
The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) has dismissed media reports and allayed public fears that part of the Fund’s savings was likely to be tapped by government in the impending controversial bailout project of a number of local companies.The UGX 1.3trillion project is purportedly seeking to salvage a number of Ugandan businessmen and women who are on the verge of closing shop because of debts.Media reports suggested that the Ministry of Finance having professed lack of funds for such a grand project, government could resort to getting the money from NSSF. The Fund however, came out to stress that the savers’ money is entirely safe, reaffirming, “we will not provide funds for any bailouts”Richard Byaruhanga, the Managing Director NSSF said in a statement that “providing funds for loss making companies fell short of the requirements of the Fund’s investments policy and the laws guiding its operations. Read more
Are our stock market players accountable to the investors?
On the eve of the historical Brexit referendum, I was seated next to a number of corporate men from the banking sector as they discussed how the outcome of this election would affect the banking industry.
Without going into detail, it was obvious they at least had some degree of industry knowledge of what was bound to happen in the short and long term. As an interested follower of the financial sector, specifically the stock market, I was keen on finding what the trickle down effect of that historic vote would have on the local stock markets.The nature of trade in the 21st century that has been characterized by global village identification makes it hard for a shock wave in an economy as big as Britain not to have either positive or negative effects to other economies, big or small.For instance, US stock markets dipped by three per cent to end trading in the red line with the Dow Jones closing at 610 points, making this its eighth largest ever loss. Despite all these slumps in these major economies, it was positive to know that the masses had been informed of possible outcomes through various media platforms. Read more
Bail out author says economy in trouble
 An economic consultant behind the Shs1.3 trillion cash bailout blueprint has spoken out for the first time, warning that the entire Ugandan economy is distressed and requires urgent government intervention. “Anybody who is simplifying it and tagging it to tycoons has totally lost it. This is about companies. It is already a risk to the borrower because the government is going to lose taxes, jobs, and foreign exchange. These companies are producers, employers, and the exporters. As we speak now, those three are at risk,” Mr Ashie Mukungu, a former chief economist at the African Development Bank.Read more
SWIFT: Bank hacks raise fears for financial sector
A series of spectacular cyber attacks against banks, resulting in the theft of tens of millions of dollars, has heightened fears for an industry becoming an increasingly attractive target for hackers.Banks in Bangladesh, the Philippines, Vietnam and Ecuador have been victimized in the attacks on the global interbank service known as SWIFT, and some analysts expect more attacks to become public.After news of the $81 million heist from Bangladesh's central bank became public, SWIFT said the incident was "not a single occurrence, but part of a wider and highly adaptive campaign targeting banks."Since then, officials said banks have also been hit in the Philippines and Vietnam.Meanwhile Ecuador's Banco del Austro claimed in a lawsuit that hackers made off with more than $9 million through fraudulent SWIFT transfer requests.Cyber security specialists say these attacks are likely just the tip of the iceberg, and expect more revelations. Read more
65 loan-stressed firms line up for Shs1 trillion taxpayer bailout
Prominent businesses in the country might soon run out of business if a decision that could see the use of Shs1.3 trillion taxpayers’ money to bailout companies in distress is not taken in their favour. Daily Monitor has seen a list of companies owned by prominent businessmen such as Mr Patrick Bitature of Simba Group, Mr Abid Alam of Steel Rolling Mills, and Mr Mukesh Shukla of Shumuk Aluminum Industries.Others are Mr Sikander Lalani of Roofings Limited, Mr John Sebalamu of Grapes Construction and Mr Hamis Kiggundu of Ham Enterprises who are awaiting a cabinet decision.Steel companies dominate the list in terms of amounts required.The companies made their way to the government list for a possible bailout after failing to meet their debt obligations on loans they had acquired.The company with the greatest need is Roofings Limited, which has obligations of Shs201 billion on a loan from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Shs8 billion from Diamond Trust Bank. Read more
CCL: Managers defraud paper making firm of Shs1.8b
Paper making company, Crown Converters Limited (CCL), has lost more than Shs1.8 billion in four years through falsified transactions by its managers, an internal audit report has shown.According to the report by Kenyan-based independent auditors, Grande Afrique Consulting, former managers of CCL led by Mr Aniket Patel, colluded to fleece the company money in fictitious transactions.Mr Aniket, the former managing director, Mr Laximkant Patel (shop manager), Mr Dave Shailesh Kumar (shop manager) and Mr Alpesh Kumar (tailor) and Mr Jagdishbhai (accounts assistant) are charged with 14 cases of embezzlement, theft and forgery in connection with loss of more than Shs1.8 billion. Read more
NDA warns of counterfeit malaria drugs on market
The National Drug Authority has cautioned health workers against dispensing and selling counterfeit anti-malarial drugs that have flooded the market.According to Mr Fredrick Ssekyana, the NDA spokesperson, counterfeit Coartem with the Green Leaf AMFm wallet packs have been found on the market with the following pack details; Batch number of NOF 2153, date of manufacture of June 2015 and expiry date of July 2018.Mr Ssekyana said: "NDA Quality Control Laboratory tested the Wallet Pack Counterfeit Coartem and results indicated no active ingredients of Artemether or Lumefantrine."He added that the wallet packs of 24 tablets bear a shelf life of three years, which is not representative of the genuine Coartem whose shelf life is two years."We therefore advise all health professionals not to stock, buy or dispense the above packaging of counterfeit Coartem as it poses grave danger to the public and should not be on sale in any outlet," Mr Ssekyana warned.Read more
Treasury directed to pay govt debts - Rugunda
 Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said the Treasury had been instructed to ensure it pays the debts owed to government agencies and service providers that offered services to government but have never been paid.Responding to a question from Soroti Municipality MP Edmond Ariko, during the Prime Minister's Question Time, Dr Rugunda said the instruction was made to ensure that those who offer services to government get their due and don't run out of business.Mr Ariko had asked Dr Rugunda what steps government is taking to clear a Shs9.2 billion debt owed to National Environment Management Authority (Nema). Quoting the latest Auditor General's report, the legislator said NEMA gave services to a number of government agencies but has never been paid. Read more
Finance Ministry denies its sabotaging minimum wage 
Jim Mugunga, the spokesperson at the finance ministry, took to defending the government entity, after several labour activists accused it of “sabotaging” plans to draw and implement a minimum wage in the country.At least a dozen activists, who converged at the Silver Springs Hotel in Bugolobi, Kampala to participate in a minimum wage sensitization meeting, pointed a finger at the finance ministry for foiling plans to introduce the standard which would clarify the least an employer can pay their employee.Usher Wilson Owere, the chairperson general of National Organisation of Trade Unions in Uganda, said because of their “micro economics”, the finance ministry equated labour to “commodity” and this was a problem.“They think that having a minimum wage automatically increases the cost of production which scares away investors; but the human resource is very important,” he said. Read more
World Bank pledges shs400 billion for water projects
The World Bank has confirmed it will continue to disburse moneys to support the Water Development and Management Project (WMDP) after a mid-term review found the performance of projects under the Ministry of Water and Environment and National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) satisfactory.The bank has so far spent $47m (about Shs158b), for the project that started and expects to spend another $ 76m (about Shs255.5b) until the project runs out.Some of the NWSC projects funded by the World Bank include Arua and Bushenyi priority works. The WDMP works across the country supporting development and capacity building of two water management zones (Kyoga and Upper Nile).The project also covers priority investments related to the environmental offset that complements the Bujagali Hydropower Project.Read more
secretary to the Treasury Muhakanizi says corruption to blame for real estate boom
Keith Muhakanizi, the secretary to the Treasury, has said the trouble that has befallen the real estate industry was because they had become vigilant on cracking down corrupt officials."That is one indicator that corruption has reduced," said Muhakanizi at the release of money for this financial year's first quarter.Muhakanizi told reporters at the ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development that government officials would steal public money and spend it buying land and buildings.The sector boomed for the decade. Prices for residential houses peaked, commercial buildings sprouted from almost every direction of the city while malls dotted Kampala skyline. And the spending was also promising as the 'middle-class' Ugandans flocked these buildings to consume.Read more
Ugandans to receive cash to trade in currencies
Ugandans willing to deal in selling and buying of currencies will be able to receive capital of up to $40,000 for the work, according to officials from Egen Financial Ltd (Egenfx), a new brokerage firm set to open shop in Uganda soon.According to Ezrah M. Rwandeme, the director for Africa, traders would receive from $1,000 depending on their ability to trade and make a profit. The trading will be electronic.The money will be given to traders through a programme called Bfunded. Rwandeme said they would identify traders who can demonstrate they can make a profit for at least two months."Every time they make a profit, we would take 30 per cent of that to recover the money," he said.They will run the programme with Fx Globe, which is based in Cyprus, and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). The firm will officially open a physical office in Uganda.Read more
President Yoweri Museveni: Do not grow maize, sugarcane on small pieces of land…
President Yoweri Museveni has advised farmers not to grow low-value crops such as maize and sugarcane if they have small pieces of land. “If you have only two acres of land on which to practise your farming, do not grow maize,” he said during the official opening of the farmers’ show in Jinja.“Even if you did everything right including using fertilisers, the maximum you can get from an acre is sh1m,” he said. And then of the sh1m got from an acre, at least sh600,000 goes back there as production costs. It means that a farmer makes only sh400,000 as profit from an average five months of work. It is even worse for sugarcane farmers. An acre of sugarcane earns a farmer sh880,000 on average, before production costs are removed. And yet, to mature, sugarcane takes at least 18months. “During this period if somebody who planted tomatoes on the same acre of land has had three harvests, with each fetching around sh7m on a moderate scale,” said Moses Magumba, a farmer from Mayuge. Read more
URA closes Nakivubo stadium over 400 million debt
Footballers, who train from the stadium, have also been banned from accessing the grounds for their training and other football matches.The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has closed off Nakivubo Stadium over unpaid taxes, amounting to Shs484m, that has accumulated. URA debt manager, Mr Abdusallam Waiswa, revealed that the management of Nakivubo has failed to fulfill their promise of remitting the taxes as per the MoU, which was signed by both parties."When we closed them, they pleaded that we give them time and we accepted. We signed a MoU and they promised that they would remit all the taxes which they owe us, in vain. We have decided to close them down so that they could pay their outstanding taxes." Mr Waiswa said during the closure. Read more 
UBA: A move to extend financial services
Commercial banks and Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Uganda are concerned about the low levels of financial inclusion.In a new approach to extend and strengthen access to financial services, commercial banks entered a partnership with FSD to extend more services.Emmanuel Kikoni, executive director of Uganda Bankers' Association (UBA), said financial services need to be tailored to suit the needs of low-income earners in order to achieve growth and reduction of both poverty and vulnerability."Uganda has a high level of financial exclusion with an estimated 15% of the adult population not having a bank account. We need to prioritize extending services to the rural areas to increase financial services.”Christopher Musoke, the chief executive of FSD Uganda said there is need to support financial inclusion through partnering with banks that directly offer financial services to the people."We hope that our co-operation with Uganda Bankers' Association will offer a good opportunity to work closely with the formal financial service providers to achieve this objective," said Musoke. Read more
Uganda’s oldest brewery (UBL) marks 70 years of quality brands, transforming lives
Uganda’s oldest brewery, Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) is set to mark 70 years since its establishment. It is in fact among the few oldest companies in Uganda having been registered in 1946 shortly after the second World War. At its start in 1946, UBL had a capacity of producing 650,000 hectoliters which have since increased to more than 1.2 million hectolitres. To achieve this, the company has undertaken a number of investments in infrastructure, innovation and brand versatiity. Uganda Breweries’ product portfolio includes beers, spirits, soft beverages and ready drinks. Beers include; Bell Lager, Guiness, Tusker, Senator, Pilsner and Ngule while spirits include Uganda Waragi, Johnnie Walker, Ciroc, Bond 7 and other single malt whiskeys. The non alcoholic beverages are VandA sherry, Bailets and Alvaro. Speaking at a media conference at the UBL plant in Portbell Luzira, the Outgoing Managing Director Nyimpinii Mabunda said the company has remains a strong contender that has shaped Uganda’s alcohol industry. He pointed out that UBL has played a significant role in transforming the society and improving people’s livelihoods. Read more
ECA: Uganda needs a smart industrial policy
In order to achieve sustainable economic growth, Uganda should focus on developing a more effective industrial policy based on its economic specificities and the opportunities created by regional integration. This is according to Rodgers Mukwaya, an Economic Affairs Officer for the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and one of the the authors of the ECA Uganda Country Profile which was presented  in Kampala.Despite an economic growth rate reaching 5.2 percent on average over the past five years, Uganda strong economic performance has not kept in pace with its East African neighbours (the subregional average growth rate was 6,9 percent over the past five years) and has not proven efficient enough to create quality employment and economic diversification.Trends in the manufacturing sector clearly illustrate the lack of economic diversification essential to sustainable growth. The average share of manufacturing in GDP in Uganda was 6.7 percent, which was lower than both the average for low-income countries (12.7 percent) and the global average (16.2%). Read more
NPA boss warns on middle income status
There are deep concerns at the National Planning Authority (NPA) about the quality of public investments, seen as the engine that would deliver the country into the middle-income bracket.Dr Joseph Muvawala, the executive director, told reporters. "I am very much concerned and the [whole] country is too." World Bank report said Uganda was not getting value for money on investments on most public projects over the past decade. The report added that this would not transform the country into a middle-income status soon. The World Bank said Uganda's projects were characterized by "endemic delays in implementation, cost overruns, and corruption means that sometimes projects come at twice the original cost." Read more
Uganda hints at adopting Dar's standpoint on EPA
Uganda is prepared to delay the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) after Tanzania, one of the East Africa Community (EAC) partner states, raised the red flag, fearing the repercussion the deal would have in the growth of the emerging regional industries.The deal between European Union (EU) and the EAC is expected to be signed at the margins of the upcoming UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD XIV) taking place in Nairobi, Kenya. Should the deal eventually collapse, regional products to the EU market and vice versa would not be subjected to preferential treatment.According to the permanent secretary at the Tanzania's Ministry of East Africa, Mr Aziz Mlima, the exit of Britain from the EU bloc has also brought confusion.Mr Mlima was quoted as having said there is need to study the agreement further as well as seek public approval before committing pen to paper. According to him, Tanzania is not prepared to be rushed into signing the agreement until it is certain about it. Read more
Bank of Uganda Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile: Rating firm says Uganda still stable
International credit rating firm, Standard and Poor's (S&P) has lauded the Ugandan economy, maintaining a B/B long and short-term stable outlook based on the central bank's ability to curb inflationary pressures and arrest further depreciation of the shilling.Sovereign credit ratings of countries help investors measure the risk of lending to that country. S&P said while the implementation of large infrastructure projects - part-funded by the government - has caused a temporary deterioration in Uganda's public debt that will last until 2018, "the economic growth remains strong, inflation pressures are receding, the Ugandan shilling is stabilizing, and the government's domestic financing costs have declined." Read more
Museveni to open agricultural show in Jinja
President Yoweri Museveni is expected in Jinja to officially open the 24th edition of the national agricultural and trade show at the source of the Nile -Jinja Show Grounds.Security has been heighted in Jinja ahead of the president’s visit and according to Jinja DPC Felix Mujizi; police is carrying out its routine duty of ensuring law and order.The show ground manager Peter Kisambira says the president is expected at the show.“He will be touring the exhibitors before addressing the gathering at the show hall. We believe his tour of the show will go a long way in wooing many people to join the show in the remaining days,” Kisambira said.He also expressed concern that whereas this year registered an explosion of exhibitors, the number of revelers remained meager. Read more
KACITA: Uganda loses Shs3 billion daily in South Sudan conflict
Uganda is losing about $1 million (Shs3.3 billion) every day since war resumed in Juba, the South Sudan capital. According to the traders' leadership in Kampala, this figure is a very conservative estimate, considering that it does not factor in losses inflicted on life and properties.The situation in the world's newest country has been dangerous following renewed fighting in Juba, where the majority of Ugandan-owned businesses are concentrated. Speaking in an interview, the chairman Kampala City Traders Association (Kacita), Mr Everest Kayondo, said South Sudan, a key export market for Uganda, has been depriving its members and affiliate organisations an opportunity to transact business worth at least Shs3.3 billion a day. Read more
PIBID’s tooke product ready to hit the market on large scale
Presidential Initiative on Banana Industrial Development (PIBID), the producers of ‘Tooke flour’ are ready to launch the product to the local and global market if enough timely funding is availed.The product is one of the many exhibited at the 24th Source of the Nile Agricultural show currently on in Jinja.“Matooke is a staple food in Uganda mainly consumed as a fresh starchy food that is wrapped in banana leaves, steamed for several hours, mashed and re-steamed until it is ready to be served,” Rev. Dr. Florence Isabirye Muranga Director of PIBID explains.“This not only costs time, but also creates heaps of excessive Garbage.”“It was against this background that President Museveni commissioned PIBID to enhance research around value addition to Matooke,” she adds. Read more
URA collects shs 10 trillion through E-Payment
More Ugandans are turning to e-payment systems for their taxes than carrying blocks of cash to the banks or the tax body's offices.Doris Akol, the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) boss, said at headquarters in Nakawa that in the financial year, at least Shs 10 trillion was paid through the e-tax payment systems, accounting for close to 88 per cent of the revenue body's target of Shs 11.3tn."In the just-concluded financial year, over two million payment transactions had been carried out from our e-payment platforms. They amounted to Shs 10tn," Akol said. "This performance indicates that each passing month, the number of transactions on these platforms keep improving and so are the respective collections."The electronic platforms include the electronic funds transfer and mobile money. Mobile money remains the most used platform of money transfer in Uganda, accounting for close to Shs 30tn.Read more
ERA: Uganda electricity tariffs to drop
Uganda's Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) has announced new electricity end user tariffs with a reduction, implying that consumers in all categories will pay less.As per the new tariff schedule, domestic consumers will pay sh626.0 per unit from sh640.2, commercial consumers will pay sh566.9 from sh578.Medium industrial consumers will pay sh524.7 from sh536.2, large industrial consumers sh349.5 from sh361.1 while street lightss will be charged sh608.0 from sh619.5. According to the a statement from ERA, the reduction in end-user tariffs is largely explained by the increased power dispatch from the cheaper Nalubaale-Kiira power complex that replaced the shortfall in power dispatch from Kakira Sugar Limited (KSL) Cogeneration power plant. KSL was out of production, for annual maintenance. Read more
CMA: ALTX tipped to run commodities exchange
The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) has urged the trade ministry to use the newly launched ALTX Africa securities market to serve as the planned digital commodities exchange as this will expedite trade in grains and derivatives.Derivatives are financial instruments whose price is based on a product, warehouse receipts are the commonest derivative in Uganda. The value of the receipts, which can be sold, depends on the prevailing market price of maize, coffee, or beans in the warehouse.Speaking at the official launch of the ALTX at the Golf Course Hotel Kampala, Keith Kalyegira, the CMA CEO said: “I am aware that there are plans to launch a commodities exchange. The ministry of trade can use the ALTX as the commodities exchange instead of creating a new one. That means that we do not have to approve rules again.”The trade ministry entered into a public private partnership to create the Uganda National Commodities Exchange (UNCE), with government, through the Uganda Development Corporation, holding a 20% stake or 200million shares. Read more 
Elitranda Uganda Limited: Ugandan traders hit out at Tanzanian authorities on taxes
Ugandan traders at Mutukula border post have accused Tanzanian authorities of illegally blocking and taxing their trucks on transit which have already been cleared by their Ugandan counterparts.The traders claim after clearing their trucks, unidentified local authorities on the Tanzanian side block and levy more taxes outside the single customs territory arrangement.Such charges include paying for parking fees and offloading charges in Tanzanian markets, which contravenes the single customs territory plan.Mr Isaac Emoi Onyokor, the managing director Elitranda Uganda Limited, a clearing company, revealed that trucks without seals are not allowed to cross to Tanzania yet trucks from other countries move freely into Uganda. Read more
Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Amelia Kyambadde: Museveni to deliver keynote address at UNCTAD conferenc
President Yoweri Museveni has been invited to give a keynote speech at the upcoming 14th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) due to be held in Nairobi, Kenya, minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Amelia Kyambadde, has said.The conference, shall lay emphasis on matters of trade in the region and help Uganda identify opportunities that it can tap into.While addressing the press at the Uganda Media Center, Kyambadde said: “We hope that the outcomes of the conference shall be of great help to trade in the region”. The conference shall be held under the theme: “From decision to action”. She said that it was through past conferences that Uganda acquired the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) software used by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to monitor goods from Mombasa port to Uganda and it has helped to improve on the time taken to transport goods. Read more
Standard and Poor (S&P) Global RatingsGlobal report hails stable shilling, predicts slow growth
Standard and Poor (S&P) Global Ratings has affirmed its ‘B/B’ long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Uganda.S&P Global Ratings which boosts of history that dates back more than 150 years is a renowned provider of high-quality market intelligence in the form of credit ratings, research, and thought leadership.The body affirmed that the Ugandan currency sovereign credit outlook is stable.A credit rating is used by investors to gauge the credit worthiness of a country and is therefore one of the factors that influences a country’s borrowing costs.The turbulence owing to the depreciation of the shilling, rising inflation, and election-related risks that contributed to higher domestic financing costs. “But now that the elections are over, the exchange rate has been stable and inflation is slowing, and domestic borrowing costs are falling. Domestic debt is around 40% of total government debt,” S&P pointed out in the report.The body also projected the pressure on Uganda’s fiscal position as “temporary.”“In our view, Uganda’s fiscal position is temporarily under pressure due to the implementation of large infrastructure projects–hydropower plants, roads, and the rail networks–over,” read the report.“Although direct general government budget support has declined over the years, bilateral partners such as China Eximbank and multilaterals such as the World Bank group are part-funding specific development projects. Read more
What Uganda can be: The fisheries industry
Uganda can be an industrial hub, a food basket for the region and a tourist destination centre. It's a small country with much to dish out; she offers crystal clear lakes, misty forests, snow-capped mountains, emerald hills and wild life. Uganda boasts of the biggest number of bird species in Africa and most of them found in Queen Elizabeth National Park.From fertile soils to a good climate, Uganda can prosper in agriculture; it is endowed with mineral deposits, including the coveted oil whose production starts in the next three years.Therefore, Uganda can be an industrial hub, a food basket for the region and a tourist destination centre. However, is that what it is now? The answer is no. So, what can be done? Our series show what Uganda can do with her resources and how they can be exploited. Termed as What Uganda can be, the series give an interesting viewpoint for Uganda as it struggles to achieve a middle income status. Read more
MOTIC, Amelia Kyambadde: Ugandans advised to explore other markets
Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives has urged the Ugandan business community that has been conducting business in South Sudan to explore other market in region.While addressing journalists at the Uganda Media Center, Amelia Kyambadde said that the South Sudan market has a highly lucrative business destination; traders need to think twice for their sake of their lives when going there because of the risks.Fresh fighting erupted four days ago in the capital Juba between loyalists of President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, the vice president. The two were to lead under a deal to end a two-year civil war that had started towards the end of .Kyambadde said South Sudan became Uganda’s leading export destination following the signing of the comprehensive Peace Agreement with the total exports both formal and informal peaking at US$1.18b (sh3.9 trillion). Read more
UIA: Ireland to help Uganda create 1million Jobs by 2020
The Republic of Ireland has  committed to support Uganda’s strategic plan that upon full implementation will provide up to 1million jobs to Ugandans.The commitment was made before the press by the country’s minister for Diaspora and International Development; Mr. Joe McHugh at the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) in Kampala.He was flanked by a delegation of businessmen from Ireland and as well as the Irish ambassador to Uganda Donal Cranin.The Minister revealed that he is in the country to discuss this ambitious plan by the UIA, create jobs for 1million Ugandans.During earlier meetings with UIA Managing Director Frank Sebowa and Ugandan officials, Minister McHugh revealed that they discussed at length especially Ireland’s priorities in Uganda in the area of trade and investments. Read more
President Museveni: We can be a middle-income economy in five years
In his state-of-the-nation address to the 10th parliament, President Museveni promised to deliver Uganda to the middle-income economic status.The president went ahead to state "this is the cabinet that will take Uganda to the middle-income status", when inaugurating his team of ministers at State House, Entebbe. Subsequently, various commentators, mainly activists, the media and academicians, have expressed scepticism not only from the variables that propel an economy to such a level, for instance, investment and structure of the economy (Uganda is 68% subsistence), but also the timeframe defined by the president. Read more
 Prof Philip Kasaija: Who gets more benefits from Uganda-China trade dealings?
China's stash of cheap money might not be that cheap after all; at least that is the sentiment from some public figures, writes EDWARD SSEKIKA. China's increasing footprint and influence in Uganda has come under serious scrutiny from a cross section of Ugandans. Over the years, Chinese state-owned as well as private companies have established operations in Uganda, providing employment opportunities.Speaking at the State-of-the-Nation (STON) platform at Protea hotel, Prof Philip Kasaija, a lecturer of international relations in the department of Political Science at Makerere University, said Chinese presence in Uganda is a fresh breath and gives the country more room for funding. The platfrom was organized by Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE) to discuss the growing influence of China in Uganda and Africa at large. Read more
URA partners with PayWay to ease tax payment
After receiving new revenue collection targets, the Uganda revenue authority has announced a new partnership with PayWay, to expand its collection platforms across the country. According to commissioner general, Doris Akol, the platform is another convenient payment system through which the taxman’s clients will file their returns in an effort to further its efficiency.“URA wants to make it easy and convenient for everyone to comply on their taxes, and as such we are keen on improving service delivery especially for those in rural areas and border points.  The development is therefore another milestone for the Authority,” she said. This was at the commissioning ceremony of the partnership at the URA headquarters in Nakawa. She said customers will access the service through the URA website to register their tax payment transaction, for which a payment registration slip with a unique reference number (PRN) will be given. Read more
New stock exchange starts trading, makes it cheap for investors
ALTX East Africa, the alternative stock exchange, has started operations in Uganda, with government debt - treasury bills and bonds - the first to be traded.The electronic platform has gone live and Ugandans can now register online to start trading. Joseph Kitamirike, the executive director of ALTX, told reporters at the company's offices in Kololo, that they are a multi-currency platform; so, one does not have to first convert to shillings to trade.According to Kitamirike, investors can buy securities such as treasury bonds and treasury bills from Bank of Uganda and then float them at the ALTX platform. Government borrows from the domestic market through the issuance of treasury bills and bonds, done on its behalf by the central bank. Read more
UBOS: Expensive services hike core inflation to 7 per cent
High cost of services in the country has driven Uganda’s core inflation to 7 per cent up from 6.4 per cent. This implied the general public had to make adjustments to their budgets to access the goods and services they needed. Uganda Bureau of Statistics (Ubos) said the increase in annual core inflation is due to a rise in annual services inflation which rose to 6.5 per cent, compared to 5.9 per cent increase that was recorded.Releasing the Consumer Price Index (CPI) at Statistics House, the director macroeconomic Ubos, Dr Chris N. Mukiza, said the rise in Uganda’s annual core inflation was also caused by increases in costs of other goods inflation which rose by 7.4 per cent during the same period. “The cost of services has shot up, which has contributed to the rise in the annual core inflation,” Mr Mukiza said.Read more
President Museveni: Uganda spends Shs3 trillion on textile imports annually
Ugandans are spending $888 million (Shs2.991 trillion) on annual textile imports, President Museveni has said.This is money Uganda could have saved since there are textile factories operating in the country.Ugandans also spend Shs568.7 million on second hand vehicles, Mr Museveni said during the State-of-the-Nation address in Kampala.The amount Ugandans spend annually on just these two items could meet 86.19 per cent of the costs of constructing the 600Megawatt Karuma Hydro Power Plant.Besides textiles, Uganda also spends a lot of money on fruit imports - $20.2 million (Shs68 billion) – and leather goods ($0.22 million – Shs741.180 million).Mr Museveni, however, said many of the imports can be manufactured in Uganda.“All these can be made here; fortunately, the investors are here,” he said, adding, “They just need a good atmosphere for investment.” Read more
UNBS: Local manufactures ask UNBS for incentives
“UNBS should also work together with the Uganda Revenue Authority to provide tax incentives to the manufactures” he said.Odido said in order for the local products to achieve competitiveness in the regional market they must follow the simple things like being organized, hygienic as well as making sure the environment where products are packaged is clean saying this is what standardization means.
“A lot of us get very concerned when we hear we have to meet UNBS standards we start thinking of European standards which is not the case,” Odido explained.Speaking during the Standards Business Seminar Odido asked the bureau to put more of their staffs in the field to get products that are substandard off the markets. She also asked small scale manufactures to embrace standardization of their products. Read more
NSSF launches saving culture campaign,MD Mr Richard Byarugaba
The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) has launched a campaign meant to instil a saving sculture to its members.This campaign, ‘Friends with Benefits’, will run as a TV show programme profiling retired workers who invested or used their NSSF benefits to transform their lives, and those of the communities around them.Mr Richard Byarugaba, the managing director NSSF , in a statement, said the campaign aims at showcasing inspiration success stories from members who have received and used their benefits to change their lives, their families and the communities they live in. “This is intended to motivate existing and potential members to invest in retirement savings,” he said. NSSF has paid a total of Shs1.1 trillion to 250,000 members who have claimed their benefits on retirement.“This is a significant amount we have put into the economy of Uganda and is in line with the Funds’ commitment to deliver a better life to our members,” Mr Byarugaba said. Read more
Uganda Cleaner Production Centre ED Mr Silver Ssebagala:  Ugandan industries inefficient - environmentalists
Environmentalists have said pollution and industrial waste generated by factories are signs of inefficient means of production, meaning they are wasting resources that would enable them grow.Speaking at the 9th African Round Table on Sustainable Consumption and Production, Mr Silver Ssebagala, the executive director Uganda Cleaner Production Centre, said since inception in 2000, the organisation which was established by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation to support industries develop efficient means of production, has noted that majority of them depend on obsolete technology and rudimentary means of production that promote wastage of resources.“We have more than 3,000 factories in the country and so far we are working with about 120 of them to develop efficient and cleaner ways of production and those we have assisted have appreciated the effort because they have cut down on wastage,” he said. Read more
Director for Trade, Mr Sam Ssenkungu: Government warns businesses on standards
Businesses that ignore standards are doing so at their own peril, a senior official at the Ministry of Trade, has said.In general terms, standards are widely accepted, agreed upon, or established means of determining what something should be - in this case for the products produced by local businesses, no matter the size of the enterprise. Speaking during a meeting to train Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) on standards, the director for Trade, Mr Sam Ssenkungu, told the participantsm - most of whom are small business owners, that survival of their businesses will depend on the certified quality of their products.“Many MSMEs continue to produce without standards yet if they embrace it (standards), it will enhance their businesses,” Mr Ssenkungu who was representing the Ministry of Trade permanent secretary told the participants attending the training on standardisation in Nakawa, Kampala. Read more
Norwegian company buys Shs337b Bujagali shares
SG Bujagali Holdings Limited (SGBHL) will bag no less than $100m (Shs337b) from the sell of its shares to SN Power AS.Should the energy regulator approve the deal, SGBHL will sale 49, 750 Class A Ordinary shares and 1, 117, 510 Class B redeemable preference shares.Though the nominal value of each share is Shs100, a financial analyst who requested anonymity to speak freely, said each share would go for a premium of not less than $85 (Shs286, 705).Though SGBHL did not offer an explanation for selling its interests to SN Power AS, according to some accounts, “that is its business model”. SGBHL is an affiliate of Sithe Global Power LLC – an American company that develops, constructs, sometimes acquires and operates electricity generation facilities. SGBHL builds electricity plants, test runs them, see them commissioned and it sells its shares at a premium. Read more
Commercial banks to issue sharia compliant bonds
Sukuk is one of the major Islamic Sharia compliant financial instruments which provide an alternative source of financing, especially for sovereign entities.According to the managing director, ABL Dunamis ltd, Abubaker Mayanja, Sukuk funding will be available for government infrastructure projects; as long as they meet sharia requirements and the funds are invested directly into the project.“The banks will not extend cash to government, but will channel the money into the project procurement process and eventually hand over a finished project to government at the agreed time,” he said. Read more
MTN gets Shs 385 billion to boost network
MTN Uganda has received a loan of $114m (Shs 385bn) to invest in its network in the country. The loan was syndicated by four banks - Stanbic, Citi, Standard Chartered, and Barclays bank.Stanbic bank acted as the coordinator for the facility. A syndicated credit facility is where more than one lender come together to pull resources to offer the loan to the borrower.MTN Uganda boss Brian Gouldie told reporters at Serena hotel that this was the second substantial credit facility that MTN has secured and one of the largest private sector debts raised in Uganda.MTN Uganda's capital investment  planned at Shs 238bn and Shs 299bn. Gouldie explained that due to extensive appetite from the commercial banks participating, the syndication was oversubscribed and had been secured after launching. Read more
Has economic liberalisation delivered us from hell? Part II
Given the economic figures, why then do some Ugandans have reservations about the current privatisation/ liberalisation policy and Capital Account, which allows foreign investors to repatriate their profits? I do not have figures which portray repatriation, respectively (because they are jealously guarded by Bank of Uganda). The amounts are huge, according to some sources. Some Ugandans that I spoke to, for this article, expressed disquiet over the turn of events. They argued that the investors are reaping more than they sow. However, in a similar vein, several others are all praise for the policy. Below is a snapshot image of viewpoints by some interviewees.Sylvester Nyanzi, a mechanical engineer and former banker, said: “In my view, we are too open! The investors are not interested in the most vital aspect of our economy; agriculture, and yet that’s where money is most needed.” They should be wooed to that sector. And if they are not interested, then a 10 per cent tax, which could be tagged a cost, should be levied on their turnover. Read more
Big banks face higher capital requirements
Stanbic Bank share price has been volatile as shareholders continued to show their disappointment at a lower dividend. This was after the bank posted a Shs150.8b after tax profit. This was a rise of 15.7 per cent from Shs135b. The board, in turn, recommended a dividend payment of Shs0.78 per share, down from Shs1.66 per share. For almost two hours – perhaps one of the longest Stanbic Bank Annual General Meetings – the board and management were constantly asked by shareholders to explain why the dividend was less in a year of higher net profit. “During the course, we were identified as a Domestic Systemically Important Bank (DSIB) alongside two others in the banking sector. This is not unique to Uganda and it is a requirement borne out of the global financial crisis to ensure that systemically important banks seek capital buffers and do not require government bailouts,” says Mr Patrick Mweheire, the Stanbic Bank Uganda managing director. Read more
MOJP: Justice institutions get 2% budget allocation increase
Seventeen institutions that are mandated with dispensing justice in the country have got a nominal increase of two per cent in this new budget allocation of financial year.According to budget projections that Daily Monitor has seen, the institutions that make up the Justice Law and Order Sector (JLOS), will be getting 1.078 trillion in which they got 1.051 trillion.But in comparison to the national Budget of 26 trillion, the 17 justice institutions will only be getting a paltry 4.15 per cent of the national cake.As it has been the practice, the Police Force will take the lion’s share of Shs519 billion though in the financial year, they were allocated slightly more money amounting to Shs527 billion.Other institutions in the JLOS that have been receiving huge budget allocations are the Judiciary, ministry of Justice and the Prisons.Read more
Groupage shipping eases importation of goods from China
The group cargo container service of transporting goods has increased the frequency of importing machandise from China.Speaking at their customer appreciation gala, Mr Patrick Moses Nayenga the country representative All Ways Import and Export Logistics Limited, said it is now possible to get five forty-feet-containers loaded with goods from China to Uganda because it is easier to fill up the containers and ship them faster than when Ugandans used to do it individually.“Traders travelled to China individually to buy goods and filling a container and shipping it to Uganda was cumbersome because finding the traders who were ready to travel at the same time was a challenge making shipping and transportation of a full container difficult,” he said.Read more
Ugandans asked to access US market in new Agoa strategy
The United States Embassy in Kampala has asked Ugandans who wish to benefit from the US market to carry out research on the unique needs of the US market before venturing into it if they are to break through.Speaking during the national African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) strategy consultative meeting in Kampala, Mr Mark Meassick, the deputy mission director, said Ugandans who wish to export to the US market should take advantage of trade promotion agencies the embassy and organisations such as the American Chamber of Commerce to build linkages to facilitate trade between Ugandan companies and those based in the US.Read more
How UNRA Misappropriated UGX 4 Trillion - Probe Report
After a six-month probe on UNRA activities by Lady Justice Bamugemereire, President Yoweri Museveni has been handed a 1300 page report. In the report, it was discovered that at least UGX 4 Trillion was misappropriated by the old UNRA structure. Whereas UGX 9 Trillion was used to construct 1500km of roads; these funds were enough to cover 5147km. In the recommendation by the commion of inquiry, over 90 people (former staff of UNRA) should be prosecuted and assets recovered. Consequently, the President has ordered the IGG, CIID and AG to bring the culprits to book as soon as possible.According to the Uganda Road Sector organization; "Uganda has a comprehensive road network, comprising of National roads (20,000kms), District roads (13,000kms), urban roads (2,800kms) and Community roads (about 30,000kms)." Read more
Uchumi goods put on auction
Goods belonging to Uchumi Supermarkets Uganda Limited have been auctioned by the official receiver, the Registrar General Uganda Registration Services Bureau in order to recover money owed to creditors.In accordance with a court order, the auction of perishable items started in the Ntinda Industrial Area.The auctioned items included sanitary towels/diapers, spaghetti/macaroni, other foodstuffs in packets/tins, coffee and tea, soft drinks and other related items, wines/spirits, shoe polish as well as health medications comprising of food supplements/health living products and soaps.Other items were toiletries, cosmetic products and related perishable household items. Read more
MTN secures Shs386b loan from local banks
With no long-term debt on its books, MTN Uganda has borrowed $114m (Shs385.8 billion) from four local banks in Uganda. This is the third largest corporate finance facility arranged by local banks in Uganda’s history.The money, according to MTN, is meant for further expansion of data network, construction of their head office on Jinja Road and upgrade of their IT systems.Two of Uganda’s largest banks, Stanbic Bank and Standard Chartered Bank, provided the syndicated loan, together with Barclays Bank and Citi Bank. A syndicated loan is one that involves a group of lenders (called the syndicate) who pool their lending resources to make a loan.Read more
Mara Group top chief moral-boosts emerging local investors 
Ashis J. Thakkar, chief executive officer Mara Group, has advised young Uganda entrepreneurs on building good governance structures for their businesses to enable hem survive and grow. Thakkar, an astronaut in waiting, underscored that there were plenty of opportunities for individuals to do business in the private sector in Uganda.The Ugandan-born entrepreneur started Mara Group that has tentacles in businesses such as real estate, tourism, financial services, information and communications technology, renewable energy and manufacturing.He said the mindset of entrepreneurs should focus on doing good which he said will make a difference in the lives of many people. "Success needs to be measured by the lives impacted not the wealth one accumulates.”This was during the second oil and gas convention held under the theme 'suppliers roadmap to operational excellence'. The function was organized by the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum took place at Serena Hotel, Kampala. Read more 
State Minister for Investment Gabriel Ajedra: Uganda spends Shs367 billion monthly on rice imports
Uganda spends about $105m (Shs367b) in transport costs to import rice from Pakistan, yet this money could improve the welfare of Ugandans, an outgoing minister has said.While signing off a farming partnership between rice farmers in the country and Kingdom Rice, a new rice milling factory in Namanve Industrial Park, outgoing State minister for Investment Gabriel Ajedra said Uganda has no reason to continue being ranked among poor countries of the world because the money Uganda loses to purchase and transport food like rice that can be locally grown here, explains the amount of money we waste as a country.“At the World Economic Forum, it was noted that in 2020, there is going to be a global food crisis and interestingly, Uganda was mentioned among the six countries in the world which can avert it if only they fixed their agricultural systems,” he said. Read more
AfDB to invest Shs1.8 trillion to fight drought
The Africa Development Bank (AfDB) has announced a $549m (Shs1.8 trillion) plan to support countries deal with drought and other effects of climate change on the continent.Speaking during the official opening of the bank’s annual meeting being held in Lusaka, Zambia, AfDB president Dr Akinwumi Adesina said climate change was “real and needed to be dealt with to improve the lives of people”.The bank says it will triple to $5b (Shs17 trillion) in funds toward mitigating the effects of climate change in Africa by 2020.Some $12b (Shs406 trillion) allocation was announced to support the energy sector in Africa.Among the five priorities set by the AfDB to improve people’s lives are lighting up Africa, feeding Africa and promoting regional integration, Dr Adesina said.The AfDB president stressed the need for Africa to develop value chains. Dr Adesina also announced the bank’s commitment to ending poverty and malnutrition through implementing its Feed Africa initiative.Read more
Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde: Uganda, Bangladesh to sign trade deal
Plans for Uganda and Bangladesh to trade in textile and jute have been finalised, senior officials have said.Officials said the two countries are set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to share information and technology on trade where Bangladesh will be extending its textile and jute products to the country.Mr Mahmood Hudda, the Honourary Consul of Bangladesh in Uganda, said the exportation of jute products to Uganda is timely as the country moves from plastic packaging to biodegradable materials.“The MoU has been presented to the Ministry of Internal Affairs for vetting of documents to formulate the bilateral trade. We are also looking at the Trade ministry to look into tax exemption on importation of jute to facilitate the trade on duty free basis,” Mr Hudda said. On taxing jute products, former Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde said it is an issue that will be considered in future since the country has undergone the budgeting process. Read more
Will the insurance subsidy revive agriculture?
Despite being labelled the backbone of Uganda’s economy, the agriculture sector has been susceptible to many challenges and risks related to both artificial and natural disasters. The risks, which vary from unstable produce prices to droughts, floods, pests and diseases, have not only hampered the growth of the agriculture sector, but also discouraged many people from venturing into it as a business, writes Faridah Kulabako Ronald Mugisa lost 300 of the 500 chicken he reared for meat. He wiped out his meagre resources treating the remaining birds, which failed to grow and fetch the market value for the normal chicken. It has not been able to resume because his capital was wiped out.Besides, Mugisa, who lives in Kyanja, is scared of venturing there again. “I have nowhere to borrow money from to start again,” he says wistfully.Like Mugisa, a number of farmers in the country have had to deal with disasters that have destroyed their crops, animals or poultry leaving them high and dry. Their situation complicated by expensive credit and lack of insurance cover. Read more
Prices of pineapples drop, watermelon up
A couple of commodities in the market have seen a drop in their prices in most of the markets. Among these are egg plants, bitter berries, mangoes, pineapples and pawpaws.You will part with anything from sh2,000 and sh3,000 for a pineapple and sh1,500 to sh2,000 for a pawpaw (papaya).Barbra Nantume, a trader at Ggaba market, says the reduction in prices is due to continued supply onto the market.At Kireka market, a bunch of matooke costs between sh20,000 and sh35,000.However, the supplies of water melon dwindled, leading to an increase in price from about sh4,000 up to sh 5,000 - sh7,000.Meanwhile, prices of Irish potatoes, cassava and rice have increased in the city centre market. Three roots of cassava cost sh3,000.Badru Kasirye who works at Nakawa market says off-season has contributed to the hike in prices. Read more
Sudhir launches potent detergent to fight poor sanitation 
Uganda loses over sh389b annually in treatment of diseases that emanate from simple failure to maintain proper hygiene and poor sanitation according to the last published United Nations report on Uganda Water and Sanitation. Diseases associated with cholera, typhoid, infectious hepatitis, polio, cryptosporidiosis, and ascariasis. In their contribution to reducing the unfortunate trend, Kwality Afro Asia Limited, a local company is taking on the challenge by producing a multipurpose antiseptic and disinfectant solution that will help the community maintain better hygiene. Akshay Agarwal, the company's managing director, says the  new solution  has been dubbed as  germ shield  with a  double purpose of   protecting against germs  and help reduce  illness by providing  a clean  and  hygienic  surroundings. - Read more 
Uganda ‘misses’ the fourth industrial revolution
Drawing comparisons between Uganda and Rwanda have become a cliché. But the latter hosted the World Economic Forum on Africa, a forum that hosted about 1,700 delegates who booked several hotels in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali. Uganda being a neighbour to Rwanda had a representation of about eight delegates, with only one coming from the government. Mr Keith Muhakanizi, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance was the only Ugandan government technocrat who attended the conference. The plus side is that the drinks from PepsiCo – a drinks partner at the event – all came from Uganda.The so-called fourth industrial revolution is described to an era when technology takes over the running of day-to-day activities using internet connectivity. It is said to be more efficient and potentially threaten jobs.The topic in itself for the conference: “Connecting Africa’s Resources through Digital Transformation,” relates to Uganda’s plans considering the strong language used in the Second National Development Plan (NDP).Read more
Implement ‘Buy Uganda Build Uganda’ policy, manufacturers tell government
Local manufacturers want government to do more in encouraging Ugandans to consume locally made products, saying that would help them become more competitive, employ more Ugandans and generate revenue to the national coffers.The producers also want government agencies to give them priority before procuring products from elsewhere; especially to those whose products have been certified by the standard body in the country.Talking to Daily Monitor before launching their new multipurpose antiseptics and disinfectant solutions, Mr Akshay Agarwal, the managing director of Kwality Afro Asia Limited, said: “We have the best locally made products on the market but for us to employ more people, we would want the home population to consume our products.”He continued: “We are hoping that government will influence that decision by encouraging the people to buy products made here.Read more
DTB launches cashless payment system
Diamond Trust Bank launched PayEasy, a mobile phone payment collection system that enables customers to pay for goods directly from their mobile money account to the merchant’s bank account. PayEasy which is a product of DTB will for the first time effectively introduce a secure and convenient cashless payment system which can be used in all categories of business and individual transactions.With the introduction of this service, the bank is hoping to tap into mobile phone technology and innovation to reach the more than 19.5 million phone users in the country. Available data from the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) shows that 52.3 % of Ugandans have access to mobile phone.Read more
Britania joins campaign to save 1year old Muwonge
Britania Allied Industries has joined Musician Robert Kyagulanyi, stage name Bobi Wine and the Pan African Pyramid (PAP) in a campaign to help a 1year old Erimia Muwonge who needs a heart surgery.Muwonge, according to Mulago hospital doctors developed a hole in his heart and needs an operation that is estimated to cost at least Ushs 20 million. Known for his helping hand, Bobi Wine in partnership with PAP launched a campaign dubbed Save Muwonge to help raise the required money through a car wash fundraiser that will be held on Saturday May 28th at Panamera bar in the capital Kampala. Britania, in an effort to support the campaign has pledged to provide a mega music system, an entire roadshow team and all of their Queen Dancers to come and spice up the event free of charge.The Head of Marketing and Sales K.R. Sridharan noted that they were offering that as their contribution to the cause owing to the fact that they value corporate social responsibility as a company.Read more
Islamic banking presents new prospects for banking industry
The last couple of years have seen Africa undergo numerous changes in the banking sector; a rapid expansion of pan-African banking groups, a move in lending from the dominant wholesale and public sector to a growing retail, mobile banking replacing the traditional brick and mortar bank, to name but a few.The changes in the banking industry give me confidence that Uganda is in a favourable position to embrace Islamic Banking, which thrives on the principle of risk sharing rather than risk transfer. Under Islamic Banking, banks share profits and loses accruing from a particular investment with their customers.Read more
EAC countries told to create space for investments
East African Countries have been asked to create space for appropriate investment policy frameworks which are necessary in addressing poverty, unemployment, low levels of technology and skills development.Proper investments will also be used as a key driver of structural transformation through creating backward and forward linkages between agriculture production, industrialization and growth in services trade.The call was made by Ambassador Nathan Irumba from SEATIN Uganda, ahead of the regional investment climate meeting that takes place this Thursday and Friday at Lake Victoria hotel in Entebbe. The meeting is organized by SEATINI Uganda in partnership with Diakonia under the theme "Making investment work for the people of East African Community (EAC)".It's aimed at kick starting efforts towards "Promoting Investment policies and Agreements that support sustainable development and improved livelihoods within the region". Read more
BOU: Islamic banking faces strict control
Commercial banks intending to provide Islamic banking services will be subjected to stringent control measures because the product could expose customers to unwarranted losses if poorly supervised.The regulator’s warning for robust supervision of Islamic banking is partly informed by the fact that this is not only a new model here but it also entails several contracts which demand tight and prudent supervision. “Bank of Uganda will ensure that financial institutions rendering Islamic banking (Islamic finance) are not treated with “kids” gloves,” Ms Sophia Kironde Iwumbwe, the project manager, Islamic Banking at Bank of Uganda (BoU), said.She continued: “The same stringent rules applied to conventional banking model will be no different in any other model including Islamic banking, because there are risks involved here despite its solid moral aspect.” In her presentation at the first Islamic finance conference organised by Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU) in Kampala, Ms Iwumbwe said requirements such as good governance and proper risk management also apply to the Islamic banking model.Read more
Shell-UNRA Shs3b fuel case goes for mediation
The case in which fuel firm, Vivo Energy Uganda (distributors of Shell products in Uganda), is claiming more than Shs3.5 billion against Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) is under mediation before court.Vivo sued UNRA seeking to recover Shs3.5 billion alleging that it was meant for fuel and fuel products consumed.The case is before the Registrar in charge of mediation at the Commercial Court. Vivo Energy alleges that the said fuel and fuel products were invoiced and remain unpaid to-date.According to court documents by Shell Uganda, the fuel firm and UNRA entered an agreement and the roads agency consumed the former’s fuel and fuel products at various locations in Uganda. Shell Uganda says under the agreement, the consumed products were to be invoiced monthly and paid after the issue of invoice.Read more
Debt burden haunts UCL despite loss reduction
Uganda Clays (UCL) shareholders will not be taking home a dividend after the company incurred a third straight loss. The company, despite a 9 per cent growth in revenue to Shs24b, still made an after-tax loss of Shs1.2b from Shs5.2b. The rise in revenue is mostly due to lower cost of sales and expenses but also an additional Shs3b the company got from land sold to the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) for the construction of the Kampala – Entebbe Expressway in Kajjansi. The clay products manufacturer laid off about 40 employees in order to cut costs. Management had projected that the restructuring and operational methods would cut costs by about 40 per cent but that is not reflected in the financial statement. Read more
PSMOF Mr Keith Muhakanizi: Tax compliance still a big problem, economists say
Uganda’s taxation policy does not require any new tax proposals to increase collections but rather a compliance with the existing law.Speaking to Daily Monitor on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on Africa in Kigali, Rwanda, Mr Keith Muhakanizi, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance, blamed the 13 per cent tax-to-GDP ratio on the low tax compliance.“Still, we are collecting below 14 per cent of GDP, which is still very low. So, how do we get to 15 per cent, 16 per cent, 17 per cent, 20 per cent of GDP as revenue for the government to enable us to invest in those critical sectors?“Compliance is still a big problem. We are not saying the rates are low but rather here (Uganda), the rates are competitive globally,” he said.Read more
Trade Ministry: The economy’s unsung hero with funding challenges
In the grand scheme of things Ministry of Trade, Industry and cooperative is regarded as an underdog.This according to trade specialists, civil society organisations and a wide range of observers, explains why every financial year the ministry struggles to attract the kind of budget it deserves despite its massive role across the economic sector. It further emerged that the Trade ministry is not regarded as “juicy and powerful” as some other cabinet dockets, among them finance, planning and economic development where all decisions on matters resource and allocations happen.Until the arrival of Amelia Kyambadde as the Trade Minister, the docket appeared to be short of clout, energy and vibrancy.Lack of enough resources to implement the ministry programmes is Kyambadde’s biggest challenge.Read more
KMM: Maize miller winning war against poor maize grain
The French term Mise En Place, is a culinary term literally translated to “set in place”. It means before you start cooking, you must have everything needed for cooking.Lucky Edison, the proprietor of New Kachinga Maize millers in Ibanda District has learnt that the rule of thumb for chefs is the same food processors need to apply if only to achieve results.He has learnt that to produce good quality maize flour, the needs of a farmer should be satisfied first to provide good quality maize. This has glued him to the farmers for the last ten years.When he started milling maize in Ibanda District, he realised there was potential of establishing a maize milling business in the area. Most of the maize he was milling came from Kamwenge, Ibanda, Kyenjojo, Kibale and sometimes Mubende districts. In Mubende alone, he was producing between 50 and 100 bags a day but he did not know where the sold flour ended up.Read more
MOF: Islamic banking cleared for business, says regulator
Commercial banks in Uganda can now offer Islamic banking products. This is after the legal restrictions that made it difficult to have such an alternative model of banking were amended.According to the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank senior technocrats, regulations to allow the smooth operation of the Islamic banking have also been finalised. This means that Islamic banking products can now be offered within the premises of the existing commercial banks or even a fully-fledged bank providing purely Islamic finance (in this case Islamic banking) can be established uninterrupted.Islamic banking model is different from the conventional model of banking. Whereas charging of interest is at the heart of conventional banking, in Islamic banking model that is not allowed. Instead it shares the profits or losses that accrue, if any, with the clients.Read more
UBL: New beer brand Ngule sales exceed target
Ngule lager sales have exceeded projections within months on the market, the makers have revealed.The beer is produced by Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) for Majestic Brands – the investment arm of the Buganda Kingdom.UBL has attributed the positive growth to the reception the beer has received in the market calling it tremendous success.While hosting the Katikkiro at the factory premises last week, Nyipindi Mabunda UBL managing director said following the directive to ensure that the beer is distributed in every corner of the kingdom, the beer has been a catastrophic success because it has proved to be a fantastic product.“With support from East Africa and the group globally, this has been the biggest success story ever and this is giving us opportunity to invest in the brand from the entire supply chain because it has made history at EABL,” he said. Read more
Rugunda pleased Wwith locally manufactured building materials
Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda has applauded the local building manufacturers for producing high quality materials which has encouraged most of the construction companies to prefer them to imported materials.While presiding over the launch of the Knight Frank Wealth Report, Dr. Rugunda was pleased to note the increasing competition in the real estate sector.The Knight Frank Wealth Report indicated that the residential sector in Uganda is one of those areas that still demand attention by property developers.The Premier further stated that with the population of the country continuing to grow, especially in urban centers, the need for quality and affordable housing remains a challenge and an opportunity the real estate industry should address and meet.Over the past decade Knight Frank’s Wealth Report has provided a unique perspective on the interaction between wealth and the world’s prime property markets.Read more
Stanbic MD Mr Patrick Mweheire: 'Infrastructure projects too expensive for local banks'
As Uganda enters into a phase where private money is being sought to finance infrastructure projects such as the $1b (Shs3.3 trillion) Kampala-Jinja Expressway, banks are expected to play a role.However, such ambitions have been played down by the country's largest bank - Stanbic. Mr Patrick Mweheire, the bank's managing director, said the 25 commercial banks in Uganda combined can only raise up to $200m (Shs664b) for a single project."Banks cannot do everything. The expectation that banking can fund all infrastructure projects in Uganda is rather misguided," Mr Mweheire told technocrats, regulators, and construction and insurance company managers at a symposium on power and infrastructure projects. Read more
Price of manufactured goods increase by 6.5% - Ubos survey
Prices of manufactured goods in the country went up by 6.5 per cent due to increased cost of production.Uganda Bureau of Statistics (Ubos) said there was a general increase in prices for all the industry groups. Presenting the findings on the Producer Price Index (PPI) for manufactured goods on Wednesday in Kampala, principal statistician, business and industry statistics William Anguyo, said processed food increased by 9.7 per cent.“This was driven by a rise in prices of sugar which went up by 20.9 per cent as result of increased cost of production attributed to cost of raw materials, and processed coffee increased by 6.8 per cent due to the rise in prices on international market.”Mr Anguyo added: “Processed tea went up by 8.7 per cent mainly due to a price rise in international market, and processed fish went up by 16 per cent.” Read more
UBA Uganda to be capitalised to boost investment in country
The chairman of Pan-African banking group United Bank for Africa (UBA), Nigerian billionaire investor Tony Elumelu, has said they are looking to deploy more resources into the Ugandan subsidiary.Mr Elumelu, whose Heirs Holdings owns a significant stake in UBA, said the group will recapitalise the subsidiary to enhance its capacity in financing development initiatives in the region.Speaking to Daily Monitor after holding talks with the President Museveni at State House Entebbe, Mr Elumelu revealed that they also discussed many investment opportunities including infrastructure development."It was a useful meeting and the President has encouraged us to invest more," he said, adding: "UBA will add more money to this country so that it can help Small and Medium Enterprises and invest more in agriculture and infrastructure." Read more
‘KCCA not to blame for charging licences using outdated law’
Despite President Museveni assenting to the Trade Licensing Amendment Act, which if implemented would have eased trading fee payment burden, it appears Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) is still conducting its business using the old law. Ms Monica Chebet has no kind words for KCCA. In recent weeks she has had her kiosk shut down numerous times by KCCA officials, demanding trading licence fee. For years now, she said she has been paying at least Shs350,000 as trading licence fee to KCCA, an amount of money that is nearly equivalent to the total capital she has injected in her business.Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde, while announcing the new law, said Trade Licensing Amendment Act, is meant to streamline trade in goods and services.Read more
URA battling fake documents to recover billions of Shillings
As it battles a revenue shortfall of Shs250b, Uganda Revenue Authority enforcement (URA) team says it has uncovered a group of people who are forging documents in order to evade taxes.The authority cites an importer, who submitted invoices to of 32 motorcycles with each valued at $380 (Shs1.3m) through a clearing agent, Jinca Enterprises. However, the invoices were found to be falsified. The actual value of each motorcycle, according to URA, is $2500 (Shs8.3m). The import value was under-declared by Shs7m. “we have found out that a lot of document forgery was going on,” Ms Agnes Nabwire, the assistant commissioner in charge of Enforcement at URA, told reporters. Read more 
Bureaucracy and quality still chock investment and exports – Indian experts 
“It takes on average 14 days to have a major consignment approved in Uganda due to delays by government officials and the lengthy approval process, which frustrates investors,” said the Chief, Trade Facilitation and Policy for Business at the International Trade Centre, Rajesh Aggarwal. He said the delays affect the country’s competitiveness on the world market and asked government to effect sustainable, inclusive and far-reaching solutions.This was during the Supporting Indian Trade and Investment for Africa (SITA Fifth Partnership Platform Meeting at the Speak country Resort in Munyonyo. SITA is a trade support organization established to boost trade and investment between Indian and East African businesses through growth in key sectors such as ICT. India is so far the second biggest foreign investor in Uganda, after China, according to the records from the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA).Read more
Airtel Uganda fights on as Tom Gutjahr exits
 Bharti Airtel announced that Gutjahr would be leaving Uganda and Airtel. He joined Airtel Uganda, almost a year after the telecom acquired the Warid Telecom. On his appointment in, his roles were specific. He was meant to steady the ship, manage the transition and provide leadership to what had become Uganda’s second largest telecom company. He, however, had two specific roles: make Airtel Money one of the mobile money platforms accessible to many and expand internet connectivity using the 3G network.Airtel Uganda issued a statement announcing a new managing director who is taking over from Tom Gutjahr. Gutjahr will be leaving the company to head Djezzy (OTA), the largest mobile operator by subscriber numbers in Algeria, North Africa owned by Egyptian-group Orascom Telecom Holdings. Read more
URSB moves to check patent, copyright abuse
What is the purpose of this bureau? The purpose of URSB is to spearhead legal and business registration reforms, private sector growth through enterprise formalisation and revenue collection. We are a public institution previously known as the department of Registrar General under the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. URSB was granted a self-accounting status in 2010 and its restructuring started.Since establishment, what impact have you created? We have facilitated private sector growth by creating an environment where enterprises operate in a legally regulated economy which has broadened the tax base for government. This facilitates business growth, creates jobs and increases business earnings, which contributes to wealth creation and poverty reduction. Business formalisation is the main growth path for enterprises. It increases their public visibility, access to markets, finance, participation in public procurement and access to government assistance programmes. Read more 
‘Time for a policy Reset’ IMF cautions African countries over borrowing from Central Banks
International Monetary Fund (IMF) has advised sub-Saharan Africa Central Banks to limit advances to governments. They should also abstain from providing structural development financing because it can become riskier to financial stability. In its new Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa titled ‘Time for a policy Reset’ IMF says rising fiscal deficits and more costly external and domestic financing conditions are increasing macroeconomic vulnerabilities and, in some cases, impeding central banks’ pursuit of their primary objectives, such as price stability.On commercial banks, the IMF argues that sovereign risks associated with large commercial bank exposures to government debt and related governments’ rollover risks have increased in some cases, posing risks to financial stability. Read more
Museveni calls for streamlining of taxes in dairy sector 
"I don't support taxing 18% per litre but we can agree to tax the income earned on the milk," he said. Museveni also warned farmers against land fragmentation and encouraged them to use rotational farming or paddock system so that their cattle can have pasture to feed on throughout ."You must learn to grow grass like Hyperleria loofer, Dradelia, Prolyce Giana, Temla and grow sorghum and maize as cattle food to improve the quality and quantity of our milk," he said. Museveni said that milk production has been able to increase because people stopped nomadic farming, a practice that was spreading diseases among the animals. He proposed that farmers form an association that will systematically deal with all issues affecting dairy farmers in Uganda.He observed that in 1986 Uganda used to produce only 200 million litres of milk but production has since increased to 2 billion litres per annum. Read more
Uganda can trade itself out of poverty, analysts say
A section of trade analysts, civil society organisations and activists believe that Uganda has the potential to trade itself out of poverty.But that can only happen if it jealously guards itself against the system of free trade, a sugarcoated concept the country has blindly embraced.Trade and treaty analysts such as Nathan Irumba and Jane Nalunga, activist intellectuals such as Yash Tandon and political economist Julius Kiiza say developing countries such as Uganda cannot compete fairly in global trade because of how it has been structured and guarded.And for that, “Uganda should approach trade issues as war for Western countries are already doing that and to good effect,” Prof Yash Tandon told Daily Monitor in Kampala ahead of the launch of his book ‘Trade is War’. Read more
NPA: State planners want conducive environment for informal sector
The huge informal sector is a blessing in disguise that should be harnessed instead of being harassed, the country’s main planner has said.According to the National Planning Authority (NPA) executive director, Mr Joseph Muvawala, the informal sector which makes nearly half of the country’s economy, is part and parcel of development.The informal sector was estimated to constitute 49 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with agriculture, wholesale and retail trade, construction and the transport sectors being the most prevalent, according to data of the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.Speaking at the 9th Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Open Minds Forum in Kampala, Mr Muvawala said informal sector is a transition to formal sector and for that it needs to be helped transit smoothly rather than disjointedly. Read more
NPA: Govt urged to tap into the informal sector through incentives
Government has been asked to lead the efforts to formalize the growing informal sector in Uganda through incentives if it is to increase the country’s tax revenue. The informal sector employs 80 percent of Uganda’s labor force since only 9,000 jobs are available in the job market.Joseph Muvawala, the Executive Director National Planning Authority said on  that government must tackle the issue of increasing domestic revenue. He was speaking during the 9th Open Minds Forum organized by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).“The informal sector is an inevitable and critical centre for transition for any developing country. We must not deal with the informal sector as a mere revenue tool but a strategic sector and this requires incentives,” said Muvawala.Andrew Rugasira the proprietor of Good African Coffee Uganda in his key note speech challenged Ugandans doing business informally as frustrating government efforts to deliver services.“We have to take responsibility by paying our taxes if we need to get better services. Our demands for good roads, schools and other services remain illegitimate cannot make demands if we aren’t contributing to the growth of our country.” Read more
Govt owes Shs64b to Umeme in power bills
Government owes electricity distributor Umeme Uganda Limited Shs64.17 billion for power used by some departments, Daily Monitor has learnt.Umeme needs the money to pay for the bulk of electricity it buys from the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL).On the other hand, UETCL needs the money to pay the different power generation companies.When contacted, Umeme’s media manager Stephen Ilungole confirmed some government departments owe Umeme money.“Unfortunately, customer information and transactions remain confidential for both government entities and any other customers,” Mr Ilungole said.“As a matter of policy, we don’t discuss customer issues publicly.”It is public knowledge though that over the last three years, the amount the government departments owe the utility company has oscillated between Shs89.5 billion, Shs116 billion. Read more
URA tells traders to issue receipts for all business transactions
Did you know that according to the law, any transaction involving payment of a minimum of Shs200 must be issued with a receipt and that a buyer has a right to demand for it?Without a receipt, the goods in one’s possession could be regarded smuggled; leaving owners liable to legal consequences should the necessary law be applied. A receipt is a document issued by a seller to a buyer as evidence of a transaction.According to Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), for businesses whose annual sales turnover is Shs10 million and above, receipts must be issued for any transaction made.Mr William Kiganda, the URA acting commissioner for domestic taxes, said businesses that generate sales worth Shs10 million  have less than 90 days to put their houses in order. After the three months’ grace period, any business found transacting without issuing genuine receipts will be dealt with according to the law. “A person who fails to issue a receipt/tax invoice that meets minimum standards may face penalties or prosecution as provided for under the law,” Mr Kiganda said while launching the receipt issuance campaign dubbed, “bambi mpa lisiiti yange.” Read more
URA: Tax professionals on the spot over unethical practices
Professionals involved in practices that breed non-tax compliance or outright fraud are a disgrace to the country, tax and revenue experts have said.According to Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Commissioner General Doris Akol, the executive director of the East African School of Taxation (EAST), Mr Godfrey Akena and a seasoned tax expert, Mr Simon Kagugube, professionals who perpetuate tax abuses and fraud are not only badly draining the country but are also a liability to the society.Speaking at the graduation ceremony of 117 graduates of post graduate diplomas in tax revenue and administration from EAST, Ms Akol told the graduates that being experts in tax matters is incomplete without upholding the professional ethical standards of the profession.She said: “Your job is beyond just the nuts and bold of taxation. It is incumbent upon you to enforce compliance.”She continued: “Ethical standards alongside capacity and competence are a key factor in tax administration. And if you compromise especially the ethics then everybody will be shocked and surprised by your conduct because tax payers do not expect you to do that.” Read more

IRA: Insurance firms warned against high costs
Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) chief executive officer has cautioned insurance providers against high costs of management which he said affect their ability to meet their claims."Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) are being regulated for the first time and we have discovered that many of them were having high management expenses," said Mr Ibrahim Kaddunabbi Lubega.He was speaking to human resource managers during a breakfast meeting hosted by IAA Health Insurance in Kampala.Mr Lubega said the insurance fraternity has guiding expenses and as such where they see management costs going above 20 per cent of the premiums collected, they get concerned."If the management expenses exceed 30 per cent, then it becomes unbearable because the recommended rate is below 20 per cent of the premiums," he said. Read more
Kakira Sugar Works: Sugar price drops as Shilling continues to appreciate
Ugandans are beginning to benefit from the value of the appreciating Shilling after a drop in sugar prices.A survey across the market indicates a 15-20 per cent drop in the prices of sugar at the factory level.In an interview with Daily Monitor, the country’s biggest sugar producer Kakira Sugar Works’ corporate marketing manager, Mr Raju Sareen, confirmed the drop in the prices saying: “Consumers should be happy about this news.”Mr Sareen said at Kakira, the price of each 50-kilogramme bag of sugar now costs Shs130,000 down from Shs140,000 it traded earlier in the year. He attributes the price change to several reasons. He said one of the reasons for the drop in sugar prices is the fuel prices which have also gone down to about Shs3,100 per litre of petrol and Shs2,350 for diesel. “This means the cost of transport has also gone down which has helped us to sell sugar at lower prices,” Sareen explained. Read more
Uchumi suppliers negotiate to convert debt into ownership
Uchumi Supermarket has opened talks with its suppliers that could see the creditors convert the debts owed to them by the retailer into shares.The creditors Tuesday agreed to oppose an ongoing insolvency case against Uchumi filed by five suppliers. The retailer hopes the conversion will ease the debt load on its books.“We have agreed to have the debt restructured as we are opposed to winding up. We have given a mandate to our lawyers to append our names in opposing the (winding up) petition because everyone will be a loser. We can bring it (Uchumi) back like we did previously,” said the Association of Kenya Suppliers chairman Kimani Rugendo. Read more
Stanbic to spend Shs200m on skilling business owners
Stanbic Bank Uganda will spend about Shs200m on supporting the skilling of small and medium enterprise (SME) owners on how to operate sustainable and profitable enterprises, courtesy of the bank’s Business Mentorship Programme.The one-year programme was launched by Stanbic Bank in partnership with Enterprise Uganda, as a training agency, among other things, provide mentorship and skills such as marketing, book keeping, accounting and customer service to 200 SMEs.The programme is directed at growing small businesses’ capacity to be self-sustaining through training them on money handling, identify profitable investments, marketing, leadership and governance to enable entrepreneurs generate enterprises with a clear direction and ability to grow.Speaking on the sidelines of  business mentorship training in effective marketing and excellent customer care in Kampala recently, Stanbic Bank head corporate social investment Sharon Nassali Bbosa said the programme seeks to reduce the failure rate among Ugandan businesses. Read more
Trade ministry takes over investment authority
The activities of Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) are now going to be overseen by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Daily Monitor has learnt.
In an interview with this newspaper, Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde confirmed the development. Speaking at the sidelines of the launch of the Switch Africa Green (SAG), an initiative developed to support African countries in their transition to using and adapting environmentally-friendly energy  in Kampala, Ms Kyambadde said UIA will be one of the agencies under the watch of her ministry.She said: “Discussions have been finalised and even the President (Museveni) has given it a go ahead. We hope by the beginning of the financial year, UIA will be under our ministry.”Ms Kyambadde continued: “We think it belongs here in the Ministry of Trade. All the necessary expertise is here and it will now streamline trade and investment.”For years there have been discussions from some quarters that UIA is misplaced under the Ministry of Finance. According to the private sector leadership, what matters now is the linkage between investment and trade because the two are inseparable. Read more
Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde: SMEs certified to access regional markets
Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) will now be able to access regional markets to compete competitively after attaining the standardisation and quality certification mark. Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde, revealed that more than 60 enterprises had successfully attained certification which would enable them access the regional markets. The minister was officiating at the awarding of certificates to MSMEs by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) with support from the Trade ministry and the Quality Infrastructure Standards Programme (QISP).Thirty six products were certified from 21 MSMEs with both Standardisation Mark (S-Mark) and the Quality Mark (Q-Mark). This allows these companies to access both local and regional markets.“Most of these enterprises face challenges of poor product packaging and labelling which results into poor quality products and as such fail to access certain markets,” she said. Read more
Stanbic Uganda stock price at record low after lender cuts dividend payout
A lower dividend package amid fresh recapitalisation pressures as well as concerns about stock overvaluation on the Ugandan bourse have driven Stanbic Bank's stock price to a record low. This is despite the lender posting good earnings, a circumstance that has left investors disgruntled.The bank slashed its full year dividend from Ush1.66 ($0.049) per share declared to Ush0.78 (US cents 0.023) per share, citing recapitalisation pressures attributed to the industry regulator.The Bank of Uganda has been forced to create additional capital rules for banks with large balance sheets, in line with the Basel three capital requirements -- a set of international banking capital and risk management benchmarks being enforced by central banks. Read more
Funeral homes call for tax exemption to boost services
Funeral homes have called on government to waive taxes on funeral management equipment to enable them boost their services and in turn pass on affordable prices to the public.Speaking to the media at the A-Plus-managed Mengo Funeral Palour in Kampala recently, A-Plus Group chief executive officer Ronald Zake said: “High taxes have pushed away potential customers as the cost of service is passed on to the final consumer in form of high charges.”He argued that most people that lose their loved ones are always in grief and by the time they move to take up the services of funeral homes, they are already in financial distress after spending on medical bills. “It is at this critical time that people need affordable services to see them through moments of anguish,” he said.Mr Zake said tax exemption on funeral management services will enable service providers to boost their business and expand to other regions across the country. Read more
Standard Chartered net profit drops by 86%
Standard Chartered has registered one of its steepest declines in profit as the banks provision for bad and doubtful debts tripled. The banks total comprehensive income has dropped by 86% to just sh15b.  A quick glance at the banks financial books reveals that despite an increase in incomes by sh29b to sh419b; total expenditure galloped by sh136b to sh379b to set up the bank for a steep drop in profit.  Behind the monumental rise in expenditure was a triple increase in the provision for bad and doubtful debts to sh118.5b from sh36b the year before. This was in spite of the fact that non-performing loans and assets actually declined by sh6b.The bank registered a sh19.4b drop in other incomes. Other comprehensive income registered a negative sh13b and other operating expenses rose by sh43b to further condemn profits.The courts of law have granted Standard Chartered rights to sell off Steel Rolling Mills, the largest steel manufacturing firm in Uganda, to recover a loan amounting to more than sh51.2b. The bank offered Steel Rolling Mills two amalgamated loan facilities amounting to about sh18b and $10 million respectively. Steel Rolling Mills had jointly sought for temporary relief alongside Nyumba Ya Chuma and Scrap Processors. Read more
Ugandans urged to brand, boost the country’s ima
The Minister for Information and National Guidance, Maj Gen Jim Muhwezi, has encouraged manufacturing Ugandans and public relations practitioners to brand their products with a mark indicating Uganda as a sign of patriotism and a way of promoting the country.“We must have an interest in protecting Uganda, so brand your products with the word Uganda, “he said. 
Mr Muhwezi added that branding adds value to a product and value addition allows one to sell their products for more money. 
The minister was speaking at Kampala Serena Hotel during the inaugural public relations over coffee event, a pioneer information empowerment forum created to promote and stimulate the growth of Uganda’s communication industry and client brands.
“As government, we are also rebranding the way we communicate. In the last general election, we realised a communication gap and as a result, people were fed on lies,” he said. Read more
Lord Popat: Ugandan business delegation visits Britain's Houses of Parliament 
The delegation traveled to London with the Barclays Business Group and Lord Popat, the UK’s new Trade Envoy to Uganda.A Ugandan business delegation landed the golden ticket when a reception was held in their honour in Britain’s Houses of Parliament. The delegation traveled to London with the Barclays Business Group and Lord Popat, the UK’s new Trade Envoy to Uganda, hosted the reception in Westminster. As part of a new strategy to build stronger economic links between the UK and Uganda, Prime Minister David Cameron has appointed Lord Popat – who was born in Uganda – as his trade representative. The 30 strong delegation of entrepreneurs were treated to tea and cakes in the House of Lords, before getting a chance to meet Ministers and UK businessmen and receiving a guided tour of the Houses of Parliament. Addressing the delegation in the Attlee Room, Lord Popat welcomed them to the “Mother of all Parliaments” and told the room he was “honoured to have been appointed to this new role”. He continued “this is my first official engagement as Trade Envoy “Uganda has amazing potential; My job is now to do all I can to help increase business and trade links between our two countries.”“We have many Ugandans here in the British Parliament including myself, Archbishop Sentamu, Shailesh Vara, Lord Sheikh and Priti Patel; if we were to form our own party we’d be the fourth largest opposition group!” Read more
MOF: Interest on external debt rises to Shs250b
Uganda is projected to pay Shs250b in interest payment for the country's external debt.The amount, according to the Parliament Finance Committee, will rise from the Shs170b government paid in the financial year.This means that each of the 34 million Ugandans - many of whom earn less than Shs300,000 monthly - would have to, figuratively pay Shs440,000 to repay Uganda's Shs14.915 trillion external debt.The committee does not explain how it arrived at the Shs250b projection, however, according to the National Budget Framework Paper, Uganda will borrow Shs6.7 trillion - up from Shs5.6 trillion to finance the Shs21.2 trillion Budget.According to Finance ministry estimates, Uganda's total public debt is $7.6b (Shs24.9 trillion).Of that, 60 per cent or Shs14.915 trillion is owed to external lenders such as the Export Import Bank of China, which has loaned Uganda $2b for large hydroelectricity projects.Read more
Buganda eyes transformation through partnerships
Buganda Kingdom, through its investment arm Buganda Investments and Commercial Undertakings Limited, has unveiled a platform to transform its communities through development partnerships.The platform dubbed “Partnering for Community Transformation” was launched at a symposium held in Kampala. Speaking at the function, Buganda premier Charles Peter Mayiga said the kingdom is aiming at achieving economic transformation that is people centered.“The Kingdom of Buganda is totally focused and committed to achieving economic transformation aimed at uplifting the standards of living for the people of Buganda and Uganda at large,” Mr Mayiga said.“The Kingdom is eying holistic growth by setting in motion a healthy population, ensure sustainable household food supply, boost education and encourage community development,” he said, adding that all these aspects are well articulated in the Buganda Kingdom Development Strategic Plan locally known as Pulaani Nnamutayiika. Read more
IRA: Insurance industry records 22% growth
Uganda’s insurance industry has grown by 21.58 per cent  according to the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA).The growth from 9 per cent to 21.58 per cent is attributed to uptake of large infrastructural projects and the private sector.“The gross premium underwritten by the insurance industry has increased in the financial year by 21.58 per cent which is composite growth. Infrastructure is one of the factors that triggered its growth,” Mr Ibrahim Kaddunabbi Lubega, the chief executive officer Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA), said.He added that one of the factors was the uptake of local insurance by large infrastructural projects such as Isimba hydropower project, Entebbe airport, Nile Bridge in Jinja, Kampala-Entebbe Expressway and various small dam projects.The budget for the transport and works sector was more than doubled to Shs3.3, with an additional Shs753.3 billion being allocated to the sector. Read more
Crown Beverages introduces new Mirinda flavour
Crown Beverages Limited (CBL), the bottlers of Pepsi, Mountain Dew, and Mirinda has added another variant, Mirinda Lemon, to their Mirinda portfolio.According to Jeff Ssekandi, the CBL Acting Head of Marketing, the introduction of the new Mirinda Lemon on the market is aimed at reinforcing the brand position as the consumers’ favorite soda, by giving consumers a wider variety for them to choose from and to suit the consumers’ lifestyle.“Mirinda Lemon, comes with a unique, crisp, taste flavor to capture the distinctive taste of the original lemon fruit. We are certain that Mirinda Lemon will enhance our brand portfolio and will present our consumers with more choice to play with,” Ssekandi said at the launch of the new variant in Kampala.Mirinda now boasts of five different flavors; Green Apple, Orange, Fruity, Pineapple and Lemon.Timothy Luzinda, the brand manager, said that the launch of Mirinda Lemon strengthens the positioning of the brand as an exciting young and vibrant refreshing drink amongst its growing customer base across the country.Read more
Low demand for maize flour, other commodities
The price of the maize bran has since declined to sh410-420/kg in Kisenyi.Sunflower in Gulu was bought at sh1100/kg as well at Mukwano factory in Lira.Slow business continued at Busia Border market with an estimated 12MT crossing the border-line informally.Good quality maize was bought at Ksh26.5/kg (Ugsh863/kg)A few traders turned up in Kamwenge, however, maize was scarce at Ugsh790/kg.
Aponye bought maize in Kyazanga and mixed beans in Mubende.Red pepper price was recorded at Ugsh5000-6000/kg while a ply of tomatoes weighing 130kgs cost Ugsh200,000-230,000 in Kampala.Read more
CSO: Should wealthy Ugandans pay more taxes?
Uganda has a huge informal sector, and many individuals thrive in this informality. But for the formal working class, it is very difficult to hide from paying tax. Only, the Members of Parliament legislated against taxing their allowance, on the ground that it is not an income earned.According to the civil society organisations, the exemption on allowances of Members of Parliament is an equivalent of slightly more than Shs40 billion.This is nearly three times the budget allocated to the standard body, a government institution charged with fighting counterfeit and substandard products flooding the market. There some evidence that taxing these individuals can lead to significant boosts in revenue. Read more
Why China’s volatility is bad for Uganda’s economy
The volatility in global financial markets shows how rapidly risks can spill over from one economy to the next. World stock markets and the currencies of many emerging markets, for instance, have seen large swings since China’s decision to devalue its currency. The People’s Bank of China astounded markets with three successive devaluations of the yuan, knocking over 3 per cent off its value. The first devaluation that came marked the largest single drop.After a decade of a steady appreciation against the US dollar, investors had become comfortable with the stability and growing strength of the yuan but global economies were shocked, and are now facing headwinds not only from China’s economic challenges but also Japan’s slow growth and falling commodity prices. Read more
EAC Chiefs Commend Aga Khan Investments
East African executives have commended the investments the Aga Khan has brought to the region.The EAC executives, including the Assembly Speaker, Secretary General and the Chief Justice said this during a tour of the construction site of Aga Khan University (AKU) in Arusha, Tanzania, according to a statement issued by the East African Community Secretariat in Arusha.The leaders said the university is viewed as a catalyst for transformation that will see the city expand as the intellectual, social and political hub for East Africa. The project is part of the planned $500m (Shs1.6 trillion) expansion in East Africa by the Aga Khan. It seeks to enrol health sciences and Arts students from across the region, notably Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan. Read more
President Yoweri Museveni: Uganda opts for Tanzanian route for oil Pipeline
The 13th Summit of the Northern Corridor Projects that sat in Kampala has finally decided that Uganda’s crude oil pipeline will pass through Tanzania to the East African cost ending speculation over the same.Addressing the summit, President Yoweri Museveni said after a meeting with his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta, they had come to an agreement that the Tanzanian route would be more viable.“I have agreed with President Uhuru Kenyatta that the two pipelines go ahead – one from Lokichar to Lamu and another from Hoima to Tanga,” said Museveni at the summit.The Permanent Secretary in the Foreign Affairs Ministry Amb. James Mugume said that the final decision for the pipeline lay in the hands of both Kenyan and Ugandan presidents who he said were scheduled to meet before the summit concluded.The Permanent Secretary said that among other key factors to be considered would be the route with a cheaper  cost  for a barrel to reach the East African coast. Read more
Barclays bank profits up by 30%
While addressing journalists at the bank’s head office in Kampala, Rakesh Jha, Barclays bank managing director, said that was characterized by many challenges for the banking sector like increase in the central bank rates that rose by over 50% from 11%  to 17%This led to subsequent increase in the commercial banks’ lending rates, something that affected loan uptake by customers. Jha also said that there was also a liquidity crunch in the market as a result of currency depreciation as the Ugandan currency lost its value by 17.5%, which led to a decline in deposits. He explained that despite the challenges that affected the sector, the bank’s income grew by 20% from sh174b to sh210b.“Because of the macroeconomic headwinds that the economy experienced, a 20% increase in our income levels was impressive for us as a bank,” he said.Growth in profit after tax was also driven by efficient management of other aspects like costs and leveraging on technology. Read more
USAID injects Shs520b towards revamping farmer cooperatives
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has injected $159m (Shs527b), towards revamping over 40,000 cooperative unions scattered across the country to make them viable businesses.Speaking at the launch of the programme, Mr Jo Lesser Oltheten, the director economic growth at the US mission in Kampala, said instead of calling them farmers cooperatives, the project targeting small holder farmers will rename them as producer organisations. This is so that they become strong businesses which will create market linkages for member farmers dealing in maize, coffee and beans so they start benefiting from extension services, market linkages, good governance and proper management of the organisations.“We want to build linkages where we have an alliance of agricultural businesses working with the farmers’ federation, civil society organisations, funding agencies and research institutions,” she said, adding that part of the activities will involve addressing the issue of in-put supplies and post-harvest handling. Read more
ICAIA: Government tipped on curbing profit repatriation
 As many developing economies grapple with the problem of profit repatriation by multinationals, Indian chartered accountants have advised government to tighten transfer pricing policies if it is to curb the vice.
Speaking during a public lecture organised by the Indian Business Forum in Uganda in Kampala, Mr T.N. Manoharan, the former president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India Association, said like many developing countries, Uganda is losing huge sums of money due to abusive transfer pricing.Transfer pricing is when two companies that are part of the same multinational trade between each other after agreeing on a particular price of a commodity or service. Mr Manoharan said transfer pricing, which sets price of goods and services sold between associated legal entities, is often manipulated with the intent of attracting low tax billing.Read more
IFAC: Accountants body advises Ugandan firms on auditing
The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) has advised global audit firms (also known as the Big 4) which all operate in Uganda to concentrate more on auditing multinational companies or large corporates and leave others for the local ‘small’ firms.The Big 4 provide an extensive range of accounting and auditing services including external taxation services, management, business consultancy, risk assessment and control to organisations around the world.They also provide massive employment opportunities to accountants and auditors, among other professions around the world.Speaking in Kampala during the council members meeting, IFAC chief executive officer Fayezul Choudhury said: “While market for audit firms is driven by the choice of organisations who choose which firm to audit their books, the Big 4 should concentrate more on multinational companies/large corporates.” Read more

MOE: Karuma project contract locks out Ugandan suppliers - official
A government official has said Ugandan workers and suppliers have no control over contributing to the ongoing construction works at Karuma power project because the contractor is fully in charge of the contract.Speaking to this newspaper, Mr Henry Bidasala Igaga, the commissioner electrical energy at the energy Ministry, said Ugandans should subject themselves to market forces of meeting the quantities, quality and price the contractors are offering for the materials and services they require because this is a “turn-Key contract”.“The contractor is responsible for the engineering, procurement, construction materials and services. What we want is a final product delivered,” he said on telephone.Mr Bidasala’s comments follow complaints from Ugandan manufacturers that their products have failed to make it to the ongoing construction project in Karuma power project. Two weeks ago when this newspaper visited the Karuma power project site, the contractor alleged that they failed to procure cement from Tororo and Hima cement factories because these had failed to meet the quality and quantities of cement required for the project. Read more
 Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, tells accountants to help entrepreneurs grow business
Finance Minister Matia Kasaija has urged accountants to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses as well as teach them about tax compliance. “Accountants can greatly contribute to the economy of Uganda by way of making clients tax compliant and assisting them in managing their business better,” he said.Mr Kasaija was speaking at a client appreciation dinner organised by accounting firm Grant Thorton held in Kampala.He said banks, Uganda Revenue Authority, investors and government are all relying on professional work by independent organisations such as Grant Thornton to grow the economy.“In fact, it is organisations such as these who can help you to grow your businesses,” Kasaijja said. The minister also challenged businesses to employ professional accountants to put their books in order. “As business men and businesswomen, you are obliged to take their advice seriously, whether it is via audit report, tax and compliance matters or any other business advice,” he said. Read more
SA envoy tips local businesses on strategic partnerships
The South African high commissioner to Uganda has encouraged local businesses to partner with strong established brands to be able to compete well in the global market. Mr Lekoa Solly Mollo was speaking at the launch of new offices for AF Mpanga Advocates, an affiliate of the Bowman Gilfillan Africa Group, a leading Pan-African law firm, in Nakasero, Kampala.“Africa is the next big economic success and all global companies are looking to set up shop here, those companies want to come with knowledge and understanding of the local markets and as such, partnerships will help grow the local businesses,” he said. Mr Mollo also said through such partnerships as the one between Mpanga and Co Advocates and Bowman Gilfillan, a company is able to use one legal representative to carry out its businesses across the continent without need to hire more. Mr David Mpanga, a partner at AF Mpanga Advocates, said the collaboration is essentially one firm running in different countries. Read more
UCMP: Uganda to host second oil and gas convention 
The Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP) is set to host the second annual oil & gas convention at the Kampala Serena Hotel as the country seeks to spark renewed interest in the sector running under the theme, “Suppliers’ Roadmap to Operational Excellence”, the conference is largely targeted at reassuring suppliers and subcontractors about the opportunities in the oil and gas sector amidst the tough industry challenges so far.Irene Nakalyango, the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum chief executive said the conference is aimed at reinvigorating the industry and highlighting the salient opportunities that Ugandans must grasp.“We call upon everyone involved in the supplying of goods and services in the oil and gas sector to make it a point to attend this summit as it will definitely boost their business opportunities,” noted Nakalyango. Uganda’s oil industry has been in a lull because of government and the international oil companies (IOCs) delayed resolution on the two critical projects of the refinery and the pipeline required for the future development of the natural resource.Read more
New East Africa retirement policy in the pipeline
A draft bill is being prepared that could give birth to a National Retirement Benefit Policy, which would then become the official policy document for the six East African Community countries in future.“The draft is being handled by the Treasury and stakeholders are contributing their input and aligning it with the country’s labour laws before it is taken to the Cabinet. We want to come up with a guiding policy that could apply throughout Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan,” said Retirement Benefits Authority chief executive Edward Odundo. He spoke during an Alexander Forbes annual retirement conference in Kwale County.Mr Odundo said a committee had also been set up by EAC member states to harmonise tax regime and retirement issues across the region. Read more
Businesses to benefit more from Stanbic loans
 Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited has announced it will be lending more to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) this year to facilitate trading activities in Uganda’s business environment.The bank says the decision to focus on consumer lending is to continue growing its already profitable loan book, alongside other business interests, which helped the bank to register impressive profits. Stanbic realised a net profit of Shs150.8 billion, a growth of 12 per cent up from Shs135 billion. Releasing their financial results at Kampala Serena Hotel, the chief executive officer of the bank, Mr Patrick Mweheire, said: “We shall be lending more to the SMEs to facilitate trade because trade is a big driver and offers huge opportunities for us in consumer lending.”Mr Mweheire said there has been a pickup in credit growth due to faster growth in consumer goods particularly soft drinks, manufacturing and real estate on the commercial side which offers potential market for consumer lending. Read more
UMA urges business fraternity on non- tariff barriers
The Uganda Manufactures Association (UMA) has called upon the business community to join hands in the fight against the non-tariff barriers to help simplify business transactions with in the community.According to Investopedia, Nontariff barriers are forms of restrictive trade where barriers to trade put in place and take a form other than a tariff. They include quotas, levies, embargoes, sanctions and other restrictions. Godfery Ssali the advocacy and business analyst at UMA says that the fight against non-tariff barriers will assist to moderate on the time and money spent by business operatives during the course of business dealings.Ssali adds that as UMA, they came up with an on online tool where every business personnel can report tariff-barriers wherever they may be and the problem is dealt with immediately. Read more
Nytil is moving up the textile ladder after a turbulent past
Southern Range Nyanza, also known as Nytil, is still active in the textile manufacturing business.
Despite inheriting a dysfunctional plant 20 years ago, the story of the country’s oldest textile factory seems to have taken a turn for the better.“Many people believe Nytil is not there yet that is not true,” Nytil general manager, Vinay Kumar, said in an interview.He continued: “We have three shifts. We employ nearly 1,500 people, most of whom are women. We produce 18,000 T-shirts per day and we are the major suppliers of uniforms of armed forces in the region, among other whole range of products.”When it was taken by the new investor, about $31m (Shs103b) was injected into the revival of the plant. About $5m (Shs16.7b) has been invested in the operation and processes of the factory, with about $2m (Shs6.6b) of that being used in purchasing modern facilities. Read more
Uganda launches plan to promote IT exports
A new plan that will see Uganda boost its export of Information Technologies and IT-related enabled services has been launched.The project dubbed IT and ITES Sector Export and Marketing Plans is expected to increase IT software exports from Uganda thereby creating wealth and employment for Ugandans.Speaking at the launch in Kampala, Information Communication and Technology (ICT) minister John Nasasira said: “This sector export plan has already been incorporated into the Uganda export promotion plan developed by the National Planning Authority. It is a very crucial step in opening up the borders to serve other markets.”Government, private sector associations, select Ugandan SMEs and the United Nations International Trade Centre (ITC) with the support of the Netherlands Government, have been working together to enhance Uganda’s export competitiveness in Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) and Business Process Outsourcing Services (BPO) sectors. Read more
NSSF targets informal sector workers
The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) has finalised creating a product, which is yet to be named, targeting pension savings from workers engaged in the informal sector.While addressing the press, Mr Richard Byarugaba, the NSSF managing director, said within the coming, the Fund will have concluded working out the product.He said savers in the informal sector will now be able to save using mobile money like it is already happening in neighbouring countries.“The NSSF threshold for the contributors is currently 15 per cent where the employee contributes five per cent, while the employer contributes 10 per cent. The Jua Kali (workers in the informal sector) will have the flexibility that will allow them to go in and out,” he said.He added that for as long as someone earns a minimum salary of Shs150,000 regularly, such a person is eligible to contribute to the Fund. Read more
MOF,Matia Kasaija: Parliament rejects govt plan to raise property tax
Kampala. Lawmakers have rejected a government proposal to increase stump duty also known as property tax from 1 per cent to 2 per cent, a measure Finance minister Matia Kasaija said was projected to contribute Shs9 billion to the Budget. Instead of the proposed 2 per cent, the Finance Committee cut it to 1.5 per cent. However, this was rejected by parliamentarians who argued that such a measure would affect the country’s Growth Domestic Product (GDP), reduce consumption and hit tax collections in the process. Parliament started debate on the revenue measures for the Budget. Paul Mwiru (Jinja Municipality East), Nandala Mafabi (Budadiri West) and Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa West) and Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga) also warned that increasing property tax charged on the transfer/sale of property such as land, buildings and vehicles and others will cause problems in the economy and worsen corruption. Read more
European Business Forum to host business expo and food festival
The event, which aims at facilitating business development, trade partnerships as well as cultural exchange between Europe and Uganda, will take place at the Sheraton Kampala gardens in Kampala.“It is European expo for business, food, wine and beer. The ‘ days in Europe” will showcase the best Ugandan and European diversity in business, fun and entertainment. We want to show what Uganda and Europe are doing together,” John Petter Gaustad, the chairman of the European Business Forum said at a press briefing to announce the event in Kampala.“Our goal is to make Uganda one of the most attractive destinations for investors in Africa. We have had several meetings about the most pressing issues for investors like tax, immigration and land law.”Kristian Schmidt, the head of the Delegation of the European Union to Uganda hailed the rise of business ties between Europe and Uganda, but said there is potential to do more.Read more
NC Bank profits up as loan defaults hit Shs10b
The high-interest rate environment that dominated most has led to customers falling back on loan repayments. NC Bank Uganda, which published its results, reveals that customers who fell back on loan payments owed the bank Shs9.9b  from Shs4.6b. 
Speaking to Daily Monitor in a telephone interview, Mr John Okulo, the NC Bank managing director, revealed that non-performing loans (NPLs) are industrywide problems due to higher interest rates in the economy. “The industry was affected by non-performing loans and a few of our customers have fallen back on their loan payments.” he said. interest rates started rising after Bank of Uganda raised the benchmark lending rate to curb the rapid depreciation of the Uganda Shilling at the time. Bank lending rates nearly hit 30 per cent for both existing and new customers. Mr Okulo had told reporters back that there was likely to be a rise in non-performing loans. 
NC Bank, however, had an increment in interest earned on loans and advances. This boosted the income of the bank, which rose to Shs21.5b from Shs14.6b. This further contributed to the net profit of the bank that rose from Shs505 million to Shs1.3b . NC Bank, a subsidiary of the NIC Bank Kenya, started its operations in Uganda. Read more
USAID: Farmers tipped on using e-tags to determine seed quality
The USAID Feed the Future Uganda programme is training farmers on how to use electronic branding technology to identify genuine seeds and agro-inputs.Speaking at the Kakasa national farmers competition finals in Kampala, Dr Rita Ojok Laker, the country chief of party, said the special electronic branding allows farmers to buy seedswhose source they can verify and authenticate so as to protect the farmers from fake seed and in-put dealers.“We are doing the national campaign so that next season when the farmers are buying the inputs, they are buying certified inputs. We started this programme in West Africa and it has been successful. We have certified 11 companies and by the start of next season, farmers should be aware of them,” she said. Read more
MOF: Government bows to pressure, scraps tax levied on international calls
After several months of negotiations and complaints from telecom companies, the government has now proposed that excise duty on incoming international calls be scrapped. In the Excise Duty (Amendment) Bill, the ministry of Finance is proposing the removal of the 9 US cents per minute duty on incoming international calls.“The complete removal of the duty was necessary due to unregulated operators routing incoming international calls via One Network Area countries and other routing mechanisms, which had led to a significant reduction in the volumes of inbound traffic and interconnect fees for the resident telecom operators. This had a corresponding negative impact on the tax revenues generated by the resident operators,” the bill reads. According to the telecom companies, incoming calls to Uganda had been diverted to countries such as Kenya and South Sudan before getting routed to Uganda. Read more
ERA reduces power tariffs
The retail price for power has reduced by between Shs11 and Shs7.8 per unit depending on consumer category.
The Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) has reduced the end–user tariffs for a domestic consumer from Shs651 to Shs640.2 per unit.
A commercial consumer such as a miller or welder will pay Shs578.3 down from Shs587, while the tariff for a medium industrial consumer has reduced from Shs544 to Shs536.2 per unit.On the other hand, a large industrial consumer will pay Shs361.1 down from Shs369 per unit.The ERA chief executive officer, Mr Benon Mutambi, attributed this to the appreciation of the Shilling against the dollar and the reduction in the international fuel prices.“The Uganda Shilling appreciated by 0.25 per cent against the United States Dollar, from Shs3,357 in the base period toShs3,348,” Mr Mutambi, an economist, said. Read more
IRA: Insurance body targets 5,000 agents to boost penetration
The insurance industry is targeting to license 5,000 more agents  in a bid to increase popularity of products in both life and non-life segments. 
Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) chief executive officer Kadunabbi Lubega said efforts are being directed towards increasing insurance penetration through enhanced access and awareness.
According to IRA, insurance penetration in Uganda is still low at 0.86 per cent of the GDP. 
Speaking during the opening of ICEA Life Assurance Company Agency office in Kampala last week, Mr Lubega said there were 1,400 licensed insurance agents, up from only 650 agents. He said he hoped to raise this number by about 5,000 more agents.
“As industry players, we have to be able to make insurance services readily available to all Ugandans and the industry has to be proactive in the way it carries out its operations,” he said. Read more
World Bank warns government on shoddy infrastructure projects
The World Bank (WB) has told government to improve infrastructure project preparations if Uganda is to realise value for money as well as minimise shoddy works. 
The rush to execute projects, coupled with political ambitions to getting things done in a short period of time, is costing the country billions of shillings in shoddy works.
There have been a number of cases, for instance the Mukono – Katosi Road and the two hydroelectricity power projects of Karuma and Isimba, which have become the epitome of shoddy works that critics say have led to wastage of money and time. 
Launching Africa’s Pulse report in Washington DC  ahead of World Bank/International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings due this Friday, the World Bank country economist, Dr Jean-Pascal Nguessa, said there is need to improve public investment and management in projects. Read more
Nytil urges government to enforce new textile policy
The Southern Range Nyanza, locally known as Nytil, the leading textile manufacturer in the country, wants the government to enforce the textile policy so as to save the local industry from undue competition emanating from imported clothes, particularly the second-hand clothes. Despite the national textile policy advocating for promotion and supporting the local textile factories, it appears little has been done by government to enforce the ideals declared in the well-articulated policy.Statistics indicate that about 80 per cent of textile products consumed in the country are imported, with majority being mivumba - second hand clothes.“If the textile policy is enforced, we will increase our employment. All we are asking for is a level playing field because we are here for a long term. We should be protected from cheap imported clothes. This impacts on our production,” Nytil general manager, Mr Vinay Kumar, said in an interview. Read more
Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda: Shs13 billion Kabale roadworks begin
Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda has cautioned contractors not to delay completion of government projects, especially in the road sector.Dr Rugunda, who was  presiding over a ground-breaking ceremony for the construction and tarmacking of three feeder roads in Kabale Municipality, said delayed government projects not only increase the cost of such projects but also delay delivery of services to the people who need them.The two-kilometre road network, which includes Nyerere Road and Nyerere and Kigongi avenues in Kabale Municipality, will be constructed by Stones Construction Company and is expected to be completed in 12 months. It will cost Shs13b.Mr Lauben Ntengyerize, the Kabale District deputy town clerk, said Kabele is among the 14 selected municipalities that benefited from the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development project funded by the World Bank. Read more
Government quashes idea of restoring graduated tax
Those who fall in that bracket of real men, according to Harriet Apolot, a front desk manager with a corporate company, were those who would dutifully pay their graduated tax (G.T).Nowadays, she said: “I find it difficult to distinguish some men from boys.”She continued: “They spend most of their time drinking, idling around or even gambling. I don’t see any sense of responsibility in them. When I was growing up such characters would be working or hiding because it would not be long before local taxmen came demanding the G.T.However, Justus Wagaba, a senior technician, thinks differently.He is opposed to the reinstatement of G.T., saying he has seen enough of his relatives and friends suffer humiliation as a result of not having the G.T. ticket. Read more
Bank of Uganda Cuts Bank Rate By 1 Percent
Uganda's central bank cut its benchmark policy rate by one per cent to 16 per cent last week in an attempt to reverse the stagnation of the economy experienced.The decision follows a stable Central Bank Rate set at 17 per cent  in response to severe shilling depreciation.The Uganda shilling lost roughly 17 per cent against the US dollar last year, driving up the prices of various imported items including fuel with spillover effects on the rest of the economy.Though tight monetary actions apparently tamed inflation pressures connected to the election cycle and partly boosted the exchange rate between October and December, sharp increases in prime lending rates have stifled demand for credit and crippled economic activity in various sectors.Read more
URBRA: Pension regulator reveals Shs92b five-year plan
The Uganda Retirement Benefits Authority (URBRA) has finally revealed its plan for Uganda’s pensions sector. The details of a five-year plan are contained in the 61-page document released in Kampala. URBRA has been operating without a proper plan and only appointed its first chief executive officer, Mr David Nyakundi Bonyi.According to Mr Andrew Kasirye, the chairman URBRA, part of the reasons for the plan was to grow savings of Ugandans.“In particular, the pension sector is expected by the end of this strategic plan to contribute to an increase in domestic savings, which will in turn deepen financial markets in the country,” Mr Kasirye said.The strategic plan is specifically inclined to stronger regulation and supervision by URBRA in a sector that had been self-regulating. URBRA, in the plan, will do this by strengthening their capacity as an authority. That explains why 87 per cent of the Shs91.2b overall budget for the plan will be going into training staff, increasing the number of workers, retaining them and ridding the organisation of bureaucracies. Read more
Stanbic Bank: Investor confidence to drive investment bag for Uganda’s growth
A new economic outlook report released by Stanbic Bank in partnership with the Chartered Financial Analysts Institute of East Africa has predicted a mixed bag of growth for Uganda.The report which was discussed by a cross section of experts and economists at a Stanbic Bank breakfast meeting held last week at the Kampala Serena Hotel, says Uganda will particularly grow at 5.4 per cent rate through 2016 and 5.7 per cent. The growth will be mainly driven by public investment in infrastructure. Stanbic Bank economist for East Africa, Mr Jibran Quresishi, said the growth in the real estate sector will particularly underpin Uganda’s GDP growth.He also said the robust security in the country will continue to drive investor confidence and drive more investments. Read more
UDB writes off bad loans worth Shs7b
Uganda Development Bank Limited (UDBL) has reported a fall in net profit after a rise in provisions for bad debt and writing off of some loans.In a financial statement released last week, the loan write-offs for the bank rose to Shs6.87b as a result of bad debts. The bank did not write-off any loan. However, authorities at the bank were unwilling to name their debtors before the bank’s annual financials are released.Banks often write-off bad debts because they have become difficult and expensive to collect and leaving them on the balance sheet comes with extra costs.“This was a decision the bank took after recovery efforts to resuscitate these loans failed over a long period of time. The bank needed to clean up its portfolio and maintain a healthy book while recovery efforts for these loans continue,” said Ms Patricia Ojangole, the chief executive officer UDBL, in an email response to Daily Monitor. Read more
Stop diverting Budget funds, IMF tells govt
The The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has told government not to divert funds meant for social sectors to finance security or election activities as it has been the case.The team led by Mr Roger Nord, the IMF Mission chief and deputy director of African department, was in the country, to conduct the sixth review of Uganda’s economic programme supported by the IMF Policy Support Instrument (PSI) on the programme’s performance based on agreed principles.Speaking at a joint news conference at the Ministry of Finance headquarters, Mr Nord, said performance under the PSI has been mixed with elements of positive and negative results. “There was diversion of funds by government meant for social sectors like health and education to security and election. This expenditure is understandable but it is also regrettable expenditure which needs to be avoided. In the next programme, there should be no repeat of diverting funds meant for poverty reduction by the authorities,” he said. Read more
CSBAG: Uganda’s debt worries civil society organisations
the Parliamentary Committee on National Economy revealed that Uganda’s debt had risen to Sh14.5 trillion.While the World Bank’s latest statistics  show that Uganda’s External Debt was at Sh13.7 trillion.
“Over the last five years, government has spent sh4,009 bn on the financing of both domestic and external debts, the total  public debts stock was  sh22.493.2bn an increase.The domestic  debt increased by 20.2 % while the shilling value of the external debt increased  by 13.5 %.”This was contained in a speech read out by the Coordinator of the Civil Society Advocacy Group (CSBAG) Julius Mukunda during a press conference in Kampala.Read more
CID probes Shs7b bank fraud
The Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) is investigating more than 20 cases in which seven banks lost about Shs7b in what has been termed as fraud engineered by bank employees. The cases were registered. 
Police spokesman Fred Enanga said police investigations detected connivances between bank employees and clients in most of the cases where banks have lost money. 
“Bank fraud cases are still high and involve huge amounts of money. Financial institutions should do more to fix loopholes that their staff are exploiting to defraud the banks and the clients,” Mr Enanga said.
Police statistics show the banking sector loses at least Shs20b in crime annually. Nearly half of the losses are linked to collusion with the bank staff. 
The most prominent case was of Equity Bank where Shs4b were lost in money laundering cases.
Mr Enanga said 10 suspects, including the bank’s operations manager, David Serwamba Musoke, Abubakar Kalungi, alias Manirakiza, Shafik Mubarak, Mathew Keeya, Isaac Serwamba, Joseph Mugisha, Kenneth Matovu and Bernard Lubega, were involved in the scam. The case is pending in court. Read more
UBA: Reducing interest rates will not be immediate - industry players
 The reduction in the Central Bank Rate (CBR) from 17 to 16 per cent, will slightly lower interest rates but not very soon, Uganda Bankers Association (UBA) has said. In an interview with Daily Monitor, the chairman UBA, also the managing director Centenary Bank, Mr Fabian Kasi, said reduction in the CBR is a welcome development because it is going to slightly lower the cost of funds which banks borrow to lend out to the general public.“The question as to whether banks are going to reduce the lending rates will depend upon each bank and it is going to be gradual. This is because there are many things which banks consider to decide on a particular rate. Some of these factors are cost of funding where they are borrowing from, as well as risks involved in the business,” he said. Read more
Budget demands: CSOs tell government to return graduated tax
Civil society organisations (CSOs) have intensified the call for reintroduction of graduated tax, urging government to reinstate the infamous tariff even if it means doing so under a different name. 
Despite the unpopularity of the tax leading to its suspension about one and half decades ago, the CSOs, eight in number, believe that if reintroduced, it will instill a sense of responsibility and also invoke demand for accountability from the government, something that is still missing.Speaking on behalf of the CSOs, the South and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiations Institute-Uganda, country director, Ms Jane Nalunga, and the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group coordinator, Mr Julius Mukunda, both argued that the relevance of the defunct tax far outweighs the reasons against it. Read more
PPDA advises firms against favouring foreign contractors
The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) has warned firms against hiring expatriates to do jobs, works and services that Ugandan companies can ably handle.While briefing the Nordic business community in Uganda last week, Ms Cornelia Sabiiti, the executive director PPDA, said such jobs, works and services should be reserved for Ugandans because the preference rule by government when awarding contracts is aimed at building and strengthening the middle class like South Africa did because most equipment used in the domestic contracts are imported.“We are encouraging joint ventures that need local content, meaning that Ugandan partners should be able to qualify their own and such companies should have more than 50 percent shares owned by Ugandans,” she said. Read more
Mr Adolf Mwesige, MLG: Government to get Shs283b loan for new markets
The African Development Bank (AfDB), is ready to extend a loan of at least $84m (Shs283b) towards the construction of 11 new markets in a joint effort with the government of Uganda.The agreement was reached after the construction of seven markets was completed. Government will contribute $10m (Shs34b) towards the project, which is estimated to cost $94m (Shs320b).“Because of the success of Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement Programme – I (MATIP I) where seven new markets were constructed, we have been able to secure an additional loan for the implementation of phase II,” Mr Adolf Mwesige, the Minister for Local Government, told government officials at the launch of MATIP II last week in Entebbe. The 11 markets will be constructed in the urban centres of Busia, Arua, Soroti, Masaka, Lugazi, Moroto, Entebbe, Mbarara, Tororo, Kasese and Kitgum.An estimated 32,000 vendors are expected to benefit from the project. These markets will have different features from the seven complete with agro-processing facilities.Read more
PPP: Private sector to contribute Shs82 trillion for project developments
Private firms joining hands with government, through the public-private partnership (PPP) in developing various projects, will contribute up to Shs82 trillion alongside the government contribution. 
Uganda adopted the PPP Policy, and enacted the PPP Act, as a way of effecting efficiency in development projects government undertakes.A public-private partnership is a contractual arrangement between a public agency (state or local) and a private sector entity.Through this agreement, the skills and assets of each sector (public and private) are shared in delivering a service or facility for the use of the general public. It is also a business relationship between a private-sector company and a government agency for the purpose of completing a project that will serve the public. Read more
Huge tax leak exposes Putin aides, world leaders
A massive leak of 11.5 million documents has exposed the secret offshore dealings of aides to Russian president Vladimir Putin, world leaders and celebrities including Barcelona's Lionel Messi. An investigation by more than 100 media groups, described as one of the largest such probes in history, revealed the hidden offshore assets of around 140 political figures.The vast stash of records was obtained from an anonymous source by German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung and shared with media worldwide by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).The documents, from around 214,000 offshore entities covering almost 40 years, came from Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-based law firm with offices in more than 35 countries.The investigations allege close associates of Putin, who is not himself named in the documents, "secretly shuffled as much as $2 billion through banks and shadow companies". Read more
Role of URSB in implementation of business licensing reforms in Uganda 
The Government of Uganda has proposed to undertake a number of initiatives to create an enabling business environment and minimize the cost of doing business in order to attract more domestic and international investments.The move is a reflection of the commitment to improve the country’s performance in the global Doing Business (DB) Report and the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index.This means that both current and potential investors may rely on the global competitiveness and Doing Business reports as an indication of a country’s receptivity to business and such reports can influence investment decisions.In an effort to make it easy to start a business and acquire a business license from a single point, government tasked URSB to coordinate with all licensing regulatory agencies in the implementation of business licensing reforms, in this case implementation of the e-licensing portal.The licensing regulatory agencies are tasked with; designating a focal person to work with URSB and make sure that online licensing information is up-to-date; assist URSB to respond to inquiries from users concerning their licenses; participate in Working Group planning; and jointly plan for integrated services and future reforms.  Read more 
Behind the free fall in Uganda’s cotton production
Ms Betty Okello clutches onto a notebook, taking stock of a day worth of sales for various grain products. In Abwong B Village, Agali Sub-county, Lira District, Okello has been a cotton farmer and buyer. She is one the farmers that are currently engaged in cotton growing in the Lira district - albeit amidst falling farmer numbers. This is because Uganda’s cotton production has been falling on account of low yields and sometimes abandonment of the crop by the farmer.  I did not make a profit on what I sold. I invested a lot of money but I realised less than 1,500kgs. A field that used to give me three tonnes only leaves me with only half a tonne,” Okello says. She blames the low yields on the poor quality seeds the farmers received from the Cotton Development Organisation. Read more
UBDA: Drivers ask insurance regulators to provide accident compensation
Drivers have asked to be included in the insurance policies to benefit from compensation in case of accidents.Under Uganda Bus Drivers’ Association (UBDA), the motorists say the transport sector is poorly insured because the policies only compensate cars leaving out the drivers, conductors and turnmen.
“After an accident has occurred, bus owners are compensated leaving families of people who operate buses. Most of our people have sustained injuries and others died but without any consideration for pay,” said Mr Yunus Kiggundu, the UBDA chairman.Speaking at the launch of the Funeral Service policy, a product of Liberty Life Insurance Uganda Limited in Kampala, Mr Kiggundu described the initiative as a welcome move to benefit more than 350 members and other motorists in terms of providing decent sendoffs.
Mr Ibrahim Kaddunabbi Lubega, the Executive Director of the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA), said it is the duty of employers to buy a workers’ compensation policy for their employees as an intervention in time of accident. Read more
BoU cuts lending rates to 16 per cent
Bank of Uganda made a cautious move, easing its key lending rate - Central Bank Rate from 17 to 16 per cent. 
The move, the Central Bank said seeks to uplift economic activities that had been dampened by high commercial bank interest rates and the concluded elections.
The reduction is the first as the Central Bank sought to mitigate inflationary pressures that had risen as a result of the heavy depreciation of the Shilling against major currencies and the threat of high election spending. 
Addressing journalists in Kampala yesterday Mr Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, the Bank of Uganda governor, said improved inflation outlook had warranted the easing to stimulate economic growth. Read more
How big bucks and policy mismatch are crippling Uganda’s vegetable oil industry
The Kazi mingi (Swahili equivalent for beehive of activity) area of Jinja, once designated as Uganda’s industrial town, a silent shell of rusty disused oil mills and crumbling buildings. Although they pale in comparison to Bidco Uganda’s gleaming $20 million edible oil refinery spewing white smoke 3km further east, they are edifices to a bygone era, when small holder farmers across Uganda prospered, growing cotton and other oil seeds to feed the mills.Kazi mingi is a mirror image of the many ghost towns spread all over Uganda, built around an oil seed industry that no longer exists. Since the early 80s, Uganda has been struggling to revive her vegetable oil industry but it has always been a difficult call to satisfy immediate consumer demand and revival of a domestic vegetable oil value chain.At least four millers – Mukwano, Bidco, Nile Agro and Tasco have set up big vegetable oil processing plants in Uganda. But while they have the capacity to convert locally produced oil seeds, the lure of cheap value addition from imported south East Asia crude palm, has stifled the efforts of even those who attempt the preferred but costlier path of a local oil seed production.Read more
KROLL Report: UK government now turns its guns on Moi-era looters
The British government has offered to help Kenya trace and recover assets looted by Moi-era power men named in the Kroll Report even as the risk consulting firm said it has only completed a quarter of the job.UK authorities said they are in touch with Nairobi to help identify and seize the more than £1 billion (Sh145 billion) looted from taxpayers and stashed in offshore bank accounts and prime real estate purchases in the UK.The Kroll report uncovered systematic looting of public resources that were subsequently hidden in more than 40 countries and tax havens around the world in the form of cash in banks, land, ranches, and shares in blue-chip companies. Read more
UBOS: Inflation blamed on high school fees, food costs
Higher expenses on education and exorbitant charges on food and services at restaurants and hotels are responsible for increasing inflation, according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS).Dr Chris Mukiza, the UBOS director for Macro-statistics, said education inflation is caused by high tuition levied by administrators while meals at restaurants are overpriced.“The rise in annual core inflation was due to the rise in the annual services inflation to 6.2 per cent compared to 5.2 per cent recorded,” he said while releasing the Consumer Price Index (CPI).CPI is the measure of change in the average annual price of selected consumer basket of goods and services. Read more
EU: Uganda to host global youth entrepreneurs dialogue
Uganda is set to host high level global dialogue sessions directed at devising means of mitigating household poverty through supporting the growth of entrepreneurship among the youth. The deliberations scheduled to  be held at Sheraton Kampala Hotel.The events are expected to create a platform for the rest of the world to learn from the engagements with the local stakeholders and also share knowledge on the support worth extending to the youth entrepreneurs.The events are being hosted by Youth Business International (YBI) and Enterprise Uganda with support from United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), Sheraton, Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO), Barclays Bank, Restless Development and War Child.According to Enterprise Uganda executive director Charles Ocici, the events running under the theme: The Promise of Youth seek to increase understanding of the kinds of support that young people need to enable them to start up sustainable businesses, encourage more support for youth developments in Africa and also celebrate successful young entrepreneurs from around the world. Read more
UNRA conducts environmental compliance assessment
Still smarting from the decision of the World Bank to cancel funding to the Uganda Transport Sector Development Project, the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) is conducting environmental and social safeguards compliance assessments on all the on-going road projects including those under construction, rehabilitation and defects liability period.“In order to attain high standards and excellence in the planning and implementation of road projects, UNRA seeks to ensure that all projects are preceded by environmental and social assessments (ESIA), with environmental and social management plans prepared, and effectively implemented,” the authority said in a notice to contractors, consultants and other stakeholders.The roads authority has also indicated that it is set to revise the safeguards procedures, as well as the Environmental and Social Management Systems to march international standards. Read more
ERA: Umeme wants out of court settlement with regulator
Uganda’s major electricity distribution company Umeme, now wants the case between it and the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) settled out of court. Umeme Ltd had petitioned the Electricity Disputes Tribunal (EDT) to quash ERA’s amendment of the former’s power supply licence. Umeme claimed it had not been consulted before the amendment.Following the amendment, ERA started clawing back the ‘free cash’ Umeme would get from excess electricity sales.Ideally, Umeme should have been passing on that money to the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited, which buys electricity from the generation companies and sells it to distribution companies such as Kilembe Investments Limited and West Nile Rural Electrification Company Limited, among others. Read more
URSB Registrar General  Mr Bemanya Twebaze: Govt moves to implement one-stop licensing of businesses
In a move to make it easy for entrepreneurs to start businesses and acquire trading licences from a single point, government has tasked Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) to coordinate all licensing regulatory agencies in the country in the implementation of business licensing reforms through the e-licensing portal. The step reflects the government’s commitment to improve the country’s performance in the global Doing Business (DB) Report and the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index. This means that both current and potential investors may rely on the global competitiveness and DB reports as an indication of a country’s receptivity to business and such reports can influence investment decisions.
In an email to Daily Monitor, Mr Bemanya Twebaze Registrar General URSB said: “Government of Uganda has proposed to undertake a number of initiatives to create an enabling business environment and minimise the cost of doing business in order to attract more domestic and international investments.” Read more
Mr Emmanuel Kibirige, the general secretary Ssingo Artisanal Gold Miners Association (SIGMA) Mubende illegal gold miners apply for location licence
Illegal gold miners from various parts of Uganda have occupied two hills of about 44 acres in Kitumbi Sub-county, Mubende District. Estimates indicate the number of the miners – known as artisanal miners - could be as high as 10,000 in Lujinji A and B villages, in Kitumbi Sub-county alone. Daily Monitor has learnt that in order to legalise their mining activities, the miners have applied for a location licence as prescribed in the Mining Act. Mr Emmanuel Kibirige, the general secretary Ssingo Artisanal Gold Miners Association (SIGMA), has applied for the licence on behalf of the association. 
“We applied for a location licence on the land where most of our members operate. This will allow us to operate legally and avoid encroaching on other people’s licensed areas,” he says.Read more
Pakasa Forum back; to tip youth on social responsibility in business
It is against this backdrop that Vision Group has organized the 7th Pakasa Youth Forum. The function, which is free-of-charge and will be televised live on Urban, is slated to take place at Kampala Parents School off Lugogo Bypass in Naguru. University students and leavers as well as high school leavers (vacists) are particularly encouraged to attend.The theme of the forum is “Service, not profit, as a basis for venturing into business.” Distinguished businessman Capt (rtd). Abhay Agarwal, Chairman, Service & Computer Industries Uganda (SCIU) Group will give a keynote address on the subject while four panelists will engage the audience on the topic and other aspects of business.The panelists will be led by Dr. Barbara Ofwono Buyondo, Principal, Victorious Education Services Limited. The other three are young entrepreneurs - Rachael Naijuka, the managing director, Ramo Ushers; Erisa Nkoyoyo, managing director, Stone Roofing (Uganda) Limited and Abubaker Musuuza, co-founder and Chief executive officer, Village Energy. Read more
MOTW: Uganda engineers to form joint ventures with South African civil companies
The Ugandan transport and works ministry signed a memorandum of understanding with the South African transport counterparts, which will enable a sharing of knowledge and experiences between the two agencies to build better road and air and water transport networks in the two African countries. The memorandum of understanding will also facilitate Ugandan civil construction companies to enter joint ventures with South African ones to improve the transport network in the two countries.Speaking at the memorandum of understanding’s signing ceremony at the Foreign Affairs ministry in Kampala, works minister Eng. John Byabagambi said: “this MoU is very special. We shall have working committees (from the two countries) sit biannually to discuss how best we can solve the challenges of traffic to create better transport systems.”“There is a lot Uganda can learn from South Africa. For instance, from their electronic tolling system (where persons have to pay to access certain roads). And, there is a lot they can learn from us. Like our solar-powered bus innovation,” the works minister said.  Read more
 MOT senior commercial officer, Mr Siragi Wakaabu: Trade conference: Uganda to push own agenda
 Despite returning home without tangible concessions from the World Trade Organisation conference held in Nairobi, Kenya, Uganda is set to return to the same venue, this time to try and force the country’s trade priorities into the global agenda.Speaking in a meeting discussing stakeholders’ participation in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and to input into the draft negotiating text, ministry of trade senior official, said preparations are underway for the country’s “effective” participation in the conference to be held.In his presentation, the Ministry of Trade senior commercial officer, Mr Siragi Wakaabu, said Uganda should ensure its trade and development agendas are captured in the UNCTAD conference or wait when the next high-level meeting happens. Read more
Limited funds affect service delivery in local governments
Different district local governments have been registering a deficit in tax collections. The collected monies are way below the projection of each district; while in others, much of the money collected is embezzled creating a shortfall in the amount of income generated within the districts. Mpigi District chairperson John Mary Luwakanya, in an interview with Daily Monitor, said Mpigi is an example of the many districts in the country which do not only experience shortage of funds from the central government but also collect less money from local revenue compared to the district budgetary projection. Read more
Mr Malik Azhar, senior member, Used Cars Dealers Association : Used car dealers ask URA to revise tax collection system
Importers of used cars want Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to streamline its tax collection which they describe as ‘oppressive.’According to Mr Malik Azhar, senior member, Used Cars Dealers Association Uganda Ltd, members’ cars are being auctioned unfairly especially when a member fails to pay taxes within the nine-months tax grace period.“When our members import cars, we are given nine months to clear taxes or else the import is auctioned to recover tax. One can have the period extended by paying 3 per cent of import value of the car. We have had instances where the 3 per cent is paid but surprisingly, the car is auctioned,” Mr Azhar said.Speaking during a meeting of Used Cars Dealers Association Uganda members and URA officials at Hotel Africana, Mr Azhar also complained of URA grabbing members’ cars for auction in case a car is lost on transit from Mombasa, Kenya.Read more
Anzisha youth entrepreneurship survey: Access to finance slows down business growth - report
Access to finance is a major challenge hindering business growth among young entrepreneurs, a new report shows. 
The report published by Anzisha youth entrepreneurship survey, shows that among the entrepreneurs surveyed, almost half—48 per cent— find access to finance difficult in their country.
The survey which provides snapshots of the realities facing young entrepreneurs in Africa is based on an emailed questionnaire answered by a selection of young entrepreneurs between the age of 15 to 25 across the continent. 
The survey focused on five areas of operating a business- growth, sales and marketing, human resources, funding and support.
The report highlights that only 27 per cent of young entrepreneurs received any form of outside investment. About 59 per cent of respondents source their finances from family members while 52 per cent on grants. Read more
BOU: Why the Shilling has been “stable” against the US dollar
There was doom and gloom as the Shilling was in free-fall mode with anticipation it would depreciate to Shs4,000. This trend was attributed to a combination of factors, among them the General Elections and the strong economic environment in the United States would strengthen the dollar further. However, the Shilling crossed the Shs3,400 mark before stabilising at about Shs3,370, according to Bank of Uganda (BoU) statistics. That is still below the target that many bankers and market players had anticipated the exchange rate to be by now. BoU action,“Stability of the exchange rate is attributable to tightening of monetary policy much early before the instability became a stronghold as many had anticipated. Tight monetary policy in turn constrained domestic demand and consequently has impacted on demand for foreign exchange to import,” Dr. Adam Mugume, the director research at BoU tells the Daily Monitor. BoU kept on increasing the Central Bank Rate (CBR).The rate was at 11 per cent but by the end of the year, it had peaked at 17 per cent. By keeping interest rates up, BoU had tightened the monetary policy. Read more
Finance minister Matia Kasaija: Experts speak out on alternative tax avenues
Much as Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) is already penetrating the informal sector, more needs to be done.  proposed a raft of taxes to be collected in the National Budget. Mr Kasaija proposed to increase taxes on all types of cigarettes, ready-to-drink spirits, cement, motor spirit (gasoline), gas oil (automotive, light, amber for high speed engine), cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose in solid form, motor vehicle lubricants, confectioneries (chewing gum, sweets and chocolates).He also proposed to increase the rate of the environmental levy imposed on used clothing and used shoes among others.More taxes will be imposed on the importation of un-denatured alcohol, lubricants, steel and steel products, electronics, including fridges, washing machines, radios, DVD players and television sets, paper and paper products and diapers. According to the minister, all those increases are minimal. However, some tax experts and seasoned observers say URA must reach the likes of Mugagga, Mugyenzi and all those outside the taxman’s radar of not paying their fair share of taxes. Read more
ICAEW: Why Uganda must invest in manufacturing
A released research dubbed Economic Insight: Africa carried out by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales’ (ICAEW) has revealed that Africa, is the most commodity-dependent continent on earth. The report further reveals that Africa’s economies increasingly need to create a hospitable environment for companies in the manufacturing and services sectors to drive growth, as the old models of growth driven by exporting raw materials is out-dated.The research also unveils that Africa is still heavily commodity–dependent, with manufacturing accounting for a small share of output.The report notes that GDP growth in Africa is projected to average 4.3 per cent. Nigeria, the largest economy on the continent, is expected to contribute significantly to Africa’s economic expansion – at an average real rate of 4.8 per cent, contributing more than 25 per cent to the continent’s forecast growth in this timeframe. Read more
Sportswear designer Adidas to open outlet in Uganda
One of the world’s largest manufacturers, retailers and brands of sportswear, Adidas, is set to open a retail outlet in Uganda, Daily Monitor has learnt. In an email response to Daily Monitor, Adidas confirmed that they will be opening the outlet through a franchise partner yet to be named.“I can confirm the opening of an Adidas store in Uganda. The store will be operated by one of our franchise partners,” Ms Schreiber Katja, the senior director corporate communications at the Adidas Group, said in an email. In Africa, Adidas has outlets in Egypt, Algeria and South Africa. Katja did not disclose the exact reason for opening an outlet in Kampala insisting that more will be given closer to the launch date.“We are excited about getting closer to our consumers in Uganda and being able to offer our products in this market,” she noted. Read more
PWC: Africa has resources to handle its economy – CEOs
The Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, speakers on various panels shared their belief that Africa has the necessary tools to develop by making use of its own resources.The continent, they said, thus possesses the means to take back its future into its own hands.Pierre-Antoine Balum, a Partner and Africa Advisor at PWC, while presenting the results of an opinion poll to African CEOs during the conference, underlined the growing importance of African consumers´ demands. African CEOs are the best placed both in terms of awareness of and responding to these expectations.The poll shows, moreover, that 87% of respondents believe that the success of a company is not measured only by the size of its profits. Instead, African consumers are showing a growing interest in company culture, company management, company training programmes and the impact companies have on civil society.Read more
State Minister for Finance, Mr Fred Omach: Minister asks India to buy more Ugandan, East African goods
India has been challenged to open up for more trade with Uganda and East Africa in general.
Speaking to an 18-man delegation of Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) of India, who ended their trade mission to the East African Community (EAC), State Minister for Finance (General Duties), Mr Fred Omach, said: “India is a big place. Every Indian should drink one cup of Ugandan coffee because we produce one of the best coffee in the world. Buy more goods from us. This will check the trade imbalance.”
Bilateral trade between Uganda and India stood at $1,247.82 million (Shs4.2 trillion) according to statistics from Bank of Uganda. Out of this total trade, India’s exports to Uganda were worth $1,231 million (Shs4.1 trillion) and Uganda’s exports to India were only $16 million (Shs54 billion). Uganda’s exports to India are predominantly agricultural commodities which include coffee, tea and legumes, among others. Read more
Uchumi supermarket case of bankruptcy in new twist
The hearing of Uchumi’s bankruptcy petition filed at High Court flopped following a request by Bidco company to be given time to reply to the petition. Bidco, which is one of the companies demanding millions of Uganda Shillings from Uchumi, was given by the presiding Judge Lydia Mugambe to file their reply. Uchumi owes more than a dozen creditors including Crown Bottlers, Century Bottling Co. Ltd, Nateete Shopping Centre, Samona Products, Dembe Trading, hundreds of employees that were rendered jobless and a number of landlords seeking their dues.Kenya-based supermarket Uchumi closed operations in its Uganda and Tanzania. Read more
UTB starts classification of hotels
Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) has launched an exercise aimed at identifying and classifying hotels and related accommodation facilities according to East African Community (EAC) standards. “To qualify for classification, the hotel has to meet all aspects of the essential requirements,” said Mr James Ssebagala, UTB coordinator for quality assurance. UTB held an awards ceremony for hotels classified under the Ministry of Tourism. UTB chief executive officer Stephen Asiimwe said the ongoing inventory exercise is to guide in the assessment and standardisation of accommodation facilities in the country. “Uganda is classifying hotels working with the same standards used by all East African Community members. It is a requirement that all accommodation facilities be classified under the same EAC standards,” he said. The present grading covers the physical and intangible service expected from an accommodation facility in a specified category and level of classification. Read more
EY:Insurance industry to grow by 8.2% - report
Uganda’s insurance industry is expected to grow by 8.2 per cent according to a report by financial services firm Ernst and Young (EY).This is mainly due to a favourable investment climate that has encouraged several foreign players to join the market mainly through mergers and acquisitions.A number of foreign insurance companies entered Uganda mainly through mergers and acquisitions. Liberty Insurance, a South African-based company, bought 51 shares from East African Underwriters; Old Mutual and UAP merged while Prudential bought Goldstar Life Insurance.“Ugandan respondents were somewhat more likely to point to overall economic growth as a driver of insurance growth, and were far more likely to cite shareholder demands as a top challenge. Read more
USMA: Govt bows to big producers demand, to amend sugar law
Government has conceded to large sugar manufacturers’ demand to abandon regulating the lucrative sugar industry. The sugar sub-sector industry players also exerted pressure on the Ministry of Trade to delete provisions in the approved Sugar Bill that would determine the price of sugar, warning that if their demands are not met, they will fight to the last man. Cabinet approved the Sugar Bill, which spells out conditions for registration and licensing of sugar producers to ensure quality and high production standards. The proposed National Sugar Act replaced the Sugar Control Act.However, in a  meeting with Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde, the big sugar manufacturers among them; Kakira Sugar, Lugazi Sugar and Kinyara Sugar, represented by their umbrella association - the Uganda Sugar Manufacturers Association, said they were not consulted before Cabinet approved the Sugar Bill.Read more
KEPSA: Private sector workers in Kenya to sign anti-bribery code
Thousands of private sector workers are required to sign a binding anti-bribery code of conduct entered with their employers. More than 400 firms have already signed up in the fight against corporate fraud, a private sector lobby group has reported. Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) has said the new code of conduct is expected to enhance the fight against corruption and bribery. “All professional associations and business member organisations that have signed up to the code will also make it a requirement for their members to sign up and abide by the Business Code of Conduct,” the lobby group said in a statement. Private businesses have been accused of propagating corruption to influence the award of tenders, especially in public procurement. In such incidents which are commonplace, prices are often inflated and often, no actual deliveries are made.Read more 
NSSF to raise sh240m for KCCA schools
KCCA Executive Director Jennifer Musisi (right) addresses a press conference flanked by NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba (center) and Harsh Master Miria Rugomwa (left) and during the launch of the NSSF Kampala Hash 7 Hills Run an initiative aimed at raising sh240m to be channelled to Kampala Schools, at NSSF offices. Photo by Michael NsubugaOver 70,000 school going children in Kampala Capital City Authority schools are set to benefit from proceeds of the NSSF Kampala Hash Sevens Hills Run due in Kampala.Organised in partnership with Kampala Hash House Harriers; a group of professionals who are "a drinking club with a running problem'', the run is aimed at raising sh240m that will be channeled to selected Kampala schools towards improving their sanitation and renovation of structures."This initiative is part of our strategy to build synergies for the benefit of our members who subscribe with NSSF and also the community in which we do our business, so it is a CSR opportunity for us," NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba. Read more 
Creditors drag Uchumi to High Court over bankruptcy claims 
The creditors of Uchumi Supermarket have decided to lodge an application in the High Court challenging a request by the directors of the stricken retail chain to declare them bankrupt after failing to clear their debts. Five branches of Uchumi were shut down and staff was laid off after accruing a lot of debts from suppliers.The executive director of Private Sector Foundation Gideon Badagawa said they have agreed with Uchumi’s creditors to ask for an objection to the application. Badagawa said they are taking action because they have all the evidence that Uchumi has the capacity to clear their debts.“We have all the evidence that every operation that has been done in Uganda is actually based in Kenya. All these cheques are being signed by people based in Kenya” Badagawa. Someone owns Uchumi here in Uganda but based in Kenya and we want to lift the veil so the search is on to know who the owner is” he added - Read more 
UNBS bans cosmetics containing mercury
Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has banned the importation and selling of cosmetics containing hydroquinone and mercury ingredients. The list of products includes more than 100 products in the form of lotions, soap and skin creams that have been banned. UNBS, according to Mr Robert Luyombya, the agency’s public relations officer, reached the decision after several round table discussions involving key stakeholders, including Ministry of Trade, Kampala City Traders Association and cosmetic traders, which deliberated on the dangers of the products. The discussions, Mr Luyombya said, are part of ongoing efforts that seek to wipe substandard cosmetics on the Uganda market.“We will be conducting inspection effective next month to ensure that none of the products with these ingredients is imported. If we find any on the market we shall confiscate them,” he said. Read more
Proposed sugar tax: Poor to bear brunt of higher costs, Jim Mwine Kabeho, the chairman USMA 
Government’s proposal to increase taxation on sugar is being met by stiff opposition from the sugar manufacturers and the civil society. In the Excise Duty (amendment) Bill, the government is proposing an increment of taxation on beet sugar and cane from Shs50 to Shs100. This is an increment of about 100 per cent. Beet sugar and cane are some of the inputs used in the sugar production process. The tax will be imposed on each kilogramme of the final product: Sugar. Uganda Sugar Manufacturers Association (USMA) has already written a protest letter to the Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) and the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) warning that this will have consequences on the costs of production and consumer prices.“We read and we wrote to UMA and PSFU that this will increase the cost of sugar again,” Jim Mwine Kabeho, the chairman USMA told Daily Monitor in a telephone interview. He insisted that the Shs50 additional tax “was very big.” He did not give further details but said: “We have a complaints procedure method and, for now, that is through UMA and PSFU.” Read more
Umeme shrugs off weak Shilling, posts Shs106 billion profit
Power utility company, Umeme, was paying the price for a weak Shilling as it plunged into a Shs7 billion loss. The period saw the weak Shilling wipe Shs73 billion off Umeme’s income at the time. However, the fortunes of the company appear to have changed in the second half as the company recovered.In fact, Umeme’s net profit has hit a new high, according to results released by the utility company. The firm’s net profit rose to Shs105.8 billion5, up from Shs96 billion, according to the financial results. The net profit growth is a result of increased revenue and reduction in foreign exchange losses.“Revenue increased by 18.8 per cent to Shs1.2 trillion supported by an 8 per cent increase in units sold (GWh) coupled with regulatory adjustments in the end user tariff through the quarterly tariff adjustment mechanism during the period,” a statement from Umeme reads. Read more
BOU: Agric financing grows by Shs150b
The Agriculture Credit Facility (ACF), meant to encourage banks lend to agriculture and increase productivity in the sector, has grown by Shs149.6 billion. The ACF scheme was introduced by the government through the Ministry of Finance but actual disbursements commenced.Speaking at a workshop to review progress in the scheme in Kampala, the executive director of finance Bank of Uganda (BoU), Mr David Kalyango, said: “The ACF has no doubt registered a significant growth from Shs46.4 billion to Shs196.0 billion.” Mr Kalyango said the success of the scheme is largely attributed to the active involvement of the participating finance institutions (PFIs).“We appeal to all financial institutions, especially those not yet on board, to embrace the scheme in the spirit of developing the agricultural sector,” he said. Read more
State minister for Mineral Development Peter Lokeris: 10MW solar power plant to boost national grid
Energy ministry in partnership with Access Uganda Solar Limited has launched a 10MW solar power plant Soroti District, aimed at increasing power access in the eastern district.The power produced from the $19m (about Shs64b) solar power plant is expected to be added to the national grid in July and will power 40,000 homes and businesses in an area where electricity access is still very low.Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony in Soroti, State minister for Mineral Development Peter Lokeris said the country still faces energy challenges and yet industrialisation that the government seeks to expand requires more energy and investment.“Government priorities such as Agro-processing can only get lifted off the ground with sufficient and reliable energy. I have confidence in the project because our country enjoys an all year round sunny climate which is the resource for solar power,” Mr Lokeris said in a statement. Read more
BOU: Hackers Strike Bank of Uganda Accounts, Try to Steal U.S.$24 Million
Ugandan government officials and hackers have attempted four times to siphon $24 million (Ush81 billion) through the Uganda central bank.However some of the monies that had successfully been wired to Hong Kong and UAE was retrieved through inter-bank procedures, $8 million (Ush27 billion) transferred.The accounts targeted were those of the largest budget holders, among them the Defence, Energy and Agriculture ministries as well as the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA)."The matter is the subject of an active investigation, so until that process ends we are not in a position to offer the details you are requesting for," said Bank of Uganda communications director Christine Alupo."Yes, indeed all the funds were recovered from the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong and are back in the custody of the Bank of Uganda." Read more
WFT: Initiative to boost fish trade between Kenya and Uganda launched in Busia
An initiative that seeks to coordinate fish trade between Kenya and Uganda has been launched.The initiative by the two governments and Africa Union is expected to end frequent conflicts that have characterised the trade between the two nations.The project is being implemented by World Fish Trade (WFT) which is based in Zambia.It is being piloted in Busia town before being rolled out to other border towns in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) region."We want to facilitate fish trade in the region, which has been facing several challenges. We want to see how best to put in place strategies to facilitate quick movement of fish trade between Kenya and Uganda," said Dr Sloans Chimaro, who is the programmes manager at World Fish Trade.Dr Chimaro observed that the initiative will also ensure that standards are adhered as it will create confident among consumers. Read more
Why integrity is vital to business survival
A number of reasons have been advanced for this state of affairs, among which; corruption; changing customer tastes and preferences (will come back to this), few examples to copy from, etc…the list is long.
I would like to reflect on an observation I made one day when I went to get some goat meat at the local butchery. The price had gone up slightly and so I queried the butcher – his reply was that today goat’s meat was scarce and expensive at the source. When I got home I found that the meat was from the previous day. Okay, goat’s meat was scarce today but why did I have to pay more for yesterday’s goat?I reflected a little more on the concepts of value for money, integrity and return customers. It has been said that the customers to be afraid of are those that do not say anything about how bad your services are because they will not hang around hoping that you will change; they will simply identify somebody else who competitively meets their need (Townsend.Read more 
CCSBAG, Julius Mukunda: Taxes on used clothes will stimulate jobs, local textile industry - activists
The proposed tax on used clothes and removal of tax on farm inputs will spur the growth of local textile industry and create thousands of jobs, civil society organisations have said.Mr Julius Mukunda, the coordinator Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group, said discouraging imports through punitive taxes will make local fabrics cheaper, thereby creating market for them.This, he said, will translate into higher prices and demand for cotton as textile industries will demand more raw materials to increase their production for the available market.“We should have had these taxes long time ago. If our fabrics get market locally, it will mean textile industries expanding. This will create thousands of jobs in the value chain and improve incomes of farmers,” Mr Mukunda, said in Kampala. Read more
Uganda should Invest in human resource, key sectors for sustained economic growth
Uganda has not benefitted from the pool of a number of great citizens partly due to our politics, a culture that promotes mediocrity, greed, graft, shallow, primitive pursuits. It begs the question why a man who introduced computerised systems at UCB, and transformed the banking industry would not be retained to ensure other Ugandans benefit from his skills and carry on contributing to the development of his motherland.There are many Ugandans all over the world, especially in the US, Britain, and South Africa, who would employ their skills and experience in diverse fields to drive this country to greatness. Countries such as Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Japan were transformed because of investing in human resource development and promoting clean leadership.Examples of outstanding personalities include Bank of Uganda governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, who has made inroads to our economic journey for the last three decades. Others include Justices James Ogola, Joseph N. Mulenga, Julia Sebutinde, and Herbert Ntabgoba who left indelible mark in the Judiciary. Read more
NaCRRI: New rice seed promises high yields, income
New rice varieties that will enable growing of the crop with less pesticides, less fertilizers and less water have showed yields of 20-30 times more than traditional ones under trials on farmers' fields.Farmers in eastern and northern Uganda received Green Super Rice (GSR) seed for the research trials.Jackson Atwii, a retired rice agronomist at Kibimba Rice Irrigation Scheme in Bugiri district, and other farmers in Olweny Rice Irrigation Scheme in Lira District, confirmed the excellent field performance."This project began, with a target of an expected yield-advantage of 20 per cent.Country-specific objectives in Uganda included testing and release of new GSR varieties in different stress conditions in at least four locations (Doho in Butaleja District, Agoro in Amuru District, Olweny in Lira District and Oyam District," said Dr Jimmy Lamo, who heads rice research at National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI). Read more
Kalangala palm oil tree out growers resort to processing own oil 
Palm oil tree out growers in Bumangi Village, Mugoye Sub County, Kalangala district have resorted to processing their own palm oil, breaching the agreement they had signed with the private sector and the government to participate in the project.The out growers alleged that they are paid low prices which do not match with the international standards, as stipulated in their contract. Sam Mutawonga, one of the pilot palm oil trees out growers, says initially, he was very happy when he heard of the palm oil project. But that to his surprise, it has failed to meet his expectations.palm il fruits ready to be processed Palm Oil fruits ready to be processed"I am tired of working for less pay, since I know and have the skills of making palm oil, I would rather process my own and sell it, than being manipulated by BIDCO Company," he said. Adding:  "Much as the contract I signed with them had not yet expired, I do not owe BIDCO any money, as I worked hard and cleared the loan they rendered to me. I do not see any reason why I should continue to supply them with palm oil yet I can locally process mine and earn big," Mutawonga added. Read more 
President meets L. Victoria fuel transport investors 
President Yoweri Museveni has received and held a meeting with the Managing Director of the Indian-based Mahathi Infra Services Pvt Ltd, Ravi Sankar Yandapalli and the Director of the same company, Y. Kalyan Swaroop, who who called on him at State House, Nakasero. During the meeting, the President and his guests discussed issues pertaining to the proposed development of fuel transportation from Kenya to Uganda through Lake Victoria. The company says that their proposal will involve the development of fuel transport system using oil tankers from Kisumu to Kampala using Lake Victoria waterway. According to the two executives, their company is also undertaking the development of a strategic oil storage terminal for receipt of oil products from the tankers.  The visitors also informed the President that their organization, Mahathi Infra Uganda Limited, is already in the process of developing a disposable syringe manufacturing facility in the country. The officials revealed that once the syringe-manufacturing venture is operational, the facility will be one of the largest manufacturing businesses in Africa. - Read more 
Barclays to merge Tanzania subsidiaries, no sell-off planned
Barclays Africa Group is in discussions with the Bank of Tanzania to merge its two business units in the country.Mr David Hodnett, the Barclays Africa Group Ltd (BAGL) deputy chief executive, told The EastAfrican, Daily Monitor’s sister newspaper, that the bank intends to combine the operations of its branded unit with those of the National Bank of Commerce (NBC).“There is still significant work required to ensure the merger goes through so it is too early to make further comment. For now, NBC and Barclays Bank Tanzania continue to operate as two separate and independent entities, with separate boards and management teams,” Mr Hodnett said. The merger will be subject to approvals by Bank of Tanzania, and the country’s Fair Competition Commission. Mr Hodnett did not give a timeline for the merger but it is expected to happen within the three years that the bank has given itself to reduce its interests in Africa, which are owned through BAGL. Read more
Total readies Shs13 trillion for oil pipeline development
French oil major Total S.A has said it will finance the development of the $4b (Shs13 trillion) crude oil export pipeline from Uganda’s Albertine Graben to Tanzania’s Tanga port at the Indian Ocean.Mr Javier Rielo, the Total East Africa vice president, assured Tanzanian President John Magufuli that “the company will begin construction of the pipeline project to transport oil from Uganda to Tanga as soon as possible, for funds to implement the project exist.”According to a statement by the Tanzanian presidency, the two held talks on Monday at the State House in Dar es Salaam.Mr Rielo, said, the statement indicated that the company “intended to spend nearly $4b on the project. Read more
BLB: Buganda stops districts from managing Kabaka’s land
Buganda Land Board (BLB), the company taking care of all the Kabaka’s land in the kingdom, has warned occupants of Kabaka’s land against doing any land transactions with district land boards before consulting them.Speaking in an interview in Kampala, Mr Denis Buyaga, the legal manager Buganda Land Board, said all land transactions pertaining to Kabaka’s land which was formerly vested in the district land boards, should be chanelled through the BLB because it is the new landlord since the return of properties belonging to the kingdom. “All the new land titles and land leases that were issued by districts which used to administer Kabaka’s land before it was returned to the kingdom are null and void because ownership has changed,” he said.He said the properties in question include all those which belonged to Buganda before former president Milton Obote abolished kingdoms and were put under government custody but were returned to the kingdom. Read more
ICPAU: Update your skills to stay relevant, accountants urged
Accountants in Uganda have been urged to keep updating their skills through trainings in order to understand the developments going on in the world of accountancy. The call was made by Mr Ben Patrick Kagoro, the president Institute of Certified Public Accountant of Uganda (ICPAU), while presiding over the 8th graduation ceremony of the institute in Kampala. Mr Kagoro said accountants need to continue developing their careers if they are to remain relevant in the industry. “There is a need to keep embracing continuing professional development so as to keep up-to-date with issues affecting the profession and the economy,” he said.The number of professional accountants in Uganda is still low compared to other countries. During the graduation, ICPAU passed out 358 Certified Public Accountants Uganda and 35 holders of Accountant Technicians Certificate Uganda. Read more
BoU Sells Majority Stake in Imperial Bank to Exim Bank
Bank of Uganda has sold majority stake of Imperial Bank shares to Exim Bank (Tanzania) Ltd in what officials described as a “significant milestone that will certainly make the bank stronger”, Chimp Corps report.In a brief statement issued, the Central Bank said the sale of “58.6 percent ordinary shares of Imperial Bank (Uganda) Ltd, formerly held by Imperial Bank (Kenya) to Exim Bank (Tanzania) Ltd” was “In accordance with its powers stipulated under sections 88 and 89 of the Financial Institutions Act as amended.”Bank of Uganda took over management of the embattled commercial bank.Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile said the decision followed the suspension by the Central Bank of Kenya of the operations of Imperial Bank Ltd. Kenya who are the majority shareholder of Imperial Bank Uganda Ltd.Central Bank of Kenya placed Imperial Bank under ‘receivership’  what the regulator termed as unsafe banking conditions. Read more
USE: Cross-listed counters register price drops
Although Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) realised an equity turnover of Shs187.3 billion, from a volume of 890 million shares, cross-listed stocks from the Nairobi Securities Exchange recorded huge drops in their share prices. Of the 16 listed companies on USE, eight are locally listed while the rest are cross-listed companies mainly from Kenya.Trade manager USE Andrew Mwima explained that the negative performance of the all share Index was greatly attributed to the cross-listed stocks from the Nairobi Securities Exchange that saw most of them record huge drops in their share prices.The stock price of KCB dropped by 24.14 per cent, Equity bank dropped by 15.2 per cent, CENTUM 17.62 per cent, NMG dropped by 21.52 per cent while East African Breweries dropped by 4.56 per cent. Read more
BOU: Mobile money transactions hit record Shs32.5 trillion
The amount of money transacted through mobile money payments or mobile banking grew by Sh8.5 trillion .This demonstrates that the platform is now the fastest growing means of payments and Ugandans have continued to embraced it. Bank of Uganda (BoU) director financial stability, Dr Charles Augustine Abuka, in an interview with Daily Monitor said: “The amount of money transacted through mobile money was Sh32.5 trillion, an increase from Shs24 trillion.”The growth in mobile banking has been phenomenal. Dr Abuka said, there were 21.1 million registered customers on mobile money. “This is an increase from 18.8 million registered customer,” he said. Read more
Patrick Mweheire, Stanbic Bank: Uganda's onerous tax regime hurting govt debt market
Uganda's government debt market has attracted a diverse pool of investors in the past, but questions are now being raised about its competitiveness.The debt market is weighed down by the country's tax regime, and is dominated by large domestic investors, with few offshore players showing interest.Interest earned from Treasury bills and bonds for example, is subject to a withholding tax of 20 per cent, compared with Kenya's government securities, which attract a withholding tax of 15 per cent. This has discouraged offshore investors from entering the market, industry sources say.While Uganda's taxman applies withholding tax to gross yields earned from government securities, many emerging markets prefer using the net yield to determine withholding tax charges -- a method that reduces tax costs on smaller incomes.Read more
UNBS rolls out e-verification service to combat counterfeits
 Consumers will soon be able to electronically verify whether the products they are about to buy are genuine, of good and standardised quality or not.This follows a move by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) to roll out a phone powered traceability and e-verification service called e-tag to combat the prevalence of counterfeit products on the Ugandan market.Using this product, customers will be able to detect forgeries of labels by sending the digits of the labels to code 141. The code will be redirected to the centralised computer system where it will be verified. This follows the successful pilot launch where the body partnered with the Ministry of Agriculture to kick-start the e-verification of goods in the agriculture sector. Read more
MOTI: Government moves to enforce quality meat standards for abattoirs
Government is planning a massive crackdown on abattoirs and butcheries that do not maintain minimum hygiene requirements, Daily Monitor has learnt. The decision by the Trade ministry is informed by the need to strengthen declining meat handling standards across the country.If this is done properly, senior industrial officer at the Trade ministry, Mr Peter Odong, said the quality of products such as beef will be guaranteed, let alone boost consumption on safety grounds.The crackdown will be done after personnel involved in meat handling including flaying and dressing staff, meat inspectors, graders of meat and supervisors on meat hygienic practices have undergone short training courses on hygienic practices and the need to maintain standards.Mr Odong, who is also the programme officer for Quality Infrastructure and Standards Programme at the ministry, confirmed the development in an interview early in the week. He said: “We are now training junior employees who directly handle meat and transact with the customers directly and not the managers or owners who are not directly involved in running the business.” Read more
secretary to the treasury Keith Muhakanizi: Agricultural financing policy in offing - government
Government has committed itself to developing a policy that will help farmers transform from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture through coordinated financing strategies.Speaking at a closed high level meeting of key agricultural finance stakeholders in Uganda, at the Ministry of Finance offices in Kampala , secretary to the treasury Keith Muhakanizi said the policy will salvage a sector that is responsible for the livelihood of majority of Uganda’s population.The meeting is a follow-up of efforts from an earlier international agriculture financing conference held in Kampala, under the theme “Zipping Finance and Farming in Africa: Harnessing the Continent’s Potential.”At the same meeting, Mr Muhakanizi said: “As the home for agricultural finance, the ministry will, among other things, strengthen its coordination role at government level and hence be relevant to agricultural finance development in Uganda.” Read more
Banks merge branches to cut costs
 mobile money services were rolled out in the country by MTN, and other telecom companies soon followed suite registering 1000 subscribers.Mobile money subscribers have reached 19.5 million.This coupled with the evolution of new technologies and developments like agency banking has out-competed the banks in their space causing them to rethink their operational strategies, most embracing mobile banking.Two banks, Stanbic Bank Uganda and Equity Bank issued notices in the press notifying the public about the closure and merger of some branches as well as relocation and phasing out of some customer service points. Read more
Barclays Uganda moves to reassure clients on stability
Barclays Bank of Uganda Ltd has assured their customers that they will be not affected by changes of its main shareholder Barclays Africa Group Ltd (BAGL).BAGL is the principle shareholder for Barclays Bank Uganda Ltd. The UK-based Barclays PLC which owns 62.3% of BAGL has announced that it is reducing its majority interests to minority position in BAGCL. The bank wants to refocus on its core U.K. and U.S. markets and to meet banking regulatory requirements of the UK. The regulatory requirements have proved to be a challenge to the London based firm.Rakesh Jha, managing director Barclays Uganda told journalists in Kampala  that there was no direct relationship between the London based firm, Barclays PLC and Barclays Bank Uganda Ltd.Read more 
KACITA, KCCA on collision course over street vendors 
Traders under their umbrella body Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) have given Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to evict vendors from the city streets or they take industrial action.“We have written to KCCA, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives and the Inspector General of Police over the matter. If it elapses without any action taken against street vendors, we shall summon the business community to make a resolution on what action should be taken” KACITA chairperson Everest Kayondo told New Vision in a telephone interview. Kayondo was not sure of the resolution that they will take but said that they are most likely to move their merchandise to the middle of the streets and block all the traffic.There had been order in the city but both the festive season and the general elections period saw a surge in the number of street vendors transacting business in the city. Read more
SCB: Economic challenges that President Museveni must address
As the curtain – at least for now – is drawn on the general elections, the economic environment still looks subdued. Often, as with elections, the business community takes a wait-and-see approach. With the election over and swearing ceremony still two months away, the economy needs a reboot as indicators are mixed. Commodity prices have been increasing at a much slower pace, food prices have not surged and the Shilling remains stable. That is on the positive side. On the negative, the economy is slowing, interest rates are rising and the government is still borrowing at high rate. The election result, even as it is being disputed, came as no surprise to the bulk of investors and reports by several firms.The Standard and Poor’s ratings agency and Standard Chartered had pointed to a win by President Yoweri Museveni, which, in part, explains the stability of the Uganda Shilling, after election results were announced. Unlike the last general election, the economy, this time, appears to be set for a soft landing. Read more
MOTI: Beef industry asks for increased government support
“We have tried to attract investors into the meat industry, but when they tour our abattoirs that are characterized by poor meat handling methods and low standards used by Ugandans, they never come back to invest,” Mukama told stakeholders in the industry at Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI’s) conference hall in Kampala.During the meeting that was organised by the trade ministry in collaboration with Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), stakeholders including butchers were equipped with different skills in meat handling from animal to meat handling to improve on the quality and standards of meat produced.Mukama also noted that meat standards are still very low, and more effort is still needed to be put in, adding that players never mind about standards but only money while handling meat leading to production of poor quality meat that does not meet international standards.However, Capt. Denis Aubbery Saazi, managing director of Nsooba Slaughter House Ltd says before government thinks of attracting foreign investors, it should fully supports the local investors by improving their facilities. Read more
Invest in private companies - Aguma
What does it take for an East African and a Ugandan in particular to get such a big post in Sabc? 
One has got to prepare academically. I went through Makerere University and later upgraded through Universities in South Africa. The will to work. As a foreigner you have to stretch yourself more unlike the locals in order to compete. It’s not because of hard work per say but if you have lived amongst South Africans, work and studied with them; they are willing to give you a chance. I have been in South Africa since 1996 but before that I was in Lesotho for three-years.For East Africans who would want to work in South Africa; what opportunities can be exploited?South Africa has a lot of investment opportunities East Africans and Ugandans in particular can invest in. A case in point is tourism. You can be able to buy a game lodge in South African at a less cost compared to what it would cost for a plot in Kololo rated at $3 million (Shs10 billion). Read more
MOF: Government reduces domestic borrowing over high interest, low demand
The high-interest environment and low demand for some government debt instruments have forced the Ministry of Finance to cut back on borrowing in this financial year. In the Budget speech, government was expected to borrow Shs1.4 trillion; however it t made the decision to slash the figure to Shs900 billion.“We are on track on the domestic borrowing front. However, there was a revision from Shs1.4trillion to Shs900b. This was a decision that was made due to market developments,” Ms Jennifer Muhuruzi, the commissioner debt management ministry of Finance, told reporters at the award ceremony of the Best Primary Dealer at Bank of Uganda (BoU) in Kampala.Interest rates on debt issued have all gone up and are hovering above the 20 per cent mark. Read more
Uganda’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia to lift ban on Ugandan beef, fruits
Uganda’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia has said the Saudi government has identified Arab investors that are willing to set up modern facilities to help Uganda boost its capacity to export beef to the Middle East.
Speaking to Daily Monitor in Kampala, Mr Rashid Yahya Ssemuddu, Uganda’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan and Yemen, said Saudi Arabia had banned beef imports from Uganda because of poor standards of slaughter houses.The ban that was effected in 2008 still stands. However, following the introduction of commercial diplomacy in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ssemuddu said the Ugandan Embassy in Saudi Arabia engaged Saudi authorities to lift the ban on beef exports, and as a condition, the Saudi government identified the investors they say will adhere to the standards. Read more
KACITA advises on balance of trade
A consortium of traders, under their umbrella body, the Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) has called upon government to put more emphasis on agro production and processing to improve the country’s balance of trade.“The dollar is now high because of speculation arising from the election period and our negligible export volumes. However, if we had enough to export as a country, we wouldn’t be affected this much. The high dollar is bad for our businesses,” said the KACITA chairman, Everest Kayondo during a trader’s business meeting in Kampala. Kayondo said that since Uganda’s comparative advantage is in agriculture, government should place more emphasis on the development of the sector, to raise exports and balance the country’s trade sheet.Agriculture contributes approximately 22.5% to the gross domestic product (GDP) and provides employment to more than 80% of the population, according to records from the National Bureau of Statistics. Read more
UCMP: Investments in oil exploration and production to fall 
For Uganda, this would present another unpredictable year in terms of changing timelines for production and first oil.Elly Karuhanga, chairman of Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP) conceded that it is a very difficult time for oil and gas companies but it is a good time for non- oil producing countries who are buying oil more cheaply.“Uganda has strong oil companies here-Tullow, Total and I am sure they will be able to stand the storm (on lower oil prices),” noted Karuhanga resting his hopes that by the time the refinery and pipeline works begin, oil prices should have picked up and Uganda will produce at a lower cost.
In a global trading statement and operational update, Tullow oil which has operations in Uganda announced a slash in its global capital budget to $200 million from $300 million.Read more
BOU: Govt securities grow by Shs4b
Government treasury bills and bonds grew by Shs4 billion supported by the high interest rates and increased demand from both the domestic and offshore investors.Because of the fixed income market in Uganda, like in many frontier markets, interest rates charged on treasury bills and bonds are higher than it is in the developed economies, which attracts high demand from both domestic and offshore investors.Bank of Uganda (BoU) issues bills and Treasury bonds on behalf of the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to finance government fiscal operations. Government was supposed to issue Shs1.384 trillion but due to a tight fiscal policy in place, it reduced to Shs900b. Government securities are auctioned periodically through Primary Dealer System (PDS). PDS are the commercial banks licensed by the Central Bank to participate in the fixed income securities market in the primary market. There are six primary dealers in the country holding up to 41 per cent of government securities in the secondary market, while offshore investors hold 10 per cent; and the remainders are held by other investors. Read more
Alpha Capital Partners: Shilling gains ground against the dollar
The shilling gained slightly to trade at 3,430/3,440 buying and selling respectively at most commercial banks due to little appetite for the dollar as the businesses carefully watch the post-election period. At the close of business, the shilling was trading slightly worse at 3,434/3,444. The shilling is expected to gain significantly from a Treasury bond auction according to a Reuters report. “We could see it (shilling) strengthen a little from the inflows that we expect from the auction,” Ali Abbas, a trader at Crane Bank told Reuters, referring to the debt sale where sh190b worth of 3 and 5 year bonds are to be auctioned. He pointed out that demand for the dollar has been low since the presidential election due to some traders leaving Kampala due to fears of unrest. Most traders are still observing developments in the economy. Stephen Kaboyo of Alpha Capital Partners noted the shillings gains could be short lived and expected the local unit to come under more pressure as dollar demand starts to pick up. Read more
Ugandan farmers want to cut ties with Bidco
Ugandan farmers want the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to cut ties with Kenya’s Bidco and investigate it for alleged malpractices against Ugandan, Kenyan and Tanzanian growers.Bugala Farmers’ Association opposes Bidco Africa’s membership of the Business Call to Action (BCtA) hosted by UNDP. The firm joined the call committing to create 60,000 jobs across the region by 2019.The Business Call to Action — an alliance of six donors including UNDP) — challenges companies to develop innovative business models that achieve commercial success and development outcomes.“For those who know the real business practices of Bidco Africa and its CEO Vimal Shah, the embrace by BCtA of Bidco Africa is a tragedy for smallholder farmers and a major stain on the reputation of UNDP,” says the petition delivered to UNDP . Read more
BOU: Election lowers FDI inflow into Uganda by Shs687b
Slow market activity in the run up to elections is partly to blame for low foreign inflow into the country. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow into Uganda declined by $200 million (about Shs687 billion) as a result of difficult global environment which hit the world inform of economic slowdown and the just concluded general elections. The FDI, has for nearly four decades, become an important avenue for economic growth and development in developing countries given the potential role they can play in accelerating growth and economic transformation. Developing countries, including Uganda, are strongly interested in attracting FDIs.The executive director research Bank of Uganda, Dr Adam Mugume said, FDI inflow into Uganda was estimated at $1.2 billion (about Shs4.122 trillion).“FDI to Uganda is estimated to have dropped to $1 billion (about Shs3.435 trillion) due to weakness in the global economy,” he said. Read more
Economy after elections: Paying the price of poor governance
What will be the individual and national economic outlook after the general election? During the run up to the elections, fear gripped many residents of Uganda. The fear was partly stoked by security advisories who passed around both formally and informally. One organisation opted to pay the salary for its staff before the 15th so that they would have money in their pockets. Many people living in and around Kampala either took their family away from the city or stocked up supplies of food and other essential commodities to prepare for any eventualities.The trouble with fear is that it can give rise to irrational behaviour. Often people find the month to be financially challenging due to the heavy expenditures incurred over Christmas and the New Year.The school term is opening has opened yet many households have already spent or borrowed a lot of money for the festive season and pre-election expenses. I predict that many individuals and households will struggle financially after the elections. Read more
UFEA: Uganda flower farmers facing tough times as exports and earnings drop
Uganda's floriculture is experiencing a drastic drop in sales due to increasing competition and an export ban by the European Union.The information from the Uganda Flower Exporters Association (UFEA) -- an umbrella body of 15 companies -- shows that the rose segment of the sub-sector is the most affected. Uganda's floriculture exports mainly comprise roses and chrysanthemum cuttings. UFEA statistics show that, Uganda exported 6,810 tonnes of flowers, down from the 7,364 tonnes recorded  -- an 8.1 per cent drop.During this period, the revenue earned from the exports went down by 18.8 per cent; the country realised $46 million, and this figure was down to $38.7 million.This is worrying for a sub-sector that directly employs over 8,500 people, 80 per cent of them women.Olav Boenders, managing director of Wagagai Ltd, the leading producers of cuttings, said, "The rose segment is in dire straits. The strong dollar and the lower rose prices in Europe are making it very difficult to grow roses in Uganda." Read more
BOU: Central Bank stays tight monetary policy
The Bank of Uganda (BoU) continued with its tight monetary policy stance, leaving the Central Bank Rate (CBR) at 17 per cent, saying there are still risks surrounding the economy despite the election period coming to an end.This is the second time BOU has left its policy rate unchanged, a move which aims at containing low inflation and stabilising foreign exchange market.Despite this being an election year, economic activities in the country remained buoyant as a result of both tight monetary policy and fiscal policy in place, which has seen BoU raising interest rates and Finance ministry maintaining tight fiscal expenditure by reducing government domestic borrowing from Shs1.384 trillion as it was planned in the Budget  to Shs900b. Presenting the monetary policy statement, BoU GovernorEmmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile said: "Given the inflation forecast and accompanying risks, the BoU believes that it's prudent to maintain the current monetary policy stance and therefore, hold the CBR unchanged at 17 per cent." Read more
FIA: DPP joins fight against money laundering
In order to rid the economy of the ills associated with money laundering and terrorist financing, the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB).The signing of the MoU is meant to ease the free flow of information between the government agencies, a move aimed at minimising the bureaucracy that is associated with government institutions.Money laundering, according to oxforddictionaries.com, is the concealment of the origins of illegally obtained money, typically by means of transfers involving foreign banks or legitimate businesses. Money laundering is a crime under the laws of Uganda.While signing the MoU with the directorate, FIA executive director Sydney Asubo said the move will enable them to beat the rule in which FIA is mandated to freeze the bank accounts of someone declared a terrorist by the Internal Affairs ministry. Read more
Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda: Government unveils Shs53b women entrepreneurship programme
Government has unveiled Shs53b women entrepreneurship programme (UWEP) aimed at increasing women’s competitive edge in the business sector.Unveiling the programme in Kampala, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said the project will support women in the micro, small and medium enterprise subsector through provision of interest-free credit, technical advice for appropriate technologies, value addition and market information.The funds, to be rollout in the next financial year, will also be accessed through the women groups ranging from 10 to 15 memberships, with the major focus on unemployed women and vulnerable groups such as single young mothers, widows, disabled, women living with HIV/Aids and slum dwellers. “Although women comprise 53 per cent of Uganda’s labour force, 42 per cent are taken on as unpaid family workers. In addition, the male to female wage gap stands at about 39 per cent. This gap in productivity is of meaningful concern both to GDP growth and to the distribution of income between men and women.” Dr Rugunda said. Read more
URA challenged to reduce cargo clearing time to six hours
The Mutukula border post has finally been handed over to Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) after being turned into a modern facility. However, the return on investment will be decided by how fast the $7.2m (Shs240b) facility clears cargo and facilitates trade and movement across the two border points of Uganda and Tanzania. Already, TradeMark East Africa (TMEA), one the funders of the Mutukula One Stop Border Post (OSBP), is expecting to see tremendous decline in time spent clearing goods.According to URA commissioner customs Dicksons Kateshumbwa, clearance at Mutukula border takes slightly more than one and a half days, in itself an achievement, considering it would take weeks if not months to clear a single consignment. But TMEA country manager Allen Asiimwe, thinks the tax body can do more, saying the lesser time spent on navigating laborious custom bureaucracies—clearance, the better the business environment and the lesser the cost of doing business gets, making Uganda and the region attractive for trade and investment. Read more
URPA: Ex-Uganda Railways employees cry foul as government delays pension payment
Former Uganda Railway Corporation employees have not got their pension after government declared the annuity surplus to requirement.According to the Uganda Railways Pensioners Association, their members are wallowing in poverty as the authorities responsible continue to ignore their plea, or provide them proper explanation for the delay to pay them their pension.And for that, the retired employees, majority of whom are weak and sickly due to advanced age, said they are struggling to survive.Some expressed regret for dedicating their productive to the corporation, wondering whether pension, which is lawfully due to them, has since become a state favour. Speaking to Daily Monitor in Kampala, Mr Ladislaus Nakoko, one of the pensioners, said: “It is almost a year now since I last got my pension. I have a family but I cannot take care of them because I cannot access my pension.” Read more
IRA: Liberty acquires majority stake in Madhvani’s firm
The Madhvanis have sold a 51 per cent stake in the non-life insurance business, East African Underwriters Limited (EAUL) to Liberty Holdings Limited of South Africa. The cost of the transaction was, however, not disclosed after the deal was signed. EAUL, which holds a 2.7 per cent market share in the non-life insurance segment in Uganda, holds insurance premiums of Shs10.6b according to the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA). “We believe that this new partnership in the short-term industry will enrich our investment and development efforts by broadening the skills base and bringing new technical expertise to the market,” said Mr Kamlesh Madhvani, the director Madhvani Group.On the other hand, Liberty will have access to the non-life insurance segment in Uganda, which it initially was never part of in the country. Read more
‘Absence of enabling regulation frustrating efforts in agriculture’
Absence of an enabling law is frustrating innovation and technological transformation in agriculture, some leading research scientists in the region and farmers’ representatives have said. The Biosafety and Biotechnology bill has been gathering dust between Cabinet shelf and Parliament corridors because of the sentiments the proposed law is drawing from different quarters.If the Bill becomes law, the research scientists Daily Monitor spoke to said it will allow them to release technologies that can transform agriculture greatly. “At the moment, we are not retarded in our progress because we have a policy, government support and we have been given a go ahead to carry out research within the country,” Dr Priver Namanya, a research scientist, said in an interview at Kawanda Research Institute. Read more
USE: Declining stock market value costs NSSF Shs48 billion
The declining stock market value on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) and Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) has affected the performance of National Social Security Fund (NSSF). The fund revealed a paper loss of Shs48b from a profit of Shs108.5b. NSSF booked this as a paper because it is the value of the assets that have fallen and the fund has not sold the shares at below market price.Mr Richard Byarugaba, the managing director NSSF told Daily Monitor that the unrealized loss was a result of their stock holding in listed companies declining in value.“This decline in the market value is captured as an unrealised loss on our portfolio. It must be understood that market movements are cyclical and as markets recover, the value of the portfolio increases,” Mr Byarugaba said, adding that the fund is in a strong financial position and will stay that way. Read more
Uhuru-Museveni sugar deal flops on Kampala shortfall
The much-anticipated sale of Ugandan sugar in the country has flopped due to lack of sugar surpluses in the neighbouring state forcing Kenyan authorities to withdraw import licences.Ugandan sugar millers have been hit by a shortage that has seen leading factory Kakira Sugar Works produce less than 100,000 tonnes out of the projected 180,000 tonnes.Kenya’s Sugar Directorate said it has cancelled a number of permits issued to some traders after they failed to secure sugar from Uganda within the stipulated time.The permit normally allows traders to import sugar, failure to which it is revoked. However, a trader can seek extension if they provide valid reasons.“It is true that there is a shortage of sugar in Uganda and at the moment traders are not bringing in any stocks from the country,” said head of the directorate Andrew Osodo. Read more
EALA calls for complete elimination of EAC trade barriers
The East African Legislative Assembly has urged Partner States to “up their game” in sensitization activities particularly when it comes to the Common Market Protocol in order to raise awareness and showcase benefits to the citizens of the region.At the same time, the EALA wants Partner States to adopt a phased implementation of the EAC Common Market by prioritizing aspects that carry quick wins or deliver immediate multiplier effects.This move, lawmakers argued, shall endear citizens to take advantage of the benefits that shall accrue from the Common Market protocol. ChimpReports understands the Assembly debated and adopted the Report of an Oversight activity on the Security related challenges of implementing the Common Market Protocol along the Central Corridor.The Report presented to the House by the Chair of the Regional Affairs and Conflict Resolution Committee, Hon Abdullah Mwinyi follows the oversight activity undertaken by the Committee in the United Republic of Tanzania. Read more
MTN: Ugandans in diaspora set to send cash via mobile money
Ugandans living abroad could, be able to send money directly to MTN mobile money accounts of people in Uganda.Online money transfer business firm, Worldremit, is set to partner with MTN Uganda to actualise this.According to one account, the partnership will be launched at the end of this month in Kampala.When contacted, MTN Uganda was, however, noncommittal.“Nothing has been set in terms of dates. We will communicate,” an MTN official, who preferred anonymity because official communication was not yet ready, said.Should the partnership come to pass, Ugandans in the diaspora who want to send money home will have to install a Worldremit application on their phones. Read more
USE posts Shs12.8b 
The rush to make profit and active participation of institutional investors mainly from foreign economies have seen Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) realising a total turnover of Shs12.798 billion of trading.Computed statistics at the bourse show the total number of shares traded stood at 24,571,245. The USE All Shares Index (ALSI) increased by 644.58 basis points.In an interview with Daily Monitor, USE chief executive officer Paul Bwiso said the stock exchange indeed opened on a high note. “This is a very significant trading activity, we have managed to realise a turnover of Shs12 billion. This is quite impressive when we had a turnover of Shs17 billion,” he said. Read more
UWA blames decline in tourist numbers on negative publicity
The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has blamed negative publicity of the country for the decline in the number of tourists visiting the country. This was revealed in the Auditor General’s report released.The report reveals that UWA collected revenue of Shs42.6b, a decline of 24 per cent from Shs56b. As a result, UWA posted a deficit of Shs13b compared to the surplus of Shs4b reported.“Management explained that there was a drop in the number of tourists visiting the protected areas from approximately 220,005 to 196,768 visitors (11% decrease) especially due to factors beyond management’s control and negative publicity,” the report reads. Read more
Cross-border calls rip off telecoms, URA as shrewd operators reap big
Uganda’s tax collector and telecommunications firms are counting losses caused by small operators that have exploited loopholes in the One Area Network (OAN) system through offering cheap international calls. This has forced the latter to tighten surveillance measures while raising questions about innovation trends in the telecommunications industry.The OAN system was launched by the presidents of Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and South Sudan in an attempt to cut costs of roaming services incurred among Northern Corridor countries. Costs of telecommunication services account for a significant share of business expenses and also influence investment decisions, economists say.Under the OAN system, calls made between telecommunications networks located in participating countries are exempt from excise duty charged on international calls, a move that apparently reduced calling rates for local subscribers coupled with stronger growth prospects for the trade and services. Read more
Uchumi calls on Kampala suppliers to lodge claims
Uchumi Supermarkets has asked suppliers of its ill-fated Uganda to make claims as it winds up operations in the market.Kenya’s oldest major retailer told suppliers to lodge claims  ahead of bankruptcy filings at the Kampala High Court.“To all creditors…. You are hereby required to file a reply to the petition from the date of service of the petition on you in the matter prescribed under law.“Should you fail to file a reply to the petition on or before the date, the petitioner may proceed with the hearing of the petition,” said Uchumi in an advert. Uchumi owes suppliers, landlords and employees USh8.8 billion or Sh265 million.Read more
Standard Chartered to replace 24 ATMs over 
Cynthia Mpanga, the banks head of corporate affairs, brand and marketing declined to divulge the cost of the upgrades but said the process would take to complete. The initial ATMs have been in use. Mpanga says the new ATMs will be faster, more efficient, multi- functional and secure. “We are also doing our utmost to minimise any inconvenience to our clients by phasing out the old ATMs and working on 3 to 4 ATMS ,” she said. “At locations where we have more than one ATM, we only upgrade one and leave the other operational and also work on ATMs in spread out geographical locations to ensure we minimize impact on a particular community or area,” she adds. Read more
World Bank projects global growth at 2.9 per cent
The World Bank has projected the global economy to grow by 2.9 per cent in  advanced economies gain speed to drive growth in other regions of the world.This is slightly higher compared to 2.4 per cent growth rate. The high global growth rate, according to the WB, will support economic growth in Least Developing Countries such as Uganda in form of a pick in demand for commodity exports and Foreign Direct Investment, among other benefits of high growth.During the release of its Global Economic Prospects (GEP) report for Washington DC, the World Bank said weak growth among major emerging markets will weigh on global growth. Read more 
CFC, Mr Robert Kasule Ssebunya: Parliament okays Islamic banking
Parliament has amended the Financial Institutions Act and introduced Islamic Banking a system of banking, which is consistent with Islamic Shari’ah (law) and guided by Islamic economics.The parliamentary clearance is, however, subject to the establishment of a Central Shari’ah Advisory Board in the Central Bank to regulate banks providing Islamic banking products. President Museveni has been advocating for Islamic banking model, also known as Halal banking—where instead of a bank imposing interest, it shares the profit it accrues with the clients.The highlight of Islamic banking contained in the new government amendments to Financial Institutions (Amendments) Bill, is its stand on interest charged on borrowed money and other islamic banking products such as agency banking. Read more
Uganda’s national fuel reserves low, says Auditor General
Hared Petroleum Limited, the company that government contracted to restock Uganda’s strategic fuel reserves, has so far not lived up to expectations.Though the concession provided that it stocks and maintains 12 million cubic metres of fuel at the Jinja–based facility, Hared has 605,000 cubic metres.“I noted during inspection there was only 274,000 litres of petrol and 331,000 litres of diesel,” said Auditor General John Muwanga in the Annual Report of the Auditor General.“My assessment is that the stock build up is not being achieved and, consequently, the national petroleum reserves are not serving the purpose for which they were established.” Read more
Shilling depreciated by 17.5% - BoU
The global strengthening of the US dollar and a wide current account deficit saw the Ugandan Shilling depreciate by 17.5 per cent. The local currency depreciated by 10.8 per cent due to global strengthening of the US dollar and weak commodity exports. Globally, the US dollar strengthened against major currencies in the world following a rebound in US economic growth.This is in addition to a change in the Federal Reserve Monetary Policy which saw it raising the interest for the first time by 0.25 per cent after keeping the interest rate near zero for almost a decade.In an interview with Daily Monitor the executive director research Bank of Uganda (BoU), Dr Adam Mugume, said Uganda and many other currencies in the world experienced depreciation against the US dollar. Read more
PSFU: Private sector plans social responsibility fund
Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) is in advanced stages of setting up a corporate social responsibility fund, the chairman has said.Mr Patrick Bitature, while speaking at a Yunus Social business graduation ceremony recently, revealed that the fund is meant to give back to the communities in which they operate.The fund, he said, will support social businesses which are engaging in development work. He hailed social entrepreneurship as the only way to promote sustainable development. “Social entrepreneurs act as change agents for society. They seize opportunities others miss and improve systems, inventing new approaches, and creating solutions to change society for the better,” he said.Adding that, social entrepreneurs come up with new solutions to social problems and then implement them on a large scale. Read more
Uchumi files for bankruptcy
The increasing number of lawsuits against Uchumi Supermarkets (Uganda) Ltd has prompted the beleaguered company to petition the High Court to wind up its operations to safeguard its remaining assets from creditors.If successful, the liquidation petition filed on at the High Court would see the company’s assets placed in the custody of the Attorney General as the official receiver.Several creditors have execution orders while other cases are pending before different courts. The unsettled dues include money owed to suppliers, landlords and employees who will be rendered jobless.The board of directors of Uchumi Supermarkets Ltd, the majority shareholder in Uchumi Supermarkets (Uganda), blames low sales, stocks and fraud for the challenges that have rendered the Uganda operation commercially unviable. Read more
Govt told to interest youth in manufacturing
Government has been asked to promote manufacturing among the youth interested in entrepreneurship as a way of creating employment.The call was made by the manager, Food Technology Business Incubation at Makerere University, Prof.William Kyamuhangire in a meeting aimed at tackling challenges of unemployment among the youth.He said that majority of the youth entrepreneurs are into buying and selling products from countries like China, which limits their creativity."Government needs to go in and encourage them  to move into manufacturing ,if you buy a commodity from china, and sell in Uganda, few people will be employed but if you start manufacturing products here, so many will be employed  and that is what we want to see," said Kyamuhangire. Read more
MTIC Amelia Kyambadde: Experts predict a mixed bag for Uganda’s economy 
Major economic indicators were bent on a weak Shilling, high interest rates and high costs of production. These had a knock-on effect on businesses. There is a unanimous consensus across the board that the just concluded, presented both serious economic challenges and real opportunities—all in equal measures.Trade ministry counts on value addition. The economy is yet to fully recover from the decline of trade as a result of South Sudan instability. According to the Trade, Industry and Cooperative minister Amelia Kyambadde, trade between the two neighbouring countries, Uganda and South Sudan, has since fallen by at least 60 per cent. Read more
Isn’t Uganda’s tax system immoral?
Although the massive taxpayer appreciation code-named omugano gwa URA concluded at Namboole stadium was a sweet thing for both the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and the tax paying community, the introduction of the so many direct and indirect taxes may be in bad taste for Uganda’s economic terrain. Biblically, taxes are a noble thing, if we remember that Jesus Christ acknowledged the responsibility of paying taxes to Caesar by citizens. “Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honour, then honour,” goes a verse from the New International Version of the Bible.It is not that the payment of taxes is wrong. Where URA usually errs is the timing, cost or nature of taxes, and how they are being enforced. Good taxes are expected to be based on ethical standards. For example, how could government justify the exorbitant Pay As You Earn (PAYE) chopped off the paltry salaries of poor workers? Read more
Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde: Gains and losses from WTO meet
Uganda’s Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde is a firm and yet persuasive negotiator.And her technical team of negotiators is equally knowledgeable and skillful, boasting of a wealth of experience in trade negotiations . Despite those amiable traits, all of which are crucial for such a high-level negotiation bargain, Uganda, just like her counterparts - the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), returned home without real tangible concessions or something concrete to be proud of.Briefing the media recently about the outcome of 10th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference, which took place in Nairobi, Kenya, Kyambadde said not so much was achieved from the top decision organ meeting held for the first time on African soil When Daily Monitor asked her to rate the gains achieved, she said: “It is about 40 per cent. I don’t think we were happy. Most of us (mostly LDCs) were not happy with many things. But one thing for sure, even though you want to be fair, I can’t see the ratings exceeding 40 per cent.” Read more
UBOS: Weak Shilling, power tariffs push average inflation to 5.2%
The depreciation of the Uganda Shilling against the US dollar and increment in power tariffs have seen the country register increase in its annual average inflation rate of 5.2 per cent compared to 4.3 recorded. Uganda’s annual average inflation rate closed at 5.5 per cent attributed to high inflationary pressure. Uganda Bureau of Statistics (Ubos) said a weak Shilling and high power tariffs implied that the general public was faced with the problem of mobilising more money to be able to pay for goods and services for their daily livelihood. Ubos director macroeconomic statistics Chris N. Mukiza, while releasing the Consumer Price Index (CPI), at Statistics House in Kampala, said: “The key factors that drove inflation were depreciation of the Shilling against the US dollar and the annual energy, fuel and utilities (EFU) due to increase in electricity tariff,” he said. Read more
UBL: Buganda Kingdom, UBL partner to bottle new beer
Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) and Buganda Kingdom, through Majestic Brands, the investment arm of the kingdom, have partnered to brew a new beer brand called Ngule. The beer is made from cassava and sorghum all of which are sourced locally from Buganda and Uganda. Ngule’s recommended retail price is Shs1,500. UBL and the kingdom have a revenue sharing agreement. Unveiling Ngule at the Enkuuka- Buganda’s party held in Lubiri, Mengo, the Katikkiro of Buganda, Mr Charles Peter Mayiga, hailed Ngule as a “job-making” and “wealth-creating” innovation by the kingdom.“Ngule beer is an innovation (obuyiiya) which is a key agenda on Buganda’s strategic plan. The creation of Ngule will significantly contribute to the kingdom’s income and create jobs for people in Buganda and elsewhere, from distributors to sellers as well as farmers in Buganda and outside Buganda that will grow the beer’s ingredients mainly cassava,” he said. Read more
MCPA: Bill on Mombasa Port will create trade barrier - regional traders
Importers and exporters using the Northern Corridor have protested the passing of a Bill by the Mombasa County in Kenya that seeks to allow the county to collect port revenues.They say the Mombasa County Port Authority (MCPA) Bill passed, will impose double taxation on business transactions on the transit route that links Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi with the port.The Bill, awaiting assent by Governor Hassan Joho, seeks to create the County Port Authority, headed by a chief executive, to manage the port and set up an electronic Advanced Shipment Information System to monitor cargo and help in revenue collection.Many businesses have termed the Bill unconstitutional and asked the governor not to assent to it. Read more
Vivo Energy Uganda managing director Hans Paulsen: Fuel pump rates drop as global oil prices falter
 Fuel pump prices have dropped, bringing a sigh of relief among customers who hope this will eventually bring down the cost of doing business. Experts have attributed the trend in the falling prices to, largely, the strengthening of the Shilling against the dollar, a stance exhibited and the falling global oil prices which have reached $36 (Shs120,000) per barrel.Fuel stations in and around Kampala, are quoting a litre of petrol at Shs3,650 down from Shs3,800, while diesel now costs Shs3,000 down from Shs3,250. Kerosene, whose prices are usually stable, went down to Shs2,500 from Shs2,750.In an interview with Daily Monitor, Vivo Energy Uganda managing director Hans Paulsen said: “The drop is largely attributed to the strengthening of the Shilling against the dollar, a stance exhibited and the falling global oil prices.” Read more
Liberalising pension sector unnecessary - Museveni
President Yoweri Museveni has said there is no need to liberalise the pension sector because NSSF is still performing well. There are some pensioners who want Parliament to pass a Bill which will liberalise the sector to enable workers have the liberty to save with a pension body of their choice. However, the President while officiating at ceremony of National Social Security Fund’s (NSSF) operation, said Uganda's economy is still growing and the workers’ money cannot be split between different bodies. “I have never opposed or supported bringing in private firms. NSSF needs to have one good advantage; we have this big volume of money which is available for any useful capital development project. So unless it is being mismanaged then bringing in private players makes sense,” Museveni said. If NSSF does some good work by selecting some of these crucial investment sectors, then they will be strengthening their position. Concentration is better than dispersal,” he added.Read more
SABC: Ugandans in diaspora asked to invest more back at home
Ugandans in the diaspora have been challenged to create private equities and invest in private companies and skills developments instead of keeping their money in banks.Mr James Aguma, the chief financial officer South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), while speaking at the diaspora business breakfast at the Kampala Serena Hotel, said: “I see so many Ugandans in the diaspora with lots of money. They should create a private equity and invest in private companies and skills which can be extended back home.” In order to achieve this, Mr Aguma said diasporans have got to form business associations. He cited the Turkish and Chinese who have formed associations in South Africa and are aggressively promoting investments back in their respective countries. Read more
Govt readies sh40bn for animal restocking
Government will increase money for animal restocking for Lango, Acholi, Teso and West Nile sub regions. Addressing crowds at Akura Sub County, Alebtong district minister of state for northern Uganda Rebecca Amuge Otengo said the money will increase from sh20b to sh40b for the four sub regions. Under animal restocking programme sh20b was used but now President Museveni has directed that it should be added to sh40bn," Otengo said. The Office of the Prime Minister has been implementing the animal restocking project in 55 districts of eastern and northern Uganda after people lost their livestock during the Lord`s Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency and to Karimojong cattle raiders. It is aimed at increasing household income to reduce poverty and rebuilding the national herd according to Otengo. Read more

KACITA: Traders scoff at 3% electricity tariff cut
City traders and manufacturers have disagreed with the Electricity Regulatory Authority's (ERA) decision to cut power tariffs by 3 %. KACITA spokesperson Isa Ssekito said the cut cannot make any difference because owners of commercial buildings determine the tenants’ electricity bill which at times does not correspond with the overall UMEME bill. “Irregular cut offs are becoming a habit. We want consistence such that we can also be consistent in helping them. We also want them to be quick when there are disconnections and all of this is contained in our petition to them” Ssekito said. However the executive director of Uganda Manufacturers Association Ssebaggala Kigozi said though the 3 percent reduction is much less than the 19% increment that was made, it shall have a slight change on the cost of production. Read more
Comesa countries seek harmonised standards to boost maize trade
Restrictions faced by traders moving their maize across eastern and southern African markets are set to ease after six countries agreed to recognise one another’s quality certificates.The Comesa Mutual Recognition Framework (C-MRF) signed in Kampala, Uganda, seeks to eliminate multiple testing by both the exporting and importing countries.The six comprise Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe where the framework will be piloted. Kenya mainly imports its maize from Uganda, Zambia and Malawi.For conformity assessment, the C-MRF will be adopted by the member states through Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs).Among the C-MRF key components are common grading criteria, proficiency testing for aflatoxin analysis and a risk-based sampling protocol.Read more
President Yoweri Museveni: Trade license law amended
Government has amended the trade licensing act after President Yoweri Museveni assented to changes in the law to provide an appeal mechanism, and reduce the cost of doing business. Under the changes, businesses must keep books of accounts or face a penalty of more than 3 currency points or sh60, 000. All fines in the Trade licensing Act are expressed in currency points, one currency point is equal to sh20, 000. Also changed are the number of grades in a city, municipality and town to 4 from 2 for purposes of determining trade licensing fees. Hitherto, small businesses were incurring the same fees as their larger counterparts in the same location. The duration of a trade license is now 12 calendar months. In the previous law, all trading licenses expired on 31st December of every year regardless of when the license was acquired.  An appeal mechanism has been created for business owners that could be denied trade licenses, local governments had all rights over the issuance of trade licenses.Read more
Trans Nzoia governor Patrick Khaemba: Kenya, Uganda seek transport corridor funds with eye on trade
Kenya and Uganda plan to build another corridor to boost trade between the two East African countries.
Uganda National Roads Authority and the Kenya National Highways Authority are seeking funds from the African Development Bank (AfDB) for the project which will traverse Uasin Gishu County and to the west of the boundaries of Eldoret, Trans Nzoia.The proposed road project dubbed multinational Uganda and Kenya: Kapchorwa – Suam – Endebess – Kitale - Eldoret Bypass Roads Project is expected to start at Cheplaskei; about 13 kilometres from the centre of Eldoret town, following a north westerly direction traversing the Eldoret – Kapsabet - Kisumu road at Kapsaret. Read more
BOU: Uganda’s import bill reduces 
Uganda spent less compared with the same period, due to the decline in oil prices and a reduction in imports, which saw the value of imported goods fall by $153.7m.Bank of Uganda (BoU) said the value of imported goods fell by 9.2 per cent from $1.68b to $1.527b, due to a decline in the value of oil imports by 34 per cent, attributed to a fall in international oil prices.BoU executive director of research Adam Mugume said non-oil imports by the private sector declined by 8.1 per cent, from $1.245b to $1.144 b, which could be reflective of declining private sector demand as well as the impact of global disinflation. Read more
Africa to export duty, quota-free cotton
African countries can now export their cotton to developed countries duty-and quota-free following a global deal sealed in Nairobi at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial conference.The ministers agreed on a deal that will allow the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to export more cotton to developed countries.This will help the LDCs, mainly those in sub-Saharan Africa, to gain greater access to non-producing foreign markets because of the suppressed customs and taxes.The agreement includes three key elements — on market access, domestic support and export competition. The deal comes into effect and cotton-producing countries in Africa, mainly Burkina Faso, Benin, Chad and Mali, and other developing countries, can begin to export cotton duty-free. Read more
MLHUD: Municipal engineers certified ahead of major works
Uganda Institution of Professional Engineers (UIPE) and Engineers Registration Board (ERB) have certified municipal engineers after vigorous training held at Royal Suites, Bugolobi.The Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development (MLHUD) Daudi Migereko said all municipal engineers should possess valid certification to better be acquainted with the formal engineering works.Migereko said there is need to train engineer's on-job to increase the number of professional engineers as they complete the process of being registered as engineers.Denis Mwebaze, Principal Engineer at Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) Program read the minister's statement in presence of municipal engineers at Royal Suites, Bugolobi.This was during the closing ceremony of Municipal Infrastructure Development Training for 14 municipal engineers drawn from different parts of the country.The certification of these engineers come at a time the USMID project is ongoing to rehabilitate and construct major roads in selected municipal town councils. Read more
Nema secures Shs416m to fight mercury misuse
The National Environment Management Authority (Nema) has received Shs415.6m to facilitate data finding on mercury use and releases into the environment and its associated impact.This, according to Mr Alex Winyi, a senior environmental assessment officer Nema (mercury desk), will also pave way for the ratification and eventual implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury.The Global Environment Facility (DGEF), through the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Ground Work-South Africa provided the funding.According to Mr Winyi, the funding will help the authority conduct a national and ministerial sectors assessments on the challenges and opportunities to implement the convention.
“Mercury is a toxic chemical that requires sound management to minimise its impacts on our health and the environment,” Mr Winyi, said assessment programme at the inception workshop in Kampala. Read more
Court stops Crane Bank from selling client’s city property
Court has stopped Crane Bank from selling property worth billions that was mortgaged by its client as security.The property under controversy registered in the names of Miao Hua Xian is on Plot 47 Nabugabo Road worth Shs2b and Plot 53 Mackenzie Vale, Kololo worth Shs3.9b, both in Kampala District.High Court Judge Christopher Madrama of the Commercial Division also directed the bank’s client, Ms Xian to deposit Shs4b to the bank.“Upon deposit of the sum of money by the applicant, the injunction shall last from date of this order unless otherwise the period is extended by this court from time or by consent of the parties,” ordered Justice Madrama warning that failure to deposit the said money, the order shall lapse.The court order arose from a row between Crane Bank and Ms Xian over the impending sale of mortgaged prime properties worth over Shs6b. Read more
Mr Park Jong Dae: South Korea Gives Mpigi Shs8b to Fight Poverty
In an effort to reduce poverty among people living in rural areas and increase household income, the South Korean government has donated $2.5 million (about Shs8.7 billion) to communities in Mpigi District.The pilot project is code-named "Saemaul Undong model villages".Some of the beneficiary villages include Lwaweeba, Lukonge, Tiribogo, Kololo, Kiwuumu A, Kumbya and Nsaamu, among others.Speaking during the launch of the project at Kammengo playgrounds in Mpigi District, the South Korean ambassador to Uganda, Mr Park Jong Dae, said the objective of the project is to support Uganda achieve its strategic goal of unlocking rural growth in order to increase agricultural production.Mr Dae said under the project, which is going to run, Mpigi residents will also benefit from piloting of Korean model village development strategy so that locals can be empowered with skills of fighting poverty.Read more
TMEA SPO Mr Moses sabiti: Automation of customs clearance ranks Uganda with the best in trade
The automation of Uganda’s customs clearance system has eased cross-border trading in the region and improved the landlocked country’s global ranking.The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) of Uganda have been rolling out a ‘Managing Compliance Programme’ which has led to increased efficiency in revenue collection.The reforms include the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) Initiative, the Customs Management System of Automated System for Customs Data and the Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS).“Increased efficiency of customs is important... Customs revenues contribute over 50 per cent of Uganda’s tax revenues,” said Mr Moses Sabiiti, TMEA Uganda’s senior programme officer.He made the remark at a ceremony organised by the URA to fete the TMEA for outstanding logistics work. Read more
Umeme issues Shs340b investment plan 
Power utility company Umeme is planning $100 million (Shs340 billion) investment to boost its capacity as more electricity is brought to the national grid.Mr Selestino Babungi, the managing director, told reporters while touring the nearly completed 40 Megawatt substation in Kira that the investment would go towards new substations, prepaid metering and bringing down power losses.“The new investment will go towards bringing down power losses to 17 per cent. We also need two substations and new feeder lines in Bugiri and Busia. Overall we are looking at a capital investment of between $80 million to $100 million,” he said. Read more
BOU: How a Washington decision could affect Uganda’s economy
economists, bankers and financial analysts watched as the United States Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time in a decade.The US Federal Reserve decision can be compared to that of Bank of Uganda (BoU) Central Bank Rate. In the US, that rate was raised to 0.25 percent as the Fed argued that the American economy was getting stronger.Several hours to the US Fed interest meeting, Uganda’s own benchmark interest was kept at 17 percent because the forecast for inflation was still on the high side.Uganda’s policy decision, however, has less significant impact on a global scale compared to the US Fed decision. That is why, in making the decision to keep interest rates at 17 percent, BoU Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile had the US Fed in his mind. Read more
Jonathan Barratt, CIO at Ayers Alliance Securities: Oil prices recover slightly
Oil prices rose slightly, with Brent prices bouncing back from lows caused largely by a global oversupply of crude.Approaching midday in London, Brent North Sea crude for delivery stood at $36.43 a barrel, up eight cents compared with close.Elsewhere, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery was 22 cents higher at $36.03 a barrel.Crude futures are heading for a second annual loss on signs that a global glut will be prolonged as OPEC seeks to maintain market share in the face of fierce competition from North American shale oil producers.Brent slumped amid speculation suppliers from the Middle East to the United States will continue pumping, exacerbating the surplus as they fight for market share."It's all about market share and bravado at the moment," Jonathan Barratt, chief investment officer at Ayers Alliance Securities in Sydney, told Bloomberg News. Read more
UAE Exchange spreads Christmas cheer at Sanyu Babies Home
Breaking the traditional Christmas party practice at office, the Uganda operation of UAE Exchange, the leading global remittances, foreign exchange and payment solutions brand, celebrated an early Christmas with the children of Sanyu Babies Home at Uganda. The brand extended its support by distributing food items, medicines and other necessary provisions to the children. Reiterating its commitment to light up the lives of its communities, the brand is also running a campaign - ‘Send money, spread smile and be a Santa’ wherein for each bank transfer, the Uganda operation of UAE Exchange will donate 1000 Ugandan Shillings to the lesser privileged children. The campaign will conclude.Speaking on the occasion, Unni Krishnan, Regional Head - Africa, UAE Exchange said: “Christmas is a time for sharing and we are happy that our little contribution could bring smiles and joyous moments to the children of Sanyu Babies Home.” Read more
PSFU: Government good at policy formulation, poor at implementation - Badagawa
How would you compare the private sector now and then?The private sector has expanded beyond our expectation. It is employing more Ugandans, paying more in taxes and exporting more goods and services. We have now been rated as the most entrepreneurial country by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor.The private sector is described as the engine of growth. How has PSFU worked towards this sentiment?Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) has offered support to the formulation of public policy and programmes including the poverty eradication action plan, plan for modernisation of agriculture, the medium term competitiveness project, and strategic export programme, among others. We have initiated public-private dialogue with government and formulated programmes, plans and priorities together. Read more
BOU: What shaped Uganda’s business environment 
One word that has resonated around the business environment is the “Shilling.” The positives from the Shilling have been largely far-fetched unless one is a speculator, a landlord or perhaps, National Social Security Fund. The bulk of the effects of the Shilling have been negative as they have fed into consumer goods, both imported and locally produced, rental prices, interest rates, electricity prices, motor-vehicle prices and lending rates.It also posed a challenge to policy makers at Bank of Uganda (BoU) and the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. The Shilling was already losing ground to all major currencies but more specifically the dollar. Right from the onset, BoU had stated that the Shilling was “correcting” after the appreciation. However, during the same period, BoU also warned there were speculators who were responsible for the fast-paced depreciation of the Uganda Shilling. Read more
UTB: Hospitality industry struggles to meet world standards
Uganda’s hospitality industry continues to struggle to comply with world class standards as more than 70 % of hotels and sleeping places in Kampala do not conform to the basic requirements for classification.This means the country loses the bulk of tourists intending to visit over long periods of time to neighbouring Kenya and Tanzania.According to the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), only 26 out of the 78 hotels and sleeping places that were assessed in Kampala conform to the basic standards required for classification.However, Data from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) indicates there are more than 6,400 hotels and sleeping places in Kampala, 3,000 of which are mapped on GPS.“Unfortunately, most did not take part in the grading process because they don’t meet the basic requirements,” said the UTB deputy executive director, John Sempebwa. Only 400 hotels and sleeping places across the country are registered under the Uganda Hotel Owners’ Association(UHOA), the bulk of which have neither classification, nor  means to attract tourists. Read more
Vodafone: Infrastructure bottlenecks choking data roaming on EAC One area network
Telecom operators from across the East Africa region have issued a red light against data roaming on  the recently launched one area network, citing infrastructure disparities among the member states.According to the one area network, all operators across the region must use a harmonised rate for both voice and data, irrespective of the setup of their industry.The operators said current infrastructure limitations between the different partner states make it very costly to implement data roaming under the arrangement, across the region.They blamed poor telecommunication infrastructure in some countries, where satellite is being used to offer broadband services, making it costly compared to those using fibre optic cables.“The way the technology is set for data roaming is very complex. If a customer, for example, moves from Uganda to Kenya and wants to connect to data, Kenya must send a request back to the home network to connect the customer to the internet, making it very expensive. This is because of the infrastructure limitations between our different countries,” the carrier services management consultant for Vodafone Uganda, Otaremwa Otuhumurize explained. Read more
SEATINI: MShs1.5 trillion lost in tax exemptions - report
 At least $470m (about Shs1.5 trillion) is lost in tax exemptions, a study commissioned by Oxfam and Southern and Eastern African Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI) Uganda, indicates.According to the study, titled “Fairness Tax Monitor: Country Study for Uganda” whose intention was to assess the level of tax fairness, excessive tax exemptions have done more harm than good, approving the move to scrap the policy.“The report noted that Uganda’s revenue collection effectiveness has stagnated between 10 and 12 per cent. The growing informal sector (with central region alone accounting for 36 per cent), excessive tax exemptions, unaccounted financial outflow (capital flight and illicit flows), alongside tax-administration gaps have contributed to low revenue collections,” reads part of the report launched. Read more
BOU: Uganda’s exports drop by 4.6%
The monetary policy report by Bank of Uganda (BoU) has revealed that, the value of goods exported fell by 4.6 per cent due to slower demand for the Ugandan exports amid decline in global commodity prices.BoU says the decline in exports was as a result of a reduction in the prices which declined by 7 per cent as opposed to volume that increased by 2.5 per cent in the same period.“The decline in price index is reflective of the impact of the decline in global commodity prices. Indeed, compared to, coffee export earnings recorded, decreased by $2.4m from $87.2m,” says BoU in its highlight of monetary policy report.“However, the total volume of coffee exported during the current quarter increased by 125,083 (60 kg) bags compared to 705,394 (60 kg) bags exported,” BoU added. Read more
RGCC: Grain pact signed to promote trade in EAC markets
A pact to promote grain trade in East African regional markets has been signed in the Rwandan capital Kigali.The signatories of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) were between the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) in partnership with Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB)-Rwanda and the Rwanda Grain and Cereals Corporation (RGCC).The tripartite agreement seeks to promote structured grain trade and financing in the region.It also aims at encouraging farmers, traders and processors to benefit from the infrastructure of structured trade by accessing finance to facilitate trade in the region.The agreement enables farmers in Rwanda to access a credit to the tune of $4.5m to finance production and improve productivity.The chairman of Rwanda Grain and Cereals Corporation (RGCC), Eugene Rwibasira said farmers and traders will benefit by utilizing the network of warehouses in the region.Read more
UNBS: Toll free line for counterfeits during festive season
Consumers and whistle-blowers will be able to report traders selling counterfeit products during this festive season using a toll free line which the Uganda National Bureau of standard has established.
The UNBS executive director, Dr Ben Mayindo said that during festival seasons, they receive so many complaints about counterfeits products on the market so this time people with complaints will be reporting directly to his office using the toll free line (0800133133) 
Mayindo said that the most counterfeited products during this season are bread, electrical, baby toys, drinks, cosmetics, batteries, radios and packaged foods.
“It is that time when everyone is running around to shop, however we are calling upon the public to take their time while shopping because they are traders who want to make a killing by selling sub standards goods. We are not going to close our offices, in case of any complaint, just call the toll free line we shall help you,” said Mayindo. Read more
NWSC registers heavy profits, to supply water to rural areas
Armed with a Shs23b income, National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) has said it is in consultations with the ministry of Water and Environment to start providing safe piped water to rural areas.Speaking at a thanksgiving ceremony to celebrate the corporation’s achievements, Mr Chris Ebal, the corporation board chair, said with the massive expansion the corporation has achieved, there is no reason why they should not take over the provision of piped water in rural areas. He said safe piped water will reduce the health bill that government is struggling with.“When we started, people thought we were young people who could not move water from 23 towns and now when we meet the president, he asks us what is not in our mandate." Read more
BOU: Plan to woo diaspora investors hits rock
Government’s strategy to interest Ugandans working and living abroad to invest in their country through diaspora bond has hit a snag.The system, which already succeeded in Ethiopia, once in place, was meant to help Uganda cut on donor funds.However, according to a feasibility study by Bank of Uganda (BoU), the institution which was supposed to issue the bonds, there was a low level of awareness about this instrument.Speaking during a dialogue on diaspora resource mobilisation and utilisation, BoU assistant director financial markets Arnold Bagubwagye said: “It may not be feasible to issue a diaspora bond independently, as there were concerns from the study about the lack of a critical mass to fully subscribe to the bond (hence the awareness drive).” Read more
KRA to clear imported goods before arrival at Mombasa
Imported goods will be cleared by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) before they arrive at the Port of Mombasa in efforts aimed at improving cargo clearance and easing congestion at the harbour. KRA said it has set up a system that allows importers to declare goods long before ships dock at the sea port.This is a departure from the present system where KRA officials process importers’ documents after the arrival of goods, which has been partly blamed for sluggish cargo movement at the port.“With the pre-arrival clearance of cargo, goods will leave the port within 12 hours after arrival as opposed,” said KRA commissioner of customs services Julius Musyioki during a joint forum with World Customs Organisation officials to discuss cross border trade facilitation. Read more
Bank of Uganda keeps key lending rate at 17 per cent, Gov Emanuel Tumusiime
Bank of Uganda (BoU) stayed its policy rate, the Central Bank Rate (CBR), at 17 per cent saying it is still effective enough to stabilise inflation pressures as well as support economic growth rate of 5 per cent.Leaving the policy rate unchanged also implies that the lending rate is likely to remain at the same range of 23.7 per cent. The decision to keep the rate at 17 per cent has taken some speculators by surprise since they had anticipated a rise due to the increase in the inflation rate.Presenting the monetary statement, governor BoU Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile said due to prevailing macroeconomic forecast, the Central Bank believes this is consistent with stabilising the core inflation and returning it to the target of 5 per cent over the medium term. Read more
PM Rukakana Rugunda: Guarantee LDCs more trade freedom, Uganda tells WTO
Uganda wants the World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting in Nairobi to conclude negotiations on key trade issues that have dragged on the agenda.Among the issues delivered by Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, Uganda wants the Doha negotiations, also referred to as the development agenda, which was launched in Doha, Qatar, at the WTO’s 4th ministerial conference to be concluded.The Doha Round focuses on issues affecting the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) such as agricultural reforms, particularly reductions in subsidies, market access, special treatment of poor countries and matters of trade facilitation.According to the Prime Minister, the dragging on of the Doha negotiations has denied LDCs that include Uganda, a chance to benefit from the opportunities abound in global trade—the multi-lateral trading system. Read more
MOT: Uganda to share Shs3 trillion World Trade Organisation fund
 Uganda will be part of the 48 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) that will share $90 million (Shs3 trillion) given by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) wealthy member nations.This was revealed in a pledging conference which preceded the 10th WTO ministerial conference that kicked off in Nairobi, Kenya.This is not the first time Uganda is benefiting from such generosity of the wealthy WTO members although there is no independent verification showing how well such funding has been put to use.Ministry of Trade, however, says several districts have improved service delivery, thanks to the funding from the rich member nations. Read more
Museveni Woos Arab Investors to Uganda
President Museveni met with businessmen and potential Saudi Arabian investors and told them that "Uganda is a very rich country to invest in," especially the agricultural sector.Addressing the Council for Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry and other selected industrialists, President Museveni said: "If Saudi Arabia can import our vegetables, tea, coffee, fruits, animal products and more and we also import their produces, this will help our prosperity and theirs too."The President, who is expected back in the country today (Wednesday), left for Saudi Arabia for a state visit.He was accompanied by Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa, Energy ministry PS Dr Kabagambe Kaliisa, Gender ministry PS Pius Bigirimana and minister for General Duties Tarsis Kabwegyere.The President met and held talks with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdul Aziz, between the two countries and further ways of enhance this cooperation.Read more
S.Sudan devalues currency after war
South Sudan's central bank unpegged the national currency from the dollar, freeing it to trade at black market prices several times the official rate amid soaring inflation caused civil war. The Bank of South Sudan said it took the decision due to  "stark realities" including civil war -- which marks its anniversary on  -- and a fall in global oil prices, upon which the vast percentage of government foreign exchange earnings depend."All foreign exchange business shall be transacted at market determined exchange rate," a bank statement read.The currency, which was held at the official rate of 2.95 South Sudanese pounds to the dollar, has traded on the black market at sometimes more than 18 pounds to the dollar, and bank governor Kornelio Korim Mayik warned the new currency regime, "will have negative effect on low incomes which may trigger political risk."Mayik said the stability of the exchange rate, "may be difficult to maintain in the short term without availability of adequate foreign exchange reserves." Read more
US Trade Representative Michael Froman: Deep divisions ahead of global trade talks in Nairobi
World Trade Organization member countries remain deeply divided ahead of a key conference in Nairobi, with some urging the organisation to abandon talks deadlocked and start fresh.The global trade talks, being held for the first time in Africa, will kick off in Nairobi amid predictions that chances of reaching even a limited trade deal are "gloomy".On the eve of the conference, US Trade Representative Michael Froman warned that talks that started in Doha aimed at lowering global barriers to trade had little prospect of success. "It is time for the world to free itself from the strictures of Doha," he wrote in an opinion piece published in the Financial Times.His comments appear to place the United States in the company of a number of countries calling for the WTO to scrap the process and start over.The Nairobi meeting comes after ministers from WTO member countries reached a landmark deal in Bali on overhauling global customs procedures. Read more
Acting director Mr Fred Otunu: UCC and BC merger leaves many jobless
The merger between Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) and the Broadcasting Council (BC) has left a number of people without jobs, and retired many.An inside source, who preferred anonymity because he is not mandated to speak on behalf of UCC, said that about 50 people have been affected by the restructuring. Those affected include top directors and others of lower ranks.However, the acting director of the BC, Mr Fred Otunnu who confirmed the restructuring, said about only 20 people have been laid off in the changes.“Yes there was job evaluation and restructuring at UCC. This was due to the fact that UCC was merged with BC,” Otunnu explained. Read more
Anisha: Uganda will be a hot tourist destination
Uganda is getting there and indeed the power is now with us to flaunt our tourism industry. Uganda continues to do well on the global charts in terms of having some of the world’s tourism hotspots. Uganda, according to Business Insider, will be among the 12 key destinations that tourists must look out if they are to get value for their money.“it is all about emerging destinations. Wilderness, wildlife and culture; these themes will illuminate the travel itineraries,” Anisha Shah, a broadcast journalist and photojournalist, specialising in travel to emerging destinations wrote in her article on Business Insider. Anisha is a veteran broadcast journalist with key global broadcast and publication houses, including BBC, CNN, BBC Travel and Huffington Post. Read more
Major market exits: Filling gaps left by others
When Uchumi Supermarkets closed, it was the time Uganda’s economy was facing headwinds. 
The analogy tended to suggest the supermarket’s closure was a result of a troubled economy and the rather small middle-class community.True that the economy is projected to slowdown but it would be shooting blanks if such failures are heaped all in one place.The economy is expected to slowdown to 5 from 5.8 per cent due to a weak Shilling - notwithstanding gains, rising inflation, high energy prices and surging interest rates. Prior to Uchumi’s closure, British Airways had announced a halt on all flights to Entebbe International Airport because the route had become unviable. Read more
Enterprising: Making bicycle frames from bamboo stems
Noordin Kasoma is busy working at his workshop, a house garage, in Zana, in Wakiso District on Entebbe Road. He is attaching small metal shells onto a bicycle frame. But it is not just of any kind; this particular frame is made from a bamboo stem. After working on the frame for about 15 minutes, he gets a small piece of smooth bark cloth and starts wrapping it around one of the joints of the bicycle frame. Kasoma does this very gently. “Making this frame takes a lot of time. I have been working on this particular one for the past five days. One really needs to be patient,” he says. Read more
KPA: Why East Africa’s Mombasa port must compete globally
Mombasa port, the major gateway of trade to East Africa, needs to obtain market share of global sea trade before attaining world-class status.The port of Mombasa is among one of the top five container ports in Africa. Globally, the port according to Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), is ranked 112, up from 120 the previous year. For that, East Africa’s biggest port must keep up the pace with emerging global developments and strive to sustain a top position as a container port in the region and beyond.Stretched along the Indian Ocean coast, port Mombasa has strategically aligned itself to increase investment in infrastructure development; modernise and develop Mombasa port to international standards. Read more
NWSC lost sh50m to illegal connections
National water and sewerage cooperation in Tororo lost a total of sh56m due to illegal water connections.The loss was discovered during a door to door plumbing audit, implemented under scan program whose main objectives is to wipe out illegal water connections and constant water loss that stands at 22 percent of the total amount of water produced.The Tororo area Manager Charles Okuonzi said 28 cases of illegal water connections were discovered, carried out mainly by landlords who bypass the meters and directly connect the water to their bathrooms and tanks using private plumbers. Okuonzi said the suspects  will face a penalty of shs472,000 which is payable with an additional estimated amount of the water lost. Read more
IAWRT: Women told to demand their rights from employers
Women should continue advocating for their rights at their workplace, human rights activists have said.
Sarah Nakibuuka, the chairperson of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) Uganda Chapter, said some employers still refer to women as the weaker sex.She added that sometimes women are considered incompetent, hence denying them promotions and other opportunities.She made the remarks during a gender mainstreaming workshop for female journalists in Kampala.The workshop was part of activities to mark of activism against gender based violence.“We aim at ensuring that women enjoy their rights to speak out, enjoy the same salary like men as mandated by the United Nations Charter,
which reaffirms the equal rights of men and women. So IAWRT has joined the struggle to ensure that women, too, enjoy their work,” said Nakibuuka.Read more
Raila faces arrest if he fails to honour EACC summonses
Cord leader Raila Odinga was summoned to appear before the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission on Monday over claims he has made on the use of Eurobond funds. EACC officials have warned that Mr Odinga would be prosecuted if he fails to honour the new summonses.But Mr Odinga has declined to appear before the commission and told the officers there is no threat that he has not faced in his life.The commission, in a statement signed by Chief Executive Halakhe Waqo, spelt out its powers to summon witnesses and suspects.The section reads: “The director and an investigator shall have the powers, privileges and immunities of a police officer in addition to any other powers the director or investigator has under this part.” Read more
Client sues Crane Bank over Shs6 billion city property
Crane Bank Limited is embroiled in a Shs6 billion property row with its client over the impending sale of mortgaged properties.The property under controversy registered in the names of Miao Hua Xian is on Plot 47 Nabugabo Road worth Shs2 billion and Plot 53 Mackenzie Vale, Kololo worth Shs3.9 billion, both in Kampala District.Ms Xian has sued Crane Bank alleging that the credit sanctions and mortgages extended to her were in contravention of the laws and not enforceable.Through her lawyers Muwema and Company Advocates, Ms Xian wants a declaration that the penal interest charged by the bank under the credit facilities is extortionate, unconscionable and illegal. Read more
Vodafone CEO Allan Richardson: SMEs urged to embrace online marketing to enhance business growth
Small and medium sized companies have been urged to incorporate online marketing in their sales and marketing strategies to further enhance business growth.Speaking at the 3rd edition of the Vodafone Powertalks held at the Kampala Serena Hotel, Allan Richardson, the Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone Uganda said there is a growing need for Ugandans to adopt online marketing and business to better compete at a global level.“Businesses, particularly SMEs, typically do not have clear strategies on how to convert their online audiences into real customers and generate revenue. I would like to urge Ugandan businesses, particularly SMEs, to begin thinking about establishing online point of sales to enable their customers buy their products and services in real time,” Richardson said.“Whatever the challenges and drawbacks, today’s forward looking businesses need to adapt and establish themselves in the online market if they are to survive”. Read more
Investing in Uganda's future means investing in our young people
It is an exciting time to be a young Ugandan. Our generation is poised to do big things and have our impact felt around the world. Africa is taking her place on the world stage. The combination of fast-growing economies across the continent and a large, young population are converging into what promises to be the perfect storm of opportunity for our continent, our country and our young people. However, with this great promise comes great responsibility.Uganda boasts a population that is overwhelmingly composed of young people. While such a young population is not without challenges (strain on families and the government to provide adequate investments in education, for example), it is important to see the potential in our young population. Read more
SAA: Trade, tourism boost aviation traffic between Uganda, S.A
Uganda’s trade and tourism ties with South Africa have been the largest contributors to the stay of South African Airways (SAA) in Uganda.According to SAA, the growing business and tourism interests between the two countries have seen demand for air travel services rise.At a dinner marking their existence in the Ugandan market, SAA Uganda country manager Yogi Biriggwa said they control the largest market share on the Uganda - South African route, partly as a result of tourism and trade ties. “We are pleased to contribute to the growth in bilateral trade and tourism between Uganda and the 56 destinations we serve, especially South Africa,” Ms Birigwa said. Read more
UTA: Regional tea sales grow by 6.4 per cent
Despite experiencing a prolonged dry spell, East Africa registered a 6.4 per cent increase in tea sales at the Mombasa auction.The auction report released shows the region exported 8.9 million kilogrammes, up from 8.3 million sold.Kenya recorded most sales. Out of the total tea exported, Kenya sold 7.2 million kilogrammes up from 6.3 million sold, representing a 12.5 per cent increase in sales.Uganda, which majorly exports her tea through Mombasa, ranked second with a 10.6 per cent increase in sales. The country sold 1.2 million kilogrammes up from 1 million sold. Read more
Metropol MD, Mr Sam Omukoko: Mobile phone users set to borrow directly from banks
Mobile phone users will be able to borrow directly from banks, thanks to a new service company, launching on the Ugandan market. Metropol, a business information and credit management company, will open shop in Uganda to provide credit rating and credit reference services as well as mobile-phone based banking.The development will also see borrowers’ credit history documented and made available to lenders (and financiers) including utility companies and SACCOs, who will refer to it before transacting business with individuals or companies. The group managing director, Mr Sam Omukoko, said they will be looking at linking mobile phone users with commercial banks where they will be able to get credit facilities the same way they would borrow airtime after running short of it. Read more
ECOTRUST: Bugisu farmers tipped on climate adaptation technology
Following the displacement of people in Bulambuli due to El-Nino rains, farmers in the region have been advised to practice better climate adaptation techniques. The farmers, mostly small holders were also advised to avoid tilling land along steep slopes due to the higher vulnerability to mudslides during this rainy season.Sarah Nachuha, the programme manager at ECOTRUST, an environment management organization observed that there is need to support farmers as they adopt better climate adaptation techniques."We need to rally all stakeholders to increase awareness in the region so that our farmers especially those around the fragile steep areas relocate elsewhere and embrace tree planting, making ditches to prepare for eventualities," said Nachuha. Read more
BAT caught up in yet another bribery scam at Uganda subsidiary
Cigarette manufacturer British American Tobacco (BAT) is caught up in yet another bribery scam in Uganda, days after the firm was reported to have bribed Kenya’s former Trade minister Moses Wetang’ula. But the London-based tobacco firm has denied any wrongdoing, saying it is not the subject of any investigation by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office.“As far as we know the SFO has not set up any inquiry but if they do, we will cooperate fully and are confident there has been no breach of the UK Bribery Act,” a spokesman at BAT Plc said in response to the Business Daily’s queries.Solomon Muyita, an ex-employee of British American Tobacco Uganda (Batu), has claimed that the tobacco firm bribed a local environmental official to misreport the impact from a fire at one of its warehouses in Uganda. Read more
Energy ministry Permanent Secretary Kabagambe-Kaliisa: Sukulu phosphate project gets Shs788 billion boost
The construction of Uganda Sukulu phosphate factory in Tororo District has got a boost of $240 million (about Shs787.7b) at the China-Africa Investment and Financing Forum held in South Africa.Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) in cooperation with the Standard Bank Group will disburse the money in tranches to Guangzhou DongSong Energy Group Company Ltd which is the project developer.The company, Guangzhou DongSong Energy Group Company Ltd, plans to establish a mine and a beneficiation plant with annual capacity of two million tonnes, a phosphate fertilizer plant of annual production of 300,000 tonnes, a sulfuric acid plant of annual production of 400,000, a 12MW waste heat-based power generation plant and a steel mill of annual production of 300,000 tonnes.It is estimated that the company will hire more than 1,200 local people in all their plants, on top of investing in schools, hospitals and other public welfare projects. Read more
RCC Mr Thaddeus Opesen, orders Uchumi to pay Shs1.2b debt to suppliers
Court has ordered embattled Uchumi Supermarkets Limited (in liquidation) to pay more than Shs1.2b for recovery of unpaid supplies.Mr Thaddeus Opesen, the Registrar of the Commercial Court, ordered Uchumi Supermarkets Limited to pay Zebu Emporium Limited Shs904,195,156 for supply of different commodities imported from China.“The defendant (Uchumi Supermarket Ltd) doth pay the plaintiff lost income in foreign exchange fluctuations. The defendant doth pay the plaintiff interest at 23 per cent from date of fell due till payment in full,” held Mr Opesen before condemning the company to legal costs incurred by the complainant.The order arose from a complaint in which Zebu Emporium Limited, a company run by Chinese nationals, sought court orders against Uchumi Supermarkets Ltd for payment of lost incomes, loss of foreign exchange, general damages for breach of contract and costs incurred. Read more
SCM Ashoka Ms Lynsey Farrel: Develop Uganda through social entrepreneurship, says expert
Uganda can successfully pursue socioeconomic development through embracing social entrepreneurship, a key pillar in enabling the public attain better standards of living. According to Ms Lynsey Farrel, a senior change manager at Ashoka, an international body promoting global community development, Uganda needs selfless entrepreneurs that create innovations to positively change communities without founders seeking profitability from such initiatives but satisfaction derived from the betterment of community.Speaking at an Africa Social Entrepreneurship Summit held in Kampala, Ms Farrel said: “We need entrepreneurs that are less focused on pursuing profits from their innovations. Generous people of that nature must have the primary objective of causing the general transformation of vulnerable communities through paving a way out for them to live purposeful lives by engaging in income generating activities,” she said. Read more
YFI: 150,000 youth to benefit from US$37m project
As government grapples with the high youth unemployment rate, a Canadian based organization, MasterCard Foundation, has launched an initiative to support the jobless youth in the country.The project; "Youth Forward Initiative" (YFI) worth $37bn (about sh129b), is funded by MasterCard Foundation in partnership with Overseas Development Institute (ODI), Solidaridad and Global Communities among others. The project is; targeting 150,000 Ugandan jobless youth aged 15-25, in 12 districts of Northern Uganda. They include; Lamwo, Kitgum, Pader, Agago, Kaabong, Abim, Gulu, Kole, Lira, Dokolo, Kiryandongo, and Masindi districts.Meredith Lee, the deputy director Youth Livelihood, MasterCard Foundation, said they target those out of school, unemployed or underemployed, seeking quality employment or the opportunity to start their own businesses in agricultural and construction sector. Read more
Agriculture lending up, but productivity still low
The agricultural year book shows that lending to agriculture increased to bolster production, processing and marketing, however, experts argue that more needs to be done to increase labour productivity in the sector.  Finding in the book released by the Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC) indicates that despite the perceived riskiness of the sector, lending hit sh876b from sh450b. The report also indicated that the performance of the Agricultural Credit Facility (ACF) has steadily improved since it was established with disbursements having increased to sh179.02b, from sh150.2b and sh118.5b. At the time of preparing the report, a total of 303 projects across the country had benefitted under the scheme. The ACF is accessible to all farmers and agro-processors in Uganda with bankable projects. Read more
WUBS: Dollar firms after robust US jobs report backs rate hike
A strong US jobs report flashed a green light for the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates, pushing the dollar up from its sell-off.Analysts said that the Labor Department's report of solid jobs growth of 211,000 payrolls signaled the US economy was strong enough to weather the first US rate hike."The dollar closed out with fewer losses as strong US jobs data cleared the final hurdle to a Fed rate hike," said Joe Manimbo at Western Union Business Solutions.The greenback climbed to $1.0874 per euro, from $1.0947 at the same time. The dollar bought 123.16 yen, up 0.4 percent. Market expectations firmed for the Fed to raise the federal funds rate at its meeting. The benchmark rate has been pegged at zero to underpin the recovery from the Great Recession. Read more
Rugunda commissions construction of condominium apartments in Wakiso
The Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has launched the construction of Jakana Heights luxury Condominium apartments on top of Konge hill in Buziga, Wakiso District.During the ground breaking ceremony, Dr Rugunda said the investment was timely because the country needs many quality housing units.Dr Rugunda applauded Jakana Heights Condominium property investors from United Kingdom for choosing to invest in Uganda.He said Government takes the housing sector seriously because it has a major multiplier effect in the economy of the country.Dr Rugunda said Government had created an enabling environment for both local and international investors.“Government on its part has created an environment of liberal investment climate, with 100% repatriation of profits, and tax holidays, to encourage inflow of foreign direct investment,” said the Premier.Read more
Women have the potential to create wealth - Mrs Museveni
Women have the potential to contribute significantly to economic growth if they are guided and facilitated to access the financial services needed to grow their business.After listening to success stories of women in Lwengo district on economic and social transformation, the First Lady Janet Museveni noted that although rural women have the potential to create wealth they do not have access to financial services.“Women are a dependable group, when they borrow they always pay back. However they need financial institutions that have faith in them to help them grow. They also need leaders who have a vision for wealth creation to guide them,” she said.She praised the Lwengo district leadership for championing what she called NRM vision of wealth creation in rural areas. Read more
URC: Trains return to Uganda capital
Uganda Railways Corporation in partnership with Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA)and Rift Valley Railway Uganda Limited(RVRU) have announced the launch of commuter passenger train services which is expected to kick off."Under the agreement URC will be in charge of selling tickets and customer care where as RVR will operate the train, construct the maintain the station and halts at Kampala, Nakawa, Kireka and Namanve and Government through KCCA will provide financial support to cover the shortfall on income against operational costs," the URC Managing Director Eng. Charles Kateeba told a news conference.
He said the passenger services will be piloted between Kampala and Wakiso district in central Uganda.
The resumption of the train services comes after the three Entities had signed passenger services agreement in November to run the service as a pilot project, Read more
URACG, Doris Akol: URA signs container control pact to combat illegal trade
Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has partnered with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and other government agencies to launch a Container Control Programme (CCP) meant to combat illicit trade.Speaking at the agreement signing in Kampala, URA Commissioner General Doris Akol said, together with Uganda Police Force and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), the programme seeks to eliminate shipping containers exploited by criminals to transport wildlife commodities and illegal drugs. “This collaboration between security and enforcement agencies will help build capacity in fighting organised crime which is done through sophisticated networks,” said Ms Akol. She said Uganda is being used as a conduit route of smuggled ivory and rhino horns, adding that URA and the police have about 20 tonnes of ivory confiscated at various border points. Read more
KPA: Mombasa port raises red flag on excessive imports
Uganda and the entire East Africa Community are net importers, meaning they import more goods than they export. This, according to Kenya Ports Authority, is not good considering the consequences on the regional economies. According to statistics, the total imports (goods ferried into Uganda) stand at a staggering 97 per cent.The port of Mombasa only handles seven per cent of Uganda’s total export, something the port authority wants to be dealt with.This was disclosed by Kenya Ports Authority managing director Gichiri Ndua during the opening of a media workshop held in Mombasa. He said: “As a region, we import more than we export and that is not good for our economies. We are concerned about this and we believe that this should be changed. In other words the regional countries need to do more to raise their exports.” Read more
BSA, CEOAmbassador Kingsley Makhubela: ‘Empower communities to sustain businesses’
Entrepreneurs have been urged to empower the communities where they have investments to ensure sustainable growth of their businesses.
The call was made by the Brand South Africa chief executive officer, Ambassador Kingsley Makhubela, at the launch of the South African business forum in Kampala.
“The only way to ensure sustainable investment and sustainable profit making is to empower the local communities where you are operating. Brand South Africa, an entity of the state has been going around a few countries to address questions related to empowerment of local communities where they are,” he said.
In his keynote address, he said there are three pillars that work hand in hand in developing the communities. The pillars include the state, civil society and business. Read more
OPEC policy risks further oil price pressure: analysts
OPEC's policy of maintaining high oil production risks heaping more downward pressure on oil prices, especially with Iranian crude set to enter the global marketplace, analysts say.While lower prices eat into the revenues of the oil cartel's members, cheap crude may result in lower production from non-OPEC nations -- helping countries like Saudi Arabia preserve their market share.The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries decided at its meeting in Vienna against cutting the cartel's oil output despite sliding prices and ahead of higher production from Iran.Going into the meeting, OPEC -- whose members together pump out more than one third of world oil -- has consistently struggled to keep production at a target of 30 million barrels.The cartel is pumping out around 32 million barrels daily -- a figure that is set to rise in coming months as Iran looks to produce more crude following the lifting of sanctions -- while OPEC appears to have abandoned its target following the meeting. Read more
AII: Invest in agriculture to overcome malnutrition-experts
Investors in the agricultural sector must prioritize increasing the productivity of non-staple, nutrient-dense foods to make them more affordable to low-income consumers."Among these are dairy, eggs, fish, legumes, fruits, vegetables," said Prof George William Otim-Nape, the Agriculture to Nutrition: Improving Nutrition Outcomes Through Optimized Agricultural Investments (ATONU) steering committee member. Otim-Nape also CEO of the Africa Innovations Institute in Kampala said the investments must include bio fortified foods as well. He said bio fortification is the process of breeding food crops that are rich in micronutrients, such as vitamin A, zinc, and iron. "These crops “bio fortifies" themselves by loading higher levels of minerals and vitamins in their seeds and roots while they are growing. When eaten, they can provide essential micronutrients to improve nutrition and public health," he said. Read more
We won’t back off despite traders’ strike, says URA
Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has said it will not change its position on prosecuting traders who evade taxes despite a two-day strike by Kampala City Traders Association (Kacita) that started.Speaking to Daily Monitor, URA spokesperson Sarah Banage said: “No one will back off; it is the position of the institution to prosecute traders who are found to be evading taxes. They are striking because we have dug in on smugglers,” said Ms Banage. Business in downtown Kampala came to a standstill after traders, under their Kacita umbrella body, closed their shops protesting URA’s directive to arrest those who smuggle goods.Initially, those found with untaxed goods were fined when the tax body resolved to have them arrested instead.Read more
Rebuild foreign exchange reserves, IMF tells government
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has told Uganda to rebuild its foreign exchange reserves which have dropped in order to manage better other economic shocks that may occur.The reserves have registered a decline after Bank of Uganda (BoU) used some part to stabilise the foreign exchange market due to the Shilling depreciation.Government has also used part of the reserves for building the Karuma and Nsimbe dams.The two power projects saw government withdraw $300m (Shs9.945b) from the Central Bank, contributing to the projects as was spelt out in the Budget.This development saw the level of Uganda’s foreign exchange reserves slightly declining to about $2.8b (Shs9.282 trillion) from $3.1b (Shs10.2 trillion). Read more
FMO chief executive Nanno Kleiterp : SMEs to benefit from Shs10b Dutch government loan
EFC Uganda, a microfinance institution has secured a Shs10b loan from the Dutch Development Bank (FMO) to lend to small enterprises in the country.During the signing ceremony at the EFC Uganda offices in Kampala, the two organisations revealed that the money is meant to support micro and small sized enterprises in Uganda with short term capital requirements.FMO chief executive Nanno Kleiterp said: “The financing will enable EFC Uganda to support job creation in Uganda. It will provide support for MSE’s in Uganda, which will stimulate economic growth, development and innovation.”EFC Uganda is one of the emerging microfinance institutions founded that has seen loan uptake rise from Shs8.5bn to Shs17.5b. Read more 
UNBS surveilance officer Mr Jameson Ssewanyana : UNBS gets tough on product labelling language
Products labelled in unfamiliar languages pose health risks to consumers, an official from Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has said.While conducting an operation on substandard products to rid Nakawa market of substandard products, Mr Jameson Ssewanyana, a UNBS surveillance officer, said certain consumers cannot read, interpret and understand some languages. He said this poses a health risk, especially when a consumer is unable to tell whether the product is of quality or not because of language.“Labelling goods in foreign languages is common with pre-packaged products yet the labelling of all pre-packaged products is governed by one Uganda standard,” he said. Read more
SMP, Aston Kajara: UAE, Uganda to address trade imbalance
 Uganda and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are devising means of addressing the trade imbalance that exists between the two countries.While announcing the UAE-Uganda trade and investment conference in Kampala, State minister for Privatisation Aston Kajara said: “The conference would address the trade imbalance between Uganda and UAE.” A delegation of 35 businesspeople from the UAE in the country on a campaign to increase UAE’s investments in Uganda.Mr Kajara said Uganda imported goods worth $370 million (Shs1.2 trillion) from the UAE, while the UAE imported $30 million (Shs102 billion). Read more
MasterCard launches Shs251b youth employment initiative
 In order to address youth unemployment in sub-Saharan Africa, the MasterCard Foundation has introduced an innovation targeting sectors that have the highest potential for job growth such as agriculture and construction.The youth in sub-Saharan Africa are faced with limited access to appropriate financial services, negative perceptions and discrimination from employers. As a result, most of them find themselves employed in informal jobs with low productivity and pay.Youth Forward Initiative, a $74m (Shs251b) programme to be pioneered in Uganda and Ghana, is expected to reach more than 200,000 economically disadvantaged young people, aged between 15 and 24.Ms Ann Miles, the director of programmes, and financial inclusion and youth livelihoods at the MasterCard Foundation, said: “The Foundation recognises that in order for youth to reach their full potential, they must have access to the right skills and opportunities”. Read more
Chief executive officer Julius Kipng’etich: Former Uchumi top managers accused of Shs33b cover-up
The revelation that Uchumi Supermarkets manipulated financial statements to the tune of Sh1.04 billion (Shs33b) has put former senior managers including, ex-chief executive Jonathan Ciano, on the spot.The listed supermarket chain announced that the former management had cooked up books to prop up earnings, giving a false picture of Uchumi’s financial position.Uchumi said a clear picture of the extent of accounting fraud orchestrated by the former executives would be revealed once a forensic audit by KPMG is complete.“The former management cleverly played around with books. The true and fair position of Uchumi was never reflected,” said chief executive officer Julius Kipng’etich, who was hired to turn around the fortunes of the struggling retailer. Read more
Accion CEO,Michael Schlein:  Business urged to embrace apps
The chief executive officer (CEO) at Accion, Michael Schlein has called on tech firms to capitalize on creation of apps that spur business growth.  Schlein observed that digital applications are inevitable because almost all business depend on ICT. "We need to deploy digital applications to extend savings and other financial services to rural Ugandans where most people work on farms or raise their crops to earn a living" he said. Accion is a nonprofit making firm whose mission is to build a financially inclusive world with economic opportunities for all. Schlein’s remarks were contained in a statement read by Wilson Twamuhabwa the chief executive officer at UGAFODE Microfinance during a function to commission expansion of mobile money to rural Uganda. Read more
CSR: Will the hoe economics deliver growth?
The National Resistance Movement (NRM) government has a gigantic plan: A plan to deliver Uganda to a middle income country.Uganda, according to the Credit Suisse report, is a low income country with an estimated average income per adult of $674 (Shs2.5m).World Bank specifics put middle income earners at between $1,036 (Shs3.8m) and $12,615 (Shs47.3m). President Museveni told Ugandans in a message that “owing to NRM achievements, especially bringing peace, the historical league and party structures seconded me to pick nomination forms for NRM chairman and presidential flag bearer with a mission of leading Uganda to a middle income country.” Read more
EATC: EA needs to grow domestic tourism
Carmen Nibigira is the coordinator of the East African Tourism Platform The issue. In order to see organic growth in East Africa’s tourism sector, it is paramount that there are long term strategies that are purposed towards encouraging local people to fully participate. This will not only help to supplement foreign tourism but could also be a key ingredient in the creation of a sustainable tourism sector.What is your role in the tourism cycle?We are the voice of the private sector that deals with government agencies to promote tourism with the view of fostering dynamic synergies and networks.What kind of institutions do you work with? We work with recognised tourism institutions in both government and the private sector such as Kenya Tourism Federation and Uganda Tourism Board. But beyond government agencies, we also work with different associations especially from the private sector. Read more
Simon Peter Komakech: How the tobacco law is affecting businesses
Simon Peter Komakech, a cigarettes retailer in Lira Town, is not a happy man. Komakech, 36, who has been dealing in the products, says there has been a relative departure of customers because developments surrounding the Tobacco Control Act. President Museveni assented to the Bill, thereby making it an Act.“When news of the President assenting to the Bill reached our customers in Lira, it became a discussion in town, bars and radio. I started seeing a decline in demand for cigarettes from my shop. Before that, I used to earn about Shs450,000 from cigarette sales, now I get between Shs175,000 and Shs240,000. Why should I be happy?” Komakech’s story is not isolated but is shared by a number of other retailers in and beyond northern Uganda. Read more
BOU: Shilling appreciates against dollar, but is it sustainable?
After being battered by the US dollar, the Uganda Shilling has firmed and appreciated against major currencies – mostly the dollar.The dollar was nearing the Shs3,700 mark, but did not reach the level. With limited intervention from Bank of Uganda (BoU), the Shilling started making gains on the dollar.Eventually, the dollar had fallen below the Shs3,400 mark. The Shilling appreciation is being attributed to improved inflows from coffee exports, low demand for dollars by importers and remittance inflows from Ugandans in the diaspora.“The appreciation has been due in part to more favourable developments in global financial markets and in part to seasonal inflows, especially from coffee and remittances,” Ms Christine Alupo, the director communications at BoU told Daily Monitor. Read more
IIU: Uganda insurers, S. African institute partner to strengthen human resource
The Insurance Institute of Uganda (IIU) is in the process of working out a partnership with the Insurance Institute of South Africa (IISA) with the latter agreeing to help in developing Uganda’s sector professionally.The deal is meant to help IIU strengthen local human resource through regular training in various disciplines that match international insurance employment requirements.Human capital development has been one of the key areas of focus in growing the industry.According to IIU chairman Ronald Zaake, the partnership agreement was reached during a benchmarking visit to South Africa that aimed at seeing how best the institute can strengthen its training capacity by acquiring specific modules and qualifications.Read more
Banks do not know social business- Usaid
Despite the increasing numbers, the United States Agency for International Development (Usaid) says commercial banks in East Africa do not understand the financial needs of social business.The agency says because of that, businesses continue to find access to finance a challenge. Speaking at a regional symposium on scaling social business in East Africa in Kampala, the head of Usaid in Uganda, Ms Jacqueline Wakhweya, said social businesses and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the region are still struggling to access credit facilities despite efforts by donors and governments to boost the development of the private sector.“Some of the banks do not understand social businesses and this is one of the main reasons why the SMEs are not accessing finance from commercial banks,” she said.Read more
WB: Govt to borrow US$75m (sh260b) to improve Internet connectivity
Government is seeking parliamentary approval to borrow US$75m (sh260b) to improve internet connectivity and broadband services in line with regional initiatives.Parliament's committee on the National Economy considered the request to borrow the funds from the World Bank to finance the Regional Communication Infrastructure Program (RCIP). Committee chairman Xavier Kyooma Akampurira said the loan is intended to accelerate the rollout of the terrestrial backbone infrastructure to ensure access to the submarine cables across East and Southern Africa to the region."It is also intended to finance the purchase of broadband capacity (domestic, regional and international) for use by governments and institutions such as schools, universities, hospitals. It is also intended to finance the implementation of e-Government applications, extension of access to ICT technologies services in rural area," Akampurira said. Read more
UCIFA: Kenya, Uganda to harmonize clearing operations
Kenya and Uganda clearing agents have pledged to deepen partnership with the aim of facilitating faster movement of cargo across the region.  The two nations have observed the need to fasten free cargo movement and reduce the existing non-tariff barriers which impede business progress. This was said by Ebby Khaguli, the head of Kenya Port operations during a ceremony in which a delegation of Kenya clearing officials visited Uganda Clearing Industry and Forwarding Association (UCIFA) at Nakawa. Khaguli said there is need to train more clearing agents to encourage professionalization of duties to facilitate faster cargo movement to different destinations in East Africa. Kassim Omar, head of UIFA told journalists that the Kenyans observed that the association needed government support to be able to execute work diligently. Read more
Ms Kagina: El-Nino rain costs UNRA Shs57b
El-Nino rain ravaging the country have so far cost the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) Shs57 billion in maintaining the road network across the country, the agency’s executive director, Ms Allen Kagina, has said.Speaking at UNRA offices in Kampala, Ms Kagina said the agency has spent the said money  to make roads passable as many were cut off by the rain that intensified.“Our maintenance budget is very small. Our budget was Shs95b, we did not get the Shs95b, we received Shs57b,” Ms Kagina told the press.She added: “This is the amount of money we have used to date to pay maintenance contractors and for emergency responses.” Read more
Former employees sue Uchumi for Uganda exit
Former employees of Uchumi Supermarket have sued the retail chain for not informing them prior to closure of its Ugandan branches and exiting the country without remitting their salaries.The ex-Uchumi workers say, in a case filed at the High Court, that their employer tricked them into leave to allow renovation of the supermarket’s premises.They maintain that they only learnt of the closure from Kenyan media which widely reported Uchumi’s exit from Uganda. Uchumi shut down its five Uganda outlets as part of a turnaround plan that also saw it exit Tanzania where it had six branches.The supermarket chain says its Uganda and Tanzania branches have been making losses despite it injecting Sh2.4 billion.Read more
UBOS: High food prices, power tariff push up inflation to 8.8 %
 Reduced supply of food crops in the market coupled with high electricity tariff have pushed Uganda’s annual headline inflation rate to 8.8 per cent  compared to 7.2 per cent recorded.This is the highest inflation rate Uganda has recorded when the country’s annual headline inflation rate stood at 8.4 per cent. The rise in the country’s inflation levels implies the general public is facing the problem of high food prices and high energy charges amid stagnated income. Uganda Bureau of Statistics (Ubos) said the main drivers of the annual headline inflation during this period were foodcrop inflation which rose to 20.2 per cent compared to 10.2 per cent increase recorded. Read more
PSF: Private sector urges rebranding to redirect strategy and fortunes
Rebranding can lease a fresh breath of life into any organisation if handled well and done at the right time, the leadership of the private sector apex body has advised. Rebranding efforts may include a name change, new logo or packaging and updated marketing materials that include industry buzzwords.Private Sector Foundation Uganda executive director Gideon Badagawa, says rebranding is something that private sector players can resort to if it deems it necessary to redirect its strategy as well as fortunes.“There is nothing wrong with organisations rebranding. We encourage that, but it should be formally done because it is a good thing to do considering that it can re-energise the institution operation,” Mr Badagawa said at the sideline interview of the launch of Uganda Doing Business Report in Kampala. Read more
Ojakol: Gov't licenses maize warehouses to improve quality
Government has embarked on the process of licensing warehouses across the country to improve quality of grains especially maize in Uganda. This is according to Silver Ojakol, the commissioner for external trade, ministry of trade. He made the remarks at the launch of a report on maize standards in Kampala.The development follows reports that Uganda's maize is failing to penetrate the EAC market due to poor quality. 
He said that warehouses that will be licensed must be equipped with proper grading facilities, moisture meters and drying lines to ensure that the stored maize remains in good condition."Every warehouse should be equipped with a dryer, storage capacity and grading so that whatever is brought by the farmer is graded and stored to the required standards," said Ojakol. Already two warehouses in Kigumba and Masindi that meet the required standards have licensed to buy and store farmer's grain in good condition so as to get ready market. Read more
Richard Sserwadda: Grain millers protest high electricity tariffs
Grain processors are demanding for a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni to help them secure their own tariff from the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) and UMEME. The millers through their chairman, Richard Sserwadda said that meetings with officials from ERA and UMEME to find a solution have not been successful. "We want to meet the President to convince those people so they can give us our own tariff as millers. Every time we talk to these people they say give us time, until when?" asked Sserwadda. He added that when they add value they will be employing more young people, getting all the byproducts from grain in addition to paying taxes to the country which is missing out when grain is exported in its whole form. Some of the taxes that were singled out include Maximum Demand, Reactive Energy, Fuel Tax Inflation Tax, Forex Exchange Tax, among others.
BOUDG, Louis Kasekende: Comesa central banks urged to fight money laundering
 Bank of Uganda deputy governor Louis Kasekende has urged central banks in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) bloc to tighten loopholes that may aid money laundering, among other offences.“We need to strengthen the framework for monitoring illicit flows related to money laundering and financing of terrorism,” Dr Kasekende said.He was speaking during the opening of the meeting of the Comesa Committee of Governors of Central Banks in Lusaka, Zambia.Dr Kasekende also said: “A more vibrant financial system should result from broadening the spectrum of players, instruments and products, engendering competition and innovation; fostering macroeconomic and financial stability.” Read more
Moody CRA: Uganda’s ability to pay debts drops to negative
 Political uncertainty ahead of the general election is one of the reasons why Uganda’s credit rating has been downgraded from stable to negative. A credit rating for a country is an assessment on its ability to pay its debts. Moody’s, a credit rating agency, revealed the political environment had fastened the outflows of the much-needed investment due to uncertainty.“Increased political uncertainty as the presidential elections approach has exacerbated external vulnerability, accelerating capital outflows in an already volatile emerging market environment,” the Moody’s rating released reveals. Moody’s had given Uganda a stable rating based on “healthy growth prospects and solid public finances.” Those prospects have since dwindled with the economy already expected to grow at 5 per cent from 5.8 per cent that was initially projected. Read more 
Dr Ian Clarke, CIMG: CEOs tipped on building reputable organisations
Hiring and firing of employees is a complex process and should be approached with proper consideration if chief executive officers (CEOs) are to build reputable organisations.This according to Dr Ian Clarke, the chairman of the International Medical Group, can only happen by having the right people in the right places.
While addressing CEOs on the theme ‘Building Reputable Organisation’ at a breakfast meeting in Kampala, Dr Clarke said: “Hire the right people and find the right person with potential; potential can grow into competence,.”Dr Clarke added: “Do not hire pieces of paper; everyone in Uganda wants to get degrees and master’s but some are not worth it.” The meeting, organised by Federation of Uganda Employers, attracted 40 CEOs of reputable companies in the country. Read more 
MOF: Publish company financial reports early, says minister
The Finance ministry has directed companies to publish their audited annual financial reports on time for proper analysis of the country’s financial situation by regulators and the public.Many companies take more than one year to produce their annual financial results while some companies do not at all.This leaves regulators, policy makers and the public in the dark as far as financial status of companies are concerned. The directive comes at a time when multinational companies are pressured to analyse and deliver results more quickly and thoroughly than ever before following the global financial crisis  that saw many big international companies running into bankruptcy.Among them was the Lehman Brothers, a 158-year investment bank in USA that was allowed by the US government to go bankrupt. Read more
GCPMOA: Climate change to bring down maize production
Maize production in the country is expected to drop by 19 per cent if government does not tame the effects of climate change, a senior government official has said.Speaking at the launch of the Belgian government-funded projects aimed at averting effects of climate change in Uganda, Mr Okasai Opolot, the commissioner for crop production ministry of Agriculture, said patterns such as El-Nino, where some months will experience heavy rain and long dry spells, resulting into high temperatures, will be responsible for the decline.The country produces slightly more than 30 million tonnes of maize annually and the reduction is expected to see a 5.7m tonne reduction.“You cannot imagine what El-Nino rain have caused. We expected them but they delayed and when they came, lowland areas have been flooded and maize will rot because it will be harvested under heavy rain,” Mr Opolot said. Read more
SLMU,Mwambutsya Ndebesa: Economists ask govt to actively run economy
Economic analysts and civil society organisations want government to stop restricting itself to regulation of businesses and leaving the running of economy to the private sector. Government has been withdrawing from active participation in the economy, relegating itself to a regulatory role.This, according to analysts and the local private sector players, has given rise to capital outflow, partly explaining the rise of inflation and currency volatility the economy is always grappling with.Speaking in Kampala at a public dialogue under the theme: “reclaiming the role of the state in development: can the elections deliver? the main speaker, Mr Mwambutsya Ndebesa, a senior lecturer at Makerere University, described the notion that the state has no role in business, as a fallacy. Read more
URA opens up to mobile money for tax payments, Ms Doris Akol, the Commissioner General 
After attempts with Warid Telecom failed, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has now tapped MTN Uganda in order to allow tax payments using mobile money services.The second attempt at using mobile money for tax payment will allow taxpayers to use mobile money for clearance of taxes and other non-tax revenue like driving permits, passport fees, government tender fees and court fines, among others. Taxpayers will have a transaction limit of Shs4 million.“URA is transforming into a client-centric organisation. Anyone that accepts payments to be made and doesn’t recognise mobile money payments is not client-centric,” Ms Doris Akol, the Commissioner General URA told reporters. URA signed a similar agreement with then Warid Telecom and Orient Bank the deal fell through when Airtel acquired Warid. “The buyer did not continue with the payment system but still, they offered fewer options when it came to the types of taxes,” she added.Read more
Ronald Zake, chairman IIU: Insurers challenged to invest in micro-insurance
Ronald Zake, chairman Insurance Institute of Uganda (IIU) has challenged players in the industry to embrace micro-insurance to cater for small and medium size enterprise. Zake informed the players that microfinance institutions also want the sector to provide them affordable packages. "A law to regulate micro-insurance is coming up," Zake said.He said this during the CEO IIU Forum held at Golf Course Hotel. Zake said the institute has continued to engage the Insurance Regulatory Authority on the Insurance Amendment Bill. "We want to ensure that the institute is recognized as the training, examination and certifying body of all persons engaged in insurance," Zake said a bench marking visit to the Insurance Institute of South Africa to see how best the institute develops its diploma qualification was conducted. "The Institute of South Africa has agreed to work with as technical partners to have our diploma in place and also to use their materials. A memorandum is to be signed and we should be able to roll out the diploma," Zake said. Read more
Why banks must curb ATM fraud
Victoria Nakibuuka learnt her lesson the hard way. Like many other Ugandans, she is a victim of bank fraud. She was not only left shell-shocked but also penniless after getting an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) notification indicating her account balance was at the bare minimum.It did not immediately occur to her that she could have been a victim of fraud as it later turned out.Many times, she confesses, she allows strangers found at the ATM points to help her withdraw her money from the machine because she cannot do it herself since she doesn’t understand the prompts. In a move to avert fraud, clients of Centenary Bank were required to register for new Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) if they were to withdraw any money using their ATMs. Read more
WTTC Report: Encourage domestic tourism to grow sector
According to the World Tourism and Travel Council report, Uganda’s tourism and travel growth prospects are expected to reach 10 per cent in the medium term up from 5-6 per cent. These are reassuring statistics that provide stakeholders in the tourism sector a basis to mobilise particularly local capital for investment, create backward and forward linkages within the economy. In the same report, direct contribution of tourism to Uganda’s gross domestic product (GDP) is set to jump from 4.3 per cent to 8.4 per cent.This contribution comprises all industries that deal directly with tourists, such hotels, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transport services, as well as the activities of restaurant and leisure industries. Additionally, the industry is estimated to add more than 100,000 direct and indirect jobs and more than Shs2.762 trillion. Read more
Why investing in government securities is good business
Government securities refer to a set of instruments that are used by government to borrow money from the public. Government borrows money when its income falls short of public spending needs. In Uganda, government securities include treasury bills and bonds. Treasury bills are used to borrow money for short periods that do not exceed. The government borrows money through treasury bills from three specific periods. On the other hand, treasury bonds are used when the government needs to borrow money for longer periods. Using treasury bonds, the government borrows for periods.Government income comes principally from tax and non-tax revenue. Other sources of finances for public expenditure include donor funding as well as borrowing from abroad. Read more
UCC: MTN subscribers demand better voice, data services
 Telecom giant MTN has had a bumpy road. After court ruled that the telecom pays Shs2.3 billion to EzeeMoney for sabotaging business, now, subscribers are demanding that the telecom improves its quality of service.An official at the Uganda Communications Commission told Daily Monitor at the sidelines of the Northern Corridor Joint Operator-Regulator technical meetings at UCC headquarter that the operator had registered technical challenges. He added that subscribers had lodged several complaints on MTN’s voice and data services. UCC will release specifics on the sector’s performance assessing among other things the operators’ quality of service (QoS), network performance (NP) and busy hour (BH).UCC’s spokesman and director of Broadcasting Fred Otunnu however says there has been general compliance with regard to quality of service in the telecom industry, however he contends there are persistent complaints such as drop call rates.Read more
Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire: African governments should remove trade barriers, says Otafiire
African countries continue to have trade barriers restricting the movement of goods and services despite efforts to unify the continent. In East Africa, for instance, the presence of nontariff barriers has restricted trading, especially where goods have to enter markets such as Kenya and Tanzania from Uganda.The global chairman of the Pan African Movement and minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire, says the barriers need to be broken down by African governments if they are to create jobs and boost investment on the continent.“African countries need to tear down artificial borders in order for the continent to get economic freedom. We have had political freedom for a while, but economic freedom remains a dream for most African countries. Read more
Top 100 mid-sized survey: Building brands that go beyond borders,MPMD Tony Gloss
When the Top 100 Mid-Size Survey, a brain-child of the Nation Media Group (Monitor Publications Limited) and KPMG was launched, not even the companies that were involved then fully understood its magnitude and impact.The number of mid-size companies voluntarily registering for the ranking is overwhelming despite the rigorous processes and scrutiny the firms are subjected to.Speaking ahead of Top 100 mid-size gala, Monitor Publications managing director Tony Glencross said the success of this project was based on perseverance. He said: “There will be companies that will not make it but there is always a next time.”He also attributed a lot of the success of the project to commitment, dedications and transparency of the mid-size companies. 400 countries registered, out of which 250 were surveyed. Read more
Analyst Craig Erlam, Oanda: Global markets push higher after darkened by terror
A deadly attack on a hotel in Bamako, Mali by a jihadist group that left at least 27 dead, after the devastating attacks on Paris, added to fears that Islamic extremists were seeking to exploit vulnerabilities in many countries.But investors appeared unfazed and more inspired by signs from the Federal Reserve of confidence in the strength of the US economy, and of willingness to ease monetary policy even more from the European Central Bank.After a series of worrisome reports from US retailers, raising concerns about the Christmas shopping season, updates from other stores and chains were more positive -- including a solid dividend hike by Nike -- helping to buoy Wall Street. Read more
Justice Henry Peter Adonyo: High Court penalises MTN for malicious business conduct
 Malicious, egregious, vindictive, oppressive and high-handedness. These are some of the words used by Justice Henry Peter Adonyo to describe the conduct of MTN Uganda towards EzeeMoney. MTN Uganda, the largest telecom company in Uganda, was found guilty of aggressively adopting anti-competitive measures towards EzeeMoney.EzeeMoney was awarded damages of Shs2.3b, but MTN has since appealed the ruling.EzeeMoney launched its services in Uganda to tap into the growing mobile money market. At the time, MTN Uganda was – and still is – the leading mobile money service provider in the country. EzeeMoney had made the entry to tap into a market where it could provide third party mobile money services to people without handsets. Read more
Denmark Ambassador to Uganda Morgens Pedersen: Corruption frustrating trade, investment in Uganda - envoy
Rampant corruption and unnecessary bureaucracy in government are some of the major reasons frustrating trade and investment between the Nordic countries and Uganda, Denmark Ambassador to Uganda Morgens Pedersen has said.Speaking at the closing ceremony of the Nordic-East Africa Trade Summit & Expo in Kampala, Mr Pedersen said investors from NORDIC countries of Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden are normally attracted to environment that quicken business operations rather than stifle it.And if Uganda is to improve its trade relation with these countries, it should do more in curbing corruption and eliminating barriers to trade, bureaucracy, especially in government processes.“There is too much red tape in Uganda that makes the country less attractive to NORDIC investors and businesses. Corruption remains the main issue and then the bureaucracies in the system,” Mr Pedersen told Daily Monitor in an interview. Read more
 Deputy executive director,Patricia Ejalu: UNBS cautions on standards
The Uganda Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has cautioned local manufacturers against thinking that standards were about mere getting product certificates from UNBS. Products certification involves the issuance of a certificate or mark (or both) to demonstrate that a specific product meets a defined set of requirements such as safety, fitness for use and/or interchangeability characteristics for that product, usually specified in a standard."Standards are not about certificates. There are processes to go through before you get a standard," Patricia Ejalu, the UNBS deputy executive director said. Ejalu said this during a conference on enhancing local participation in the petroleum development. The function was organized by UNBS in collaboration with the Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment. The function took place at Protea Hotel, Kampala. Ejalu said certification refers to the confirmation of certain characteristics of a product, person, or an organization. Read more
CEO,Mr Brian Gouldie: Millions at stake as MTN deactivates sIM-cards
At least 300,000 MTN Uganda subscribers have been disconnected for failing to register their sim-cards.Mr Brian Gouldie, the chief executive officer MTN Uganda, confirmed to journalists that the subscribers had not taken part in the sim-card registration process.However, the numbers of sim-cards that could be deregistered could be in millions.Mr Gouldie said: "We have deactivated 300,000 sim-cards, which had not been registered. We have at least 11.4 million subscribers that are both partially and fully registered." Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) gave telecom companies, to have switched off unregistered sim-cards in order to avoid being fined.This is the second deadline UCC is issuing to telecom companies after the famously touted sim-card registration closed- after several extensions. Read more
UTB: 75 agencies to market Uganda
Shs500m has been invested in inviting 75 foreign tourism marketing agencies to sample Uganda’s attractions so as to sell the country as a possible tourist destination, the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) has revealed. According to UTB marketing manager Edwin Muzahura, the companies, which have just completed a familiarisation tour of Uganda’s tourism destinations, are also participating in the inaugural Pearl of Africa Tourism exhibition, which opened at the Kampala Serena Hotel. Notable among the countries in attendance are Ghana, Singapore, Belgium, Jordan, Italy, Zimbabwe, Palestine, Ecuador, USA, Columbia and Japan.“This is one of the strategies we are using for countries such as Italy, USA and others that have never experienced our products because they have not been selling Uganda as a destination,” Mr Muzahura said. Read more
Rugunda to address African global business forum in Dubai
Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda is in Dubai where he is slated to address the African Global Business Forum. Rugunda who is representing President Museveni at the forum, is accompanied by a Ugandan delegation which includes the Minister of State in charge of Technology in the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Sports Prof. Tokboa, the Minister of State in charge of investment in the Ministry of Finance Aston Kajara, the President of the Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Olive Kigongo and respective Government technocrats.The event is being held at Atlantis, The Palm Dubai. The African Global Business Forum is organized by Dubai Chamber of Commerce under the patronage of H.H Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and ruler of Dubai. Read more
MEAA: Minister urges S. Sudan to pay traders’ debts
The government of South Sudan is yet to clear arrears with Ugandan traders amounting to Shs123b and this continues to anger Ugandan traders. The debt traders see no end in sight. Mr Shem Bageine, the State Minister for East African Affairs, told Daily Monitor in an interview that for South Sudan to be considered for entry into the East African Community (EAC), it should first clear the debts.“It is important that South Sudan restores good governance and settles debts with Ugandan traders if the negotiations for entry are to get back on track,” he said.Ever since the war broke out in South Sudan, Ugandan traders have made several demands to have their money recovered but this has yielded nothing. They have, threatened to go on strike and lobby the government of Uganda to help secure the payments. This is yet to happen. Read more
ECB: Dollar hits high against euro
Signs of possible inflation gains in the United States helped boost the dollar to its highest level against the euro.The dollar rose to $1.0644 per euro, and was slightly higher against the yen but fell against British pound.Analysts said that although the 0.2 percent rise in the US consumer price index was weak, underlying gains in health care, insurance and housing costs were likely to accelerate core inflation, giving the Federal Reserve more reason to begin raising interest rates.Meanwhile, another senior European Central Bank official suggested it might need to loosen monetary policy."It's key for a central bank to keep inflation expectations anchored, especially in a period of slack in the economy, and we have some signals that these inflation expectations are still fragile," ECB executive board member Peter Praet said in a Bloomberg interview.Read more
PM Rugunda set to officiate at regional business symposium
Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda and Netherlands Ambassador to Uganda Alphons Hennekens will officiate at the regional symposium on ‘Scaling Social Business in East Africa’ at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala.The symposium seeks to provide a platform for addressing key development and insights regarding social entrepreneurship and impact investments in the region.Key sectors of the economy that will top the agenda include agriculture, which employs over 60 per cent of the labour force in the region, education and energy.“It will facilitate the sharing of practical examples and insights on the strong alignment between development objectives and business interests and identify examples of innovative collaborations from the region,” reads part a statement sent to this newspaper. Read more
SEWBU, Dr Jean -Pascal Nganou: WB urges Uganda to guard against volatile oil prices
The World Bank has asked governments of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania to develop insurance measures to guard against fluctuating oil prices as they prepare to begin production.Prices of oil and gas usually affect the cost of goods and services at both national and international markets.Uganda has both oil and gas deposits, Kenya has oil, while Tanzania has large deposits of gas and the three East African countries are preparing to begin producing for local and international markets.Addressing participants at a regional conference on oil and gas in Entebbe, the World Bank Senior Economist Uganda country office, Dr Jean -Pascal Nganou, said oil and gas prices will always fluctuate and countries should be prepared to handle the consequences. Read more
SAHCU,Lekoa Mollo: South Africans form forum to boost trade with Uganda
South African businesses operating in Uganda have formed a forum to strengthen trade relations between the two countries.Christened the Forum for South African Businesses in Uganda, the association is expected to carry out a survey on how many jobs are created for Ugandans, revenue contributed to the economy and skills training for local business communities. All these are aimed at boosting trade.In his keynote address to a delegation of South African businessmen on an outward investment mission to Uganda in Kampala South African High Commissioner to Uganda Lekoa Mollo said: “This forum will also look into how they would facilitate Ugandan businessmen to have footprints in South Africa”.He said South Africa considers Uganda as its strategic economic partner because of its location and link to the Great lakes region.Because of this, he said: “I call on you South African business community to do business with Uganda because it will allow you to strengthen and spread your relations with other countries in Eastern Africa.” Read more
LKAA: MTN appeals Shs2.3 billion court award to EzeeMoney
MTN Uganda has appealed a court award of Shs2.3b to electronic money provider, EzeeMoney for sabotaging its business.“Take notice that the defendant being dissatisfied with the decision of the Commercial Court, intends to appeal to the Court of Appeal against the whole decision,” reads a notice filed before the court.The High Court presided over by Justice Henry Adonyo ordered MTN Uganda to pay Shs800m in general damages for loss of business and Shs1.5b to EzeeMoney as punitive damages, saying it would deter uncompetitive business tactics.Justice Adonyo said MTN breached the law that prohibits anti-competitive conduct against providers of communication services.Court also ruled that EzeeMoney’s cash transfer services were communications services although EzeeMoney is not registered.MTN, through its lawyers of Kampala Associated Advocates, insist that EzeeMoney is not a licensed communication services provider protected by the Uganda Communications Act, and that the services to EzeeMoney were not terminated but migrated to pre-paid service for failing to fulfill the vetting requirements. Read more
MTN wins respite over huge Nigerian fine
South African telecoms giant MTN has won a respite on the payment of a massive $5.2 billion fine imposed on the company in Nigeria to allow for negotiations, the mobile phone operator said.The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) slapped the penalty on Africa's largest telecoms firm for failing to deactivate 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards, sending its share price plummeting and leading to the resignation of chief executive Sifiso Dabengwa.The deadline for the fine to be paid, but the company announced that the NCC had agreed that it will not be payable until the end of negotiations entered into by acting executive chairman Phuthuma Nhleko, who has taken on Dabengwa's role."Shareholders are advised that the executive chairman of the company, Mr Phuthuma Nhleko, has personally met with the Nigerian authorities to continue the ongoing discussions with them regarding the fine," the statement said. Read more
Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda: Kabale SACCOs receive sh1 billion from govt
Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has handed over cheques of One billion shillings from the Microfinance Support Centre Ltd to Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisations (SACCOs) in Kabale. Some of the beneficiaries included Lyamujungu cooperative financial services Ltd, Rukiga Savings and Credit Scheme and Buyanja Cooperative Savings and Credit Society Ltd who received 400 million, 350 million and 200 million shillings respectively. Delivering the cheques at White Horse Inn in Kabale, Rugunda said Government recognizes the importance of financing rural enterprises in enhancing productivity and the overall reduction of poverty.“On behalf of Government, I wish to pledge Government’s continued commitment in supporting the financial services sector and particularly Microfinance Support Centre Ltd (MSC) that has exhibited the competence and capacity to deliver on this program,” said the Premier. Read more
Atul Chaturvedi, the CEO of Pearl: Uganda’s Pearl Dairy to build plant in Kenya
Uganda-based Pearl Dairy Farms Limited is set to build a production and repackaging plant in Nairobi's Industrial Area as it moves to grow its market share in Kenya.The company, the agricultural arm of the Midland Group, serves the local market with ghee, butter and milk powder imported from its Ugandan plant.Pearl says initial estimates of the investment in the planned factory stands at about Sh100 million.“We have for long been serving the Kenyan market from Uganda and our new factory will help in repackaging our products and subsequently set up a plant,” Atul Chaturvedi, the CEO of Pearl told Business Daily in an interview in Nairobi.“The repackaging factory will be operational while the manufacturing plant will follow as the sector has shown significant growth encouraging investments,” he added. Read more
Economic analyst Fred Muhumuza: Businesses reap big in election fiesta as experts warn of crisis
 Life is not the same now on Nasser Road. Just like other parts of Kampala city, Nasser Road has a reputation for harbouring all sorts of traders, including “hustlers” who are prepared to do anything to earn a quick shilling.It is here that you can be made to believe that colour black is white and if not so, at least they are both the same. However, this part of the city has been bustling with businesses, thanks to the political calendar, particularly about this time, all political positions in the country are vied for. Presidential and parliamentary elections, this time traders, especially those in printing and branding, have noticed increased business deals.When interviewed for this article, Mr Juma Ismail, a graphic designer at Nasser Road, said compared to the last presidential and parliamentary campaign period, this time round, the orders for election materials are not only bigger in terms of quantity but value as well. Read more
CEO Wilson Twamuhabwa: UGAFODE targets rural farmers through mobile banking
The Uganda Agency for Development Limited (UGAFODE) microfinance has unveiled a mobile banking system that will see its close to 60,000 clientele able to save, deposit and repay loans using their mobile money accounts. The service was unveiled during a media briefing at the UGAFODE head offices in Kampala.The initiative, according to chief executive officer Wilson Twamuhabwa, resulted from a 29.3 per cent (Shs4.8b) investment by Accion International, a global non-profit organisation that supports microfinance institutions to provide financial services to low-income earners.“Our new partnership with Accion International will help UGAFODE expand across Uganda and provide more quality financial services to families, communities, and entrepreneurs who have made do without them for too long,” Mr Twamuhabwa said.He added: “The initiative will be made easier to the rural clients through financial literacy where we shall be working with mobile money agents on how to translate some of the wordings.” Read more
Adjust policies to cope with slowdown - IMF
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called on African policy makers to make adjustments to cope with the economic growth slowdown and other challenges affecting the continent. IMF says fiscal policy makers need to strike an appropriate balance between debt sustainability considerations and addressing development needs.Like in other regions of the world, sub-Saharan African countries are facing large fiscal deficits which have seen a shift from surplus to deficit.The IMF regional economic outlook for sub-Saharan Africa reveals that economic activity in the region has weakened markedly although growth remains stronger than in many other regions, with growth expected at 3.75 per cent and 4.25 per cent. Read more
KCCA warns against street vending in campaigns
Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has warned vendors against operating illegal businesses especially street vending in the city during the campaigns. In an interview with New Vision, the authority spokesperson Peter Kaujju said they have realized that the habit is on the rise especially during campaign rallies. Kaujju said the act is a disadvantage to those who operate legally and those who pay trading licenses as they lose customers to street vendors. He added that people compete for space on walkways as vendors display their goods on pavements. Kaujju explained that street vendors take advantage of KCCA enforcement officers' absence to trade. "The authority will add vigilance to see that we don't lose what we have installed in the city in this campaign period," he said. He however said they wouldn't want any of the people in the city to face the authority's penalties for any of these actions. Read more
Government yet to recapitalise Uganda Development Bank - chairman
Government is yet to deliver on a promise to recapitalise Uganda Development Bank (UDB). UDB will be recapitalised by Shs5b much lower than the mentioned Shs500b. UDB got several mentions from the State-of-the-Nation Address and Budget Speech, with both indicating that the bank would be capitalised by Shs500b in the medium term.Dr Samuel Sejjaaka, the chairman UDB, while speaking at The Association of African Development Finance Institutions in Kampala, said government was paying lip-service to the bank.“Government has really been ambivalent in terms of refinancing the bank. We have a very distrustful relationship because the government said they would give us Shs500b towards recapitalisation of the bank, which was mentioned in the State-of-the-Nation Address by the President and in the Budget Speech. When the Budget came out, there was only Shs5b, which has not yet been delivered,” said Dr Sejjaaka.Read more
SAMTI: South Africa to step up investments in Uganda
South Africa has embarked on enhancing its investments in Uganda, Daily Monitor has learnt.
In support of the initiative, South Africa’s department of Trade and Industry will lead a delegation of businesspeople on an outward selling mission (OSM) scheduled to take place in Kampala.The OSM aims to increase trade and investment, and deepen bilateral relations between the two countries.In a communication to Daily Monitor, South Africa’s minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, said: “The mission is part of South Africa’s initiatives to promote continuous and sustainable bilateral trade relations with African countries in order to advance SA’s industrial development and export diversification.”The mission will also serve as an ideal opportunity for South African companies to export value-added products and services to Uganda and identify investment opportunities in the country. Read more
Bank of Uganda Governor Emmanuel Mutebile: Bank of Uganda in financial literacy drive
Many people in Uganda as in other countries lack the knowledge, skills and confidence to manage their finances well. Bank of Uganda Governor Emmanuel Mutebile has come up with the 'Strategy for Financial Literacy in Uganda'. The aim is that Ugandans have the knowledge, skills and confidence to manage their families and personal finances well."The strategy will help individuals to manage their personal finances better; they will be less likely to suffer losses; they will be more likely to be financially included; and they will be able to choose from more competitively priced financial services and products," read part of the strategy.The goals for the Strategy are: to improve the ability of the population to manage their personal finances well; to help equip people to protect themselves against fraud; to make cost-effective use of resources which can be used to strengthen financial literacy; to promote increases in the number, and improvements in the quality, of initiatives to strengthen financial literacy; and to facilitate effective co-ordination and knowledge-sharing between organisations and individuals who are working to improve financial literacy.Read more
EUED, Mr Charles Ocici: Businesses Urged to Set Up Websites for Easy MarketingThe business community has been advised to embrace technology in order to easily market their goods and services.In an era where everything has gone electronic, businesses which have an online presence such as a website and social media account can easily benefit from the digital revolutions.Speaking at a business club seminar organised by Barclays Bank in Kampala, Mr Jerome Mukunda, the chief executive officer of Africa 118, a mobile directory service, advised entrepreneurs to have websites where they can properly market their services."Having an online presence such as a website sells the businesses across borders," he said, adding that in this era, most of the bids and tenders are advertised online and interested parties are advised to apply online.The Enterprise Uganda executive director, Mr Charles Ocici, urged entrepreneurs to put their books in order.He encouraged them to attend training workshops where they will be guided on how to keep their books of accounts.Read more
CSBAG: MPs refuse government to borrow money without their approval
MPs have refused to allow government to use funds from Bank of Uganda without their approval saying the action could lead Bank of Uganda to bankruptcy, high domestic debts and breed corruption.The MPs were debating The Public Finance Management Amendment Bill, which among other changes, seeks to give government a lee way to use money from Bank of Uganda without seeking parliamentary approval. Parliament reconvened from recess to consider various amendments to the Bill.The Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) have opposed various amendments arguing to the Bill which they say are aimed at loosening controls in the Act which safeguard public funds from being misused. CSBAG coordinator Julius Mukunda said, "From the amendments proposed, it is clear that the intention of the executive is to loosen controls that were put in the Act. Removing controls from our Public Finance Management system has potential to perpetuate gross abuse of public resources." Read more
USSIA: SME set to benefit under the EU funded Green Project
Over 100 Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) in Uganda are set to benefit under the SWITCH Africa Green (SWITCH AG)  which has been developed to support African countries in their transition to an Inclusive Green Economy and in promoting a shift to more Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) practices and patterns.SWITCH Africa Green is an EU funded programme implemented by United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). It’s being implemented in six countries which include Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mauritius and South Africa. In Uganda one of the projects is being implemented by Uganda Small Scale Industries Association (USSIA) and the Uganda Cleaner Product Center.Addressing the SME, USSIA Executive Director John Walugembe said that the purpose of the project was to see African countries transit towards a greener economy. Read more
PRCMOTIC: Cabinet approves amended law on cooperative societies
Cabinet has approved the amendments in the law that governs the operations of cooperative societies, with clauses that consolidate, strengthen and enhance monitoring of such associations. Speaking to Daily Monitor, the public relations and communications officer, ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Ms Hadijah Nakakande, said with the new amendments, leaders running such associations will now be subjected to term limits and strict controls aimed at enhancing transparency. “For those whose term could be extended will not run again (for a third term) thereafter as the law puts a cap after serving for two terms,” she said. Also, instead of anybody heading a cooperative society as it were the case before, it is now mandatory for a member wishing to lead such association to be a person held in high esteem, possess undoubted integrity and above suspicion, let alone being successful and a model. Read more
KOBIL: Petrol prices defy dollar, go up
Pump prices of petrol have gone up even as the Shilling makes gains against the dollar. The Shilling has gained about Shs200 against the dollar, contrary to what experts had earlier predicted.A litre of petrol costs Shs3,900 up from Shs3,800 in Kampala, while upcountry, the prices are much higher with a litre costing as much as Shs4,000.Industry players, have however, attributed the increased prices to both the foreign exchange and cost of borrowing that have gone up.“We borrow a lot to import products, this has become very costly. We used to get loans at 7.8 per cent and this has since gone up to 11 per cent,” Hashi Energy group general manager –retail, Peter Ochieng said.Mr Anthony Gatandi, the country manager Kobil Uganda, said: “The depreciation of the Shilling has seen the cost of doing business go up and the cost of borrowing has affected price. Read more
KACITA: Traders threaten to strike over URA directive
Kampala City Traders’ Association (Kacita) has called for a shutdown of businesses protesting a directive by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to imprison importers who undervalue or falsely declare imports.In a meeting held in Kampala, the traders protested the directive saying many times the said faults are a result of “mistakes” and that the tax body resorting to imprisonment of their members, will wash away the good relations between the tax payers and the collectors.“The traders are not against paying taxes but you cannot arrest someone for undervaluing as a first resort yet sometimes it is by mistake,” Mr Everisto Kayondo, the association chairperson, said in Kampala.He added: “We have called for a meeting with URA but in vain. So far, five members have been arrested and are out of prison.”The traders concerns come at a time when URA is struggling to meet revenue targets.Read more
Strong dollar pushes BoU income to Shs1.4 trillion
Bank of Uganda (BoU) has recorded a surge in income generated as a result of a strong dollar. In its report released, BoU’s operating income rose to Shs1.4 trillion up from Shs152.9b.“The increase in total comprehensive income is a result of the depreciation of the Uganda Shilling that resulted into foreign exchange and fair value gains of Shs1.5 trillion,” the annual report reads. BoU holds 84 per cent of its assets in foreign currencies and once converted into Uganda Shillings, there are gains. This is because the Uganda Shilling has weakened against all major currencies.“BoU made unrealised gains in the region of Shs1.5 trillion on its holdings of foreign exchange, because the depreciation of the exchange rate raised the Shilling value of these foreign currency denominated assets,” Ms Christine Alupo, the director communications BoU told Daily Monitor. Read more
CEO, E-World Media Issac Kigozi :Ugandans in diaspora to promote local tourism
A group of Ugandans from the United States (US) Califonia, in partnership with Tri-Crown Group an American based film house have embarked on a project to promote Uganda’s tourism potentials through film production. While meeting the vice president, Edward Ssekandi, at his office, at the Office of the President in Kampala, the delegation said they are going to with the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to identify the unique areas which can be marketed. The delegation was led by Abbey Walusimbi (Chairman of the National Resistance Movement in the Diaspora), Isaac Kigozi (Chief Executive of E-World Media) and Phil Viardo, the Executive Vice President Tri-Crown Production group. Viardo said through Television entertainment, his team is to work with ABC network to reach many American households on the new discoveries in Uganda. Read more
USAID: Uganda's coffee leads on African market
Uganda's coffee is still leading in Africa, an indication that there is an assured international market for the country's top income earner.To maintain the market, there is need promote value chains in coffee to encourage the youth to tap into the value chain and export more coffee products.This is according to the USAID deputy mission director, Mark Meassick, during the first Youth Coffee festival organized by the National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses Enterprises (NUCAFE) recently at the UMA show grounds.He said one of the promoting innovations in coffee is by government implementing the Coffee Policy which will provide a regulatory regime to create an enabling environment for the coffee and entrepreneurs in the sector. Read more
Secretary to the Treasury, Mr Keith Muhakanizi: Is the Public Finance Management Act to blame for the pensioners’ woes?
It’s tough living without one’s salary,” says Moses Kintu, 70.“Now imagine a pensioner going without his or her pension.”Kintu used to work in the Ministry of Local Government. He has been drawing a pension since then. He does not say what his pension is or was.When Professor Apolo Nsibambi was the minister of Public Service, Kintu says all pensioners would receive their pension. Things have since changed. The government has not paid him his pension. Why? There are claims that the government is broke.The Secretary to the Treasury, Mr Keith Muhakanizi, refutes the claim.However, he adds that ‘government revenue is slightly below target’. He does not give specifics.“Revenue from treasury bonds is bad,” Muhakanizi says, adding, “As a result, where a need arises, we shall cut budget expenditure to be in line with revenue.” Read more
Election handouts: The scourge eating the economy, DEM Group
The earnest obligation to vote seems to have lost meaning with many turning the civic duty into a season of cash bonanzas. The Electoral Commission completed nomination for the presidential candidates but the scenes in some camps at party rallies tells of a deeper rot that has dug deep into society. The election period, according to a Democracy Monitoring Group (DEM Group) report, is usually heavy on cash handouts with reports of wide spread bribery patronising the season. The report, on Money in Politics, shows pervasive vote buying but warns of skewed outcomes that do not reflect the will of society.DEM Group, whose objective is to help create a free and fair election, stresses that the use of money has “become a culture with voters becoming accustomed to receiving bribes in exchange for votes”. But all this, analysts say, could be the work of a rotten society that has willing vote sellers and buyers as both seek to gain from each other. Read more
by Milly Kalyabe
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