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World Bank Report: Dependence spreading poverty - experts
Dependency “syndrome” coupled with bad attitudes largely explain why a substantial segment of the population survives on less than two dollars a day, a panel of experts discussing why some citizens are excluded from major economic sectors have said.The experts were speaking during the launch of a World Bank funded report “Inclusion Matters: The Foundation for Shared Prosperity” in Kampala.According to the Executive Director of Enterprise Uganda, Mr Charles Ocici, until the country, particularly individual citizens rise above what he describes as the dependency syndrome, the largest segment of the society will remain excluded or part time players, impacting negatively on the economy. 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
 Chairman, Everest Kayondo 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
Elly Karuhanga, chairman of 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, 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 buyings 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

Africa still has immense potential despite challenges
Globally, emerging markets are enduring challenges prompting a review of gross domestic product (GDP) forecasts. However, Africa continues to exhibit potential and great optimism. The ‘Africa rising’ narrative has spurred some scepticism with claims of growth data bei
ng inflated but investors still consider the continent a source of positive investment. Global pressures may have an impact on forecast, but in the long term Africa is likely to outperform other markets as more Africans invest in the continent. African investments have nearly tripled their share of FDI projects rising from 8 per cent more than 22 per cent. Africa has two key drivers - demographics and expansion of trade corridors that have exhibited great potential. Read more

URACG: URA misses revenue target by Shs36b
A slump in sales of locally manufactured beer, the One Network Area (ONA) and reduced Value Added Tax (VAT), all contributed to the failure by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to hit its target. In collection statistics released, the revenue body collected Shs2.46 trillion, short of the Shs2.5 trillion target. According to the authority, the deficit was due to the poor performance of domestic taxes.Domestic tax collections amounted to Shs1.3 trillion against a target of Shs1.36 trillion. There was less VAT payable by the oil and gas, electricity, soft drinks and beer segments. “This was due to increased capital investments in the sectors, which affected the net VAT payable because VAT is not a tax on investments,” said Ms Doris Akol, the URA Commissioner General. Read more
Ambassador Alessandra Mariani: EU offers Shs348b to aid regional integration
 The European Union has signed €85m (Shs348b) in grants to facilitate regional integration through removal of internal trade barriers. The money is expected to help three main economic blocs; the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Corporation (SADC) reduce costs incurred in cross-border trade.The funding provided under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF), was signed in Lusaka, Zambia and will go on up.The new European Union head of delegation and special representative to Comesa, Ambassador Alessandra Mariani during the signing, said: “The EU funds will increase private sector participation in regional and global value chains through improved investment/business climate and enhance competitiveness and productive capacity”. Read more
BOA: Shilling makes major gain as demand for dollar drops
 The Uganda Shilling continued to strengthen against the dollar, defying a trend that most people had predicted.The Shilling had been trading in the Shs3,690 range but by the end of trading, it was in the Shs3,407/3,417 range against the dollar.The local currency has gained nearly Shs200 on the dollar. Some commercial banks are quoting it at a much lower rate of Shs3,390.A market note from Bank of Africa (BoA) reveals the Shilling strengthened “due to more forex sell-offs.” The sell-off of forex tends to flood the market with scarce dollars, which eventually brings down the rate.The market has been stocking up on dollars, selling them at a premium but now those same dollars have been available.Read more
Interswitch: Banks urged to adopt Chip and PIN technology to fight fraud
The CEO Interswitch Uganda, Mr Olumuyiwa Asagba, has said banks, especially those on their Interswitch network, should adopt the new Chip and PIN technology to minimise cases of fraud.Centenary Bank customers were asked by the bank to change their PIN numbers after some customers were finding anomalies, where withdrawals had been made from their accounts without their knowledge.Centenary Bank is one of the largest indigenous banks operating on the Interswitch service, having joined the platform.The commotion which was attributed to an error due to a system upgrade by the bank affected the Interswitch service causing panic across the divide.Speaking during the launch of Interswitch’s new logo that will be globally recognised, Mr Asagba said the kind of fraud being witnessed involves fraudsters copying card and PIN details of customers and using the information to commit crime.Read more
Export earnings expected to drop by Shs682b, says BoU
Uganda’s export earnings are expected to drop by $200m (Shs682b), following a decline in global trade.The Bank of Uganda (BoU) says the expected decline in export earnings will worsen the country’s already weak balance of payments, resulting in a sharp depreciation of the Uganda Shilling. BoU executive director of research Adam Mugume told Daily Monitor’s sister newspaper The East African, that Uganda’s total export earnings are projected at $2.4b while the import bill is likely to be $6b.“The impact of the global economic slowdown has affected Uganda in terms of reduced earnings from commodity exports, while imports are projected to rise,” he said.Most of Uganda’s exports go to the European Union, the US and China. Uganda’s exports have also been gaining momentum in regional markets, especially South Sudan. Read more
Standard Chartered being investigated
Britain's financial watchdog has two open investigations against British bank Standard Chartered, the lender's CEO said. "We have two investigations with the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) related to sanctions compliance and anti money laundering oversight," chief executive Bill Winters said in a conference call. "Those investigations are ongoing. Impossible for us to determine exactly when those will conclude or the magnitude if any fine that could result from that," he said, adding: "We're cooperating fully". Standard Chartered paid $667 million to settle charges it violated US sanctions by handling thousands of money transactions involving Iran, Myanmar, Libya and Sudan. It is under monitoring. The Asia-focused emerging markets bank also said earlier that it was cooperating with "an ongoing US sanctions-related investigation". Read more
MGLSD: Youth undertake agriculture projects under the Youth Livelihood Programme
Pius Bigirimana, the permanent secretary ministry of labour, gender and social development has expressed satisfaction with the The Youth Livelihood Programme (YLP) saying since it was launched, there has 71,866 beneficiaries of the program. Of these 45% (32,113) are female and 55% (39,753) are male. They have received a total of sh38b and undertaken 5,507 projects."Many people thought the youth were not interested in agriculture but the projects show that the majority of projects are in agriculture. We also have university graduates getting the funds. Those who have received the funds have also stated paying back," Bigirimana said.The Youth Livelihood Programme (YLP) is a rolling Government of Uganda Programme, targeting the poor and unemployed youth in all the districts in the country. The Programme is implemented under the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD). Read more
Standard Chartered axes 15,000 jobs, announces $5.1 bn capital raise
Asia-focused British bank Standard Chartered said it would axe 15,000 jobs and raise $5.1 billion in capital after posting a "disappointing" loss as it struggles to return to growth.The job losses are part of a major restructuring that will cost around $3 billion, the bank said. A Standard Chartered spokeswoman said she could not give any further detail on the job cuts.More than half of the restructuring costs would come from potential losses on liquidating assets and businesses, the bank said in a statement.The remaining charges would be from "potential redundancy costs" of a planned headcount reduction of 15,000, as well as goodwill write downs, it added.The bank reported an unexpected pre-tax loss of $139 million compared with $1.53 billion profit in a performance described as "disappointing" by Group Chief Executive Bill Winters.Revenue was down 18.4 percent to $3.68 billion and impairment losses increased from $536 million to $1.23 billion . Read more
UEGCL: Construction agreement for Nyagak III Hydro Power signed
Government and a German firm have signed $1.7m Euro (sh7.1b) supervision contract agreement for the construction of Nyagak III Small Hydro Power Project located in West Nile region.The project is located along Nyagak River in Zombo District.The project will generate 5.5mw of electricity that will be sold at an affordable price to over 8,500 households in the region.The Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL) signed the agreement on behalf of government with German based GOPA-International Energy Consultants GmbH in association with Italian based Zollet Ingegneria as owner's engineer for the project. The function took place at the UEGCL offices in Nakasero.Dr. Eng. Harrison Mutikanga, chief executive officer UEGCL said they were hiring a reputable firm as 'owner's engineer' whose role will be to carry out construction supervision of the project to ensure adherence to the work plan, budget, quality standards and health, safety and environment standards. Read more
URA upgrades its electronic system
The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has completed an upgrade to its Asycuda World tax system to make it quicker and better after users complained of intermittent system failure. Doris Akol, the URA Commissioner General noted that integrating Uganda’s tax system with other systems in the East African Community (EAC) such as Kenya’s Simba system sometimes slows the network. She noted that the network breaks down when users, such as clearing and forwarding firms, plug into it with limited bandwidth. “The network has not been robust enough and we did an upgrade of the system which will make it better,” Akol said at the sidelines of a field visit to African Queen Limited, a local large tax payer in Namanve, Mukono. She noted that the growth in African Queen Limited’s tax returns from to sh10b from sh575m is evidence that disciplined companies that pay their taxes can grow and thrive. Akol pointed out that efforts to expand the tax register have led to the addition of 102,000 new tax payers worth sh23b in tax revenues in the Kampala district alone.  The tax register had just 780,000 taxpayers at the end. Read more
More intra-regional trade can protect African economies from external shocks, says IMF's Nord
The International Monetary Fund’s growth projections for Africa of 3.75 per cent increasing only slightly  to 4.25 per cent which is indeed significantly lower than we had anticipated before. That’s mainly because of two main reasons; one is the radically lower commodity prices especially oil whose value dropped by 50 percent but also other items such as copper, iron ore, coal, all of which have seen their prices fall significantly between 40 percent and sometimes 60 per cent. Second factor is the tighter financial conditions in the global markets; spreads on Euro-bonds, the limited availability of financing, all these have become tighter and these do have an effect on growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. 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  since the country’s 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 headline inflation were foodcrop inflation which rose to 20.2 per cent compared to 10.2 per cent increase recorded. Ubos explains that the other driver responsible for the inflation increase is the energy fuel and utility inflation that accelerated to 11.9 per cent compared to 3.8 per cent, on account of the increase in electricity tariffs. Read more
PSFU: 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 the 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
Maria Kiwanuka tips on digital era at PRAU event
Speaking at the 5th annual Public Relations Association of Uganda(PRAU) awards, former finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka, who also doubles as the CEO of Radio one Uganda, tipped Public relations specialists on how to optimize the digital era.She reasoned that whereas in the past, news was presented to the public through a certified and institutionalized form of main stream media, the case is different.“This is the age of citizen journalism where with the usage of social media anybody anywhere and at any time can present news to the public,” said Kiwanuka, She urged therefore that Public relations practitioners should always be on the alert, responding to what people want to know. She added that practitioners should be active rather than reactive, energise their audiences, communicate both bad and good news,treat individuals with the greatest respect among other values. Read more
SABMiller: Commercial cassava beer taps new market in Mozambique
In Mozambique's bars and street stalls, the tipple of choice nowadays is a cold "Impala" -- a beer made from cassava rather than barley that is fast capturing a valuable slice of the African market.Cassava, also known as manioc or yuca, is a root vegetable grown across sub-Saharan Africa as a staple crop, and has long been used to make home-brewed beer.Impala became the world's first commercially made cassava beer when it was launched by SABMiller through local subsidiary Cervejas de Mocambique (CDM)."As long as it is ice cold, it is better," Dercio Machava told AFP at a backstreet stall on the outskirts of the capital Maputo, adding that its alcohol content of 6.5 percent was "a bit higher than other beers". Read more
UBA: Bankers demand fast-tracking of industry legislation
Cabinet delay to see through legislation that will allow the banking industry introduce several new products and enable the players tap into more innovative ways of doing business is frustrating progress.Despite pronouncing itself on the matter, government is still dragging its feet over legislations that will allow banking industry players widen their services to encompass emerging development.The banking industry leadership wants the policy makers to consider speeding up passing of such legislations so that the industry players can launch them after years of preparation. In his speech at the joint annual bankers’ dinner in Kampala, Uganda Bankers’ Association (UBA) chairman Fabian Kasi said: “UBA hopes that we continue to get laws and regulations that are conducive to effective banking environment, and to this end we would like to urge policy makers to fast track the passing of laws that will enable provision of more banking products.” Read more
MD Mayur Madhvani:  Sugar export plans hit snag as Kakira registers shortfall
 Plans to export sugar to the Kenyan market have hit a snag following a production shortfall by Kakira Sugar Works.During his visit to Uganda, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Ugandan counterpart Museveni struck a deal under which Ugandan made sugar would be exported to Kenya.The deal drew immediate criticism from the opposition in Kenya, which argued that it would kill the sugar industry and hit the economy hard.However, it now appears that the deal will be affected more by developments in Uganda and not those in Kenya.Speaking to Daily Monitor in Kakira, Kakira Sugar Works joint managing director Mayur Madhvani blamed the production shortfall on the ongoing El Nino rains and government’s insistence on licensing “small sugar farms” to operate within the same zone as his firm.Read more
WB: Uganda improves in investment destination ranking
Uganda’s move to allow online registration of businesses, make faster electricity connections and expand access to credit information, have improved the country as an investment destination.This is according to the World Bank Doing Business Report, released.Uganda jumped 13 places from 132 to 122 out of 189 economies surveyed.In the sub-Saharan Africa (SAA) region, the report says Uganda is the 12th best rank in the sub-Saharan Africa region out of 47 economies.“It is also one of the 35 economies in SSA out of 47 that implemented a reform,” says the new report. Even with the improvement, Uganda still lags behind Rwanda and Kenya, which jumped 21 places to 108 in the rankings. Read more
Market chairperson Jonathan Gitta:  Anxiety as traders abandons Wandegeya market
Wandegeya market operators are worried about the rising number of traders leaving the market.In an exclusive interview with the New Vision, the market chairperson Jonathan Gitta said that the market is supposed to be occupied by 1100 traders but they currently have only 70% of the number."Some people come into the market expecting to get high profits immediately so when they fail to do so, they leave the market," he said.He also said that they have been forced to join up some lockups to get bigger ones after realizing that most of the traders leave the market because of limited space."The market will then be occupied by 900 traders after joining up several lockups instead of 1100 traders," he added. He further explained that the major problem of the market is luck of customers who think products and groceries in the market are at high prices. Read more
MUPSF: Makerere unveils Shs124 billion data centre to honour Mutebile
Makerere University Private Sector Forum (MUPSF) has unveiled a Shs124b ($35m) Mutebile centre of excellence for private sector development.The centre will be constructed at the university in honour of Central Bank governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile.The project, whose construction is estimated to kick off, will serve as a database for information to the public, according to MUPSF executive director Nuha Mwesigwa Akiiki. “The project will also act as a data centre for exhibitions of innovations, research products, and centre for knowledge transformation and information exchange across all sections including education, economics to politics, among others,” said Mr Mwesigwa.Mr Mwesigwa added that the project which intends to bridge the gap between the private sector and academia, was constructed to recognise Mr Mutebile’s illustrious public service and commitment to national development, intellectual vibrancy in monetary policy, banking and finance and private sector development in Uganda and beyond. Read more
Local mechanic assembled his manual car in four years
Who is Kayiira?I am 37 years old. I have a wife and children. I was born in Kiganda Kooki to the late Jacob Munyanga, I joined Nyondo Garage in the mid-1990s and I started my own garage. I decided to travel to London where I pursued a motor assembling course.How long did you study this course?I studied it for two years.From where did you get the knowledge to assemble a car?I did a car assembling course in London at Blackburn College. So from there, I just transferred what I learnt into practice. That college has every course you can think of.How much did you invest in building this car?It cost me Shs40m.With all that money, you could have bought a nice and luxurious car. Why did you have to assemble your own?I had a dream of making my own car one day, so I was just following my dream.Read more
CB: Women in business to benefit fromShs1b fund
More than Shs1b has been put aside by several funders to facilitate and develop the capacity of women in business and those aspiring to be in business.The initiative code named Supawoman, targets women in all walks of life, particularly those with ambition to do business or already in business.Women, according to the funders, among them Abi Trust, International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Centenary Bank, are reliable business partners as well as better managers than their male counterparts. And any form of support such as credit facilities will enhance their esteem and make them competitive.The Centenary Bank supervisor for women banking, Ms Hellen Tomusange, told Daily Monitor yesterday that a decision to improve the capacity and nurture women in business, among other things, is informed by research findings showing women as better than men in management and doing business. Read more
ACP: Shilling recovery to continue, experts predict
The Uganda Shilling has continued its recovery against the dollar.By close of business, interbank foreign exchange markets were quoting it at 3,523/3,533 stronger than it opened.This indicated a 4.7 per cent gain from the lowest posture it traded  when it hit 3,692.Experts attribute this performance to a number of factors that have been in support of the Shilling tracking it back when the strong trend began.In an interview with Daily Monitor, Alpha Capital Partners managing director Stephen Kaboyo said: “Important to note is that when the Central Bank raised its policy rate, market appetite for forex fizzled out and literally active market players have been on the sidelines.”Bank of Uganda (BoU) raised the Central Bank Rate to 17 per cent up from 16 per cent. “In my own view, the Shilling will continue with these gyrations and in the coming days, it is likely that we shall see some weakening demand kicks in,” he said. Read more
UNRA: Kampala-Jinja Expressway to affect telecoms, industries and developers
The resettlement impact of the construction of US$1.1b (sh3.6trillion) Kampala-Jinja Expressway is expected to be massive, according to officials from the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA).  Pedestrians, slow moving vehicles and those with powered wheel chairs will not be allowed to use this high speed expressway once it is completed.The officials said a developer will be contracted."We have been doing limited road projects with low resettlement. Compensation will be fast tracked, we don't want to delay this project, it will be business unusual," Pamela Ayebare, land acquisition specialist UNRA said.This was during a meeting with all key stakeholders to discuss the upcoming four lane expressway project. The meeting was held at Kyambogo UNRA offices, Kampala. Over sh300b is required for compensation for the project."Properties affected have been evaluated, assessment forms have been signed, and local leaders have been sensitized. If you add on anything it is at your costs. We have a clear view of properties affected, a development order is in place," Ayebare stressed. Read more
MTN fined $5.2bn over SIM disconnections in Nigeria
Nigeria's telecommunications regulator has fined South African mobile giant MTN $5.2 billion for missing a deadline to disconnect unregistered SIM cards, the company announced.The penalty saw shares in Africa's largest telecommunications company crash more than 12 percent to 167 rand on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the biggest fall the firm has suffered."This fine relates to the timing of the disconnection of 5.1 million MTN Nigeria subscribers," MTN said in a statement.The Nigerian Communications Commission fined the company 200,000 naira (about $1,000) for each unregistered SIM.Early the commission issued a directive to mobile telecoms companies operating in Nigeria to deactivate all unregistered SIM cards. Read more
WUBU: Dollar dips vs euro in profit taking
The dollar slipped slightly as traders booked profits from rally and lackluster US home sales data put pressure on the greenback.Overhanging the market was anticipation of the Federal Reserve's decision  on interest rates, following  meeting. While the Fed is expected to leave its near-zero rate unchanged, the focus will be on the post-meeting statement as traders hope to discern indications of when the hike is coming."Uncertainty over what the Fed would say about US interest rates tempted dollar bulls to cash out a few robust gains," said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions.
The euro rose to $1.1059 around 2100 GMT from $1.1016 at the same time. Meanwhile, the dollar weakened to 121.07 yen from 121.46 yen. Given a series of mixed US economic data, and  rate cuts by China and hints of further monetary policy stimulus from the European Central Bank, odds have fallen for liftoff at the central bank's. Read more
Nakumatt takes over Shoprite Uganda shop in EAC expansion drive
Regional retailer Nakumatt has taken over the branch building that hosted Shoprite Supermarkets in Uganda which closed citing poor location. Shoprite is a South African retail giant with a presence in East Africa but has been disposing some of its assets in the region with plans to exit the region. It sold its three outlets in Tanzania to Nakumatt. The new outlet that Nakumatt has now occupied in Uganda is located in Kampala’s Naalya area at Metroplex Shopping Mall. The retail giant will be covering a space of 35,000 square feet shopping floor area.“We are the anchor tenant at Metroplex Shopping Mall that hosted one of Shoprite outlets in Uganda. We have joined in independently and have not bought out Shoprite this time as we did with Shoprite Tanzania. We have recruited our own staff,” said Nakumatt head of strategy and operations Thiagarajan Ramamurthy in a telephone interview. Read more
BOA: High interest rates a risk to growth
Do you think you are the choice for this job? Definitely yes! I have been part of the Bank of Africa growth and I am fortunate that I have an understanding of the particular levers driving the creation of value to our stakeholders. Secondary, I fully recognise that I am taking charge of an organisation that is comprised of a new fascinating generation that is more forward-looking and extremely innovative. They are more digitally native, more multi-faceted and are eager to have authority and ability to organise their work. In many ways, I identify with this generation and I feel that I am suited to harness optimal value from it.How do you plan to keep Bank of Africa profitable at a time when technology appears to be a threat? My role is to work with my team so we can be able to continuously transform and stay relevant to clients, employees and the public, through use of technology. Read more
UMA: No calm in sight: The troubles hurting Uganda
“It is going to be painful,” this is what Amos Nzeyi said when asked to speak out the state of the economy. Nzeyi is an industrialist and the chairman of Uganda Manufacturers Association. His worry is basically contained in the ever surging power tariffs, which went up by an average of 17.4 per cent. But beyond the tariffs are the stinging commercial interest rates, which have been forced through the roof by the persistent increments in the Bank of Uganda benchmark lending rates.The increments present a gloomy indicator for an economy that has already been weakened by a heavily shedding Shilling, rising inflation and contracted growth projections. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, the Bank of Uganda (BoU) governor increased the Central Bank Rate (CBR) from 16 per cent to 17 per cent, noting that the effects were “yet to feed through completely into prices,” which indicated the worst was yet to come. Read more
UETCL: What it costs to take power to consumers
Electricity end–user tariffs are a function of the generation, transmission and distribution costs divided by the units generated minus the units lost.The Bujagali hydropower plant, which generates 43.5 per cent of the electricity on Uganda’s national grid, sells each unit at the average of $0.11 (Shs398.75).Eskom Uganda Limited generates 37.8 per cent of the power, and it sells each unit at $0.1 (Shs36.25). Kakira Sugar Works generates 8 per cent of the electricity used, and sells it at Shs290.Bugoye–Tronder, which produces 1.3 per cent of the power, charges Shs290, too, per unit.All these companies sell their electricity to Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL), the sole buyer of bulk electricity in Uganda.UETCL will spend Shs834.8b, up from Shs738.1b, to buy electricity from the generation companies.Read more
Tumusiime Mutebile,BOU: Imperial bank's financial woes
From the outside, everything looked cool and calm at the Imperial Bank Kyaggwe Rd Branch in the quiet basement of Mukwano Mall as customers trickled in and out. But the tranquility in the banking hall only belied the turmoil going on at boardroom level. Bank of Uganda, the regulator of the banking industry, announced that it had "temporarily" taken over the management of Imperial Bank Uganda as a "precautionary measure" to protect customers' deposits. Tumusiime Mutebile, the governor, said; "The main purpose of the decision to take over the management of Imperial Bank Uganda is to safeguard the interests of the Bank's customers in Uganda. This is a temporary statutory measure to allow for seamless operations as the affairs of the majority shareholder in Kenya are resolved. This is to assure the public that Imperial Bank Uganda Ltd will remain open and its operations will continue normally, but under the control of Bank of Uganda." Read more
UWRSA: Uganda: Promoting Commodities Trading
Deborah Kyarasiime is the executive director of the Uganda Warehouse Receipt System Authority. She spoke to Isaac Khisa about the new commodities trading system and other issues in the commodity trading industry.What is your personal philosophy of leadership as a manager?We are responsible for the implementation of the Warehouse Receipt System (WRS), which involves a whole range of stakeholders including; ministries, government agencies such as Uganda National Bureau of Standards, Uganda Development Corporation, Uganda Exports Promotion Board, Uganda Coffee Development Authority, Uganda National Commodity Exchange, and private sector players through their umbrella bodies plus development partners.This interrelationship brings about my personal philosophy of leadership as democratic/participatory as opposed to other philosophies, while relating with both internal and the external stakeholders of the WRS. Read more
KPMG East Africa Insurance Fraud Risk Survey : How fraud is suffocating young insurance industry
A section of Ugandans have taken profiteering a little bit too far.For example a car that was bought at Shs15 milllion will have its cost exaggerated overnight to twice its original value when it is being insured.There are those who will fraudulently exaggerate the extent of damage sustained in a car accident or property. Some even go as far as making claims for accidents that never really happened. Others even go a notch higher and stage a real motor accident.As if that is not bad enough, cases of a person faking his own death or people faking a person’s death or causing a person’s death for the insurance payment is no longer a big deal or something unheard of.These are just some of the challenges that the insurance industry in Uganda, with a penetration of 0.8 per cent, the lowest in the region, is faced with.Read more
Police seize Sh153m fake dollars in city printing ring
Police have broken a dollar counterfeiting ring in Nairobi’s Westlands suburb following the arrest of foreign nationals suspected to be behind the scam.Officers from the Flying Squad apprehended the five following a raid on an apartment they were staying in, and found $1.5 million (Sh153 million) in counterfeit notes. The notes were in denominations of $100.The five appeared before Resident Magistrate Joyce Gandani, where they denied the charges. Ms Gandani ordered that they be kept in custody until  when their matter will be heard.Police believe that Abdullaye and Abdullah Tamba, Suleiman Yahya Musa, Mahmat Tamba and Yahya Kangweri had planned to release the forged notes into the Kenyan market.Read more
IMF warns government on finance law amendments
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had given Uganda the thumbs up for implementing the Public Finance Management Act. Little did the Fund know that after their review of the economy, the Ministry of Finance would come up with amendments to an old law. In an email response to Daily Monitor, Ms Ana Lucia Coronel, the IMF Uganda country representative warned that the amendments should be made in a much tighter language, to avoid being misinterpreted. “In our understanding, the proposed amendments are intended to correct some flaws regarding the possibility of reallocating funds across votes, but the language should be tightened and carefully reviewed to avoid unintended consequences,” she said in an email.Read more
Euro slides again on potential ECB stimulus boost
The euro skidded lower after the European Central Bank said it could weigh boosting its economic stimulus efforts. ECB chief Mario Draghi's hints of possible loosening of the monetary reins, with the tools of an expansion of the 1.1 trillion euro bond-purchase program and an interest rate cut possibly on the table, raised the prospect of more euros flooding the market. A day after falling more than two cents against the dollar, the euro lost nearly another cent, trading at $1.1016 around 2100 GMT, down from $1.1111.The shared currency briefly dropped below $1.10 in trade.The ECB signal was followed Friday by China's interest rate cut, to counter the slowdown in the world's second-biggest economy.Read more
PSFU: Government urged to pay contractors, suppliers on time
Government has been urged to speed up the payment processes to contractors and suppliers who take part in public procurement.Gideon Badagawa, the Executive Director of the Private Sector Foundation of Uganda (PSFU) says delays in making payments breeds corruption tendencies among bidders who inflate costs as a mark-up for delays.“Are we paying on time? For as long as we delay payments, people tend to be corrupt because they know that the money will come,” he said. Badagawa made the remarks while addressing a bidders’ conference organized by PSFU, the World Bank and the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA).He also urged Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to do more if they want to take part in public procurement activities, which takes the biggest chunk of the government budget. Read more
Form alliances to save airlines, Boeing tells Africa
Global plane maker Boeing urged Kenya to forge alliances with other African countries to save its national airline.Boeing International President Marc Allen said it was uneconomical for airlines to operate within smaller markets where there are no air traffic rights with neighbouring countries.“Africa needs to rationalise its operations via alliances and mergers. I am aware Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa are holding discussions over the issue, especially after security and Ebola issues adversely affected air traffic flow. Look at the European Union whose member country economies have been kept afloat by air traffic business. Africa needs to open its space for people to traverse the region, thereby boosting individual national incomes,” he said. Read more
TMEACC,Mr Amantius Msole: Freight rail link between Uganda, Dar in offing
The construction of a freight rail link between Tanzania and Uganda is expected to begin soon.This follows a  agreement between the two countries to upgrade the existing 400km railway from Tanga to Arusha, and construct a 480km rail track from Arusha to Musoma port.Cargo en-route to Kampala will then cross Lake Victoria by ship. Under the $3.58 billion deal, the two countries will also construct a new Mwambani port in Tanga and expand Musoma dock and the new Kampala inland port at Bukasa.The deputy permanent secretary in the Tanzanian Ministry of East African Community Co-operation, Mr Amantius Msole, said that both the feasibility study and the engineering designs for railway would be completed.However, he did not specify the timeframe for the projects implementation which will be financed jointly by Tanzania and Uganda. Read more
Dr Peter Blomeyer the GAU: 'Oil exploitation requires protecting the environmental against damage'
Oil exploration and production in Uganda require extreme caution to prevent environmental damages according to Dr Peter Blomeyer the German ambassador to Uganda.The ambassador noted that Uganda's oil and gas resources have been discovered in environmentally sensitive areas such as forests, national parks, lakes and rivers. Uganda's Petroleum resources are now estimated to be 6.5 billion barrels of oil in place. This is up from 3.5 billion barrels that was estimated.The ambassador cautioned Uganda against 'cutting the branch (environment) they are sitting on'. This was during a public debate held Wednesday on the topic: 'Climate and environmental impact of oil production: Albertine Graben- is Uganda prepared for change'. The debate was organized by the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) and the German Embassy in Kampala."Maybe, Uganda has been blessed too much. The Albertine region is very rich in bird species. It has numerous minerals. Oil and gas have been located of all things in the most precious ecosystems. The Lake Albert and Murchison Falls National Park area have many bird and animal species," Blomeyer said.Read more
Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko: Rich nations stalling on climate finance: developing bloc
Developing nations accused rich ones  of stonewalling on finance in negotiations for a universal climate rescue pact -- an issue they said would make or break the entire effort.The G77 bloc of developing nations, representing 80 percent of the world's population, insists that firm funding commitments from developed nations must make it into the core of the agreement being shaped at talks in Bonn.But negotiators from rich nations, they claimed, were trying to put off the difficult discussion so that multilateral lenders outside of the official UN climate process take over the responsibility for funding.The much-vaunted agreement, which would crown more than two decades of fraught climate negotiations, is meant to be inked at a UN summit in Paris."France will be judged by what is in the core agreement on finance. For us that will be the yardstick of success," South Africa's climate envoy Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko, who chairs the G77, told journalists in Bonn.But while the bloc had come up with common positions on finance, she claimed, "developed countries have not negotiated, in the hope that it will be sorted (out) external to the agreement, where we are weakest," the ambassador said. Read more

CBK: Uganda puts Imperial Bank’s stake in Kampala unit on sale
Ugandan authorities have put troubled Imperial Bank’s 51 per cent stake in the lender’s Kampala subsidiary on sale in a move that signals a possible direction Kenyan regulators might take in resolving the crisis that led to the bank’s closure.Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) governor Patrick Njoroge made the revelation even as he acknowledged that the regulator’s own supervision department officials are among the key players under investigation over the sudden fall of the mid-tier lender.“In Uganda, they are trying to sell the 51 per cent shareholding of Imperial Bank Kenya to a particular investor and to resolve the bank’s problems that way,” said Dr Njoroge.The list of those under investigation for massive fraud that led to the bank’s collapse includes directors of the bank, its management, and external auditors. Read more
PM Rugunda in Kigali for Transform Africa Summit
Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda is in Kigali, Rwanda to represent President Yoweri Museveni at the Transform Africa Summit. Rugunda was received on arrival at Kigali International Airport by Uganda’s High Commissioner to Rwanda, Ambassador Richard Kabonero and other officials. The theme of the summit is “Accelerating Digital Innovation” The Summit brings together over 2500 participants including heads of state from Smart Africa member states, members of UN Broadband Commission on Digital Innovation, top academics, policy makers and chief executive officers of leading technology companies. The summit aims at devising new ways to deliver on the Smart Africa promise of raising $300b in ICT investments in Africa. Read more
UTB: Government under pressure to revive Uganda Airlines
The government can no longer contend with the fact that the country does not have a national carrier, Daily Monitor has learnt that President Museveni also believes the country is better off with the national carrier than without it.While meeting government senior officials before the concluded Northern Corridor Infrastructure Project (NCIP) Summit in Nairobi Kenya, Mr Museveni said it is time to have Uganda Airlines revived so as to counter the exploitation Ugandans are subjected to while flying in other carriers. 
On his Facebook wall, the chief executive officer of Uganda Tourism Board, Mr Stephen Asiimwe, posted that while the government senior officials and ministers were meeting in preparation for the concluded summit, the attention of the President was drawn on exorbitant fares airlines are imposing. He wrote: “While briefing the President, the leader of the delegation Hon Sam Kutesa, Minister of Foreign Affairs said that despite prior arrangements under NCIP, the air service fare in the region have shot up again raising concern of the regional leaders.” Read more
GILU: Ugandan labour unions too weak, says expert
The labour movement in Uganda is divided and too weak to engage employers constructively and arrive at a consensus on working conditions, a labour and industrial relations expert has said.While conducting a corporate governance training for selected labour movements, Mr Charles Kumbi, the Africa regional project coordinator for the Global Industrial labour Union, said labour unions in Uganda also lack the knowledge to understand how corporate systems work and they cannot engage employers constructively to negotiate good deals for employees.“The biggest challenge I have seen here is that labour unions cannot interpret financial statements of companies to understand the financial health of a company and this gives the employer chance to make a lot of profits and pay employees little,” he said.He added that contrary to the belief that the unions pose a burden to employers, they should instead embrace them because properly managed unions enhance the productivity of both the companies and the workers since human beings are the primary source of production. Read more
Toyota recalls 6.5 million vehicles globally over window defect
Toyota it was recalling 6.5 million vehicles worldwide over a power window glitch that presented a fire risk, the latest in a string of such moves by the Japanese auto giant. Toyota has recalled nearly 10 million vehicles outfitted with defective air bags that have been linked to several deaths globally.A driver's side power window master switch could short circuit and cause parts to overheat and melt, Toyota said in an email."A melting switch may produce smoking and, potentially, lead to a fire," it added.The recalled models include the Yaris, Corolla, Camry and RAV4 sport utility vehicle, it said.About 2.7 million affected vehicles were sold in North America and 1.2 million in Europe, Toyota added.The company said it had not received reports of accidents tied to the defect, but one customer may have suffered a burn on their hand due to the problem. Read more
API: Oil prices in Asia on oversupply fears
Oil prices dipped in Asia as traders anticipated an increase in US crude inventories when data from the Energy Information Agency is released later in the day.US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery, a new contract, eased 42 cents to $45.87 at around 0700 GMT.Brent North Sea crude was 29 cents lower at $48.42 a barrel.Bernard Aw, market strategist at IG markets in Singapore, said traders had "renewed concerns" over the worsening oversupply problem."(The) American Petroleum Institute reported that US crude inventories may have expanded by around seven million barrels, which gave credence to the expectations of increased stockpiling ahead of official Energy Information Agency data", Aw told AFP.A build-up in the inventories data by the EIA would indicate softer demand, in turn dampening prices.Read more
Boost agriculture to end extreme poverty - World Bank
 For Uganda to make significant progress in ending extreme poverty, government should strengthen means of accelerating agriculture growth above the GDP growth rate per annum, the World Bank has said. Alongside increasing agriculture growth rate, the World Bank has also advised Uganda to focus more on using strategic fiscal policy means targeting the poor to have a balanced reduction in poverty in the country.In an interview with Daily Monitor at the country office, the World Bank country manager, Ms Christian Malmberg Calvo, said: “Agriculture growth rate in Uganda is very low, growing below the GDP level per annum. Government should make strategic interventions like extensive research, extension agricultural services to have agriculture growing above the GDP growth rate.”Ms Malmberg said agriculture remains the key sector through which the country can reduce poverty levels because many people are engaged in agriculture. Read more
BOU: Central Bank raises policy rate citing domestic risks
The anticipated rise in inflation and lingering depreciation of the Shilling have seen Bank of Uganda raise the Central Bank Rate (CBR) to 17 per cent from 16 per cent, a development it says will bring stability in the entire economy. Though the situation may lead to high lending rates and cost of doing business, BoU says it is better to have a tight monetary policy than high inflation because its impact is severe.Addressing a news conference yesterday to announce the policy rate for October, BoU governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile said the monetary policy actions taken since April, which have entailed a rise in the CBR by 5 percentage points, have already dampened inflationary pressure and reduced the risks of high inflation. “Nevertheless, to ensure that the medium term inflation converges towards the BoU’s policy target of 5 per cent, a further monetary policy tightening is warranted,” he said. Uganda’s headline inflation rate is currently at 7.2 per cent while the core inflation rate which the Central Bank uses to control inflation at 5 per cent now stands at 6.7 per cent.Read more
Industrialists, Umeme agree on plan to cut costs
Power distribution company Umeme, and manufacturers have agreed to start joint planning of locations to set up industries in order to maximise economies of scale.Economies of scale is the cost advantage that arises with increased output of a product.Speaking at a large consumers’ consultative meeting in Kampala, Mr Richard Mubiru, the director policy at the Uganda Manufacturers’ Association board, said much as Umeme has always been blamed for poor quality and unreliable power supply, manufacturers ought to understand that the company’s role is to distribute the power which they do not generate.“Government has come up with a strategy for industrialisation; it may not attract industries if the cost of electricity remains high and industries remain scattered everywhere due to poor planning,” he said. Read more
BOU: Markets brace for likely CBR hike 
The Bank of Uganda (BoU) is set to announce monetary policy and analysts are predicting a further hike in the benchmark Central Bank Rate (CBR). Stephen Kaboyo of Alpha Capital Partners says that recent shilling depreciation will be at the center of discussions at the MPC meeting. “The shilling of late has displayed some degree of stability, while it has not recovered much; it has traded within a tight range. This could be on account of the tight liquidity that has led to subdued demand as well as BOU's absence in the forex market on the buy side,“I expect BOU to remain vigilant because of the multiple economic challenges.  The tight monetary stance at this time will aid to reinstate confidence in the financial markets as well as tame the anxiety among investors and calm the shilling decline,” Kaboyo explains.He, however points out that the side effects of the CBR hike will definitely result in a rise in commercial banks’ lending rates which will have a knock effect on private sector credit growth.Read more
MTN mobile money value increases by 24%
Mobile Telephone Company MTN has announced that the value of mobile money transactions on its platform increased by 24% this year to shs 16.8 trillion.This is an upward adjustment of shs 1.428 trillion, compared to estimates of shs 15.372 trillion in mobile money transaction value.The company executive director, Brian Gouldie told the press that the growth was mainly driven by the integration of financial services into the mobile money portfolio.“We now partner with 12 financial institutions in the country and facilitate deposits and withdrawals of funds for more than 20,000 subscribers, translating into shs 40 million transactions each month. The total value of transactions is now aggregated at shs 1.8 trillion per month, translating into a 21% increase in mobile money transaction volumes,” he said. Read more
MOE: How Uganda should grow use of cooking gas
An Energy official said foreign oil companies shot down government’s proposal to use the Kingfisher block near Lake Albert to exclusively produce Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).Uganda has an estimated 70 billion cubic feet of the gas.“The developers came to us and said, ‘there is no market for all this LPG in Uganda’,” Dozith Abeinomugisha, the principal geologist in the Petroleum Exploration and Production Department, at the ministry of Energy said.This was at a breakfast meeting organised by the German Embassy to discuss Uganda’s readiness for climate change in the Albertine Graben oil–belt.China National Offshore Oil Company Uganda, which operates Kingfisher, has since refuted the claim. LPG is the ordinary gas used in homes for cooking.Read more
Stephen Kaboyo of Alpha Capital Partners: Markets brace for likely CBR hike 
The Bank of Uganda (BoU) is set to announce monetary policy and analysts are predicting a further hike in the benchmark Central Bank Rate (CBR). Stephen Kaboyo of Alpha Capital Partners says that shilling depreciation will be at the center of discussions at the MPC meeting. “The shilling of late has displayed some degree of stability, while it has not recovered much; it has traded within a tight range. This could be on account of the tight liquidity that has led to subdued demand as well as BOU's absence in the forex market on the buy side,“I expect BOU to remain vigilant because of the multiple economic challenges.  The tight monetary stance at this time will aid to reinstate confidence in the financial markets as well as tame the anxiety among investors and calm the shilling decline,” Kaboyo explains. Read more
Victor Ocheng: Nobel peace prize nominee asks private sector to create jobs
Ugandan Nobel peace prize nominee, Victor Ocheng, has called on the private sector to get involved in enterprise development in war affected communities of Uganda, as a tool for fostering sustainable peace and development. Ocheng said, while several civil society organisations are championing the development of enterprise in the war affected regions, more effort is still needed, especially from the private sector, in bringing about lasting peace.“We need the private sector’s involvement in exploring and exploiting opportunities for business, skilling and creating jobs for these people because too much was destroyed during the war. The northern region’s fertile land and trade links to neighboring Kenya and South Sudan, for example, make it ideal for commercial agriculture, while the abundant local wildlife could also attract tourism. Unfortunately, the private sector’s involvement in this area has so far been very inadequate,” he said. He said approximately 75% of the people in war affected communities are youth, with more than 46% of the population living in poverty. Read more
WB: Africa slowdown 'should not stop' infrastructure plans
Africa should press ahead with plans to develop its transport and energy networks despite a recent slowdown in GDP growth because better infrastructure is key to long term development, the head of the World Bank said.To that end, governments need to maintain macro-economic stability to attract capital that remains willing to commit to the continent even though investment in emerging markets is at its lowest level, said Jim Yong Kim.Gross domestic product growth in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to stand at 3.7 percent, its lowest level and lower than the average growth rate of the last two decades, according to World Bank figures.The continent's commodities producers, such as Ghana, have been especially hard hit by lower global prices and there is a real danger over-production, he said. Read more
ANZ BANK: China economic growth hits lowest since financial crisis
China's economy logged its worst performance since the global financial crisis with analysts warning it is likely to worsen and the government needs to do more to avert a sharp slowdown.Gross domestic product (GDP) in the world's second-largest economy grew at just 6.9 percent, its slowest rate, adding to fears over the health of the global economy."China's economic growth is still sluggish with many risks remaining unresolved," ANZ Banking Group chief economist for Greater China Liu Ligang told AFP."We should not be over-optimistic. China's economic growth will continue to slow down," he said, adding he estimated GDP would expand 6.4 percent.China's decades-long boom, fuelled by infrastructure investment, exports and debt, made it a key driver of the global economy, the world's biggest trader in goods and a giant market in itself. Read more
Invest more in women for growth - UN official
Organisations should invest more in mentoring women for top leadership position, says a senior United Nations official in Uganda.Speaking at the women leadership conference in Kampala, the United Nations Development Programme resident representative in Uganda, Ms Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie, said women are good at reforming and transforming organisations.She said investing in women is not just good for corporate businesses, but also good for growing economies around the world.“Invest in gender equity at work place. Institutions/companies that embrace gender diversity on their boards and in management often experience improved performance and profitability as a result,” she said.Read more
MOE: Government denies abandoning Kenya’s pipeline route
Uganda’s Energy minister Irene Muloni was in Kenya for the best to meet Kenyan government officials regarding the route of the pipeline. The Kenya visit comes after Uganda, Tanzania government and Total E&P signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore the possibility of the pipeline passing through Tanzania from Hoima.Kenya and Uganda had started working on modalities of financing a 1,500km route from Hoima through Lokichar in Northern Kenya to the Lamu Port. The signing of the MoU with Tanzania appeared contrary to the understanding with the Kenyan government over two possible routes in the country at the recently concluded Northern Corridor Summit and bilateral discussions between President Museveni and Uhuru Kenyatta. Read more
MOF: Government wants Finance management Act revised
 After President Museveni signed it into law, ministry of Finance wants Parliament to let them amend the Public Finance Management Act.The Act is seen as a strong law with sections providing for checks and balances, empowering Parliament to have a key oversight role as well as a gender and equity clause.A copy of the proposed amendments seen by Daily Monitor indicates that Finance ministry wants to amend eight clauses which analysts say are the core of the Act, and removing them will render the law less effective to serve its purpose.In its current form, the Act ensures proper management of public funds as it dictates public spending based on the priorities in the Budget.But the Finance ministry wants to amend Section 9, by substituting the word ‘Accounting Officer’ with ‘Sector’ and ‘vote’ with ‘sector’. Read more
URA gives car importers more time to clear taxes
Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has given an extension to importers to clear taxes for cars which have overstayed in bonds.According to the custom laws, vehicles in bonded warehouses that haven’t paid taxes, are supposed to be auctioned off to recover the taxes.The dealers through their organisation, Associated Motor Dealers, had sought an extension, which URA granted.In a response written by URA commissioner customs Dicksons Kateshumbwa which Daily Monitor has seen, time for payment of taxes for vehicles in the bonds.“The circumstances under which your members find themselves is rather regrettable; however despite the odds, the partnership between yourselves and customs has continued to improve. Your request has been granted in line with Section 60(3) of the East African Community Management Act, however this is restricted to the listed number of vehicles,” Mr Kateshumbwa wrote.Read more
Centenary Bank Cancels All ATM Pins, Asks Customers to Register Afresh
Clients of Centenary Bank will be required to register new Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) if they are to withdraw any money using their ATMs, the bank has announced.The bank's manager for corporate affairs, Miss Allen Ayebare in an email revealed that all PINs for customers had been deactivated; hence all customers with old PINs can only withdraw from the counter until they have new PINs reset.Speaking to the Daily Monitor on phone, the Managing Director Mr Fabian Kasi confirmed the measure is precautionary after the bank received alerts that five clients were having transactions being carried out using their respective PINs without their notice.Read more
URA: DPP warns private sector players over tax evasion
 Traders, manufacturers and the multinational companies will not be allowed to get away with tax evasion, the country’s public prosecutor has warned. According to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mr Mike Chibita, cases that compromise optimum collection of taxes such as undervaluation, mis-declaration and false declaration, among others, will be disposed of swiftly and justly. In an interview, principal assistant DPP Betty Khisa, who was representing the DPP at the prosecutors’ symposium, a brain child of Uganda Revenue Authority, said businesses and individuals that are involved in the said illegal activities will not be allowed to walk scot free. “We have licenced Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to prosecute such cases and so far, they are doing a good job in that regard—prosecuting tax and related matters,” Ms Khisa said after officially opening the symposium in Kampala. Read more
Weak Shilling takes centre stage at BoU policy meet
The Uganda Shilling has been largely stable as a result of subdued demand for the dollar in the market and the tightened policy by Bank of Uganda (BOU). That said, the Monetary Policy Committee meeting is not expected to apply the brakes on managing the likely effects of the depreciation. The Central Bank refers to these as “pass through effects,” which usually include a rise in commodity prices. According to the latest Producer Price Index statistics, imported raw materials and rising interest rates had pushed costs of production. The Uganda Bureau of Statistics figures show that prices of manufactured goods rose by 10.5per cent, up from 8.1 per cent. A weaker Shilling, which makes the import of raw materials more expensive remains the largest contributors to rising costs of production. Read more
Centenary Bank cancels all ATM cards
Centenary Bank has cancelled all Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) which implies that customers cannot make any withdrawals over automated teller machines (ATM).  Troubles for customers started, when withdrawals were limited to sh100,000. Some customers say they were only able to access sh50,000 before the ATM cards were cancelled.   According to inside sources, the bank could have lost a significant amount of money due to ATM fraud, Independence Day. However, Fabian Kasi, the Centenary Bank managing director dismissed talk of fraud as baseless.  “We are upgrading our system, and have deactivated all PINs. Customers that want to use the ATM should come with valid identification documents at their convenience and we will give them a new PIN. Read more
MOH: Government Should Increase Funding for Healthcare, Says Minister
Health minister Elioda Tumwesigye, has said government expenditure on basic healthcare for each Ugandan should be increased to Shs147,000. On average, government spends Shs47,000 on basic healthcare per person.Dr Tumwesigye said once it is increased, the Health ministry would improve basic health services to ordinary Ugandans.Speaking during the Annual Health Sector Performance Review meeting in Kampala, Dr Tumwesigye said though the ministry had requested that it be allocated 10 per cent of the 2015/16 Budget, it got only 8.5 per cent.Dr Henry Mwebasa, the acting Director of health services, planning and development at the Health ministry, said there is need to bridge the huge financing gap in the health sector to improve service delivery.The minister said government is looking for alternative sources of funding and also looking at implementing the National Health Insurance Scheme. Read more
UHC: Uganda Asks Kenyans to Accept the Sugar Deal
Uganda  accused Kenya of not being keen to follow the East African Community Common Market protocol.Uganda High Commissioner Angeline Wapakhabulo said that while Uganda has no problem trading with Kenya, Kenyans have no trust in Uganda as a business partner.She spoke in Mombasa during the launch of a Ugandan modular ferry, the Albert Nile-1.The ferry was built in Kenya by Southern Engineering Company in partnership with Damen Shipyards, headquartered in the Netherlands. Wapakhabulo spoke after Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho said East Africa has the potential to create opportunities without relying on foreigners.She said Kenyans should not debate the sugar deal after the two countries reached agreement. Read more
KTA: Mombasa plans higher levies for branded cargo containers
Mombasa County has caused fresh uproar with its proposal to raise by Sh10,000 charges on every branded container entering its territory.In its Finance Bill before the County Assembly, Mombasa proposes to charge Sh40,000 on every branded container that runs through its territory, up from Sh30,000 being levied at the moment. Similarly, any branded vehicle will pay a fee of Sh15,000, up from Sh12,000.But transporters have criticised the planned levies saying they could raise the cost of doing business and discourage traders from using the port of Mombasa.“It is wrong for any county to impose taxes without first talking to the stakeholders,” Kenya Transporter Association (KTA) chief executive Willington Kiverenge told the Business Daily. Read more
UMA: Manufacturers want power tariffs reduced
Manufacturers want government to do something about the cost of power because it accounts for the highest cost of production. According to Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) chairman Amos Nzeyi, government should consider subsidising the cost of electricity as it is the case in several countries, including India whose products are flooding the Ugandan market.Speaking at the just concluded International Trade Fair in Kampala , Mr Nzeyi said: “High cost of power tariff is a challenge. We want it subsidised because it is now impacting on our competitiveness.”He continued: “This is something that has been discussed at the highest level of government. As we wait for the grand power schemes to be commissioned, we would want to see the cost of power go down so that we are able to be competitive.” Read more
BOU: Central Bank defends interest rate hikes, blames projected inflation
 Bank of Uganda (BoU) has moved the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting. The bank has the discretion to move the meeting which determines an increment in lending rates to a date it deems fit. On top of the agenda of the meeting will be reacting to the sudden rise in inflation. BoU has defended the continued increment in Central Bank Rate (CBR) because it had projected inflation would rise above its target. “So BoU acted before inflation rose significantly because the forecasts showed that future inflation was going to be above the 5 per cent target in future,” BoU head of communications Christine Alupo told Daily Monitor in an interview.The Central Bank has been raising the benchmark lending rate over concerns on the effects of the rapidly depreciating Shilling.The lending rate has gone from 12 per cent to 16 per cent. This has prompted commercial banks to raise lending rates, with some reporting a high of 27 per cent. Read more
Bank Of Uganda takes over operations of Imperial Bank
The Central Bank has taken over management of Imperial Bank Uganda, saying the move is a precautionary measure that seeks to protect customer savings.The takeover follows similar events in Kenya where the Central bank of Kenya placed the operations of the Imperial Bank Kenya under receivership for what the regulator termed as unsafe banking conditions.In a statement issued, Bank of Uganda said: "Under Section 88 and 89 of the FIA, the BoU has today, taken over management of Imperial Bank Uganda Ltd.""The decision has been taken following the suspension by the Central Bank of Kenya of the operations of Imperial Bank Ltd, who are the majority shareholder of Imperial Bank Uganda Ltd," the statement added. Read more
COSHGM: Respect workers’ contracts, government tells employers
Government has told employers to provide workers with contracts that define their relationship at work places so as to protect their rights.While officiating at the International Day of Decent Work in Kampala last week, Mr David Mugisa, the commissioner occupational safety and health in the Gender ministry, said all employers are mandated by law to provide workers with some form of identification so that in case of any accident while on duty, the affected workers can be compensated appropriately.“Even if you have contractors who have subcontracted people to do work on your site, there should be some sort of identification which defines who they are,” he said.He cited Crestfoam mattress factory in Kampala where six workers died in a fire that gutted the factory, adding that there will be 100 per cent compensation and those injured will be compensated too.Read more
The Hive: ‘Embrace modern technology to earn more from bee-keeping’
It was exciting news sometime back among bee-keepers when they learnt that Uganda’s honey had finally been certified for European markets.In other words this would mean doubling the country’s production of about 500,000 tonnes.Also in many homes across the country, due to health reasons, honey has replaced sugar.Unfortunately, with all such opportunities for the markets unfolding, reports from the concerned ministry indicate that the production for honey is still very low.One of the hindrances of increase in production is the fact that the farmers are sticking to tradition ways of bee – keeping instead of using modern bee – keeping equipments. Christopher Nzuki, the chief executive officer of an organization known as ‘The Hive’ explains that a single CAB hive produces around 9 – 13kgs  of honey per harvest compared to the tradition one which gives very little at the same time destroying the colonies. Read more
NSSF: We have a duty to grow members savings
National Social Security Fund (NSSF) declared a 13 per cent interest rate for members. The rate, which is the fourth consecutive double digit increase, reflects a remarkable transformation. NSSF total assets, income and costs have grown by an average of 27.2 per cent, 52.9 per cent and 6.3 per cent respectively with members’ paid up benefits increasing from Shs101.4b  to Shs186.6b. But even with such achievements, the Fund’s investment strategy continues to be portrayed as easy, focussing on investments in treasury bonds and fixed deposits, ignoring investing in private equity and domestic infrastructure. NSSF is a retirement benefits scheme that was structured by law as a provident fund, which means members save and withdraw their savings as a lump-sum once they qualify. Read more
BOU: Shilling firms ahead of Central Bank rate announcement
The shilling was trading at 3,671/81 buying and selling respectively on average at most commercial banks. News of a likely hike in the benchmark Central Bank Rate (CBR)  has seen the shilling stronger from 3,680/90. The headline inflation, the average consumer price level, for the year ending September 2015 increased to 7.2% compared to the 4.8% that was recorded.Experts believe that the Bank of Uganda will increase their benchmark rate following a jump in core inflation to 6.7% which is above the Central Bank target of 5%. Core inflation leaves out commodities whose prices fluctuate a lot such as food, fuel, electricity and metered water. Adam Mugume, the Bank of Uganda executive director for research told the New Vision that by rising the CBR to 16% from 11%, the Central Bank had taken pre-emptive action to stop inflation from reaching double digits. Read more
Control Risks Group Holdings Limited:  34% of African businesses lose out to corrupt competitors
Corruption remains a major cost for honest companies in Africa with 34% of businesses reported to be losing out on deals to corrupt competitors, a new study has revealed.Control Risks Group Holdings Limited, a global risk consultancy specialising in political, security and integrity risk, made the revelation in Berlin, Germany  while releasing findings of their survey of business attitudes to corruption. The survey dubbed: ‘The Corruption Survey’, was done with 824 companies in Africa and other countries worldwide, according to a statement from Control Risks. “Some 34% of respondents from Africa reported losing out on deals to corrupt competitors. Corruption risks continue to deter investors. 30% say they have decided not to conduct business in specific countries because of the perceived risk of corruption,” revealed the study. A total of 41% of global respondents reported that the risk of corruption was the primary reason they pulled out of a deal on which they had already spent time and money – even 55% of African respondents.But companies from countries with tight enforcement reported fewer losses than before from corrupt competitors. Read more
 Allan Kaddu: UG seeks to become a global brand
Allan Kaddu is a Ugandan living in the United States and he has held one drink close to his chest - Uganda Waragi. “It is a drink I pride in. I wish I was closer home because sometimes I miss it,” he says before taking this reporter through the tale-tell of his love for the drink. “I had this Mzungu (white) workmate who could ask me to buy him three bottles of the drink every time I would travel home (Uganda). I would ask myself why he was so fascinated with UG (as we popularly called it then) until I started buying myself some bottles.“I started out as a curious drinker. It was my first time to test it and until now I don’t know why but there is something that keeps pulling me to the drink,” he says capping his conversation with a question “why doesn’t Uganda market this spirit that has such a rich international allure?” Read more
Dollar rises against emerging currencies after China data
The dollar rallied against emerging currencies in Asia as Chinese trade data showing an import slump fuelled anxiety about slower growth of the region's largest economy.The risk-off mood, fanned by a decline on  crude oil prices, weighed especially on the Indonesian rupiah and the Malaysian ringgit.The greenback advanced more than one percent against both units.Dealers also sold the dollar against the yen, which is seen as a safe-haven currency in times of turmoil, as they sought refuge from riskier assets.The move into safe assets follows a torrid that saw trillions wiped off stock valuations and the emerging currencies tumble.Global markets went into meltdown after China devalued its yuan currency, fueling anxiety about the state of China's economy, while traders were also on edge over an expected US interest rate rise. Read more
MOE: With states reluctant to take up 40 percent stake, Uganda Says It can go it alone
East African governments are dithering on funding the planned oil refinery in Hoima, Uganda, leaving the future of the multibillion-dollar project in doubt.However, the Ugandan government says it is ready to go ahead with implementation of the project without the participation of the other East African Community member states.Energy Minister Irene Muloni said the government is finalising discussions with the lead consortium and the contract is likely to be signed, paving the way for the construction. She said Uganda would take up all the shares not taken up by Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Kenya.The five EAC member states were allocated a combined 40 per cent shareholding in the facility translating into a eight per cent stake for each with the remainder of the shares reserved for private investors.The deadline for confirmation of shareholding had been set  in order to allow Uganda to start negotiating with other strategic investors.Read more
SMAP: Stick to safety standards to enjoy huge opportunities in European Union market
Many Kenyan farmers must be hearing the word Smap (Standards Market Access Programme). Why should they care about it?Smap is all about the farmers and how they can access the EU market. Kenyan producers have had difficulties accessing the EU market due to various challenges that include chemical residue. Smap is working to eliminate such bottlenecks to ensure as many Kenyan farmers as possible access the EU market.The project is financed under the 10th European Development Fund and has four implementing agencies namely Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services, Department of Veterinary Services, Unido and the Kenya Bureau of Standards. Read more
UBOS: High import costs push price index up by 10%
 High cost of imported raw materials, coupled with expensive loans, have significantly pushed up the prices of manufactured goods in the country. Accordingly, Uganda Bureau of Statistics (Ubos) said the Producer Price Index (PPI) for manufactured goods increased by 10.5 per compared to 8.1 per cent.This, the statistics body said, signifies the fact that the general public has had to pay more on the same goods than they were paying.PPI for manufacturing is a measure of change in the prices of goods either as they leave their place of production or as they enter the production process.In an interview with Daily Monitor after the release of PPI, Uganda Manufacturers Association executive director Mustapha Kigozi Sebaggala also blamed the high interest charged on loans. Read more
BOU: Bank rate likely to rise, experts say
 Bank of Uganda (BoU) monetary policy committee will meet to decide the Central Bank Rate (CBR). However, even before they meet, the market is already projecting another rate hike as high as 17 per cent. “We now see the BoU raising its policy rate by 100bps to 17per cent, having previously expected the policy rate to remain on hold,” said Razia Khan, chief economist, Africa at Standard Chartered Bank.This projection comes from the sudden surge in commodity prices to 7.2 per cent, the highest rate. BoU has been increasing the CBR – the benchmark lending rate used by banks – in order to curb the spending power of Ugandans and therefore purge any inflationary pressures. As the BoU increased the rate, inflation was stable at about 3.6 per cent but the warning signs were there, especially the effects of the depreciating Shilling which has dropped by over 30 per cent. Read more
IMF cuts global economic growth forecast
 The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has cut global economic growth to 3.1 per cent, down from the forecast of 3.3 per cent.The decline reflects a further slowdown in emerging markets and a weaker recovery in advanced economies.In its new World Economic Outlook (WEO) report, the fund said it is now projected that global economic growth will be at 3.1 percent  as a whole, slightly lower, during which the global real Gross Domestic Product grew by 3.4 per cent.The impact of decline in global economic growth is being felt in all the IMF 188 member countries including Uganda. The fund explains that the impact of global economic slowdown is affecting countries in form of slower economic growth, low commodity prices in the international market, low capital inflows and out flow of capital especially in low income developing countries. Read more
Shortage of electricians stifles rural connectivity
A Norwegian energy expert has advised government to train Ugandans to manage the energy projects under construction because the current shortage is affecting electricity connections.Speaking at a networking event for renewable energy operators in Kampala, Mr Hans Peter Christophersen, the counsellor trade and energy at the Norwegian embassy, government failed to connect 5,000Kms of electricity lines under the rural electrification programme because there is a shortage of local electricians to handle such projects.“We need electrical engineers to operate the stations, transmission lines and transformer stations which require a lot of skilled people as we saw in western Uganda in Kisoro-Kabale and in the north in Gulu area,” Mr Christophersen said, citing examples of areas that have got electricity connected to schools, hospitals and other institutions but under difficult conditions. Read more
GSMA: Mobile phones 'transforming' Africa but growth to slow: study
The rapid spread of mobile phones across Sub-Saharan Africa is transforming the region, but record levels of growth are due to slow sharply, an industry report said.The industry contributed more than $100 billion to the region's economy-- equivalent to 5.7 percent of gross domestic product, according to a study released at a conference in Cape Town by the GSMA association which represents mobile operators.It forecast that there will be 386 million mobile subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa by the end of this year -- equivalent to 41 percent of the population."The mobile industry remains a key driver of economic growth and employment in Sub-Saharan Africa, making a vital contribution given the population growth and high unemployment levels seen in many countries," said GSMA acting director general Alex Sinclair."Mobile technology is also playing a central role in Sub-Saharan Africa by addressing a range of socio-economic challenges, particularly digital and financial inclusion, and enabling access to vital services such as education and healthcare." Read more
MOH: Government Gives Chinese Contractor Ultimatum
Government has given China Railway No5 Engineering Group an ultimatum to complete the rehabilitation of Nebbi hospital or have their contract terminated.The Ministry of Health project manager, Mr Francis Wakabi, while meeting with contractors, consultants and district leaders said the government has sent the contractor several reminders over delay in completing the project but they have paid a deaf ear."The speed at which the project is being implemented by the contractor is very low as was stipulated during signing of the contract.Therefore, there are no reasons to keep them on site," Mr Wakabi said.He said the contractor has failed to beat deadline within which they were expected to complete work. Read more
UCMP: Experts tell government to end illegal mining
The oil and gas investment lobby in Uganda is demanding that government ends illegal gold mining if it is to attract large mining firms in the country.Speaking at the Mineral Wealth Conference, Mr Elly Karuhanga, the president Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, said government needs to specifically deal with the illegal gold mining taking place in Mubende.“We need to ensure that the Mubende mine does not suffer at the hands of illegal miners because it can give us a bad name,” Mr Karuhanga said.One of the delegates at the conference noted that government needed to “bring to an end this embarrassing situation” because it would turn away investors. AUC Mining Company has been battling with encroachers over land in Mubende where gold deposits were discovered in Kamelenge. An exploration licence was granted to the company, but there has been an influx of miners looking to cash in on the gold deposits. Read more
Ascent Capital raises Shs295b to invest in regional SMEs
After closing their first private equity deal in Uganda and two deals, Ascent Capital Africa Ltd, has announced that they have acquired $80m (Shs295b) from investors for their Ascent Rift Valley Fund (ARVF).In a media statement, Ascent Capital Advisory Services’ Partner David Owino said ARVF, launched with $50m (Shs184b) at first close, had secured an extra $20m (Shs74b) in investor commitments, 33 per cent above the initial $60m (Shs221b).“Together with the Fund Partners’ investment of 6 per cent in the Fund, total commitments are now $80 million,” said Mr Owino.Ascent is the first private equity fund in the region to tap into the regional pension industry, securing $5m from Kenya Power Pension Fund and Nation Media Group Pension Fund.Other investors include: CDC Group plc (UK), FMO (the Netherlands), Norfund (Norway), LGT Group (Liechtenstein) and European family offices. Read more
NITA: Illegally acquired wealth to be tracked electronically
Government has commissioned new technology which can detect wealth owned by public servants but never declared to the Inspectorate of Government (IGG) under the Leadership Code Act.While launching the technology, Mr Arnold Mangeni, the manager information security at the National Information Technology Authority Uganda, said the technology analyses confidential information which public servants provide to different government ministries, departments and agencies to see whether it is consistent with the one declared to the IGG under the leadership code act.“Under the leadership code, you might have declared to the IGG that you own two houses because of the salary you earn yet in the ministry of Lands, the records show that you own 15 houses because of the interests you have, ” he said. Read more
UCC calls for funding signal distributor
Uganda Communications Commission executive director Godfrey Mutabazi has called on government to fund Signet, the signal distributor, if concept of free-to-air broadcasting is to be maintained.Mr Mutabazi, in Washington DC attending the International regulators’ forum, in a telephone interview, said: “Uganda must wake up to the fact that it’s a converged world. Technology is moving at a faster pace that legislation content is now universally available and regulation must depend on treaties and collaboration worldwide”.“Just like it’s done worldwide Signet, the signal distributor, must be funded that is if the concept of free to air broadcasting is to be maintained,” Mr Mutabazi said.The forum, which started, brought together global regulators to examine how the transition to digital broadcasting might be most efficiently achieved. On average, Signet requires $3 million (Shs11.1 billion) per annum contribution that must continue for some time as long as there is need for public service broadcasting. Read more
UNBS: Traders agree to end import of cancer-risky cosmetics
 Uganda National Bureau of Standards and traders dealing in cosmetics have agreed to stop the importation and distribution of cosmetics that contain mercury and hydroquinone suspected to cause skin cancer.Both parties met at the Ministry of Trade and signed a communique in which they agreed on six steps to ensure cosmetics with deadly substances are removed from the market.“All cosmetics products containing prohibited substances, especially hydroquinone and mercury; and expired products are banned from importation, distribution, sale and use in Uganda. All importers shall follow the Pre-Verification for Conformity to Standards (PVoC),” a communique reads in part.The communique was signed by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Trade, Ambassador Julius Onen, and the cosmetics traders and dealers at the ministry headquarters in Kampala. Hydroquinone and mercury are skin-bleaching agents which were banned because of their numerous health effects on humans. Read more
EITI: Uganda tipped on oil and gas
It is now close to a decade since the first commercially viable oil deposits were confirmed in Uganda. But the wait for the country’s first oil barrel is still on, much to the chagrin of oil companies on the local scene.
However, Dr. Steve Manteaw, the co-chairperson of Ghana’s Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and a member of the World Bank’s Extractive Industries Advisory Group reckons Uganda made the right decision not to rush oil production.“Uganda discovered oil ahead of Ghana, but you have taken your time to develop your governance instruments, but it is also because of the sensitivity of the location of your oil resources, and its potential impact on the eco-system,” he said.“The fact that Uganda is taking its time to sort these things out is good. We did (rushed oil production), and Ghana has learnt a lot of lessons along the way.”Read more
MOT: Substandard imports decrease by 30% - government
Substandard and counterfeit imports have reduced by 30 per cent, the minister of Trade has disclosed.According to Ms Amelia Kyambadde, the reduction is as a result of the enforcement of a government policy subjecting sensitive imports to quality test before being shipped here. Speaking at ministry of Trade Sector Review Conference, Ms Kyambadde said the reduction that the sector has seen, also tells a story of what a stronger resolve can yield. She said: “The Pre-shipment Verification of Conformity (PVoC) programme entered its operation with up to 76,618 consignments inspected in the country of origin. This has reduced substandard imported products by about 30 per cent.”As a policy, the programme requires sensitive items such as food and food products, electrical and electronics (including solar equipment), automotive products and inputs, be checked and cleared for quality before being imported here. Read more
MOE: Uganda refutes power import claims by Kenya
Kenya power regulators said they have doubled their power exports to Uganda, a senior official from ministry of Energy has refuted the claims. The Daily Monitor sister newspaper Business Daily reported that Kenya had since more than doubled its electricity sales to Uganda.In the report, it was stated that a total of 26.56 million Kilowatt-hours (kWh) were being exported to Uganda and Tanzania up from 12.63 million kWh indicating a 110.2 per cent growth.In an interview with ministry of Energy Permanent Secretary Kabagambe Kaliisa, it emerged that there has never been such a commercial transaction between the two neighbouring countries. He said: “There are no direct commercial power exports from Kenya to Uganda.” Read more
DM: Uchumi sends 180 workers home, closes two branches
Uchumi Supermarket has sent 180 workers on forced leave after closing two branches in Kabalagala and Nateete. In an interview, Mr Gichamba Chege, the acting Uchumi general manager, told Daily Monitor that they had sent workers at the two branches on forced leave pending communication from their head office in Nairobi, Kenya. “…we have asked workers to go on leave as we wait for communication from our head office in Nairobi,” Mr Chege said, before confirming they had permanently closed the two outlets. The two branches were closed  respectively. The Kabalagala branch was closed after Umeme cut off power supply to the outlet over a Shs70m electricity bill.Workers who spoke to Daily Monitor on condition of anonymity, said they had been asked to go on indefinite leave but complained of non-payment of their salaries. Read more
WB: Sub-Saharan Africa posts slowest growth 
Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa has declined to 3.7 per cent, the lowest level, a new World Bank report has revealed. The new report was released.The fall signifies the difficult economic times Uganda and other African countries are facing.The affected countries are experiencing reduced foreign exchange earnings from commodity exports due to slowdown in global trade, low foreign direct investment and capital outflows thus leading to low economic growth. The new Africa’s Pulse (report), the bi-annual analysis of economic trends and data on the continent, also shows that growth will slow down to 3.7 per cent from 4.6 per cent , reaching the lowest growth rate . Read more
IMF: Weak shilling, elections slow economic growth
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the depreciation of the Uganda shilling and the upcoming elections have contributed to slowdown in Uganda's economic growth to 5 per cent down from 5.8 that had been projected.The IMF also says the economy is affected by the external (global) environment, particularly slowdown in world trade, leading to low commodity prices due to slower global economic growth."Uganda is not immune to the difficult external environment affecting other countries.Together with domestic nervousness relating to the upcoming elections, external shocks and uncertainty have resulted in a sharp decline in the shilling (27 per cent), creating challenges for policy makers," Ms Ana Lucia Coronel, the IMF mission chief and senior resident representative in Uganda, said.She was briefing journalists on the outcome of their economic policy review mission with government in Kampala. Read more 
UBOS: Commodity prices to shoot up as inflation rises to 7.2 percent
The rise in food prices and the continuous depreciation of the shilling has pushed up the rate of annual headline inflation rate from 4.8 per cent to 7.2 per cent signifying that the cost of living in the country is going up.This is the highest inflation recorded in Uganda when it stood at 8.1 per cent.The rising inflation rate means that the general public will now need more money in their pockets to meet their daily expenditure on goods and services.Uganda Bureau of Statistics said that the annual food crop inflation increased to 10.2 per cent for compared to 1.8 per cent that was registered.The director macroeconomic Uganda Bureau of Statistics, Dr Chris N. Mukiza, said food crop items were expensive in September due to off harvesting season that has led to a reduction in food supply on the market. Read more
Entrepreneurship needs resilience, focus
What does Enterprise Uganda do?We recognise there is a challenge for small and medium enterprises. What we do is seek out partnerships through which we can mentor youth, small and medium enterprises with the aim of building lasting and strong businesses that are able to turn into profitable ventures.You have  launched a number of programmes with organisations such as Stanbic Bank. What is your specific role in these programmes? Let me specifically speak about the Stanbic Bank programme. If you realise many of our entrepreneurs have no access to credit. Even when they have access, paying back is a problem. So in this programme we seek to grow small businesses’ capacity to be self-sustaining through training them on how to handle money, identify profitable investments and other businesses. Read more
TCARC: African govts vow to slash spend on food imports
African countries have vowed to slash down amount of money spent through food imports by strengthening grain trade in the continent. This was declared by over 200 delegates from over 20 countries who attended the 6th African Grain Trade Summit held at the Rwandese capital Kigali. According to Michael Hailu, the director of the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), Africa spends US $40 billion on food imports. "Why can't Africa, also export that much?" Hailu asked. The summit which drew delegates from  African countries and Europe including; Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Malawi, Zambia, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, The Netherlands, Singapore, USA and Philippines recommended that structured grain trade in the continent is key in reducing high costs of food imports. Read more
Stanbic Bank: 200 SMEs to benefit from Stanbic mentorship programme
 In a bid to support growing business, Stanbic Bank Uganda is sponsoring a mentorship programme aimed at providing advisory services, basic book keeping and accounting practices and mentoring support to enable owners of Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs) grow their business.“We believe that the key to achieving sustainable growth of SMEs is by providing the basic skills and mentoring to equip the owners with knowledge and skills to enable them acquire the much needed capital to expand their business,” said Mr Kevin Wingfield, the head personal and business banking Stanbic Uganda.The programme, launched in partnership with Enterprise Uganda, is targeting about 200 SMEs. Speaking at the launch of the programme in Kampala, Enterprise Uganda executive director Charles Ocici said the programme will also train SME’s on how to access loans from banks. Read more
Germany gives Shs157b to support EAC
The Federal Republic of Germany has committed €37m (about Shs157b) in grants to support the East African Community (EAC) integration.The grant will go into the partnership fund as well as into developing regional infrastructures in pharmaceuticals and elimination of non-tariff barriers such as tax harmonisation.Other areas to benefit will be channelled towards the establishment of regional networks of reference laboratories for communicable diseases while the other beneficiaries will be the regional improvement of water resources.Speaking during the negotiations, the EAC deputy secretary general in charge of finance and administration, Mr Liberat Mfumukeko, said: “German support which has catalysed other development Partners to support our projects and programmes.” Read more
MOF: Private sector urged to take part in Shs13 trillion projects
Private companies have been urged to take part in financing two government projects worth $3.5 billion, (about Shs12.897 trillion) which officials say will open up more investment opportunities in the country. The projects are oil and road infrastructure that government needs to develop.Speaking at a breakfast held by the Uganda Investment Club Association in Kampala, the macroeconomic advisor to government in the Ministry of Finance, Mr Moses Bekabye, said: “The two government projects ready for the private sector to take part with government is the oil refinery pipeline worth $2 billion (about Shs7.370 trillion) and the Kampala-Jinja expressway costing $1.5 billion (about Shs5.527 trillion).” He said there are a number of projects in the country that give the pension fund managers and insurance companies opportunities to partner with government in funding them at inception period. Read more
Pacific trade ministers to meet after impasse
Trade ministers of 12 Pacific Rim countries failed again to conclude a deal on a huge free-trade area and will meet one more time in hopes of reaching agreement. The ministers attempting to nail down a deal encompassing 40 percent of the global economy began meeting with hopes of a breakthrough, but the talks in Atlanta broke up after only about 15 minutes, with little progress. Hawaii, trade ministers gathered with expectations of a deal -- and left empty-handed. "The main issues are still biologics and the dairy trade, between the US and Canada and New Zealand. The automotive issues are mostly settled," said an Asian official after the latest meeting. Read more
HSBC: Shs330 billion hidden in a foreign bank abroad should be invested here- Gov't
Developing countries like Uganda suffer the brunt of stashing money in foreign banks abroad much more than nations with bigger economies, a new report called SwissLeaks Reviewed, has disclosed.It further emerged that the practice of stashing money in foreign banks is higher in developing countries than it is the case with the wealthy nations with bigger Gross Domestic products (GDP).GDP is the total value of goods and services produced in a country at a particular period—normally annually.According to an analysis of a leaked HSBC  Swiss account information, at least Shs330 billion originating from Uganda is being held in a Swiss bank known for its tendencies to abet tax evasion and illicit financial flows (IFFs). This money, according to the analysis could be as a result of illegal activities such as illicit financial flows and tax evasions, bleeding the African continent to near death. Read more
Crane Bank starts 24-hour banking
Crane Bank has announced plans to begin testing 24-hour banking.The service will initially be conducted at the bank’s two branches in Bugolobi on Village Mall and the Kisementi Mall.While commissioning the Crane Bank Kisementi branch, Mr Joseph Birimbona the bank’s chairman said they are testing the 24-hour operations in the two locations, given that they are unique locations with potential for business growth.“We have people coming here for entertainment. We have offices and residential houses so these are potential clients we are targeting,” he said.The current banking environment, he added, requires that they move ahead of other industry players to edge completion. Read more
ICAEW: East Africa’s inflows of foreign direct investment increase by 11%
Africa is now positioning itself as a major business opportunity for investors, according to ICAEW’s  Economic Insight report. here aid was the traditional source of finance, the continent is now seeing a dramatic fivefold increase in FDI, with Nairobi topping the list as the most attractive destination. ICAEW (the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) launched their Economic Insight: Africa Q3 report in Nairobi last night. The report, commissioned by ICAEW and produced by the Centre for Economics and Business Research Ltd (Cebr), provides a snapshot of the region’s economic performance focusing specifically on Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, South Africa and Angola.According to the report, and drawing on estimates by the World Bank, the total level of external financial inflows into Africa has increased from $40.4bn in 2000 to $192bn. This is largely attributed to the inward FDI from China with investment mainly going into primary resource sectors and infrastructure. Read more
NWSC: National water recovers Shs3.8b from illegal users
National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) has said it is stepping up operations against illegal water connections having recovered more than Shs3.8b from fines resulting from illegal connections and defaulters, among others.Speaking in Kampala, Mr Silver Mugisha, the NWSC managing director, said they had been losing a lot of money due to illegal connections, especially in affluent areas, which had the biggest water theft culprits.“We have found diplomats renting houses with illegal water connections and through them we have been led to the property owners. These are rich people who you cannot imagine are stealing water,”  NWSC together with police commissioned the Water Loss Prevention Unit which looks out for people who knowingly or unknowingly illegally connect themselves to the water network.The operation has covered a number of areas including upcountry locations in Mbale and much of Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono districts. Read more
EALA to pass tough laws on corruption
The Speaker of the East African Community Legislative Assembly (EALA), Dan Kidega, has said the regional parliament is in advanced stages of enacting three key legislations that will be used to tackle corruption and going after the culprits across borders.Mr Kidega, at the opening of the 9th Annual Meeting of the East African Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (EAAACA), said the statutes, the EAC Integrity and Anti-Corruption Bill, the EAC procurement Bill and EAC Whistle Blowers Bill, once adopted, will take precedence over other national laws on graft in member states."Corruption remains a big problem with calls for more robust action," he said, adding: "However, it is not only enough for those who contravene the law to be simply fined, jailed or both for it is time for us to go beyond the justice systems and invoke ethical and integrity standards as well." Read more
Uganda talks value addition as mineral prices fall
 Prices of mineral products like copper have been declining globally as a result of slowed demand from China – the world’s largest consumer of the products. In the midst of price tumblings, Uganda will be talking mineral value addition at the Mineral Wealth Conference this week. To add value to its unknown mineral potential, Uganda is looking to attract big names in the mining sector but the timing may be wrong. Glencore, the largest steel products manufacturer, has had the company valuation tumble after a 25 per cent fall in prices of copper, aluminium and nickel. Uganda resumed copper production at Kilembe Mines for the first time. A contract signed between the Uganda government and the Chinese firm, Tibet-Hima, only allows value addition with no copper being exported in raw form. Read more
IHS Technology: China's Huawei rides Google coattails into new markets
With a partnership to make one of Google's flagship Nexus smartphones, Chinese tech giant Huawei is gaining new prominence which could help its efforts to win broader global consumer appeal. Huawei was tapped to produce the Nexus 6P, one of two handsets unveiled by Google to showcase its Android mobile operating system.The large-screen "phablet" was unveiled as a rival to the iPhone 6S Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note. A second Google phone, the Nexus 5X, will be made by South Korea's LG.At a time when Chinese firms are struggling to break the dominance of Apple and Samsung on the high end of the smartphone market, the partnership is a milestone for Huawei."Clearly, working with Google is vote of confidence in the technology of the product," said Ian Fogg, senior director at the consultancy IHS Technology. Read more
Poor standards worry EAC manufacturers
East African manufacturers have raised concern over lack of standards in some cosmetic products which they say is negatively impacting on sales. The East African Community (EAC) manufacturers observed that the products without standards cannot compete favourably on the international markets. Simpson Birungi, managing director at Movit Cosmetics said since many products have no standards to benchmark on for quality assurance, their products are being shunned in other countries. "We need to all adopt specific standards from European Union to enable us trade and remain competitive. This will enable us generate more revenue since our products' geographical supply chain will not be limited to only EAC states," explained Birungi. Read more
CCIMMOE: Uganda to host global tech companies at Africa innovation meet
Uganda will host some of the world’s largest technology firms and ministers of the various African countries at the Innovation Africa Summit. The conference is expected to focus on using technology in education in Africa, with the aim of tapping lucrative government contracts to supply and manage e-learning initiatives in the sector.Firms like HP (Hewlett-Packard), Intel, Lenovo, Oracle, Canon and Samsung, among others, have already lined up to attend the conference. “We hope to see several top ICT companies coming to Uganda to showcase the latest technologies and thereafter, have several investors taking on these technologies for application in Uganda for better service delivery and economic growth,” said Mr Patrick Muinda, the assistant commissioner Communications and Information Management Unit in the Ministry of Education. Read more
Plan to liberalise regional airspace hands KQ lifeline
Kenya is among four countries drafting a new aviation plan that could hand the ailing national carrier a new lease of life. Other countries are Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan. The four countries, which initially broke away from the East African Community to form the Northern Corridor Summit, are on the verge of concluding talks to form a one airspace area.The plan was initially raised by South Sudan President Salva Kiir and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni as a way of dealing with Kenya Airways’ high ticket prices.However, deliberations on the matter look set to turn around the airline’s fortunes.Officials in charge of aviation in the ministries of transport of the four countries and their directors have agreed to liberalise the regional air space. Effectively, the agreement could see Kenya Airways and RwandaAir, the only two operational national carriers, assume the role in the four countries opening them to bigger volume of business.Read more
Price wars: Telecoms are likely to bleed-MTN
Daring, unprecedented, anti-competition and bold are some of the words being used to describe the move by MTN to cut rates on voice calls by nearly 46 per cent. MTN, which is the market leader and only profitable telecom in Uganda, has in the past hesitated to reduce call tariffs, insisting the move would eat into its bottom line. The last time the price wars on voice calls emerged, when Warid – now part of Airtel – tilted the market.MTN has rekindled those days and taken the bold step at a time when telecoms are paying the price for a weak Shilling, high-interest rates and slowed economic growth.“We have taken an unprecedented decision to reduce the calling rates, at a time when most prices are escalating upwards,” Mapula Bodibe the MTN Uganda chief marketing officer said in a statement.Read more
UAA: Kickbacks, lack of professionalism killing PR and advertising
Blogger, advertising executive and secretary general of Uganda Advertising Association, Andersen Nada, kicked up a social media storm after she blogged an article roughing up the unprofessionalism in sections of the advertising and communications industry. Nada wrote: “I am not going to be popular once this post is out in the open. But honestly, I do not care.” Indeed hers had been a carefully thought out piece seeking “to document this moment in time as – hopefully – a starting point of an uphill task – building an honest, creative and result-producing advertising and communications scene in Uganda.”The Star Leo managing director, one of Uganda’s oldest advertising firms, is at a vantage point and knows more than a little of what takes place in an industry that is controlled by third party contractors splashing billions of shillings on advertising, publicity and brand building.Read more
Time is now to invest in oil and gas sector
The low price of oil has dashed initial hopes for oil and gas investment in Africa, but governments have the opportunity to turn things around.The discovery of oil off the coast of Ghana – and subsequent hydrocarbon finds in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique – sparked an exuberant international response, with oil and gas investors initially flocking to what many saw as a new frontier for the industry.The excitement was understandable as the oil and gas finds in Mozambique had the potential to increase the country’s GDP. Ghana’s economy, too, was being transformed. Prices were booming and the ‘Africa Rising’ narrative was taking hold with rising consumption and improved political stability changing investor perceptions.With oil price halved to below $50 a barrel, the enthusiasm looks a little optimistic. While there have been significant successes in oil and gas exploration, the overall pace of investment still lags behind. Read more

Tourism growth should be Uganda’s focus
What is the role of the presidential investors’ round table committee on tourism? It seeks to redirect the future of tourism by making recommendations to government, among them, improving infrastructures, growing the country’s human resources, marketing and adjusting taxation policies to fit market demands.
Which are some of your priority areas? For the moment we are focusing on tourism marketing to grow our numbers. We are not doing well in this area compared to our neighbors. Taxation and human resources development are also part of our focus points. We need to train and equip people with skills so that we can present them with opportunities that are within and beyond Uganda. Also, on the list is infrastructure development which we are pushing through different government agencies. Read more
BOU: Uganda’s forex reserves shrink to Shs9.8 trillion
Although Uganda’s foreign exchange reserves have reduced to $2.7b (Shs9.8 trillion) from about $3b (Shs10.9 trillion), the time it can cover for future import of goods and services has remained at almost the same level, Bank of Uganda has revealed. Foreign exchange reserves are assets held by a central bank or other monetary authority, usually in various reserve currencies, mostly the US dollar and to a lesser extent the euro, the pound sterling, and the Japanese yen, and used to back its liabilities. ( assets comprise monetary gold, foreign exchange assets and other claims in foreign currency. , Bank of Uganda’s foreign exchange reserves were around $3 billion (Shs10.9 trillion) covering almost the same level of future imports of goods and services as the case now, but volume has somewhat reduced as result of policy operations.In Uganda, the Bank of Uganda keeps its foreign exchange reserve in US dollar to safeguard the economy in times of internal or external economic shocks. The US dollar is by far the most important currency in global reserves. Read more
FRC, Janet Yellen: Dollar higher after Yellen points to rate hike
The US dollar picked up strength after Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen said a first rate hike is still likely.The dollar rose to as much as $1.1117 per euro before pulling back to $1.1202. It pushed to 120.49 yen and to $1.5190 per pound.In her first comments when the Fed again put off the long-flagged first rate increase, Yellen said that US economic conditions supported the move.Most of Fed monetary policymakers "anticipate that achieving these conditions will likely entail an initial increase in the federal funds rate, followed by a gradual pace of tightening thereafter," Yellen said.She nevertheless hedged her comments, saying that "if the economy surprises us, our judgments about appropriate monetary policy will change." Read more
MOF: Govt unveils new reforms
The public and financial sector have welcomed the Cabinet approval of the Financial Institutions (Amendment) Bill.The Bill to be tabled before Parliament soon paves way for the introduction of Islamic and Agent banking as well as bancasurance in Uganda.Also included in the reforms is the creation of a fully-fledged fund to compensate customers when their bank is closed. This will protect the savings of Ugandans and will ensure compensation higher than the guaranteed sh3m if a bank closes.The fund will be able to invest the money meant to protect customers of banks and micro-finance institutions.The ‘protected deposit’ shall be adjusted regularly by the finance minister, according to the Bill gazetted. Read more
EAC moves to tame mobile money fraud
 Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan are working to reach a common SIM card registration framework to help tame crime that is perpetrated using mobile phones. Officials from the four nations met in Nairobi, where they discussed harmonisation of their legal frameworks to develop a common SIM card registration system.“SIM card registration has been primarily necessitated by the need to ensure that ICT networks, particularly mobile telecom services, are secured from misuse for criminal activities,” said Kenya’s Communications Authority director general Francis Wangusi. “The new framework will help deal with fraud as the region strives to realise financial inclusion for the citizens,” said Joseph Tiampati, the ICT Principal Secretary. Read more
PSFU: Partnerships key to improving labour market, says expert
Joint investments through Public Private Partnership (PPP) by both government and private sector are key to improving labour markets in developing countries, former governor of Reserve Bank of India has said.Speaking at the Joseph Mubiru Memorial lecture in Kampala, Dr Duvvuri Subarao said neither government nor the private sector can independently invest in skilling labour because of constant labour mobility.“The private sector can’t invest in reviving skills for someone to learn and go, and someone else poaches them,” he said.“The government too cannot do it because it is a bad educator. So you need a PPP model to build skills in the country,” he added.The economist further said skills shortage is a big challenge not just in India but also in Uganda, which have a high rate of population growth. Read more
WB: High lending rates dent Uganda’s projected growth rate
 Uganda’s economy continues to perform below par due to to persistent high lending rates, weak export performance and infrastructure gaps — rendering its seven per cent growth target elusive, World Bank data has shown.Lending rates have averaged more than 20 per cent, amid high costs of funding experienced by banks, observers say.The economy grew by five per cent against a target of 5.8 per cent, down from 5.7 per cent against a target of 6.2 per cent, Bank of Uganda (BoU) data shows.The World Bank now projects growth between five and 5.5 per cent in light of depressed investment flows attributed to uncertainty over election campaigns.“A noticeable slowdown in investments may be felt during the pre-election period as investors stay away... Continued suspense surrounding the US Fed’s intentions of raising interest rates will force BoU to adopt a ‘wait and see’ attitude before intervening in the forex market as a result of depleted. Read more 
MOTIC: Government approves enterprise policy to improve efficiency
Government has finally approved the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) policy after years of operating unrecognised. The MSMEs policy, a copy of which Daily Monitor has seen, indicates that much as technology provides entrepreneurs with tools to improve efficiency and productivity, access to finance, poor standards, and negative attitudes and perceptions, remain major obstacles holding back MSMEs from being part of the global trade.These, among others, are the challenges that the policy seeks to deal with. “Government places great importance to the role played by private sector and all other stakeholders in socio-economic transformation of our country. As ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives we therefore commit ourselves to full implementation of this policy, with the support of all stakeholders,” the ministry committed itself in the policy. Read more
CSR SA: Uganda to host Africa's corporate social responsibility conference
Uganda will host the prestigious Africa's symposium on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).Preparations have already started as organizers set the stage for different corporate and government organization to discuss CSR in Uganda.According to David Sempala, the director for CSR in Africa, the day aims at providing the much needed platform for an open dialogue on doing business responsibly and mapping out solutions for a sustainable future."Business sustainability requires a strategy that is linked to the current and future social fabric. The scale of social crisis is enormous with various emerging issues and challenges including, climate change, health challenges, road safety and children's rights," explained Sempala. He was speaking to journalists at his Kamwokya coordinating offices about the conference which will be held at Sheraton Hotel, Kampala. Read more
EAC looking into Ugandan VAT on Tanzanian rice
The East African Community (EAC) Secretariat is investigating allegations that Uganda charges 18 per cent value added (VAT) on rice from Tanzania. EAC’s Director of Customs and Trade, Peter Kiguta, said they are yet to receive a formal complaint from Tanzanian rice exporters but will still carry out investigations on the matter.“We have however contacted Uganda to give us a feedback on whether they are imposing VAT on the rice. If it is established that the VAT imposition is discriminative against Tanzanian rice the relevant provisions of the Customs Union Protocol will be invoked,” said Mr Kiguta in a statement.If found guilty, Uganda will be penalized accordingly, he noted in the statement responding to complaints from local rice producers.“And if the VAT is imposed across the board including locally produced rice then the national law will be left to apply since there will be no discrimination,” he noted. Read more
MOF: Uganda gets Shs40 billion for rural electrification
Ministry of Finance and the German Development Cooperation have signed a Euro 10 million (about Shs40b) grant meant to finance electrification programme for rural communities.The grant was signed in Kampala by State minister for Finance David Bahati, and director for East Africa KfW Development Bank Klaus Mueller during the visit of German Chancellor’s personal representative for Africa Gunter Nooke in Uganda. Speaking to Daily Monitor in Kampala, Dr Mueller said this is the second contract they have signed to increase connectivity of electricity to Uganda. “This grant will go towards increasing connectivity of communities in Uganda. We focused on generation but we realised there was need to increase access of communities to electricity,” he said.According to a statement released by the German embassy in Kampala, the new grant will finance a programme to electrify rural communities of the country. Read more
‘Design economic policies to reduce external shocks’
Former governor of the Reserve Bank of India Duvvuri Subbarao has advised Uganda to design sound macroeconomic policies that minimise the effects of globalisation to developing economies in form of inflation, capital outflows and currency depreciation. Delivering the 23 Joseph Mubiru memorial lecture in Kampala, Dr Subbarao said Bank of Uganda and Uganda government should always be prepared to manage forces that come with globalisation because external factors that affect developing countries such as Uganda start from the advanced economies. “Global best practices are relevant but adapt to country situation. Think global, act local to safeguard your economy,” he said.Dr Subbarao added: “Central banks in emerging and developing economies can’t shape globalisation but have to respond to it. They have to do so through external sector polices, monetary policies.” Read more
UDB: Government borrowing denying public access to cheap loans - official 
Continuous domestic borrowing by government from commercial banks is making it hard for individuals to access cheap loans, Uganda Development Bank (UDB) chairperson has said.Speaking at the Rural Finance and Gender Equality Conference in Kampala, Dr Samuel Sejjaaka said commercial banks prefer to lend to government that borrows much money and repayment is guaranteed compared to individuals particularly those in agriculture despite the sector employing majority Ugandans.As a result, he said the banks are reluctant to come up with products to cater for those in agriculture yet the sector urgently needs financing.Mr Sejjaaka added that the bank rates do not favour the sector characterised by many uncertainties. “I have been asking myself, how can someone borrow at 30 per cent (interest rate) and be able to pay back? If you borrow Shs100, it means you must generate Shs100, which economy works like that?” Dr Sejjaaka wondered. Read more
Volkswagen admits 11 million cars have pollution cheating device
German auto giant Volkswagen revealed on that 11 million of its diesel cars worldwide are equipped with devices that can cheat pollution tests, a dramatic escalation of the scandal that has wiped over a third off the company's market value and now threatens to topple its chief executive.Authorities from France to South Korea to the United States announced investigations and threatened legal action, prompting Volkswagen to announce that it was setting aside 6.5 billion euros ($7.3 billion) in provisions to cover the potential costs of the scandal.VW shares, which dived 17 percent, plunged by another 23 percent to a low of 101.30 euros during trade on the Frankfurt stock exchange as the automaker's new revelations, including a warning that it will have to lower its profit outlook, sent investors fleeing.Read more
APNIFFT: Multinationals should pay full taxes, African MPs say
 Members of African Parliamentarian Network on Illicit Financial Flows and Tax (APNIFFT) want governments across the continent to put more pressure on multinational companies to pay full taxes.According to the parliamentarians, tax evasion and illicit financial flow (IFFs) from Africa can be brought to an end if the African governments take a firm stand. The chairperson of APNIFFT, Ms Khanyisile Tshabalala-Litchfield, said Africa cannot afford to look on anymore as multinational companies continue to dodge payment of taxes needed for development.“We expect African governments to put more pressure on the multinational companies to pay their due revenues because if ordinary people are made to pay, how about these foreign corporations,” Ms Tshabalala said at a sideline interview of APNIFFT general meeting held in Entebbe. Read more 
Comesa electronic payment system to ease transactions
Uganda is one of the eight countries which are benefiting from the use of the Regional Payment and Settlement System (REPSS), which eases transfer of funds within the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) in conducting business.This system, which was introduced to facilitate the settlement of trade and services payments among member states, has so far facilitated 54 US dollar transactions amounting to $1,690,387.26 (about Shs6.2 billion). Also a total of 11 euro transactions worth €63,656 (about Shs260 million) were conducted.In a communication, Comesa secretary general Sindiso Ngwenya said: “REPSS’s operationalisation by the respective central banks of participating member states will go a long way in easing the payment of goods and services.”The other member states using this service are DR Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda.Read more
President Xi Jinping: China's wont devalue currency to boost exports
Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to not push the value of the yuan currency lower just to strengthen Chinese exports. Speaking to a large audience of US businessmen and state officials with strong interests in Chinese commerce, Xi said the government was sticking to its plan to let the yuan, or renminbi (RMB), eventually adjust by market forces. The modest devaluation of the currency, which shook international markets, "achieved initial success in correcting the exchange rate deviation," he said. "Given the economic and financial situation at home and abroad, there is no basis for continuous depreciation of the RMB." "We are against competitive depreciation or currency war. We will not lower the RMB exchange rate to boost exports." Read more
IGM: Oil price rally reverses as dollar ticks higher
Oil prices fell in Asia, reversing sharp gains in the session, hit by a strong dollar and persistent concerns over a global supply glut.US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery, which expires, eased 58 cents to $46.10 trade after spiking 4.1 percent at its close in New York.Brent crude dipped 44 cents to $48.48 a barrel following a 3.1 percent surge in London."A resurgent US dollar weighed on crude prices. However, an improved risk tone could cushion oil prices on the downside," said Bernard Aw, market strategist at IGM Markets in Singapore.The dollar climbed after three Federal Reserve presidents put the argument for borrowing costs to rise, in a bid to soothe concerns about the global economy that were stoked by the bank's decision to hold fire.Read more
Bharti Airtel: Airtel Africa still struggling to hit targets
Bharti Airtel, the Indian – based telecom and the world’s third largest mobile telecom bought Zain Africa with the hope of turning around assets that were in the loss-making zone of $100m (Shs366b). Bharti’s plan was to become a global competitor spread across some of the world’s fast-paced markets in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.Indeed to achieve this plan Bharti invested in the Airtel Africa business with focus put on growing subscriber numbers from 42 million to 100 million as well as improving the segment’s revenue performance.In its strategic plan, Bharti had given itself  as achieving the targets, none has been achieved and its beginning to seem like the Indian-based could have bitten more than it could swallow.According to results released, the Airtel Africa segment had 78.3 million customers, 21.7 million shy of the 100 million it had set to achieve.Read more
UCC: ‘Internet: We are still a virgin market’
You have been missing in action. What is happening? We are now in much stronger shape than before. Most of our challenges are what I describe as local problems. For example, local waves (network) here were interrupting each other. And when the regulator - Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) intervened, we were stopped - our operations halted. That affected our expansion plans and our revenues. But now we have invested into modern equipment to reduce network interruptions.You acquired $365m (Shs1.3trillion) in funding. How much will be invested here and in what?The money will cater for improvements in three countries including Uganda, Tanzania and Nigeria. We will have at least a third of the money invested here in Uganda. Much of it will go into the expansion of our 4G LTE mobile broadband networks. Read more
Clarity a key governance enabler in family business
A family business may choose any one of a number of governance models such as an all-family board, a partially independent board, or an independent board, or even an advisory board.Whichever style of board is used, three elements serve as enabling forces: clarity of roles, responsibilities, and how decisions are made; understanding of the culture - the vision and values - and how that impacts decision making and implementation; and communication - transparency and information flow that enables the board to fully understand the challenges and opportunities facing the business and add real value as the company refines its strategy, grooms new leaders, and continues to grow. We look at clarity as a governance enabler. 
Clarity of roles and responsibilities: In a family business, there are family members, owners, members of management, and a board. In small businesses, these roles are likely to be filled by the same people, and decisions ranging from geographic expansion to estate planning to family vacation plans move fluidly.Read more
Here is how to get the EAC Integration to the citizens
Kampala inundated with pomp and colour as road show trucks criss-crossed the city, promoting awareness of the East African Community (EAC). We were puzzled. Puzzled because either are two parallel initiatives at EAC integration awareness, or a duplication of effort and resources. This is because we had just entered the city from the western axis, having completed the first leg of the Uganda Component in the on-going Integration for Development campaign across the five Partner States of the EAC. Spearheaded by the East African BusinessCouncil, the campaign is the exploratory phase of the implementation strategy for the East African Agriculture and Rural Development Programme. The focus of the programme is organic agriculture, based on the smallholder farmer as the unit of production.Read more
ESADA: Kenya imports milk from Uganda to meet shortfall
It is now emerging that Kenya imports milk from Uganda to meet its shortfall.Statistics show that Kenya bought milk worth Sh520 million from Uganda.On its part, Kenya sold dairy products valued at Sh290 million to Uganda during the period.The milk imported by Kenyan firms is mainly in powder form and is meant to safeguard the processors' market share during the dry season when local supplies are low.Data from the East and Southern African Dairy Association shows that the milk deficit is caused by high consumption among Kenyans.Ugandans, the statistics show, do not consume as much milk products as their Kenyan counterparts. Read more
BOU: Ugandan economy to grow by up to 5.5 percent
Uganda's economy continues to perform below par thanks to persistent high lending rates, weak export performance and infrastructure gaps -- rendering its seven per cent growth target elusive.Lending rates have averaged more than 20 per cent, amid high costs of funding experienced by banks, observers say.Whereas Uganda's economy grew by five per cent against a target of 5.8 per cent, down from 5.7 per cent against a target of 6.2 per cent, Bank of Uganda (BoU) data shows.The World Bank now projects growth between five and 5.5 per cent during in light of depressed investment flows attributed to uncertainty over election campaigns."A noticeable slowdown in investments may be felt during the pre-election period as investors stay away... Continued suspense surrounding the US Fed's intentions of raising interest rates will force BoU to adopt a 'wait and see' attitude before intervening in the forex market as a result of depleted stabilisation resources," said Rachael.Read more
WB: Ascent Capital buys stake in mobile money agency
Ascent Capital has acquired a stake in mobile money agent Chims Africa Ltd, making it the fund’s second deal.The private equity fund, also operating in Kenya and Ethiopia, has invested an unspecified amount in Chims Africa Ltd, which operates a chain of 130 MTN mobile money agencies in the country. Chims Africa will use the funds to open an additional 700 mobile cash kiosks, especially in rural areas.“This investment will allow Chims to ensure availability of its service to customers at all times in this rapidly evolving market,” said Richard Mugera, Ascent Capital country director for Uganda.Uganda scores 35 per cent to rank third globally in terms of share of adults holding a mobile money account after Kenya (58 per cent) and Somalia (37 per cent), according to World Bank’s Global Findex.There were 18.8 million registered mobile money users in Uganda.Ascent is banking on the growing uptake of mobile money services in the country to make returns. Read more
ICPAU: Accountants switch to international syllabus
The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) is changing its syllabus to match the new accounting laws as well as the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS).The change will make Ugandan accountants acquire accountancy knowledge that allows them to work anywhere in the world. The Public Accountants Examinations Board (PAEB) declared the change during the release of their  examinations in Kampala.Talking to journalists, ICPAU chief executive officer Derick Nkajja said the change is in accordance with section 16 of the Accountants Act .“According to clause (a) of Accountants Act, the PEAB has the mandate to determine the syllabus and curricular for ICPAU’s course. The new syllabus, which is benchmarked against international standards, will improve the quality of accountancy training and professionals produced thereafter,” he said. Read more
NPA: Uganda needs robust Agoa strategy - analysts
For Uganda to benefit from the United States market, it must have a strategy to follow or else remain a spectator watching those countries that are organised seal lucrative deals, policy makers, trade analysts and civil society have said.The concern comes after the extension of Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), .Agoa is a preferential market access granted by the United States (US) to African countries. And as such, the US provides duty free (no tax) and quota free (unlimited) access for more than 6,400 products from eligible countries in Africa, among them Uganda.Some of the products include textiles, fruits, crafts and primary commodities such as coffee, minerals and petroleum. Among those calling for the development of a strategy so as to take full advantage of Agoa, is the chairman of National Planning Authority, Mr Kisamba Mugerwa.Read more
NEMKO: ISO standard revised to meet modern needs
The ISO 9001 has been revised to cater for the changing needs of businesses to enable organisations manage the issue of quality better.This was announced during a workshop at Fairway hotel where certified members were sensitised about the new changes to the standard.BB Sinha, East Representative and Lead Auditor for Nemko, certification body, said this was so members could understand the ten clauses in the new ISO management system.Following a worldwide survey, it was discovered that ISO as it is must change because the standards had become irrelevant to the ever changing world. “Organisations that use multiple Management System Standards are increasingly demanding a common format that is aligned between those standards,” explained SinhaHe added that the change also meant to decrease the emphasis on documentation, increase emphasis on risk management to achieve objectives, and increase emphasis on achieving value for the organisation and its customers.Read more
Dollar rebounds after Fed-induced plunge
The dollar bounced back a day after the Federal Reserve's reluctance to hike interest rates sent it tumbling.The dollar powered up 1.2 percent to $1.1299 against the euro and scored a modest gain on the pound while holding flat against the yen.Most analysts said the US currency overshot the mark in sinking after the Fed declined again to move off the zero mark for its benchmark federal funds rate.While the Fed said it had its eye on the global economic slowdown and market volatility, it also noted US growth remains solid and generally foresaw a rate increase by the end of the year.The euro meanwhile fell against the yen and pound, as well as the Swiss franc, as polls showed leftist former prime minister Alexis Tsipras holding a slim lead over his conservative rival in hard-up Greece.The results of the poll could determine how the country's third EU bailout program -- which again requires painful reforms -- goes ahead. Read more
Dfcu told to provide affordable services
Dfcu group has unveiled its Shs55 billion home, with a call to provide affordable and tailor-made services.Speaking during the opening of the dfcu tower, Finance minister Matia Kasaija said the bank is among the top five financial institutions in the country, thanks to the long term credit it extends to key sectors of the economy.According to Mr Kasaija, the bank has demonstrated its ability in long term lending as evidenced in sectors such as health, education and agriculture, let alone manufacturing and horticulture, among others.That notwithstanding, Mr Kasaija said the cost of banking services and related charges has negatively impacted on the general development of the industry, urging the financial institutions to reduce on such exorbitant costs.Read more
PD: Oil production licences to be issued this year - government
Five oil production licences will be issued by, a government official has said.Speaking to journalists at an international oil and gas conference in Kampala, the head of the petroleum directorate, Mr Ernest Rubondo, revealed that they plan to issue around five production licences to France’s Total E&P and UK’s Tullow PLC.He said: “Issuance of the production licences like you heard awaits operationalisation of a petroleum authority but [we] hope will get this out of the way.”Meanwhile, absence of an operational petroleum authority has been blamed for the delayed issuance of production licences to oil companies.The petroleum authority, according to the Petroleum Act, is the body charged with, among others, monitoring and regulating oil activities, administering petroleum agreements, and ensuring that licenced oil companies uphold laws, regulations, rules and contract terms. Read more
Sanlam to introduce aviation, crop insurance
Sanlam General Insurance has said it will introduce specialised insurance services such as aviation, marine, corporate risks, properties liability and crop insurance in Uganda.Speaking to Daily Monitor in Kampala shortly after addressing a news conference to announce the rebranding of NIKO Insurance Company, the group chief executive officer of Sanlam, Mr Ian Kirk, said: “We are going to introduce specialised insurance services which are still lacking in this country. These specialised services include aviation and marine, corporate risks properties liability and crop insurance.”He said they are awaiting approval from Insurance Regulatory Authority to enable start offering the new products.This follows Sanlam General Insurance’s taking over of NIKO Insurance Company and rebranding it as Sanlam General Insurance.” Read more
MOEMD: Low income earners to benefit from Shs5b energy programme
The Ministry of Energy has launched a Clean Start programme that focuses on offering financing solutions for low income earners that want to pay for high-quality, affordable clean energy.The programme, launched in partnership with the United Nations Capital Development Fund, targets more than 40,000 beneficiaries who are expected to make a shift to clean energy. The project is estimated to cost Shs4.7b which will be distributed among about 10 selected financial institutions.“We shall distribute about $200,000 (about 734m) to financial institutions to help them lend out to people who can acquire energy systems they are interested in using. Interested financial companies will send their proposals to the ministry.” said Mr James Baanabe Isingoma, the acting commissioner energy efficiency and conservation department. Read more
Industrialisation minister Adan Mohamed: Kenya unveils grand industrialisation roadmap
Kenya unveiled a grand industrialisation roadmap that seeks to make Mombasa a food processing hub targeting the export markets even as it locks in the billions of dollars East African nations spend on imports. Industrialisation minister Adan Mohamed said the plan had identified critical sectors that would drive the sector’s growth through mechanisation.The minister said Kenya would use the plan to earn a significant fraction of the Sh400.4 billion ($3.8 billion) that East Africa spends on processed food imports.“We want to take advantage of the Mombasa port to serve the regional and global markets with processed food,” Mr Mohamed said during the launch of the blueprint in Nairobi.Execution of the plan is set to start with the creation of a local processing hub at Mombasa’s Dongo Kundu special economic zone to be followed by another hub at the one million-acre Galana-Kulalu irrigation scheme in Tana River and Kilifi counties. Read more
MOE: Minister opens energy exhibition
Peter Lokeris, state minister for energy and mineral development has officially opened the energy week. Lokeris flagged off a march from Amber House, Kampala, the head office of the energy ministry. The march which consisted of stakeholders from the energy sector was accompanied by the Police band and proceeded to the UMA Showgrounds, Lugogo. Lokeris said with plenty of sunshine in Uganda, solar power has emerged as the market's most viable option. He said the solar penetration rate was now at 27% but needs to be increased.He also opened an energy exhibition at the show grounds where over 100 exhibitors are showcasing different products for clean energy and energy efficiency technologies over one week."Uganda has a vision to meet the energy needs of every Ugandan in an environmentally sustainable way. Only 17% of the population has access to electricity and the traditional models of grid alone cannot make us reach our targets. More people can access energy through the renewable energy sources," Lokeris said. Read more
OWC: Operation Wealth Creation to streamline coordination
Poor coordination, especially of services supposed to be delivered by the government ministries, departments and agencies, partly explains why Operation Wealth Creation has not ticked all the boxes since its inception.Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) was established by President Museveni with a view to eradicate poverty and facilitate growth of households’ income, mainly through agriculture. Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) was later drawn in the project to ensure proper and equitable distribution of agricultural inputs. In his speech in Kampala, the chairman of the OWC, Gen Caleb Akwandwanaho, popularly known as Gen Salim Saleh, told participants at the annual agricultural sector review that the initiative is already being felt across the country despite its ambitious goals. Read more
MOF: Uganda loses sh725b on business licences
Uganda loses sh725.7b due to the burden of business licensing and registration explaining why many enterprises fail to register and grow. This amount represents 3.49% of Gross Domestic Product.Dr. Peter K. Ngategize, Coordinator, Medium-Term Competitiveness Strategy, ministry of finance said 57% of this cost constitutes the actual licence fees and 43% is the administrative cost of obtaining these licences. Ngategize said through minimal reforms the burden has been reduced by 26% saving the country sh189b annually.  Ngategize added that Uganda's ranking in the ease of doing business stands at 150 out of 189 countries. He cautioned that Uganda's ranking would worsen if the pace of reforms in the ease of doing business were slowed down. Read more
MOE: ‘Local road contractors lack expertise in contract bidding’
Local road contractors miss out on contracts due to lack of bidding expertise, a ministry of Education official has said.
Ms Ethel Kyobe, the director of industrial training, said :“The bidding process is very rigorous yet our local contractors do not know how to prepare bidding documents. It needs technical know how to make an outstanding bid proposal,” Ms Kyobe. She was speaking at a road contractors workshop organised by Uganda National Association for Building and Civil Engineering.Ms Kyobe also said some engineers need to do refresher courses so as to match with the fast evolving technology. She warned that those who will not embrace technology will continue missing out on contracts.“You must be versatile with the fast improving technology. You need to recruit technical people who are well equipped with bidding and machinery abilities. This is one of the ways you can win over contracts,” she said. Mr Chris Folwell a specialist in capacity building, also member of the Crossroads Secretariat also said training workers helps to minimise site hazards. Read more
Ugandan entrepreneurs eye Shs2b for growth
An online logistic company run by four young Ugandans, has a chance to walk away with about Shs2 billion after shrugging off competition from 11 other companies, all vying to represent the country at the grand pitching finale to be held in Geneva, Switzerland.
The online shipping company, Intership Uganda, was founded by Bony Iga, Maxima Nsimenta, Nielsimms Sangho and Jeff Muze, all under 30 and professionals in their areas of specialisation.“We get your order for anything in Europe or elsewhere and we will deliver it to you. We will take all the trouble on your behalf but make sure you get your exact order in good time,” said Mr Iga, who is also in charge of the South Sudan operations, said in an interview in Kampala after they were declared the winners of the Seedstars start-up competition. Read more
Maisha boda insurance: Boda boda cyclists get life insurance product as micro insurance takes root
Boda boda (motor)cyclists will have their medical bills or funeral expenses – in case of death – paid for by insurance companies following the launch of a low cost life insurance product on the market.Dubbed Maisha Boda Insurance, the micro insurance product launched by Tugende, a for-profit social enterprise in partnership with Lion Assurance and Liberty Life, seeks to enable boda boda cyclists access life insurance services at a low cost. Although the ordinary comprehensive life insurance cover (funeral and medical expenses) costs about sh100,000, annually, Tugende customers will pay only sh67,608, inclusive of motor-third party insurance.In the event of the unfortunate, circumstances, the insured cyclist will be entitled to sh1m compensation in case of death, disability and medical coverage related to accidents.Additionally, the package also entitles on to sh500,000 in case of critical illness or as funeral expenses in case of death. Read more
Save us the agony, raise the interest rate, Central Bankers tell US
Some of the world's biggest emerging economies are pleading for the United States to end their drawn-out agony and raise interest rates now.Already hit by a commodities crash sparked by the slowing of China's once-booming economy, the mere prospect of the US Federal Reserve raising interest rates — has battered the emerging giants that were once the world's top performers.Lured by the promise of bigger returns when the Federal Reserve eventually begins raising interest rates, investors are already moving their money to safer, yet profitable, US destinations.Panicky investors dumped equities held in emerging economies to the tune of $8.7 billion, according to the Institute of International Finance. The dollar meanwhile, has climbed.Read more
EU gives Shs90b to Uganda for MDGs
The European Union (EU), has released Euros 21.7m (about Shs90b) to support the implementation of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Uganda.The money is in recognition of the progress the country has so far made in sustaining socio-economic development and attaining its MDGs’ agenda .EU’s support to Uganda will focus on socio-economic development, good governance and sustainable rural development with a financial envelope of up to Euros 578m ( about Shs2.3 trillion) .The condition EU Ambassador Kristian Schmidt said the impact of the donation was entirely dependent on the partnership with the Government of Uganda.“Our support rewards performance. Its impact is entirely dependent on the partnership with the Government of Uganda.We expect future support to yield further progress in inclusive development, democracy, rule of law, cost-effective infrastructure, sustainable livelihoods, agriculture and much needed job opportunities for Uganda’s unemployed youth,” he said. Read more
EAC benefits us all, lets support it
What, in your opinion, is the relevance of regional integration?Across the world different regional integration blocs have come up on the basis of different issues. But for our case (East Africa) we are looking at creating a competitive ground for all countries, especially small ones as well as allowing comparative advantage to strengthen a particular country’s production capacity. Has Uganda realised any benefits from the integration? Yes! Certainly there have been benefits, especially in the area of trade. For instance, Uganda has seen its trade across the region increase both in terms of volumes and quality. Trade volumes and investments by Ugandans in countries like Rwanda and Kenya have increased partly because of free movement of goods, labour and capital. How does Uganda’s regional exports and imports balance sheet weigh? Read more
SB: The boda boda economy defining the streets of Kampala
At this rate, the boda boda business could be the second largest employer of Ugandans, at least according to Standard Bank reports. The report authored by Standard Bank analyst Simon Freemantle and economist Jeremy Stevens measured motorcycle exports from India to seven African countries including Nigeria, Angola, Uganda Egypt, Kenya, Guinea and Djibouti. The findings indicate Nigeria is the largest importer of motor cycles from India followed by Angola with Uganda coming in at third position.The bulk of Africa’s motorcycles are imported from India, which has a market share of more than 65 per cent. India manufactures the Bajaj Boxer and TVS brands, some of the most popular motorcycles across Africa and Uganda in particular. Uganda, according to the report, imported motorcycles worth Shs113.4b ($31) compared to Nigeria’s Shs746.4b ($204m) and Angola’s Shs204.9b ($59m). Read more
Delayed oil dreams hurting many Ugandans
In one of Kampala’s suburbs along Bukoto-Kisasi road is an entire parking lot of trucks. They are branded trucks with banners reading “Baker Hughes” and “Halliburton.” Some of the earth moving equipment has been lying idle, the reason being an oil sector that has been quiet as oil companies await issuance of production licences. The equipment is only part of the story that highlights how businesses have stalled and people laid-off. Some of them, including Bemuga Forwarders and Three Ways Shipping Group have laid back and are now held together by hope.Dreams of many have been sent down the drains at least for now. Suppliers have had to lay-off workers and so have oil companies as they cope with the inactivity in the sector – worsened by the complete crash of oil prices. Doris (name withheld on request) used to be an employee of the oil company, Tullow. On a good salary, she was looking on the positive side but all this came crumbling when she was among the 120 that were laid-off. Read more
Goldman Sachs: Bank predicts drop in crude oil prices
It is bad news for oil exploration and production in Kenya as experts project that crude oil prices could hit a low of $20 a barrel.US bank Goldman has warned that the prices could tumble further to help clear a global supply glut, but without giving a timeline.Kenya has already set sights on possible production after President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni agreed on a pipeline route.Goldman’s forecasts might throw cold water on ventures by United Kingdom’s oil company Tullow in East Africa.The Kenyan Government, which estimates the pipeline to cost about Sh400 billion, will allow the UK company to start exports from joint ventures with Africa Oil Corp. and Total SA. China’s Cnooc Ltd. Read more
Foreign firms should pay taxes, says PwC boss
Foreign companies and individuals operating businesses in Uganda have to meet their investment obligations by paying taxes to government instead of asking for incentives, the deputy chief executive of PricewaterhouseCoopers Southern Africa, Mr Ignatius Sehoole, has said.Giving a key note address during the 20th annual seminar of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda in Entebbe last week, Mr Sehoole, said: “Foreign companies must abide by the laws of the country they are operating in, so foreign companies operating in Uganda have got to pay required taxes as stipulated in the law.”By law world over, companies operating in foreign countries pay income taxes to the country in which those profits were earned out of their investment, but in Uganda many foreign companies/investors tend to ask for tax incentives.Read more
East African consumers feel pain of unstable currencies
Consumers in the region are feeling the pain of their weakening currencies, which have led to a rise in the cost of various goods and services across the board.The Tanzanian, Ugandan, Kenyan and Rwandan currencies have depreciated against the dollar, setting off a rise in inflation and, therefore, retail prices. For example, with the exception of Tanzania, fuel prices have been on the rise across countries in the region.The Kenya Energy and Regulatory Commission (ERC) increased fuel prices for the fourth time in a row, citing the sliding shilling.ERC director general Joe Ng’ang’a said save for diesel and kerosene, the average landing cost of super petrol increased by 1.25 per cent, from $718.97 (about Shs2.63m )per tonne to $727.97 (about Shs2.67m) per tonne. Read more
KCCA starts taxing special hire cars to increase revenue base
Special hire cars will start paying taxes to Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) as the authority looks to boost its revenue base.In a press statement, the authority said a one to four (1-4) seater will pay Shs40,000 whereas a five to eight (5-8) seater will pay Shs52, 000.The registration started in Nakawa Division, and will spread to the five divisions of Kampala.Some of the stages will be disbanded, merged or relocated after the exercise is done, according to the statement The number of special hire cars operating in Kampala and nationally is unknown but once established, the figure will enable proper revenue collection by the city authority.The Special Hire Operators and Drivers Association of Uganda had complained about errant drivers who commit crimes such as robberies thereby ruining the industry’s image.“The registration exercise seeks, among other benefits, to streamline and bring order and sanity in the sector, alongside ensuring security of operators and passengers,” the statement reads in part. Read more
Museveni urges Ugandans on EAC potential
President Yoweri Museveni has called for a more integrated African market if the continent is to play a bigger role in world trade.He urged Ugandans to utilise the vast opportunities for trade and free movement of labour in the East African Community (EAC). He said the dismal involvement of Africa in global trade has been occasioned by small fragmented markets. Museveni, said there needs to be more involvement of citizenry and business in integration.“Citizens have not fully appreciated the importance of the large market, despite businesses having made some inroads,” Museveni said in a speech read by Prof. Tarsis Kabwegyere, the minister of general duties, during the Karibu East Africa Community climax. Kabwegyere flagged off a symbolic caravan that will travel to Iganga, Busia and Moroto at the Serena Hotel in Kampala.The caravan is part of efforts to sensitize the public on the benefits of the EAC regional integration. Read more
 UIA: Coffee, Broadcasting Equipment, Cars Top Uganda's Exports
Cars and broadcasting equipment constitute part of Uganda's top five imports as well as exports, according to information obtained from Uganda Investments Authority (UIA).Hope Waira, UIA's senior investment executive says while coffee is the leading export commodity at 27 percent, broadcasting equipment follows in second position at 5.4 percent, refined petroleum at 5.1 percent, and cement at 4.1 percent and cars at 3.5 percent.Of the top five exports, three of them - broadcasting equipment, refined petroleum and cars are not manufactured in Uganda. They are imported into the country before they are re-exported to countries in the region. Waira says the major destinations for Uganda's exports are South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Tanzania. Statistics on how much revenue is generated from the imports and exports of broadcasting equipment and cars is not readily available.On the import side, the top five are refined petroleum at 21 percent, medicines at 3.8 percent, palm oil at 3.5 percent, cars at 3.5 percent and broadcasting equipment at 3.1 percent. John Onen, a Car dealer in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo says although he has no figures, it is likely that cars could be one of the top exports. Read more
OBI: Uganda beats Kenya on transparency in global budget index
Uganda has beaten Kenya in budget transparency and accountability in a new global survey.The Open Budget Index (OBI) carried out by International Budget Partnership (IBP), an NGO monitoring public finance across the globe, shows Kenya scored 48 against Uganda’s 62. Nairobi’s place in the rankings was, however, slightly above the global average of 45.Other countries in the East African region scored lower than Kenya, with Tanzania placed 46 and Rwanda 36. Conflict-prone Burundi was not ranked.Experts noted that though management of Kenya’s public finance has improved in the past few years, it still does not make public some of the budget documents.“We have certainly performed better since Budget, but we are not there yet. The programme-based budgeting improved the way the Budget is presented but we still can’t link the narrative with what is put in the accompanying tables,” said Jason Lakin, the IBP country manager. Read more
WorldRemit: Telcos Drive Mobile Money Growth
Telecomunications operators in the continent are seen recognising how interoperability is necessary to reap the full benefits of Mobile Money.This is according to WorldRemit, the international money transfer agency.
The observation follows the launch of Mobile Money transfers between Rwanda and Uganda by MTN.
"International remittances via Mobile Money are growing both in Africa and globally," Alix Murphy, Senior Mobile Analyst at WorldRemit.He said there were now over 260 Mobile Money services worldwide with over 100 million active users.Murphy said the Mobile Money interoperability initiatives that exist between telecoms operators remained intra-country or intra-continent, as most lacked the underlying infrastructure for money transfers internationally across continents. Read more
Roofings Group: Steel producers call for EAC standards to boost quality
Steel manufacturers have requested for a robust quality assurance system by way of adopting regional standards in the sector.Speaking during the East African Community secretary general, Dr Richard Sezibera’s tour of the company, Roofings Group chairman Sikander Lalani said: “We request the region to put in place a robust quality assurance system by way of adopting regional standards in the steel sector as well as putting in place a level playing field in tax administration.”He said a level playing field will help to harmonise the tax administration among the member states in order to reduce the cost of doing business.Mr Lalani told the secretary general various issues that must be addressed at the regional level in order to boost the growth of the steel sector.Among them is an increase in the EAC Common External Tariff (CET) on galvanised wire to 25 per cent in the region in order to protect the local producers. Read more
CC Mr DicksonKateshumbwa: URA want a cash bonus
After closing the financial year with the biggest surplus ever, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) is yet to get its cash bonus government promised earlier.The tax collectors closed  on a high after registering surplus of Shs139 billion, the biggest excess ever recorded in the history of the tax body. The surplus raises optimism that the revenue collection targets of Shs11 trillion is not beyond reach. URA had posted a Shs500b shortfall and Shs150b shortfall. This was after a Shs39b surplus.After touring the URA building under construction, whose budget has also been eroded as a result of the depreciation of the Shilling against the dollar, senior URA managers met Finance minister Matia Kasaija and reminded him about the government’s commitment to reward those who have impressively performed.“We worked day and night. We rallied all our staff towards the same cause. And the result was the surplus we collected. We now hope you will deliver good message to us—declare bonus,” the commissioner for customs, Mr Dicksons Kateshumbwa, told the minister. Read more
Shs100, 000 note circulating on social media illegal - BoU
Ugandans woke up to the shocking news circulating on social media that Bank of Uganda (BoU) had issued a Shs100,000 note.However, the Central Bank quickly denied issuing the note. The Bank has urged the public to ignore the note as a hoax and report known perpetrators.In a communication to Daily Monitor, BoU said: “It has come to the attention of Bank of Uganda that unknown individuals have created and are circulating an image of a bank note of Shs 100,000 purportedly issued by Bank of Uganda. This is illegal.”In the communication, the Central Bank informed the public that they have not issued any new denomination of Uganda currency and does not plan to do so in the near future.Warning“The public is urged to ignore the image as a hoax and report known perpetrators to Bank of Uganda,” BoU communication stated. Read more
EAC: Regional manufacturers to establish investment fund
 Regional manufacturers are planning to establish a fund that will facilitate joint investment in capital intensive and flagship projects. This was one of the resolutions made during the EAC manufacturers’ business summit, and is aimed at discussing the role of manufacturing in deepening the integration and fostering economic growth in the region.In their Kampala resolution, the industrialists resolved “To effectively utilise the available resources within the region for structural transformation of the manufacturing sector in key value chains, a regional special purpose vehicle (SPVs) should be established.”They said this will be done drawing lessons from the Maputo Development Corridor, or Air-bus Project in EU. “The framework should outline each country’s comparative and competitive strength in resources and inputs, and how EAC countries can collaborate and develop such strategic industries to avoid harmful competition,” the resolution noted. Read more
URA: Double taxation policy to be finalised - government
 A policy to guide the formulation of a double taxation treaty will be finalised, the commissioner for tax policy at the Ministry of Finance, Mr Moses Kaggwa, has disclosed. Double taxation treaty (DTT) is an important agreement that determines which country has the right to tax profit of a company that has operations in two or more countries.Through such treaties, a multinational company can determine where to pay taxes from. And in most cases it will choose to pay taxes where it thinks the rates are lower or avoid paying them altogether.Speaking to Daily Monitor after touring a Uganda Revenue Authority building under construction, Mr Kaggwa said the treaty is undergoing final touches and in a matter of days, it should be a done deal.He said: “We are trying to finalise the policy because we will be presenting it before Cabinet.” Read more
GSMCC: ‘Embrace joint ventures to win contracts’
Local contractors have been told to embrace joint ventures if they want to ably address problems hampering the industry.Mr Heinz G Rittmann, the executive director of German Small and Medium construction companies (GSMCC), said unity is the only way local companies can generate the required expertise, financial, labour and tool capacity to win contracts.He was speaking at a joint venture workshop for Uganda National Association for Building and Civil Engineering Contractors (Unabcec).Mr Rittmann said for the joint ventures to blossom, trust and honest must be beyond reasonable doubt. He highlighted selfishness, backbiting and lack of general commitment as the key factors that fail joint ventures.Citing an example of Sierra Leon where GSMCC has helped to develop the industry, Mr Rittmann said: “We have invested more than $10m (about Shs36b) in Sierra Leon’s construction industry. We are ready to do the same here (Uganda) so that the industry can develop. However, we shall only work with honest, trusted and registered companies.”Unabcec executive director Michel Mivule Pinto admitted that the local construction industry is crippling because proprietors lack knowledge about the usefulness of joint ventures. Read more
IMF: What China’s slowdown means for Uganda
The depressing news all over media channels is China hurting and the global economy seems to be trapped in the mix. Global stock markets continue to be volatile and jittery, partly due to the slowdown in the growth of the Chinese economy. But in Uganda, the impact is only, at least for now, visible on media channels as the world’s second largest economy slows to 6.8 per cent, down from the projected 7.4 per cent, according to International Monetary Fund (IMF). The slowdown is causing panic in the international markets, with the IMF predicting a gloomy global economic outlook due to depreciation of global currencies against the dollar.But what does the slowdown portend for Uganda?The appetite for Uganda’s imports largely feeds on two countries: China and India. Uganda imported goods worth $340m (Shs1.2 trillion), compared to $263m (Shs966b). The imports range from textile to hair wigs, highlighting how Uganda heavily relies on China as a source of supplies. imports from China have grown from $31.4m (Shs115b) in 2000 to more than $549m (Shs2 trillion). Read more
URA: Uganda, Kenya authorities to resolve sugar crisis
Uganda and Kenya have set a meeting to resolve the dispute over the sugar deal allowing Uganda to export her sugar to Kenya.In his visit to Uganda, President Uhuru Kenyatta discussed the matter  with President Yoweri Museveni,  among other things, Kenya’s  blockage of importation of sugar from Uganda to satisfy her growing demand. Kenya opposition leader Raila Odinga spiked off the sugar standoff after he questioned the importation of Uganda’s sugar to Kenya  deal when, according to him,  most Kenyan sugar factories are on the verge of closing down. He contended that the sugar importation from Uganda would kill off the Kenyan sugar industry. Odinga also accused Uganda of importing cheap sugar and trying to re-export it to Kenya.According to the Uganda revenue authority, the meeting will be attended by the Uganda and Kenya sugar authorities, sugar producers across the two countries, the EAC and URA in Kampala.“We expect to reach a resolution in that meeting over Kenya opposition’s claims that Uganda cannot sell cheap sugar to them and that we damp cheaply imported sugar on their market. Read more
KACITA to petition government over soaring rates
The Kampala City Traders Association resolved to petition government over the shilling’s continued volatility and the increase of interest rates on old loans.The weakening shilling, according to KACITA, has put pressure on the business community, especially when importing and paying rental expenses which has forced some of their colleagues to close shop. “Our quarrel is also with commercial banks for increasing the interest rates on loans that were taken long before the crisis. Because the loans are measured against our maximum ability to pay, any adjustment could kick us out of business,” said Everest Kayondo, KACITA chairman.During the meeting, the traders resolved to seek a meeting with the president, the BOU governor Emmanuel Mutebile and the Uganda Bankers’ Association to chat a way forward and look at policies which can help to stabilize the economy.The shilling continued to weaken against the dollar, shedding off 20% by end of business, and trading at approximately sh3,700 in exchange. Read more
Sekandi urges Ugandans in diaspora on investment
Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi has advised Ugandans living in North America to turn their periodical remittances to relatives back home into business ventures to create wealth, employment and sustainable sources of income for their relatives.He was speaking at the closing of the grand gala dinner for the 27th annual Uganda North American Association UNNA Convention and trade Expo, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Orleans, Louisana, USA.Ugandans abroad remit close to US$1b (sh3.4 trillion) most of which is spent by relatives on subsistence needs.“If you invest in business rather than just immediate consumption, you create sustainable opportunities to solve both short term requirements for your relatives. You also establish a stable source of income for long term needs,” Sekandi said.He advised Ugandans in North America to venture into broad areas of business such as agribusiness agro/processing, value addition and export promotion, infrastructure development, service industries like health; education, financial services, venture capital financing for private public partnerships, mineral development and support to oil and gas sub sector. Read more
NPA: Expatriates deprive government of revenue, says official
Uganda will need a few foreign engineering expatriates, the deputy chairperson of the National Planning Authority (NPA) has said.Dr Abel Rwendeire said the government has realised that importation of expatriates deprives local construction companies revenue and employment and thus, a deliberate move has been introduced where the two [foreign and local companies] will share work.“There is now a government policy where foreign companies subcontract a percentage of work to local engineers and companies. This will help develop the capacity of our engineers,” Dr Rwendeire said.He urged the local contractors to utilise the opportunity to get the much needed experience and use the money from subcontracts to acquire equipment.He said sharing work will also help the country not to spend a lot of money inviting the same expatriates to come and work on the same projects in future, in case there is a breakdown or renovation of any project.Dr Rwendeire made the remarks last week in Kampala while officiating at the Annual Construction and Builders’ Expo at the Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) in Kampala. Read more
MTN launches mobile money transfer between Uganda and Rwanda
Mobile money service provider MTN Uganda has launched cross-border money transfer services between Uganda and neighbouring country Rwanda.This new Mobile Money service will allow customers in both countries to transact via Mobile Money without having to change currencies.The service enables an MTN customer in Rwanda to send money in Rwandese Francs to a recipient in Uganda who will receive it in Uganda Shillings. The recipient has to be a customer of MTN Uganda to receive the transfer.“Technology is helping us eliminate national borders, enabling a unified digital and mobile financial services world. We are delighted to offer a solution that further enhances this agenda," said Mr Phrase Lubega, MTN Uganda's General manager in charge of Financial Services."We also trust that our customers will find it easy, fast and a more convenient means of transferring funds internationally,” Mr Lubega added. Read more
EACDGCT: EAC push for long-term trade pact with US to replace Agoa
The East African Community is pushing for a long-term preferential trade agreement with the United States that will remove uncertainties surrounding the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).The five member states have submitted their request to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on the modalities and the time to start negotiations on the pact.According to EAC Director General of Customs and Trade Peter Kiguta, the USTR is expected to present the request at the next US Congress meeting. If accepted, the region expects to increase the volume of trade and the number of products exported to the US.“For EAC partner states to expand their trade partnership with the US market, there has to be a reciprocal free trade agreement like the one with the European Union,” said Mr Kiguta.“The challenge with Agoa is that it is unilateral; it can be withdrawn any time and the period is very short and limiting for trade. So we need to have a long-term trade partnership that is more predictable,” he added. Read more
UBA half-year earnings rise by 40%
Pan-African financial services group, United Bank for Africa (UBA), has announced its earnings indicating a 40 per cent growth.UBA’s earnings grew to N166.9b (about Shs3.07 trillion), compared to N138.2b (about Shs2.54 trillion). The Bank’s profit before tax rose to 35.1 per cent translating into N39b (about Shs719.5b), while profit after tax was up by 40 per cent to N32 billion (about Shs590.4b) within the same period.The UBA 2015 half-year results also show improvement in operational efficiencies where the bank’s net operating income rose by 21per cent to N108.7b (about Shs2 trillion), compared to N90b (about Shs1.66 trillion) in the comparable period.The growth is attributed to profitability of the Nigerian group that extended loans to support domestic businesses. The Nigerian group contributed to the growth by more than 23 per cent. Read more
Safaricom opens M-Pesa to third party developers
Safaricom has opened up M-Pesa allowing local and international developers to create applications that use the platform as the main payment option.The move increases the money transfer service’s position in the market as it creates new revenue streams for M-Pesa. Betty Mwangi Safaricom Director Financial Services said one of the advantages of bringing M-Pesa home is the fact that it is easier to integrate with other financial platforms to offer more or improved services to customers.Ms Mwangi said, “we do however accept that innovation cannot come from us alone- it takes partnerships to come up with some of the best possible solutions that will help transform lives. Read more
URA: Uganda Revenue Authority to meet Kenya authorities over sugar
Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) is set to meet Kenya Revenue Authority officials and the Uganda Sugar Manufacturers Association to decide on how to facilitate sugar trade in the region.The meeting will take place in Kampala. The sugar question has been a thorny issue between Uganda and Kenya for long, with the latter saying Uganda's sugar exports to Kenya would edge local producers out of business."We want to talk about the smooth flow of this trade," Dicksons Kateshumbwa, the URA commissioner for customs, told reporters at the revenue body's headquarters in Nakawa.The conflict on sugar trade peaked, sparking heated political debate in Nairobi, when Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta sealed an agreement with President Museveni that Ugandan sugar exports should go to Kenya while the latter's milk and beef products are accepted in Uganda. Read more
PM: Govt to turn to financial markets for infrastructure funds - Rugunda
Government will consider capital markets as a viable option where it can borrow money to finance its infrastructure projects, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda has said.Rugunda told a meeting at Serena hotel in Kampala at the official launch of the automated Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) that "government would look into that seriously"."I encourage the private companies to come and raise cheap capital through capital markets either by listing or issuing corporate bonds," Rugunda said. "As government, we look forward to issuing long-term bonds to fund infrastructure projects." Read more
DPACTI: Regional industrialists call for stringent laws on counterfeits
Regional manufacturers say they are on the verge of being kicked out of business if governments do not enact stringent laws against counterfeit goods.Mr Hussein Kamote, the director of policy and advocacy at the Confederation of Tanzania Industries, said counterfeits have discouraged serious investment, tarnished brands of genuine industries and hampered efforts to upgrade the industry to capital intensive status.“Genuine manufacturers are running out of business because they cannot compete with ‘black markets’ that sell products quarter the price of the original goods,” said Mr Kamote. He made the remarks at the East African Manufacturers Business Summit in Kampala which brought together more than 500 delegates and investors from the region. Read more
SEATINI: 13,000 maize farmers to resume crop exports to Kenya, South Sudan
Thirteen thousand maize farmers under the association, Masindi District Farmers Association (MADFA), are set to resume exporting maize flour to South Sudan and Kenya after sorting out quality issues.This was revealed by MADFA programmes officer Nezaphor Aliganyira in Masindi while meeting farmers who had come from Nakasongola, Nakaseke and Luweero districts to learn about increasing maize productivity and maintaining quality standards.The team was led by Southern and Eastern African Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI) programmes officer Lina Asiimwe. Read more
PXAfrica, CEO Ms Julie Lerner: EAC online grain auction takes-off
East Africa’s first ever web-based grain market has taken off in earnest with 5,000 metric tonnes of wheat sold by twenty registered users.The online grains’ portal-PXAfrica said it had registered 20 users that represent more than 35 per cent of the Kenyan grains market with more grain traders from Kenya and Uganda seeking to join the hub.One negotiation of maize from Uganda has already traded and the spread between the bid and offer for 5000 metric tons of wheat has narrowed dramatically.The portal’s Chief Executive Officer Ms Julie Lerner  expressed optimism describing the uptake as good news for the smallholder farmers who have for ages relied on middlemen to dispose off their farm produce much to their detriment.Read more
EABC: ‘Promote consumption of locally made goods’
East African manufacturers have called for a policy that will, among other things, compel people from the region to buy locally manufactured goods. The call was made during the first ever East African Manufacturers Business Summit (EAMBS) at Speke Resort Hotel in Munyonyo, where more than 500 manufacturers expressed disappointment over people from the region abandoning local products for Western goods.East African Business Council (EABC) chairman Dennis Karera said he was dismayed by the fact that more than 70 per cent of goods used in the region are being imported from Western countries including those that can be accessed from member states.“Our manufacturing industry cannot develop when we, local consumers, do not buy the goods. There must be sensitisation to change the mindsets of East Africans who believe that imported goods (from Western countries) are of better quality,” said Mr Karera. Read more
UNCTAD: Trade experts slam Kenya-Uganda sugar deal feud
The first-ever East African manufacturing business summit closed in Kampala with participants urging partner states to recommit themselves to the customs union and avoid protectionism in order to allow for free trade and fair competition to prevail in the region.
Speaking at the summit, Dr Mukisa Kituyi, the secretary general of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), said the hullabaloo in Kenya over Ugandan sugar exports is a symptom of an inefficient EAC customs union authority."If there was an efficient and properly working customs union authority there would be no notion of exporting from Uganda to Kenya because you would not call that exporting," he said.Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and Yoweri Museveni reportedly struck a deal allowing Ugandan surplus sugar to access the Kenyan market. Read more
Regional tea prices go down
 East African tea farmers are facing tough times as prices continue to drop.Information from the Mombasa auction indicates prices have been going down. A kilogramme of made tea on average traded at Shs9,622, down from Shs10, 234 in the previous sale, indicating a 6.3 per cent drop.The quantities offered for sale grew by 300,000 kilogrammes to six million kilogrammes from the previous 5.69 million kilogrammes. Information from the auction also indicates that key buyers expressed little interest in the last three sales as volumes grew.Talking to Daily Monitor’s sister newspaper Business Daily, Ms Elizabeth Kaimenyi, the head of Tea directorate at the Auction, said major buying nations such as Pakistan, Egypt and other Middle East buyers did not show much interest during the auction. Read more
NSSF, URSB agree to share key data
National Social Security Fund (NSSF) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) to enable information/data sharing on companies registered with URSB and bio-data for NSSF members.Speaking at the MoU signing in Kampala, NSSF managing director Richard Byarugaba said: “Under this arrangement, URSB will provide NSSF with information on companies and bio data for NSSF’s members. This information is vital in enabling the Fund improve compliance and benefits processing.He added: “Our partnership with URSB is therefore very timely because it enables us access vital information on companies necessary for our compliance audits. We therefore believe that with increased access to information, our compliance levels will improve to 82 per cent up from 77 per cent.”On the other hand, URSB registrar general Bemanya Twebaze said URSB will have a registration centre at NSSF, while the Fund will also have a service centre at URSB. Read more
PM Rugunda launches USE automated system
The Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) is now officially trading using an internet-enabled automated trading system.The official launch was presided over by the Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda at a ceremony which took place at Kampala Serena Hotel.This marks the end of the outdated ‘open outcry’ trading system.The launch of this system comes after it was opened for live trading to brokers .Uganda now joins others in Africa, Europe, Asia and the US that are already reaping the benefits that come with automated trading. Rugunda said the formation of the capital market and particularly the USE was part of Government’s broader economic reforms aimed at stimulating a dynamic private sector to be the primary engine for economic growth in Uganda. Read more
EACU: Made in Brazil, packed in Kenya: How tariff windows feed Kenya’s sugar cartels
Has Uganda been re-exporting into Kenya the sugar it imports duty-free from Brazil?Do the Ugandans really have a sugar surplus as they claim? These two questions are at the heart of the controversy over sugar imports from Uganda, yet if indeed Uganda is re-exporting sugar into Kenya, then what the political opposition should be fighting for is stricter inspection of imports from Uganda for compliance with rules of origin under the East African Customs Union.So far — and despite the polarised debate among the political elite as to whether President Uhuru Kenyatta signed away major concessions on sugar imports during his visit to Uganda — there are no indications that the stipulations on rules of origin have been eliminated, or even relaxed, from Uganda sugar imports. Read more
UBOS: Inflation drops to 4.8%
Data from the statistics house shows that average annual headline inflation has reduced by 0.6 percentage points to 4.8% due to lower food, fuel, energy and utility prices.The Consumer Price Index (CPI), the official measure of inflation is the rate at which prices rise over a given period of time. Annual headline Inflation dropped from 5.4%.Some data collection centers like Kampala Middle and Low Income, Masaka and Kampala high income experienced higher inflation than other regions at 6%, 5.5% and 5.1% respectively due to high prices of clothing, footwear, rent, meals in restaurants and other goods and services. The annual core inflation, a component of headline inflation which excludes food, fuel, electricity and metered water prices rose to 5.5% from 5.4%.Core inflation is used as a basis for setting the benchmark Central Bank Rate (CBR) which in turn affects commercial bank lending rates. A rise in core inflation can lead to a rise in lending rates. Read more 
EAC: Exit Kenya's sugar, enter Tanzania rice - Kampala's new trade war
Even as trade wars in the East African Community have mostly featured Kenya and Uganda over sugar exports, Kampala has been locked in a dispute with Tanzania over an 18 per cent value added tax on the latter's rice.The East African has learnt that tens of thousands of tonnes of rice grown and produced in Tanzania are either lying at Mutukula and Port Bell or in other border towns on the Tanzanian side.Uganda says it is invoking its internal law as opposed to the EAC laws. Article 15 (1) and (2) of the EAC Customs Union Protocol prevents discrimination and imposition of internal tax on products of partner states. Read more
DGRNIS: EAC partner states face a decline in economic growth
Rwanda's service sector has pushed the country's GDP growth to 7.5 per cent, even as the manufacturing and agriculture sectors in the region, which registered a decline, pulled down the overall growth numbers of the bloc's economies.The economies had predicted a rise in their growth rates but poor performance by several key sectors is putting this in doubt. Rwanda remains the only regional economy on course, with private sector-led growth being its biggest GDP contributor. Yusuf Murangwa, director-general of Rwanda's National Institute of Statistics, said that the country's GDP grew by 7.6 per cent ."We have seen an average growth of 10 per cent in the trade, education, finance, insurance, transport and communications sectors," said Mr Murangwa. Read more
MEACA: Ugandans urged to do more cross border trade in EAC
Ugandans should take advantage of the East African Community integration to do more cross border trade, the undersecretary in the Ministry for East African Affairs has said. Daniel Mugulusi said it is now easier to do trade among regional countries since Ugandans only require a national identity card to be able to access markets in neighbouring countries.“Our neighbours have taken advantage of the East African integration and have set up businesses here. You too can do the same. For instance it is now easier to sell maize in Kenya than it was before,” Mugulusi said at an EAC awareness campaign dubbed Karibu East Africa.The campaign is spearheaded by the Ministry of East African Community Affairs (MEACA) with the support from Trademark East Africa.In a report released by Bank of Uganda and the Uganda Bureau of Statistics following a survey commissioned on informal cross border trade, Uganda’s formal export earnings to EAC countries increased by 9.2 per cent to US$2,356 from US$2,159.1, while informal exports amounted to US$ 453.7 million, representing a 27.5 percent increase amounted to 355.8 million. Read more
COMESA in drive to harmonise grain standards
The Common Market for East and Southern Africa (Comesa) met to kick start the process of harmonizing standards of maize grain across the region, and interpreting the existing standards.According to Makayi Musaruwa, a trade expert at COMESA, the current variations in the levels of flatoxins and standards between the EAC and SADC translate into trade barriers and must immediately be ironed out.Musaruwa said a well-functioning regional market requires coordination of sanitary and phytosanitary measures, as well as common product quality standards.“We are trying to come up with harmonised testing procedures so that traders from the EAC and SADC blocks are not subjected to undue loses and delays stemming from variation of standards,” he said. He further said the harmonization will also iron out standards differences with in the EAC region, where Kenya has often rejected maize from her neighbors or subjected it to double testing to ensure conformity. Read more
UIRA: Scrap medical assessment fees, Insurance Regulatory Authority tells government
The executive director Uganda Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) has asked government to scrap off the police medical assessment fees in order to ease claim settlements.Mr Ibrahim Kadunabbi Lubega said many Ugandans, especially low income earners, find it hard or even impossible to pay Shs70,000 to get the medical report, a prerequisite that insurers use to settle claims.“The medical assessment report fees should be scrapped off or made cheap to enable people get their claims,” Mr Kadunabbi said at IRA offices in Kampala.He was responding to complaints mainly from bodaboda cyclists who said they hardly claim anything despite paying for Motor Third Party Insurance (MTP) which is provided for in the Third Party Risks Act. Read more
New car dealers want used motor vehicles phased out
As Uganda prepares to launch its first locally manufactured automobile to the market in 2018, new car dealers have appealed to the government to begin phasing out the importation of used motor vehicles on the market. According to the dealers, the market needs to purchase at least 4,000 new vehicles per year for any manufacturing or assembling plant to expect break even. However, according to statistics from the Uganda bureau of statistics (UBOS) the Ugandan market only absorbs about 2,500 new vehicles. “Most people in the country are used to buying used, environmentally unfriendly, vehicles that are imported into the country quite cheaply. But if we expect to replace them with our own locally manufactured vehicles, we need to prepare the market now by phasing out importation of used vehicles,” said Karim Shehata, MAC country sales and marketing manager. Read more
UCDA: Uganda ranked leading coffee exporter in Africa
After struggling, Uganda’s leading export commodity coffee, posted gains both in volume and value at the international market, a new report indicates.If this performance continues, Uganda stands a chance to be among the world’s top five producers.The new development has made the country move three steps from position number 10 after Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Honduras, Indonesia and India.Statistics from the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) indicate that, there was a 16 per cent and 18 per cent increase in volume and value respectively. Uganda exported 403,381 60-kg bags up from 335,405 60kg bags exported. Read more
EAC countries told to invest in livestock for export
EAC countries must come up with strategic investment plans to address impediments to the productivity of livestock in the region to increase the regions GDP.Some of the impediments to livestock production include poor access to production resources; Weak and delivery of animal health care systems, inadequate livestock information, Policies irresponsive of development needs in the livestock sub sector; among others.This is according to the deputy EAC secretary general Jessica Eriyo, who was speaking at a EAC livestock policy meeting in Nairobi. It was organised by the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF).Eriyo said that Livestock resources contribute to EAC Partner States between 30% and 50% of the agricultural GDP and account for between 10% and 15% of the national GDP. Read more
UEPB: Export Promotions Board to train traders
Lack of awareness of trade procedures at border points among small scale traders is to blame for the low exports.This is according to the executive director of the Uganda Export Promotions Board (UEPB) Elly Twineyo Kamugisha, who was addressing members of the Uganda Small Scale Industries Association (USSIA) in Kampala.“Many lack the information on cross border trade like taxes .They  still pay taxes on exports and yet they are Zero rated, but because they are exporting informally ,they end up paying these fees to people who pose as officials from the Tax Authority,” said Kamugisha. He blames the problem partly on the lack of human resource and disorganization within the export promotions office which made it hard for them to reach out to small scale traders. Kamugisha adds  they have embarked on a mass sensitize exercise of small scale industries in partnership with USSIA on the various issues regarding trade at borders like standards, taxes, product development. Read more
Rising expenses reduce Dfcu Bank’s profitability trend
Dfcu Bank Limited, which owns Uganda’s seventh-largest bank by assets, has had its income reduced by a sharp rise in operating expenses. In interim results released, the bank net profit fell 29 per cent to Shs13.6b from Shs19b compared to the same period. This reduction breaks a  trend of rising profitability. Dfcu is the second bank to publish its results after Stanbic Bank did the same. The two banks share similarities, especially a considerable rise in operating expenses. Dfcu’s operating expenses rose by Shs10b to Shs44b, up from Shs34.6b. This is a rise of 30 per cent. Read more
EAC: ‘Kenya has no right to block Ugandan sugar’
East African Community (EAC) secretary general Richard Sezibera has said Kenya has no right to stop Ugandan sugar from being sold within its territory as long as both countries are members of the regional bloc. According to Mr Sezibera, the same rule applies to any of the five EAC member states that attempts to restrict trade or movement of goods produced within the region from reaching each other’s market.Speaking during his courtesy visit at the Monitor Publications Limited offices , the EAC secretary general said sugar shouldn’t be an issue in the region because all the five member states still need to produce more sugar than what is available. He said: “All the EAC countries have sugar deficits, the only difference is that Uganda’s deficit is slightly better compared to the other states—but as a region we have an annual deficit of about 200,000 metric tonnes. And for that, there should be no restriction of goods produced within East Africa.” Read more
URBS moves to automate business licensing
As Uganda’s business rankings globally continue to drop, Uganda Registration Service Bureau (URSB) has moved in to automate business registration process and ease the conditions for investors.The automation process will involve creation of an e-licensing portal, a one stop centre that will include services from application for business licences, registration, provision of necessary data, and acquisition of licences just at a click of a computer mouse.Speaking at a meeting on electronic licensing in Kampala, the registrar general URBS, Mr Bemanya Twebaze, said the system is overwhelmed and very bureaucratic with ministries, departments and Agencies all doing the same activity (issuing licences) yet in a very long time.“The e-licensing portal is already in place, though more of informational,” Mr Bemanya said. Read more
TPDCP: The causes and consequences of China's market crash
It began innocently enough, with a fall in markets in China that might, at the outset at least, have been mistaken for the healthy clearing of froth from the world's frothiest stockmarket. Yet the plunge that started in Asia (and which followed a nasty drop in American markets) has continued to gather momentum. It now looks very worrying indeed. When markets in Shanghai closed, stocks were down 8.5%—the Shanghai Composite’s worst fall and, given the daily limits on how far individual stocks can fall, very nearly the biggest possible decline. The People's Daily, the Communist party's mouthpiece, declared the day "Black Monday". The nervousness has radiated outward from China. The Nikkei index in Japan slipped by 4.6%. European bourses are down 4-5%. The Dow opened down more than 1,000 points; stocks have since regained some ground but the main indices are still down about 4%. The Eurofirst 300 index has had its worst. Germany’s DAX has now lost all the gains it made.Read more
BOU: Central Bank intervenes to save troubled Shilling, again
Bank of Uganda (BoU) has intervened in the market to save the Shilling from surpassing another record low . The Uganda Shilling had inched closer to a high Shs3700 before the Central Bank intervening.In an email response to the Daily Monitor, Ms Christine Alupo, the director communications at BoU, said “…this is to confirm that the Bank intervened on the sale side in the foreign exchange market to stem volatility.” She, however, did not specify the amount pumped into the market.This BoU intervention means they sold dollars – from the reserves - at a time they’re scarce. The intervention usually brings down the rate. This intervention is the most significant when the dollar rate was nearly at Shs3,700. Read more
Nervous markets ride roller-coaster after China rate cut
Frazzled investors sent Europe's top indexes falling by more than one percent in opening trade after a choppy session on Asian bourses, and analysts predicted more turbulence ahead.China's central bank reduced interest rates and slashed the amount of money banks need to hold in reserve  -- its second such double move -- in a bid to stoke growth.The measures are not only aimed at boosting boost cash flow in China, but also to revive confidence that Beijing can steer the economy away from a hard landing and keep global growth on course.The cuts initially fuelled a rebound in Europe but optimism fizzled by the end of US trading, and Asian markets see-sawed in nervous trade."The struggle between gains and losses suggests that the market doesn't really know what to make of the policy move yet," Bernard Aw, a strategist at IG Asia, told Bloomberg News.China's benchmark stock index fell 1.27 percent, or 37.68 points, to 2,927.29, after a day that saw it veer wildly from between losses and gains of around four percent.Read more

FSAP Thabo Mbeki : Revenue authorities plot an end to multinational companies criminal tax activities
Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has entered into partnership with the continent tax bodies in a move to wipe out illicit financial flows from Africa. A report on illicit financial flows (IFFs) estimates that Uganda loses at least Shs1.5 trillion to illegal activities perpetrated by the multinational companies.The money lost is nearly an equivalent of four times the budget allocated for agriculture.In the same report, the African Union/Economic Commission for Africa High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa report, chaired by former South African president Thabo Mbeki, shows that the multinational companies in Africa deny the continent its due share of revenue through tax evasion, money laundering and false declaration.Read more
Stanbic Bank: Uganda’s economy on the edge
“That is a concern” was a phrase repeatedly said by the chief executive officer of Stanbic Bank at an investor briefing in reference to the status of Uganda’s fragile economy. At the briefing Patrick Mweheire delivered what was mostly considered bad news for the economy, especially for the banking sector.“Banking in this kind of environment is going to be hard,” he said highlighting a sudden rise in lending rates, inflationary pressures, a volatile Shilling, rising interest on government debt, widening government expenditure and the elephant in the room.Even with Bank of Uganda playing down any similar spike in money supply during the election season, there are signals that the economy is facing “headwinds” due to these fears. Read more
PSF: Act on export trade barriers to stabilise Shilling
The private sector wants government to deal with export trade barriers which largely explain the depreciating Shilling rather than give excuses for the currency volatility.Talking to Daily Monitor in Kampala, Private Sector Foundation Uganda executive director Gideon Badagawa said Uganda is a net importer and so long as the situation remains the same, the economy will always be vulnerable to shocks from the declining value of the Shilling. Commenting on remarks by Finance minister Matia Kasaija that tear gas, among other imports, is responsible for the loss of value of the Shilling against the dollar, Mr Badagawa said government should deal with the problem and not whine about it.He said: “Importing tear gas is one thing, but the real issue here is we are not attracting enough foreign direct investment and the Central Bank must do more in ensuring less outflow of foreign currency.” Read more
Comesa moves to harmonise maize standards in region
The Common Market for East and Southern Africa (Comesa) has started the process of harmonising standards of maize grain, a move meant to resolve the dispute between Uganda and Kenya.According to Comesa sanitary and phytosanitary expert Martha Byanyima, Uganda and Kenya have had a problem of standards of maize grain with Kenya at times rejecting the Ugandan produce or subjecting it to double testing to ensure conformity.In the process, traders incur extra costs and encounter delays to deliver their products because of the variation in standards of the maize grains in the East African Community (EAC).Speaking at a workshop in Kampala organised by Comesa in partnership with Uganda National Bureau of Standards to discuss how to end the problem between the two countries, Ms Byanyima said the problem came as a result of misinterpretation of the set standards of the grain. Read more
Weak Shilling eats into Umeme profits
Power distributor Umeme is paying the price of a weak Shilling, after it suffered a surprising  loss. In its results, the utility company announced at least Shs73b had been knocked off their income due to the Shilling weakening by 19 per cent.This was a 943 per cent rise in unrealised foreign exchange losses from Shs7b .As a result, the company suffered a loss of Shs4.4b compared to a net profit of Shs38.2b.“This is solely due to the increased unrealised foreign exchange losses,” the company said in a statement. The company noted that this loss was “on borrowings” which are denominated in dollars.A company may suffer foreign exchange losses if it has several transactions denominated in dollars yet the core of its business is in Uganda Shillings.
The unrealised foreign exchange can be recovered – and in this case, Umeme hopes to recover this through any appreciation of the Shilling.Read more
Enterprise Uganda: High business mortality rate stifling SMEs
Although strengthening small and medium enterprises (SMEs') provides the strongest basis for business growth, the sector is still grappling with high rate of business mortality.Rosemary Mutyabule, head of business advisory at Enterprise Uganda observed that many SMEs' have been forced to shut down operation because of high costs of doing business. Mutyabule noted that some people expect to begin reaping faster yet business prosperity is a gradual process which requires patience.She was addressing journalist at Serena hotel during a function to renew commitment aimed at encouraging more SMEs' prosper in business."If business technocrats do not come out to support these SMEs' grow in business, there will be increased grappling with unemployment. We need to support these young people to gain the momentum of doing business and get economically empowered, "said Mutyabule. Read more
EALA pushes for inter-linked investment plan
The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) wants the region to prioritise harmonisation of investment initiatives and incentives if the bloc is to be promoted as a single investment area. To this end, EALA is calling for the formulation of an advocacy plan to spur investment policy and strategy as well as enactment of a regional law on investments.The legislators also want a framework in place to ensure that specialisation in investments is encouraged among the partner states as opposed to intra-competition. In addition, they are calling for inculcation of mechanisms to enable investors to capitalise a certain percentage of profits in the EAC countries rather than repatriating all the money back to their home countries.The issues are summed up in a report of the Communications Trade and Investment (CTI) on investment promotion policies in the region that was debated and adopted Tuesday as the EALA Session commenced in the Ugandan Parliament.Read more
SEATINI: Experts call for formation of regional body to regulate trade
Consumers in Uganda have nowhere to legally turn to if faced with exploitation because there is no law in relation to competition in business.Despite persistent calls by the private sector for the law to be operational, the Bill continues to gather dust on the Ministry of Trade’s shelf. To safeguard the interest of the consumers against market distortions by selfish, profit-driven organisations and individuals, a cross section of trade analysts and regional non-governmental organisations want a regional authority formed that will regulate unfair trade. At a recent workshop organised by Southern and Eastern African Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI) Uganda, in partnership with Consumer Unity and Trust Society and with support from Trade mark East Africa, experts said with the growth of cross-border trade, it is necessary to establish a regional authority that will regulate unfair trade tendencies. “Due to anti-competitive practices in the region, the EAC might be prone to restrictive business practices. Read more
KERC: Kenya cuts Uganda power imports by more than 50%
 Kenya has cut electricity imports from Uganda by more than half following the injection of additional geothermal power into the national grid.Data from the Kenya Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) indicates that Kenya imported 27.97 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) from neighbouring countries, including Ethiopia in the first half of the year, down from 57.91 million kWh a 51.7 per cent drop.Uganda, which is pushing for increased trade with Kenya, accounted for 95 per cent of Kenya’s power imports or 26.49 million kWh.Power bought from Uganda dropped by 30.86 million kWh, translating to losses of hundreds of millions.Kenya had last year stepped up imports from Uganda to meet growing need for power driven by rising demand from industrialists and increased customer connections, particularly in rural areas.Read more
300 exhibitors to grace Buganda Tourism Expo
Over 300 exhibitors from different parts of the country and neighbouring states are to embrace this year's eighth Buganda Kingdom Tourism expo. The event is scheduled to run from August 23rd to 30th at the grounds of the Kabaka's official palace in Lubiri, Mengo. It is organized by the Buganda Heritage and Tourism Board in partnership with Central Government with the aim of promoting culture and tourism in different parts of the country. Addressing journalists at palace grounds, the kingdom's minister for tourism, Ritah Namyalo said they target 300 exhibitors from various parts of the country and neighboring states. She noted that over 100 participants have already registered. Registration fees range between sh100,000 and sh2m depending on the space. Kabaka Ronald Mutebi will close the event on August 30th. Other dignitaries expected include the Nnabagereka Sylvia Nagginda, Katikkiro Peter Mayiga and the Central Government minister of tourism, Maria Mutagamba.Read more
Umeme share valuation hits an impressive Shs1 trillion
“After meeting Umeme management and seeing the company’s operations, we believe it would be a mistake for the Ugandan government to end Umeme’s concession early. The company is delivering on expectations for its investment programme; the new equipment it is installing is state-of-the-art, customer connection rates are rising and grid losses are falling,” reads a report from Renaissance Capital seen by Daily Monitor.When Umeme’s concession runs out, by that time, dividends will have grown by about 250 per cent, according to the report.African Alliance in its East African Power Sector report published, indicates Umeme will perform above the loss reduction target given by the regulator.Mr Selestino Babungi, the chief executive officer Umeme, while speaking to the Daily Monitor, said the company had also tightened their internal controls so as to check fraud, which would increase their profitability. Read more
FEAPM: Regional pharmaceuticals want incentives for local production
Through their umbrella organisation, Federation of the East African Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (FEAPM), the group wants a uniform preferential margin of 20 per cent for all regionally produced medicines and medical devices in public tenders.While meeting East African Community secretary general Richard Sezibera in Arusha, Tanzania, FEAPM members led by chairperson Nazeem Mohamed said the implementation of the incentive framework would lead to the growth of local production. “In turn, employment generation, opportunities for highly skilled labour force, reduction of substandard and counterfeit products, creation of high value industry and attraction of investments and financial viability, improved skills and technology transfer, creation of backward/forward linkages and import savings and export earnings,” Mr Mohamed said. Read more
We have not announced new rate changes - MultiChoice
DStv is a subject of debate on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and email conversations, after a document circulating suggested that subscription prices would increase by at least 28 per cent.MultiChoice Uganda, that owns satellite TV service DStv, have denied this communication, insisting it didn’t come through the official channels.“If we were to communicate any price changes, we would do it formally and through the proper channels,” Ms Tina Wamala, the public relations and communications manager, told Daily Monitor in a telephone interview. In an official statement, MultiChoice said: “MultiChoice Uganda informs its subscribers and the general public that the price incremental document being circulated on social media is not an officially sanctioned communication from the company and was an internal discussion document. Read more
PSFU: Manufacturers told to produce quality goods for regional market
The Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) has urged government to train local manufacturers on how to improve the quality of their products and make them competitive in the regional market.Addressing journalists in Kampala, PSFU Executive Director, Gideon Badagawa said Ugandan products' quality is still very low compared to its counterparts in the region, explaining why local manufacturers have failed to fully penetrate the East African and international markets. "Before government tells traders to export more to other countries in the region, there is need for quality improvement and this should be done through seminars and trainings," Badagawa said."We appreciate the fact that government has allocated sh500b in the budget to Uganda Development Bank for recapitalization, in an effort to support small and medium enterprises, this effort needs to be backed with trainings on how to produce high quality products." Read more
PSFU: International trade expo to address credit access and business growth
At least 2,000 small and medium Entrepreneurs will get skills in credit access and enhancement to business growth at the 10th annual Private Sector Foundation Uganda international Trade Expo.The PSFU executive director Gideon Badagawa said the issue of Ugandan goods and services competing in the global market is still a big challenge. “Competition is necessary that is why the focus will be centered on value chain addition, information and building standards,” said Badagawa. He told the press at his Nakasero offices that the issues related to high lending rates coupled with the depreciating shilling against the exchange rate was hurting the private sector.He said Chinese and South African products are competing unfairly across the region due to the low rending rate given to the manufacturers in their countries. “China lends at 5% while South African at 8%, so how can a Uganda producer getting money at 25% compete with such people even if they export their products here? It is hard,” he said.Read more
Govt signs Shs270 billion Muzizi hydro-power deal
Government of Uganda, Germany Development Bank (KfW) and the French Development Agency, have signed a €70m (about Shs273b) agreement towards financing the construction of the Muzizi hydro-power project.Speaking at the handover of the project to the implementation engineers, Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL) managing director Harisson Mutekanga said the consultancies to design the project, which will cover the districts of Kibaale, Kyenjojo, Kabarole, and Ntoroko, will cost €3,959,771 (about Shs15.5b).“We are getting a resettlement action plan consultant to work with the government valuer to look at the affected people and determine the right amount for compensation,” Dr Mutekanga said.Read more
Traders to pay KCCA taxes using mobile money
Traders making periodic payments to Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), will no longer have to queue to fill forms.This follows a newly launched partnership between MTN, a telecom company, and KCCA to effect payment of taxes to the city authority using the mobile money service.According to Ms Jenniffer Musisi, the Executive Director of KCCA, the move is part of the authority’s strategic plan to automate the entire revenue collection process targeting improved revenue collection.“Today’s event seeks to broaden the existing Revenue collection channels by bringing on board mobile money services to facilitate KCCA fees collection,” Ms Musisi said during the project’s launch. Read more
Uganda’s sugar turns sour in Kenya
Uganda imports goods worth $700m (about Shs2.4 trillion) from Kenya, compared to exports worth $150m (about Shs530b) to Kenya. Therein the statement lies a pointer to the move by Mr Kenyatta to have this trade deficit reduced, at least according to President Museveni.“...and commended President Kenyatta for implementing initiatives that would contribute to bridging this gap,” the communiqué reads in part.The carefully worded communiqué only said Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry had signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote “common interests.” Read more
Finance minister seeks solution for declining shilling
Finance minister Matia Kasaija has asked the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) to find out why the shilling has been weakening against the dollar over an extended period of time."I ask EPRC to do research on how to prevent the shilling from sliding against the dollar, I want to hear from the wise how we can save our shilling," Kasaija said.This was during the launch of a new brand identity, logo and website for the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC). The function took place at Serena Hotel.The new logo of the EPRC is aimed at enhancing its relevance, effectiveness and visibility in providing evidence driven policy advice for sustainable development in Uganda.The logo contains the symbol of a bulb that symbolizes fresh ideas to be generated. It has a sketch of a human portrait to express people empowerment through knowledge. Read more
ED Jenifer Musisi: KCCA revenue collection doubles
Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has increased its revenue collection from sh28b  to sh75bn, executive director Jennifer Musisi has revealed.The increase in revenue is attributed to the new e-Citie online revenue collection system KCCA introduced, where dues from commuter taxis are collected."With the e-Citie system, clients can now use their mobile phones to pay fees ranging from yellow fever, commuter taxi revenue and property rates among others," said Musisi. She emphasized that, all revenue collected on behalf of KCCA will be strictly done online for efficiency, convenience and effectiveness.Read more
RGURSB, Mr Bemanya Twebaze: World Bank gives Shs9 billion for one-stop centre
To kick-start the establishment of one-stop centre in Uganda, the World Bank Group has provided a loan of $3 million (about Shs9 billion) for the construction of the structure. Investors move from one place to another to get all the documents they need before their enterprises are established, which is associated with delays and frustrations.The one- top centre, which will be built in Kololo in Kampala, will house Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) and a department of National Environmental Authority (Nema) to work in an integrated manner to provide the business community/investors with the necessary documents they need to establish a business in Uganda.Read more
 Ana Lucía Coronel: IMF lauds gov't on infrastructure projects
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has praised the Ugandan government for investing heavily in building new infrastructure like roads and dams. “Addressing existing infrastructure bottlenecks is key to boosting potential growth and creating job opportunities. The authorities are committed to sequencing the implementation of the ambitious infrastructure investment package—in the areas of energy and transport—to ensure consistency with the absorptive and implementation capacities of the economy and preserve debt sustainability,” said Ana Lucía Coronel, IMF mission chief and senior resident representative for Uganda. Coronel made the remarks in a statement issued after a team from the IMF visited Kampala to conduct the Article IV Consultation and the fourth review of Uganda’s economic program supported by the Policy Support Instrument (PSI). “It remains crucial that the selected projects carry the best possible financial terms and be commercially viable and transparently executed,” she said. The IMF chief also lauded the approval of the Public Financial Management (PFM) Act as a major milestone.Read more
NSSF pays out Shs165 billion to beneficiaries
The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) paid Shs165 billion to more than 11,000 beneficiaries, representing an increase of 18 per cent, according to information obtained from the Fund.The information also shows that , the Fund has paid in excess of Shs694 billion to more than 100,500 beneficiaries.Ms Barbra Teddy Arimi, the NSSF head of marketing and communications, said the figures are a testimony that the Fund provides social security services to Ugandan workers.“We have consistently paid all members of the Fund that lodge in their benefits claims when they qualify. The amount of money we pay out has consistently increased by 27 per cent on average,” she said.Time taken to pay reduces, She added that the Fund has also improved the time it takes to pay benefits. Read more
CMA: Regulatory approval delays automated stock exchange
This would have been the start of the first trading session for Uganda’s first automated stock exchange; however, securing approval from the regulator is taking more time. ALTX Uganda, The Capital Markets Authority (CMA), would have issued the approvals for their rules and products.At the unveiling of the board of directors for ALTX Clearing, Mr Joseph Kitamirike, one of the co-founders of the company, noted that they had moved the launch date forward.“The regulator had given us the time for the approval. They have now  approved the rules and procedures required for us to launch,” he told reporters. He also anticipated that , they will be able to launch.Read more
MOF: Local tobacco firms to pay less taxes
Finance minister Matia Kasaija has said local tobacco firms that add value on the cash crop will be moderately taxed compared to companies that only sell imported processed products.According to Mr Kasaija, it is in the interest of the government to support the local manufactures, specifically those adding value on the raw materials that are being produced locally.Speaking while touring the factories of Leaf Tobacco and Commodities (U) Ltd in Kampala and Arua, Mr Kasaija said the country needs foreign exchange which can be generated through more exports rather than imports.He said: “I am impressed by the investments of Leaf Tobacco and Commodities (U) Ltd. As government, we have a duty to help such factories that generate foreign exchange, create jobs and give us revenue without getting outcompeted.” Read more
BAT shareholders receive record Shs37b dividend
After posting its highest net profit since it was listed on the Uganda Securities Exchange, British American Tobacco is paying the entire Shs36.7b profit to shareholders. The shareholders, at an Annual General Meeting (AGM), approved the dividend after the company’s performance.Mr Dadson Mwaura, the managing director BATU, told shareholders that payment is in line with their 100 per cent dividend policy.The bulk of this dividend will be going to British American Tobacco Investments, Precis and Kingsway Fund, all international companies that hold 70 per cent, 20 per cent and 8 per cent shareholding, respectively in BATU. The other 1,301 shareholders will take the remaining 2 per cent of the dividends. Read more
UCIFA: Clearing industry MOU to improve relations
The two clearing and forwarding associations in Uganda, have signed an agreement to pave way for close collaboration. Uganda Clearing Industry and Forwarding Association (UCIFA) and the Uganda Freight Forwarders Association (UFFA) appended signatures to a memorandum of understanding (MOU).UCIFA boss, Kassim Omar said, “We realized that there was need to harmonize operations, codes and ethics.”“We needed a lobby and advocacy platform to strengthen our institutions through professionalism, integrity and ethical conduct”Kassim referred to the MOU as an “ice breaker” that would lead them to much higher levels Up until now, UCIFA and UFFA, said Kassim, were operating from ‘different angles’ and yet headed towards the same direction, which affected service delivery.Read more
Billionaire investor calls for one regional stock exchange
Kenyan billionaire investor, Dr. Chris Kirubi, has expressed disappointment over the disintegration of the stock exchanges in East Africa.Speaking at the 12th Kikonyogo Capital Markets Awards (CMA) night in Kampala, he called for a single stock exchange for all the listed companies within the region.“To the Capital Markets Authority, I will not come again to speak at an event if you do not integrate the stock exchanges in East Africa,” Mr Kirubi said. He put to task the CMA to negotiate with the regional regulators on how to integrate the regional exchanges.Kenya’s Nairobi Stock Exchange remains the most capitalised market and the most active. The Uganda Securities Exchange (USE), Dar-es-Salaam Securities Exchange (DSE) and Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE) have much more subdued market activity.Read more
EABC: Regional economies struggling to tame sliding currencies
East African currencies are struggling to keep afloat against the appreciating United States dollar a situation experts say could increase cost of business in the region.The mostly affected currencies are the Ugandan, Kenyan and Tanzania Shillings. Experts largely attribute to a global strengthening dollar, and reduced foreign exchange inflows from tourism, trade, and agriculture.Executive Director East African Business Council Andrew Luzze, in an interview with Daily Monito, said: “Industries in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania where the manufacturing base for the region is strong, mostly depend on imports which means they have to increase their prices to cater for the exchange losses.As a result, the high prices will be transferred to countries such as Rwanda and Burundi where we have seen less depreciation of their currencies,” Mr Luzze said.Read more
Deacons Uganda: Fashion retail chain invests Shs5.2b in expansion drive
Ugandans will now have a wide variety of choice with the entry of two new fashion retail store outlets, Mr Price Home combo store and Bossini store, bringing the number of stores operated by Deacons Uganda, to three.Fashion retailer Deacons Uganda— a subsidiary of Deacons Kenya, one of East Africa’s largest fashion retailers—has invested another Shs5.2 billion in two new stores both located at Acacia Mall, to tap into the growing middle-class in Uganda.The Mr Price brand in Uganda at Oasis Mall, the apparel retail chain has observed that Uganda’s market is fragmented in the informal sector, with growth in shopping malls, especially in Kampala.Read more
Demand for local fruits to increase as firm installs sh9b plant
Following a requirement by all juice manufacturers to improve quality, a leading juice manufacturer has improved its manufacturing accuracy and quality control by installing a new state of the art multi billion plant.The US$3m (shs9b) plant is set to increase demand for locally produced fruits such as mangos, passion, pineapples and oranges that are essential in juice extraction. Britania Allied Industries the manufacturers of Splash juice are the first company so far to meet the set requirements by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) the standards body. Jagadish Kumathe the General Manager Commercial and Logistics said the US$ 3m (shs9b) Tetra Brik Aseptic (TBA) plant from Sweden will go a long way in bolstering quality of the juice production.“The issue of quality in juice production is very important that is why we felt it necessary to invest close to shs10b in this new plant,” he told the Press at their premises in Ntinda. Read more
EAC countries develop 5,000 standards to ease regional trade
 The East African Community (EAC) Secretariat is set to introduce 5,000 new standards to ease the movement of goods and services. Some of the new standards include seeds standards on maize, soya beans, sunflower, sorghum and groundnuts. Such standards will help address challenges of fake seeds in the market when implemented by producers and government.Other standards will be on sugar and sugar products such as chewing gum, liquid glucose used in industry, molasses, sugarcane and sweets.These will help facilitate trade in the region.Experts say the new standards could be an answer to the puzzled private sector whose products have been traded  but have no national standards. EAC Secretary General, Dr Richard Ssezibera, said: “ EAC has 1,500 standards and we are bringing on board 5,000 more. We urge member states to domesticate them at the national level.” Read more
UIA: 70 private equity firms seek local partnerships
Small and medium-sized enterprises have another chance to link up with well-capitalised private equity firms to take their businesses to a higher level.The Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) will 200 micro, small, medium enterprises together with 70 private equity and venture capital firms at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel.Dr. Frank Ssebowa, the UIA chief, noted that many high potential companies lack capital.“Between microfinance and mega deals in Uganda lies the “missing middle” — a lack of SME business finance that is holding back a swathe of high potential enterprises. This is where private equity and venture capital comes in handy,” Ssebowa noted.Private equity firms provide medium to long-term equity capital to companies with growth potential. Many of them want a high return on their capital and seek out firms with growth potential in which they invest and exit after achieving their required returns.The SMEs will be selected with the help of business groups like the Uganda Manufacturers Association, Private Sector Foundation Uganda, Uganda Small Scale Industries Association and the Kampala City Traders Association. Read more
Kenya provides market for Uganda, Tanzania produce
Kenya is increasingly becoming a market for agriculture products from Uganda and Tanzania.
According to the economic survey, massive imports of unmilled maize and sugar from the two countries boosted their trade with Kenya by 27.2 per cent compared .This is good news for the two states that are major destinations for Kenya’s industrial products.Kenya faced a maize shortage while the perennial sugar shortage of about 300,000 metric tonnes provides a ready market for members of the trading bloc.
The East African Community trade protocol allows countries unrestricted market access across the boundaries.“Imports from the East African Community grew by 27.2 per cent to Sh36.66 billion with those from Uganda and Tanzania jointly amounting to Sh35.9 billion,” the survey says. To underscore the importance of the Kenya market to Uganda, slightly more than half of the total value of imports from the country during the review comprised tobacco, sugar and unmilled maize.Read more
UNCOCI: Gulf Countries turn to Ugandan cereals, vegetables and fruits
Farmers have been advised to position themselves for a new emerging market in the Gulf region where there is an assured market for Ugandan fruits, vegetable and cereals.In an exclusive interview, Ms Olive Kigongo, the president Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry said Ugandans should brace themselves for the new market in the Gulf region because the Arab countries import all their food and as long as they can fulfill the quantities and quality of food required, there is an assured market for avocados, pine apples, passion fruits and vegetables from Uganda.“The Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture has identified 57 companies which are interested in different investments in agriculture because Arab countries import all their food and as long as we can satisfy the quantities and quality, this is the opportunity,” she said. Read more
Banks swim in profits as loans become more costly
Commercial banks in general have had improved performance, according to the published financial statements. The profitability of banks has improved by 25 per cent to Shs536b. The sector performance was beginning to look gloomy when Bank of Uganda (BoU) closed Global Trust Bank over sustained losses. This is a recovery from the reduced profitability when banks experienced a 22 per cent reduction as a result of reduced lending and a fall in income from loans. Banks lent more, earning more from loans as well as growing customer deposits, which grew by 18 per cent to Shs13 trillion.Read more
Government, traders agree to stop exports to EU markets
The two ministries of Trade and Agriculture have resolved to impose a self-ban on export of fresh fruits and vegetables to the European Union markets to control the spread of harmful organisms found in the produce exported.The ban, which, was seconded by exporters of fresh fruits and vegetables, industry players who after several appeals convinced the two ministries to reduce the self-imposed suspension from the recommended. Uganda’s embassy in Brussels has been notifying the responsible ministries of the interception (harmful organisms) of plants and plant products exported from Uganda to various countries in the European Union (EU). Read more
UNABCEC: Stakeholders laud ban on twisted bars
Stakeholders have welcomed the new move by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards to bring sanity to the construction industry by issuing new standards for roofing sheets and iron bars which come into force. The standards agency has with immediate effect, banned the manufacture and importation of cold twisted bars for reinforcement purposes.Michael Muvule Pinto, the Executive Director of the Uganda National Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors (UNABCEC) lauded UNBS for plans to sensitise people about the new standard across the country. “As an association, we are very happy to see standards raised. We believe that it is important to use quality materials in all construction,” he said.He also said that it is important that contractors use genuine products appropriately. “Sometimes we have quality materials that are used in a bad way; we want quality materials but also that are used for the right applications.” Read more
SBD: Banks swim in profits as loans become more costly
Commercial banks in general have had improved performance, according to the published financial statements. The profitability of banks has improved by 25 per cent to Shs536b. The sector performance was beginning to look gloomy when Bank of Uganda (BoU) closed Global Trust Bank over sustained losses. This is a recovery from the reduced profitability when banks experienced a 22 per cent reduction as a result of reduced lending and a fall in income from loans. Banks lent more, earning more from loans as well as growing customer deposits, which grew by 18 per cent to Shs13 trillion.Even with improved performance, the dominance of at least eight banks shows the bigger the bank, the better the profitability. The top eight banks share between them more than Shs1 trillion in assets. Read more
IRA: Insurance players agree on regional supervision
 The East African Insurance Supervisors Association has agreed to develop a regional framework that will supervise activities of insurance companies with operations across the region through countries’ Insurance Regulatory Authorities. The framework is in line with other regional decisions aimed at East African integration and like other sectors; East African governments are amending or coming up with Bills that fit in those laws available other countries.“We have a Common Market and other things, so as insurance supervisors, we have to ensure that there is something that can cover insurance companies which operate in more than one country,” Mr Ibrahim Kaddunabbi Lubega, the chief executive officer, Uganda Insurance Regulatory Authority said during  regional insurance players meeting. Read more
MAAIF: Taxes on agricultural inputs push up cost of fertilisers
The Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries has said the cost of fertiliser in Uganda is 10 times higher than international prices, something that is reducing the use of fertilisers locally. Government imposed taxes on agricultural inputs as it tries to expand the country’s tax base. The commissioner for crop protection in the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries, Mr Komayombi Bulegeya said the high cost of fertilisers in the local market is associated to the tax slapped on the input directly and indirectly. The Withholding tax of 6 per cent and 18 per cent VAT, he said, all combined together contribute to high fertiliser prices in Ugandan market. Speaking during a workshop  in Kampala, Mr Komayombi said: “The cost of transporting fertiliser from Mombasa to Kampala is $140 (Shs419,300) per tonne by road compared to $50 (Shs149,750) per tonne when transporting it by railway.Read more
MSTI: Leather SMEs launch new market strategy
Small and medium enterprises making leather products can now manufacture quality products that can attract market at home, East African Community and COMESA region following the launch of the strategy that will guide the operations of the sector.East African community has a total population of about 125 million people while COMESA region has about 500 million people which is a huge market for leather products if they are of good quality.This is according to the minister of state for trade in charge of Industry, Dr.James Shinyabulo Mutende, while launching the leather strategy at Imperial Royal hotel in Kampala on."Without quality and following the standards required, we cannot compete on the global market whose taste and preferences are changing, so quality in our SMEs is a must," said Mutende. The strategy is looking at all aspects that will make the leather industry more attractive and competitive by addressing issues of quality and standards in addition to gender in the production process.Read more
Dollar rebounds vs euro
The dollar shook off its euro doldrums, strengthening a bit despite some poor US economic data. After days of trading lower against the 19-nation currency, the greenback lured buyers in a somewhat depleted foreign-exchange market activity amid Asia and Europe's May Day holidays. The euro bought $1.1200 around 2100 GMT, down from $1.1224. Kathy Lien of BK Asset Management noted that the dollar had firmed even as investors weighed a decline in US construction spending and a disappointing ISM report on manufacturing.The dollar fell, despite jobless claims sinking to a low. "The fact that many markets in continental Europe were closed contributed to the unusual reaction and the general volatility in the forex market," she said. "Fundamentally, the prospect of Fed tightening, the crisis in Greece, upcoming election in the UK and credit problems in China make the dollar an attractive investment," she said.Read more
UDB: Uganda’s banking sector back to profitability
Uganda's banking industry is slowly returning to profitability after years of weak performance which resulted from the after-effects of the turbulent economic challenges. So far all the banks which have released their audited financial statements, including Uganda Development Bank (UDB) which has been making losses, Stanbic which posted a 22.1% decline in net profit and Dfcu Bank have posted profit growths. UDB’s audited financial statements released indicate that the institution’s net profited jumped to sh4.8b compared to sh515m posted. The bank’s chief executive officer, Patricia Ojangole attributed the performance to rigorous loan monitoring, collections and recovery efforts undertaken by the bank that resulted in a drop in non-performing loans.Read more
Rugunda, Musisi to grace UK trade convention
Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, Kampala Capital City Authority executive director Jennifer Musisi, Her Royal Highness Sylvia Nagginda and URA’s Doris Akol, are set  to grace the 5th Uganda Trade and Investment Convention. The convention which will be held in the UK on September 12, 2015 in London will attract entrepreneurs from energy markets of Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania as well as international corporations, researching the potential of existing new markets. “We will have speakers, government officials, investors, economic specialists and business representatives,” read a statement by the Uganda trade convention. The convention is expected to discuss the potential of the private sector in contributing to agricultural development, financing options and investment opportunities.Read more
Cyber insecurity could harm economy — experts
Experts in cyber security have sounded a fresh warning regarding the use of new technology, saying it has the potential to bring down Uganda’s economy (than to reinvigorate it) if the government is not stringent with its use and companies start to invest in high-tech solutions to counter cyber-crimes. Attending the 3rd Cyber Security Conference in Kampala, the experts described the rate at which technology use in Uganda was growing as exponential — and so is the threat of cyber-crime, they said. Michael Kiberu, the director of IT business solutions company, KIPYA Connect, based in Germany, said: “the world is looking at Africa, and Uganda, as the next big ‘thing’ in technology investment. All the big (technology) companies, Vodafone, Ericsson, project the region to have the highest (IT) penetration growth rate.” “But one of the biggest threats to banks and top companies the world over is technology and cyber insecurity. You don’t want to be a bank and not employ the best IT brains at your company — because it takes just a minute for a hacker to enter your (security) system and you collapse,” Kiberu said. Read more
UETCL: Electricity tariffs could rise over shortfall in generation
 Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) has said power tariffs could go up again, anytime, once they revert to buying thermal power because current generation from the country’s two main hydro generators— Bujagali and Eskom— is not enough. UETCL’s head of communications Kenneth Otim told Daily Monitor, they have been constrained by low water supply to the hydropower facilities despite the  increase in rainfall around the country. This, he said, leaves no alternative but to switch to thermal generators, which had been limited to supplying only seven megawatts (MW) to the grid.Read more
EAC gets Chinese skills to grow manufacturing sector
 The East African Secretariat is planning to ignite the region’s manufacturing sector to increase its contribution towards the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).The EAC GDP stands at $110.3 billion (Shs330.9 trillion) as of the records. Of this, the manufacturing sector contributes less than 10 per cent.Speaking at the third secretary general’s breakfast meeting in Kampala, Dr Richard Sezibera, the EAC Secretary General, said: “We are looking at boosting the manufacturing sector and once this takes off, it will increase jobs for the growing youth population in the region.” Read more
USE: Investors, stock exchange benefit from Stanbic’s listing
 Stanbic bank Uganda’s listing has seen both investors and the stock exchange benefiting, according to Uganda Securities Exchange (USE). USE explains that Stanbic Bank Uganda has expanded the size of the stock exchange while to shareholders they have made capital gains and have received dividend payment from the bank since it listed on the stock exchange.Addressing analysts and financial journalists on Monday at the bank’s premises, the USE chief executive officer, Mr Paul Bwiso, said: “Stanbic Bank Uganda’s contribution to the stock exchange has been so immense in terms of values, they have added the market size of the exchange and they have paid out dividend consistently without fail since its listing to Read more
NEMA: Waste management facility opens in Hoima
The presence of billions of barrels of oil aroused great expectations among Ugandans. After years of oil exploration and drilling in the region, the Nyamasoga village resident’s fears of hazardous waste mismanagement that come with such ventures have been quelled by ENVIRONSERV. “The civic leaders, conservationists and environmentalists who grumbled about the waste having metallic and liquid ingredients that would harm humans, flora and fauna can relax,” said the Resident National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) executive director Dr. Tom Okurut.  “With such a modern waste management park even neighboring countries could benefit.” Adding that following the Nile Delta experience, Uganda cannot afford to, take any chances with the lives of it’s citizens.Read more
Uganda NSSF targets 20,000 young people
NSSF want to impart the necessary career and entrepreneurship skills that will help them when they leave school and start looking for employment opportunities.But they will also be encouraged to take up the culture of saving as a way of reducing poverty in Uganda.According to the NSSF Deputy Managing Director Geraldine Ssali Busuulwa, the idea for the expo in different universities came up after realizing many people felt saving with NSSF was a burden. She said most Ugandan graduates lacked the basic skills like confidence, integrity and being knowledgeable which renders them unfit for employment.Read more
NUCAFE: Shs 1.3 billion U.S. money for Uganda's coffee sector
Smallholder farmers, especially youths and women engaged in the coffee subsector, are set to benefit from a Shs 1.3bn USAID-funded initiative that aims at increasing the country's coffee production.Channeled through the US government's Feed the Future Initiative, and implemented by the National Union of Coffee Agribusiness and Farmer Enterprises (Nucafe), the project will popularise and disseminate information about the new national coffee policy.The project intends to increase coffee productivity for 20,000 smallholder farmers in 22 coffee growing districts. Coffee experts say the national policy, which government adopted, could spark a revival of coffee, which at one point was Uganda's main cash crop and biggest forex earner.Read more
NARO: Fruit farmers advised on large market to boost income
Fruit farmers have been advised to take advantage of the available market both local and international to boost income.Joshua Akatukunda, an official from National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO), said that if farmers are to penetrate the international market they have to be organized in groups."Unless they are organized groups it would be hard for them to supply the high demand of fruits by the international market.”Akatukunda, who is also a consultant with AgriPro-Focus, was speaking during the national fruit event in Kampala which brought together fruit farmers across the country.He felt that the biggest challenge Ugandan fruit farmers face is lack of information on exports and on the local market and yet the fruit industry pays.Read more
Telecom providers won’t take up bankers’ role, says BoU director
Bank of Uganda (BoU) has assured the public that the future of banking services will remain in the hands of financial institutions supervised by it despite the rapid growth in mobile services facilitated by the telecommunications companies. BoU’s assurance clears confusion that big telecommunication companies such as MTN, would become the largest bank in Uganda, since most payments are now conducted via mobile phones.The pace of Mobile banking has surpassed the traditional banking with many people preferring mobile payments by means of telecommunications networks since it is cost effective and convenient to them. Read more
UNNA: Ugandans in America want government to streamline investment policies
Ugandans living in America want clear government policies and guidelines on how they can invest in their own country.This was revealed by Brian Kwesiga, the president of the Uganda North American Association (UNNA) in a special meeting between his delegation and key government stakeholders at the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) head office in Kampala. UNAA is the largest formal association of Ugandans in the Diaspora with the objective of promoting social, cultural and economic advancement of the Ugandan Community in North America. Kwesiga noted that Ugandans in the Diaspora remit a lot of revenue to their country in addition to investing in buying land, building houses as well as supporting their respective families but said that lack of clear investment policy was a deterrent to them putting their money in development projects.He cited the example of Brazil which emerged into a middle class economy with the help of Brazilian who were in Diaspora.Read more
MTIC: Traders yet to embrace SMS to cut regional trade barriers
Ugandan traders are yet to embrace an information exchange system to report Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) via text message (SMS) on their mobile phones eight months after it was unveiled.Ms Khadija Nakakande, the spokesperson at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives told Daily Monitor that traders are still using paper-based or face-to-face communication with the ministry officials in resolving NTB’s because of low promotional campaigns.“The use of text messages service (SMS) in reporting NTB’s has been very slow because of the delay in the implementation of a communication strategy especially in the media.We have just come up with media messages which we are possibly going to start running by the end of this month in all the media platforms to popularise the new system,” Ms Nakakande said. Read more
United States ambassador to Uganda Scott DeLisi: US envoy urges youth to embrace agriculture
The United States ambassador to Uganda Scott DeLisi has called upon youth to embrace agriculture as a pound-for-pound answer to the biting unemployment in the country. “And, unfortunately, at present many of these young people either do not think of agriculture as an option or, when they do, they think their family’s small plots of land are not worth working, offer no potential for the future or for profit, and they are convinced they will be better off selling their land, buying a boda boda and going to the city.  They're wrong. That’s not a future.  It is just a dead-end on wheels,” he said. DeLisi made the remarks while closing the first ever Generation Agripreneur Expo and Summit at Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) main hall in Kampala. “They (youth) forget, or they don’t know, that it is agriculture that offers livelihoods to about three quarters of Uganda’s workforce and it is agriculture that accounts for about half of the country’s exports.  Agriculture matters,” he said.Read more
Cynthia Cooper: Accounting guru asks auditors to have courage to expose fraud
A former vice president at WorldCom has asked internal auditors to have the courage to cause corporate change through averting fraud that can impact the health of companies and public life.Cynthia Cooper, an American accountant whose efforts detected a $3.8b fraud in corporate America at WorldCom, warned auditors to guard against thinking they are incapable of making bad decisions saying the technical aspect of all fraud is people and choices.“We all here have the power of choice, even in the most difficult circumstances, we still have the power of choice,” adding: “There exist universal values that can help people make good choices like the golden rule of “treating people the way you would want to be treated.”Cooper spoke extensively on the topic: “The Rise and fall of Organisations: Lessons for Boards, Audit Committees, Chief Executives and Audit Professionals” at the Kampala Serena Hotel. Read more
KACITA warns traders on counterfeit goods
The Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) spokesperson Issa Sekitto has warned companies which adulterate products of other producers as a way of tarnishing brands on the market, urging owners put a reward to anyone who can reveal the masqueraders. Brand names of several companies have been spoilt by others whose intention is to ruin the market of their competitors. He made the remarks while assessing the performance of mineral Water producing companies in the city. Sekitto during his investigation at the Blue Water Beverages in Luzira called for the intervention of the ministry of trade and industries, Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to ensure monitoring of these companies and other mushrooming unregistered companies. Read more
UBOS: Statistics body to simplify reports for policy makers
Tired of producing reports that excite no one except themselves, Uganda Bureau of Statistics will start packaging data in a way that is understandable across the board.Policy makers who are expected to rely on the statistics produced by Ubos to inform budgeting issues will be among the biggest beneficiaries. Businesses, organisations and researchers, let alone individual users of statistics will be the other beneficiaries of the readable and interpreted figures.If all goes according to the plan, the final National Population and Housing Census, will be produced in an explanatory way. Here, the figures quoted will be explained in a way that can easily be understood without consulting a technical person. Read more
BOU: Banking sector records improved performance
Uganda’s banking sector registered improved performance, signalling growth and stability in the country’s financial industry. Although this development comes at a time when there is adjustment in monetary policy due to forecasted rise in inflation and foreign exchange depreciation, the Central Bank is optimistic the trend will keep moving in a positive direction, which is healthy for the public and the economy at large.In an interview with Daily Monitor, the director financial stability Bank of Uganda, Dr Charles Abuka, said: “There has been improvement in recovery of credit and quality credit, the Non-Performing Loans or Assets (NPL) declined from 5.6 per cent. Read more
NEMA battling polythene bags from Kenya
After implementing a ban on polythene bags commonly known as Kavera, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), according to its Executive Director, Dr. Tom Okurut, is facing a new challenge from smugglers glutting Uganda with contraband non-biodegradable polythene bags from Kenya. In a meeting with legislators on Natural Resources committee Wednesday, Okurut said smugglers cunningly emboss on the polythene bags the words, "30 microns" in order to outmaneuver NEMA officials ridding the country of polythene bags below 30 microns. Government slapped a ban on the production and importation of polythene bags below 30 microns, which are usually very thin. Read more
UNBS, SEATINI to promote maize standards
THE Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Southern and Eastern African Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI) Uganda to fast track the development of a standard for sesame (commonly known as sim-sim) and implementation of the EAC maize standard. The partnership will involve the conducting of sensitization drives, training and capacity building workshops, research and advocacy.  “Uganda has the potential to trade our way out of poverty using agriculture. Maize is one of those products. Small scale produce the maize, but issues of standard are not common at that level throughout the value chain, the people who produce, store, transport, and mill the maize,” said Jane Nalunga, the Country Director of SEATINI Uganda at the signing of the agreement at UNBS offices at Bweyogerere.Read more
Centenary Bank posts Shs74b profit
Centenary Bank’s net profit after tax has increased by 27.3 per cent to Shs73.8 billion, up from Shs58 billion. This growth, according to the bank’s managing director, Mr Fabian Kasi, was as a result of good and prudent underwriting of loans thus returning quality loan portfolio.“There was growth in the economy which saw growth in private sector credit, thus returning more revenue. There was also good management of costs, as well as diversification in sources of revenue, leading to increase in non-funded income,” he told Daily Monitor.The bank also recorded an increase in the total assets to Shs1.6 trillion, up from Shs1.45 trillion. Read more
CSBAG: Civil society organisations wants graduated tax back
A coalition of civil society organisation, represented by Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) wants the government to reintroduce graduated tax.They argue that it will instill hard work and responsibility among youth.Graduated tax is an old form of taxation which was imposed on adults. It is one of the examples of direct tax. It was introduced in Uganda during the colonial days as a replacement to the Hut tax.It was abolished after pressure from politicians, who described it as ‘a primitive’ tax and crudely collected despite its significance to the local government.“Government should painstakingly re-introduce the graduated tax,” read the CSBAG report released, containing its budget proposals.Read more
WB: Unbanked individuals drop
A new World Bank report shows that the number of people without bank accounts has dropped globally.The report titled Global Findex released in Washington DC, shows that the number of “unbanked” individuals dropped by 20 per cent. This represents 2 billion adults globally.The World Bank on state of financial inclusion reveals that, 700 million people became account holders at banks, other financial institutions, or mobile money service providers around the world; a development which shows more people getting access to financial services.Read more
Imported oranges in supermarkets, where are local producers?
It is 10 in the morning and I have already sampled four supermarkets in uptown Kampala out of a targeted 12. My assignment on this particularly chilly morning is to make sense of why Uganda-made products have had a low traction in Kampala’s supermarkets and grocery stores. My target is not narrowed to any particular supermarket or grocery store but it is limited to large stores that are synonymous with big visitor numbers. First forward, it is now at the tail end of the day and I am almost done with my research, albeit with intriguing results.One question that has been a constant since morning is why supermarkets import petty items including oranges, vegetables and toothpicks, given the abundant resources and good climate here. Read more
ERA: Electricity tariffs raised
Consumers should brace for even higher tariffs as shilling remains weak, inflation fears persist. While domestic power consumers will have to dig deeper into their pockets following a decision by the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) to increase tariffs, companies worry about the rising cost of doing business.The regulator published a new schedule that indicated that domestic power tariffs had risen from Shs 531.5 per unit to Shs 545 per unit. ERA approved the quarterly tariff review methodology to be used in the computation of tariff adjustments on a quarterly basis by factoring in the key macroeconomic indicators that include the exchange rate, domestic inflation and the cost of crude oil on the international market.  Apart from the oil price, which dropped, the other two factors rose thus leading to the increase in tariffs.Read more
Supermarkets count losses as NEMA bans the Kaveera
The National Environment Management Authority [Nema] has moved to effect the ban on the production, distribution and use of polythene bags, commonly known as kaveera, in compliance with regulation.
Nema  issued a notice to major supermarkets alerting them to devise alternative means on how they will package commodities to the customers as they move to implement the ban on polythene bags in the market.According to Tom Okurut, the executive director of Nema, the shopping malls and supermarkets were given ample time to forge other means of packaging their products."We have held discussions with the supermarkets. So, they can understand the law is of value to them, and they all agreed to comply. We again met and gave them a notice to prepare," Okurut said. Read more
EAC states tighten anti-money laundering laws
The East African Community member states are drafting tougher regulations on money laundering targeting firms registered in tax havens and jurisdictions with bank secrecy.Companies with shareholders represented by nominee accounts will have to disclose the beneficial owners when they open accounts in banks or stock market intermediaries such as brokers and investment banks, under the draft policy.The Kenya Association of Stockbrokers and Investment Banks chief executive, Mr Willie Njoroge, said stock market intermediaries saw the proposals as important, but added there was risk of delayed securities transactions.Read more
Recapitalise UDB, government told
 Recapitalising Uganda Development Bank can reduce government’s expenditure on foreign debt of about Shs1.7 trillion, former Agriculture minister Victoria Ssekitoleko has said.Ms Ssekitoleko challenged government to revive UDB rather than begging commercial banks to reduce on interest rates.“Why not revive Uganda Development Bank (UDB) to ensure that even farmers can access credit at lower interest rates? ” she said.European Union officer Henry Nyerekwa, blamed government for playing ‘a pause game’ on servicing its debts, “Government has budgeted to spend Shs1.7 trillion on servicing foreign debt but at the same time, it plans to get Shs1.7 trillion from domestic borrowing. It is like borrowing from one source to fund the other one,” he said.Read more
UK to jail Ugandan diplomats over fraud, tax evasion
Two Ugandan diplomats will soon find out how long they will be locked up in a jail in the UK after court found them guilty of fraud and tax evasion relating to duty-free goods. Diplomats are exempt from paying duties and taxes on cars, food and electrical appliances that they bring into the country, but they are not allowed to abuse the privilege.  According to the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Okello Oryem, the Government received a guilty verdict for the two unnamed diplomats whose conduct has caused embarrassment.  “The trial of the two has been concluded and they will soon be sentenced. I have been informed that crimes of that nature carry a jail term ranging from seven to 14 years,” Oryem told lawmakers on the foreign affairs committee. Read more
Link national IDs to financial system - former bankers’ chair
The outgoing chairman of Uganda Bankers’ Association and managing director of Citibank, Mr Ichinedu Ikwudinma, wants government to link the national ID system to the banking financial system through the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB).Speaking to Daily Monitor in Kampala, Mr Ichinedu said feeding the national ID system into the financial system will be the most powerful means of financial inclusion.“It will help increase peoples’ access to credit facilities, remove some of the issues that banks have with clients and enable better planning in terms of providing financial services,” he said.The CRB, which uses biometric technology, is a safe means of identifying customers.Read more
Civil society wants budget funds to reach grassroots
Members of the civil society have asked government to ensure that a large portion of the funds it allocates through the national budget reaches the grass root communities where agriculture and other productive activities take place.Florence Tumuheirwe, a farmer from Kabale district said a large portion of the budget focuses on the central government and not on productive activities.  Tumuheirwe said farmers should be consulted before decisions are made on their behalf."The budget is left at the center. Much of the budget money remains at the secretariat as if production will be done at the secretariat. The budget has top to bottom approach instead of a bottom to top approach," Tumuheirwe said. She was speaking on behalf of farmers during the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) dialogue. It was held at Hotel Africana under the theme: 'Every shilling counts-Making the budget pro poor'.Read more
Vivo energy explains fuel pricing
The drop in pump prices of petrol and diesel by as much sh720 and sh1250 respectively around the country has excited Ugandans but many are skeptic al as to why the drop is less than the reduction in global crude oil prices. Petrol prices are down to between sh3,230 to sh3,500 per litre around Kampala. Diesel is selling at between sh2,400 to sh2,600 a litre down from sh3,650 in the same period. On the other hand, international brent crude oil averaged $54 (sh162,000) per barrel. One barrel of oil has 159 litres of fuel, which translates into sh1,019 per litre of crude.  Hans Paulsen, the Vivo Energy Uganda managing director explains that while there is a correlation between the price of crude and processed fuel at the pump, there are additional costs along the distribution chain. Read more
URA hopeful of meeting new tax collection target
After registering a revenue shortfall of about Shs500 billion, the biggest shortfall, the tax body’s Commissioner General, Ms Doris Akol, has said the institution is determined to beat any revenue collection target the government sets for them. The government is expected to raise Shs18.3 trillion, with slightly more than half of that Budget being collected internally.At the moment, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) is expected to collect nearly Shs11 trillion although it is believed this target will be reviewed with a view of pushing it to at least shs15 trillion. Speaking in an interview after an engagement with traders from down town Kampala, Ms Akol said the collection target is still a proposal that is yet to be confirmed. Read more
KRA: Importers to lose abandoned goods as port waiver expires
More than 2,000 containers that have overstayed at the Mombasa port are set to be auctioned after the storage-charge waiver given to importers expired.The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) announced government would waive all charges accruing on the storage of containers discharged at the port before, provided they were cleared within 60 days.“All such goods that will not have been removed from the port and Container Freight Stations (CFSs) upon expiry of the 60-day notice shall be sold by public auction without further reference to the owners,” KRA said in the notice.The high number of containers at the port, some of which have remained, holding up space at the CFSs and port yards prompted the move. Read more
USE: Stock market registers growth in quarter one
Uganda Securities Exchange has registered a growth of 500 per cent. This was supported by increased activities amid high equity prices at the stock exchange.This means shareholders are making profits out of their investments in company shares, while the high growth rate to the exchange means the market is expanding.In an interview with Daily Monitor after presenting Bank of Baroda’s results, the chief executive officer of Uganda Securities, Mr Paul Bwiso, said: “In the first quarter, USE turnover was Shs64 billion compared to Shs17 billion. This represents a growth rate of 500 per cent.” Read more
UIA: Insurers unveil plan to hit 2.1% penetration
The Uganda Insurers Association has unveiled a master plan to drive sector penetration to 2.1% of the economy. They hope to do this through harnessing technology and enforcement of insurance related legislation.Insurance penetration increased to 0.85% after health membership organisations were brought under the supervision of the Insurance Regulatory Authority.Hitherto, penetration had stalled at 0.65%. Insurance penetration in Tanzania is 2.3%, Rwanda 1%, while Kenya has the biggest penetration at 3.8%.Speaking to the media after the 50th UIA annual general meeting at the Kampala Serena Hotel, Miriam Magala, the association’s chief executive officer, said penetration will increase if insurers address the evolving needs of consumers in real time. Read more
ASSA: 'Change in economic policies will increase regional trade'
Alupo says she is frustrated by middlemen who offer low prices for her produce and her lack of means to transport her produce to the market. She is vulnerable because she does not have proper storage for her produce to keep it longer as she tries to access better markets. "We are forced on selling the produce as soon as we harvest because we don’t want it to spoil. That is why we must sell to middlemen at giveaway prices," Alupo explains. Alupo’s situation seems to be replicated everywhere in Africa as the just concluded agricultural stakeholders’ summit in South Africa revealed. Most of those engaged in agriculture on the continent are poor and mainly women. Accessing local and regional markets for them would remain a pipe dream if nothing is done.Read more
MOF: Govt exempts VAT on oil production
The government has granted Value Added Tax exemption for companies involved in the production of oil and minerals. There had been mumbling by all players in the oil and gas sector regarding the 18 per cent VAT charge on capital equipment used in prospecting and production of oil and minerals. In the VAT Amendment Bill, tabled in Parliament by finance minister Matia Kasaijja, it grants the oil and mining companies this exemption. Mr Kasaijja notes that the amendment is “to provide for tax treatment of the oil and gas and mining sectors.” “The tax payable on a taxable supply made by a contractor to a licensee to undertake mining or petroleum operations is deemed to have been paid by the licensee to the contractor provided the supply is for use by the licensee solely and exclusively for mining or petroleum operations, as the case may be,” the proposed amendment reads. Read more
BOU: Demand for loans rises
 Although, interest rates remain high, statistics from central bank indicate that growth in Private Sector Credit (PSC) is growing at a rate of 16.1 per cent, demonstrating high demand for loans and a pickup in economic activities. The Central Bank in its monetary policy report highlights said on an annual basis, PSC grew by 16.1 per cent, which is within the trajectory for of 15.6 per cent.“Sustained growth in PSC is expected to support private consumption and investment, which will stimulate growth,” said the executive director of research Bank of Uganda, Dr Adam Mugume. “However, trends in bank credit extension to the private sector continue to reflect tightening credit conditions for households while credit to Mining and Quarrying, manufacturing, building mortgage & construction remains buoyant,” he added. Read more
URA to Collect Shs 10.9 trillion 
Uganda Revenue Authority has been handed a target of Shs 10.6 trillion as the country prepares to spend colossal sums of money ahead of the general elections.According to the National Budget Framework Paper, URA's target is more than Shs 1 trillion above the task it had. Should URA beat its target, the country's tax to Gross Domestic Product ratio will rise to 13.2 per cent, a figure that would place the country closer to the sub-Saharan average of roughly 15 per cent."The tax-GDP-ratio is expected to grow to 13.2 per cent, an increase of 0.5 percentage points on the provisional outturn," the framework paper says.The paper notes that the targets will be achieved "through a combination of both policy and administrative measures to raise more revenues. Government intends to utilise the national identification [cards] and link the business registration database to URA."Read more
BOU: Uganda lending rates climb higher
The Governor, Bank of Uganda, Emmanuel Mutebile tightened monetary policy by raising the Central bank Rate by 1 percentage point to 12% in a move he said will forestall a rise in core inflation over the medium term.He said depreciation of the exchange rate and faster real GDP growth will exert upward pressure on inflation over the medium term."The BOU forecasts that core inflation will rise to around 5% and, in the absence of any adjustment to the monetary policy stance, will rise to a range of 7-9%," Mutebile told a news conference."Furthermore, the BOU judges that the balance of risks to inflation forecast are on the upside, especially because of potential pressures from the exchange rate," he said.Read more
URA: Tax rates frustrate Ugandan traders
 Small business people in one of Kampala's main trading hubs, Kiyembe, have asked Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to change their taxation system, saying its unfair and leaves them paying more revenue than they are actually earning from their businesses.A business owner with an annual turnover of between Ush20 million ($6,720) and Ush30 million ($10,080) has to pay Ush750,000 ($250).However those who make Ush30 million to Ush40 million ($13,440) have to pay Ush1,050,000 ($350) that is 3% of their income.Read more
National Cement to build Sh18.5bn plant in Uganda
National Cement is set to invest Sh18.5 billion in a new factory in Uganda, marking its first plant outside Kenya. Construction of the plant, located in Mbale.It will have a capacity of one million tonnes and is expected to be operational.The project is the first of the Athi River-based cement manufacturer’s regional expansion plan. The firm also intends to venture into South Sudan.“The first phase of the project is expected to commence after which we will continue expanding the plant ,” said Narendra Raval, the chairman of Devki Group, the parent company of National Cement.Read more
MTN: Mobile banking a turning point in financial services
When mobile banking arrived, courtesy of MTN, no one imagined it would spread like wildfire, and lead to other innovations and enhancements to the usage of the mobile handset.With 11,000,000 mobile subscribers, and 4,500,000 bank accounts, commercial banks and other financial institutions have a great opportunity to deepen access to services to disadvantaged and low-income groups using the phone.The importance of financial deepening has soared with the emergence of several financial access options as a key thrust of public demand. There is a rising opportunity that players in the financial market have not focused on that much, in driving acquisition, origination and servicing costs. Most of the on-boarding initiatives and incentives are directed towards the conservative banking strategies. Read more
Dollar gains for 5th straight day
The US dollar headed higher against the euro for the fifth straight day, riding on expectations that the US economy will pick up pace after the winter slowdown.The dollar pushed barely past the $1.06 threshold to the euro, before US growth worries sent the greenback tumbling on expectations the Federal Reserve would hold off on a rate rise.The dollar dropped to $1.10 per euro after that, but with the Fed news baked in, buyers returned and pushed it to $1.0599.Kathleen Brooks of said that as the European Central Bank builds its quantitative easing stimulus program, and the fed heads in the opposite direction, better yields on the west side of the Atlantic are the draw."Interestingly, the euro is coming under pressure even though economic data has been surprising on the upside," she said."But in this environment, economic data is not determining the direction of the world's major currencies, yields are.Read more
EAC: Two blocs team up for industrial development
The East African Community (EAC ) secretariat is collaborating with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) to address challenges affecting industrial policies in the region.The two bodies launched a programme on strengthening institutional capacities for industrial policy management, monitoring and evaluation to enhance competitiveness among the bloc’s member states.This is aimed at strengthening industrial capacities in EAC partner states by addressing challenges that have constrained effective industrial policy development, policy performance, monitoring and logic of policy hierarchies, at both national and regional level.The programme is expected to enhance industrial competitiveness of the region through evidence–based design and effective implementation of industrial policies and programmes as well as an increased transparency of information on industrial market opportunities for the private sector.Read more
KACITA: Private sector upset over tax proposals
The new tax proposals are a recipe for disaster, private sector players have said. Speaking in an interview, the vice chairperson of Kampala City Traders Association, (Kacita), Ms Hope Katwine, said the tax proposals, if implemented, will increase the price of fuel which in turn will compel the traders to increase prices of goods and services, making it expensive for consumers to afford basic goods and services.She said: “We shall not sell because the prices will be too high to afford. There is no winner in all this.”In another interview with the Kacita chairman, Mr Everest Kayondo, it emerged the commuter taxi operators are already upset, calling for the proposals to be withdrawn, saying they are already paying too much in taxes and incurring so much in terms of maintenance costs just to keep afloat. Finance minister Matia Kasaija has proposed new taxes on beer, cigarettes and commuter taxis. Read more
BOU: Weak Shilling drives up key lending rate
Bank of Uganda raised its policy rate by one percentage point to 12 per cent from 11 per cent, on the account of economic risks from a higher inflation rate and persistent depreciation of the Shilling.Presenting the monetary policy statement, the governor Bank of Uganda, Mr Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, said: “The balance of payments is a source of weakness for the economy and this has been reflected in the pressures on the exchange rate.”“The deficit remains large, and is likely to be in the region of 8.5 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), despite savings on the import bill as a result of low prices, whereas financial account inflows have weakened,” he added. Read more
MOF: Government cautioned against proposal to raise taxes on fuel
Consumers should tighten their belts for they are going to dig deep into their pockets as government looks to increase fuel prices in the coming Budget.This follows Finance minister Matia Kasaija’s proposal to introduce new taxes on fuel to finance the country’s Shs18.3 trillion Budget.The minister in the Finance Bills seen by Daily Monitor wants excise duty of Shs1,000 charged on every litre of fuel (gasoline); gas oil (automotive, light, amber for high speed engine) will be charged Shs680 per litre.Because of this action, players in the market are saying the consumer will have to bear the wrath of increased prices.Giving his views on the Finance Minister’s proposal in an interview with Daily Monitor Vivo Energy Uganda’s chief executive officer Hans Paulsen. Read more
Comesa set to create jobs with industrialisation policy
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) has drafted a policy on industrialisation which will guide the region towards self-sustained growth and improve competitiveness in the bloc.Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya during the draft presentation and discussion at the 34th meeting of inter-Government Committee in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said: “The Industrialisation policy was developed after a public-private dialogue organised by the committee on industry which met in Lusaka.”“The draft policy is meant to address the economic transformation of the Comesa region through an inclusive and sustainable industrialisation based on value addition, local content and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) participation in the national, regional and global supply chain,” Mr Ngwenya noted.Read more
DPI: Local companies to benefit from Shs2 trillion fund
Development Partners International (DPI), the private equity house, has closed its second Africa fund at Shs2 trillion and is now looking to Ugandan businesses for investment prospects. DPI runs two funds – ADP I and ADP II; each fund invests in a mix of portfolio of companies. Having closed their oversubscribed first fund, DPI has now closed its second fund, beating its Shs1.5 trillion target allowing them to continue to invest in new companies across Africa.“Having already invested in businesses operating in Uganda within ADP I, we think Uganda is an important country in terms of future investments for ADP II, the newly closed fund,” noted Runa Alam, CEO and co-founder of DPI. Investments in Uganda in DPI’s first fund include Eaton Towers, pan-African telecommunications tower-sharing services company (active in Kenya and Uganda) and Letshego - short - medium term financier and providing loans to government employees, among others.Read more
ADB gives Uganda Shs3 billion
 Uganda is among 17 African countries that will introduce a results-based management system to implement its national development plan, according to the African Development Bank.With $1 million grant (about Shs3 billion) from AfriK4R initiative, a multi-donor programme at the African Development Bank, Uganda is expected to design policies and implement programmes that lead to economic development.Policy designs and implementation which lead to national development remains a challenge to most African countries despite remarkable economic growth the continent has registered.To curb this trend, a new initiative termed African Community of Practice on Managing for Development Results (AfCoP-MfDR) has been developed and it is being hosted at the African Development bank headquarters.Read more
Civil society wants coffee exported as finished product
Civil society organisations (CSOs) have called on government to emphasize value addition in exporting Uganda coffee.CSOs said government should shift policy and zeal to ensuring that no coffee is exported as bean ever again but rather as a finished processed product.Led by Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG), they noted that the move will contribute to job creation and expand the tax revenue base.Addressing a press conference on the proposed national budget priorities, CSBAG coordinator Julius Mukunda proposed that, “under the Public Private Partnership modalities, coffee roasting firms should be supported to grow in value chain capacity.”According to the draft of the national budget framework paper, Uganda has in the registered a current account measure deficit indicating that the value earned from exports is lower compared to imports with USD 423.2  doubling to USD 817.4.Read more
Tullow payments to govt drop by Shs10b
Tullow, has disclosed what it paid to government in taxes and licence fees. In its unaudited transparency disclosure, Tullow indicated it spent $16.13m (Shs43.7b) on loyalties, stamp duty, Value Added Tax (VAT), Pay As You Earn and National Social Security Fund contributions in Uganda. This is a 17.5 per cent drop from the Shs59b ($23m) spent. “There has been a considerable reduction in the level of project activity, especially in field operations, following the conclusion of the exploration and appraisal phase. This explains the reduced level of tax payments,” Mr Conrad Nkutu, the head corporate affairs, at Tullow Uganda told Daily Monitor in an e-mail. The amount paid to government has been reducing as oil activity slows down. For instance, the disclosure indicatesTullow didn’t pay income tax, whereas, income tax was $4m (Shs11.7b). VAT also dropped from $4.8m (Shs14b) to $1.4m (Shs1.4b).Read more
FUE: Employers’ body roots for cross-border savings scheme
 Employees from East African member states saving with national schemes should not withdraw their savings while moving within the Federation, the executive director of the Federation of Uganda Employers, has said Ms Rosemary Ssenabulya, said it is unfair for young and mid-aged employees moving from one country to another to get their savings meant for future use on the account of moving from one country to another.“We are all East Africans; why would I get my savings when say I am moving to Kenya or Tanzania,” Ms Ssenabulya asked in Kampala.Ms Ssenabulya believes when workers are given their savings, it becomes hard to put the same amount into another saving scheme, meaning the intended self-reliance in future may not be attained.Read more
MWE: SACCOs told to go beyond financial services
Savings and credit cooperative Societies (SACCOs) have been  urged to develop packages or integrated development models which can transform their members holistically.The Minister of Water And Environment, Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, cited sectors like education, health, water and sanitation, environmental sustainability, gender equity and initiating-income generating activities for the masses as the areas SACCOs should add to their main objective/role of financial services.“You must teach the membersabout the issue of sustainable development,” Kamuntu said. Kamuntu was addressing members of Kyamuhunga People’s Cooperative Savings and Credit Society Ltd (KYAPS) during their annual general meeting in Bushenyi recently. KYAPS which started has a total of over 17000 members.Read more
TradeMark Announces U.S.$90 Million for East Africa's Infrastructure
TradeMark East Africa has announced that it will inject about $90m (about Shs 261bn) to promote infrastructural development projects in the region.The announcement came after some data showed that trade in the region had picked up partly as a result of the ease with which cargo is cleared throughout the different corridors, an initiative that TradeMark East Africa was active in facilitating."We are focusing [to invest] around the same about $85 to $90m. The results presented in this annual report point to an ever-improving trade environment which is expected to spur investments and ultimately benefit the citizens of East Africa," said Frank Matsaert, the CEO TradeMark East Africa.He continued: "TMEA is playing an important role as a catalyst in mobilizing around $600 million at Dar es Salaam port to improve its performance through better infrastructure and port operations. Our partnership at both Mombasa and Dar es Salaam ports involves an innovative approach, mixing hardware and software solutions."Read more
CBAG: Budget advocacy firm asks investors to pay in dollars
 The impact of the exchange rate volatility that saw the Shilling weaken against the dollar to an all-time low for the first time, could be lessened with strict regulation of forex bureaus and restrictive policies on payments in dollars. According to the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CBAG), whose agenda is lobbying for proper and equitable deployment of resources, unless government reigns in on widespread dollar transactions in the market while limiting the outflow of dollars; the pressure on the Shilling will continue to build. The Uganda shilling depreciated by about Shs 500 against the dollar; that was a gradual drop which caused no ripples. But when the dollar exchange rate broke the psychological barrier of Shs 3,000, it created a fearful mood in the economy. Owing to those developments in the exchange rate market, CSBAG leadership says this is bound to affect next financial Budget. Read more
ERA: Weak Shilling costs Umeme Shs29 billion
 Power utility company, Umeme, has reported an 18.8 per cent fall in net profit to Shs70.4b due to foreign exchange losses. Financial results released indicate the company grew its revenues to Shs977b from Shs965b, but the weaker Shilling took a significant amount of it away. “The decrease in profits is attributed to the higher foreign exchange losses,” the Umeme statement reads in part. According to the statement, Umeme suffered a Shs28.9b loss due to the depreciation of the Shilling. The Shilling was trading at an average of Shs2,500 against the dollar. Umeme did not incur such a loss as the Shilling was stable against the dollar. The Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) estimates that the depreciation of the Shilling alone increased costs in the power sector by almost Shs86b. Read more
IPU: Insurers to pool Shs3 billion to tap oil sector
 Insurance companies in the country are moving closer to setting a pool of funds to insure risks in the oil sector. The insurers have given themselves a target to have raised $1m (Shs2.9b) as initial capital for an insurance pool meant for the oil sector. Mr Azim Tharani, CEO Goldstar Insurance and chairman of the Insurance Pool Uganda, at the Insurance CEO’s meeting said considering the huge risks involved in the sector, it would be better if insurance companies bring money together for oil.“The premiums are juicy indeed, but the risks are high and can wipe out an entire insurance company,” he says. In the Petroleum Act (Exploration, Development and Production), oil companies are required to look from within the country for insurance service before they are awarded an exploration licence. Read more
Bank of Uganda stuck with Shs11b in unclaimed cash
Banks publish hundreds of individual or group dormant accounts that remain inactive.The law stipulates that if an account holder does not go back to the bank to claim this money, it is sent to Bank of Uganda (BoU). This amount of money, according to BoU had accumulated to Shs10.9b. Christine Alupo, the BoU director for communications confirmed to this newspaper that they are holding the money as required by the law.According to the Financial Institutions Act (FIA), commercial banks are required to send all money on inactive accounts to BoU. Alupo, however plays down the size of the unclaimed balances, saying this is small money when compared to overall deposits in commercial banks.Read more
Delay in passing legislation affecting microfinance sector
The delay in passing tier four legislation is affecting coordination and focused growth of the microfinance sector, according a new report.Titled the “Uganda Microfinance Sector Effectiveness Review, Uganda,” the report urges the strengthening of the legislation.“Transitioning to high Tiers has only happened marginally, partly due to related costs of compliance and competition that undermine the desired benefits,” said Dr. Fred K. Muhumuza who read out the review at the launch of FSD Uganda. Bank of Uganda regulates financial service providers under a system that consists of four tiers. Tier one category consists of commercial banks, while tier two category is made up of credit institutions. Credit institutions do not take deposits.Tier three category is made up of Micro Finance Deposit Taking Institutions (MDIs) that are regulated under the Microfinance Deposit Taking Institutions Act. Read more
Export earnings growth at six per cent - BoU
Uganda earned more money from its exports, according to the central bank.Bank of Uganda figures show that the country earned $662.94m, up from the $622.13 earned, a six per cent increment. The better performance can be attributed to growth in earnings of tea, fish and its products, tobacco, hides and skins, and oil re-exports.Tobacco had the biggest jump. Tobacco exports shot up to $36.6m, up from $5.6m, posting an increase of more than 500 per cent. Fish exports increased by 38 per cent in the same period. The report does not state the reason behind this performance.Read more
Stanbic posts Shs135b profit
Uganda’s largest bank, Stanbic Bank, has announced a 32.6 per cent jump in net profit to Shs135b, recovering from slowed profitability.Driven by rising income, increased lending, fees and commissions, the bank presented a much more positive balance sheet. Mr Patrick Mweheire, the bank’s chief executive officer, told reporters and investment firms that the bank was growing above the overall industry averages in all segments.“We continue to lead the profit-after-tax market share. We are now running at around 28 per cent market share in the industry even if we are much lower in market share on loans and advances,” Mr Mweheire said. Read more
URBRA: Uganda told to quickly liberalise pension Sector
The new Chief Executive Officer of the Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA) David Nyakundi Bonyi has advised Uganda not lose more time on endless debates about pension sector liberalization.He said a considerable amount of time and energy has already been lost.The 53 year old Kenyan, who took over office, said the parliament, having listened to a considerable amount of debate should now seize the opportunity and make a conclusive and informed decision about pension liberalization in Uganda.Nyakundi holds a Bachelor of Laws degree and a Master of Laws (International Trade and Investment Law) from the University of Nairobi. Before his appointment, he was the Corporation Secretary and Manager Legal Services at the Retirement Benefits Authority (RBA) of Kenya. Read more
IFAD: Goverment earmarks Shs100 billion to reduce rural poverty
The government and International Fund for Agriculture Development has earmarked $36 million (about Shs106.9 billion) which will see about 2.8 million people getting access to financial services in various villages across the country.Government officials say this development project under the Project for Financial Inclusion in Rural Areas (PROFIRA), is aimed at increasing income, improving food security and vulnerability while targeting people living in rural areas.International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) is contributing $30 million (Shs89b) loan while Uganda government is contributing $6 million (Shs17b) which translates to $36 million (about Shs106.920 billion) and the programme.Read more
Stanbic : Shilling to weaken further, foreign currency denominated loans to suffer
Bankers have expressed concern over the continued depreciation of the shilling, saying the volatility will exert pressure on foreign currency denominated loans.Patrick Mweheirwe, Stanbic Bank's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) said the shilling is expected to depreciate by a further 5%, in addition to the 4% depreciation.The depreciation of the shilling is attributed to among others the strengthening of the U.S dollar against other currencies, huge trade balance and increased demand of the dollar from corporate buyers and interbank markets."There will be a remarkable decline in foreign currency denominated loans because people have recognized that with a weak shilling, you cannot afford to borrow in dollars yet you earn in shillings," Mweheirwe said.He speaking during a media briefing to release the bank's audited financial results at Sheraton Kampala Hotel. Speculation is rife that a strong dollar coupled with high election could weaken the shilling. Read more
SIC: Entities advised to interact with bidders
Procuring and Disposing Entities (PDEs) of both public and private bodies have been advised to dialogue with bidders who do or are interested in doing business with them. “Entities tend to look at suppliers as practical people who are just going to provide a good and service, but it should be more than this,” said Colline Mpaata, a procurement specialist and project manager at Strategic Insights Consults.“Look at a supplier as a strategic partner—someone who can add value to you, and who you can also add value to. There are some public entities that have recognized the need and importance of meeting with suppliers.”Mpaata made the remarks on the sidelines of the first ever Buyer Minds Meet at Makerere University .The meet is a Procurement and Supply Chain platform that brings together practitioners and professionals to debate industry issues with other like-minded individuals.“Suppliers are very resourceful in helping you know exactly what is on the market. It is better than an entity simply relying on what a user drafts at work using an online resource. An online resource can sometimes not be accurate. You may use information when on the market, things have greatly changed,” he said. Read more
FDS: Access to finance biggest obstacle for MSMES
The biggest obstacle to business growth faced by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Uganda is access to finance, according to a survey released by FSD Uganda.Titled “The National Small Business Survey (NSBS) of Uganda,” the study says 74% of such small businesses said getting funds was their worst nightmare. The cost of finance (73%) came in second place. Tax rates (67%), roads (59%), electricity (57%) and macroeconomic environment (54%) were the other bottlenecks that MSMEs ranked high up of their challenges.“Finance was the main area where MSMEs would like government support in all regions except the North. In the northern region, key priorities were improving infrastructure, business services, and access to finance,” said Howard Miller, a senior consultant at Nathan Associates London at the launch of FSD Uganda on at Kampala Sheraton Hotel. The Associates carried out the survey on behalf of FSD Uganda. FSD Uganda is a new guarantee set up and funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) to support financial inclusion efforts in Uganda. Before its incorporation, FSD Uganda was operating as a secretariat at KPMG Uganda. Read more
Museveni in China for Asian economic forum
President Yoweri Museveni is in the Chinese City Island of Hainan in Sanya for the BOAO Forum for the Asia Annual Conference.The President, who is accompanied by the First Lady and Minister for Karamoja Affairs, Janet Museveni was received at the Sanya Phoenix International Airport by the Chinese Ambassador to Uganda Zhao Yali and Uganda's Ambassador to China Charles Wagidoso among other officials.The President will give an address promoting Uganda's investment and tourism potential at the forum.The President will be hosted together with other visiting heads of state to an official banquet while the First Lady Janet Museveni will join other spouses to visit the nearby Biering Community. During the working visit, the President will visit Tianjin City and hold a meeting with H.E Huang Xing. the acting Secretary the Tianjin Municipal Committee the Committee of the Communist Party of China and Mayor of Tiankin Municipal People’s Government. Read more
EAC: Regional blocs increase trade in Africa
Trade among 26 African countries is set to increase as their Regional Economic Communities to sign the Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement.The RECs, namely the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), East African Community (EAC) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) if they accent to the FTA, it will make doing business amongst 26 member states easy.Ideally, the FTA arrangement helps member countries to reduce trade barriers—import quotas and tariffs— and to increase trade of goods and services with each other.According to the chairperson of the RECs tripartite, Mr Sindiso Ngwenya, this meeting— the third summit of the tripartite bloc—will be held in Egypt. “Its coming into operation will mark the first phase of implementing a developmental regional integration strategy that places high priority on infrastructure development, industrialisation and free movement of business persons,” Mr Ngwenya said. Read more
Unfair regulations hurting Comesa medium enterprises
 Partial rules of competition has been cited as the main challenge the private sector in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) region faces while doing business.The second Vice President of Sudan, Dr Hasabo Mohamed Abd El-Rahman, said this at the on-going 18th meeting for Comesa ministers of Justice and Attorneys-General in Khartoum.Mr El-Rahman said: “There is need to protect and promote Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through fair competition as this would result in promoting competition across our borders.”“We need a legal framework that will be fair enough to encourage competition and promote the development of MSMEs [Micro Small Medium Enterprises]. This will create jobs for the people,” Mr El-Rahman told the Justice ministers and Attorneys-General. Read more
Transport costs to reduce after Central Corridor improvements
Ugandan traders will soon have an alternative and cheaper route to transport their goods once the projected improvement of the Central Corridor through Dar es Salaam Port is complete. Uganda uses the Northern Corridor that runs from the Kenyan port of Mombasa to the Great Lakes region which costs about $3,200 (Shs9.5 million) to transport a single container.However, once the Central Corridor’s multi-modal trade and transport passage which links Tanzania’s main port of Dar es Salaam with the neighbouring landlocked countries is complete; it will take the cost of ferrying the same cargo $1,650 (Shs4.9 million) thus making it a preferred choice. Read more
KPA: Uganda cargo boosts trade volumes at Mombasa port
The volume of cargo transiting via the Port of Mombasa rose 7.3 per cent boosted by cargo destined for Uganda, Kenya Ports Authority announced.Total transit traffic stood at 7.2 million tonnes against 6.7 million tonnes.KPA has attributed the rise in transit cargo to increased handling of Ugandan consignments which rose by 610,000 tonnes from 4.9 million tonnes to 5.52 million tons. Uganda is leading in transit cargo through Mombasa at 74 per cent market share.The port's total cargo throughput grew by 11.5 per cent to 24.875 million compared with 22.307 million tons handled .Container traffic increased to a record 1.01 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) against 894,000 handled.South Sudan was the second highest transit traffic destination with 10.6 per cent share, despite a decrease of 1.8 per cent to 761,336 tonnes against 775,148. Democratic Republic of Congo had 407,727 tonnes against 511,714 tonnes, a decrease of 20.3 per cent. Read more
CCM: EALA passes non tariff barriers bill
It is now official. Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) shall soon be a thing of the past following the enactment of the EAC Elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers Bill,  by EALA.  The Bill sailed through the third reading after intense debate by legislators.Debate on the Bill commenced but was adjourned following a motion introduced by the Chair of the Council of Ministers, Dr Abdullah Saadalla Abdullah to allow for further consultations.  Prior to that, several members had risen and made pertinent submissions in support of the Bill.Peter Mathuki called for an end to the encumbrances saying NTBs were responsible for slowing progress of integration. In his maiden speech shortly after swearing in, Martin Ngoga said it was necessary for safeguards to be inculcated in the bill.  He cited Clause 14 on exchange of information related to NTBs by the national focal points as one that needs regulation in terms of specific reporting timeframe.Abdullah Mwinyi said it was time to institute effective sanctions for non-performance to stem out NTBs, which he stated often recurred. Read more
Government unused loans increase to Shs8.9 trillion
Government’s non-performing loans have continued increasing, hitting about Shs8.895 trillion ($3 billion), up from 2.05 billion ($688,000). These non- performing loans come from the amount government has borrowed from multilateral institutions (creditors) and the Non-Paris bilateral creditors but the funds have not been disbursed to finance the projects that government borrowed for.Although the money has not been disbursed, government is incurring costs in these loans in form of commitment to the borrowed funds. A report on Public Debt, Grants and Guarantees, shows that the undisbursed amounts increased from $0.98 billion (about Shs2.9 trillion) to $2.47 billion (about Shs6.07 trillion). Read more
Diversify into fruit processing, Museveni tells Nile Breweries
President Yoweri Museveni has urged SAB Miller Worldwide, which is a multinational brewing and beverage company, to diversify their activities in Uganda into fruits processing. The President made the remarks when he received Alan Clark, who is the Chief Executive Officer of SAB-Miller Worldwide, who called on him at State House, Entebbe.The President welcomed him and his team to Uganda and said that his Company should look into diversification from beer and water production into fruits processing targeting the export of fruit juice both to the local and international markets.In Uganda, SAB Miller are the proprietors of Nile Breweries and Rwenzori Water projects. The Company, which is headquartered in London, UK, operates in over 80 countries in Africa, Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australia.The meeting was also attended by Mark Brown, the Managing Director of SAB-Miller Africa (Pty) Ltd, Greg Metcalf who is Managing Director of Nile Breweries Ltd and Elly Karuhanga. Read more
UNCCI: Egyptian investors target Uganda
Over a dozen Egyptian companies have expressed interest in investing in Uganda, following efforts to augment relations between the two countries. Interested companies range from those manufacturing household appliances to furniture makers among others, according to Dr. Sherif El Khoraiby, the chairman of COMESA. He said the first investor has established a $2m (about sh5.8b) energy technical institute in Entebbe which is due for commissioning. Dr. Khoraiby made the revelation during a press conference he convened ahead of  third international conference for economic integration among the Nile Basin countries. The press conference at the Kampala Sheraton Hotel was attended by finance state minister Fred Omach and other Egyptian dignitaries and the private sector. Michael Galabuzi, the Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UNCCI) secretary general, welcomed the Egyptians investors and advised local businessmen to prepare for the opportunity. Read more
NCTTCA: Presidential initiatives improve regional trade
Trade and volumes of roaming mobile calls across East Africa have increased following initiatives by four presidents to further open up the region.According to the National Coordinator for Kenya in the Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Coordination Authority, Mr Joseph Nyaga, the volume of voice calls across Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda, had gone up by over 1,000 per cent.
Time taken to clear cargo at the port of Mombasa had also reduced, as well as movement of cargo by road from the Kenyan port to Kampala and Kigali.“The four presidents of (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda) commissioned the report to assess the progress made since efforts were started to ease movement of goods and people in the region,” he said.Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) and Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania) meet every to assess the progress made, and make decisions to speed up the growth of trade and integration. Read more
Edmark: Ugandans urged to embrace network marketing for profitability
Ugandans have been advised to embrace network marketing as a business and not charity.The call was made by Mr Julito Cagat, the assistant marketing manager Edmark East and South Africa during the awarding ceremony of the first Edmark Uganda Car Fund recipients“Network marketing is not charity as some people see it but a system that rewards hard work and performance. We are here to assist people change their lives from zero to hero,” Mr Cagat said.Dr Isaac Kadowa and his wife Ms Margret Kadowa won a brand new Toyota Prado as a reward for their commitment and hard work in the business  Myra V. Schroth(L), the crown manager, Edmark International cautioned people against what he called illegal network marketing companies which siphon people of their money without giving them the right products.“The car we are awarding  an expression that if you work hard, develop your network and focus then you can get whatever you want.” Read more
URA enters last quarter with Shs18b surplus
After beating its collection target, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has recorded a revenue surplus, compelling Commissioner General Doris Akol to say the Shs9.5 trillion revenue target can be surpassed.With four moths left to end the financial year, URA is already ahead of its collection target by Shs18 billion, an amount equivalent to what Uganda National Bureau of Standards would need to fight the flow of counterfeit and substandard goods into the country.“URA is on right track and I am confident it will surpass the target,” Ms Akol said  while presenting the revenue performance.She continued: “The net revenue surplus of Shs18 billion for the period has been possible mainly as a result of improving compliance, improving URA capabilities which have helped to register more taxpayers (90,755) and monitor compliance in a timely manner and a better policy environment.” Read more
UPEB: Coffee exports fall as dollar gains
Records show that there was a drop both in volume and value of Uganda’s coffee exports, a time when the dollar is strengthening.The Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) report showed that the country exported 290,475 60-kg bags of coffee down from 310,829 exported.The report further showed, the coffee, volume exported earned the country $36.90 million (about Shs107 billion) while, for the coffee, $39.70 million (about Shs115 billion) was earned indicating a 7.5 per cent fall in value.Experts say this should have been the time for the country to cash in on the strong dollar which was not the case.In an interview with Daily Monitor, Uganda Export Promotion Board executive director Emmanuel Mutahunga said: “Exporters would be earning a lot but because they have to convert the earning to purchase the imported inputs, it turns out to be more costly.”Read more
BOU: Mid-month taxes support shilling
Tax filings by corporate firms saw the shilling appreciate by about Shs 27 against the dollar after struggling. Companies are required to file taxes on PAYE, VAT and excise duty by the 15th.The shilling traded at Shs 2,885/90, stronger than the Shs 2,912/22. The local unit traded in the range that experts had predicted.It closed at Shs 2938/48 after corporate firms' heighted demand.According to Standard Chartered bank, "demand for the shilling went up as [firms] remitted their tax payments."The local currency hit the lowest levels when it traded above the Shs 3,000. While BOU said the dollar has strengthened globally, coupled with high corporate demand, it noted that the shilling had to some extent been driven wild by speculators.Read more
BATU profits up as Umeme, Stanbic shares drop
Activity on the markets has gradually waned  due to a combination of factors including a strong dollar. Traders say demand on Umeme and Stanbic Bank counters has suffered due to the weakening of global currencies due to a strong dollar.  Daniel Edoma of African Alliance Uganda, says shareholders are not satisfied with prices, while investors are waiting for the release financial results, leading to a stalemate.  There were trades on only three counters by the close of business; Umeme, Stanbic Bank and Uganda Clays. Stanbic Bank traded six million shares at sh33 per share, down 6% from sh35 a fortnight ago, when the counter benefited from positive sentiment after securing an 18-month loan worth $85m (sh258b). Read more 
Metropol Corporation: Central Bank ends Compuscan’s credit reference service monopoly
Metropol Corporation, a Kenyan-owned firm, has been licensed by the Bank of Uganda to operate a credit reference bureau.“We applied for a licence to start doing business in Uganda, and we are pleased to announce we shall be offering credit reports and holistic rating of SMEs in the Pearl of Africa,” said Metropol chief executive officer, Sam Omukoko, in a statement released by the company. Uganda has had only one player in credit reference bureau business. Compuscan, partly owned by Actis, which has been providing financial cards and carrying out credit assesment, enjoying exclusive rights. It is mandatory that a customer presents a financial card detailing credit history during loan appraisal. Read more
Eskom Uganda shielded from Group’s troubles
Eskom Uganda has said its operations in Uganda are insulated from the woes going on in its parent company back in South Africa. Eskom Uganda Limited (EUL), is a wholly owned subsidiary of Eskom Holdings, the South African government-owned power generation and distribution company. In South Africa, the company is facing financial constraints, a probe into operations, poor generation capacity and has plunged the country into loadshedding. The board placed four members of management, including the CEO on suspension as an investigation into the company’s operations is carried out. Eskom Uganda, which operates the Nalubaale and Kiira dams – about 40 per cent of installed power in Uganda - told the Daily Monitor that it is no-longer dependent on cash injections from its parent company. “The initial phase of the restoration and rehabilitation plan required huge capital outlays that came from our parent company in South Africa. Read more
NCNCTTC: Presidential initiatives improve regional trade
Trade and volumes of roaming mobile calls across East Africa have increased following initiatives by four presidents to further open up the region.According to the National Coordinator for Kenya in the Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Coordination Authority, Mr Joseph Nyaga, the volume of voice calls across Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda, had gone up by over 1,000 per cent.
Time taken to clear cargo at the port of Mombasa had also reduced, as well as movement of cargo by road from the Kenyan port to Kampala and Kigali.“The four presidents of (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda) commissioned the report to assess the progress made since efforts were started to ease movement of goods and people in the region,” he said. Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) and Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania) meet to assess the progress made, and make decisions to speed up the growth of trade and integration. Read more
CMA urges govt to use markets
Keith Kalyegira, the chief executive officer of the Capital Markets Authority, has called on government to take advantage of the financial markets to raise money to fund its long-term infrastructure projects.Speaking to journalists at CMA offices in Kampala, Kalyegira said while government was not using the capital markets, they had the capacity to raise funds for some projects."We are open for business if there is need for funds," Kalyegira said. "It is not a usual thing for government to always run to capital markets for money, but we can raise the funds." Uganda is borrowing heavily from the World Bank and China for its infrastructure expenditures yet some observers think this money can be raised locally. Read more
URSB: Traders urged to embrace E-Registration
The Uganda Registration Services Bureau [URSB] has called upon the private sector and business communities to formalize their businesses in order to take advantage of the benefits that come with business registration. URSB is a statutory body that was formed, and funded by the World Bank to a tune of $10m. The body aims to improve government transparency, accountability and to allow investors obtain licenses and registration of businesses online.Speaking at a workshop on sensitization assessment on operations of the e-licensing and business registration at Silver Springs hotel in Kampala, Mercy Kyomugasho, the director business registration URSB, encouraged business owners to adapt to the e-system. Read more
MOF: Lack of data analysts fuelling fraud in provident schemes - minister
The Ministry of Finance has asked government to embark on serious actuarial training in the country so that financial institutions, Insurance Companies and pension schemes can benefit from the service.An actuarial analyst is a scientist and business professional who analyses financial risks involved in investing provident funds. Their services also involve assessing the financial security of investing the money held in pension schemes, insurance companies and financial institutions like banks which hold large sums of money using mathematical systems.While launching a new academic programme, The Certified Actuarial Analyst Qualification on Wednesday, State minister for Finance in charge of Privatisation Aston Kajara said Uganda, just like other developing countries, is faced with many financial risks which actuarial scientists would be able to detect early and mitigate especially in institutions where large sums of money are handled. Read more
EPRC: Tea exports stagnant, says report
 Uganda’s tea exports have stagnated at 50,000 metric tonnes, a new study shows.The Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) study titled Uganda’s tea sub-sector: A comparative review of trends, challenges and coordination failures, blamed the poor performance of the tea sub-sector on “poor coordination of the various policies” that has resulted into low production and exports.Also, the crop’s lengthy gestation period and land segmentations have slowed down smallholder’s re-investment in the commodity.The study that compares Uganda tea performance to Kenya’s, reads in part: “Attempts to bring tea policies into one holistic framework….which would have eased the coordination of intervention in the sector, were unsuccessful. To-date, the draft tea policy has not been presented and or debated in Parliament.” Read more
BOU: Weak economic fundamentals explain shillings troubles
Uganda liberalised foreign exchange market, rates have been determined by demand and supply forces. Whereas on the on the supply side, foreign exchange inflow is determined through exports, aid, remittances and other capital inflows, on the demand side, foreign exchange is used to finance the import bill and pay foreign denominated debt, among others.Uganda majorly exports primary agricultural commodities such as coffee and tea with low value and volatile prices. Bank of Uganda data indicate that exports have been declining from $2.8m to $2.6m, signifying a 6 per cent fall. The decline in the export sector performance coincides with a manufacturing sector whose contribution to GDP has contracted from 26.3 per cent to 18.1 per cent. Read more
BOU: Central Bank intervenes, steadies shilling
Bank of Uganda intervened in the money markets, selling an unspecified amount of dollars to bring the shilling to 2925.32/2935.46 buying and selling respectively at most banks at noon.After several interventions, the shilling had closed at 2926/36.Daniel Sage Muganza, a forex trader at Centenary Bank, said the shilling had touched 2940/50 levels in the early trading session."Most banks have taken long positions because of dividend payments. There is a scarcity of the shilling which will support the local unit in the short term.“However, in the long term – say one month – the shilling could weaken further," Muganza says.The Uganda shilling tumbled touching a fresh record low of 3120/30 before heavy intervention by the Central Bank shored it up. Read more
CMA to curb illicit cash flows for FIA
The Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) has signed its first joint anti-money laundering supervision deal with the Capital Markets Authority (CMA). Keith Kalyegira, the CMA boss, says the deal is a major boost to investor confidence."We have complimentary mandates. Though the Capital Markets have low risk due to stringent Know Your Customer (KYC) protocols, levels of liquidity are increasing so we need to be ready," Kalyegira said at the CMA boardroom.There are a total 16 listed companies on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) with shares worth over sh26 trillion. A total sh490b was traded up from sh250b.As a consequence of the deal, the CMA will regularly liaise with 'accountable persons' within the sub-sector and ensure that all large, and suspicious transactions are sufficiently vetted for money laundering and terrorist financing links.The Anti-money laundering act imposed a threshold of sh20m beyond which transactions must be reported to the Financial Intelligence Authority. Read more
BOU warns on tax compliance
A Bank of Uganda official has cautioned all banks and other financial institutions to either comply with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FACTA) or lose business with the United States (USA).FACTA was enacted by the USA with an aim of preventing US citizens from using overseas accounts to evade tax.The Act requires banks to identify all their US clients (individuals and entities), make annual reports of US client information to the US tax authority, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and place penalties on certain payments to clients that do not comply with FACTA requirements.Speaking at the FACTA training workshop for law and audit firms organized by Standard Chartered bank, Justine Bagyenda, the executive director supervision at BoU, said FACTA compliance is a must if Uganda is to continue with international trade."Compliance is a must if we are to enjoy the benefits that we derive from international trade," she said, and added that Ugandan entities that were non-compliant could be impacted. Read more
East Africa: Agreement on tax harmonisation vital
Anatoly Nahayo, a law expert, was speaking after launching his book titled 'East African Community Tax Harmonisation'.He was at the East African Community headquarters in Arusha advising his listeners on the wisdom for working in tandem when it comes to regional tax issues.Partner states have been talking quietly and carefully over the issue, but it is extremely sensitive. In most cases each country is doing its own thing, especially tax incentives. Nahana said there are limited avenues to query the decision of finance ministers to exempt individual business people or companies For some time now, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund have been politely and firmly advising regional governments to dispense with tax incentives. Read more
BOU: Uganda defends shilling against rapid surge of dollar
 Bank of Uganda has said the loosening and free fall being experienced by the Uganda Shilling against the US dollar is a result of the dollar strengthening dramatically on global markets.Underpinned by a rapidly recovering US economy, the dollar stronger by 13% against the Euro compared to the start. Christine Alupo, the BOU Communications Director said, "In Uganda demand for dollars has increased strongly, mainly from the corporate sector, to fund imports and dividend payments to foreign shareholders following improved corporate profits in 2015. Unfortunately export earnings have declined mainly because of problems in foreign exchange markets, hence the current account deficit has widened."Read more
SMFA: Kenya allows more sugar from Uganda
The Kenya government has allowed Uganda sugar manufacturers to export up to 97,000 tonnes of sugar to Kenya.This ends a stand-off between the two governments which has marred trade relationships.According to Uganda's State Minister for Foreign Affairs Okello Oryem, through negotiations in the Northern Corridor Integration arrangement, Kenya has accepted to import 97,000 tonnes, compared to30,299 tonnes .
"Stories of Kenya blocking entry of Uganda sugar on her territory are now of the past. We have been allowed to increase our export to 97,000 tonnes," Oryem said while addressing the media about the Northern Corridor Summit in Kampala.Though Uganda has capacity to export more than 150,000 tonnes into the Kenyan market after overcoming the  sugar deficit, Kenya had blocked imports citing dubious trade activities and dumping. Read more
KCCA: Uchumi fast food court back in business
Uchumi Supermarket outlet at Garden City has been cleared by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to reopen and run it’s fast food outlet following its closure over poor hygiene. The food outlet was closed by officers from Authority who claimed that the health standards at the bakery were not up to the expected standards.“We reopened them after they complied with the issues that led to the closure. Among others Uchumi cleaned up the chimney area and the floor and promised to change the ceiling board,” Robert Kalumba KCCA deputy Spokesperson said. Read more
European firms explore ventures in the country
President Paul Kagame's key-note address at the UK-Rwanda Trade and Investment forum in London, has yielded early results with a consortium of 40 investors in the country exploration mission for trade and investment opportunities.The mission, comprising businesspersons from the UK, Hungary and the Netherlands, was organised by the Eastern Africa Association that brings together UK firms with business interests in countries of the Eastern region, including Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.In London, Kagame invited investors to the country, saying "You are guaranteed high rates of return and improvement of our people's well being. I look forward to working together for the development and prosperity."They came. And in Kigali, Rwanda Development Board and other government officials addressed the investors, briefing them on existing investment opportunities in housing, infrastructure, mining and transport sectors. Read more
BOU: Shilling to hit wages, electricity and school fees hard, taxes to benefit
Despite intervention by Bank of Uganda, the shilling dipped to 3070/80 buying and selling respectively at most commercial banks.This was lower than 3022/32 at the close of business.  As the price of crude oil declined, the dollar strengthened with growth in the US economy.Uganda imports twice as much as it exports leading to scarcity of dollars. The strengthening of dollar means traders now require more shillings for every dollar.Christine Alupo, the Bank of Uganda Director Communications says the dollar has put pressure on many currencies around the world. She said the depreciation of the shilling exchange rate against the dollar is part of a worldwide trend.  "The dollar has itself strengthened dramatically on global markets, gaining by 13% against the Euro. Secondly, in Uganda demand for dollars has increased strongly, mainly from the corporate sector, to fund imports and dividend payments to foreign shareholders following improved corporate profits," Alupo says.Read more
URA to re-introduce tax on vehicle owners
Individuals purchasing vehicles for personal use will be required to pay 18 per cent Value Added Tax on cars in addition to Customs taxes and other levies to weed out tax evaders, Daily Monitor reveals.The car import business has attracted a number of tax evaders, something which hurts tax collections.Uganda Revenue Authority is expected to raise Shs9.5 trillion. Although they have surpassed their half year target by nearly Shs25 billion, the pressure to maintain the tempo is high.This tax only applies to people dealing in motor vehicle businesses. However, the tax body says individuals buying vehicles for personal use are abusing the exemptions. Read more
SCB: Banks hike lending rates
The weakening Shilling that hit a record low forcing commercial banks to review their lending rates.Standard Chartered Bank notified customers, that the lending rate would change from 20 per cent to 21.5 per cent. Dfcu also sent out a notice to customers  announcing an increment in the lending rate from 21 per cent to 22 per cent effective.GT Bank also announced an increment of lending rates from 21.5 per cent to 22.5 per cent. Notably, these increments are only for loans in Uganda Shillings, a denomination most Ugandans borrow money. Read more
NUCAFE: USAID earmarks sh1.3bn to promote Uganda’s national coffee policy
Efforts to implement the National Coffee Policy got a shot in the arm after the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) earmarked $480,000 (about 1.37bn) towards promoting Uganda’s coffee sector development plans as stipulated in the Policy.The National Coffee Policy is expected to rejuvenate Uganda’s coffee sector.This funding is channeled through the National Union of Coffee Agri-businesses and Farm Enterprises (NUCAFE) a local entity that is taking on the task of popularizing the Policy among all actors in the coffee value chain, including coffee farmers, coffee buyers, coffee processors, packers and exporters. Acknowledging USAID’s financial support, NUCAFE executive director, Joseph Nkandu hailed the deal as a landmark partnership aimed at enabling coffee farmers to understand all principles and government of Uganda intentions stipulated in the Policy.“USAID was instrumental in the launch of the Policy,” he said. Read more
Cooperatives Key in Plugging Housing Deficit, Says Minister Sam Engola
The national housing deficit that stands at about 1.6m housing units can partly be addressed if the affected persons join hands in the form of cooperatives, Sam Engola, the state minister of Lands and Housing, has said.In a message read for him during the launch of West Budama Housing Cooperatives in Tororo, by Primary Health State Minister Sarah Achieng Opendi, Engola said that worldwide cooperatives were efficient vehicles for mobilizing resources needed to raise the standards of living."The government of Uganda recognizes that the housing conditions especially of the low income earners in both rural and urban areas are inadequate and can be addressed through concerted efforts including cooperatives, among others," Engola's message read in part.Read more
EAC: Africa regional trade increases
Intra-regional trade between the East African Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has grown threefold. statistics show the combined intra-trade of the three regional economic communities (RECs) grew from $30 billion (about Shs87 trillion) to $102.6 billion (about Shs289.7 trillion). Comesa alone recorded growth from $8 billion (about Shs23.2 trillion) to $22 billion (about Shs63.8 trillion). Comesa is made up of Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan, Comoros, Djibouti, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Seychelles, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.SADC, on the other hand, registered growth from $20 billion (about Shs58 trillion) to $72 billion (about Shs208.8 trillion). SADC is made of South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland Mauritius, Zimbabwe. Read more
MLHUD: Gov’t moves to regulate real estate industry
The Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban development is to embark on a countrywide registration of all real estate dealers for regulation.The exercise which kicks off, will see real estate dealers issued with licenses of operation. According to the Permanent secretary ministry of Lands, Gabindadde Musoke, the exercise is aimed at wiping out fake real estate dealers who dupe Ugandans in land deals.“We want to put some order into real estate dealing. You cannot have every Tom, Dick and Harry dealing in land. People should know who they are dealing with,” said Musoke. Musoke made the remarks during the launch of the second phase of the computerization of the land registry.He noted that the ministry was working on a housing policy which will highlight guidelines and requirements for people dealing in real estates.“The Housing Policy will be ready to guide us on things like real estate dealing. Some of these people are cheating Ugandans in bogus land deals. So we have to put them in order,” added Musoke. Read more
NUCAFE: Ugandan coffee gets international support
Efforts to implement the National Coffee Policy got a shot in the arm after the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) earmarked $480,000 (approximately sh1.37b) towards promoting government of Uganda’s coffee sector development plans as stipulated in the policy. The policy is expected to rejuvenate Uganda’s coffee sector.This funding is channelled through the National Union of Coffee Agri-businesses and Farm Enterprises (NUCAFE), a local entity that is taking on the task of popularising the policy among all actors in the coffee value chain.Acknowledging USAID’s financial support, NUCAFE executive director, Joseph Nkandu hailed the deal as a landmark partnership aimed at enabling coffee farmers to understand all principles and government of Uganda intentions stipulated. Read more
Revise policy on liberalisation, says Kyambadde
Uganda's economy is over- liberalized which has created an avenue for abuse by shady investors, minister of trade and Industry, Amelia Kyambadde has said.She said that there is need to revise the policy on liberalization in order to create proper laws on how to invest in the country. Kyambadde was speaking during the launch of the book "Opportunities and challenges of the business Environment." A situational Analysis authored by Makerere University Business School (MUBS) Dons at Hotel Africana, Kampala. The book was supported by funding from ICBE project, Trust Africa.Without naming names, Kyambadde, alleged that some investors once they make profits they do not re-invest in Uganda. "Some of the investors are given incentives such as free land to set up their industries. But once they start earning profits they do not re-invest here," she said. Kyambadde said that some investors have started dealing in small business like selling of electrical appliances and clothes, thus competing directly with the indigenous business people. Read more
BOU: Shilling hits lowest level ever
The Shilling has weakened to the lowest level on record to trade at 2,954, breaking the resistance level of 2,950 for the first time from the average of 2,870/80.This challenged the power of Bank of Uganda (BoU) when the local currency slightly recovered some losses but bounced back to trade higher soon after the intervention.Experts attribute the sharp decline to a seasonal surge in demand (for dollars) ahead of corporate dividend declarations as the interbank positions itself to sell forex.Bank of Uganda director of research Adam Mugume in an interview said: “The main reasons for the shilling fall are the strengthening of the dollar and the strong domestic demand, in part reflecting the depreciation pressures”. Read more
New land potential knowledge system to benefit farmers
As the threat of food shortages and hunger looms over many families in East Africa and Africa as a whole, there is a need to increase the productivity of agricultural systems to alleviate over‐reliance on food aid. 
According to Byron Okubasu Anangwe, product development officer at the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD), a new Land Potential Knowledge System (LandPKS) hosted under the SERVIR Eastern and Southern Africa project at the Centre could be one solution to this crisis.SERVIR is a joint development initiative of NASA and USAID, working in partnership with leading regional organizations around the globe (including RCMRD, a non-profit intergovernmental organization that has 20 contracting member states in the Eastern and Southern Africa Regions; including all five East African countries); to help developing countries use information provided by Earth observing satellites and geospatial technologies for managing climate risks and land use.Read more
UE: Start saving for financial independence, teachers told
The executive director of Uganda Enterprise, Charles Ocici, has advised teachers to start income generating activities to make them financially independent.He said that the world over, teachers are viewed as people of integrity but poor in respect to financial independence, with many resigned to this position."I am just a teacher. I am a mere teacher. I eat chalk," Ocici described the way many teachers look at themselves, urging them to come out of self-condemnation and instead “be proud of yourselves”."It's high time you start seeing what you do as a core profession and discover who you are and expand.”The enterprise chief appealed to teachers to start developing budgets and start saving if they are to engage in income generating activities.He informed them that no amount of money is adequate – whether salary pay rise or enhancement – so as to start saving. Read more
UDB: Uganda Development Bank to focus on agriculture market
Charles Byaruhanga (R), a bank board member, flanked by CEO Patricia Ojangole (2nd R) and boad chairman Samuel Ssejjaaka (2nd L) explains the bank's rebranding. The Uganda Development Bank (UDB) has rebranded with the aim of focusing on financing agriculture, where three out of four Ugandans earn a living.Speaking at the unveiling of the bank's new corporate image at Sheraton hotel, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said that as the sole shareholder in UDB, government would, through a phased process, recapitalise the bank to enable it fund development projects in the country.Rugunda said his office was following up on the recommendations of a recent proposal presented to the Presidential Economic Council on how best the bank could be strengthened, adding that as government they recognize the importance of injecting more money into the bank for it to execute its development mandate. Read more
Postbank Supports Buganda
PostBank Uganda has contributed Shs 10m to Buganda kingdom as its commitment towards partnering the kabaka for his birthday run.The bank also contributed another Shs 10m towards the reconstruction of the Kasubi tombs, which were gutted by fire. Stephen Mukweli, the bank's managing director, said this was one way the bank decided to respond to national issues."This is the bank's effort to appreciate culture," he said.During the bank's staff-visit at Mengo, the kingdom's prime minister, Peter Mayiga, who received the donations, commended PostBank for its reward.Read more
Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde: Government to re-table draft law on counterfeits
The Anti-Counterfeit Bill will be re-tabled after the government failed to reach a consensus on which institution will take charge of enforcement, the trade minister, Ms Amelia Kyambadde has disclosed.The regulation, also known as Anti-Counterfeiting Bill, has been in Parliament as the business community continues face the consequences of the vice. According to the bill, “Counterfeiting” means without the authority of the owner of a copyright or trademark.Speaking at a breakfast meeting with the British Business community here earlier, trade minister Amelia Kyambadde said the Anti-Counterfeit Bill will be re-tabled in Parliament. She said: “We had issues with the anti-counterfeit Bill. We failed to reach a consensus on enforcement and so we were forced to withdraw it.” Read more
SMEAC: Kenya has banned all sugar imports coming from neighbouring countries.
State Minister for East African Community (EAC) Affairs Shem Bagiene has said the Kenyan government is mixing its trade arrangements with the Common Market for East and South Africa (Comesa) with EAC matters.Talking to Daily Monitor, Mr Bageine said the excuse the Kenyan government is advancing for blocking sugar from neighbouring states from accessing its market should not be mixed with its trading arrangements with Comesa member states because the parameters of engagement between the two trading blocs are totally different.Kenya was granted an extension by the Comesa trade and customs committee to limit sugar imports from the trade bloc, according to an article that ran in Business Daily.This followed the expiry of the  Comesa safeguard—a deal which had cushioned the Kenyan Sugar industry from cheap sugar imports from the Comesa region. Read more
Mutebile roots for corporate governance
The Bank of Uganda governor, Emmanuel Mutebile, has called for improvement in corporate governance for the country to meet growth targets. “I want to emphasise that good corporate governance is critical to the health of the business sector, our financial system and indeed, the wider economy,” he said during the Institute of Corporate Governance of Uganda (ICGU) dinner at the Kampala Serena Hotel. “Our economy will be stronger if corporate decisions are made with competence and integrity, and if shareholders and the public can appropriately assess the profitability and riskiness of corporations’ business activities,” Mutebile added. Uganda’s economy is projected to grow by 6.5% from 5.8% in the backdrop of government infrastructure spending.Read more
Govt seeks approval for sh1.3 trillion loan
The Government is seeking Parliament’s approval to receive $483m (sh1.39 trillion) from the Exim Bank of China. The funds are meant for the construction of the 183MW Isimba hydropower station and the Isimba-Bujagali interconnection. Appearing before the parliamentary committee on national economy last week, finance state minister Fred Omach said: “The Exim Bank of China has agreed to provide 85% of the total cost for the project amounting to $483m with the Government of Uganda contributing 15% that amounts to $85m (sh246b) under the preferential export buyer’s credit financing.” Omach said the loan repayment  with an interest rate of 2% per annum. Isimba Power project is located on River Nile between lakes Victoria and Kyoga, 50km from the source of the River Nile. Busongora North MP William Nzoghu wondered why the country continues to borrow yet the national debt is increasing. Read more
EAC, US sign trade deal
The East African Community (EAC) has signed a new cooperation agreement with the United States to boost trade-related capacity in the region, as well as deepen their economic ties.The cooperation is expected to build on the EAC’s work on customs reforms which have already resulted in substantial reductions in the time and costs of moving goods across borders within the partner states.The partnership is expected to address trade facilitation, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and technical barriers to trade.While signing the agreement in Washington, US trade representative Michael Froman said: “This agreement is an important milestone for strengthening what has already proven itself to be a promising and impactful partnership. This agreement will help us lift the burdens that trade barriers impose, unlocking opportunities for both our continents.” Read more
Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde: Uganda losing sh497 trillion in unprocessed exports
The economy is losing in excess of sh497 trillion in exports of unprocessed cotton, coffee, cocoa and tobacco, according to reports by the trade ministry. According to trade minister Amelia Kyambadde, Uganda lost as much as $128.45m (sh373b) in exporting goods that were not processed, packaged or branded to the UK. Kyambadde noted that Uganda’s exports of agriculture commodities to the UK declined to $58m (sh168.2b) from $118.4m (sh343.4b) due to limited value addition. “Value addition has become our priority. Uganda has enormous natural resources and is growing into a regional business hub. This gives us opportunities for mutually beneficial strategic partnership with the UK,” Kyambadde said at a breakfast meeting with the British business community in Kampala. According to statistics, imports from the UK had declined to $12.9m (sh37.4b) from $137.6m (sh399b).Read more
NSSF should Share blame for Uganda clays' woes
The Observer, Francis Xavier Ssempiira wrote an excellent rhetorical article, an idealist armchair solution to the Uganda Clays Limited dilemma, which disregards the role of the NSSF in this debt trap.Not only is it simplistic to Uganda Clays' shareholders such as Habib Sembatya, it is a desperate effort at covering up NSSF's role in regard to this whole debt equity conversion transaction. Once upon a time, at the height of the Clay manufacturer's dominance, a proposal was put to the board by the now deceased John Wafula, who was the chief executive officer of the company at the time.That proposal was to put up a plant in Kamonkoli in eastern Uganda. The proposal led to the entry of NSSF as a majority holder after the Kenyatta family-affiliated Kenya Clays Limited opted to sell its entire stake rather than see out that Kamonkoli factory proposal. Read more
Is data the new cashcow for telecom companies?
On a chilly evening inside a taxi, light illuminates from different mobile phone handsets with close to six people accessing the internet through their smart phones. The most popular site appears to be Facebook, but others like those relaying sports and news are quite popular. According to data there are about 8.5 million internet users in Uganda. That is about 23.3 per cent of total penetration. Eighty per cent of that traffic, according to Jackie Namara the head of marketing at Vodafone Uganda, is accessed through mobile gadgets. Vodafone is the telecom to make entry into a market that some consider to be saturated. Across town Vodafone seems to have a strong present, advertising its internet products on billboards, special hire taxis, newspapers, radio and TVs. Read more
UNBS: Ugandans cautioned of fake, dirty soft drinks on market
As the Uganda National Bureau of standards (UNBS) steps up efforts to increase compliance to standards, a section of manufactures of juice are still not conforming to the required procedures and standards.To try and encourage them to conform, the executive director of UNBS, Dr. Ben Manyindo has asked them to start putting into practice the required standards before enforcement of the recently amended law can be effected.According to the law, any body found selling dirty or goods which do not meet the required standard will have their premises closed or pay a fine of sh5m or  imprisonment. "But before we enforce it we are engaging them, explain to them again the required standards and procedures such that when we move to enforce, they will be aware of what we are looking for," said Manyindo said.He was addressing juice makers, producer, importers and traders, supermarket operators among others on the requirements in the production of juice and water and also to identify challenges limiting juice makers from producing quality juices.Read more
UTB to promote domestic tourism through discounted tours
In its commitment to promote domestic tourism with a bang, the Uganda Tourism Board in partnership with the Uganda Safari Guides Association and Uganda Wildlife Authority has started providing highly discounted domestic adventures around the country.According to Edwin Muzahura, Head of Marketing UTB, this move is fueled by an overwhelming public demand and, the positive reception of similar offers that defined Uganda's tourism such as Big birding day, Circumcision festival in Mbale, Bishop Hanington day among others.Compared to a trip arranged on a private basis, Muzahura notes that the distinctive beauty of such offers is that they will be very pocket friendly yet pricelessly rewarding to the dot. Better still, that is just the footnote. The big takeout is that there will be graced by plenty of professional tour guides who will attend to participants and spice up their experiences.Read more
MFPED: Managing rapid urbanization can Help Uganda achieve sustainable and inclusive growth
Uganda's urban population will increase from six million to over 20 million. Policy makers need to act now to ensure that this rapid urbanization is managed well, so it can contribute to Uganda's sustainable and inclusive growth, a report released by the World Bank Group shows.For the first time, the report compares data on urban areas and their populations in a consistent manner across Uganda, providing governments and local leaders with analyses to improve planning and coordination to deliver better services, jobs and opportunities, making cities more competitive."The typical Ugandan city has grown rapidly, but without sufficient policy coordination. As a result, urbanization has not necessarily resulted in increased productivity, with the majority of jobs created involving low productivity activities," said Hon. Maria Kiwanuka, Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.Read more
SCB: Shilling slide expected to go on
The Uganda shilling dropped close to 1% against the dollar, trading a few points off the record level of 2905 closing 2885/95 compared to the previous level 2865/75. The market witnessed a surge in corporate demand leading to the depreciation of the local unit. Yields on government bonds rose with issues coming in at 72 and 29 basis points higher to 16.68% and 17.4 respectively.Appetite for long dated bonds was seen increasing in the market and the trend is expected to be maintained. “We expect the shilling to reverse the losses in the trading in the 2875-2905 range,” a Standard Chartered report read.A Stanbic Bank report read: “The depreciation trend is likely to prevail over the next  account of more anticipated dollar demand against a backdrop of relatively low dollar supply. ” Read more
StarTimes : Pay TV service providers rush to cash in as deadline loomsGlobal digital migration deadlines nears, pay television services providers are rushing to cash in from the members of the public who would want to do last minute purchases.Pay television service provider StarTimes for instance launched a digital a cheap decoder that seeks to attract especially low income earners who have for long been locked out of watching digital pay Tv services because of price, and facilitate the migration process.The StarTimes Light decoder costs Shs8,000. However, customers will be required to pay an initial subscription fee of shs41,500, which entitles them to digital television services on a Nova bouquet, whose subscription is shs6,000, or for a Basic bouquet.Speaking at the launch of the decoder, StarTimes Marketing Director Mr. Aldrine Nsubuga said the move seeks to increase affordability and enable more Ugandans to enjoy digital pay television services. Read more

Look out for opportunities, Museveni tells youth
 President Yoweri Museveni has called on Ugandan youth to have initiative and take advantage of the available opportunities in the various sectors of the economy.He advised young people – especially fresh graduates – to steer away from irresponsible lifestyles.This was at the third edition of Bukedde’s Yiiya Ssente Business Forum at Kololo Independence Grounds in Kampala that attracted a huge crowd of business-keen people.The previous two fora were held and attracted similarly massive audiences.Attending the event for the first time, President Museveni spoke moments after his arrival which was met with cheers from a large group that braved stifling temperatures.He was received by State minister for fisheries Ruth Nankabirwa, Vision Group chief executive Robert Kabushenga and other dignitaries. Read more
President should address UNATU, ministry feud over SACCO money
The National Organization of Trade Unions (NOTU) has called for the president’s intervention in the ongoing standoff between the Uganda National Teachers’ Union (UNATU) and the ministry of education over shs25b meant for teachers’ SACCOs. NOTU wants President Yoweri Museveni to engage Ministry of Education and Sports (MOES) so that it rescinds its position to channel the teachers’ SACCO money through Micro Finance Support Center.Speaking to journalists, the chairman NOTU, Usher Owere, expressed concern that the money was channeled to the Micro Finance Support Center (MFSC) rather than the Union of Teachers SACCO (UTS). Read more
NWSA: National Water, Entebbe Municipality scoop procurement award
National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) and Entebbe Municipal Council have been recognized as the most efficient Public Procuring and Disposing Entities (PDEs).The two entities were presented with the awards by the third deputy Prime Minister Moses Ali at the end of the 10th Public Procurement Performance Review Workshop held in Kampala organised by the Public Procurement & Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA)NWSC also emerged as the best central government entity the PPDA Awards gala, and, took home another accolade at the East African Procurement Forum in Nairobi.So why does the water body keep on shining? Alfred Okidi, NWSC’s deputy managing director for finance and corporate strategy explained.“We plan well, and we also implement what we plan according to the law. We have a very dedicated team in the procurement unit; we also train the contracts committee, they know what they are supposed to do. These cumulatively make us go a mile or two ahead of the rest,” said Okidi. Read more
Orient Bank sold to private equity firm
After close of negotiations, Keystone Bank of Nigeria has completed the sale of its majority stake in Orient Bank. 8 Miles LLP, a private equity firm founded by Irish singer and political activist Bob Geldof, has acquired a 42 per cent stake in the bank with the founders, Ketan Morjaria and Jay Karia increasing their stake from 20 per cent to 58 per cent, making them majority shareholders.In a press statement released Ms Hemen Shah, a partner at 8 Miles LLP, said they were confident of Uganda banking prospects, given that the country has an attractive investment opportunity with a growing economy and a largely unbanked population.8 Miles is also the majority shareholder in Biyinzika Poultry International. Orient bank, which has an asset base of Shs491 billion, was acquired by Bank BHP but was later taken over by Keystone Bank, which acquired Bank PHP after it was declared insolvent. The bank was acquired for about Shs183b ($63.7m). Read more
EACSG: Uganda requires more power to meet demand’
Uganda must have increased its power generation capacity by 37.7 per cent if it is to meet the rapid industrialisation and urbanisation, according to Mr Richard Sezibera, the East African Community (EAC) secretary general. Mr Sezibera made the remarks at the recent 16th EAC Heads of States summit, adding that member countries including Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda must grow their generation capacity by 96.4 per cent, 75.3 per cent and 115 per cent respectively to meet projected demand.East Africa has a combined electricity demand of 5.3 per cent per annum.The above demand, according to Mr Sezibera, requires all member states to increase generational capacity.Uganda has installed generational capacity of 852 Mega Watts (MW) but projections demand that the country should have grown its power prospects by over 400 MW. Read more
BOU: Central Bank governor wants mobile money business regulated
The Central Bank governor ,Tumusiime Mutebile, has conceded that there is need for a law to streamline the bank’s supervisory role over mobile money services operated by telecom companies.Mobile money operations – an e-money financial service that has 18 million registered users in Uganda – has no clear law regulating it. BoU relies on regulations about the business to keep tabs on it. However, these regulations, according to the executive director of supervision at BoU, Justine Bagyenda, have no legal effect. The Central Bank recently wrote to the Solicitor General, seeking legal opinion over the matter.“I definitely agree that there is need for a law to strengthen supervision in this area. I perfectly agree with you on this issue because you have raised pertinent concerns,” Mutebile said yesterday during a meeting with lawmakers on the information and communication technology committee.Read more
Loans force Uchumi into losses
Supermarket chain, Uchumi posted a loss caused by expensive bank loans from KCB and Cooperative Bank of Kenya.The loss posted shot up by a tenth, mainly driven by higher finance costs, salaries and rent.Uchumi borrowed Shs16.2 billion (Ksh600 million) from KCB and Shs10.93 billion (Ksh405 million) from Co-operative Bank - Kenya to pay suppliers before its rights issue.The supermarket chain posted a loss of Shs7 billion (Ksh262.3 million) compared to a net profit of Shs2.88b (Ksh106.9m) recorded.The loss, analysts say resulted from the persistent volatility in the EAC economies worsened by a fall in real sales, which declined from Shs197 billion (Ksh7.3 billion) to Shs183.6 billion (Ksh6.8 billion). Read more
PSOMT: Untaxed Egyptian juice imports draw fire from local producers
Trade agreement exempting Egypt’s products, particularly processed juice imports from being charged Value Added Tax (VAT) will cripple the juice sub-sector, the industry players have warned.The red flag was raised by Jakana Foods, a major scale commercial producer of natural fruit juices in the country, during a meeting between beverage makers and juice manufactures with Uganda National Bureau of Standards.However, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade, Amb Julius Onen, in an interview denied the claims, saying there is no such arrangement in place.During the meeting attended by more than 150 industry players, the general manager of Jakana Foods, Ms Meg Jaquay, wondered how local industry players will favourably compete with the likes of Egypt who have a free trade agreement with Uganda. Read more
DFID: Fall in prices may delay investment in Uganda’s oil sector - expert says
The fall in global oil prices is likely to cause slowdown in investment and development of the oil industry in Uganda, the chief economist of Department for International Development (DFID) has warned.Delivering a public lecture on the theme ‘Falling Oil Prices and a Rebased Economy: Implications for Growth and Unemployment in Uganda’ in Kampala, Prof Stefan Dercon, who is also a professor of economics at Oxford University, said the fall in oil prices may well delay Uganda’s impending resource rents, and limit its impact.“This is, however, not bad news as longer time will offer a better chance for the rest of the economy and the state to be more resilient, and prepare to take full advantage of it. It is an opportunity to go for a more cautious and effective rebalancing of governance and the economy to cope with oil,” he said. Read more
MFPED: : Procurement stakeholders review sector performance 
The Public Procurement & Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA)  holds the 10th Public Procurement Performance Review Workshop at the Golf Course Hotel in Kampala.Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka is expected to open the one day workshop under the theme Strengthening Procurement Capacity for Effective Service Delivery.Participants at the event will review the progress of the procurement reforms, share experiences and agree on timelines for action plan that they will agree on.The workshop is a follow up to the Public Procurement Symposium held.“A number of issues on strengthening procurement capacity for effective service delivery are to be discussed. Participants will look at and evaluate the different opportunities presented by the Amended PPDA Act to improve the service delivery in the public procurement,” said Vincent Mugaba, PPDA’s Senior Public Relations Officer. Read more
Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda: How companies struggle to control markets
The government  expressed appreciation for Chinese support in helping develop infrastructure in the country and asked for more.In talks with Yang Jiechi, the State Councillor of the People's Republic of China, Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda said, "Uganda as country, we encourage China to boost financing of infrastructural development which is a major development obstacle in Uganda and most of sub-Saharan Africa, to unlock the country's and region's economic potential."Jiechi said, "China is committed towards supporting Uganda's development agenda. Our major task will be on striving to consolidate political economic and cultural promotion among the two countries. Read more
URA: Uganda Takes Tax Disputes Online With E-Lit
Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has launched the E-litigation system (e-Lit) to improve the effectiveness of their legal system in handling internal cases."We have a team of over 20 lawyers and handle a case portfolio of over 250 cases and applications. It has been a big challenge to us to track down all these case files manually and problems of a forgotten cases and lack of proper case reference. It is because of such challenges that our URA litigation team together with information technology team came up with this system proposal and we took it up because we could see its usefulness and importance at the time." Ali, Ssekatawa, the Assistant Commissioner, Litigation, URA, said .The new internal network is based on international best practices in managing busy law firms. The URA legal team wants a convenient method of effectively managing case information from time of initiation to the time of closure without facing any challenges.Read more
CURAD: Expert says gov’t should prioritize agribusiness incubation
An expert in agribusiness enterprise development says that government should consider prioritizing support towards building strong agribusiness incubation centres as well as boost value chain development initiatives.
Joseph Nkandu believes that such initiatives can increase productivity and also enable the sector to offer more employment opportunities. He is the founding managing director of the Consortium for enhancing University of Responsiveness to Agribusiness Development (CURAD).His comments came on the sidelines of a recent fact-finding tour mounted by CURAD Agribusiness Incubator executives to ascertain the level of progress made by the entrepreneurs the facility supports.Read more
UDB gets Shs500b to boost capital base
The government has approved a request by Uganda Development Bank (UDB) to increase the institution’s financial capital from the current Shs100 billion to Shs500 billion.This was revealed at a function hosted by the bank in Kampala.The money will allow the bank to offer loans for major infrastructural developments in key growth sectors of manufacturing, agriculture, extractive industry, and tourism, among others.According to UDB chief executive officer Patricia Ojangole, these sectors are deemed to have a multiplier effect for both wealth and job-creation. Read more
Barclays bank re-launches Prestige Banking
Barclays Bank Uganda has re-launched the custom-made banking product - Prestige Banking.The product, previously known as Premier Life, was developed based on the bank’s customer feedback, and offers a ‘fresh’ approach to corporate banking, including preferential rates, convenient banking and improved financial solutions.“The prestige proposition is carefully designed to help meet clients’ needs by offering easy and quick access to affordable financial solutions and personalised banking,” says Mr Rakesh Jha, the Barclays Bank Uganda managing director.The re-launched product is expected to provide a range of benefits to customers, including express counters at their designated branches and access to life insurance cover of up to Shs21 million, inclusive of last expense funeral cover of up to Shs800,000 payable within 48 hours.Read more
Uganda’s trade deficit to widen - economist
Uganda’s trade deficit is to remain large for a long time due to the political situation in South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo, which are her prime export markets, the chief economist for Barclays Africa has predicted.Trade deficit is an economic measure of a negative balance of trade in which a country’s imports exceeds its exports.Speaking to Daily Monitor on the sidelines of the Barclays Africa Economic Outlook workshop held in Kampala, Mr Jeff Gable said: “Our concern is that the economic opportunity of South Sudan is still struggling in an environment where security and political issues are at the front.” Read more
NPA: National development plan needs sh185 trillion
Tourism, agriculture and the extractive sectors will enjoy the lion’s share of public investments, in a new development plan that seeks to drive Uganda to middle-income status. The National Planning Authority (NPA) estimates that the key projects in these sectors require sh185 trillion. Of this, sh100 trillion is expected to come from the public sector and the balance from the private sector in form of partnerships.  The draft development plan awaits the approval of Cabinet and Parliament ahead of implementation.  NPA chairperson Dr. Kisamba Mugerwa warned that the plan will only be successful if the Government aligns the annual national budgets with the plan. Mugerwa and the NPA team were addressing journalists about the completion the new development plan (NDPII) last week at their offices.  Mugerwa said it is essential that the Government focuses on particluar priority areas instead of scattering the limited resources by trying to do everything at once.  Read more
EAC to consider S Sudan, Somalia request to join bloc
South Sudan and Somalia’s plea to join the East African Community is one of the major topics the regional heads of States will be discussing in Nairobi.This will be at the 16th Ordinary Summit of the East African Community Heads of State to be held at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Kenya.The EAC secretary general, Dr Richard Sezibera, said: “Negotiations for the admission of the Republic of South Sudan into the EAC, verification of the application of the Federal Republic of Somalia will be priority matters on agenda”.The government of South Sudan pleaded with the EAC member states not to reject them because of the violence that had engulfed the country. Read more
EACSG: Regional private sector told to address corruption
East African Community secretary general Richard Sezibera has advised the private sector to address the issue of corruption which is a big challenge in the community.While meeting members of the private sector through their umbrella organisation East African Business Council in Nairobi, Mr Sezibera said: “The private sector needs to develop a code of conduct that they themselves will monitor.”In this regard, he urged the private sector in the region to consider the draft code of conduct that has been prepared by the EABC. The Corruption Perception Index rankings for EAC countries, shows Rwanda was a top performer with a score of 49 at position 55 globally. Tanzania was second with a score of 31 at position 119, Uganda followed at 142 with a score of 26 then Kenya. Burundi was at the bottom of the pack with a score of 20 at number 159. All the EAC countries dropped in score except Uganda whose score remained unchanged. Read more
SMI: Govt reassures tobacco farmers
The Government will continue supporting tobacco growing, amid a campaign for the Tobacco Control Bill.State minister for investment James Mutende said the Government is consulting on possible ways of boosting commercial production of the tobacco leaf countrywide.He made the remarks during the launch of Alliance One, a company that exports tobacco, at Serena Hotel in Kampala.The minister said the Government is also looking for investors to build a factory in Masindi, to process over 35 million kilogrammes of tobacco cultivated across the country.“We want to fill the gap that was left by BAT after they closed shop in Kampala and moved to Nairobi,” he noted.“As government, we have consulted widely and learnt lessons from Tanzania and Malawi. We want to continue supporting investments in the sector.” Read more
PPDA: More firms suspended from public procurement activities
The list of firms suspended from public procurement and disposal activities in Uganda has risen to 121 as the sector regulator steps up its fight against forgery.The list of the suspended providers released by the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) includes firms and individuals suspended by the World Bank.The firms are listed on the PPDA website.The firms suspended by the Bretton Woods institutions (World Bank and International Monetary Fund) are M/s Energo (Uganda) Company Limited, M/s B.V.S Construction Limited, Mr. Jayaram Reddy (director of M/s B.V.S Construction Limited, M/s Nexus Uganda Limited and Rogers Segawa (director of M/s Nexus Uganda Limited).During the suspension period, all procuring and disposing entities (PDEs) are barred from awarding contracts, issue solicitation documents or solicit bids from the companies and individuals. Read more
MFPED: UAE investors want to build airports, pipeline
The visiting delegation from the United Arab Emirates wants to invest in the construction of international airports, oil pipeline and renewable energy in Uganda.According to Maria Kiwanuka, the minister of finance, planning and economic development, the United Arab Emirates government has also expressed interest to invest in agriculture, trade and industry, toll roads, minerals and building capacity on Lake Victoria. Kiwanuka held a meeting with the UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, Reem Al Hashimy and her delegation, at the ministry of finance headquarters, where the two parties agreed that legislative frameworks be drafted to ease these investment projects.Read more
URA to Get Sh1 Billion From Confiscated Vehicles
Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has estimated it could get more than Shs 1bn in revenue from the foreign-registered vehicles it impounded last month.Through its operation, URA seized 79 vehicles that were thought to be in the country illegally. At least 32 of them were later released after the owners presented genuine documents.James Kisale, the assistant commissioner for Enforcement, told reporters at URA head office in Nakawa that most of the vehicles were high- performance cars, which included station wagons, BMWs, and Mercedes Benzes."We found 47 vehicles whose owners presented falsified documents. They are foreign-registered but in the country illegally. They are worth Shs1bn in taxes," Kisale said.All the vehicles were from DR Congo. Two of the vehicles - an Audi and a Benz - were reportedly stolen from London, according to Interpol Uganda.Read more
Bitature advises on strong business links
The board chairperson of Umeme and a businessman, Patrick Bitature, has asked the Australia Alumni to build strong business association to create impact in society."If you are not effective as an association you can't make an impact in society and therefore, you need to build a strong business association," Bitature said.He was speaking during the Australia Alumni Association annual general meeting at Protea Hotel in Kampala.He encouraged the members of the association to network together to make the association succeed.The businessman pledged to support the association to grow.Read more