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News Archive 1a

News Archive 1a

Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde: Uganda to gain access into 25 world markets
Ugandan service providers will soon be able to render professional services to more than 25 World Trade Organisation (WTO) member countries, information from the Trade ministry indicates so. This development was agreed upon in a high level meeting of the WTO Services Council, held in Geneva, Switzerland.The meeting was convened to discuss measures which would support the growth of service trade in Least Developed countries (LDCs) through granting services exports with preferential treatment. Worth noting is that Uganda is the current coordinator for the LDC group at the WTO with the Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde, tasked with the coordinating role.Quoted in a press statement issued by the ministry, a copy of which the Daily Monitor has seen, Ms Kyambadde said this is a chance for Uganda and other LDCs to expand their export base, particularly in services, to the developed WTO member countries. Read more
MEACA: EAC leaders to debate financing mechanisms
Heads of State of the East African Community (EAC) partner states are expected to meet in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, for a summit that will, among others, discuss sustainable financing mechanisms for bloc’s activities.In a statement, released, the Minister for EAC Affairs, Mr Valentine Rugwabiza, said the new financing mechanisms are expected to be presented as per a directive by the Summit that tasked the Council of Ministers to present a report on alternative financing mechanisms, including the option of one per cent of imports from outside EAC. This is one of the ways the bloc is looking at to reduce overreliance on donor aid, where going by the Budget passed by the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala), out of the total budget of $124 million, member states contributed $41.9 million, while $73.2 million came from donors.Other areas to be discussed include the creation of the One-Area Network that will ease telecommunication by residents in the five partner states. Read more
ICSA: Corporate governance to increase cash flows
Greater awareness of corporate governance practices in the private sector is key to increasing tax compliance, officials at the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) have said.Vision Group, Stanbic Bank, Centenary Bank, ACCA Uganda have teamed up with the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) and the ICSA for the fourth annual directors and company secretaries conference in a bid to reinforce proper corporate governance practice.Corporate governance is a set of systems by which organisations are controlled.The conference will he held under the theme: “Access to finance through corporate governance.” The event will be held at the Protea Hotel.Michael Jjingo, the Centenary Bank chief manager for business growth says small businesses must be helped by actors in the financial sector to adopt corporate governance practices like employing accountants and auditors. He added that this will improve their cash flows, grow their businesses and increase their tax payments.Read more
Fitch: Uganda’s economic rating improves
Fitch, a global rating agency, has upgraded Uganda’s sovereign credit rating to ‘B+’ from ‘B’ with a stable outlook.This is on account of cautious policies supportive of growth and improvements in the country’s fiscal strength, largely due to reduction in aid dependence and improved revenue raising capacity..
Upgrading the country’s ratings means that Uganda’s economic environment is now much better.The London-based agency observed in a press release, that Uganda has a long track record of prudent macroeconomic policies, supporting robust growth, which has averaged 6.6 per cent for more than a decade.The agency expects growth to remain above 5 per cent, supported by significant infrastructure investment in new power generation capacity. Read more
DDA: Dry spell sees milk prices rise
Consumers are finding it hard to have milk on their daily menu as prices go up.Experts in the industry attribute the hike in prices to scarcity of supplies caused by the dry spell which intensified at the beginning. Mr Stephen Aikiriza, the Dairy Development Authority coordinator south western Uganda, a region known for the production of milk, said: “Farm-gate prices have increased; a litre now costs Shs700 up from Shs450.”He, however, said because of this, few people are buying the milk and this has seen even the little that is produced get spoilt and be poured.Processors have had to respond to the price change by increasing the rates too.Read more
Usaid invests Shs1.3 billion in coffee campaign
Efforts to implement the National Coffee Policy have got a boost after The United States Agency for International Development (Uaid) earmarked $480,000 (about Shs1.3 billion) towards promoting Uganda’s coffee sector development plans. The policy is expected to rejuvenate the country’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 popularising 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, Mr 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.Read more
Finance minister Maria Kiwanuka: Mobile money account holders grow to 18 million
The number of mobile money account holders in Uganda has grown to 18,489,989 which is much higher than the traditional bank account holders.The mobile money accounts are a convenient way for people to transact money using their mobile phones networks. Speaking during economics of mobile money economy seminar in Kampala, Finance minister Maria Kiwanuka, said, there were about 18.5 million mobile money accounts from a mere 10,011 accounts .“In terms of monetary value, over Shs18 trillion was transacted through mobile money,” she said.Read more
BOU: Mutebile keeps Central bank rate at 11 percent
Uganda's Central Bank announced that it was keeping the Central Bank Rate the same at 11%. Speaking at a press conference in Kampala, the Governor, Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile said, BoU's high frequency indicators of economic activity point to a pick-up in real economic activity. This lends support to the projection of 5-6% for real growth, he said, adding which is in line with the economy's estimated medium-term potential output growth. Mutebile said that growth in the FY will be supported by increased public investment and the recovery of private sector credit, which in turn boosts private investment and consumption. He added that the sharp depreciation of the exchange rate, which occurred, will raise the domestic prices of traded goods. Read more
CCTTFA: Uganda urged to pick more interest in central corridor
The northern corridor, which moves through Kenya to Uganda and other landlocked countries of Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, is the busier of the two.The central corridor which passes through Tanzania brings in far lesser volumes of goods to Uganda. In fact, less than 2% of the cargo handled in Dar es Salaam nowadays is Uganda-bound. Rukia Shamte, the chief executive of the Central Corridor Transit Transport Facilitation Agency says this trend should change, arguing that it should be in Uganda’s interests to use the corridor.“Mali is a landlocked country and it uses four corridors, but the main corridor, which handles almost 70% of the volumes, is through Ivory Coast. When unrest broke out in Ivory Coast, it was almost impossible to use this corridor. Mali did not falter – they just turned to the other corridors,” she said. Read more
Semuto farmers pass bylaw on maize standards
Leaders in Ssemuto Sub County in Nakaseke district have passed a bylaw to implement maize standards set up by the East African Community as one of the strategies to improve quality of their produce. New standards are also hoped to enable the farmers to compete favorably in the regional market. The bylaw emphasizes proper drying of maize, harvesting mature crops and confiscation of immature produce found with producers or traders, burn of fields found to have been sprayed with harmful chemicals. No farmer will be allowed to use other means of drying maize faster. The local leaders were concerned that crop farmers were losing out on the regional markets because their maize could not match the standards required and therefore did not find buyers from the regional markets. Read more
URA: Producers call for higher taxes on imported wines
Local wine manufacturers have called on Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to impose higher taxes on imported wines because they are inferior and are being dumped here to confuse consumers.Speaking at a meeting, Ms Prudence Ukkonika, the managing director Bella Wines, said wine producing countries usually send the worst quality wine to Africa because it is cheaper to pack it in casks rather than bottles where good quality wine is often packed.“These countries send the worst quality of wine to Africa. They pack cheap wine in casks but the best wine is packed in bottles,” she said.She added that imported wines deserve higher taxes because local manufacturers import the bottles in which they package their wines which URA also taxes.Read more
UTB: Tourism board to hire foreign PR firms
The Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), the body charged with marketing the country as a destination of choice, has adopted the use of foreign public relations firms to sell Uganda, after traditional marketing registered minimal success.The deputy chief executive officer, John Ssempebwa, told New Vision in an interview that the marketing model is being experimented in the UK, US and Germany.Under the model, UTB hires professional public relations firms in source markets to disseminate information about Uganda, create additional sales opportunities in the competitive market and reinforce the quality of a product against adverse publicity, instead of advertising on international media, such as CNN, which is said to have little impact, yet too expensive.Read more
WAFICOS: Fish farming to hit 300 metric tons 
AS the numbers of fish available in water bodies for harvesting continues to dwindle globally, there is a need for new alternative aquaculture technologies to be adopted to ensure sustainability and competiveness on the market. This was the remark from Edward Rukunja, the assistant commissioner for fisheries in the agriculture ministry, while opening the 8th Aquaculture Symposium at Fairway Hotel in Kampala, hosted by the Walimi Fish Farmers Cooperative Society (WAFICOS). The commissioner, who was representing the state minister for fisheries, Ruth Nankabirwa, expressed concern over the rate of over fishing on Ugandan water bodies as a result of the open access policy that allows anyone to cast a net, rooting for these advanced technologies.Read more
AGG: Public sector lacks financial management skills - official
The public service has been riddled with corruption scandals mainly because of weaknesses within financial management in government entities. Mr Lawrence Ssemakula, the Accountant General of Government, admitted that accountability in public entities had soft controls, which has worsened corruption. “One of the biggest challenges for Public Financial Management has been weak accountability with soft control and widespread corruption within the political and bureaucratic frameworks,” he admitted. Mr Ssemakula was speaking to accountants and human resource managers at the launch of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Advanced Diploma in Public Financial Management. He further noted that the local governments were not skilled enough to handle the changes being witnessed in the public sector. Furthermore, he said few in the public sector are equipped on revenue management as things such as Private Public Partnerships (PPPs) have emerged. Read more
NSSF to turn focus on regional investments
The National Social Security Fund will focus on buying stakes in profitable companies across the East African region without losing sight of the profitable investment in the country, the Funds managing director, Mr Richard Byarugaba, has said. Speaking at a news conference, Mr Byarugaba, said the Fund will put its money in areas that attract high returns on investment.He said: “We will focus on equity investment because the returns we have attracted from that portfolio speak for itself.”He continued: “We have attracted 44 per cent return from the equities, 14 per cent from the fixed incomes and 1 per cent on real estates. This explains where our focus will be.”He, however, disclosed that attempts to complete construction of Pension Towers, Lubowa Estates and Temangalo are underway. He also hopes that before his term comes to an end, at least the first phase of the Pension Towers will be complete.Importantly, he revealed that returns on members’ savings should be able to withstand inflationary pressures. Read more
EAPECS:: Uganda’s private equity loses ground to EA neighbours
Kenya beat Uganda as a favourable destination for collective schemes looking to make investments in various equity, according to a report released by consulting firm, Deloitte.Kenya came in ahead of its East African peers in attracting private equity firms with 12 of 26 deals recorded in the region.The neighbouring country raked in Shs319 billion, with Rwanda coming in second with Shs116 billion, Tanzania Shs14 billion and lastly Uganda fetching only Shs11 billion.The report, East Africa Private Equity Confidence Survey, revealed that majority of the deals focused on agribusiness, healthcare and the financial sector targeting small and medium enterprises (SMEs).It pointed to the investment climate as one of the major factors that drove private equity. In East Africa, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania all have experienced a decline in investor focus. However, Kenya remained the number one country that most investors are focusing on. Read more
NSSF to buy bonds
The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) has unveiled plans to buy bonds of high growth potential start-ups on the Growth Enterprise Market Segment (GEMS).The fund intends to buy well-designed bonds on the alternative market and later sell the same to new investors through the stock exchange; the move is expected to bolster the segment.Richard Byarugaba, the NSSF managing director, told the media at Workers House that discussions have been held with the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) and the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) on the prospects of the bonds.He revealed that separate discussions have been held with senior offi cials of Bank of Uganda about increasing the variety of investment instruments such as infrastructure bonds, like is currently available in Kenya and Rwanda.Read more
WB: Uganda to attain middle income status by 2020
Uganda will have attained a middle income status, the board chairperson of the National Planning Authority, Mr Kisambwa Mugerwa, believes.According to the planning body, when the second phase of the National Development Plan comes to an end, per capita income is expected to be in the range of $1,033 (nearly Shs3 million).World Bank ranks middle income countries as those whose income per person averages between $1,036 and $12,615.But for that to seamless happen (transform into middle income country), the economy must be able to generate at least Shs120 trillion to fund the entire budget which already a section of economic analysts and private sector players describe as ambitious proposals.“We hope we would have achieved lower segment of a middle income country,” Mr Mugerwa said  in an engagement with the media fraternity.Read more
Uganda Breweries: Local brewery suppliers get boost
Uganda Breweries and Citibank has unveiled a financing scheme to boost local brewery suppliers. This was during their annual Suppliers Conference meeting held in Kampala. The Citibank financing scheme will offer suppliers an option of early payment on invoices accepted and verified by UBL to enable them deliver on their obligations faster and more conveniently. This will allow suppliers to manage their cash flows better by freeing up cash to tackle other business logistics.Access to the financing scheme dubbed “Citi Supply Chain Finance”, is easy and will not require the supplier to operate an account with Citibank. The supplier will also not be required to provide collateral, or pay any form of annual facility fee. All suppliers will be required to pay a discounting fee on each invoice that they choose to discount; this fee will normally be charged at a rate lower than what the supplier is getting in the market. Read more
Weakening shilling likely to spike product prices
Here in Kikuubo, a Kampala business hub, people squeeze through narrow corridors as they struggle to catch up on their shopping.It is yet another shopping day for household items, cosmetics and textiles, among others. Here, informal trade blossoms but so do imports. With his chin tucked in his palms, Julius Ssendagire, a merchandise shop owner says the recent depreciation of the shilling has left them with no option but to increase prices of goods.“If the dollar strengthens, our distributors increase prices. We then have to pass them onto to customers,” he says with a cynical smile, adding, “Distributors warned us that prices would increase. Read more
MAAIF: Korea to help Uganda increase rice production
The Korean government has expressed interest in supporting the government of Uganda in the production of upland rice in the districts of Pallisa and Kibuku, along R.Mpologoma.This was revealed by the president of the Korean Rural Community Corporation, Lee, Sang-Mu during a meeting with officials from the ministry of Agriculture and Vice presidents' office at the Kampala Serena Hotel.Apart from rice production, Sang-Mu is looking at developing appropriate ICT tools through which farmers can access the information needed for their particular crops and the promotion of the use of solar power.The team from ministry of agriculture was led by the minister of state for Agriculture, Zerubaberi Nyiira. According to Nyiira, the visit was aimed at achieving two aspects. One of them was to visit the proposed Irrigation Scheme in Pallisa and Kibuku districts, along R. Mpologoma and the other was to explore new areas of cooperation.Read more
Centenary Bank: Lack of records limiting SMEs’ access to credit
Accessing credit by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Uganda is still difficult as interest rates hover above the 20 per cent mark. The enterprises are considered a high risk to lend to by bankers because they are looked at as most likely to default on loans. Mr Michael Jjingo, the chief manager business growth at Centenary Bank, said for businesses that don’t keep records, accessing loans is much more difficult. “When we are assessing the quality of credit, we look at whether the person has the capacity to pay back the loan. And how do we do this? By looking at your books,” he said.He was speaking at a media briefing organised in the run up to the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) and Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Accountants conference. Mr Jjingo says having proper books of accounts is an indicator of good governance. He emphasises that informal market traders will still be able to borrow albeit at high interest rates for a short period of time. Read more
EAC: Regional Bill to fight counterfeits in offing
A new Bill aimed at eliminating counterfeit and trade piracy in the East African Community (EAC) is in the offing.The EAC Competition (Amendment) Bill, one of the six commercial bills that sailed through the first reading at the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), The Council of Ministers before being assented to by the heads of state.Rwanda’s James Ndahiro said: “This Bill anticipates to create a conducive investment climate in the Community, checking unfair competition practices embodied in counterfeiting and policies thus promoting the creation of intellectual property rights in the region.”Once passed, the Bill is also expected to promote industrialisation and economic growth among the member states. Private Sector Foundation Uganda’s executive director Gideon Badagawa, however, warned that the regional Bill may not serve its purpose if the member states don’t play their roles in tackling the vices by passing the enabling national laws first.Read more
President Museveni backs food processors
President Yoweri Museveni has said the Government should support viable, well established scientists who are already undertaking agro- food processing as a business in order to help them generate large-scale income as they strive to become producers of wealth. The President was speaking during a meeting with officials from the ministry of finance and members from the Food Technology Cooperation Society, who were led by Prof. William Kyamuhangire. The group consists of different companies that deal in agro-food processing such as meat, mangoes and soya beans. Some of the food processors are based at the Food Technology Business Incubation Centre at Makerere University. During the meeting that took place at State House, Nakasero, President Museveni appointed trade minister Amelia Kyambadde, as the overall coordinator for the Food Technology Cooperative Society. Read more
MAAIF: Agric ministry needs sh100bn for extension workers
The ministry of agriculture is seeking for about sh100bn to cater for salaries and operation costs for the 3,300 extension workers that they intend to recruit next month to implement the newly adopted single spine extension system. Cabinet approved the adoption of a single spine agricultural system to replace the National Agricultural Advisory System (NAADS) programme, hitherto marred in efficacy complications. The director of crop resources, Okaasai Opolot, said the ministry requires about sh43bn to cater for salaries and an additional sh60bn for operational costs to implement the programme. “We have engaged the ministry of finance and they are willing to give us the resources to fill the gaps which were created when the NAADS programme was disbanded in the districts,” said Opolot. “We need to recruit at least 3,300 additional graduate extension workers. So that we have at least two extension workers at the district and sub-county level,” he added.Read more
Ugandan businesses are prone to risk
Q:  Most Ugandans have resentment and mistrust towards insurance. How can this be mitigated?
A:  Insurance is a broad concept and certainly should be even bigger in a country like Uganda where the pre-disposition rate to the various risks is on the higher side. So essentially it is an ideal requirement for one to survive in business. The perceived mistrust is a concept unfortunately seems to be engrained in our business cultures. And this is more often created by lack of product knowledge.It is now incumbent on us as insurance players to mitigate this by managing the customer’s expectations from day one as well as providing and explaining the proverbial fine point.Treating the customer like a best friend is as such a very crucial component in selling insurance since ours is a service on a piece of paper to creating a promise for future indemnity.Read more
USE: New products to drive stock market
Charles Wanenga who bought into Safaricom is now a happy man after seeing the resurgence in its share price.East Africa’s largest telecom company sprung to life hitting a new high of sh440 (Ksh14.2)  of underperformance that left many retail investors selling the share at a loss.The sh440 was more than double the initial public offering (IPO) price of sh155 (Ksh5) a share. At one time, the share price fell below its IPO price.Safaricom was crosslisted in Uganda with hundreds of Ugandans taking a piece of it. Thus the news of the entry of ALTX Uganda as the second exchange pleases Wanenga because it means there will be competition and the spark to spur the 17-year-old Uganda Securities Exchange to become more creative in wooing new products.Like Wanenga, the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) which is the most active investor at USE is also happy with the news of a second exchange. But Richard Byarugaba is raising the same concern of a lack of products.Read more
USE: Automated stock market to start trading in May
A new securities exchange, ALTX Uganda, will start trading, company officials have revealed. 
The new automated exchange, a competitor to Uganda Securities Exchange (USE), will have the task of attracting Ugandan Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to list shares and participate in borrowing money using the stock exchange. Mr Joseph Kitamirike, a co-founder and chief executive officer ALTX Uganda, told reporters on Tuesday that they are testing the automated platform, and expect to launch . ALTX were issued a licence by the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) but had to fulfil some requirements before they could start facilitating transactions. Read more
LAU: Libya to maintain investments, wants diplomatic protection
The Libyan government will maintain its investments in Uganda while at the same time revitalise those that are struggling, the Libyan Ambassador to Uganda, Mr Fawzi Bouketf, has said.Speaking in an interview  ahead of opening a new embassy in Kampala, Mr Bouketf said Libya needs diplomatic protection for all its business interests here.He however added that it should not be interpreted to mean they disregard the judicial process of the country. Libya has invested nearly $400 million (about 1.1trillion) in Uganda through its multi-billion dollar investment arm, the Libyan Africa Investment Portfolio, making Uganda her biggest foreign investment hub in Africa.Read more
Deposit taking companies serving fewer people, says BoU Governor
 Much as the minimum startup capital requirement for a Microfinance Deposit Taking Institution (MDI) is much lower than that of a bank, few people are signing up for them. The slow growth of MDIs in Uganda  is a grim picture for Bank of Uganda because there are still many people who are not being served by these institutions.The number of MDIs and number of accounts in MDIs in the country  indicates a sluggish growth in the sub-sector. “For an MDI, the minimum capital is Shs500 million, whereas for a commercial bank, it is Shs25 billion,” Mr Benedict K. Ssekabira, the director commercial banking at Bank of Uganda said during a microfinance conference in Kampala. He was delivering a speech by Mr Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, the governor Bank of Uganda. Read more
UBOS: Exports fail to rally on strong dollar
 Uganda’s export market exhibited volatile growth putting the country’s balance of trade on the wire. According to data from Uganda Bureau of Statistics, the country opened at $233.6m (Shs667b) worth of export earnings before peaking at $242.6m (Shs692.6b) and falling again. Earnings closed on a low of $221.4m (Shs632b). Total export earnings stood at $2.4b (Shs6.9 trillion) compared to $2.8b (Shs8 trillion) registered. The above earnings were less by the figures that are yet to be released. However, the margin  earnings is so wide that it would be hard to be covered by earnings. The fall, which stood at about Shs2.1 trillion, translates into a percentage decline of 14.7 per cent. Contrary to expectations, exports did not leverage on the strong dollar exhibited. Read more
Oil prices rise on falling rig count
World oil prices advanced  following data that showed US oil companies cut drilling activity in response to low prices.US benchmark West Texas Intermediate delivery gained $1.33 to close at $49.57 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.European benchmark Brent oil delivery jumped $1.76 to $54.75 a barrel in London.Analysts pointed to Baker Hughes rig count, which showed a record drop of 94 oil rigs to 1,223 .The rig count was "very bullish," said Michael Lynch of the consultancy Strategic Energy & Economic Research."It's a logical move, people had not expected such a large drop and that supported the argument we're going to see a near-term recovery in the market balance." Read more
Hima Cement: Weak shilling pushes up cement prices
The weak shilling has led to an increase in the prices of cement, according to dealers. Available data indicates that factory prices have risen from Shs28,100 to Shs29,100 for every 50-kilogramme bag. 
The increase, according to dealers, is a result of the weak shilling which has led to the increase of in puts most of which are imported. Retail prices across Kampala stand at between Shs29,500 and Shs30,000 up from Shs28, 500.Mr Patrick Mugenyi, the Hima Cement commercial manager, said: “The price has been driven by depreciation of the shillings against the dollar. We have to factor in expenses that we are incurring to import some inputs.”He said they have had to increase their expenditure by more than 3 per cent to produce a 50-kilogramme bag of cement.The prices, he said would increase further if the current volatility exhibited by the shilling continues. Mr Simon Ssekankya, the Hardware World managing director, one of the country’s biggest cement dealer said the increase in prices was not good for business. Read more
Revise corporate tax rules to close wealth gap
Extreme economic inequality is out of control and getting worse and, given the  trends, the wealth concentrated in the hands of the richest 1 per cent will be greater than the wealth held by the remainder of the planet.The very richest of the top 1 per cent — the billionaires on the Forbes list — have had their wealth grow 46 per cent to $1.9 trillion, while the poorest half of the world’s population has seen its wealth decrease. The 80 billionaires at the top now have more wealth than the bottom 3.5 billion.Some critics say that to focus on the gap between rich and poor is the politics of envy, that we should celebrate the success of the rich rather than decry it. Read more
UBOS: January inflation down to 1.3%
The purchasing power of the shilling is up.Data from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) indicates that  inflation dropped to 1.3%. Annual inflation declined from 1.8% recorded. Chris Mukiza, the UBOS director for macro-economic statistics, says the decline in inflation is due to decrease in food prices due to the harvest season and declining fuel prices. “There was a continued deflation in annual food prices to 3.3%, compared to 1.9% recorded,” Mukiza said. “The annual non-food inflation declined to 3.5%, compared to 3.6%,” he added. Core inflation, which excludes food, fuel, electricity and metered water, stood at 2.7%, unchanged. There were decreases in the prices of bananas, sweet potatoes, cassava, and other foods, the statistics office said, which drove down the food inflation by 2%. Read more
UCMP: Oil, gas, minerals private sector fret at govt go-slow on VAT
Private sector in the oil, gas and minerals sector are questioning government’s go-slow in scrapping off VAT imposed on exploration, saying it shows a lack of commitment in wooing investors.Through the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP), the private sector have consistently complained of value added tax (VAT) and withholding tax imposed during the investment phase of the oil, gas and minerals labeling it an additional cost.During a member’s meeting, Elly Karuhanga, president of UCMP said after this tax is removed, investors will have no excuse not to come.“(the abolition of this tax) is going to be the key to opening the flood gates of investments in Uganda and somebody is sitting on it, it is a serious roadblock,” said Karuhanga.VAT is imposed on imported goods and services used in the sector.The president said the tax should be removed during the last Mineral Wealth Conference.Read more
BOU: Shilling Gets Relief From Bond Sales
Bank of Uganda auctioned two debt instruments, drawing more dollars from offshore investors, which ultimately aided the shilling to remain relatively stable .The bond worth Shs 100bn was over-subscribed - pushing yields to a 17 per cent, up from 14.7 per cent. For the bond, the interest rates moved to 16 per cent, from 14.3 per cent.With more investors eyeing such yields, the shilling was relieved of some pressure, closing at Shs 2,862/72. This is slightly stronger than the Shs 2,863/73 it closed. The shilling hit the lowest level at Shs 2,900."One of the ways to increase foreign exchange inflows is to attract investors in the government debt through attractive yields," said Robert Mpuuga, the chief forex trader at Housing Finance bank.James Mutuku, the head of Financial Markets at Standard Chartered bank, said: "With end month conversions going through market, the dollar-shilling pair got some relief, though temporarily as demand for foreign currency seems relentless." Read more
Parliament should be careful in getting rid of NSSF
Certainty is the principal virtue of every legal system worth its name. The law must be certain and predictable.And the integrity of the law must be preserved. The consistence between the spirit and letter of the law is what makes the integrity of the law. Parliament is yet to pass the Retirement Benefits Sector Liberalization Bill. This bill intends to reform the pension system in Uganda's private and public sectors.For instance, if the bill is passed in its entirety, the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) would be no more. It will be replaced by private, licensed schemes. The Pensions Act, the law governing the retirement benefits of public servants, will be repealed too.If the bill becomes law, it will change the tradition whereby the burden of paying for the retirement benefits for civil servants borne by taxpayers will now become contributory. The sponsors of the bill claim that the non-contributory stance of civil servants is unsustainable because it has to be guaranteed by a state funded by taxpayers. Read more
CAA: RwandAir launches Entebbe-Nairobi flights
Ugandans travelling to the Kenyan capital Nairobi by air now have a wider menu to choose from after RwandAir launched flights between Entebbe International Airport and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.While presiding over the launch of the Rwandan national carrier’s latest route, Transport Minister Abraham Byandala hailed the coming of a new player on the route.“When Air Uganda services were stopped, the fares went up. Naturally, Ugandans were complaining and rightly so. With the coming in of RwandAir and others, the fares will go down,” he said at the launch of the inaugural flight in Entebbe.RwandAir’s CEO John Mirenge hailed Uganda’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for swiftly giving the airline the license to operate along the route.“It (getting approval) was very easy with the authorities in Uganda, as soon as we put in the request; we were granted rights,” he said. Read more
MOEMD: Cleaner low sulphur fuel diesel on market
low Sulphur fuel diesel with 50 parts per million (ppm) sulphur content will be on market. Vivo Energy Uganda managing director, Hans Paulsen, said the reduction of sulphur content will help to protect our environment.“It is our duty to ensure we are doing business in a manner that protects and preserves our environment, for the future generations. As oil marketers we need to be responsible as we go about our business reducing harm to people and the environment at all points of our interaction with them. Complying with the sulphur content reduction in diesel, as per the legal notice, highlights that fact that we are being responsible to the environment and to citizens in the communities where we operate,” he said. “For motorists who use diesel their maintenance costs will be lowered because they will not need to change their diesel particulate filters (DPF) as often as they do. Having won the first cargo that will mark the start of using LSFD in Uganda and Kenya this is a proud step.” Paulsen added. John Friday, Assistant Commissioner Petroleum Supply, ministry of energy and mineral development said: “As a government we are pleased with this step in the right direction. Read more
NSSF: Contradictions cloud pensions liberalization
Major contradictions still exist among the major backers of the impending liberalized pensions sector on which model to adapt with the liberalization bill expected on the floor of parliament when the house resumes. Speaking during one of the last consultative meetings informing the bill, National Social Security Fund (NSSF) senior management proposed that Uganda should follow the Ghanaian model where it is mandatory for workers to contribute to a certain savings scheme. On the pros of this mandatory defined benefits scheme where legible workers would all contribute a certain percentage to NSSF before opting for a second scheme, Ivan Kyayonka says workers would have more security of their money. Under NSSF currently, it is the model of the defined mandatory contribution where the contributor gets a statement of their savings as and when they want. “The risk is with the member not the scheme, if the money is lost, he has no fallback position,” noted Richard Byarugaba, NSSF chief executive. Read more
Amelia Anne Kyambadde: Gov't to woo investors to agro-processing
IN efforts to expand market for Uganda's agricultural produce, Government has embarked on wooing more investors in agro-processing to set up investments in value addition and packaging. The minister of trade, industry and cooperatives, Amelia Anne Kyambadde said her ministry is already in negotiations with various investors to establish industries to add value to Uganda's produce to easily compete globally. "We want to create market for our farmers and increase exports. We want to have at least an industry in every sub region and district in future,” she noted. She said this while addressing residents of Bujuuko, in Mpigi district at Umea Primary School. Earlier on before the rally she visited several farmers, Bujuuko market and other group agricultural projects. Kyambadde the Mawokota North MP (area MP), said in all her tours she has made country wide, farmers still face challenges of limited market and price volatility. She also noted the challenge of low value addition, and low production and productivity among others.Read more
Stanbic Bank signs debut $85m loan
Stanbic Bank Uganda (SBU) has signed an $85 million,  loan to fund its general business activities, the first time it has borrowed from international loan markets, the main arranger of the facility said.The lender joins a flurry of sub-Saharan African banks that have tapped loan markets, as local institutions look to increase their funding bases and international lenders seek higher returns in emerging economies compared with the low interest rate environment back home.SBU will use the funds to back lending for trade-related finance in chosen sectors such as energy, manufacturing, and infrastructure among others.It is paying an interest rate of 250 basis points over the London interbank offered rate (Libor), a statement from Dubai's Emirates NBD said.Read more
Startimes introduces cheaper decoders
Chinese pay television firm, StarTimes, has launched cheaper decoders, which, company officials say, is one of the moves aimed at encouraging Ugandans to switch to digital television before the deadline.The decoder, known as StarTimes Light, goes for Shs 8,000. It was unveiled at the firm's head offices in Kampala.Customers will be required to pay an initial subscription fee of Shs 41,500, which entitles them to seven months of digital television services on a Nova bouquet, whose  subscription is Shs 6,000, or for two and  viewing if they choose a Basic bouquet.Speaking at the launch of the decoder, the marketing director of StarTimes, Aldrine Nsubuga, said the move sought to increase affordability and enable more Ugandans to enjoy digital pay television.Read more
CB: Shilling sheds 0.3% after sh180b auction
Despite an injection of sh180b to ease scarcity, the shilling lost 0.3% against the dollar  with some traders saying yields on the Treasury bond could signal lower yields.  The shilling was trading at 2,857/2,867 buying and selling respectively at the close of business at most commercial banks down from 2, 849/2,859. "There is considerable demand from importers, manufacturers, commercial banks and the business community. The bond had little effect on the forex movements as it is long term," Daniel Sage Muganza, a forex trader with Centenary Bank. "I personally think offshore interest was low for this issue. The interest of 11% is much lower than the Bank of Uganda window rate of 15%. We could see yields starting to drop,"Most commercial banks are square right now but we could see some movements starting tomorrow, he explained.  Read more
Central Bank Warns On “New” 7,000 Note
Bank of Uganda has come out to distance itself from an allegedly introduced Shs 7000 Bank note. The bill [pictured above], has been making rounds on social media with claims that it had just been released by the Bank.This caused anxiety and sparked speculation amongst sections of the population.  Some commentators rushed to relate the new note to the looming  general elections campaigns.In statement released by the Central Bank this afternoon, all Ugandans were cautioned against taking the bill seriously.The producers of the 7000 bill are still unknown, but face criminal charges according to the Central Bank Statement.Read more
UEPB: Demand for Uganda’s dairy products grows
Uganda must invest in technology and research to add value to dairy products in order to tap into growing regional demand, according to an official from Uganda Export Promotions Board.Speaking in an interview  Mr Moses Mabala a trade officer at the UEPB said: “There is increasing demand for Uganda’s dairy products within East Africa. With increased production of quality products, we shall be able to exploit these markets”.Keys markets, according to Mr Mabala include Kenya, Sudan (North & South), DR Congo, Tanzania and Zambia. According to data from UEPB, Uganda exports about 73 per cent of its milk and cream products to Kenya. For instance, the country exported $8.9m (Shs25.8b) worth of milk products to Kenya. Read more
Shilling calms as BoU sells $45 million
The Uganda Shilling closed a bit calm against the dollar trading at 2870/2890 after the Central Bank’s continued intervention. The local unit on  opened business trading at 2905/2920 driven down by huge demand from telecoms, manufacturing and oil sectors.Market intelligence indicates that Bank of Uganda could have sold more than $45 million (about Shs130.5 billion) to support the shilling, the Bank injected total of $80 million (about Shs232 billion) into the market.In an interview with Daily Monitor, Mr Stephen Kaboyo, the managing director Alpha Capital Partners, a Ugandan firm focusing on foreign exchange trading strategies and financial markets advisory, said: “The Central Bank worried about the trend came into the market and sold a sizable amount.”He added: “However, Bank of Uganda seem also to have refrained from buying dollars to build reserves.” Read more
MOL: ‘Centralise construction permits to control unplanned settlements’
The Ministry of Lands is planning to centralise the approval of all construction permits as a way of tightening control over unplanned construction works going on around the country.While opening a consultative meeting for the proposed Land Fund Act in Entebbe, Mr Sam Engola, thestate minister in charge of Lands, said government is now paying the price for ignoring encroachment on wetlands, road reserves and other government land. He said this is because in order to evict the encroachers, there is need to create a land fund to compensate them before eviction because there has not been a law to protect government land. “We have a big job to clear urban development and government has realised that it has a big role to play so we are not sleeping but working day and night because people have built where they were not supposed to,” he told Daily Monitor in an interview.Read more
URA breaks 4-year jinx to post sh24.3b surplus
The Uganda Revenue Authority posted a sh24.3b tax collection surplus, credited to strict tax controls and administration.The authority collected sh4.568b against a target of sh4.544b, giving confidence to the tax collector that it would hit its target.“We enhanced monitoring and enforcement on defaulters, and registered improvement in domestic and international trade taxes,” the commissioner general, Doris Akol announced .“The performance registered a growth of 12.21%. Overall domestic taxes performed at 100.48%, while international trade taxes performed at 100.01% which is bright and encouraging,” she added.1q11Akol said this while addressing journalists following a tour of Kikuubo, Kampala’s wholesale trade hub. However, the poor performance of the Uganda shilling against the dollar caused a revenue loss of sh18.14b from international trade taxes.Read more
MOF: Pension arrears to be cleared 
Retired civil servants will have their gratuity and pension arrears, thanks to the stringent reforms that have seen the finance ministry save over sh200b that was being stolen. Speaking at a corporate governance book launch at Serena Hotel, finance minister Maria Kiwanuka said the stringent reforms undertaken in her ministry have enabled them to save over sh200b, money that was being siphoned by government officials. Kiwanuka said the saved money will be used to pay all gratuity and pension arrears . “I don’t want to see any pensioner coming to the ministry to inquire about their pensions; they will all be paid before the end of this financial year,” Kiwanuka said. The Secretary to the Treasury, Keith Muhakanizi, told New Vision in a telephone interview that although the finance ministry is not sure about the exact amount in arrears, the Ministry of Public Service submitted a figure of sh96b for gratuity and about 3b for pension arrears. Read more
URA: Automation improves revenue collection by 21%
Overall automation and adaption of online tax systems have pushed up revenue collection up by 21%, the tax authority has revealed. The implementation of the Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS) also saved Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) $434,107 (sh1.2b), during which 9,350 consignments were tracked.  It costs sh130,000 for the physical escort of a truck from the port.  According to URA’s commissioner for customs, Richard Kamajugo, the automated systems, which include the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) have also improved overall efficiencies and reduced waste. “The clearance time is down and businesses can access and monitor their declarations, so those who are used to earning from telling lies are no more,” noted Kamajugo, while hosting officials from TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) and DFID, at Nakawa. Read more
Minister Kyambadde urges farmers to join cooperatives
The minister of trade, industry and cooperatives Amelia Anne Kyambadde has called on Ugandan farmers to form or join cooperative societies so as to easily address the issue of limited market for their produce.She says many farmers still face the problem of market because they are not attached to any organized group.While addressing a rally in Mpigi district recently, Kyambadde spoke of how individual farmers make losses after being duped by canny middlemen from the city.“When you join a cooperative, it is always a sure deal that your produce like beans, coffee and others always have ready market.”The minister underlined that government has made the development of cooperatives a priority intervention for social-economic transformation to fight poverty.During the gathering staged at Umea Primary School in Bujuuko, Muduma sub-county, she talked of how such groups help resource mobilization, negotiations, and increased production, on top of creating employment to the people. Read more
NPA: Uganda to get income status 
The Ugandan economy is to attain low middle-income status if the second phase of the national development plan (NDPII) is well implemented according to projections by the National Planning Authority (NPA). Silvia Angey, the NPA head of the department for governance and public sector, says the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita will hit $1,000 (sh2.8m), rising to $1,354(sh3.8m). “This is the aim of the strategic direction of NDPII. It means that the peasant in Adumi or Pawor sub-county in Arua district should be earning between sh2.2m and sh3m. Once we achieve that, we jump-start the engine for further growth,” she told the New Vision. Angey is leading a team of officials from NPA, the ministries of finance and local government on a countrywide tour to validate the NDPII draft.Read more
MOF: Government yet to spend half of national Budget 
About Shs5.6 trillion has been spent by government departments out of the approved Shs15 trillion Budget .According to a statement released by the Ministry of Finance on its expenditure performance, Shs6.3 trillion was released to government institutions, making up 41.9 per cent of the approved Budget. “Out of the total funds released, 88.94 per cent was spent, amounting to Shs5.59 trillion,” the statement reads in part. However, the Shs5.6 trillion so far spent out of Shs15 trillion show that government has not even used half of the budget funds.This brings a case of low absorption of funds meant to be spent.  ExpendituresIn terms of total expenditure, Shs1.26 trillion was spent on wages, Shs2.53 trillion on non-wages and Shs1.8 trillion on development capital. Read more
Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde: Warehouse Receipt authority instituted
Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde has instituted a new board that will oversee and regulate the operations of the Uganda Warehouse Receipt System Authority.Warehouse Receipt System Authority (UWRSA) is a lead agency for the development of standardised and certified storage facilities of commodities and promotion of structured financing for commodities. Speaking after the swearing in of the new board at the Ministry of trade headquarters, Ms Kyambadde said the absence of board leadership which in essence plays regulatory role had seen middlemen fill the vacuum at the expense of grain and cereal farmers’ fortune.But with a fully-constituted board headed by a successful businessman, Mr Omar Ingels Kassim, Ms Kyambadde predicts that the days for middlemen who make it impossible for the farmers to thrive, are now numbered. Read more
UEGCL: Electricity company to sell stock share to the public
The Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL) will list on the Uganda Securities Exchange.The listing is meant to help the company raise funds to develop more electricity generation plants, thus, stave off power rationing. KenGen, Kenya’s government–owned power generation firm’s decision to divest 30 per cent of its stock, too, informed UEGCL’s plan.We want to raise funds, not to disturb the Consolidated Fund,” Mr Stephen Robert Isabaija, the board chairperson of UEGCL told the Daily Monitor in Kampala.He added: “We want to identify funds to make our [electricity] market interesting. We believe we shall raise the funds and support the sector to bring the tariff down.” Read more
Optimism over sh1.2 trillion satellite project
Rates for internet and pay TV in Uganda are poised to drop when the 1.45b Dirham (about sh1.2trillion) Al Yah 3 satellite is launched, as analysts weigh in that improved internet access will increase jobs and reduce business costs.Abu Dhabi-based company, Yahsat, which launched in Uganda has completed the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) phase of its third satellite that will be launched.Analysts predict that the launch of the Al Yah 3 satellite will give service providers alternative choice and ultimately lower the costs to the end users of digital television and internet broadband."This is a significant step forward in the development phase of Al Yah 3 and ensures that we are on track to launch as scheduled," Marcus Vilaça, the Yahsat acting Chief Technical Officer said. Read more
Indian Business forum meets URA
The Indian Business Forum (IBF) has held a meeting with the Uganda Revenue Authority in which the two bodies discussed ways they can undertake to improve their working relations in regard to matters of business and taxation.“As the Indian Business Forum, we are willing to work together with URA to educate our small business houses to pay taxes timely and rightfully. Many times lack of knowledge/ ignorance leads to non-compliance,” said Rajesh Chaplot, the IBF secretary general during the meeting held at Kati-Kati.Rajesh commended URA’s revenue collection, which exceeded the target, noting, however, that most businesses performed poorly due to the recession of the economy.Read more
URA: Trade facilitation systems to widen Uganda tax base - Dutch envoy
Government has been asked to embrace the trade facilitation systems being implemented by Uganda Revenue Authority to increase revenue which will reduce dependence on donor aid.The call was made by the Netherlands Ambassador to Uganda Alphons Hennekens while taking six Dutch ambassadors from DR Congo and East African Region on a tour of some of the trade facilitation projects they have been supporting through Trade mark East Africa.Trademark East Africa is a multi-donor funded agency aimed at facilitating trade in the East African region which will in the long run increase cross border trade in the region. Hennekens said that the Netherlands government is committed to supporting Uganda through the implementation of trade facilitation projects like the electronic cargo tacking system, single window system which will reduce the time spent at the documentation center among others.He said such systems will naturally increase the tax revenue for URA because of increased efficiency and compliance by traders when it comes to paying taxes as required by the URA officials at the customs.Read more
UEGCL vows to bring down electricity tariffs
The cost of electricity generated in Uganda will be reduced, Dr. Stephen Isabalija, the chairman of Uganda Electricity Generation Company Ltd (UEGCL), has promised.Isabalija also pledged to increase by 50% the quantity of electricity produced.“We must bring down our generation tariffs. This will translate into lower costs for our consumers. Our stakeholders in generation are supportive of this. No investor will come to Uganda when the cost of power is high,” he said. Isabalija made the remarks during the launch of the UEGCL “New Vision and Strategic Direction” at the Kampala Serena Hotel.He explained that the cost of power produced by independent power producers stood at more than $11cents, whereas power generated by UEGCL sold at $1.2 cents.Independent power producers include Bujagali Energy Limited. The Government’s target is to sell power from generation plants at not more than $5 cents.Read more
MFPED: Uganda to grow by 6 percent
Finance officials here have reiterated that Uganda's economy is expected to grow at 6 percent over the medium term as investments in public infrastructure especially energy and roads are completed.Maria Kiwanuka, the Minister Of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, speaking at a press conference last week noted that infrastructure development and maintenance is one of the priorities for the current budget."Following the improvement in growth performance at 4.5 percent, the economy is expected to grow at a rate of 6 percent over the medium term," she said.Uganda is undertaking two major energy projects which will see more electricity supplied to leading sectors like manufacturing. The on-going projects are the Karuma and Isimba Hydro Electricity Projects which have financing from Exim bank of China.Read more
NTF: Kenyan and Ugandan ICT Companies to improve export capability
The Netherlands Trust Fund III (NTF III) Export Sector Competitiveness Programme,  multi-phase Dutch-backed project with the International Trade Centre (ITC), has completed the company selection process for the projects in Kenya and Uganda.33 Kenyan and 30 Ugandan companies were chosen based on a criteria that focused on their perceived ability to benefit from the NTFIII training and advisory services. Relevant criteria included, but was not limited to, the financial soundness of the company, export experience and strategy, and market presence. The NTFIII will sponsor specific initiatives to boost export competitiveness of the IT and ITES (IT enabled services) sectors in Kenya and Uganda is focused on companies both large and small that have either already taken steps to export or are poised to join the export market. The NTFIII company pool for Kenya and Uganda includes product start-ups, software development, and services companies.Read more
UN warns of growing global inequality and joblessness
Unemployment will rise by 11 million due to slower growth and turbulence, the UN has warned.More than 212 million people will be jobless against the level of 201 million, the International Labour Organization said.
"The global economy is continuing to grow at tepid rates and that has clear consequences," ILO head Guy Ryder told reporters in Geneva."The global jobs gap due to the crisis stands at 61 million jobs worldwide," he said, referring to the number of jobs lost since the start of the financial crisis. The ILO World Employment and Social Outlook -- Trends  report said an extra 280 million jobs would have to be created to close the gap created by the financial turmoil."This means the jobs crisis is far from over and there is no place for complacency," Ryder said.The job scenario improved in the United States, Japan and Britain but remains worrisome in several developed economies of Europe, the report said.Read more
ACEMP: Fuel dealers or profiteers?
Free market stance hurts motorists, economy as retail fuel prices remain high despite record low crude oil prices. The price of fuel per liter in Rwanda (petrol, diesel and kerosene) has dropped from Rwanda Francs (RwF) 1,010 to RwF 894. The authorities there attribute the reduction in price to the declining prices of crude oil on the international market. Given that Rwanda is a land-locked country - like Uganda - and the fuel that is consumed in Rwanda is transported through Uganda, Ugandans are now asking questions.Why is the price of fuel in Uganda still high compared to that in the neighborhood and is yet to respond substantially to the record low prices on the international market? And why is it that the prices on boards at the fuel stations are adjusted immediately in response to a slight hike in crude prices and never come down when the crude prices stabilise?Don Bwesigye Binyina, the executive director of Africa Centre for Energy and Mineral Policy (ACEMP), says the questions being raised by Ugandans are very pertinent.“Ugandans have started to ask relevant questions now,” he says. “Definitely they expect relevant answers.” What is not clear is who will provide the answers as the government, which is supposed to be the ‘regulator,’ is in deep slumber apparently.Read more
IRENA: Oil price slump puts at risk clean energy push
Falling oil prices could have a negative impact on global efforts to develop renewable energy sources, experts warned at a conference in Abu Dhabi. Oil prices have fallen by almost 60 percent, crashing on worries over global oversupply and weak demand in a faltering world economy.Participants at the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) conference that opened in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates (UAE) said the trend could spell doom for plans to shift to clean energy.The fall in oil prices could be a "game changer", Italy's Deputy Minister for Economic Development Claudio Vincenti told the meeting.Oil price rises encouraged clean energy investments, said Vincenti, adding that a long-term fall in prices could shift the balance among various energy sources. He did not elaborate.Salem al-Hajraf, representing oil-rich Kuwait at the conference, agreed that falling oil prices posed a "major challenge"."The fall of oil prices in the 80s was a main reason behind the collapse of many renewable energy projects," he told participants. Read more
BOU: Deficit hits sh5 trillion, shilling to slide by 4%
Uganda’s current account deficit has reached $1.8b (sh5.2 trillion) or 6.6% of the country’s total economic production despite the total value of exports of goods and services growing by $300m to $5.3b, a Ministry of Finance report said.Experts say there is cause for concern.Uganda’s imports of $7.8b have outstripped exports by $2.5b (sh7.3 trillion) contributing to a scarcity of hard currency and exerting pressure on the exchange rate.The shilling was trading at 2,891/2,900 against the dollar.Uganda’s shilling has lost ground when the exchange rate was sh2, 768 on average, a 10% depreciation from sh2,512.Documents from the finance ministry indicates that the exchange rate may depreciate by 4.8% in nominal terms from an appreciation of 2.2%.Read more
NSF,Anne Wapamba: Importation of raw materials crippling industries
Low levels of research funding in Uganda have been blamed for the continued importation of materials needed for industrial production. The observation was made by Anne Wampamba from the National Science Foundation, US at the first Pearl of Africa Distinguished Lecture Series organised by the department of physics at Makerere University.  “There is a lot of innovation going on in the country. Makerere University has an electric car, but were all the materials researched and made in Uganda or were they imported?” Wampamba asked. She said Uganda may not register meaningful growth in its key development sectors if research and innovation for local material are not taken seriously. “We have knowledgeable people in Uganda who can create materials so that we can export quality products that match standards of the developed world,” she added.  Read more
URA: Over 3,000 Ugandan containers face auctioning at Mombasa Port
More than 3,600 Uganda-bound containers stranded at Mombasa port could be auctioned if owners do not clear them soon, a notice issued by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has shown. In the notice, Mr Richard Kamajugo, the commissioner Customs Department, stated that records from the Kenya Ports Authority, showed that 3,698 Uganda-bound containers were stuck at the port. “Further delays in clearance will lead to accumulation of storage and customs warehouse rent charges,” said Mr Kamajugo. “Prolonged stay may lead to the goods being deemed to have been abandoned and be disposed of through auction to create space for incoming cargo.”The notice indicates that 3,161 containers The figures include both 20-foot and 40-foot containers. Read more
IMF approves extension of zero interest loans for poor countries
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) executive board has again extended the duration of zero interest on its loans to low income countries in order to support economic development in these economies.This is the third time the IMF has extended the duration for zero interest rates on its loans as global, regional and national economies continue to face fiscal policy hurdles. The loans are lent out on concessional basis; soft loans that normally attract very low interest rate with repayment. However, due to the high financial needs required to meet their development expenditures, the poor countries in Africa and other parts of the world are always faced with the debt burden. The interest waiver on IMF concessional loans relieves the countries the burden of serving the debt that they would be borrowing within this period. Read more
MMF: National Microfinance Conference opens 
President Yoweri Museveni will, open the third National Microfinance Conference. The event will debate the proposed microfinance regulatory authority.  The authority is part of the proposals in the microfinance Bill, before Parliament. The Bill will repeal the Money Lending Act, which does not protect the public from unscrupulous loan sharks. The conference is slated to take place at Hotel Africana in Kampala.  Speaking at the Uganda Media Centre, the state minister for microfinance, Caroline Amali, said the new regulatory body would streamline the operations of microfinance institutions, savings and credit co-operative societies (SACCOS) and money lending businesses in the country.Read more
BOU: Issues that will make or break economy 
High public investment in infrastructure, pick up in private sector credit growth, increased Foreign Direct Investment and recovery in agricultural production are the factors that will help Uganda see a bright economy with a higher growth rate of 5.5 per cent from 4.5 per cent. The Central Bank believes with these factors in place, the outlook for Uganda’s economic growth is 5.5 per cent, which is not bad for the country given the prevailing difficult environment mainly in the global environment and some risks in the domestic economy.“Growth will be supported by public investment in infrastructure, private domestic consumption and investment demand (recovery in private sector credit growth), increased FDI; and rebound in agricultural production,” said executive director of research Bank of Uganda, Dr Adam Mugume, in an interview with Prosper. Read more
UCDA: Coffee exports decline in volume, value
Coffee, Uganda’s leading export commodity, has exhibited a decline in both volume and value.Experts in the industry say this is not a good sign for the country’s general exports performance and it shrink farmers’ purchasing power.The report from Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) shows that, 3.48 million bags worth Shs1.1 trillion ($405 million) were exported.This performance exhibited a decline from the 3.65 million bags worth $430 million (Shs1 trillion) earned the same period the report noted. There was a 4.8 per cent and 6.1 per cent decline in both volume and value, respectively. Read more
PSFU: Buying local by force of law
As Uganda's manufacturing sector grows, local producers have hatched a policy to compel the government, through its agencies, to buy locally made products. Dubbed 'Buy Uganda Build Uganda' (BUBU), the new policy aims at enhancing consumption of locally produced goods and services through according them preference over the imported equivalents. The move has, however, drawn criticism from some who say a policy to compel pride in local products is not necessary if quality standards are met.The policy is a boost to 'Proudly Uganda' campaign that was launched by PSFU with the aim of ensuring that Ugandans commit to local products by increasing demand for local goods and services. The advocates claim it will ensure that existing jobs are kept and new jobs are created.The pushers of the new policy; including the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), and the Uganda Manufacturers Association, say initiatives towards encouraging the purchase and use of Ugandan products that have been in development must finally come to fruition.Read more
Agricultural incomes key to improving Uganda’s tax revenue performance
The structure of the economy is an important factor in a country’s ability to collect taxes. For example, countries that are heavily dependent on agriculture tend to be under-developed usually with low productivity smallholder farms that are subsistent in nature. This makes the sector potentially unprofitable; therefore, difficult to tax in the short run. Uganda’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), - the sum of all economic activities in the country - was rebased. The rebasing means we now have a more accurate estimate of the size and structure of the economy. The rebased GDP figures suggest that the structure of the economy has changed. As such, agriculture has overtaken industry as the second most important sector of the Ugandan economy.
The contribution of the agricultural sector has increased from 22.2 per cent to 23.3 per cent, while that of industry has decreased from 26.3 per cent to 18.1 per cent. These changes show that the contribution of agriculture cannot be ignored. Read more
Stanbic’s new boss keen to raise customer satisfaction
 Stanbic Bank Uganda’s board of directors confirmed the appointment of Patrick Mweheire as Managing Director.Below, Daily Monitor’s Abdulaziizi K. Tumusiime discusses with him Uganda’s banking industry and his plans.What do you make of Uganda’s banking industry?The industry is over banked. 25 banks for this market is a bit on the high side. You can be overbanked and still not meet the requirements of the market. When you look at the composition of the market share, the top 10 banks still account for majority of the market share and that is not going to change any time soon. Each bank has to find its niche. I think this is the challenge we have to overcome. That said, some banks have clearly identified what they want to do. Read more 
MTN: Mobile phone subscribers start enjoying flat rates across EA
 Mobile phone subscribers within the East African region will now enjoy a flat rate and incur no cost for receiving calls as operators rush to meet the deadline to switch to One Network Area Arrangement (ONAA).To join the ONAA is MTN Uganda whose subscribers can now make calls at a flat fee to Kenya, Rwanda and South Sudan. In a statement, MTN Uganda said: “Subscribers who make calls to networks within the visited country or make calls back to Uganda will be charged Shs360 per minute”. “Our new offer also enables our subscribers to receive calls from Uganda at zero rates while roaming with the under the ONAA arrangement,” read the statement.In the same line, all MTN subscribers intending to make calls to Kenya, Rwanda and South Sudan will do it at significantly reduced rates of Shs330 per minute. Read more
KACITA: Rent in arcades overwhelms former Kisekka market vendors
Owners of shopping arcades in the vicinity of Kisekka Market have hiked rent fees as traders who operated in the market seek refuge there. Kisekka Market, which was dogged by wrangles over ownership, was demolished to pave way for redevelopment. The demolition, came at the heels of a court injunction secured by some of the traders to temporarily stop the demolition, until the pending case over ownership was resolved in court. The traders shifted to nearby buildings which include Namayuba, Nabukera Plaza, Rohana, Ravens and Samba Complex following demolition of the market. Other traders shifted to Kampala suburbs of Nalukolongo, Ndeeba and Katwe. A survey by New Vision around some of the arcades revealed that the traders were paying more rent fees compared to what was pertaining before. Read more
CBG: BOU aims to block shilling slide
Bank of Uganda said it would take measures to halt a slide in the shilling it blamed on speculators as the currency dropped to the lowest.  “The Bank of Uganda has noted some speculative tendencies that have exacerbated the depreciation,” the regulator said in a statement. “The bank will take measures to tame the depreciation.”  Uganda’s shilling has retreated 2.9%, the worst performer among 24 African currencies tracked by Bloomberg. Central Bank Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile warned of inflation pressure before the election from stronger domestic demand and exchange-rate moves in a speech, even as he kept the benchmark interest rate on hold at 11 percent. Read more 
Vine Air: Jinja to host Uganda's first aviation expo
Jinja will host Uganda’s first aviation expo that will allow young people explore opportunities and careers in aviation, a crucial support segment to the economy. The 'Uganda Aviation Expo' running at Kimaka Airfield will enable the public to see new trends, market developments, air facts and acquire aviation memorabilia. Capt. Dodd Katendeigwa, chief executive of Vine Air, who are organising the expo, said they are targeting young people, mainly those looking for careers in aviation. There are only 60 slots available and the expo will end with air shows. “Many Ugandans want to take up careers in aviation, but they do not know what to do in terms of the desired educational background, training opportunities in Uganda and the East African Community (EAC)” “Before you go to the rest of the world, what are the costs and opportunities in Uganda, EAC, Africa. What are the employment opportunities, how marketable is aviation training for engineers or pilot. How much money do I make?” asked Katendeigwa, saying more of such questions will be answered during the expo.Read more
Does USE really need cross-lists?
A number of Kenyan listed firms aggressively enter the Ugandan market prompted by investors’ growing appetite to invest in shares beyond the boundaries of one’s home country. As a result, eight of the 16 listed companies on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) are cross-lists. These include East African Breweries Limited, Kenya Airways, Nation Media Group, Kenya Commercial Bank, Centum Investment Company Limited, Jubilee Holdings Limited, Uchumi and Equity Bank Limited. Firms cross-list shares on other markets to, among others, afford accessibility of the stock to investors. It is also used it as a marketing tool for the cross-listed companies to increase brand visibility. It should, however, be noted that for the case of firms cross-listed on the USE, the latter has been fully maximised, but the former still seems to be challenged. Read more
CMA to license investment banks
The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) has embarked on a process to amend the CMA Act to enable it license investment banks as a means of enlarging the scope of products on Uganda’s capital markets and increasing the level of activity in the Ugandan economy.Investment banking will fill a void for advisory services in the Ugandan economy. This will be especially with the impending liberalisation of the pension sector and the growth of investment clubs, which will create large pools of funds that need to be profitably invested.Charles Nsamba, the acting CMA communication and investor education manager, says the word ‘bank’ shall be replaced with ‘house’.“As it is, we are in the final stages of drafting the amendments. We are working closely with First Parliamentary Council to ensure that we get it through the process as soon as possible for Parliament and the President’s approval,” he told New Vision.“Ideally, we are looking at attaining efficiency and generally attracting more players within this business,” Nsamba explains. Read more
MTN: Regional one network area to reduce call rates
MTN Uganda has joined the East African one network area. The network partners have executed multilateral agreements to put in place aligned and affordable tariffs across the participating countries within the one network area in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and South Sudan.This One Network Area is a culmination of the regional telecommunications policy framework that was agreed upon by the member countries during the 5th Heads of State Summit for the Northern Corridor Integration projects. Members States agreed to amend fiscal policies by eliminating heavy additional taxes and levies on international calls within the region. The regional calls are now at parity with the tax base for local calls. Government’s elimination of the additional direct taxes on regional calls has in turn enabled MTN Uganda to package affordable calling rates for both roaming and international calling within this area, designed around a common regional tax exclusive base rate of sh10 per minute. Read more
CDO: Ugandan cotton farmers decry low prices
Farmers in Uganda have always looked forward to having an indicative price for cotton set. They say it saves them from unscrupulous middle-men, who take advantage of their ignorance to exploit them.However, this season, farmers have opposed the sh1,000 indicative price set by the Cotton Development Organisation (CDO), arguing that they deserve a “fair price.”The CDO, through the regional field officer in charge of western Uganda, Adrian Katwetegyeke, announced an indicative price of sh1,000 for a kilogramme of seed cotton this harvest season.It means no cotton buyer will purchase below the indicative price because this would be in contempt of rules and regulations governing the cotton industry.The announcement, however, did not augur well with farmers’ expectations in the Kazinga Channel cotton growing belt.They argued that the price was too low and that the proceeds may not be enough to pay back the loans incurred during the production process. Read more
BOU: Weak Shilling likely to induce inflation rise, experts predict
Ugandans should brave for higher inflation pressures as the shilling continues to depreciate against the dollar, experts have warned. By close of business, the shilling was trading in the regions of 2823/2830- the highest it has traded in the regions of 2900.Interpreting this trend, Bank of Uganda Director Research Dr Adam Mugume said: “The shilling has depreciated largely because of the strengthening of the dollar against other international reserve currencies. The only danger is that in the short term, the depreciation could induce higher inflationary pressures”.The local currency has depreciated against the dollar by 12.4 per cent from average of Shs2499 it traded at Shs2830. Mr Stephen Kaboyo, the managing director Alpha Capital Partners, a forex trading firm, said the shilling continues to be under intense depreciation pressures primarily on account of an imbalance between demand and supply of forex. Read more
 IRA: Insurance Authority Licenses 88 Firms
The Insurance Regulatory Authority of Uganda (IRA) has licensed 88 firms that will transact insurance business, with seven new companies entering the market.At least 21 firms have received licences for non-life insurance businesses while eight for life insurance and one reinsurance company. The authority also licensed 12 health membership organizations, 27 insurance brokerage firms and 18 loss assessors.The sector continues to grow, albeit slowly. The entry of new players might attract more and fuel competition in the market. Some of the new entrants are: Alliance Africa General Insurance Limited, CIC General Insurance Company, CIC Africa Life Assurance Limited, Assured Partners Insurance Brokers Limited, Interlink Insurance Africa, Milvik Uganda Limited and Claim Care Uganda Limited.Insurance penetration in Uganda remains dismally low at less than one per cent. The authority is looking at bringing in more players. Read more
NWSC monthly revenue rises to Shs18 billion
National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) has increased  revenue collection from Shs14.6 billion to Shs18.2 billion. This is part of the corporation’s  strategic plan to improve service delivery.Announcing the achievements recently, the managing director, Mr Silver Mugisha, said the boost a result of increase in water service coverage estimated at 78 per cent (3.8 million people) mainly in urban areas.The corporation is now looking for 100 per cent coverage which will boost billings.He said as a result of improvements in financial performance, the Corporation has been able to sustain a corporate surplus after mismanagements that they will continue working with other agencies like the police to arrest individuals who deprive the corporation of revenue through illegal water connections. According to figures on their website, the corporation’s financial performance turnover stands at Shs183 billion per annum with an overall collection rating of 98 per cent. Read more
UFFA: Kagina tells tax agents to cut cost of doing business
Former Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Commissioner General Allen Kagina has advised its tax agents to merge offices and reduce the cost of doing business rather than opening small branches all over the region. Speaking at the inaugural annual Freight Forwarders dinner in Kampala, Mr Richard Kamajugo, the commissioner Customs, also told the tax agents comprising of Logistics, Clearing and freight forwarding companies that it is not cost-effective for them to open individual offices all over the region yet maintaining one office would serve the purpose.“You may have goods you need to clear in Mombasa which require your physical presence there, but you can link up with the office to clear them without you necessarily being there. It is about change of mindset,” he told the tax agents.According to Ms Marianne Ssebunya, the secretary Uganda Freight Forwarders’ Association, the annual dinner was organised in appreciation of Ms Kagina’s effforts for creating trust between the authority and the tax agents, breaking the mistrust which existed between the two. Read more
AC: Expert sees growth for financial sector
A financial expert says the banks in Uganda will have better balance sheets especially now that customers are servicing their loans better."I am optimistic is likely to be a better financial sector, building on the improved performance. Non-performing assets (NPAs) have continued to decline, which is a good sign for the banking sector - with preliminary numbers so far indicating good profitability as well," Stephen Kaboyo, the managing director of Alpha Capital, has said.The performance will be a welcome development for a sector that has seen Western African banks battered, with one of them, Global Trust bank.At the moment, many banks in Uganda are calculating their financial performance. The banks' income statements will be watched closely, and will show their outlook for a country that is heading into general elections.Read more

MAAIF: Livestock ban hurts leather processors
Business for local leather processors has been slow following a disease outbreak that spurred a livestock ban in major livestock producing areas. Information from the Ministry of Agriculture indicates that the foot and mouth disease outbreak started in the western region, rapidly spreading to nearly 28 districts in the cattle corridor, prompting a nation-wide quarantine and an eventual restriction of livestock trade in the affected areas.According to Emmanuel Mwebe, the coordinator of the Uganda leather and Allied Industries Association, sector players started feeling the pinch, resulting from scarcity of the hides and skins on the local market. Read more
Civil servants must up their game to improve our investment climate
Uganda has continued to slip on the competitiveness scale – not for lack of resources to execute reforms but more for the lack of commitment and will by the persons behind these reforms – the civil servants. Countries in the region are improving their investment climate because they have had to change their style of work. Leaders and civil servants have woken up to the reality that it takes commitment to compete.
In Uganda, we are still grappling with very obvious barriers to competitiveness which should have been addressed a long time ago. Why should it continue to take so long to register property, start a business, connect electricity, secure a trade license, a construction permit, pay taxes and move goods across borders? The answer lies in the mindset of our civil servants. Many of these have constituted themselves into another big barrier to investment and growth. Read more
EAC: Parliament okays motion on regional single currency
Parliament, passed a motion approving the establishment of the East African Monetary Union, which will see Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi adopting a single common currency.Uganda’s Minister of State for Finance, Matia Kasaija, said the monetary union is intended to promote and maintain monetary and financial stability aimed at facilitating economic integration to attain sustainable growth and development of the East African Community.“The East African Community summit shall pronounce the formation and commencement of the single currency area and will determine the name of the currency, which shall be the legal tender of the area,” Kasaija said.According to provisions of the protocol for the establishment of the East African Monetary Union (EAMU), partner states agreed to harmonise and coordinate their fiscal policies, formulate and implement a single monetary policy and a single exchange rate policy, and to develop and integrate financial payment and settlement systems. Read more
KPMG: Automating information brings in Macheta’s money
He is known as the man with a golden touch. This is because everything Mr Josephat Macheta touches seems to flourish. After his experience, particularly in Kenya, he didn’t expect it to be easy here.He left the neighbouring country to establish the document management company here, he had propelled it into the number one position irrespective of the stiff competition.The country manager of COSEKE, Mr Macheta, has turned COSEKE into one of the fastest growing company in Uganda, according to a survey commissioned by Daily Monitor and the KPMG, an audit firm. It took no more than three months to secure his first deal with the government. Although it came as a surprise, his earlier experience while establishing the Kenyan firm came in handy. Read more
EU: Expert cautions on investment blunders, financial discipline
Complacency and lack of proper business-oriented financial discipline in young entrepreneurs are the leading barriers to enterprise growth, hindering job creation initiatives.Entrepreneurs get themselves into investment blunders by becoming lavishly spending money generated by the enterprises.When businesses break-even in the short-run, their proprietors embark on celebrations and give donations, affecting business sustainability.The executive director of Enterprise Uganda, Charles Ocici, noted that the worst form of financial indiscipline among entrepreneurs is diverting money meant for business development to casual engagements. Ocici made this observation during an enterprise development training session for the youth in entrepreneurship at the Imperial Royal Hotel in Kampala.The training is part of the celebrations that marked the Global Entrepreneurship celebrated worldwide. Read more
UBOS: Food prices push inflation down to 1.8 percent
Uganda's headline inflation fell to 1.8% from 2.1%, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics said. 31. The reduction was as a result of reduced food prices in the markets surveyed by the statistics body. Core inflation - which excludes food, electricity and metered water - rose to 2.7% from 2.3%, it said. Food prices dropped 1.3% and declined 1.9%. The bureau said average annual headline inflation dropped to 4.3% from 5.5%. Bank of Uganda has pointed out that core inflation will remain in the range of 5% in the medium term but fears food prices might drive overall inflation upwards. Read more
Ben Musala: Fuel prices unchanged despite global fall
Fuel prices in Uganda remained largely unchanged despite the tumbling of oil prices internationally. International prices have been plummeting to trade at about $60 (about sh166,200) a barrel, down from $115 (about sh318,550).“Some fuel stations are selling a litre of petrol at sh3,770, while others are selling at sh3,750, yet we all know that prices have fallen globally,” said Ben Musaala, a taxi driver in Kamwokya, a Kampala Suburb. Musaala faulted institutional and regulatory weaknesses in the Government for the challenge, saying several players have taken advantage to hike prices even when they buy it cheaply.However, the commissioner for petroleum supply in the Ministry of Energy, Rev. Frank Tukwasibwe, dismissed the concerns, saying the drop in international prices is only for crude oil and not its products.“Uganda does not import crude oil, but its products. We all know that the reduction in prices is basically for crude oil, which does not necessarily translate into reduced prices for oil products such as petroleum and diesel at the pump. Read more
Museveni stops Shs300b inflated telecom project
President Museveni has ordered Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda to block an imminent approval of an additional loan to a Chinese firm implementing government’s fibre optic cable project.Mr Museveni made the directive after finally reading the Auditor General’s letter which shows that the project cost had been inflated and poorly procured. Mr Museveni asked Auditor General John Muwanga to conduct an audit of the project being implemented by Huawei Technologies with a loan from Exim Bank of China, following queries about the cost and quality of work done.Mr Muwanga contracted international consultancy firm Ernst & Young to do the audit and reported back to the President. But Mr Museveni said he had not seen the report.Read more
Expert tips agribusiness entrepreneurs on competitiveness
Attaining competitiveness in agribusiness requires taking steps into formalising enterprises and aligning them to the modern dynamic systems of marketing in order to realise sustainable growth, an expert has observed.Joseph Nkandu, an agribusiness development consultant and a social entrepreneur noted that many agro-based enterprises are rendered less competitive because proprietors tend to ignore the fact that the fundamentals of managing agribusiness enterprises are not different from other forms of business management.“Running sustainable agribusiness enterprises must take the same trend like other businesses that require formalisation and intensive marketing; it doesn’t matter whether one is in farming or value addition, steps must be taken to register your business, pay government taxes to attain what it takes to compete for business,” he said.Read more
IIU: Insurance Institute targets rural population
The Insurance Institute of Uganda (IIU) is undertaking a nationwide strategic initiative directed at wooing the rural population into taking up insurance, a move expected to boost growth of the industry.According the Institute’s senior executive member Maurice Amogola, much as the industry has gained reasonable growth, IIU is compelled to boost awareness especially in the rural areas to interest more people into taking insurance the same way they do with banking. Sensitisation encompasses the role of insurance in securing life and assets, available insurance policies, players in the industry, claims settlement among others avenues related to demystifying insurance.“Our insurance industry is running through challenges led by limited understanding and misconception of the way insurance works, thus constraining local uptake rates; therefore, IIU being a training arm of the industry, is mandated to take a lead in this countrywide awareness drive,” he said. Read more
MOE: Building oil pipeline: Evaluation of firms starts
The Government has started evaluating international firms competing for the construction of the over 200km Hoima-Kampala multi petroleum product pipeline.Several international firms from outside Africa have submitted bids to build the energy product pipeline from Hoima district, where the oil refinery is to be constructed, to Buloba, in Wakiso, near the country’s capital city, where the distribution terminal is to be set up.According to the oil refinery project spokesman, Bashir Hangi, the Government is evaluating the firms to identify a company that will generate a blueprint for the pipeline’s route and conduct an environmental baseline study for the project.After the pipeline route has been determined, Hangi, another firm will be engaged to conduct and implement the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) for the people who will be affected by the project.Read more
ICAO report exposes Uganda's CAA inefficiencies
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has used words such as "inconsistent, inefficient and insufficient" in its four paged urgent recommendation to expose the poor performance of the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) in the audit on its operations.According to ETN news,UCAA pulled all Air Operator Certificates(AOCs), sanctioning flights beyond Uganda's borders, effectively shutting down flights by Ugandan registered airlines across the national borders, but allowed several of the affected airlines to continue domestic operations.This, according to ETN, exposed the flaws in the UCAA's decisions, as its mouthpiece tried to make the local media believe that safety concerns were the primary factor behind their action. "How can we be unsafe flying across the borders and yet we are considered safe enough to fly within Uganda? This simply does not add up," complained by a Kajjansi-based operator at the time. Read more
Expert tips agribusiness entrepreneurs on competitiveness
Attaining competitiveness in agribusiness requires taking steps into formalising enterprises and aligning them to the modern dynamic systems of marketing in order to realise sustainable growth, an expert has observed.Joseph Nkandu, an agribusiness development consultant and a social entrepreneur noted that many agro-based enterprises are rendered less competitive because proprietors tend to ignore the fact that the fundamentals of managing agribusiness enterprises are not different from other forms of business management.“Running sustainable agribusiness enterprises must take the same trend like other businesses that require formalisation and intensive marketing; it doesn’t matter whether one is in farming or value addition, steps must be taken to register your business, pay government taxes to attain what it takes to compete for business,” he said. Read more
UCDA: Uganda’s coffee exports fall by 17%
Uganda's coffee exports fell by 17% to 219,948 60kg bags, a source at the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) has said. The source said UCDA forecast that exports will also fall to 240,000 bags from 257,976 bags shipped, with the drop attributed to a gradual peaking of the coffee harvest in central and eastern Uganda. The source said Uganda earned $29.5m from coffee exports, up from $26.7m earned. However, the Ministry of Agriculture has said the demand for coffee is expected to reach 165 million bags with a 15% increase in the green bean production. According to the agriculture minister, Tress Bucyanayandi, the Government distributed over 58 million coffee seedlings to farmers to boost production. Read more
ED: UNBS warns consumers on fake goods
Consumers have been warned to watch out against fake and expired goods that always flood the market during the festive season. Most of these goods, especially soft drinks and food stuffs, are counterfeits or expired, said Dr. Ben Manyindo, the executive director, Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS). He said unscrupulous traders always want to take advantage of the season’s excitement to dump their dangerous goods onto the market. He advised consumers to carefully scrutinise goods before buying, especially the cheapest ones, saying they are mostly sold in downtown Kampala markets and by hawkers. Manyindo advised consumers to look for the UNBS Q Mark (Quality Mark) and S Mark for locally manufactured goods to ensure they have been certified by UNBS. He also said they could report suspicious products to UNBS offices or call on a toll-free line 0800133133. He advised consumers to buy goods from a place where one can go back in case one gets a problem with the item. Read more
A-Plus Management: Funeral insurance takes root in Uganda
Competition in the funeral insurance business is heating up. Funeral management companies have jumped into the fray in the area hitherto dominated by traditional insurance companies, as death becomes lucrative. A-Plus Management, a funeral management company, has been the first to launch with its product, A-Plus Care. A number of others, including Uganda Funeral Services and Kampala Funeral Directors, are in advanced stages of venturing into the business. A number of others also said they would eventually get there. There are over six funeral management service providers, among them Curious Funeral Services, Kampala Funeral Directors, Star Funeral Services and Reliable Funeral Services. Funeral insurance requires policy holders to pay annual premiums that guarantee compensation in form of footing funeral expenses. The premiums depend on the policy plan and age of the insured person.Read more
EA: Private sector grapples with high costs of doing business
The country’s private sector players can only hope for the best after registering a rather mixed fortune.
Economic analysts and business association leaders say it has been slightly fair.This is because, inflation has been within range while the exchange rate remained fairly calm, and importantly, fuel prices weren’t as erratic.In an interview with the head of the private sector players in the country, Mr Gideon Badagawa, it emerged that the government has been trying to respond to the private sector issues although more effort is needed in that direction, given that the manufacturers and traders, continue to grapple with high cost of doing business here.Read more
 ERCMU: How the shilling's depreciation could affect Uganda's economy
Some of the most challenging problems in the conduct of monetary policy in developing countries such as Uganda are the exchange rate pass-through effects (ERPT hereafter).Generally, ERPT refers to the change in domestic prices in response to a change in the exchange rate. In this case, the larger the ERPT, the larger the response in domestic price volatility.In Uganda, the ERPT is largely a reflection of the scarcity of dollars in the economy, which can be explained by the reduction in exports, an increase in imports, reduced Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), reduced remittances, reduced donor aid, fluctuations in compounding factors (such as in oil prices, trade openness, global food prices and domestic interest rates) and grants from the developed world.Read more
  Ernst & Young Tax Partner: URA records biggest revenue shortfall in decade
Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) closed with a Shs500 billion shortfall, the biggest revenue deficit. According to the tax body data, URA was expected to collect Shs8.5 trilion but it collected just slightly more than Shs8 trillion. The revenue collected was able to finance nearly 72 percent of the country’s national budget.According to tax analysts, the cumulative shortfall of Shs500 billion was mainly as a result of the economy’s inability to generate sufficient economic activities that the tax body could have drawn revenues.Speaking In an interview, the Ernst & Young Tax Partner/Country Leader, Mr Muhammed Ssempijja, said the revenue collections suffered from what he described as structural problem. He explained: “The economic environment is not attracting and retaining enough investment. This means that the tax base is not expanding because there are fewer players.” Read more
UBF: Bitature woos Belgian investors to Uganda
Patrick Bitature has called upon the Belgian business community to invest in Uganda, saying the country is not only peaceful but that Belgium and Uganda have had a long history of relations at different levels.“We as a country have worked hard to ensure that our future is stable by ensuring peace and security,” he said. Bitature, who is the chairman Simba Group of Companies made the remarks before the Belgium business community in Uganda at the second gathering of the Belgium Uganda Business Forum. The forum was held at the residence of the Belgium ambassador in Uganda.He said the private sector in Uganda, to which he asked them to join, is developed and has a say in the budgetary makeup of the country’s national budget. “We have a wish list as the private sector and 80% of wish list is taken into consideration in the budgeting process,” he said. Read more Ugandans yearn for minimum wage, but . . .
As the intensity of the sun reaches his face, beads of sweat start to form on his forehead. David, an operations manager with a catering company seems unfazed, he looks on as teams of workers set the tables at a party.He stutters a little bit when asked about his salary and finally says: "Kampala is a tricky place depending on what kind of job you do. I get by on my salary, but life is a hustle."Dressed in well-pressed clothes, dark sun glasses, David says he wishes for a wage of sh4m though his real wage is far lower.  A survey by shows that catering managers in Uganda with experience work and earn between sh1.3m and sh0.5m, with an average sh0.65m from which they pay for food, rent, health care, transportation and other costs. Read more
SOM: Oil prices resume downward trajectory
World oil prices resumed their downward trajectory following comments from key Middle Eastern oil producers that they have no plans to cut output.US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery dropped $1.87 to $55.26 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. European benchmark Brent oil delivery fell $1.27 to $60.11 a barrel in London.Trade marked a return to the dominant downward trend in the oil market following a brief rally .Appearing at an energy conference in Abu Dhabi, leading Middle Eastern producers held firm against any moves to cut production to boost crude prices. "If they (non-OPEC countries) want to cut production they are welcome. We are not going to cut, certainly Saudi Arabia is not going to cut," Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told reporters. Read more
SPI: Local firm negotiates Shs28b property development deal
Simba Properties Investment Company, a local property development firm, has negotiated a $10 million (about Shs28 billion) deal with a regional debt provider, implying that real estate players do not have to solely rely on commercial banks for financing.The funds, committed by Vantage Capital, a debt provider, are directed to five prime property developments in the country, three of which are operating and two of which are under development.The three operating properties, all located in the upmarket suburb of Kololo in Kampala, are: Protea Hotel Kampala, CNOOC Building, and Elizabeth Royal Apartments.The two properties under development are: Hotel Naguru, which is anticipated to be operational by the end  and Moyo Close Apartments, high end apartments located in Kololo, also expected to be completed. Read more
NSSF to boost contributions by tapping into government registers
National Social Security Fund (NSSF) will use registers of government institutions that have records of licensed businesses in the country to identify companies that should be remitting workers contributions to the Fund but are not doing so.According to the managing director of NSSF, Mr Richard Byarugaba, arrangements are already underway to partner with Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and Uganda Registration Service Bureau (URSB) and use their registers to bring on board companies that are supposed to be paying workers monthly contribution.Speaking after the launch of E-Learning System, an initiative aimed at improving competences and skills among NSSF staff countrywide, thereby reducing its staff development budget by nearly 40 per cent, Mr Byarugaba said the partnership with the cited agencies will enhance compliance. Read more
IIU: Uganda Insurance Still Low
Uganda' s insurance sector has one of the lowest penetrations in East Africa and companies have been advised to be more innovative to stay relevant to the market.Maurice Amogola, a member of the Governing Council of the Insurance Institute of Uganda representing the Uganda Association of Insurance Brokers, said innovativeness in terms of developing insurance products should be tied to refresher courses for stakeholders."Our Insurance to GDP ratio ranks amongst the lowest in the world; Kenya is at around 3.4% even Rwanda's is now higher than ours. We are averaging below 1%. This therefore means that we have to develop courses for us, as stakeholders before embarking on sensitizing the public," he advised. Amogola was speaking during the launch of the AIG Academy of Excellence at the Insurance Institute of Uganda. Read more
KIFWA: Kenya oozing revenue to Uganda - Lobby
The Kenyan government could be losing millions of shillings in revenue to the Ugandan government through the Single Customs Territory, according to the Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association.Kifwa said Uganda is capitalising on the SCT, which has seen Kenyans prefer its Asycuda system to the Kenyan Simba system to clear goods at the port of Mombasa.According to Kifwa, trade patterns are favouring Uganda because it is cheaper to import goods to the land-locked country than Kenya.Under the SCT, revenue for transactions made under the Asycuda system goes to Uganda. The goods are then imported back into the country.Speaking to the Star, Kifwa national chairman Boaz Makomere said Kenyans have gone ahead to partnered with their Uganda counterparts to form companies in Uganda. Read more
FIA: The Police are probing 20 companies and individuals suspected to be involved in money laundering.
It is feared that up to sh56b could have laundered through the accounts at a city bank, United Bank of Africa (UBA), using stolen master cards, details of which the bank authorities declined to divulge.The Police and the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) have launched investigations into the shady transactions. It is suspected that the stolen cards could have been used to siphon the money from mainly the US.New Vision has established that authorities involved in the probe have directed UBA to immediately halt any funds transfers on the accounts in question. Some of the 20 accounts belong to renowned companies in Uganda.As a result, there have been a series of back and forth communication between the Police, FIA and UBA, regarding the matter.“In accordance with section 21 (0) of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, UBA is hereby instructed to halt all financial activities on the following accounts, until the origin and purpose of the funds have been authenticated,” a letter from FIA to UBA reads in part. Read more
Transport fares rise as Christmas draws nearer
Tis the season once again and as is with festive period, public transport fares have risen around the country.Holiday makers and business travellers, especially those using the long routes, are parting with more money as transport costs.Averagely, fares have increased by some 25% on routes like Kampala to Mbarara, Kampala to Mbale, and Kampala to Jinja while Kampala to Masaka by about 15%.Bus fares for Kampala to Arua and to Gulu have not changed in some bus parks and risen by 15% in others.George Mukwaya, a passenger at Kisenyi bus terminal, said that fares for the Kampala-Mbarara route have risen from sh13,000 to sh25,000.He said: “I am taking goods to Mbarara for sale, but the rise in transport fares will also affect the costs of these goods.”Another traveler, Grace Mbatude, found that the cost for the same route in the New Taxi Park had increased to sh15,000 from sh10,000. Read more
UBOS: Inflation rises to 1.4%
Consumers paid sh1.4 more for manufactured goods as the sector struggled to recover from the lag-effects of the economic challenges, amid volatilities in foreign exchange.The Producer Price Index for manufacturing (PPI-M) released by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) shows that inflation in the manufacturing sector rose by 1.4%, meaning that consumers had to dig deeper into their pockets to pay for the same basket of goods.PPI-M measures inflation in the manufacturing sector.This, according to David Senyonjo, a statistician at UBOS was due to prices increases registered for sugar, paper products, bricks and cement and textiles, clothing and footwear, driven by the deprecation of the shilling, coupled with reduced supply to markets. Read more
UWEA: ADB gives Shs140m grant to boost rural women skills
The African Development Bank (ADB) has given $50,000 (about Shs139.250 million) grant to Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association Limited to build the capacity of rural women in enterprise development. ADB officials said the fund responds strongly to the bank’s gender and private sector development strategies with emphasis on the role of women in business.The fund also aims to empower women entrepreneurs, in particular Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), through better access to finance. Speaking during the grant agreement hand-over ceremony at ADB offices in Kampala, the programme officer African Development, Mr Sebastian Okeke said: “The grant will enable the bank contribute to Uganda’s aspiration to diversify its exports base by providing the required stimulus training and employment in agro- processing and manufacturing. This will also increase exports of locally available products at a critical time when Uganda aspires to become a middle income country.”  Read more
UNBS: Food experts meet in Kampala over safety, trade standards
Global leaders from Codex Alimentarius member states are meeting in Kampala to discuss food hygiene, standards and best practices for food trade.The Codex Alimentarius is a collection of internationally recognized standards, codes of practice, guidelines and other recommendations relating to foods, food production and food safety.Speaking at the opening ceremony of the workshop, Dr Ben Manyindo, the executive director Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), said: “We are coming together under Codex to consider international standards in food for purposes of protecting the consumers and for fair food trade. We want to discuss the food safety challenges and how to implement the standards in various countries.” Read more
TMEA: Sh43 billion to boost logistics, transport
TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) has launched a $16m (about Shs 43bn) fund, dubbed the Logistics Innovation for Trade (LIFT), for innovators who can develop a strategy to reduce the cost and time of transporting goods within East Africa.The fund is expected to spur innovative solutions to the problems the logistics and transport industry faces in order to improve trade competitiveness within the region.Isaac Njoroge, the manager of the fund, said: "The challenge fund comes in to help private businesses and innovators mitigate risks... LIFT recognizes the ability of the private sector to innovate, to produce new products that can transform the lives of people not only in Uganda but throughout East Africa." He was speaking at the launch of LIFT at Protea. Read more
World Bank approves Shs23 trillion for Uganda’s key sectors
The World Bank Group has approved a $823.8 million (about Shs22.819 trillion) loan to finance five projects critical for the country’s economic development.The bank officials say once the projects get completed, they will boost Uganda’s economic development and result into Uganda achieving economic transformation.In an interview with Daily Monitor, outgoing World Bank country manager Ahadou Moustapha Ndiaye said Uganda needs inclusive economic growth and transformation and as such there is need to develop sectors that are critical for the process.Giving a breakdown of the approved loans for projects in Uganda, Mr Ndiaye said: “The World Bank has approved $175 million (about Shs484.750 billion) for second phase of greater Kampala Institutional and Infrastructure Development Project (KIIDP-2) to support infrastructure development with Kampala city.” Read more
RPDGG: Uganda is debt sustainable, says finance ministry
They are the biggest bilateral lenders to Uganda, according to information from the finance ministry. Uganda also owes Tanzania over $58.2m, of which $23m is accumulated in interests.The money owed to Tanzania accrued from the Kagera war, which President Idi Amin instigated.The World Bank, however, remains the leading institutional creditor accounting for 58% followed by the African Development Bank (AfDB— 20%).The total public debt stock has risen from $5.6b to $7.0b. This is about 30% of the total economic output (GDP).Over 60% of the public debt is external debt while 40% is domestic debt.“However, because of the low absorption capacity, significant amounts of committed funds remain undisbursed,” says the Report on Public Debt, Grants and Guarantees.The bulk of Uganda’s external debt is contracted mainly from multilateral creditors, who account for 82.7% of the total external debt portfolio. The remaining 17.3% of the external debt portfolio is divided among bilateral creditors. Read more
AzamTV: Partnership seeks to boost television penetration
Power and Communication Systems (PCS), dealers in renewable energy supplies and AzamTV, a regional pay television service provider have entered a partnership expected to boost television penetration in areas without access to hydroelectricity.The partnership mandates AzamTV to identify potential customers but without access to power, recommend them to PCS to acquire customised solar systems, buy television sets and get connected to the pay television technology.According to the AzamTV Uganda country general manager Simon Arineitwe, his company has also agreed to train PCS technical personnel in satellite television systems installation, such that when customers acquire solar, television sets and pay TV kits (dishes and decoders) only one installer takes charge of installing both. Read more
SMI: Ministry blames slow investment on red tape
State minister for Investment Gabriel Ajedra has blamed Uganda’s slow investment growth on government agencies and other sector players that create unnecessary bottlenecks to frustrate investors.Speaking at the Investor awards gala organised by the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), Mr Ajedra said while there are policies which favour both local and foreign investment, some service providers delay the process making the country’s performance on the regional and global scene poor.Mr Ajedra said: “Why should an investor make endless journeys trying to acquire a signature or certificate of construction from the city authority or power permit from the electricity service provider? This is absurd and it must change if we are to realise speedy growth in this country.” Read more
BOU: Bad loan rate declines to 5.3%, says Central Bank
Improvement in commercial bank asset quality has led to decline in the levels of non–performing loans in banks to 5.3 per cent down from 5.8 per cent. Bank of Uganda explains that the situation in Uganda’s credit market indicates the problem of bad loans that banks faced is diminishing and that private sector credit has also picked up progressively.“There are no bad loans in Ugandan banks at the moment. Asset quality of the commercial banks has continued to improve,” said the executive director of supervision Bank of Uganda, Ms Justine Bagyenda. Ms Bagyenda said the quality commercial bank assets have continued to improve over time with banks’ lending normally to the private sector.The executive director of research Bank of Uganda, Dr Adam Mugume said Private Sector Credit (PSC) grew by 12.2 per cent compared to 9 per cent and 13.0 per cent, respectively. Read more
A-Plus Group: Funeral insurance takes ground as firms look to boost penetration
Uganda’s insurance companies are developing new products in order to boost penetration at slightly 0.6 per cent. The product is a Funeral Insurance Policy spearheaded by A-Plus Group, in partnership with Niko Insurance Company. The product requires policy holders to pay a premium ranging from Shs270, 000 and Shs500, 000 depending on the policy plan and age of the insured.In return, the insured person gets a compensation ranging from Shs1 million and Shs10 million to meet funeral expenses in case of death.The A-Plus group head business development Mr Michael Zaake, says the company has been providing funeral services, mobilising funds to foot the funeral expenses, has been hard for deceased’s relatives and this innovation seeks to offer solutions. Read more
PSFU: Bitature assures investors on market for produce
The chairman Private Sector Foundation of Uganda (PSFU) Patrick Bitature has called on investors to take advantage of the central location of Uganda to tap into surrounding markets. “This is a huge market which any serious and strategic investor should take advantage of. Much as we are land-locked, we can still position ourselves in the region and grab this market,” said Bitature. This was at a dinner organized by the French embassy for the visiting delegation that concluded its visit to Uganda. The visit that was initiated by Bitature was aimed at creating partnerships between the private sector in Uganda and that of France in areas of improving agricultural productivity. He said that there has been macro stability, in addition to checked inflation and sufficient labour for investors to tap into. The France’s Ambassador to Uganda, Sophie Makame, urged Ugandans to take advantage of the team to forge future partnerships. She said that the French economy grew mainly with support from the agriculture sector which is considered an economic activity and not just for food security in homes.Read more
UCC urges mobile operators on App for child protection
Telecommunications regulator, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), has urged local mobile operators to offer a free new application, Guardian App, to its clients as a measure to protect children from online abuse. UCC communications manager, Fred Otunnu, made the call toAfrica Child Online Protection Summit at Speke Commonwealth Resort, Munyonyo. Otunnu’s call followed a presentation by Safaricom’s Senior Manager in charge of Sustainable and Social Policy, Karen Basiye, on the inventions undertaken by the Kenyan telecommunications company to avert the risks of internet abuses to children.“We are open to embracing best practices being undertaken elsewhere that can help us combat child online protection. Safaricom’s initiative is very good and we (UCC) would be happy if our local mobile operators adopted it to apply to our local context,” said Otunnu. Basiye said Guardian is a free and easy to use App that helps to keep children safe when using their smartphones. Read more
Ochola hatched idea into multi-million chick business
After running a veterinary drug shop for some time, Dr Okoth Ochola realised none of his colleagues had ventured into the poultry sector. Ochola and his wife Eve Ochola also felt income from the pharmacy was insufficient for them to make ends meet. They decided to inject the Shs1.5 million they had saved into a poultry project, buying 300 birds to start a backyard poultry farm.The poultry farm had more than doubled from 300 birds to almost 700 and it was generating more income of about Shs4 million compared to the pharmacy which encouraged them to double the effort and register a company in the name Asiima Agri-Consult Limited.The enterprise has evolved into a fully-fledged company operating in five districts of Uganda. Read more
Local cocoa prices drop as West Africa Ebola fears subside
While the world is appreciating the containment of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, Ugandan cocoa producers have to deal with the drop in cocoa prices due to the increased supply of cocoa on the international market from West African producers.Information from Bundibugyo Cocoa Association (BCA), one of the major producers in Uganda and East Africa indicates a drastic drop in the price of cocoa per kilogramme from Shs7,500 to Shs6,500 despite the relatively low production.“If there is an outbreak in West Africa, especially Ivory Coast, you could easily see prices double. With the containment of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, supply on the international market has increased causing depreciation in the prices. We expect it to hit the Shs7,000 price mark, though,” said Mr Methodius Balyesiima, BCA project coordinator. Read more
BOU: Central Bank cuts economic growth forecast by 0.5%
Global economic slowdown, especially in the Euro- zone, and major emerging economies has forced Bank of Uganda to cut Uganda’s economic growth forecast by 0.5 per cent.The slowdown has seen Uganda register reduced commodity exports in the international market and Foreign Direct Investment inflows in the country.Presenting the Monetary Policy Statement, Bank of Uganda Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile said Real GDP is projected to grow by 5.0 to 5.5 per cent down from a projection of 6 per cent at time budget reading.Mr Mutebile said though the growth is being weakened by the global economic environment, the GDP growth rate is higher than growth estimates which was estimated at 4.5 per cent as indicated in the rebased GDP released by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics. Read more
URA: Informal sector hurting revenue collections
The government should devise means of tapping into the informal sector to boost revenue collection, the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Commissioner General has said.Ms Doris Akol said the informal sector is demanding services from the government but it is not taxed to raise that money for the services. She cited the real estate development sector whose players do not have addresses yet billions of shillings exchange hands.“The informal sector shouts the loudest when there is break down in service delivery but they are not contributing in form of taxes,” Ms Akol said.She made the call recently when she led a team from URA to Daily Monitor offices in Namuwongo. Read more
UETCL: Uganda looks to increase use of thermal electricity
The use of thermal electricity in the national power grid will increase from 4 per cent now to 16 per cent. This comes against a backdrop of the slow pace of the construction and commissioning of renewable energy power plants.Mr Eriasi Kiyemba, the chief executive officer of the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL), said the increase is to stave off load shedding.“You have heard about when they expect to commission the new hydro power plants. By that time we will have depleted the existing big hydros. That is why we factor in the thermals,” Mr Kiyemba told Daily Monitor during an interview in Kampala. Read more
WB: Pension Sector Opportunities
URBRA's media sensitization campaign held at Serena Hotel in Kampala.Uganda, East Africa's third largest economy will benefit from the liberalisation of the pension sector once Parliament approves the Pension Sector Liberalisation Bill into law, experts say. Speaking to over 30 journalists at a media sensitization campaign in Mukono, about 20 kilometres away from the capital city, Kampala, Racheal Sebudde, a senior economist at the World Bank said the sector will improve savings at slightly over 10% of the GDP. Sebudde said pensions will be one of the crucial components of the comprehensive social protection system on top of supporting other broader macroeconomic goals by contributing to the developing of financial and capital markets. "We need to be hopeful about the sector," she said. "Other countries including our neighbors Kenya have moved steps ahead... we can learn from them." Read more
IMF board praises BOU's monetary policy stance
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has praised Bank of Uganda’s on the monetary policy stance, saying it brought down inflation low.This set the conditions for some additional monetary easing, provided the inflation expectations are anchored and the fiscal risks are contained, according to the IMF.It said in a press release that Uganda’s performance under the Policy Support Instrument (PSI) remains satisfactory.The IMF’s executive board completed the third review of Uganda’s economic performance under the programme supported by the PSI. The PSI for Uganda was approved by the executive board.It said the country’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth was lower than expected at the time of the second PSI review. It attributed it to under-execution of externally-financed public investment and adverse impact on exports of slower growth in main trading partners. However, IMF added that the country’s growth is projected to increase, aided by scaled-up public investment and a recovery in private demand as accessing bank credit increases.Read more
IFOAM: Uganda tops Africa in organic products export
Uganda tops African countries in the production and exportation of organic products. This is according to International Federation for Organic Movement (IFOAM) based in Germany.The value of organic products export rose from $4m (about sh11b ) to $44m (about sh121b) in the released data.“This is impressive growth,” Chariton Namuwoza, the chief of value chains and programme with National Organic Agriculture Movement of Uganda said.He was speaking to the New Vision on the side-lines of the end of party for organic farmers in Muyenga, a Kampala suburb. Namuwoza attributed Uganda’s performance to its having a high number of certified organic farmers as well as favourable climate and good soil.He explained that Uganda takes the lead in organic farming next to India at global level.Organic farming is not traditional farming, but it integrates modern and traditional knowledge for sustainable farming systems. Read more
MFSCED: Govt loans sh1b to Bushenyi SACCO
The Government has boosted a Savings and Credit Cooperative Society (SACCOS) in Bushenyi district with sh1b. The money, which the Government extended to Kyamuhunga Peoples Savings and Credit Cooperative Society (KYAPS) through the Micro Finance Support Centre will benefit over 16,000 members. KYAPS will pay it back.Joseph Kitandwe, the commissioner for cooperatives, handed over the cheque to KYAPS officials at Kyeikamba Primary School in Kyamuhunga sub-county in Bushenyi district. Kitandwe said lack of a savings culture is hindering the country’s development. “Advise the members to invest in ventures with high returns to secure a better future,” he urged.John Peter Mujuni, the Micro Finance Support Centre executive director, cautioned the management and the institution’s board to ensure that the money benefit the masses by giving it to them at a low interest rate.Read more
SMI: Government borrows Shs27b to improve business environment
The government will implement reforms that the private sector and international agencies such as the World Bank have identified as responsible for the country’s perpetual poor global ranking in doing business.Several reforms and recommendations have been identified with uncoordinated licensing of businesses emerging among the main areas that merit immediate reforms. Uganda has been ranked among countries with poor environment for doing business on grounds that it takes time for an enterprise to get registered and start running. The country was ranked at the 150th position out of 189 economies by the Doing Business Report, which was published.Speaking in Kampala, State minister for Investment Gabriel Ajedra, said for the economy to operate efficiently, the business environment must be improved. Read more
MHB: 11 Firms Apply to Invest in Makerere University
As Makerere University moves to shore up its finances, 11 companies presented their investment proposals at a conference convened at Hotel Africana. Four of the companies are Ugandan, two Chinese, two American and some are from South Africa, Kenya, Hong Kong and the UK. Convened by the Makerere Holdings Company, the conference got proposals for construction of a hotel and convention centre at Makerere University guesthouse as well as develop the land at Kololo. Makerere Holdings Board Chairman Charles Mbire was optimistic investment in the two land projects would fetch the cash-strapped institution "a good return on investment" to complement fees and government funds.He added that the two projects were "just a beginning" of a series of investments into the university's idle resources projected at over $500m (about Shs 1.3tn). Read more
MAAIF: Formulate policies that reflect the needs of society
An official from the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries has called on policy makers to make policies based on research in particular areas so as to help the intended beneficiaries.“In order to make a good policy we should be informed so that we can know the challenges and experiences so to make it better,” said Beatrice Byarugaba, the commissioner crop production and marketing in the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries.She was officiating at the meeting organized by IITA on policy formulation that will promote the intensification of farming in Uganda at the Kampala Sheraton Hotel in Kampala. This is being promoted through the Policy Action for Sustainable Intensification of Ugandan Cropping systems (PASIC) project under IITA. Byaruhanga said that the agriculture land is not expanding and it is further losing soil fertility due to over cultivation and a growing population. Read more
KPFA: Poultry farmers seek tax reprieve before allowing Ugandan imports
Poultry farmers have demanded the scrapping of taxes on feed supplements before Kenya opens its market to Uganda’s products in yet another signal of deepening trade disputes between the two countries.The farmers maintain that the high cost of production in Kenya, coupled with the 16 per cent value added tax on supplements, has made it impossible to compete with products from Uganda, which is also the source of nearly all the feed supplements.Kenya Poultry Farmers Association chairperson Wairimu Kariuki said eggs and chicken would be uncompetitive in the local market if the Ugandan products are permitted in the country.“There is no way that the eggs and chicken produced by our farmers can compete with those from Uganda. It costs very little in that country to rear chicken as well as to produce eggs, while our cost of production is extremely high,” said Ms Wairimu.Read more
MOF: E-Government procurement project launched
Finance minister Maria Kiwanuka launches a strategy on E-Government procurement.The government hopes that with the e-Government Procurement (e-GP) system, entities will be in better position to manage public procurement and promote transparency through the procurement cycle.“E-Government procurement is expected to increase transparency in public procurement. As you are aware lack of transparency breeds corruption, unfairness, lack of competition and ultimately the government does not achieve value for money as a result of paying more for a service that could be delivered at a cheaper price,” said Kiwanuka. It is also hope that with the new system, efficiency in procurement and service delivery will be increased, and that the bidder confidence in the procurement regime will rise. Under the e-procurement system, entities will be able to run all public procurement process online, and bidders will have quick access to all relevant information in the public domain. This will improve the time one takes to bid and get a response. Read more
OXL: E-Commerce takes root in Uganda
They come with all forms of offers: a fast food joint ready to deliver lunch to your work station; a cab firm ready to pick you when it's pouring or help to sell your second-hand TV on their platform.Welcome to Uganda's online market, one of the fastest-moving trends in the country. OLX has entered the market, with the company signing up celebrities to endorse its platform. The online trading firm, officially announced its entry into Uganda, where it unveiled a free portal for buying and selling all sorts of goods."OLX has seen tremendous success in the countries in which we are present. Kenya is on the lead with 98 per cent brand awareness, meaning almost everybody knows OLX and can tell you what it is about. This is the kind of response we hope and know we will get from Uganda," Thomas Platenga, OLX Kenya's country manager, said in a statement.Read more
WTO: Uganda Progresses On Trade Barriers
Following an impasse that had dragged, Uganda and other member states have taken big strides to eliminate bottlenecks to trade by implementing the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).The TFA, which was agreed upon during the ninth World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia, was approved and adopted by the WTO general council. The TFA aims to establish trade and increase economic growth through the four principles of simplification, standardisation, harmonisation and transparency of procedures so that it reduces the time and cost of doing trade. TFA is slated to be enforced.Director-General Roberto Azevêdo, in his address to the African Union conference of ministers of Trade, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said African nations stood to benefit from the WTO decisions on the Bali agreements, including the Trade Facilitation Agreement, which would support "your efforts at regional integration in a very practical way." Azevêdo urged African members to "engage even more" in the WTO. Read more
URBRA: Civil servants to pay for their retirement
In their report to the House, the MPs said: "It's not only unconstitutional but also a gross violation of human rights of soldiers when they apply for retirement and they are denied the chance."But while speaking to the press, Chief of Defence Forces Katumba Wamala explained: "We don't want to retire our people when their retirement package is not ready. We feel constrained when we retire our people and they are not getting their pension."More than 2,000 soldiers want to retire but have not been granted their wish for one reason: there is no money to pay them. The problem cuts across the public service arena, where, besides inadequate funds, there is glaring rot in the general system, which requires immediate resuscitation, said Rita Nansasi, the legal services manager at the Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA). Read more
MOT: Companies urged on local partnerships
Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde has called on investors in the extractives industry to work with young scientists in Uganda. She was officiating at the Africa Industrialisation Day celebrations at the Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI). “We have many science graduates, but these flee the country for greener pastures and some go because they have failed to get jobs at home,” said Kyambadde. “We have not done much to retain them as soon as they leave university but when we involve them in the area of extraction, this could be a solution to the unemployment challenge," said the minister. “Part of our minerals for the case of Uganda have not been exploited simply because we are still stuck with the idea that it is colonial companies that can exploit the minerals on our behalf and yet universities are releasing young scientists onto the market,” she added. Read more
Mr Jimmy Kayembe: Scarcity of passion fruits pushes price up
Farmers are the biggest winners following an increment in the prices of passion fruits as a sack of passion fruits now costs Shs600,000 up from Shs300,000 in most markets sampled in Kampala.The increase in prices is attributed to high demand and limited supply from Masaka, Kasese and others that predominately feed most markets in Kampala.Mr Jimmy Kayembe, a passion fruits trader in Nakasero market says the scarcity has pushed many traders out of business because they can not afford the cost of fruits.“These prices are abnormal now but we are praying that they normalise,” Mr Kayemba said. Most farmers that have been selling passion fruits have now resorted either to oranges or tangerines that can easily be found. Read more
URA recovers Shs25 billion from tax evaders
Uganda Revenue Authority enforcement department has collected about Shs25 billion in revenue from tax payers who were trying to evade their obligations, the head of enforcement team has said. While releasing the enforcement report at a news conference in Nakawa, Kampala, the assistant commissioner enforcement, Mr James Kisaale, said, smuggling is reducing although with technological advancement, electronic fraud is emerging as a new challenge.“Enforcement operations which led to 5635 seizures which yielded total revenue recovery of Shs25.2billion in both taxes and fines,” Mr Kisaale said.He continued: “These recoveries were made on goods worth Shs52 billion in value. Out of this, the total fraud value of the non-dutiable goods was Shs 8.7 billion and the total fraud value of the dutiable goods was Shs43,314million.” Read more
UCA: Cooperatives decry huge govt taxes
The Uganda Co-operative Alliance (UCA) has criticised government for imposing huge taxes on cooperatives which would otherwise be used to fight poverty among farmers and the rural communities.Mr Ivan Asiimwe, the UCA manager agribusiness unit, cited the 30 per cent corporation tax, 15 per cent for interest on deposits and another 15 per cent as withholding tax as affecting negatively the number of farmers that would be impacted by the cooperatives.He said: “The government removed tax exemptions from all agriculture loans. This raised the amount of taxes on farmers’ unions and cooperatives. You cannot encourage people to save and yet go behind their back and tax them so much.”Uganda has about 3,000 registered co-operatives but most of them are on paper but not functional. Read more
BDC: Entrepreneurs graduate in business sustainability skills
Speaking on that occasion, BDC director Moses Engwau said the centre offers business coaching to those with businesses and need advice.He noted that one of the challenges of entrepreneurship in Uganda is that people go into businesses they are not sure of.Engwau thus said at BDC, entrepreneurs or prospective entrepreneurs can learn a lot on the programme that helps them acquaint themselves with business.Acting commissioner in the Ministry of Industry, Joshua Mutambi was the chief guest at the graduation.Augustine Mwanje, a facilitator at BDC, said the centre’s programme is structured in such a way that students learn something new.Engwau said the unique nature of the centre is that its students come with business ideas and they graduate when they have been implemented into a real business.This graduation churned out 17 graduates, four of which presented their businesses and their projections before invited guests. Read more
EALA: Co-operative societies law to benefit primary producers
Co-operatives engaged in primary production will be the biggest beneficiaries when the ongoing East African Community (EAC) Co-operative Societies Bill is enacted into law.Mr Mike Sebalu, a member representing Uganda in the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), said the law being pursued will enable regional cooperatives engaged in primary production to create synergies for improved production technology and marketing.“The EAC market has a population of more than 150 million people. Of that, 100 million are believed to be operating in primary production; that is why a regional law that seeks to streamline their businesses is important,” Mr Sebalu, the prime mover of the Bill, told journalists.Primary producers are the people and organisations that work with the supportive natural resources to grow, harvest or extract primary products. Read more
AA: Liberalisation of pensions to boost securities
Advocates for the pending liberalisation of the pensions sector have argued that the move will spur growth of the stock exchange markets in the country.Opening up the sector to competition, they argue will strengthen the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) and even attract more foreign firms for listing.Speaking at a Pensions workshop for journalists in Kampala, Mr George Mulindwa, the business development manager African Alliance, one of the few licenced Fund managers, said Uganda’s capital markets is still under developed, largely attributed to low investments.The firm manages up to Shs140 billion in pension funds. “Pensions liberalisation can yield a vibrant capital markets which can even in the future yield the success of public private partnerships to the extent that returns can be used to finance some of government’s proposed key infrastructures,” Mr Mulindwa said.Read more
Mukwano to start exporting products to Europe and Asia
The Mukwano Group of Companies has launched a new range of products targeting the European, Asian and Middle East markets, making use of its International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) certification.While launching the Mama range of products, Ms Nicola Brown, the Group marketing manager, said the company is releasing three products under the Mama brand as special products with special formula because of high performance effects.“The detergent powder has a special formula which cleans and conditions the fabric. The multipurpose bar soap can clean dishes as well as general laundry with a strong lemon fragrance while the third product is a multipurpose Scouring powder for bathrooms and kitchens which is effective in removing tough stains,” she said. Read more
SMM: High prospects for oil reserves in Hoima, Karamoja
There are high prospects of finding huge commercial deposits of oil in areas around Hoima town and Moroto district in eastern Uganda, the Government has said.Areas with high prospects around Hoima town are located in the Hoima sedimentary basin, while those in Moroto are in the Kadam-Moroto sedimentary basin.The Hoima and Kadam-Moroto sedimentary basins are part of the six areas, which geological studies in  showed could be having oil deposits, according to state minister for minerals Peter Lokeris.The other sedimentary basins include the Albertine, Lake Victoria, Lake Kyoga and Lake Wamala. However, according to Lokeris, the Albertine basin is the most productive so far.The minister told New Vision that the Government had deployed geoscientists around Hoima town and the Kadam-Moroto basin to carry out conclusive studies.He said the Government had decided to begin with Hoima and Kadam-Moroto basins because they have high prospects, if the studies are anything to go by.“We will also go back to lakes Victoria, Kyoga and Wamala for similar studies, but these areas are not as promising as the Hoima and Kadam-Moroto basins. If commercial oil deposits are not confirmed, we shall abandon them.” Read more
DGS: Over 260 million tonnes of iron ore discovered in Uganda
An airborne geophysical survey has revealed that Uganda possesses more than 260 million tons of iron ore, a mineral needed for the development of the steel industry.Francis Natukunda, a senior geologist at the Department of Geological Survey and Mines said the survey discovered bigger deposits of iron ore than had been found during the colonial mappings."The sustainable management of mineral resources project also revealed potentially huge diamond deposits around areas of Lake Kyoga,” he said.These revelations were made at the South African trade and investment seminar at the Sheraton hotel in Kampala. It was not known that Uganda had so much iron ore until the survey was carried out. Natukunda said: "We have over 200 million tonnes reserves of hematite iron ore in southwestern Uganda and 60 million tonnes of magnetite iron ore in the south eastern part of the country and still have huge potential for exploration."Bodies similar to kimberlite – which normally harbors diamonds – were discovered and studies are ongoing to find out whether these are the precious diamonds found in South Africa, he added. Read more
MGDOPM: 65 companies recognized for role in socio-economic transformation
A total of 65 organizations and over 20 high profile personalities in the country have been recognized for their outstanding performance towards the socio-economic transformation of Uganda.They were given awards – bestowed by the minister of general duties in the Office of Prime Minister, Prof. Tarsis Kabwegere – in a colourful ceremony at Kampala Serena Hotel.The awards were presented according to organizations’ outstanding contribution in the sectors of water, health, education, energy and agriculture.The outstanding individuals were awarded according to their significant leadership skills.In the health sector category, recipients included Marie Stopes, National Drug Authority, Uganda Health Marketing Group and Uganda Blood Transfusion Service.And for the agriculture sector: Sameer Agriculture and Livestock, Vegetable Oil Development Project, SNV Netherlands Devlopment Organisation, Kyagulanyi Coffee and Bukalasa Agricultural College.Read more
URA impounds 20 luxury cars over unpaid taxes
The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has recovered sh25b in taxes and fines in crackdown operations to close gaps and meet annual revenue targets.The tax body said that most of the money had been lost in smuggling, undervaluation, misdeclarations, concealment and other tax offences.It said the recoveries were made after intensified enforcement operations URA missed its revenue collection targets by sh475b. It had a target of sh8.5trillion. The target has increased to sh9.8 trillion.James Kisaale, the URA assistant commissioner for enforcement, said undervaluation tops the number of tax crimes, garnering the highest recoveries of sh9.9b. Misdeclaration brought in sh8.3b, smuggling sh3.1b, other offences sh3.4b and concealment sh470m.The revelation was made at a press conference by URA at its headquarters. Kisaale said ivory worth sh3b was recovered in the operations and is in the custody of the tax body.He revealed that, a total of 20 high-performance vehicles, with a total tax worth of sh370m, were impounded. Of these, 12 were Range Rover sport models; BMW’s, Mercedes Benzes and Audis. Read more
PM: Human resources bill in offing, says Rugunda
Government will soon table the Human Resources Professionals Bill in Parliament to regulate the human resource professional obligations in the country, says the Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda. Dr Rugunda said Government, through the ministry of Public Service, was ready to support the leadership of the Human Resource Managers’ Association of Uganda (HRMAU) to have a charter to regulate professional standards and HR conduct both in the private and public sectors.The premier made the remarks while presiding over the Human Resources Reveal Event, the first of its kind, at Kampala Serena Hotel.“I encourage the leadership of the association to work closely with government in the course of the deliberations on this Bill,” Dr Rugunda said before launching the inaugural Human Resource Excellence Awards.He said the National Development Plan highlighted the critical role of skills development in transforming the country into a modern and prosperous society. Read more
URBRA: Pension liberalisation, a bag of mixed nuts
Only about one million people out of a 13.4 million total labour force in Uganda are formally saving for their old age.Of this, only about 350,000 (3.5%) employed in civil service are covered by public pension schemes, while just over 500,000 (or 3.5%) are contributors to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), according to the Uganda Retirements Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA).Together with the public sector pension schemes, the NSSF and occupational schemes, total social security coverage is only about 7%, leaving out 12.4 million people, according to URBRA. The situation presents the enormous opportunity available to grow the savings base, expand the social security net and spark businesses to engage in social security services.
Most of those without social security are in informal employment.The statistics, which were partly revealed in the preliminary population census report, form the basis for the liberalisation of the pensions sector.“It will pave way for increasing coverage of social protection to an increasing number of the working population and also ensure improvement in the governance of funds,” notes Moses Bekabye, the interim chief executive officer of URBRA. Read more
VU dubbed outstandingly attractive for working-class courses
Concerns have not rescinded of Ugandans growing youth unemployment, and government officials are openly perturbed.Despite last month’s rebasing of the economy which placed the country’s GDP at Sh. 68.4 trillion, the 13% growth doesn’t indicate any relief in terms creation of more jobs for the sprouting youth numbers.University graduates continue to wander on the streets jobless, while many others resorted to extreme means of living as crimes, sports betting, prostitution, and opting for demeaning jobs in unfriendly Asian nations.The unrelenting cry amongst employers in the country is that of university graduates and tertiary institutions output that don’t add up to the requirements of the job market.The extremely wanting graduate skills have also been decried by majority of foreign investors in the country. Read more
URA recovers Shs25b after intensifying enforcement
 Uganda Revenue Authority enforcement department has collected about Shs25 billion in revenue from tax payers who were trying to evade their obligations, the head of enforcement team has said. While releasing the enforcement report at a news conference in Nakawa, Kampala, the assistant commissioner enforcement, Mr James Kisaale, said smuggling is reducing although with technological advancement, electronic fraud is emerging as a new challenge.“Enforcement operations which we carried out led to 5635 seizures which yielded total revenue recovery of Shs25.2billion in both taxes and fines,” Mr Kisaale said. He continued: “These recoveries were made on goods worth Shs52 billion in value. Out of this, the total fraud value of the non-dutiable goods was Shs 8.7 billion and the total fraud value of the dutiable goods was Shs43, 314million.” Read more
TMEA: Ugandans not aware of single customs territory - study
Some Ugandans are losing out on the advantages of a Single Customs Territory (SCT) whose implementation commenced, due to ignorance. The SCT was approved by East African Community heads of state. It seeks to reduce the cost of business as well as increasing market access among other objectives.This is according to a study commissioned by ministry of finance sponsored by Trade Mark East Africa on the level of awareness of the Single Customs Territory (SCT). According to Paul Bagabo, the lead consultant, studies showed that the awareness level among Ugandans is at 41%.He explained that due to lack of awareness, firms or businesses will not demand for better provisions that can help them access raw materials but also cannot effectively demand for the removal of certain barriers if they are limiting access to markets. Read more
Bidco invests Shs27b into detergent production to out-compete imports
If local companies want to out-muscle imports, they must be prepared to invest in quality products, Bidco Uganda managing director Kodey Rao has said.According to Mr Rao, Bidco Uganda has invested about $10 million (about Shs27 billion) in production of detergents that could change the attitude of Ugandans towards imported products. Speaking during the launch of the White Star Magic, a new washing detergent by Bidco Uganda, Mr Rao said most of the detergents are imported and therefore introduction of the new product will give consumers an option both in terms of choice and price.At the same news conference, Bidco general manager Suvrajit Ghosh, said: “We have invested $10 million (about Shs27billion) in just this product (White Star Magic) because we want to get rid of imported products from the market.” Read more
TEF: $100m to empower Africa's young entrepreneurs
The Tony Elumelu Foundation in Lagos announced the launch of a $100m Pan-African entrepreneurship initiative– programme of training, funding, and mentoring, designed to empower the next generation of African entrepreneurs.The programme is the first initiative of its kind to be launched by an African philanthropic organisation and is the largest African sourced philanthropic gift, targeting the entrepreneurs in Africa.“The opportunity and challenge in Africa is scale – in our people, our resources and our horizons. In my business and philanthropic journeys, I have always sought ways to help inspire a generation across our continent. This programme brings together my own entrepreneurial experience and my fundamental belief that entrepreneurs – women and men across Africa – will lead Africa’s development and transform our futures,” said Tony O. Elumelu, CON, Founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation.The Tony Elumelu Foundation is an African-based, African-funded philanthropic organisation which was founded by African business leader and philanthropist Tony O. Elumelu, CON, with a commitment to drive African economic growth, through empowering African entrepreneurship. Read more
RBR systems Consult: Entrepreneurs urged on accounting technology
Business owners, especially of Small and Medium Enterprises, have been urged to adopt accounting software that captures records.This will help to minimise time wasted and errors while conducting reviews of their reports.Mr Robert Mutyaba, the executive director RBR systems consult, a software development house, said business dimensions are changing and require use of technology to capture and store efficient records.
“Many people do not measure up to the dynamics and that’s why technology is needed. If, for instance you use software like QuickBooks, all business records including income, expenditure and bounced checks, among others, are captured, stored and backed up automatically,” Mr Mutyaba said, speaking at a QuickBooks launch in Kampala. Read more
PWC: Optimism Abounds for East Africa
The African continent continues to attract the interest of global investors, developers and operators searching for growth, new report has revealed.While there are short term concerns in some of Africa’s regions, the opportunities abound for infrastructure investment and development.Infrastructure spend in the region is projected to reach $180bn per annum, according to PwC’s ‘Capital Projects & infrastructure in East Africa, Southern Africa and West Africa, according to the report.The Ugandan government has since invited investors to finance projects in key industries including agriculture, infrastructure and natural resources.This includes a PPP project, the Kampala – Jinja Road (77.1 km), which will generate regional impact as the main gateway for exports and imports to the port of Mombasa on the Kenya coast not only for Uganda but also for the other landlocked Eastern African nations: Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Eastern DRC, enabling greater regional integration and dramatically reducing the cost of doing business in the region. Read more
IIU: Insurance body in public awareness drive
As the local insurance industry struggles to attain significant penetration levels, the Insurance Institute of Uganda (IIU) has kicked off a countrywide public awareness campaign.According to the institute, the campaign which involves meeting people at their places of work is a move meant for demystifying insurance.Insurance takes the responsibility of compensating policy holders in case of losses due to incidents such as fire, floods, fraud, political instability, death, accidents, among many others; however, compensation is effected upon compliance in paying annual premiums to the insurers.According to IIU Chief Executive Officer Elvis Khisa, the biggest challenge is not about telling people about the existence of insurance because most of them know it exists, but they have a wrong belief that insurers don’t pay (compensate) in case of risks.Read more
STT: New finance law to safeguard oil revenues, says government official
The secretary to the Treasury, Mr Keith Muhakanizi, has called the enacting of the Public Finance Management Bill, a positive step towards ensuring sound management of funds from the country’s oil sector. Parliament passed the Bill, which had been advanced by the Ministry of Finance as a reform for better management of public finances, into law.“Those who doubt our will to ensure proper management of public finance, as emphasized by the new law, are thinking,” said Mr Muhakanizi, on the sidelines of a Budgetary review conference at Speke Resort Munyonyo. The new legislation is waiting to be signed into law by President Museveni. The law, among others, caters for the management of revenues from the country’s oil industry. The law will repeal the Public Finance and Accountability and the Budget Act. Analysts see no likelihood of the President not assenting to the law. Read more
Crane Bank suspends listing of shares
Crane Bank’s plan to list on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) has been put on hold, Daily Monitor can reveal. This means that Ugandans who were looking to own part of the bank through buying shares at the stock exchange will have to wait as the bank continues to deepen its penetration both within and outside the country’s borders. In an interview after commissioning its 43rd branch in Ndeeba, a Kampala suburb, the board chairman, Mr Joseph Biribonwa, said the move to list on the stock exchange will have to wait as there are other priorities to deal with before attention is focused on going public—move for Initial Public Offering (IPO). He said: “At the moment we are not taking that route although we know that it is important for Ugandans to own part of the bank.”He continued: “We are reviewing that plan and there should not be any reason to panic.”Industry analysts are tight-lipped on the matter, saying it is too early to understand why the bank has backtracked on its stance to offer part of its stake to the public. Read more
EAC to get $1B loan to improve ports
The World Bank will loan East African nations $1.2 billion to improve inland waterways and ports in Kenya and Tanzania, as part of efforts to boost integration in the region.The bank said the funds will be used to revive inland waterways on Lake Tanganyika and Lake Victoria and improve handling capacity and efficiency in the Mombasa and Dar es Salaam ports. The five-nation East African Community, which also comprises Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi and has a combined $110b economy, is working to package cross-border infrastructure plans to make them more attractive to potential financiers. Oil and gas discoveries in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania have turned the region into an exploration hotspot. “The World Bank Group’s investments and support to reforms anticipate the boom of extractives in the region and will facilitate easier movement of people, goods and capital,” the bank said in a statement issued at an EAC meeting in the Kenyan capital Nairobi. It said the funding was to help the bloc’s investment plans. Read more
Roofing Group: Lalani set for Leaders’ forum
An open forum like this one will always encourage entrepreneurship. Pooling leaders from all sectors into an open discussion will bring up a lot of new ideas on leadership. In this way, we can learn from each other by sharing our stories, our way of positioning our businesses in a way that ensures sustainability even in tough economic circumstances. What I believe is that with good people and the right vision, no situation can be to challenging to overcome as long as we utilise the available resources effectively. The speakers and invited panelists invited all seem to have a lot of experience, it will be great for the participants to learn from people of that ilk who have hands-on experience, and who have succeeded in ‘riding the wave’ rather than being negatively affected by it. Read more
MTN dismisses tax evasion suit
MTN Uganda has dismissed as incompetent, a legal suit filed against the company over alleged tax evasion.Anthony Katamba, MTN's general manager for corporate affairs, told The Observer that if MTN had done anything wrong, it would have been the subject of a police investigation, rather than being pursued by some individuals with their own agenda."It's not the first time they are bringing these accusations; the other time they were dismissed, now they are bringing them again without any merit," Katamba said.Two citizens sued MTN in the High court's civil division over alleged false declaration and tax evasion. Issa Ssegawa and Tevin Casper Okiru want the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to revoke MTN's licence on grounds that the company has breached its constitutional duty to pay tax and committed the crime of concealing a felony.In their suit, the duo say that a similar case came up and was taken over by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), who withdrew it to conduct more inquiries but has since done nothing. Read more
KPMG: Beer market picks up 
The beer industry in Uganda is poised for positive results, according Fred Kakongoro Muhumuza, an analyst and senior manager for Financial Services Inclusion Programme at KPMG Uganda, but the two big brewers still need to exploit the available opportunities. Muhumuza says the performance figures for Uganda Breweries Ltd and Nile Breweries Ltd look more promising.Consumers had little disposable income, which made beer volumes to be down by about 5-10%. By far," he says."Commercial beer consumption in Uganda grew by more than 28%, a trend that is expected to continue. There are still unexploited opportunities in the local beer market," he adds.He advised companies in the beer sector to tap into such opportunities to bolster their performance. Read more
UCC: Decoder prices fall as more pay-TV importers join market
The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has said the price war among pay-TV companies has been caused by new players in the decoder importation business.Most pay-TV companies have cut their decoder prices in what is assumed to be a stock clearing move.In an interview, Mr Fred Otunnu, the UCC corporate communications manager, said government has opened up the decoder importation market because it is not planning to import set top boxes (decoders), but it has created mechanisms for the private sector to import the decoders and compete with other pay-TV service providers.“Government divested Uganda Broadcasting Corporation and created a new company, Signet, to distribute signals to level the ground for the pay-TV market,” he said, adding that, decoders which carry all the free-to-air channels are available in the open market. Read more
Enterprise Uganda: Complacency failing growth of businesses
Complacency and lack of financial discipline on the part of the entrepreneur is one of emerging barriers to business growth among young entrepreneurs.When entrepreneurs start a business and break even, they embark on celebrations and donations, which affect the products one started with. As a result, many enterprises have failed to grow and some have closed.Charles Ocici, the executive director of Enterprise Uganda, made the remarks during the training session for the youth in entrepreneurship at the Imperial Royal Hotel in Kampala.“The biggest barrier to business growth is the entrepreneur, who loses the sense of continuous desire to succeed,” he said. Read more
EU gives sh10b for youth capital
The European Union (EU) has offered a grant of over 3million Euros (about sh10.35b) towards the Youth Entrepreneurship Facility, a programme established to fight unemployment among Uganda’s urban youth.The money will be distributed to youth groups that are engaged in economic activities geared at creating more jobs, according to Theo Hoorntje, the EU head of corporation. Hoorntje said the grant will target youth aged between 18 and 35 in 11 selected districts across the country.“The purpose of this grant is to help the urban youth turn their energy and ideas into business opportunities that will increase their incomes and create decent work for themselves and others,” he said. Hoorntje added that the grant will also be used to skill and improve innovation among the youth, refine their entrepreneurial talents and improve their attitude towards entrepreneurship.The Youth Entrepreneurship Facility project is jointly facilitated by the EU and International Labour Organisation (ILO).The census provisional results indicate that up to 75% of Uganda’s 34.9m population are aged, while the unemployment rate of the youth stands at between 60% to 83%. Read more
UBOS: Food price volatility rises inflation to 2.1%
Uganda’s inflation rate edged higher on the back of volatile food prices.The Consumer Price Index (CPI) – the official measure of inflation – released by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (Ubos) shows that inflation rose to 2.1% from 1.8% posted.According to Sam Kaisiromwe, a senior statistician at Ubos, high food prices have been due to reduced supply to markets.Food inflation, which accounts for the biggest percentage of goods and services that are used to measure inflation, increased to -1.6% compared to -2.7% recorded.The rise in inflation means that Ugandans have to pay a little more for a similar basket of goods.Stephen Kaboyo , the managing director of Alpha Capital Partners recently warned that the persistent weakening of the shilling could drive up inflation if the Central Bank does not take immediate action to arrest the decline.The weakening of the local unit against the dollar means traders need more shillings to buy a dollar, which increases operational costs from higher import prices. This, in turn, increases inflation because of its spillover effects. Read more
Rwenzori water to be bottled by Coca-Cola in new merger deal
Rwenzori Mineral Water will soon be bottled by Coca-Cola following an agreement between SABMiller plc and Gutsche Family Investments (GFI, majority shareholders in Coca-Cola Sabco) to combine the bottling operations of their non-alcoholic ready-to-drink beverages businesses in Southern and East Africa.The new bottler, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, will serve 12 high-growth countries accounting for approximately 40 per cent of all Coca-Cola beverage volumes in Africa. Rwenzori MineralWater boasts of about 65 per cent share of the bottled water market in Uganda and the anticipated operational efficiencies of this merger are likely to see the company further strengthen its market leadership position.“A combined Coca-Cola bottling operation is further evidence of our commitment to Africa, and our firm belief in the tremendous growth prospects that the continent offers,” said Muhtar Kent, chairman and chief executive officer, The Coca-Cola Company. Read more
Museveni to engage Kenyatta over continued blockage of Ugandan exports
President Yoweri Museveni has promised to engage Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, over continued blockage of Ugandan exports, an action that contravenes the East African Community (EAC) treaty. Alykhan Hudani, the chairman of Yo Kuku, the multi-billion chicken processing plant, said despite importing day-old chicks from Kenya, Kenyan authorities blocked their processed chicken from entering the Kenyan market. Museveni responded at the commissioning of the plant in Luwero, saying; “Some of the Kenyan officials are narrow-minded. They were trying to block sugar, milk and now chicken. If I said no Kenyan products here, they would not like it.”“Even without the EAC treaty, the mutual interest of Uganda and Kenya is bigger,” Museveni added.Uganda has been Kenya’s biggest trading partner for decades. Although Uganda’s industrial base is expanding, many Kenyan products still occupy shelves in Ugandan shops. Museveni asked agricultural processors to stay calm and continue to venture into fruit and juice processing. He promised Luwero youth that he will support their efforts to grow maize and soybeans. Museveni hailed the several industrialists who have opened up businesses in Luwero, once a war zone. Read more
Uganda can become world leading economy – Korean Envoy
The South Korean Ambassador to Uganda Park Jong-Dae has revealed that Uganda can beat all odds and become one of the leading economies in the world just like his country did.Speaking at the Uganda-Korea business seminar at his residence in Nakasero, Jong-Dae explained that just like his country did after the Korean war, Uganda can ably put together all the pieces and develop the economy.“As Uganda is trying to transform through the Vision, they can borrow a leaf from South Korea who were the poorest country but have developed to become one of the leading economies in the world,” he said.The Korean envoy further noted that Uganda’s diversity can be of advantage as the population can easily be turned into assets that can be useful for development.“If all tribal and community leaders can come together and get something big out of this diversity, then a lot can be achieved unlike Korea where most of the population is aging, you can use the youth who are the biggest population to your advantage.” Read more
UWEA: Women conference to address business networking challenges
Participants are expected to debate on how to balance gender roles with businesses, self-belief in women’s competence in business managing, strategies of getting more women into the formal and informal job market, according to Hannah Owot, the board member for the Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association Limited (UWEA. The event will take place at Imperial Royale Hotel.“There are many gender-related challenges that hinder women from prospering in business, responsibilities like managing homes especially taking care of children, and above all taking reproductive roles, burden women more than men,” she said.“Those are some of the challenges for which we intend to provide answers in the course of the conference.”Owot mentioned this after receiving a sh5m sponsorship package from Standard Chartered Bank. The conference key speakers will provide women with powerful and authentic inspiration.Women will also be provided with practical business knowledge and tools that will enable them become and stay more relevant, competitive and successful in running sustainable businesses. Read more
GBOU: Central banks need independence to pursue politically-determined goals
The theme of my address this afternoon is the role, responsibilities and governance of the central bank in a modern market-oriented economy, such as that of Uganda.If Uganda is to create and implement a successful development agenda and beyond, it must build strong institutions of economic governance.Academics and economic policymakers have learned many lessons about macroeconomic policy and central banking for years, and these lessons have influenced radical changes in the practice of monetary policy and the governance of central banks around the world, including in Uganda.In some important respects, including the operational independence of the central bank, the adoption of an inflation-targeting monetary policy framework and risk-based bank supervision, Uganda has been among the pioneers of radical reform in Africa. Read more
ASTF: Fisheries sector gets FAO boost
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) managed Africa Solidarity Trust Fund has extended $3.9m to four East African countries to help boost aquaculture and poultry farming. ASTF says the aim was to address food security and build capacity of rural youth to obtain decent employment in the agricultural sector.Four countries will benefit from the funding: Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. Alhaji Jallow, FAO's representative in Uganda, said Uganda's potion of the money would create decent employment opportunities for the youth, especially within the fisheries and aquaculture subsector."Uganda will receive $1,060,000 [roughly Shs 2.8bn]. The amount will be used to increase the overall productivity of aquaculture's value chain, improve the incomes of the youth and increase the availability of local produced fish," he said. Read more
UNBS: Kigozi urges companies on quality
Former Uganda Investment Authority executive director Maggie Kigozi has urged local manufacturers to commit themselves to producing high quality products.She said this will see them thrive in the face of competition from Kenyan and Ethiopian products among others that have been propelled by the ideals of the Common Market for East and Central Africa (Comesa) Free Trade Area.Speaking as chief guest at the second National Quality Gala organised by Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) in Kampala, Ms Kigozi warned manufacturers that they are dealing with a consumer market that understands the quality of what they purchase and consume.She said: “The consumers have changed; you are now producing for a largely middle class people who know what they want. They critically examine products before buying them because they want to consume particular amounts of nutrients. In the past, you would get away with such things but this is gone and you should be very much concerned.” Read more
UEPB: 82 Ugandan companies enter EAC market
Eighty-two new small to medium Ugandan companies have managed to break into the East African market, according to the Uganda Exports Promotions Board (UEPB).Of these, 35 went to Kenya, 21 to Rwanda, 17 to Burundi and nine to Tanzania.The countries have exported over $15m (sh40b) worth of goods. These join the traditional big Ugandan firms, which have been exporting to the region for long, according to the board.The entry into the regional market of these small companies that had been unable to is a boost to Uganda’s regional trade.Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde conferred certificates to the emerging group of exporters and urged them to pay attention to the quality and safety of products as they penetrate previously tough markets such as Kenya. Kyambadde stressed the need for innovation as key to the product’s global; competitiveness.“We can no longer afford to continue producing products and services using methods and technologies, some of which are not environmentally friendly,” Kyambadde said.The new manufacturers are beneficiaries of a partnership between Uganda and Ireland under a programme called Traidlinks. Read more
BoU mulls agency banking as it moves services closer to public
In an attempt to increase the banking population, Bank of Uganda wants to roll out agency banking in the country, deputy governor Louis Kasekende has said.Agency banking refers to situations where commercial banks recruit other businesses with a nationwide presence to offer banking services on their behalf. The partnership between financial institutions and agents is expected to help the former take services closer to the people, and more importantly, to remote, unbanked areas.Under agency banking, customers can apply for loans, deposits and withdraw cash at locations such as supermarkets, shops and fuel stations around the country.Agency banks also provide normal banking services such as cash deposits and withdrawals, salary payments, pension payouts, disbursement and repayment of loans, transfer of funds and the issuing of mini bank statements, all through the shared facilities. Read more
CNE: Gov’t Borrows 1.3tn Illegally
The government of Uganda has borrowed a total of Shs 1,302,961,140,000 without getting the constitutionally required Parliament’s approval.This was revealed during a Parliamentary committee hearing .The Committee of National Economy unearthed the alleged illegality in a hot session with the officials from ministries of Finance and Energy led by ministers Maria Kiwanuka and Irene Muloni respectively who failed to convince lawmakers why the Executive bypassed Parliament to borrow the huge sum of funds.The Committee chaired by Ibanda North Xavier Kyoma was surprised to learn that the two ministers have already secured $482,578,200 – an equivalent of Shs 1.3tn from the Export-Import Bank (EXIM). The government officials want the transaction endorsed by Parliament. Read more
MTN tops most admired, valuable African Brand
The Brand Africa 100Ò rankings of the most admired and most valuable brands in sub-Saharan Africa were released at the Nairobi Stock Exchange in Kenya. In the overall rankings, Coca-Cola toppled Nokia as the most admired brand in Africa, while MTN moved up a spot in the admiration ranks among Africans.“While it is nice to again be acknowledged as Africa’s most valuable brand, it is even nicer to be ranked the most admired African brand. It means that MTN doesn’t just have a spot in our customers’ pocket book, but in their hearts and minds as well. A special thanks to our employees who are the best ambassadors of the MTN brand. Our employees have also done very well to partner with communities through projects such as the Days of Y’ello Care staff volunteer programme,” says Jennifer Forrester, Executive for Marketing, MTN Group. Read more
Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde: Nordic oil companies looking for investment partners in Uganda
Government has created a forum where businessmen from Norway, Sweden and Uganda will start reporting the bottlenecks they face as they try to establish their businesses here.While opening the Nordic business celebrations in Kampala, Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde said the forum will be similar to the one her ministry created for the American Chamber of Commerce and Industry.The forum, she said, helped government to uncover challenges investors encounter as they try to establish businesses and have hampered the implementation of the public-private partnership policy.“We need the partnerships and I suggest that we start the quarterly consultative meetings like we have done with the American Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It helped me to uncover many things I had never known,” she told the delegates. Read more
Ascent Capital Limited: New Shs54b private equity fund to spur access to capital
Eastern Africa’s new private equity player, Ascent, has launched a $20 million (about Shs54 billion) equity fund in Uganda to be invested in commercially viable companies.The fund, under the flagship of The Ascent Rift Valley Fund, targets to invest a minimum of $2 million (about Shs5.4 billion) and a maximum of $10 million (about Shs27 billion) per Ugandan enterprise.Private Equity is money invested into a private company, or the privatisation of a company through the investment of outside money.Launching the fund at the Kampala Serena Hotel, the senior partner with Ascent Capital Limited, Mr Lucas Kranck, said: “We will invest up to $20 million in Uganda. Ascent will invest in businesses (companies) with a proven track record and a potential for rapid growth. Ideally, these companies must be in operation.” Read more
NTI: Textile manufacturers want the national textile policy implemented
Textile industries are pushing for the implementation of a National Textile Policy.  They also want government institutions compelled to buy textiles from local companies. Nyanza Textile Industries Limited general manager, Vinay Kumar said: “Once implemented, the policy would enable textile companies access to concessional financing for investment.”He told MPs on education and sports committee who were on a tour of the company factory that several textile companies in Uganda are idle despite abundant cotton grown in Eastern Uganda and Acholi sub regions.“Although the government announced the National Textile Policy, it has not been implemented,” Kumar said. He noted that no new investment on board despite Uganda’s comparative advantage premised on availability of medium staple cotton.Read more
GML-Chedid & Associates East Africa Ltd: Dubai insurer set for Uganda
Chedid Capital, a Dubai-based insurance and reinsurance broker has entered into a strategic partnership with GML, a Mauritius conglomerate aimed at providing operational management of brokers in Uganda, Kenya and eight other countries.The 50-50 joint venture under the name GML-Chedid & Associates East Africa Ltd and estimated combined revenues of $1.2b (sh3.2trillion) will initially be based in Nairobi before moving inward to Kampala.The new firm will enter into strategic partnerships to oversee, design, and control processes of selected licensed brokers to make them more efficient as oil and gas revenues start to flow. Arnaud Lagesse, the GML boss said: “Everyone is talking about Africa and we happen to have a sound experience of doing business on the continent.“This new venture will allow us to tap into the lucrative markets in East Africa whilst relying on Chedid’s expertise and GML’s proximity and knowledge of the earmarked regions.”Uganda has 26 licensed insurance brokers, some of which are the focus of the partnership.Read more
URA busts mobile phone smuggling route
Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has bust a route used by smugglers of mobile phones into Uganda and impounded mobile phones worth Shs34 million.The smugglers have been using the Mirama Hills shortcuts in Ntungamo District near Uganda-Rwanda border to ferry in mobile phones from Rwanda.Ms Sarah Banage, the URA spokesperson, said the Uganda-Rwanda border has not been known as a smuggling route for such items until their enforcement team followed up a tip off.“Rwanda charges lower taxes on mobile phones than Uganda which means their mobile phones, are cheaper than those in Uganda,” Ms Banage said.“Due to the porousness of Uganda-Rwanda border, smugglers bring into Uganda electronic gadgets including mobile phones bulk into their homes in districts of Ntungamo and Isingiro then transport few pieces to the market to avoid detection,” she added. Read more
USE registers Shs201 billion turnover drop in third quarter
Slowdown in equity market activities in the number of shares being offloaded from the market, has seen Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) register a drop in its total turnover of Shs201 billion.USE trade statistics show the bourse realised a total turnover of Shs42 billion from 192 million shares traded during which the Exchange’s total turnover stood at Shs243 billion from the trading of 816 million shares.However, USE explains that the market has been relatively stable, with both the retail and institutional investors actively participating in the stock market. Statistics show Umeme had the largest turnover accounting for 53.3 per cent of the total, followed by dfcu Bank at 33.71 per cent, Stanbic Bank at 7.5 per cent and Bank of Baroda at 4.13 per cent. Read more
IRA: Insurance regulator proposes new guidelines for companies
The Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) has proposed new guidelines for insurance companies that are looking to offer health services in the country.Key among the proposals, if agreed upon, will require Health Maintenance Organisations to have a capital investment of Shs500 million and 30 per cent of the working capital.The Micro-insurance segment will be required to have Shs100 million and Shs4 billion for non-life insurance companies before being registered by IRA.The regulator also proposes that all health insurance staff be required to have requisite qualifications and experience in offering health services to their clients.Speaking at a consultative workshop for the draft of micro-insurance regulations, health insurance and membership organisations, IRA chief executive officer Ibrahim Kaddunabi Lubega said the proposed regulations will help streamline health insurance in the country.Read more
BOU has no influence on govt spending
Q Please clarify the allegations that BOU printed money for the elections and that there is a correlation with the inflation episode the country experienced. What assurances can BOU give the public that we will not have a repeat of the inflation episode? If readers were to examine the budget data, they would see that the net amount of money lent by the BOU to the Government was only sh94b, which is less than one quarter of one per cent of GDP, and this includes the funds lent by the BOU to government for the purchase of military equipment from Russia, which loans were in US dollars.Consequently, the small amount of net financing of government by the BOU in that had no significant impact on money supply growth or inflation. The rise in inflation was caused by a combination of food supply shocks, exchange rate depreciation and rapid growth of borrowing by the private sector.Read more
UCOC: Pakistan to facilitate Uganda businessmen to exhibit in Karachi
The Pakistani government has in bid to bolster trade and economic relations between Uganda and Pakistani laxed visa entry restrictions for Uganda traders entering Pakistan. Amir Mohyuddin the Commercial Counselor, at the Pakistan High Commission echoed these concerns during his visit to Kampala.The counselor who was in Kampala to promote the 9th Edition of the Expo Pakistan said boosting trade relations between Uganda and Pakistan is high on the agenda now. Mohyuddin who also had talks with Olive Kigongo the Uganda Chamber of Commerce and Industry boss reechoed the opportunities of enhancing bilateral trade between Uganda and Pakistan. “Pakistan enjoys competitive advantage in a number of industrial sectors such as textiles, leather, pharmaceutical and agro machinery as well as light engineering goods,” said Mohyuddin. He noted that all these sectors would be displayed at the forthcoming Expo. “Ugandan businessmen can benefit from the expo by sourcing their imports from Pakistan at competitive prices,” he told a meeting of Pakistan businessmen at Kati Kati restaurant in Kampala. Read more
MOH: Ministry wants local drug makers protected
The health ministry has supported the quest by local manufacturers of medicines and other health supplies to be protected from foreign competition to enhance citizens’ access to drugs.“Medicines like Panadol and Septrine can be made and bought cheaply in Uganda but we continue buying them from abroad. It is a shame,” Dr. Asuman Lukwago, the ministry’s permanent secretary noted.“Local pharmaceutical companies can be given affirmative action in terms of resources and assured market to boost local capacity. Procuring from home is cheaper; it can improve availability of medicines.”He was responding to drug manufacturers who requested the Government to adopt a protectionism policy in the pharmaceutical sector.“We (local producers) have a lot of capacity but the country is not utilising it. We have a lot of capacity for most generic drugs. Why do we keep importing them?” Ramesh Babu, the director of ABACUS, one of the local producers of health supplies, asked.“Unless you give us protection, we shall continue wasting money procuring drugs from abroad,” he added, arguing that continued importation deters investment in the sector. Read more
Museveni: I’ll supervise poverty eradication drive
President Yoweri Museveni has said that the NRM Government is committed totally to the supervision of the poverty eradication drive in the country.The President made the remarks at the Jinja district headquarters where he addressed a gathering of market vendors and other stakeholders shortly after commissioning the new Jinja market that cost Shs.28 billion. The venture was funded by the African Development Bank (ADF).President Museveni told the excited crowd that the market was built with the aim of facilitating all the vendors that operated from the market without discrimination. He allayed fears of some vendors being denied the infrastructure that was built to facilitate them in their efforts to eradicate poverty. Read more
MEMD: Uganda mineral deposits increase
Fresh statistics from the ministry of Energy and Mineral Development indicate a steady increase in Uganda's mineral reserves, a development that could transform the country's outlook.Energy Minister Irene Muloni released the figures during the fourth Joint Sector Review meeting for the ministry of Energy and Mineral Development at Speke Resort Munyonyo. Muloni said in addition to an increase in oil and gas reserves, other mineral reserves had also shot up. Government announced that the country's oil reserves had increased to 6.5 billion barrels of oil, from 3.5 billion, while natural gas reserves had also gone up to 500 billion cubic feet ,from 14 million cubic feet. Muloni revealed that in addition to the previously known iron ore deposits mainly in Kabale district, there were new discoveries elsewhere.Read more
Afreximbank promises long-term funding to businesses
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is ready to provide medium and long-term finance to Ugandan businesses with particular interest in the oil sector, the bank's management has said.According to the bank's vice-president, Dr Benedict Oramah, the Cairo-based bank "would create a country-specific programme for Uganda" where they would tailor their products to specific needs of firms. The bank will also target exporters and importers, he said."In the near term, Uganda will be a producer of oil and this will increase its fiscal account. It is evident we have been heavily engaged in oil and mining activities, especially services across Africa," Oramah told a Ugandan business community at a roadshow event at Protea hotel.Read more
Uganda needs eight percent annual growth to attain middle income status - NPA
For Uganda to attain the kind of growth that should propel it to middle-income status, the economy has to grow by an average of eight per cent and it should be underpinned by a stable and predictable environment, a report from the National Planning Authority (NPA) has noted.In his keynote presentation during a meeting with the private sector in Kampala, the executive director of NPA, Joseph Muvawala, said the obligation of running the economy lies in the hands of the private sector and that government will only concentrate on improving its coordination, focus and business environment."The responsibility of running the economy is entirely a private sector affair. It is the private sector that will generate jobs. It is also the private sector that is competitive and the engine of growth, and not the government. Without you, we can do very little," he said. Read more
CSBAG: Activists want agriculture budget raised to Shs1 trillion
Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG), a coalition engaged in budget advocacy, wants the Ministry of Agriculture budget to be raised to Shs1 trillion on the grounds that it supports the livelihood of the majority of Ugandans. The group adds that if that is not done, then the budget should not fall below at least Shs800 billion. The Ministry of Finance allocated Shs430 billion to the agriculture sector, up from Shs405.3 billion .However, information available reveals the ministry has a funding gap of Shs816.96 billion in the medium-term already.In an interview with the Daily Monitor, the CSBAG coordinator, Mr Julius Mukunda, said the increment would be used in acquiring modern research laboratories, commercial research linking farmers to the market. Read more
HFB: Shilling to gain some ground
The Uganda shilling is expected to recover some ground against the dollar as the demand for the greenback from both corporate companies and traders slows down, analysts have said.The shilling has traded at its weakest points, swinging between Shs 2,710 and Shs 2,770, losing more than seven per cent of its value against the dollar. Robert Mpuga, a chief forex trader at Housing Finance bank, told The Observer, that huge demand for the dollar from telecom firms, energy and manufacturing sector had put pressure on the local currency.He added that government had released a lot of money to its contractors in infrastructure, including roads.Read more
Vodafone Launches Operations in Uganda
Vodafone and Afrimax Group (“Afrimax”) – a 4G LTE telecommunications operator in sub-Saharan Africa –  jointly announced a strategic framework agreement to cooperate and explore opportunities for Partner Market agreements in the region. Vodafone announced a Partner Market agreement in Uganda with Afrimax. Under the non-equity framework agreement, Vodafone and Afrimax will explore potential Partner Market opportunities in a variety of territories in sub-Saharan Africa.Under the Partner Market agreement in Uganda, the two companies will offer customers with voice and data products  and services using the ‘Vodafone Uganda’ brand. Vodafone’s multinational corporate customers will benefit from  the addition of Uganda to their existing contracts for international managed services. Read more
URSB: How trademarks offer protection
How do your customers identify the goods or services your business offers? I  bought a lovely scarf at one of the craft markets on Buganda Road. My friend Susan admired it so much that she wanted to get one just like it.Unfortunately, when she went to the same craft market, Susan found it impossible to find what she was looking for. Without labels or any other form of identification on their products, the scarf-makers are missing out on the opportunity to cultivate repeat customers and to benefit from word of mouth advertising. Their scarves are nameless and can also be imitated by anyone who chooses to. If your goods or services are nameless and thus difficult to identify and protect, you ought to think about using some form of identifier.Read more
Cleaning up management and poor workmanship
I consult with organisations on matters such as strategy and employee effectiveness and I also come across those same issues on the few boards that I sit on and there is a scary commonality that I see with many a Ugandan organisation and that is the commonness of mismanagement and incompetence.Incompetence is the inability to do something successfully while mismanagement is being careless or inefficient. I am always surprised that Ugandans are so comfortable with mismanagement and incompetence to the point that they get shocked when you suggest that the twin vices be eradicated.Take the example of one charitable organisation with a growing budget and workforce. A senior female manager in the organisation met a girl who impressed her with her singing ability. The singing girl asked the manager to give her a job and even though there was no vacancy, the manager created for her a volunteer position as a receptionist. Read more
Climatescope: Uganda top in attracting renewable energy investors
Uganda has been ranked 10th out of the 55 countries in world and third among African nations in Climatescope rankings, thanks to reforms in the electricity sector that have attracted investment and the fledging GET FiT programme. Climatescope is a countryby- country assessment of countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean on their past, present, and future ability to attract investment for clean energy companies and projects. Clean energy includes biofuels, biomass and waste, geothermal, solar, wind and small hydro (up to 50MW) – but not large hydro. In Africa, Uganda is only beaten by South Africa and Kenya in the Climatescope index.According to the report, Uganda performed best on Parameter III, achieving 75% low-carbon value chains. The report notes that Uganda’s non-large hydro clean energy sector attracted $307m (about sh829b), though annual investment ranged from $135m (sh365b). Read more
Uganda rises up against MTN exploitation 
Describing the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) under Godfrey Mutabazi as a “toothless dog,” hundreds of Ugandans will take to the streets in Kampala to peaceful protest against what they have termed as “perpetual exploitation and thieving” perpetrated by telecom giant MTN, Chimp Corps report. "we are going to officially hand in our dissatisfaction note and complaint to the Minister of ICT Hon George William Nyombi Thembo at his office on Parliament Avenue,” announced Justus Amanya who is leading efforts to pressure government to crack down on MTN’s “undemocratic and 24/7 robbery.” Read more
Smart Telecom: Telecoms Jostle for Regional Market
Big players to dominate the sector but challenges remain as region seeks to deepen penetration levelsSmart Telecom, the newest entrant into the regional telecom market, is starting to appreciate how difficult it is to penetrate a market dominated by giants. It has been in operation in Uganda, it has recorded just 100, 000 subscribers. It got more in Burundi (400, 000) but just slightly more in Tanzania (180, 000), but it hopes to build on these numbers to become a truly regional operator.But Smart Telecom Chief Executive Officer for East Africa, Abdellatif Bouziani has no delusions. "It is difficult to attract a customer to your network who has been with an operator for years," Bouziani says, "You can only do it over time." Readmore
Africell Completes Acquisition of Orange Uganda, Reaches 11 Million Active Subscribers
Africell, one of the fastest growing mobile telecommunications operators in Africa, announces it has completed the acquisition of Orange Uganda.The transaction will add to Africell's portfolio 700,000 subscribers, as well as a 2G - 3G - 4G network. Africell has now reached 11 million active subscribers, a 700% increase , and expects with over 12 million subscribers.Ziad Dalloul, Chairman & CEO of Africell, said:"Africell's acquisition of Orange Uganda presents a great opportunity for us to replicate the success we have achieved in other territories. This is an important strategic step for the company; this acquisition will add substantial growth to our portfolio which already includes the fastest growing network in DRC and another two operations with an uncontestable first rank in market share; in Gambia and Sierra Leone." Read more
MEMD: Govt signs Shs12 trillion contract for oil pipeline feasibility study
The government has signed a contract with Toyota Tsusho, a Japanese company to carry out a feasibility study that will see the crude oil pipeline construction start.Energy minister Irene Muloni signed the $4.5b (Shs12.3 trillion) contract at the Ministry of Energy Sector Review held in Kampala.Ms Muloni said the feasibility study is one of the regional projects that the governments of Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya agreed to develop together in order to share resources.The countries would also be able to come up with the least cost tariffs for the export of crude oil to access the international markets. Read more
PEPD: New date set for refinery investor
Government will hire the lead investor who will develop the 60,000 barrels refinery, Ms Irene Batebe, a senior petroleum officer at Petroleum Exploration and Production department has said.This pushes the process date futher as government had announced that it would select the lead investor. This was after shortlisting the bidders in the tendering process from four to two consortia; SK Group from South Korea and RT – Global Resources from Russia.“We did not anticipate that the preliminary negotiations would take long. The investors asked for an incentive package which called for consultations with line ministries like the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Justice and Uganda Revenue Authority before taking a decision. This explains the delay,” Ms Batebe said. Read more
URA says more Ugandans lost jobs, but revenues improved
At least 4,030 Ugandans lost their jobs as companies cut down their wage bill, the Uganda Revenue Authority has said.According to URA, an analysis of the top 300 taxpayers, both public and private organisations, shows that the number of employees reduced to 118,114 from 122,144. The tax body noted, saw a drop in the collections of the Pay as You Earn (PAYE) tax. All workers earning more than 235,000 are expected to remit PAYE."For instance, the termination of employment contracts for employees under some government agencies led to a revenue loss of Shs 3.6bn," Commissioner General Doris Akol told reporters at the URA headquarters in Nakawa. She was presenting the revenue performance. Read more
Hima to transport cement to sites
It is now possible to have unpackaged cement delivered at your premises courtesy of Hima Cement Limited.According to Hima, this type of service will reduce on counterfeited cement and cut down on the buyer's transportation costs. Daniel Pettersson, the country manager of Hima Cement Uganda, said this way of selling cement was being used in other developed markets."We are evolving from being a producer of cement only, to a partner for solutions," he said, during the launch of the product at Kyadondo rugby grounds recently.He said each truck has a capacity to transport 28 tonnes to 32 tonnes of cement. Hima has a production capacity of 850,000 tonnes of cement. Read more
Crane Bank invests Shs825b in expansion
In bid to increase its visibility and take banking services closer to the people, Crane Bank has invested about Shs825 billion in opening branches across the country.It has budgeted about Shs200 billion, most of which will be spent in increasing the banks presence around the country.Speaking in an interview after launching its 42nd branch in Kyengera, the bank’s acting managing director, Mr P.K Gupta said about Shs825billion has been spent on opening branches all over the country.He said: “We believe in what we do and our focus is to offer services that are relevant to people where our branches are.” Read more
SMI: Minister urges South African tycoons to invest in Uganda
State minister for Investment Gabriel Ajedra Aridru has urged South African investors to invest in Uganda especially in commercialised farming, real estate, mining, trade and tourism, among other sectors.While speaking as the chief guest at the opening ceremony of South African Trade and Invest seminar on Wednesday, Dr Ajedra said the above sectors present virgin opportunities for investment.He said: “Uganda has high deposits of unexplored minerals on top of the already discovered, like oil and Iron ore, the country‘s real estate is underdeveloped and cannot accommodate the current middle class. Uganda is endowed with fertile soils coupled with a good climate for commercialised agriculture.” Read more
WTO: Uganda asks world trade body to make markets available
The Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have expressed the need to trade more freely with developed members in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) .In an annual report which the WTO Secretariat presented to the sub-committee on LDCs’ market access, Uganda, the coordinator of the LDCs, said WTO member countries—mostly the wealthy ones, need to open up their markets for products from poor economies.Uganda also suggests that there should be more trading between each other as it is a far better alternative compared to relying on aid from the Most Developed Countries (MDCs). Read more
URA closes first quarter with Shs470m revenue shortfall
Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has missed its revenue collection targets by Shs470 million, the tax body revenue quarter performance indicates.Releasing her maiden revenue performance results at the tax body’s headquarters in Kampala, the new Commissioner General, Ms Doris Akol said: “ URA has collected net revenue of Shs2.8 trillion, registering a performance rate of 99.98 per cent.” She continued: “This represents a growth of 15 per cent (translating into Shs388 billion) compared to the same period.”The deficit which translates into about Shs470 million is the lowest ever registered. The performance was boosted by impressive domestic collections which recorded 100 per cent performance. Read more
Government bureaucracy affecting investment - PSFU boss
Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) board chairman Patrick Bitature wants government institutions to do more in curbing bureaucracy because it is an issue that the private sector encounters regularly. He says the slow and confusing bureaucracy negatively impact on the much-needed development agenda that the government expects to be driven by the private sector. Speaking during the KCB property bus tour, Mr Bitature cited real estate developers among the victims of government bureaucracies because they must get approvals from several government agencies before putting up properties.“Getting official documents from such institutions to put up property takes a long time, and that discourages investors,” Mr Bitature said.He continued: “If we are to encourage growth in the sector, such issues must be addressed quickly.” Read more
NPA: Shs120 trillion needed to finance phase two of NDP
The second phase of the National Development Plan will require a budget totalling Shs120 trillion of implementation if its impact is to be felt, National Planning Authority (NPA) executive director Joseph Muvawala has said. Speaking at a meeting with private sector leaders, organised by the NPA in Kampala, Mr Muvawala said the responsibility of running the economy is entirely a private sector affair as the government will only concentrate on improving its co-ordination, focus and enhancing the business environment.He said the sector is expected to contribute at least 80 per cent of Shs120 trillion, something the leaders said is no mean achievement considering that the cost of doing business in Uganda is still higher than that of countries such as Kenya and Egypt. Read more
BOUG: Administrators told to embrace change
The introduction of information technology in office has radically transformed the work of secretaries and administrative assistants and altered the type of skills that they require to perform their work to manage businesses and organisations.Bank of Uganda Governor, Emmanuel Mutebile, said the requirements of all professions change over time, and this applies to secretaries and administrative assistants as much as to any other type of profession.This was during a conference for secretaries and administrative assistants. It was held at Grand Imperial Hotel, Kampala.It was organized by the National Association of Secretaries and Administrative Professionals (NASAP).“Informational technology enables secretaries and administrative assistants to be much more productive, but it has also raised substantially the skills requirements of the profession,” Mutebile said in a speech read for him by Solomon Okecho, executive director administration, Bank of Uganda. Read more
WBDB: High costs slow down control of EA cargo business
The cost of engaging in cross-border trade has risen in Kenya to nearly double the charges in Tanzania, putting a speed bump on the country’s bid to control East Africa’s logistics business.It costs an average of 2,255 (about Shs6,122,325) for a firm based in Kenya to export a 40-foot container and KShs209, 150 (about Shs6,305,859) to import same cargo size, the World Bank’s Doing Business shows. The survey shows that Tanzania, the only other East African state with a seaport, charges just $1,090 (about Shs2,959,350) to facilitate export of a standard container and KShs143,735 (about Shs4,333,601 ) to import one. Read more
Government bureaucracy affecting investment - PSFU boss
Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) board chairman Patrick Bitature wants government institutions to do more in curbing bureaucracy because it is an issue that the private sector encounters regularly. He says the slow and confusing bureaucracy negatively impact on the much-needed development agenda that the government expects to be driven by the private sector. Speaking recently during the KCB property bus tour, Mr Bitature cited real estate developers among the victims of government bureaucracies because they must get approvals from several government agencies before putting up properties.“Getting official documents from such institutions to put up property takes a long time, and that discourages investors,” Mr Bitature said.He continued: “If we are to encourage growth in the sector, such issues must be addressed quickly.” Read more
USMA: Sugar prices rise in face of festive season
As the festive season draws close, prices of sugar have increased, a survey conducted by this newspaper has revealed.Consumers have to part with an extra Shs600 for a kilo of sugar which shot up from Shs2,200 to Shs2,800. Retailers have to pay Shs30,000 more for a 50 Kilogrammes bag of sugar whose price scaled up from Shs90,000 to Shs120,000. Mr Jim Kabeho, the chairperson of Uganda Sugar Millers Association, said the price increase was a result of the high demand that is typical of the period in the run up to the end of the year
“Demand is high towards the festive season because people are stocking sugar for the holidays.This is an opportunity for the companies that have been making losses since the beginning of the year to start making some profits,” Mr Kabeho explained.Read more
Cheki: Flexibility in modern work environments trigger productivity
Over the past decade, the context in which work takes place is changing and has created new opportunities for companies in modern-day Uganda. Traditionally, a typical work space has closed wall offices, closed doors, separation of offices and the formal suit-format of dressing. However, with the up rise of the X and Y-generations and the growth of advanced technologies enabled by the internet, the work place is being redefined to have new values, expectations and a need for flexibility. Cheki Uganda Office Manager Julian Mugisha says, "Cheki’s flexible work environment allows our staff to set suitable work conditions, that will enable them maximize their individual contribution to our overall goals and objectives as a company. As a result we choose not to prioritise the time our staff spend in the office or how they dress when they are there, for example some of our staff prefer to come in earlier than 7am and leave the office a bit earlier to avoid the rush hour traffic" Read more
NSSF to the Rescue
The Uganda Clays counter on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) had neither outstanding bids nor offers, but 50,000 shares were traded at Shs 20 each. This is hardly the activity one would expect from a company in which the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), East Africa's largest pension fund, took majority shares. The Fund took a decision to convert its debt in the troubled clay products maker into shares - thus raising its shareholding to 66%. The decision has sparked mixed reactions from shareholders and market analysts, but top NSSF bosses have defended it as a "prudent" deal.At the Fund's second annual members' meeting in Kampala, Geraldine Ssali, the acting managing director, told The Independent that converting the Shs 18 billion debt - which the company was unable to pay it back - into shares would give NSSF a controlling interest. "Our intention is to resuscitate the business so it becomes profitable because the business is the underlying asset for the share floating. So once the business turns around and the share price starts to go up, you can now start to exit by selling your shares in a profitable manner," she said. Read more
NIC Bank puts aside $134 million for expansion
The Group Managing Director of NIC Bank Group, John Gachora, has said the regional financial institution has raised capital worth $134 million to create new products, expand its branch network and meet other general capital uses. Gachora was speaking in Kampala at a function where NC Bank Uganda, a subsidiary of the NIC Bank Group, met their customers to say thank you for their support. Gachora said they have raised Ksh5.5 billion (about $61.2 million) through a bond in Kenya, acquired a Kshs4.5bn (about $50.1 million) loan from IFC and also raised Kshs2.1 billion (about $23.3m) from a rights issue on Nairobi Stock Exchange. Read more
BID: Human resource, business advisory firm scoops global award
ABS Consulting Group, an independent local human resource and business consulting company, scooped the International Star for Leadership in Quality award in the Gold category, after being scrutinized by a technical team from the global Business Initiative Directions (BID), the organisers A BID award is given to companies and organizations that are leaders in the implementation of quality, innovation, and excellence.The objective of the awards is to celebrate those organisations which are committed to continuous improvement. The awards offer recognition and publicity to organizations which are bettering practices and working towards creating a successful and sustainable quality culture. Paris hosted BID International Star for Leadership in Quality Convention, where professionals and business leaders from over 100 organizations in 51 countries around the world were present. Read more
UCC issues warning to telecom companies over unwanted SMS
The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has issued a directive to telecommunication companies over unsolicited messages and warned to take action against non-compliant players.The instruction, which takes effect, was published in the last edition of the Daily Monitor. It laid down the requirements that telecom companies are obliged to abide by as a measure to address the problem of unnecessary messages.Mr Fred Otunnu, the director for broadcasting at UCC, said the decision was sparked by the persistent complaints from the public about the unsolicited messages.“Consequently the industry working group, chaired by UCC, sat down and came up with measures that all telecommunication service providers as well as information and content providers have to adopt to deal with this issue,” says Mr Otunnu. Read more
MOF: Accountants told to get registered
Basing on the new Accountants Act in place, the ministry of Finance has called on all practising accountants in the public and private sectors to register with the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU), saying it is a law that must be adhered to.Addressing guests during the financial reporting awards at the Kampala Serena Hotel, Finance minister Maria Kiwanuka said: “Every accountant practicing accounting in the country must register with Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda.”Financial reporting refers to the periodic production of business financial statements. Financial statements include the balance sheet. The balance sheet summarizes a company’s assets, liabilities and shareholders’ equity over time. Read more
TMEA: Uganda saving Shs145b in customs annually - expert
 As a result of embracing technology at custom points, Uganda is saving at least $56 million (about Shs145 billion), the chief executive of officer of TradeMark East Africa (TMEA), Mr Frank Matsaert, has said.According to Mr Matsaert, this is a result of TMEA’s massive investment into the EAC regional revenue authorities-particularly at the customs, estimated at $55 million (about Shs43 billion).Speaking at an outreach meeting organised by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in Nairobi, Mr Matsaert urged the East African countries to embrace trade facilitation because it pays in terms of easing doing business, thus enhancing competitiveness. Read more
UIA Boss blames govt for poor investment ranking
The executive director of the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), Dr Frank Ssebowa, has blamed inefficiencies within government agencies for the poor World Bank rankings. Dr Ssebowa's remarks come after the recently-released Doing Business report ranked Uganda at 150th, 18 places below. Describing the ranking as 'a pity,' Ssebowa said government agencies needed to get their act together and adopt more efficient ways of facilitating people and organisations to do business."Until we amend laws and ensure that government bodies recognise the one-stop centre, we shall continue to rank poorly," he told journalists at the Uganda Media Centre. "It is only in Uganda where an investor is required to pay for a transformer when they try to connect power to their factories. Government should be doing that." Read more
Vivo Energy: Falling global oil prices draw mixed reactions from local fuel dealers
The decline of the global oil prices to a low of about $83 (about Shs 223,270) a barrel from $115 (about Shs 309,350) has been received with mixed reactions by the local fuel dealers. Vivo Energy Uganda, which sells and distributes Shell branded fuels in the country, reacted with an average reduction of Shs100 on the prices of diesel and petrol, according to Mr Hans Paulsen, the company managing director. Mr Paulsen said Vivo Enerygy Uganda’s decision was informed by the tumbling prices of Brent crude.He explained: “There are several factors we consider in setting pump prices at Shell Service stations. The world oil prices (Platts) are one key determinant.” Read more
KT: Fallacies in Uganda's tax policy criticised
The assertion that increasing indirect taxes will help in widening the narrow tax base by establishing taxes on basic food items is a fallacy, Kigo Thinkers [KT] have said.While addressing journalists at Shanghai restaurant in Kampala, Oskar Musoke, a founding member of Kigo Thinkers, said increasing indirect taxes will not widen the tax base."The common belief is that government has the powers to decide and the citizens are resigned to government telling them what to do," he said, adding: "It should, therefore, be contested whether government ever makes laws or policies with the citizens as the primary beneficiary."
Musoke cited government's policy of taxing the citizens to keep the status quo as opposed to taxing them to bring about social transformation. He said such contentions should raise the question of good governance in the country. Read more
Metcalf: Nile Breweries Slashes Prices
Nile Breweries has slashed the prices of some of its low-end beer brands.The prices of all brands in the Eagle family - Eagle Lager, Eagle Extra, and Eagle Dark - have been cut, some by as much as 20 per cent, according to a company statement."For Eagle Extra, this represents a 20 per cent reduction to Shs 2,000, making our brands the most competitive in the market," Greg Metcalf, the Nile Breweries managing director, said.Brewed for the low-end market, the Eagle brand is also known for supporting farmers as all the raw materials for the beer are grown locally. Metcalf said the drop in the beer prices would increase the amount of tax the company pays to government. Read more
Traders cheating customers - UNBS
Unscrupulous traders are altering domestic weighing scales in their business with an intention of cheating unsuspecting consumers, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has said. According to UNBS, the domestic weighing scales in use include the Hanson, Globe and Five-goat scales that fall under class four. Those approved for trading purposes fall under class three. “Weighing scales in class four are easily manipulated even in front of the customer without detection, while class three can only be adjusted using pliers and screw drivers,” said Agatha Atukunda, the inspector of Weights and Measures at UNBS. Atukunda further explained that only weights under class three are recommended for trade because they are not easily manipulated. She noted that some traders even cut out part of weighing stones and fill the void with lighter substances so that they can cheat unsuspecting customers. Read more
PAC: MPs query BOU over sh10b payment
MPs on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) want the governor of the Bank of Uganda, Emmanuel Mutebile, to explain how the bank reportedly paid out sh10b and later wrote it off. This was after Keith Muhakanizi, the finance ministry Permanent Secretary, failed to explain the circumstances under which BOU wrote off a liability of sh10b relating to promissory notes. A promissory note is a commitment to pay at a specific time in future. Muhakanizi and the Accountant General, Lawrence Ssemakula, were, appearing before PAC to answer queries raised by the Auditor General, in his report to Parliament. In a letter, BOU’s chief accountant, Zephaniah Mugisha, wrote to the Accountant General in the finance ministry indicating that the bank’s board had agreed to write off the money.“We enclose an extract of the finance committee of the board of Bank of Uganda that approved the write off of a liability relating to promissory notes of sh11b. The decision was ratified by the board at its meeting No. 295,” Mugisha said. Read more
UBS: Core Inflation Pushes Inflation up
The headline inflation rose to 1.8% compared to the 1.4% that was recorded, according to figures released by Uganda Bureau of Statistics.The increase, according to the Bureau, was largely attributed to annual core inflation that increased to 2.4% compared to the 2.0% that was recorded. Similarly, the food crops inflation increased to minus 0.8% for the year compared to minus 1.9% that was recorded.The annual EFU inflation is registered at 2.5%. Uganda's inflation has stabilized in single digits for months, thanks to a tight, accommodative monetary policy stance implemented by Bank of Uganda. It [inflation] touched a 30% mark, the highest but was slowly brought down by BoU's cautious easing of interest rates.The Bank kept its policy interest rate-the central bank rate unchanged [at 11%] because it had largely won the inflation battle. Ubos will announce the second last CPI for this year at the end of this mo Read more
Kacita wants policy of foreign investment overhauled
The Kampala City Traders’ Association (Kacita) has urged the government to develop a policy that will compel foreign investors to share business ownership of 80 per cent for the foreign investors and 20 per cent for nationals. Kacita  chairman Everest Kayondo said such a policy will make the Ugandan economy maintain its stability even when multinationals repatriate their profits. “I propose that investors own 80 per cent and the nationals at least own 20 per cent. The ownership of up to 100 per cent is dangerous for the economy,” Mr Kayondo  said.Mr Kayondo attributed the fluctuating shilling to multinationals buying dollars, a situation he said increases the cost of doing business for the local entrepreneurs as they have to use more shillings to buy dollars. Read more
KCB to invest Shs40b in housing project
KCB Uganda has set aside Shs40 billion which it will invest in financing houses for both the low and up-market clientele, the managing director, Mr Jerom Kiarie, has said.Speaking in an interview after the KCB Uganda bus tour, where several potential clients were exposed to different furnished houses, Mr Kiarie said: “We have put (invested) about Shs40 billion in real estate—financing housing mortgages and we are willing to put even more money.”He continued: " we can always discuss a win-win situation for both parties.”This mega investment in the industry, according to Mr Kiarie is twofold; the industry guarantee value for investment, whichever way one looks at it. And it’s one of its portfolios that generate the most return on investment. Much as this is good news for the industry, the challenge remains the interest rates at which the beneficiaries of the mortgage will have to part with. Read more
BM Forex Bureau: Speculation to blame for shilling volatility, market analysts say
Speculation and low supply of foreign currency, mainly the dollar, explain why the shilling has depreciated by about five points in a few days, financial market players have said.However, the situation appears to be cooling off without major intervention from Bank of Uganda, implying the panic that saw the shilling depreciate was largely a result of baseless routine market speculation.Speaking to Daily Monitor, BM Forex Bureau Ltd director Bintubizibu Mpagi, said it is at a time such as this when speculation is rife that losses can be guarded against, depending on the experience of the dealers.“Definitely situations like these cause loss, but seasoned dealers ought to know how to guard against losses caused by such baseless panic,” he said. Read more
LTCTO: Liquid Telecom completes Infocom takeover
Liquid Telecom has taken over Infocom, an Internet service provider and announced a sh2b investment to extend infrastructure across Kampala, Mukono, Jinja, Masaka and Mbarara. “We are setting up Metro towns in order to give these towns a network connection that will see their businesses access the kind of speed, reliability and affordability of Internet that users are getting in the capital Kampala,” said Hans Haerdtle, Liquid Telecom’s chief technical officer for East Africa.  “E-business and governance are taking shape and, therefore, we need to incorporate the whole population into this frontier in order to realise balanced development,” he added.  Liquid Telecom has increased the number of Points of Presence (PoPs) for its top performance business-focused Internet 11, and upgraded all its existing PoPs with capacity ranging from one to 10 Gigabytes per second. Read more
UEPBDTPPR: Hot pepper exporters impose temporal ban
Hot pepper dealers have  suspended exports to European markets following an attack by false codling moth on pepper (capsicum), fresh fruit and flowers.Speaking about the self-imposed suspension, Daniel Karibwije, the Uganda Export Promotions Board (UEPB) director trade promotions and public relations noted that the industry would emerge stronger and more competitive.“The UEPB is working closely with the ministry of agriculture and that of trade to sensitize 60,000 farmers and export houses to comply with the phytosanitary certification requirements,” Kariwije told the New Vision in a telephone interview. Karibwije noted that government has designed a program to train farmers and export houses on how to prevent and detect the moth. The false codling moth is hard to detect as its larvae grow within fresh fruit and flowers. Read more
TCA: Court orders UTL to pay MTN Shs6b interconnection fees
Court has ordered Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL) to pay its competitor, MTN Uganda Limited, more than Shs6 billion to settle an interconnection bill for the period.The Court of Appeal justices, Remmy Kasule, Rubby Aweri Opio and Richard Buteera, made the order while dismissing an appeal by UTL to uphold a High Court order in which UTL will pay interest on the said money, charges for delayed payments at 19 per cent and damages worth Shs100 million with interest at 8 per cent. “Having found that the grounds of appeal have all failed, we hereby dismiss the appeal with costs and also those of the court below to the respondent,” the judges unanimously held.Court documents indicate that, MTN invoiced UTL for Shs6 billion as interconnection fees but they later paid Shs3 billion contending that the balance was not due to them, leading to the court case. Read more
NSSF muses new investment avenues
Uganda National Social Security Fund (NSSF) are planning to roll out new products like housing, insurance, medical and education targeting low income earners to boost their limited investment portfolio.The Fund expressed desire to tap into the informal sector so that their member's base expands to meet their projected asset base growth of over Ushs6 trillion (about $2.3bn), the best in E. Africa.The Fund's asset base stands at Ushs4.4 trillion ($1.7 billion), bettering NSSF Kenya which is at $1.6billion and NSSF Tanzania at $1.3billion.This, according to the Fund's Board Chairperson Ivan Kyayonka will enable management to venture into new targeted markets and investment opportunities.The Fund also wants government together with private investors to put in place infrastructure bonds and other financial instruments for long term investment ambitions. Read more
KCCA boosts city farmers
A total of 614 farmers in Makindye and Nakawa division have been supported with 50,000 Chicks and start up feeds to boost their household incomes.Handing over the birds to the beneficiary farmers who converged at the divisions headquarters, KCCA’s executive director Jennifer Musisi challenged the beneficiaries against selling off the birds.“I congratulate the beneficiaries and I appeal to you to attend to your stock in line with the guidelines that have been passed onto you by our technical officers. I urge you to take keen interest in the chicks do not sell them off like other people have been doing” Musisi warned. Read more
Uganda seeks Algeria’s support on oil sector
Uganda has urged the government of Algeria to consider including the oil and gas sector in its bilateral cooperation areas with Uganda. Speaking during celebrations to mark the national day of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria in Kampala, state minister for regional cooperation, Asuman Kiyingi said Algeria’s support on oil and gas sector would offer an opportunity for mutual benefit and transform the lives of locals. “Uganda and Algeria have successfully continued to cooperate in various fields of endeavor. I therefore wish to urge that other areas of further cooperation should include oil and gas,” said Kiyingi. Algeria was named the fourth largest crude oil producer in Africa and the eighth largest global producer of natural gas. According to Kiyingi, both countries aspire to transform people’s social and economic status as well as playing an important positive role towards making Africa and the entire world a peaceful and prosperous one. Read more
Kaymu provides Ugandan sellers with online marketing skills
Kaymu, an online shopping website, launched a tutelage campaign dubbed ‘Kaymu Varsity’ that aims at providing sellers in Uganda with the skills and tools necessary to start selling online with little up-front investment.The program comprises of six sessions which cover the basics of operating the website and the application, order processing, payment methods, logistics, social media strategy and the seller centre. Neville Igasira, the public relations manager says that the study sessions will covers receiving in-depth information about the subjects covered. “Sellers will be taught how to upload new stock, activating discounts on their products and swift customer care. Participants also have the opportunity to ask any questions they might have about the platform,” Igasira adds. Read more
Hima Cement eyes major infrastructure projects
Hima Cement has opened a new line of business that will be supplying large quantity of cement to big industry players involved in the construction sector. Although this is not an attempt to get rid of the 50-kilogramme quantity of cement on the market, the focus, according to Hima senior managers is to lay ground for huge infrastructural projects, most of which have been budgeted for in the Shs2.6 trillion budget of the Ministry of Works and Transport. Speaking during the launch of the specialised trucks that will be ferrying the cement in bulk to the different sites, the Hima Cement country chief executive officer, Mr Daniel Pettersson, said the local market prospects are exciting and something worth to cheer up for.He said: “Projects such as Karuma and Isimba dams, the oil refinery, the construction of the pipeline and the railway will all drive growth, and as local players in the sector, we have to be prepared to take the opportunity.” Read more
Liquid Telecom invests Shs2b in Infocom internet infrastructure
Liquid Telecom, a data, voice and IP provider in eastern, central and southern Africa, has announced a Shs2 billion investment in its Ugandan subsidiary Infocom.The money is meant to extend the firm’s pan African fibre cable infrastructure across Kampala’s Central Business District (CBD) and other towns including Mukono, Jinja, Masaka, and Mbarara. “Fibre represents a completely superior quality of internet, in line with the advanced Internet offering from Infocom. Utilising Africa’s largest cable network to reach rural towns in Uganda, and to offer a world class service within Kampala’s CBD, is in line with our vision of fuelling the country’s accelerated economic growth,” said Mr Hans Haerdtle, the Liquid Telecom chief technical officer East Africa and chief executive officer Infocom. He added: “Our aim in investing so heavily in this new Ugandan internet infrastructure is to achieve better service delivery and improve the country’s internet penetration, which stands at 133rd position globally, with 16.2 per cent of Ugandans currently accessing the internet. The continued expansion of Internet infrastructure in Uganda will impact positively in improving the country’s economic situation.” Read more
MFC: Govt to set up local revenue database system
Government will introduce a local revenue database system for all the districts in Uganda in a bid to increase revenue collections at lower levels, an official in the Ministry of Local Government has said. 
Mr Johnson Gumisiriza, the head of the Grants department at the Ministry Finance Commission, said the database system will help local governments in planning, monitoring and reviewing the local revenue performance.This, he said, will be done through creating local revenue registers, capture revenue payments and produce instant reports on registration, payment and summary reports.“We are mobilising both domestic and foreign resources to enable the local governments establish their fiscal databases for the local revenue collection,” said Mr Gumisiriza. He made the revelations at a meeting with local leaders from Lamwo, Kitgum and Pader districts at a workshop organised by Southern and Eastern African Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute Uganda under the Capacity for Research and Advocacy for Fair Taxation Phase II project. Read more

NSSF Becomes East Africa's Biggest Fund
Uganda's National Social Security Fund [NSSF] is now the biggest fund in East Africa, according to the fund, which could make it one of the most sought-after institutions for finance.According to a statement from NSSF, which was released during the members' meeting, the fund's current asset base of Shs 4.4 trillion ($1.7 billion), outstripped NSSF Kenya ($1.6bn) and NSSF Tanzania $1.3bn."NSSF Uganda has become the benchmark for the industry both within and outside the East African region. Our performance has laid the foundation for our future," NSSF Chairman Ivan Kyayonka said at the meeting.Geraldine Ssali, the acting managing director of NSSF, said the asset base widened as a result of the improvement in compliance. She said the fund's asset has grown by more than 150 per cent. She said annual total contribution more than doubled to Shs 638bn from Shs 295bn. She said companies had become compliant in remitting their workers' contributions. Read more
UNBS: Consumers cautioned on rise in adulterated fuel
We have seen an increase in adulterated fuel in the market, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) head of Fuel Quality and Monitoring, Mr Peter Kitimbo, has said.However, according to him, the tendency by some fuel dealers to adulterate fuel, particularly diesel, is now reducing following the standard body’s crackdown.Speaking in a sideline interview at a workshop bringing together the fuel industry players and the regulators—UNBS and the Ministry of Energy, Mr Kitimbo said the industry saw an upward trend of adulterated fuel on the market.This is worrying  he said, because the compliance has been nearly 100 percent. The good news though is that the standard body has since increased surveillance which includes spot checks and testing, a move that is already bearing results. Read more
MOFEP: Move to help those without access to formal financial services
The Government of Rwanda has moved to accelerate its plans to transform Rwanda into a cashless economy and achieve 80 percent financial inclusion.The country’s commitment to using information and communications technology (ICT) for financial services was made as it officially joined the ‘Better Than Cash Alliance’, an initiative that works with governments, the development community, and the private sector to adopt the use of electronic payments.The alliance provides support to those who commit to make the transition. This is aimed to help people who do not have access to formal financial services and frequently have no option but to subsist almost entirely in an informal, cash-only economy.“We understand the crucial role ICT plays in all sectors of the economy, including finance. This is why we have endeavoured to promote a cashless economy by digitizing financial transactions,” Mr Claver Gatete, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning said. Read more
ED CMK Consultancy: How to widen Uganda’s tax base in a large subsistence economy
Uganda’s tax base remains small and the country is grappling with measures on how to widen the tax base in light of decreasing donor funds and pressures to finance the national budget.Christine Mugume, a former Uganda Revenue Authority official and now executive director CMK Consultancy firm has written a book entitled ‘Managing taxation in Uganda.The book gives several measures for widening Uganda’s tax which will enable Uganda fund more of its budget and infrastructure programs.It provides the nitty gritty of the tax management in Uganda and forms gives basis for private companies to apply this knowledge for proper tax management of their businesses.The book deals with how individuals and businesses can be taxed, how taxes can be computed and collected. Mugume who did tax work for audit firms stressed that government should focus on individuals with big profitable trading businesses who have not registered their businesses as companies.She said Uganda Revenue Authority could use the national identity card to track potential tax payers.“Big trading companies and big businesses pay presumptive tax instead of paying good sums of income tax on profit from the business standing at 30% for corporation tax. Read more
UBOS releases Producer Price Index
Uganda Bureau of Statistics released the producer price indices for manufacturing, hotels and construction sectors at Statistics House. The indices for hotels and restaurants indicate that annual prices for hotel services fell by 2.5 percent during the period, compared to the same period previously. This was attributed mainly to a drop in prices for hotel accommodation which dropped by 1.8 percent. However, hotel catering services increased by 11.6 percent with notable increase in prices of snacks, a la carte menu, beer, soda, mineral water, wines and spirits. The cost of production may have gone down, but the price is compounded by other costs such as transport, and other levies such as Value Added Tax, bank charges, which may make the price reductions negligible. The price fluctuations in accommodation and catering are attributed to foreign exchange rate, seasonal factors which affect hotel booking and change in consumer taste preferences. Read more
KCCA shuts down House of Eden
Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) together with Uganda National Bureau of Standards have closed House of Eden that manufactures Safi juice and Azur water for allegedly using expired raw materials. Many of the containers for CARMOSINE, a chemical ingredient for Safi products had two expired dates, one of which indicated that the product had expired. During an inspection, KCCA says the factory had poor storage conditions for raw materials and products in terms of ventilation, lightning, hygiene, temperatures and space utilization and they had no clear records and systematic procedure for material delivered, stored or retrieved. According to Robert Kalumba, KCCA's assistant spokesperson, House of Eden has been warned for a long time but they continued to use raw material which is expired, failed to put in place proper sanitary facilities for factory staff, among other violations. Read more
AMFIU: Uganda to host finance meeting for PWDs
Uganda will host the first ever conference on microfinance and disability.The conference will be hosted by the government in collaboration with the Association of Microfinance Institutions of Uganda (AMFIU) and the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU).It will be orgnanised under the theme: "Making Microfinance work for the Un-served; Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities"Speaking to the media, David Baguma the executive director, Association of Microfinance Institutions of Uganda (AMFIU) said the conference will include presentation of business practices, research and innovations in microfinance.“As we converge at this conference on microfinance and disability, we should all influence the private sector towards working with small businesses including those run by people with disabilities as a win win situation that opens doors to a whole new range of clients,” he said Baguma observed that in Uganda people with disabilities are discriminated against and face barriers when accessing financial services, education, employment, health care, and transportation among others. Read more
Shs170b set aside to boost savers’ interest - NSSF board
About Shs170 billion has been put aside to absorb shocks that could eat into members’ savings, the acting managing director of National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Ms Geraldine Busuulwa Ssali, has disclosed.This means no matter how the economy performs or no matter the loopholes the Fund encounters along the way, members’ savings will always attract interest that is above inflation.Speaking at the NSSF annual members meeting, Ms Ssali said: “We will maintain returns  even when the economy does not perform very well.”She continued: “We have a surplus of Shs170 billion and when need be, we can have some of it added on the interest of the members if the economy doesn’t do well. We have a solid financial base.” Ms Ssali further said compliance levels improved from 52 per cent, to 73 per cent and they stand at 77 per cent. Contributions grew at an average of 23 per cent, annual total contribution more than doubled from Shs295 billionn, to Shs553 billion, to Shs638 billion. “The Fund’s assets are more than adequate to cover member liabilities. Read more
Rugunda: Gov’t to lower power tariffs for big Industries 
Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has said the government is considering preferential industrial electricity tariffs for big projects as a part of measures to attract more investments in the economy.President Museveni has repeatedly said high electricity rates continue to hurt Uganda’s economic growth prospects.Expensive electricity increases the cost of doing business, scaring potential investors whose capital would lead to job creation, increased tax revenues and general economic transformation of Uganda.Rugunda said the economy was growing modestly but if big industries were subjected to discounted tariffs, more would come up in industrial parks that the government is establishing countrywide.Dr Rugunda was meeting the Chinese Ambassador to Uganda, Zhao Yali, thanking the Chinese government for supporting capital-intensive development projects in the country. Read more
Smart Telecom to spend Shs800b on expansion
Smart Telecom Company has made a budget of $300 million (about Shs808 billion) to expand its telecommunication networks cross the East African countries of Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi.
Smart Telecom, which launched operations in Uganda, says there is potential market for telecommunication services in Uganda and the East African region as a whole, which requires companies to keep expanding and coming up with new products.In a dialogue with journalists at their offices in Kampala, Mr Abdellatif Bouziani, the group chief executive officer Smart Telecom, said: “We are going to spend $300 million to bring the latest technology to expand our telecommunication services especially data network services in Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi.”Mr Abdellatif said advancement in technology is taking place in the telecommunication system with telecommunication systems shifting from mobile telephony to data telecommunication. Read more
HFB: Housing Finance gets Sh45 billion from European Bank
Housing Finance bank has received EuroS 13m (about Shs 45bn) to lend to small and medium firms after signing an agreement with the European Investment bank (EIB).The money, according to HFB, will go to those people engaged in the manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism sectors. It would be borrowed both in Uganda shilling and US dollars.While signing an MOU with EIB officials at HFB headquarters in Kololo, the managing director of HFB, Mathias Katamba, said they would target businesses that have found it hard to access credit because of their small size or being unable to design bankable projects."If you look at the kinds of funds available on the market, banks can hardly lend long-term to customers. But with this money, we can be able to translate [long-term finance]," Katamba said.Under this credit line, both existing and new customers for HFB are eligible to apply for the loans. Read more
Liquid Telecom to Invest Us $ 0.74 Million in Pan-Ugandan Internet Infrastructure
Liquid Telecom, the independent data, voice and IP provider in eastern, central and southern Africa, has announced US $ 742,120 (UGX 2 billionn) of investment in its Ugandan subsidiary Infocom, to extend its pan African fibre cable infrastructure across Kampala's Central Business District and to multiple rural towns across Uganda, including Mukono, Jinja, Masaka, and Mbarara."Fibre represents a completely superior quality of internet, in line with the advanced Internet offering from Infocom. Utilising Africa's largest cable network to reach rural towns in Uganda, and to offer a world class service within Kampala's CBD, is in line with our vision of fuelling the country's accelerated economic growth," said Hans Haerdtle, Liquid Telecom's CTO East Africa and CEO of Infocom. The demand for data services is growing in Uganda at a time when data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) shows the country as leading the East African region in attracting FDI . Read more
NSSF collects sh55b 
National Social Security Fund (NSSF) collects an average of sh55b, the acting managing director, Geraldine Ssali, has revealed. Ssali told a second annual members' meeting in Kampala that the Fund’s balance sheet has grown from sh3.4 trillion to sh4.4 trillion.“The Fund now operates under a relationship management model which has led to an increase in collections from sh28b to sh55b. Ssali said the revenue has increased to 26% mainly from bonds, equities and Fund assets.“People think we keep money at NSSF  workers house, No! We have got accounts,” she said.No losses recorded for the year adding that investing in UmemeLtd shares was best performing portfolio on NSSF portfolio delivering about 41%. Read more
Africell steps into Uganda telecom mix
By the time France's Orange Telecom agreed to sell its 95% stake in Orange Uganda to Beirut-based Africell Holdings, the operator had tried every strategy to boost subscriber numbers.It is not clear whether Africell will maintain Orange Uganda's niche as an Internet Service Provider or it will try to battle to get more voice customers, although Elias Arwadi, the Chief Operations Officer of the Africell Group sounded optimistic."We are confident in achieving a quick turnaround of the operation in Uganda; our operating model has proven that we would be able to offer an attractive proposition to the Ugandan consumer allowing us to quickly climb the market share ladder and bring the operation into profitability," he said. Africell signed a reputed $12 million agreement with Orange Group to acquire its majority stake in Orange Uganda.Orange first launched operations in Uganda, around the same time Warid Telecom, another operator, and had only managed to amass around 620,000 clients. Read more
MOICT: Uganda eyes Islamic bank for U.S.$83 million loan
Uganda's Cabinet has approved a proposal to borrow $83,750,000 from the Islamic Development Bank in a project that will make electricity distribution countrywide more efficient.According to information minister, Rose Namayanja, the money is for construction of a 132Kv line between Mirama and Kabale in Western Uganda. This is part of a major project to upgrade the national transmission network."Cabinet therefore noted the need to acquire financing for the construction of the Mirama-Kabale 132KV transmission lines and associated distribution network in south-Western, North and North- Eastern regions of Uganda."Cabinet also approved the proposal to borrow up to $83.75 million from the Islamic Development Bank," Namayanja said.The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) is an international financial institution established by the Conference of Finance Ministers of Muslim countries held in Jeddah. The IsDB Board of Executive Directors under the Chairmanship of IDB President, Dr Ahmad Mohamed Ali, approved $814.2 million for development financing in several countries. $5 billion in total is available. Read more
MTN Uganda launches ‘MTN Please Call Me’
MTN Uganda has launched MTN Please Call Me, a free service that allows an MTN customer to send an SMS message to any other MTN customer requesting them to call back.Customers can access the service by dialing *160*1*5# and use either the default message which reads “Please call me” or a personalized message where they type their preferred message of up to 20 characters.A customer will receive a maximum of three (3) free MTN Please Call Me messages daily.“When we commenced operations in Uganda, we had a mission to deliver the best quality and relevant services in the industry to our customers and over the years we have steadily achieved this with the numerous services we offer.” said Kenneth Kiddu MTN’s Acting Chief Marketing officer. Read more
URACG: Kagina advises government to spend taxes on wealth creation
The outgoing Uganda Revenue Authority Commissioner General, Ms Allen Catherine Kagina, has advised government to spend the revenues collected by the tax body on economic sectors that create wealth and not in areas that are unproductive—consumption.According to Ms Kagina, compliance can easily be enhanced if the taxpayers are able to identify with tangible developments accrued from the share of their revenues.Speaking during the 8th Open Minds Forum, an engagement organised by the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to discuss topical issues, Ms Kagina said investment done in productive economic sectors such as roads, power and developing systems will in the long run payoff and be the basis for not just stimulating growth but sustaining it as well. Read more
URBRA: Planned liberalised pension sector attracts 385 players
The planned liberalised pension sector continues to attract players despite the withdrawal of the Retirement Benefits Sector Liberalisation Bill, from Parliament.Figures from the Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA) indicate the number of licensed players has increased from 351 to 385.This includes 11 administrators, five corporate trustees from three, 306 individual trustees from 300, five custodians, six fund managers and 52 Retirement Benefits Schemes.The Bill, which had been read for the first time in Parliament and referred to the Finance Committee for further scrutiny, was withdrawn from Parliament. This was after it emerged that Ministry of Finance officials had taken two different draft bills on pension reforms. Read more
EAC states advised to invest more in education
Experts attending the ongoing Academia-Public-Private Sector Forum in Kigali have called for mass private sector investments in education so as to boost innovation on the job market.They say for the East African Community (EAC) to achieve its ambitious goals there is need for the private sector to work closely with universities to invest in research and innovation so that higher institutions of learning could produce skilled graduates.Speaking at the opening forum organised by Inter-University Council of East Africa (IUCEA), EAC Secretary-General Richard Sezibera stressed the need for shared technology skills across the region as partner states strive to open up borders to a single monetary and customs union.“We will not achieve much if we don’t allow free flow of these skills across the region,” he said, urging institutions of higher learning to embrace research and innovation which, he said, is a driving force in the developed world. Read more
Finance minister, Kiwanuka Economy to grow by 7% 
Uganda’s economy will grow by 7%, up from a forecast 6%, helped by investment from oil explorers and by expansion in the services sector, the finance minister said.Uganda discovered oil and expects output to start.“We are looking at 7% in the medium term, and for us medium term,” finance minister Maria Kiwanuka told Reuters in London, where she was attending a conference.She said the economy was expected to grow by 6%, a figure in line with the International Monetary Fund’s forecast of 6.1% growth.“We are looking to a big increase in investment demand as oil companies are bringing in more of the equipment that they are going to need to start extracting the oil,” Kiwanuka said. “We are looking to continue the increase in services demand — manufacturing, financing and telecoms.” Read more
SMFYCA: Kibuule urges youth on self enterprise, roots for youth SACCOs
The State Minister for Youth and Children affairs Ronald Kibuule, has urged the youth to take advantage of the government programs for the youth in order to create self employment for their own development.
Kibuule made the call while speaking as chief guest at the Sheema Youth conference for Enterprise and youth economy in relation to the new government program of Youth Livelihood Fund (YLF) held at the Sheema district headquarters.“The youth make the majority percentage population in Uganda and there are only 350,000 government jobs, which is very impossible to employ every one. So the government has decided to fund youth projects in order to enhance their personal income, which you (youth) must take advantage of,” Kibuule said. The minister, who had to fly to Sheema in a UPDF Chopper ordered for him by president Museveni, in order to catch up with the events after delaying in a meeting in Kampala, said there is a lot of unemployment among the youth because they are the majority and do not mind about self employment. Read more
BoU yet to receive request to revive Cooperative Bank
Bank of Uganda has said it has not received any request from government to revive the Cooperative Bank.While opening the Bank of Africa Service centre at Course View Towers on Yusuf Lule road, Ms Justine Bagyenda, the director supervision at Bank of Uganda, said the Central Bank has not received any proposal from investors wishing to setup such a bank.“We have not been requested to license the Cooperative Bank. We are just hearing rumours about plans to revive it. But what we are creating is a regulatory framework to assist the operations of SACCOs,” she said.Ms Bagyenda, who was responding to questions regarding government’s plan to ensure small scale farmers have access to affordable credit, said applicants intending to revive the Cooperative Bank should present to Bank of Uganda a concept paper with a business plan justifying why it should be revived before it can be licensed. Read more
AFDB: EADB gets Shs108 billion loan to finance long-term projects
The East African Development Bank (EADB) has received a Shs108 billion ($40 million) loan from the African Development Bank to finance long-term projects in the East African region.The target projects—infrastructure, manufacturing, tourism, agriculture, education and health— are necessary for development of the region.“The AfDB Board of Directors noted the importance of the EADB in promoting the development of its member states – Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda - and in supporting regional integration within the East African Community,” reads a statement from EADB. The proposed line of credit has tenure.Regional governments have invested a lot in infrastructure developments mainly roads, railway such as the Standard Gauge, irrigation to increase agriculture output and tourism. Read more
ACP: Weakening shilling could spur inflation rise – finance expert
The persistent weakening of the shilling against the dollar might drive up inflation if Bank of Uganda does not take immediate action to arrest the decline, a currency analyst has said.Mr Stephen Kaboyo, Alpha Capital Partners managing director, told Daily Monitor in an interview  that the currency depreciation pressures are unlikely to ease off in the short term because of Uganda’s widening trade imbalance, necessitating that the Central Bank takes action to contain the depreciation before it filters into inflation.Commercial banks and forex traders quoted the shilling at an average of 2,700/2,750 per dollar buying and selling, respectively up from average of Shs2,600/2,620 per dollar buying and selling, respectively.The weakening of the local unit against the dollar means traders need more shillings to buy a dollar, which increases operational costs from higher import prices. This, in turn, increases inflation because of its spillover effects.Read more
DGBOU: Technological advances pose new risks in banking
Bank of Uganda has cautioned that the adoption of Information Technology (IT) and the increasing integration of the financial sector into global financial markets have ushered in new risks in the banking industry and require adjustments in regulatory framework. However, the deputy Governor Bank of Uganda, Dr Louis Kasekende, said: “The adoption of IT increases the importance of operational risk, while the increasing integration of the Uganda financial sector into global financial markets, through cross-border banking and capital flows, also creates new sources of risk.”While addressing the Judiciary and Uganda Bankers Association officials in Kampala, Dr Kasekende said as is the case around the world, the industry in Uganda is evolving very rapidly with new products coming on the market. New entry and regional economic integration have combined to spur competition in the financial services industry in Uganda.Read more
CEO Interswitch: Firm wants affordable inter-bank transactions
Bank customers across the East African region will now access their money through interswitch services if the company’s plans of persuading regional central banks to lower exchange rates are fruitful.Mr Olumuyiwa Asagba, chief executive officer, Interswitch Uganda told this paper that the company  made partnerships with other regional money transfer platforms in the region but regional central banks have to lower exchange rates to make money transfers affordable.“We hope with support from central banks, exchange rates would be lowered to make money transfer more affordable,” Mr Olumuyiwa said.The new development is a follow up in innovations in the financial sector that allow bank customers to use their Automated Teller Machines (ATMS) to access money from other banks. Read more
UAE Exchange Uganda celebrates, brand  globally
UAE Exchange Uganda joins its global family in celebrating the anniversary of the brand coming into existence. This leading global money transfer, foreign exchange and payment solutions brand, had set up its first branch in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Since then delivering world class customer service has been the single aim of UAE Exchange. This penchant has earned the trust of a strong base of over 6.5 million customers, world over, who entrust UAE Exchange with their hard-earned money to be transferred back home. UAE Exchange is one brand, which has concentrated on strengthening network not only in sender-focused markets, but also in receiving markets, thus bolstering trust of the customers further. This resulted in building over 700 branches. This network makes UAE Exchange the largest globally networked remittance brand. UAE Exchange is active in 32 countries. Its strong global team of over 9000 professionals, from across 40 nationalities, works towards achieving total customer delight.Mr. Y. Sudhir Kumar Shetty, COO – Global Operations, UAE Exchange, said, “We are thankful to all the regulators across markets, where we have our operations, partners and above all our customers for their continuous support and patronage. Read more
CC: Former health ministry accountant to go on trial over illicit enrichment
The Constitutional Court has ruled that the prosecution of former principal accountant, Ministry of Health, Nestor Machumbi Gasasira, should proceed in the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court. Gasasira had sought for orders stopping his prosecution before the Magistrate’s Court, arguing that the Magistrate’s court had no powers to try him under the Anti-Corruption Court. He had also challenged the decision to forfeit his property acquired before the Anti-Corruption Act came into law; arguing that the law did not operate retrospectively.Initially, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) ordered Gasasira to explain the source of his assets listed in the declarations wealth, a required document for public officials, he had filed with the Inspector General of Government.After Gasasira had made a response to the inquiry, however, further investigations by the IGG revealed that he had misstated the value of various assets and withheld the disclosure of other assets.The IGG made a recommendation to have Gasasira’s properties confiscated, alleging that it did not commensurate with his income. The IGG further recommended his removal from the public office. He was also prevented from holding any public office for five years under the provision of the Leadership Code. Read more
NSSF to save Uganda Clays from collapse
It is now or never for Uganda Clays Limited (UCL). The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) has announced that it will convert a sh16.7b loan to UCL into equity in a bid to secure the company’s future.Speaking at the UCL general meeting at the Kampala Sheraton Hotel, Geraldine Ssali, the acting NSSF managing director, noted that the move will increase NSSF’s stake in the company from 32.5% to 66% and double its board representation to six on the 10-member board. UCL registered a loss of sh3.29b largely due to high production costs, debt servicing, and aggressive competition. External auditors Ernst and Young pointed to a ‘material uncertainty’ in the company’s prospects. NSSF’s move is likely to send the company’s share price below the sh20 per share, making it harder for shareholders that have gone years without a dividend to cut their losses by selling on the stock exchange.“We know that things have been on a decline, but as major shareholders, we believe in the long term sustainability of the company. We may have to reengineer the way the business operates,” Ssali said.“We will hire a transaction advisor to see how this will affect us since this is workers money. If we pull out, the company will close. You have already heard about the debt,” she added.
MOW: Start using railway transport, Minister tells companies
Works Minister John Byabagambi asked companies in Uganda to start transporting their raw materials, imports and exports using the railway to reduce the burden induced by heavy-duty trucks on the roads.According to Mr Byabagambi, about 93 per cent of Uganda’s cargo is transported by road which affects the lifeline of the country’s roads.Mr Byabagambi, who was launching three Rift valley Railways (RVR) locomotives at the Kampala Railway station, also said there is a policy in the offing which will see all cargo above 15 metric tonnes transported by train.“I urge companies dealing in cement and construction like Tororo Cement to start using the railway,” said Mr Byabagambi, adding that the new locomotives will start using the northern route of Gulu and Pakwach. Read more
MOA: Donors want resources aligned to local agricultural priorities
The United International Agency for International Development (Usaid) has said all donor resources for agriculture projects should be well-aligned with Uganda’s national agricultural priorities as outlined in the Agricultural Sector Development Strategy and Investment Plan.In her closing remarks during the launch of the agriculture financial book in Kampala, Ms Jo Lesser-Oltheten, the Office Director Economic Growth Team Usaid/Uganda, echoed the United States government’s commitment to support initiatives that promote agriculture development in Uganda.“... The United States Government is earnestly working with the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure that donor resources are well-aligned with Uganda’s national agricultural priorities as outlined in the Agricultural Sector Development Strategy and Investment Plan,” she said.Read more
Uchumi Uganda, Tanzania shops record losses
Uchumi Supermarkets saw its subsidiaries in Uganda and Tanzania sink deeper into losses, signalling difficulties in the firm’s quest to expand its share of the competitive regional retail market.The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed retailer says in its report that the Uganda unit recorded its third consecutive loss while the Tanzanian operations continued its loss-making streak since Uchumi set up shop in Dar es Salaam.The losses by the subsidiaries weighed down Uchumi’s net profit which rose 7.6 per cent to Sh384 million compared to Sh357 million. Uchumi chief executive Jonathan Ciano said: “Total group sales registered a marginal growth due to a drop in Uganda mainly attributed to competition, supply chain challenges and some locations becoming untenable due to infrastructural and tenancy mix challenges.” Read more
DSTMF: Govt to identify key opportunities for growth
The Government and World Bank are preparing a joint ‘Country Economic Memorandum’ report, which will identify key opportunities and challenges to accelerating socioeconomic transformation, as Uganda harnesses the opportunities of its newly-discovered natural resource wealth.  “The economic memorandum will emphasise the steps Uganda is undertaking in oil exploitation and the need to identify the key obstacles that constrain the country’s growth potential,” said Patrick Ocailap, the deputy secretary to the Treasury at the finance ministry. “The Government is committed to ensuring that opportunities from oil extraction translate into increased opportunities for the Ugandan society as a whole”.  Economic diversification is fundamental for prosperity and socio-economic transformation and is a key objective of Uganda’s development agenda.  Evidence shows that countries exporting diversified products tend to have higher average incomes. Dr. Jean-Pascal Nganou, the senior country economist at the World Bank and lead author of the report, said: “For Uganda to benefit from oil and gas resources, the Government must undertake a realistic assessment of the expected long-term revenues.Read more
BOU: Growing bad loans signals warning for bankers
While majority of Ugandan banks are healthy and profitable, the rising rate of non-performing loans (NPLs) poses a threat to the industry.The sector continued to post substantial growth in non-performing loans (NPLs), according to the Bank of Uganda (BoU) annual supervisor report, rising by 6.9 per cent to Shs465.8 billion, from Shs329.1 billion, according to the Bank of Uganda Annual Supervisory report.This compares with the 4.2 per cent recorded and 2.2 per cent. High NPL levels are unhealthy for the sector as banks have to put aside huge sums of money to cater for possible losses, a situation that creates higher risk premiums.Loan quality, according to industry analysts, poses a major risk to the industry’s financial health.Banks with relatively lower NPLs such as Diamond Trust (0.5 per cent), Bank of Baroda (1.9 per cent) and Centenary Bank (2.7 per cent), are said to be financially sound compared to those with high NPL levels.  Read more
MOAAIF: Mining to increase Agriculture production
Agriculture production in Uganda is set to increase with the establishment of mining and oil extraction industries despite concerns from the public that the discovery of oil in Uganda will affect the sector negatively.According to the minister of agriculture animal industry and fisheries, Tress Buchanayandi, Uganda’s agriculture sector is in need of supportive ingredients like fertilizers for their gardens but are  too expensive for farmers , an issue that is failing agriculture production.“The discovery of oil and other minerals in Uganda will make it easy to manufacture nitrogenous fertilizers, which help in speeding up the growth of the plant to the advantage of the farmer,” said the Buchanayandi. Other discoveries like vermiculite in Bulambuli district, on the slopes of Mt.Elgon is another advantage because this enhances soil fertility, according to the minister. Read more
International Alert: Business guide in conflict resolution developed
A business guide for the business community to resolve conflicts without resorting to courts of law has been developed.The guide has been developed by International Alert with emphasis of using a mediator to resolve business conflicts.According to David Okidi, business and peace manager, of International Alert the developing of a guide emanates from disagreements among traders as they transact business which many times has led to litigation.He explained that the guide will help the business community to resolve any conflicts arising through a peaceful means without necessarily going to courts of law which he said is very expensive.“The guideline helps traders to resolve conflicts amicably. It’s cheaper to litigation because you don’t need to hire a legal expert,” Okidi told members of the business community and officials of Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS).Read more
MFPED: Treasury to save Shs320 billion from finance reforms
The government expects to save Shs320 billion following the clean-up of ‘ghost’ workers from the payroll by decentralising it. The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development says preliminary analysis of the quarter one wage bill performance for the entire government indicates that it is likely to save Shs100 billion, but due to the discounting mechanism, promotion and recruitment activities, it leaves it with a net saving of Shs80 billion. Secretary to the Treasury Keith Muhakanizi, during the launch of the Budget Monitoring Report at the finance ministry headquarters said the reforms are yielding positive results in terms of savings and efficiency in public finance management. Read more
World Bank, government design new policy to manage oil wealth
The World Bank and Ugandan government are in final stages of producing a new working document (Country Economic Memorandum) to guide planners and policy makers on how to manage oil and gas revenues in a way that benefits society as a whole. The new policy also takes into account mechanisms of diversifying the economy by developing other sectors such as agriculture, education, health, roads and energy infrastructure for economic development. A joint team of senior government officials and the World Bank met to prepare a joint Country Economic Memorandum report, which will seek to identify key opportunities and challenges to accelerate the quest of socio-economic transformation, as Uganda aims at harnessing the opportunities of its newly discovered natural resource wealth. Read more
Museveni travels to London
President Museveni has left for the British capital, London to attend the Global African Investment Summit.The Summit, to be chaired by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, will seek to direct funds from some of the world’s largest institutional investors into projects across five African countries, namely Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana and Togo.The Presidents of Tanzania, Rwanda and Ghana are expected to attend the Summit that has been designed as a platform for African governments to bring bankable projects to the international market, targeting a range of investors.Uganda will at this meeting solicit for investors to finance projects in key industries including agriculture, infrastructure and natural resources. Read more
UBOS: Economies urged to revise GDP regularly- IMF
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has asked all African countries to recalculate their GDP figures because it gives them a clear picture of what is happening in their economies. Uganda  rebased its GDP figures, which the Uganda Bureau of Statistics says was the normal  for Uganda to do rebasing of the GDP. Speaking in Washington DC, IMF African Department director Antoinette Sayeh hailed regional countries’ ongoing efforts to rebase their GDP, but urged authorities to rebase them more frequently.“Some countries have had more pass before updating the surveys that feed their GDP estimates. The best practice is for countries to try to rebase,” she said. Read more
PM: Rugunda urges accountants to help entrepreneurs
The Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, has asked accountants to join the fight against corruption and aid growth of businesses by advising entrepreneurs on financial management and taxation.“Your work should make businesses more efficient. Healthy businesses are able to remit all due taxes which in turn funds government programmes,” Rugunda said. He also advised businesses to rely more on services of accountants to remain competitive. Rugunda was speaking at a clients’ appreciation dinner for accounting firm Grant Thornton, which donated sh25m to the Government for the fight against HIV/AIDS.Grant Thornton Uganda is part of a global group of independent assurance, tax and advisory firms operating in 120 countries with over 38500 employees. Its revenues hit $4b. A managing partner, Anil Patel commended its clients for helping the firm grow 25%. Patel also thanked the government for maintaining peace and stability in the country which has created an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. Read more
UNRA: Sh30b set for compensation on second phase of Northern Bypass
About 400 property owners are expected to be affected by the construction of the second phase of the Kampala Northern Bypass, the Uganda National Road Authority (UNRA) has said. Close to sh30b will be spent on compensation in areas around the roundabouts along this road that are to be upgraded to flyovers with interchanges, additions to the design that will require more land. UNRA spokesperson Dan Alinange said  the land to be acquired is expensive since it has commercial structures.“We are finalising arrangements to compensate the people affected by this road project to enable the contractor commence the works on time,” said Alinange. He said they have contracted Mottengel Construction Company from Portugal to construct the second phase of the road at Euros60m (sh260b).According to Alinange, the works on the road, are expected to commence. The first phase of the road consisted of a 21km stretch, comprising 17.5km of single carriageway and 3.5km of dual carriageway between Hoima Road and Gayaza Road. Read more

PFFS: Regional farmers’ forum opens in Kampala
The National food sovereignty forum symposium has opened in Kampala with a call on government to increase budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector so as to boost food security.The symposium organized by the Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers Forum- (ESAFF) Uganda has attracted over 80 participants from 29 districts and four countries, DRC, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Spain. The theme of the forum is: ‘sharing national and regional experiences in family farming and food sovereignty.’Speaking at the opening held at Grand Global Hotel in Kampala, Bunyole West MP and member of the Parliamentary Forum on Food security Jacob Wangolo called for vigilance in improving agricultural productivity and adding value. He said funding to the sector (agriculture) that is the biggest employer was still so low compared to other African states.“Agriculture is ranked sixth in terms of budgetary allocation in Uganda. Security tops, followed by transport and roads, energy, education, health and finally agriculture yet without agriculture we can’t get food on the table,” said Wangolo. Read more
BOU: Central Bank maintains policy rate at 11 per cent
The prevailing stability in Uganda’s macroeconomic environment has seen Bank of Uganda (BoU) leave its policy rate (Central Bank Rate) unchanged at 11 per cent.This is the second time the Central Bank has maintained its policy rate saying it is meant to support private sector credit and the general economic growth. Speaking at a news conference to announce the Central Bank Rate, the deputy Governor BoU, Dr Louis Kasekende, said given Bank of Uganda’s macroeconomic forecast, real growth and core inflation will be close to their targets over the medium term. “Bank of Uganda’s medium term macroeconomic forecasts remain largely unchanged since the last monetary Policy Committee meeting, he said. Uganda has experienced consistent decline in its inflation rate with Dr Kasekende pointing out that, annual core inflation is forecast to be within the range of 2 to 4 per cent and to rise to around 5 per cent, which is consistent with the Bank Uganda’s target. Read more
ACCA: Accountants to tap into regional mineral resources
Professional accountants will meet to discuss how they can position themselves to tap into East Africa’s blossoming mineral resources sector.The Eastern Africa Convention to be held in Kampala, is organised by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) under the theme; Eastern Africa – the next growth frontier and will feature speakers from across Africa.It will discuss a number of regional sectorial growth drivers including oil and gas, entrepreneurship, growth of capital markets, regional integration, technology as an enhancer of business and the future of the accountancy profession.Speaking to journalists in Kampala, Mr Japheth Katto, an ACCA Council member, said accountants need to ready themselves to fully participate in the region’s oil and gas sector by ensuring proper accountability.Read more
CFA: Kampala Coach owners fight, liquidator moves to take over
The High Court in Nairobi has appointed a liquidator for the Kampala Coach public transport company, signalling a possible winding up of the firm that is dogged by a family ownership dispute.Ms Nijud Abdallah Mohamed and Ms Ahlam Adbul Basiet, the only two directors of the company who each own 500 shares on behalf of their cousin fathers Gamal Abdul and Messrs Mohamed Abdul Basiet, are in court over running of the firm.Ms Mohamed has accused her co-shareholder of excluding her in running of the company filed a court petition to have the firm either wound up or to have Ms Basiet compelled to buy her off.The High Court in Nairobi appointed Mr Douglas Wekhomba as the interim receiver in a notice, pending determination of the petition. “I am preparing myself and the team to get down to work,” said Mr Wekhomba, the chief executive of Nairobi-based Capitalmart Financial Advisory Services. Read more
BoU Preps for Global Financial Instability Risks
Bank of Uganda has decided to maintain the Central Bank Rate (CBR) at 11 percent , citing short-term and medium-term forecasts of inflation.Officials estimate that, annual core inflation is thought to be within the range of 2-4 percent, it is expected to stabilize and converge to the Bank’s medium term target of 5 percent.The central bank re-scheduled its decision of the Central Bank Rate (CBR). Read more
MFPED: MOF: Uganda to host regional ACCA summit
Maria Kiwanuka, the finance minister will preside the largest gathering of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA) in Eastern Africa, as accountants and auditors ready for the oil and gas economy. Beatrice Isagayite, the ACCA Uganda head noted that the conference at the Speke Resort Munyonyo will bring together accountants and entrepreneurs from Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda, Eritrea and Ghana to discuss policy and network. Anthony Harbinson, the ACCA global president is expected for the conference as well as Beige group boss Mike Nyinaku, and prominent Ethiopian entrepreneur Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu of the SoleRebels fame. The forum is expected to host between 400 to 500 high level participants to discuss the implications of regional integration, oil and gas, the capital markets and public sector changes that will drive growth. “We know that professional accountants are important at every level of business and are vital to drive the economy forward. This is a critical at this stage when many sectors are looking to widen their regional footprint,” she said at the Golf Course Hotel. Read more
RMFA: Uganda, Rwanda to promote East Africa as single Tourism destination
In its commitment to promote East Africa as a single Tourism destination, Uganda has partnered with Rwanda to jointly promote two way tourism traffic between the two sister-countries.Speaking during the 52nd Post Ugandan Independence celebrations at Serena Hotel-Kigali, Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwanadan Minister for Foreign Affairs said the move which was championed by the Uganda Tourism Board in partnership with the Rwandan Development Board is purposed to defend both the security and business developments of the two countries.“People to people relations between Uganda and Rwanda is a very important step to strengthening the tourism sectors of the two economies-both of which come as their country’s biggest revenue earners, contributing over $1b to either countries.”Mushikiwabo said while addressing over 5,000 celebrants including Ugandan fraternity in Rwanda, High Commissioners and friends of Uganda in Rwanda. Read more
MTN: Telecom firm to start cross-border mobile money services
MTN Rwanda will integrate its mobile money system with that of MTN Uganda, allowing subscribers to send and receive money between the two countries.Mr Norman Munyampundu, MTN Rwanda general manager, said the two sister telecoms would sign a partnership deal. This should be good news for traders, parents, students and travellers as it will ease money transfer between the two countries.Mr Munyampundu is optimistic the service will reduce the cost of transactions and enhance cross-border trade between Rwanda and Uganda.“After establishing our presence in Uganda, we shall rollout the interconnection platform across the East African Community bloc,” he noted. Read more
World Bank to earmark $100m rural electricity transformation
A World Bank mission is in the country to put final touches onto the third phase of Electricity for Rural Transformation (ERT III) project, the task team leader has said.“We are perusing through the project proposal. We have visited some parts of the country and our prayer is to have the final decision taken by the end of this mission,” said Mits Motohashi. Speaking to the New Vision on the sidelines of a send-off dinner for the outgoing task team leader for ERT II, Somin Mukheji at Tamarai restaurant in Kololo, Mits explained that the third phase is expected to cost about $100m.“An indicative project cost of $100m has been proposed and discussed between World Bank and the government of Uganda. It will be the Bank's board of directors to take the final decision. But as a task team leader, I will play my role to present and defend the project for approval,” he noted.Read more
PTTIC: Parliament Moves to Save Kakira from Rivals
Parliament has come in to end several years of clashes between Sugar producing giants Kakira Sugar Works and Mayuge Sugar Industries in Eastern Uganda.The two companies have feuded over among others land ownership and control of sugarcane out growers.The Parliamentary Tourism Trade and Industry Committee in a recently released report into the feud, recommended tough action against Mayuge Sugar industries including cancellation of their license, if they remain unwilling to adhere to national laws and policies.The country’s leading sugars manufacturers Kakira accuse Mayuge Sugar Company of encroaching on their land by setting up a factory within a radius of 10 km from Kakira, which violates the Sugar Policy. Read more
ARIS: Insurance needs tax incentives to grow
African Risk Insurance Services (Aris) is one of the insurance firms to enter Uganda's market.The firm merged with Balaji insurance brokerage firm and has promised to offer a bouquet of effective products. Justus Lyatuu had an email interview with Varun Punjabi, the managing director of Aris, about their plans in Uganda. ARIS merged with Balaji Insurance Brokerage Company. What should the public expect from the new company?First of all, as a company that has served Tanzania, we are confident that we have mastered and know the interests of our target audience. Our strategy involves a mission of knowledge transfer to our clients as we believe in informed buying. This is an area where we have been very successful and one of immediate application in Uganda.You will agree that this is a problem and we intend to play our part in alleviating it. We possess the technical know how as well as persuasive ability and commercial stature that we effectively apply to benefit our clients. We have successfully negotiated with local as well as international insurers for the benefit of our clients and are still doing the same. Read more
Uganda survives EU ban on agriculture exports to Europe
The European Union (EU) has softened its stance and halted plans to ban agricultural exports from Uganda, the Vision has learnt.The development comes after reports that no agricultural products from Uganda would be allowed entry into Europe after it was said that fresh food exports had failed to comply with EU plant health requirements.This followed the discovery of pests in red peppers and roses consignments destined for Brussels, Belgium.Vision reported that the ban was set to be implemented, which would have hit hard over 170 fresh commodity exporters and thousands of farmers involved in the export chain.This would have resulted in the Government losing billions in revenue.EU’s programme officer for trade in Uganda, Céline Prud’homme Madsen, told said sanctions against Uganda have been put on hold because EU has received promising progress of action on the errant exporters.Read more
Solar pumps to save NWSC millions in power expenditure
National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) has announced plans to change its water pumping system at the Ggaba water works from electric to solar powered pumps.According to Eng Silver Mugisha, the managing director, the new system is expected to reduce the corporation’s energy costs by Shs700 million from the Shs2 billion the corporation pays in power bills to Shs1.3 billion. While addressing departmental heads and the board during the operationalization of the strategy, Eng Mugisha said the corporation is borrowing technology from Zimbabwe which has enabled the authorities in Zimbabwe to integrate pit latrines into the water and sanitation systems.“We are bringing this technology on board and we shall institutionalise pit latrines. We want to create decentralized treatment systems so that such technologies can be used for onsite treatment to handle estates with 1,000 housing units,” he said. Read more
Museveni Steps Up Plans to Revive Uganda Airlines
President Museveni has held a meeting with the Chief Operating Officer of Universal Aerospace from South Africa, Mr. Doug Berry, who called on him at State House, Entebbe. Mr. Berry told the President of the plans by the Universal Aerospace Company, to construct maintenance and repair of aircraft facilities in Uganda, re-launching of the Uganda Airlines, as well as the building of a new airport in Uganda’s oil fields in the Albertine area.President Museveni has mooted the idea of reviving the Uganda Airlines.Insiders tell Chimpreports that at the peak of Uganda’s oil production, Uganda will need 40 domestic flights which could generate plenty of money for the airline.It would also reduce the cost of flights in the region by competing with stronger national airlines especially in East Africa.Read more
Novastar Ventures: Solar firm gets Shs7b funding
Solar Now, a lunar asset company, has received a €2 million (about Shs6.7 billion) equity investment to scale up renewable energy asset financing and solar gargets distribution in East Africa.The equity fund is jointly contributed by Novastar Ventures and Acumen. Novastar Ventures invests in enterprises that can generate large-scale benefits to low-income households and attractive returns to providers of capital while Acumen, invest capital in business models that deliver critical goods and services to the world’s poor.The fund, according to the Solar Now executive officer, Mr Willem Nolens, will respond to solar technology demands in East Africa especially in rural areas that are off national grids. Read more
Chinese investors eye Uganda’s minerals
President Museveni has met and held a meeting with a group of Chinese entrepreneurs interested in Uganda’s extractive sector.They were led by their General Manager, Mr. Michael Hu.The investors who called on the President at State House, Nakasero, were assured by the President that the Government of Uganda supports them for taking keen interest to do business in the country.The Guangzhou Dong Song Energy, Uganda Company Ltd, has shown interest in the establishment of factories in the country ranging from processing phosphates, steel, fertilizers and sulphuric acid, among others. Read more
UCOPS: Government to control prices of malaria, diarrhoea drugs
Government has introduced an accreditation system for importers, retailers and wholesalers of essential malaria and diarrhoea drugs to ensure they sell genuine and fairly priced drugs.This follows the conclusion of a consultative programme between government, importers, retailers, wholesalers and consumers of the drugs.This was to ascertain the sources of the drugs and why there has been drug resistance in some cases, varying prices and counterfeits on the market.According to Mr Samuel Opio, the secretary Uganda Council of the Pharmaceutical Society, the intervention follows the exorbitant prices patients have been paying to get treatment and the many failed attempts to curb drug resistance to malaria and diarrhoea. Read more
RVR awards Shs385b fuel contract to Hass Petroleum
Hass Petroleum Limited, a regional oil marketer and distributor has scooped a Shs385 billion ($148 million) tender to supply diesel to rail operator Rift Valley Railways.The development comes after RVR launched three electric locomotives in Mombasa, part of 20 locomotives meant to boost haulage capacity along the Mombasa-Kampala route. Hass Petroleum was awarded the contract after edging out five other distributors.Under the agreement, Hass Petroleum will provide RVR with an estimated 130 million litres of automotive gas oil (diesel) over a period (the equivalent of over 4,300 fuel tank loads) to RVR’s key operational centres in Uganda and Kenya. Speaking during the contract signing ceremony at RVR’s offices in Nairobi, RVR chief executive officer Carlos Andrade said: “The 20 American-built locomotives we are acquiring  in addition to the five we are refurbishing locally will double our cargo haulage capacity and increase our diesel consumption needs by 65 per cent.” Read more
African economies growing stronger – World Bank
Despite weaker than expected global growth and stable or declining commodity prices, African economies continue to expand at a moderately rapid pace, the World Bank has said.The African regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is projected to strengthen to 5.2% from 4.6%. This is according to the World Bank’s new Africa’s Pulse, an analysis of the issues shaping Africa’s economic prospects. Significant public investment in infrastructure, increased agricultural production and expanding services in African retail, telecoms, transportation, and finance, are expected to continue to boost growth in the region.This pick-up in growth is expected to occur in a context of lower commodity prices and lower foreign direct investment as a result of subdued global economic conditions.Read more
CDS: Kampala to issue first municipal bond
Kampala plans to issue the country's first municipal bond to finance infrastructure development needed to change it into a modern commercial hub. Ahead of oil production, Uganda has seen a rush of foreign investment into its power and transport and hospitality sectors, fueling demand for new infrastructure like roads. Kampala city officials estimate it will need about $6 billion to invest in its infrastructure. Patrick Musoke, the city's director for strategy, said the World Bank was providing advice on preparations for the debut bond offer and was helping to secure a credit rating. "We are looking at issuing both project specific and general purpose bonds," Musoke said, adding the first bond will be tied to a specific project, likely a multi-storey car park. He said the first bond would be determined after the quality of the city's corporate governance and its revenue collection potential had been assessed. Read more
EAC leaders to launch Uganda railway line 
Presidents Museveni, Paul Kagame and Salva Kiir will launch Standard Gauge Railway construction in Uganda.Government awarded the contract to upgrade and expand Uganda’s railway network to standard gauge to a Chinese firm, China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC).State Minister for Regional cooperation, Henry Okello Oryem told diplomats and officials from regional countries that during the Summit meeting of the Heads of State of the Northern Corridor, leaders will also roll out the One Network Area in the region initially involving Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.“These developments definitely signify the determination and willingness of our Leaders to carry out the projects that will impact the growth of our Economies and contribute to improved welfare of our people,” said Oryem at the 7th Northern Corridor Integration Projects Summit Meeting Of Ministers at Speke Resort Munyonyo. Read more
COMTEL Integrators Africa: Uganda Braces For Video Conferencing Technology
With the ever growing need to integrate information technology into the overall corporate and business strategies of most corporations globally, COMTEL Integrators Africa has unveiled Polycom, a Video – conferencing solution that enables users access to High Definition (HD) video, voice and content at anytime, anywhere in the world during boardroom meetings, via mobile devices and desktops.Speaking during the Polycom showcase conference held at Kampala Serena hotel, Wayne Robinson Director COMTEL Integrators Africa said, “COMTEL which boasts of a full spectrum of I.T enabled solutions for business has showcased Polycom, a video conferencing solution as an effective business leverage tool.”He said by using the Polycom system and software, businesses will not only improve their competitive advantage but also advance quality of output, efficiency and effectiveness due to more responsiveness, productivity and better relationships with customers, colleagues and partners. Read more
Museveni Urges Investors On Agricultural Insurance
President Museveni has called on investors to channel more investments into value addition on agricultural produce and insurance for farmers.While opening the plush UAP Nakawa business park, the President praised owners of the modern office accommodation facility for providing an alternative source of income and creating employment. UAP, through their real estate investment arm, are the proprietors of the $70m (approximately Shs 180bn) facility, which boasts four eight-storeyed office blocks.Museveni said that UAP had demonstrated prudence in using five acres of land to erect such a multibillion investment facility."If they grew sweet potatoes on the same acreage, it would not fetch as much returns," he said, noting that a bigger piece of land at the former Naguru estate is underutilized because some investors have been frustrated in their efforts to redevelop the area. Read more
AAUL: Dfcu Bank share price remains high despite additional listing
High demand for dfcu shares has seen the company’s share price remain high despite the listing of 250 million new ordinary shares on Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).The market had anticipated the price to fall by a half of the previous price of Shs1,250 per share because of the extra 250 million shares. A half of 1,250 per share after listing new shares would have been Shs625 but this didn’t happen as the demand for the company shares remained high. Addressing market analysts, journalists and brokers during the listing , the chief executive officer African Alliance Uganda Limited, Mr Kenneth Kitariko, said: “Dfcu shares are trading at Shs650 each which is above the premium price. This amount is above the half-way point of Shs1,250 price it was trading before the listing of new shares on USE.”Mr Katariko said the reason why the dfcu share price never dropped is because investors consider dfcu a good stock. Read more
UMA wants gov't bodies to buy Ugandan-made textiles
Uganda Manufactures Association wants all government departments and ministries to buy products manufactured in Uganda especially textiles. The move will increase the production and consumption of local fabrics and growth of textile industry. The most produced textile products include school uniforms, socks, t-shirts, among others which manufactures feel should be given priority whenever government is procuring them for different departments. The call was made by the executive director UMA, Ssebagala Kigozi while visiting textile industries in Jinja who include Sigma and Sunbelt textiles limited in preparation for the forthcoming 22nd International Trade Fair organized by UMA, under the theme "Building Business Partnerships for Sustainable Markets and Competitiveness." “There is no way you can grow the local capacity in the industrial sector when you are importing everything. Ideally government departments like the Army, Prisons, and Police should buy these socks from the local textile industries because they are of quality compared to those that are imported into the country,” said Ssebaggala. Read more
First Lady Meets Turkish Development Partners
First Lady and Minister for Karamoja Affairs, Janet Museveni  met a delegation from the Nile Humanitarian Development Agency, a Turkish community not for Profit organization in Uganda with whom they discussed issues of cooperation.During the meeting held at Nakasero State House, the delegation led by the Chairman Turkish Community also Director Galaxy International School Ibrahim Bicakci informed the First Lady of their interest to invest in Uganda through KIMSE YOK MU, a renowned global charity organization from Turkey, who are their partners. They also informed her about their programmes in the country among which are the construction of different schools and a modern hospital in Jinja that will be a relief to many Ugandans who have been seeking specialized treatment abroad. Read more
AAB: Banks heavily reliant on loans for revenue, says sector report
Charges on loan application constitute one of the largest sources of revenue for banks, a report shows.The report, authored by African Alliance Banking, analyses Uganda’s banking sector focusing on performance and potential revenue streams for the sector. The report indicates that loan application fees account for about 56 per cent of the industry’s bank charges, thus contributing vastly to the banking sector total revenue.This contribution (loan fees revenue) explains the poor performance posted as some banks registered profit declines and losses on the account of reduced loan uptake. Stanbic Bank for instance posted a 22.1 per cent decline in net profit to Shs101.8 billion compared to Shs130.8 billion posted over the same period  while Imperial Bank reported an increase in the loss to Shs1.9 billion from Shs1.7 billion. Read more
NIC lists 800 million new shares
National Insurance Corporation (NIC) has listed 819,661,942 new ordinary shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange, giving the public the opportunity to make more wealth through shareholding and cash by selling of shares.The listing now brings the total number of NIC shares listed on Uganda Securities Exchange to 1.415`billion shares. Speaking during the listing ceremony at Uganda Securities Exchange in Kampala, the managing director of NIC, Mr Folayan Bayo, said: “This is a milestone and a great achievement for both the company and investors because the wealth that was put in the company by the shareholders has more than doubled through this corporate action by NIC management.”Mr Bayo added that the listing of the bonus shares is a fulfillment of the board’s long-term commitment to increase shareholder value, pointing out that investors benefit from bonus issues through future growth of the company. Read more
MEACA: Limited funding slowing down EAC integration process - report
A reduction in the East African Community (EAC) ministy’s budgetary resources aimed at sensitising Ugandans about the integration, coupled with absence of a national integration policy have slowed down efforts to create awareness in the country, a recent report has shown.Statistics obtained from the Ministry of East African Community Affairs (MEACA)’s Ministerial Policy Statement show that the funds allocated to sensitise the public have reduced from Shs494 million to Shs475 million.A Mid Term Review (MTR) carried out capacity building project conducted by Imani Development, an independent South African consultancy firm, and funded by Trademark East Africa (TMEA) at the ministry, also shows only 32 per cent awareness has been attained. Read more
EAC: Intra-trade growth prospects good - EAC secretary general
The East African Community (EAC) secretary general, Dr Richard Sezibera, has given a positive endorsement of intra-trade growth prospects within the African continent.Speaking at the Africa Global Business forum in Dubai, Dr Sezibera said East African countries traded more with each other, growing their trade volumes by about 22 per cent. Intra-African trade is still comparatively low and ranks among the smallest levels of intra-regional trade globally. For instance, 70 per cent of the European Union’s trade takes place within the region.Data from the EAC Secretariat shows that intra-EAC trade grew to $5.5 billion, up from $4.5 billion recorded, even as the five member states of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi, struggled with the elimination of non-trade barriers. Read more
FDC: Museveni position on kerosene tax insensitive, says Opposition
Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has described President Museveni’s stand against the scrapping of the kerosene (paraffin) tax as ‘insensitive’ to poor Ugandans.Speaking during the FDC media briefing at the party’s headquarters in Najjanakumbi, Kampala, FDC party spokesperson John Kikonyogo said some leaders in Uganda “were becoming parasites on the poor”.“Those of us in leadership are becoming parasites to the poor, we don’t normally use kerosene but we want to tax it yet it benefits the poor,” he said. President Museveni rejected three Bills and returned them to Parliament for further consideration consequently opposing Parliament’s decision to scrap the tax on Kerosene. This followed Finance minister Maria Kiwanuka’s Budget speech in which she proposed a tax of Shs200 on a litre of kerosene to help the government raise Shs15 billion. Read more
Museveni Opens Nakawa 5 Acre Mall
President Museveni has opened a Shs 180bn Business Park in Nakawa, an investment by UAP Insurance.The business park in the city suburb is a world class structure with ambient surroundings, serene office space and hassle free parking space.Speaking at the opening ceremony, president Museveni congratulate Prof. Gordon Wavamuno and Kenyan partners for participating in transforming Uganda’s economy”“Real estate has grown in the country and property owners need insurance,” Museveni noted appreciating a timely investment in the country.He added, “If this land is only 5 acres and the structure is $70m, the land has been well utilized.The president has appreciated the city Executive Director, Jennifer Musisi who has ensured a cleaner city hence attracting more investors.“I thank my daughter Jennifer Musisi, investors are starting to appreciate her efforts; this is the city Uganda needs, if an investor finds a city clean, he will move on an invest.” Read more
USSIA: World Bank ranking leaves out concerns of small businesses
Small-scale businesses are concerned that the World Bank Doing Business Report does not capture their challenges and, therefore, reform programmes like business licensing may exclude them.John Walugembe, the executive director of Uganda Small Scale Industries Association (USSIA), has pointed out the gaps in the doing business parameters, citing the registration process as an example of the inadequacy in the process.During discussions held at the UMA Conference Hall, Walugembe also noted that the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) is making business registration expensive for small-scale operators, who comprise over 90% of the country’s businesses.“If it takes days to register a business, it will not be easy for a small-scale entrepreneur upcountry,” noted Walugembe, adding that USSIA’s research shows that only 11% of small-scale manufacturing businesses are registered with URSB. Read more
MICT: ICT to employ 3 million 
Uganda expects to create employment opportunities for three million people in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector. The Minister of Information and Communication Technology, John Nasasira, said in addition to employment opportunities, government revenue was expected to increase to sh600b. He said what is needed now is providing support and an enabling environment to spur growth in the sector. Nasasira made the remarks at a workshop at Serena Hotel in Kampala on the sector’s strategic investment plan. He said funding was expected to be supplemented by other sectors. The minister predicted an increase in the country’s ICT development indices. He said the sector is expected to be more vibrant, with an enhanced legal and regulatory environment. He noted that more citizens are expected to afford and access ICT services. In turn, it would spur social economic transformation to consolidate ICT development, he said. Read more
MOSRA: Nigeria-Uganda to partner in tourism
The government of Uganda is yet to sign a bi-lateral agreement with the federal government of Nigeria to promote tourism and good communication links within the two states. The minister of state for regional affairs, Asuman Lukwago, said  that they are considering a number of reforms to undertake in ensuring that the tourism industries of both countries develop.“we are considering a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to improve communication and joint tourism between Uganda and Nigeria, to see to it that we both have a robust industry attracting tourists across the globe because we have the potential,” Lukwago said. The remarks were made during celebrations to mark Nigeria’s  independence at the residence of the Nigerian high commissioner in Kampala. Lukwago  said that the MOU is meant to create a comfortable environment for the increasing number of tourists from Nigeria to Uganda by the day, citing that the cooperation is growing stronger with over 1000 Nigerian tourists visiting Uganda. Read more
UBOS: Annual Inflation Down 1.9 Percent
Uganda has recorded the lowest inflation in the recent months at 1.9% from the 2.8% that was recorded. The Uganda Bureau of Statistics said that the decline was largely attributed to a reduction in annual food inflation. It said annual food crops inflation dropped to minus 1.9% compared to the 1.5% rise that was recorded.Core inflation declined to 2.0% compared to the 3.1%. The Annual EFU inflation registered a 2.5% increase. The country recorded the highest inflation and core in the region of 30% but was managed by Bank of Uganda's Inflation Targeting Lite (ITL) regime [which uses interest rates] to record to the low levels. BoU will announce its policy interest rate (the Central Bank Rate).Read more
NSSF: Strenous Gov’t Procedures Hurting Investment Plans
The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) has appealed to government to allow them a freer working environment, to be able to put the Shs4.3 trillion fund to more sustainable and lucrative investments.Officials at NSSF said  the body still lacked sufficient latitude to exercise its mandate of growing the savers monies which have exceeded Shs 60 bn.They insist that looking for safe and long term investment for such huge sums of money amidst aggressive competition from other Funds across the region requires fewer huddles from government. NSSF Managing Director Ms Geraldine Ssali told press at Workers’ House that the body was facing too much restraint in its investment plans because of lengthy clearance procedures from government.“What we want are as minimal levels of approval as possible, to allow us certain metrics in which we can operate like any other competitive business,” she said. Read more
President Yoweri Museveni: Uganda to showcase 14 projects at London summit
President Yoweri Museveni will travel to London to showcase 14 projects for funding at the Global African Investment Summit (TGAIS).The summit, chaired by former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, is seeking to direct funds from some of the world’s largest institutional investors into projects across five nations – Uganda, Ghana, Rwanda, Tanzania and Togo. TGAIS is designed as a platform for African governments to bring bankable projects to the international market, targeting a range of investors, including institutional investors, family offices, pension and private equity companies.It is the first time that such a forum has been staged on this scale in London.The Government is looking for investors to finance projects in key industries including agriculture, infrastructure and natural resources. Read more
Kramer Electronics Targets Uganda's Market
Kramer Electronics has announced the introduction of the new VIA product line, including the award winning VIA Collage, the VIA Connect PRO, and the VIA Connect. VIA is a solution that enables you to bring your own device to a meeting and share content of the meeting with other participants. It allows you to connect wirelessly, collaborate easily, and engage everyone in the room in the work you are doing. It provides a common platform for items like laptops, smartphones, and tablets in real time on one digital canvas-and things get done right then and there--not afterwards or through email.Kramer's regional sales director for Africa Raul Novick said at a press conference in Kampala that they are targeting the increasing number of the middle class who are in need for these solutions. "There is potential in Uganda like it is in other markets in African," he told The Independent on the sidelines on the press conference, adding we believe as the economy grows and many people get jobs, new offices open, our products will move in real time. Read more
EIB: Crane Bank Gets Sh96 Billion to Lend to Small Businesses
Small and medium-sized firms can now access 'affordable' credit for expansion, thanks to a partnership between Crane bank and the European Investment Bank (EIB).The EIB released Euros 28m (Shs 94bn) to Crane bank for onward lending to local businesses. Addressing a press conference during the signing of the agreement at Crane bank head office in Kampala, the EIB vice president, Pim van Ballekom, said: "Small business investment is essential to unlock business opportunities and create new jobs. The new support builds on our strong track record of supporting private investments across East Africa in close cooperation with leading local financial partners like Crane bank."Under this credit line, companies will be able to apply for loans of up to Euro 3.5m (Shs 11.8bn). It will be open to both existing and new Crane bank customers. Ruparelia group Chairman Sudhir Ruparelia said the new lending leads to a total of Euro 43m extended to Crane bank. He added the past lending has helped create nearly 1,000 jobs in the manufacturing and tourism sectors. Read more
Prioritize Value Addition – Museveni Tells Investors
President Yoweri Museveni has urged mining investors in Uganda to prioritize value addition to minerals in order to build a strong base for the economy of the country.The President made the remarks at the 3rd Conference on Mineral Wealth held at the Kampala Sheraton Hotel .“You should always bear adding value to minerals in mind so that we get more jobs as well as build technical capacity and a strong base for the economy,” Museveni urged.The President, who gave a detailed account of the mineral sector in Uganda, assured investors that government will ensure that all the necessary requirements for adding value to the minerals are made available. Read more
NPA: Modernisation will cut costs of production on the farm
A study was carried out in Hoima district, western Uganda about the tradeoff between food production and ecosystem services, a study revealed.“Farmers can produce good yields and also spare the environment from degradation,” says Patrick Birungi, the director, development planning at the National Planning Authority. The study that was supported by UNEP, National Environmental Management Authority, National Planning Authority and the World Agroforestry Centre was carried out around the River Waki and River Wambabya in Hoima district.Birungi explains that the area was selected because of its unique status, especially as food security and the environment compete with the newly discovered oil resources.Why poor yields“For most of these crops like maize, most farmers yield around 30% of the researched optimum yield,” Birungi said.Among many farmers, the idea of increasing production means opening up more land for planting and yet according to this research, farmers can ably increase yields and even cut the cost of production per acre by simply intensifying the use of fertilisers, mechanical or animal traction and better seeds. Read more
UBOS: Increased food supply ease inflation to 1.4%
 Inflation has continued on a downward trend, falling by 1.4 percentage points.This has been attributed to increased food supply and subdued demand due to lag effects of a tight monetary stance.The Consumer Price Index released by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics indicates that consumer prices eased to 1.4 per cent from 2.8 per cent recorded.Releasing figures, the director macro-economic statistics Uganda Bureau of Statistics, Mr Chris Ndatira Mukiza, said the country is yet to recover from a slowdown in aggregate demand that resulted from a tight monetary policy deployed by Bank of Uganda to tame inflationary pressure.The tight monetary stance stifled growth in private sector credit as interest rates peaked to over 30 per cent.Read more
MOT: Uganda to earn sh5.3 trillion from tourism
Earnings from tourism are expected to exceed $2 billion (about sh5.3 trillion), according to projections from the tourism Master Plan launched.The projected earnings ($2b) are about a third of the budget, a figure which highlights the immense contribution the sector will have in the future surpassing almost any sector before commercial oil production begins.The plan prepared with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) also forecasts the creation of more than 150,000 additional tourism jobs, almost the same number that will be created at full peak of commercial oil production.The Master plan estimates the average total expenditure of leisure tourists on a pre-booked package tour at $1,200 per capita, and that of international business tourists at $900, excluding air fares in the key high-yield tourist markets. Read more
Minister Kiwanuka to Declare New NSSF Rates
The Minister of Finance Hon. Maria Kiwanuka is set to declare  interest rate payable to NSSF members.The Minister will make the declaration at the NSSF head offices at Workers House in Kampala.The Fund’s Interest rates have been on a steady rise, something that Ag. Managing Director, Geraldine Ssali Busuulwa attributes to emerging better and long-term investment areas.NSSF declared an interest rate of 11.23 percent, up from 10 percent. Following the announcement, NSSF credited its members’ accounts with a total of Shs 278 billion up from Shs202bn. On such investments, Geraldine says is the latest Shs 70 billion venture the fund made in shares in power distributor Umeme, a business deal being probed by Parliament. Read more
MOE: Exploration licences to be issued on competitive basis
Investors will have to show strong financial and expertise muscle to get an exploration licence in Uganda if the review process of the mine policy and regulatory framework is completed.This will replace the old model where licences are given on a first-come-first-serve principle as provided for in the Mining Act (2003).Mr Edwards Kato, the commissioner department of geological survey and mines ministry of Energy, told journalists  in Kampala that this will ensure a competitive tendering process for potential investors in Uganda’s mineral sector and ensure that a licence is given to a competent player.“Some investors don’t have financial and technical capacity but get licences because of that principle. And because they don’t have capacity, they always sell the licenses to another investor which is not good,” he said. Read more
Barclays bank donates shs100m for youth skills development
Barclays Bank has in a bid to boost skilling among the youth in remote Kampala suburbs donated shs100 million to Youth Employment Systems (YES) to create job creation skills. YES is a Non-Government Youth Capacity Building organization training and inspiring young people into employment creation in Kawempe Division, a Kampala suburb.YES is a national level coalition of youth and youth organization, advocating for youth employment creation. The primary aim is to work with diverse stakeholders to develop programs and projects for youth employment creation.At least five million youth shall have their career shaped. Barclays bank has partnered with YES to support the youth in skills development such as entrepreneurship and Business Development program, employability Skills Training, micro Business Support program YES Uganda country coordinator, Daniel Semakula said the shs100m donation from Barclays Bank will be utilised for developing Job related skills among young people. Read more
President Yoweri Museveni: Uganda to Open U.S.$10 Million Chicken Processor Firm
President Yoweri Museveni is expected to officially launch a new $10 million broiler farm and poultry processing plant.Owned by Hudani Manji Holding Limited, the facility is situated in Semuto Nakaseke District about 107 kilometers North West of the capital, Kampala. Hudani Manji Holdings managing director, Rafik Manji said the new plant will reduce the supply gap of poultry products such as chickens on the market."The demand for chicken protein is on the rise in Uganda among the growing middle class whose lifestyle s are changing to appreciate more white meat based diets. This demand has quickly outstripped supply because there is no dominant integrated player in the Uganda poultry sector that is itself ,highly unregulated. That is why we are coming up with this plant in Uganda to close the supply gap" he said.In agriculture, the poultry sub-sector is one which has not attracted many investors compared to others.The majority of people involved are small holder farmers who cannot always meet the demand for chickens at both local and regional level.Read more
MOT: Uganda’s horticultural exports face EU ban
Uganda’s horticultural export commodities risk losing out on revenue from the European Union market if they do not conform to their safety standards.Some of the export commodities on the list of rejection include flowers, hot pepper and chillies. Horticulture as a non-traditional export for Uganda had not only brought hope to the lives of many smallholder farmers as a source of income but also created jobs. Flowers, for instance, have created jobs for more than 8,5000 Ugandans.In an interview with Prosper magazine, the Commissioner of external trade in the Ministry of Trade, Mr Silver Ojakol, said a notification from Brussels-Belgium, one of Uganda’s major EU market destinations has been issued to Uganda. Read more
General Insurance: Fraud threatens medical insurance penetration levels
Medical insurance has turned out to be unprofitable for insurers because of fraud perpetuated by unscrupulous people within the industry.Although there is no readily available data, players say the industry is losing millions of shillings to fraudulent or questionable medical insurance claims.The Insurance Company of East Africa (General Insurance) chief executive officer, Mr John Karionji, told the Daily Monitor that insurance firms are now hesitant to fully venture into the provision of medical insurance to guard themselves against incurring huge losses.“Many companies offering medical insurance policies are not making any profit from that segment of business because of fraud. It’s a challenge that we would like to overcome,” Mr Karionji noted, adding that this has hampered growth of medical insurance in Uganda. Read more
New trade rules push up USE market value by Shs2.5 trillion
The change in trade rules has seen Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) register increased market capitalisation to Shs26 trillion.Market capitalisation refers to the total market value of all of a company’s outstanding shares.Before the implementation of the new trading rules, USE’s market capitalisation was Shs23.5 trillion . USE implemented the new trading rule which allows shares prices to fall or to increase by one shilling instead of five shillings to bring about improved liquidity in the stock market.Trade manager of USE Andrew Mwima told Daily Monitor in an interview  that the increase in market capitalisation is partly supported by the large market activity on counters like Stanbic, Umeme and Bank of Baroda; which allowed investors to transact at favourable prices that were not attainable using the previous five shilling spread. Read more
NIC bonus shares approved
Insurance service provider National Insurance Corporation (NIC) has been given a green light for the bonus issue that seeks to raise more capital and strengthen its financial muscle.The approvals from the Capital Markets Authority and the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) received, will see the insurer issue 819,661,942 new ordinary shares of Shs5 each instead of a cash dividend, to recapitalise its earnings.This will increase the firm’s issued and fully-paid shares to 1,415,799,718.The company’s managing director, Mr Folayan Bayo, said in a media statement that with the approvals, the company’s issued and fully paid up capital increased by Shs4.09 billion from Shs2.98 billion to Shs7.07 billion.This is expected to strengthen the company’s capital base, improve liquidity of NIC shares at the USE and ensure its continued compliance with regulatory requirements.Read more
UCL to expand across Uganda in fresh marketing strategy
Uganda Clays Limited (UCL) will boost its marketing strategy by opening up agencies in all major towns in the country, managing director George Inholo has said.The move is meant to turn around the company’s fortunes.UCL has been facing financial constraints and has not given shareholders dividends for four consecutive years due to the not-so-impressive performance.“We are changing our marketing strategy which has been a challenge. We want to revamp our route to marketing by setting up agencies in all satellite towns across the country,” Mr Inholo said in an interview with Daily Monitor.According to the new managing director, the company is expected to open up new agencies in Arua, Soroti, Busia, and Fort Portal and in the Albertine Region. Read more
Baroda profit up, BATU a hot cake
Bank of Baroda profit leapt by 26.9% to sh17.3b from sh13.7b. Demand for the number of outstanding bids for the bank’s shares is building up, showing an appreciation bias.There were significant increments in the bank’s incomes from loans and advances, marketable/tradable securities, and investment securities to deliver a combined sh14b boost to net profits.A sh8.5b increase in total expenses mainly due to a sh7.2b rise in interest on deposits, a sh1.2b rise in interest on borrowings, and a sh1.7b rise in operating incomes hampered profit growth beyond the 27% mark.Analysis of the banking sector shows Bank of Baroda as the seventh largest bank in Uganda by asset base. It has the sixth lowest cost of funds at 3.5% down from 7.6%, the analysis showed.The bank’s single page summary of their half year financials did not indicate an interim dividend to shareholders. It could be a sign of a cautious trading approach going forward as the year rolls on. There were 1.1 million outstanding bids on the Baroda counter at sh120 per share with zero outstanding bids by close.Read more
Uganda, Rwanda Plan 3rd Business Summit
In a move aimed at consolidating the flourishing bilateral relations between Uganda and Rwanda and boosting regional trade, the two countries will soon host the third Business Forum in Kampala, Chimp Corps report.According to Uganda’s Ambassador to Rwanda, Richard Kabonero, the theme of the Summit is “accelerating regional trade and investment.”Kabonero said the function will be held at Kampala Serena Hotel. Credited for boosting ties with Rwanda and promoting Uganda’s tourism, Kabonero said the “forum will bring together the two states’ business community, government officials, and representatives of professional bodies” to brainstorm on facilitating trade and investments in the region to spur economic growth.The first forum of its kind was held in Kampala. Read more
IRA: Insurers up anti-money laundering drive
Insurance companies have to appoint Anti-Money Laundering control officers as the implementation of the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Act, begins to take shape.The Act requires all financial institutions (such as banks and insurance companies) to do rigorous due diligence on their potential clients including establishing their source of income before establishing any business dealing.This follows the establishment of the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) to oversee and investigate suspected money laundering transactions and take action.Speaking at the chief executive officers’ breakfast meeting in Kampala, Insurance Regulatory Authority chief executive officer Ibrahim Kaddunabbi Lubega, said the appointment of AML control officers seeks to ensure that all insurers have robust internal controls and procedures to guard against money laundering.Read more
Court has halted the transfer of majority shareholding to new management of Orange Telecommunications Uganda Limited until a dispute over retirement benefits is resolved.High Court Judge Lydia Mugambe issued the temporary injunction restraining the transfer of the 95.3 per cent majority shareholding from Atlas services, Belgium to Africell Holding.“Temporary injunction is hereby issued restraining the respondent (Orange Telecom), its officers, employees, agents, successors, assignees, any person claiming under it from transferring its majority shareholding to another company and or transferring its operating licences until disposal of the main suit,” the judge held.The order follows an application in which more than 400 former employees of Orange Telecommunications Uganda Limited asked court to temporarily block the transaction until their dispute is resolved. Read more
Pearl Capital Partners: SMEs advised on equity financing
It makes no business sense for you to have 100 per cent ownership of your company when you are struggling to raise sufficient capital for long term growth, industry experts have told mid-sized company owners. 
Speaking at the Top 100 mid-size companies forum in Kampala, the Managing Partner of Pearl Capital Partners, Mr Tom Adlam, said business owners should be prepared to cede part of their stakes so as to attract private equity investment into their company.Private equity is an alternative source of capital investment from high net worth individuals and institutions whose aim is investing and acquiring stakes (technically known as equity ownership) in the company where their investment is being injected.“To attract private equity investment, you must be willing to give some shares of your business, that is important because both of you will now have mutual attachment towards the success of the company,” Mr Adlam told the members of the mid-sized companies. Read more
URA okays 12 more firms
Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has accredited 12 more companies as Authorised Economic Operators (AEO). AEO is part of the broad modernisation reforms being undertaken by the Uganda Revenue Authority to promote compliance and enhance facilitation of international trade and the security of the international trade supply chain. Allen Kagina, the Commissioner General of URA said AEO is among the many modernisation reforms undertaken to improve service delivery and compliance in order to fulfill URA’s mandate. Kagina, who was handing over certificates to 12 companies enrolled under AEO, said these companies have been fully scrutinised and can now carry out their businesses with minimum supervision by URA staff.Read more
MTN Rebuilds Lives in Western Uganda
MTN Uganda Foundation commissions classroom block in Mbarara and water project in Kisoro district as part of its support of community initiatives As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) drive MTN Uganda Foundation has commissioned two community projects in the western region; a classroom block in Kashuro in Mbarara district and a clean and safe water project in Gisorora, Kisoro district.The classroom block constructed at Kashuro Primary school is complete with two water tanks of 10,000 liters each, furniture, plastic gutters and drainage pipes worth Ushs 250 million. MTN’s General Manager Corporate Services Anthony Katamba who represented the MTN Uganda CEO- Brian Gouldie, recently handed over the block to the school administration and local authorities before heading South West to Kisoro to commission the water project in Kisoro. Read more
UTB: Mbale gears up for Tourism day
According to Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) executive director Stephen Asiimwe, celebrations will be held at Mbale stadium under the theme, “Tourism and Community Development.”UTB is the government’s tourism marketing and promotions agency is promoting domestic tourism across the country.Asiimwe was addressing a press conference at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala. Asiimwe said that in the build up to the world tourism day, Mbale is hosting a tourism exhibition that depicts the region’s culture, natural and historical attractions, heritage, dance, music and drama.Also, the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) is showcasing animals such as lions, leopards, ostriches, peacocks, monkeys, bushbucks, pythons and crocodiles. Also, for the first time a local company, Ballon Tours Limited, will launch tourism flights over Mbale area using a hot air ballon, according to Asiimwe.Read more
URA: Tax-Compliant firms get special treatment
Eleven companies have been chosen to receive preferential treatment when clearing their goods at customs, after they exhibited high levels of compliance in their tax obligations.Under the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) scheme, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) said, these companies will now enjoy fast clearance of their goods through simplified procedures and reduced inspection. The companies include General Machinery Ltd, Victoria Pumps Ltd, Victoria Motors Ltd, Victoria Engineering Ltd, Victoria Equipment Ltd, Bemuga Forwarders Ltd, and DHL International (U) Ltd. These join ten others chosen last year for the same treatment. Sixty-two companies had applied for the recognition, but URA said the rest are still being monitored before they can be granted AEO status Speaking to representatives of the successful companies at URA headquarters, Nakawa, Commissioner General Allen Kagina said: "We are celebrating compliance. The beginning was not so exciting 22 years back; the change is very obvious now." Read more
UCDA: Uganda may not meet coffee target, experts warn
With only one month left to the close of the coffee calendar, latest statistics show a slight increase in Uganda’s volume and value respectively.A new report released by the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) shows on a year to year basis, there was a marginal increase of 1.44 percent and 0.76 percent in volume and value respectively.“Coffee exports for the period totalled 3.52 million bags worth $394 million (about Shs1 trillion). This indicated a slight increase from 3.47 million bags worth $391 million (Shs977.5 billion) earned the same period last year,” UCDA report noted.Because of this performance, experts in the industry have reservation as to whether the country will meet the target set last year or surpass it with only one month of the coffee year remaining. Read more
EAC: Advertising trends in E. Africa point to steady growth
When it comes to the East African markets, years of advertising trends indicate a slow but steady growth. An exception is Kenya which has been growing at a much faster pace. This growth is indicative of the confidence advertisers have in the Kenyan market.Kenya seems to have an upper hand in the advertising industry in comparison to the rest of the East African region. A few assumptions can be made to explain this disparity. One could be the country’s positioning as a central hub for multinationals investing in East Africa.Kenya is strategically ‘placed’ i.e. the presence of a seaport, advanced infrastructure, the booming tourism sector and liberalised trade policies; hence, becoming a gateway to other landlocked countries such as Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. Read more
PSMOF: Uganda to seek Shs21 trillion China loan to fund railway
Uganda is hoping to secure a Shs21 trillion ($8 billion) loan from China to build a railway network to revamp the country’s transport infrastructure as it prepares to start oil production.As in other areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, China has become a major investor in Uganda. It has mostly channelled funds into roads, hydro power dams, fibre optic cable networks and other infrastructure, usually offering cheap loans.“This is a huge project and we’ll need cheap money and I don’t think we can get it from anywhere else,” Keith Muhakanizi, permanent secretary, ministry of finance, told Reuters.“We hope China will agree to fund the railway project ... negotiations will start soon.” Read more
AMFIU: Micro-Finance bodies ask govt to speed up legislation
The Association of Micro-Finance Institutions in Uganda (AMFIU) has asked government to speed up the enactment of the Micro-Finance Institutions Bill that will provide a legal framework to regulate the sector.
While presiding over this Year’s Citi Micro Entrepreneurship awards recently, Mr Wilson Twamukabwa, the AMFIU president, said the absence of a legal regime to regulate the sector has greatly tarnished the image of the sector because of the abuses it has suffered.“We often start as micro but do not remain micro. AMFIU is committed to ensuring that its members are transparent, have appropriate product design, loan appraisals and recovery are transparent and any one with complaint against any of our member is free to approach AMFIU,” he said. Read more
Museveni warns lazy diplomats
President Museveni has called on American investors to compete for investments in Africa and Uganda saying countries like China have seen the potential in Africa and have come in with loans to build infrastructure such as railway to boost trade and investments on the continent.“I am here to invite you to come and invest in Uganda and fill the gap especially in manufacturing and infrastructural development,” said Museveni, adding, “I am here to tell you there is business in Uganda and we can all benefit.”The President said, “For a long time, the people in the West have been taking it easy because they were the only developed ones. However countries such as China, Brazil, India etc are coming up and now the west has to learn to compete. We have more links with America and it is easy to partner with them.” Read more
Museveni vows massive shakeup at UIA
President Museveni has said that there will be a shake-up in the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) to make it more effective as a one stop centre and to be more responsive to investors’ needs as far as investment information is concerned.The President acknowledged that while there is corruption in the Police Force, the fight against the vice has been continuous struggle that needs a collective effort.The President was addressing over 600 Ugandans living in the Diaspora in Texas at his residency at the Lone Star Ranch in Texas where he was meeting various investors and the Ugandan Community here. We had a total breakdown of law and order, murders, extra-judicial killings and corruption of the worst type. Most of these have been defeated. Fighting corruption is a continuous struggle, I urge you to bring this information to the attention of government if we are to win the fight,” the President said while reacting to reports of inadequate information about investment opportunities in Uganda and the high level of corruption in the Ugandan Police.Read more
Standard Chartered Bank: Govt urged to streamline procurement processes
Government has been urged to streamline its procurement processes to lower project costs.Speaking at the fifth annual chief executive officers’ summit in Kampala, Standard Chartered Bank managing director said the procurement processes in Uganda are a nightmare and require urgent attention as they increase the cost of service delivery.Drawing an example of the Bujagali Hydropower Project whose construction costs went up from the projected $580 million (about Shs1.5 trillion) initially to the final cost of $850 million (aboust Shs2.2 trillion), Mr Kasekende noted that delays in procurement is costly to companies that will undertake projects as it ultimately increases the costs involved.Read more
Qalaa Holdings: New RVR trains to boost cargo volumes, says company official
Freight volumes from Mombasa to Kampala are set to increase following the launch of three locomotives by East Africa’s rail way operator, Rift Valley Railways (RVR). According to Qalaa Holdings formerly Citadel Capital, the largest shareholder in RVR with 85 per cent equity, the arrival of the three of the 20 American-built locomotives development turnaround capital investment programme worth $287million (about Shs754 billion).“These new locomotives, combined with the impact of our programme to recondition existing locos and refurbish the rolling stock, will have a transformative impact on the concession’s performance,” said Karim Sadek managing director Qalaa Holdings and director RVR l.Read more
12 Top Companies to Enjoy Special URA Privileges
Uganda Revenue Authority has awarded two categories of certificates including the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) status to 12 companies which successfully completed the AEO authorization criteria, and Bonded Warehouse – Operator Managed status to 4 companies, marking the second phase of the program comprising Exporters and Warehouse keepers.The 12 companies who emerged successful out of 62 were Speedag Interfreight Ltd, General Machinery Ltd, Victoria Pumps Ltd, Victoria Motors Ltd, Victoria Engineering Ltd, Victoria Equipment Ltd, Rapid Kate Services (U) Ltd, Multilines International, Daks Courier Services, Union Logistics (U) Ltd, Bemuga Forwarders Ltd, DHL International (U) Ltd. And the 4 who gained the Bond warehouse Operator Managed status include Nice House of Plastics, Roofings Ltd, Toyota Uganda, and Steel and Tube Industries. Read more
SEATINI: Avoid Western tax models - experts
Uganda should formulate treaties that not only protect her interests as a country, but also help her collect more revenues from the multinational companies who have tendencies to avoid paying taxes, experts on trade treaties have advised. According to experts from Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiation Institute (SEATINI) and Action Aid, Uganda must avoid Double Taxation Treaties (DTT) that are crafted by developed nations because they largely reflect their interests and gives little or no concession to the other party.Double Taxation Treaties are conventions between two countries that aim to eliminate the double taxation of income or gains arising in one territory and paid to residents of another territory. Read more
KGTF: Declining tea prices blamed on poor quality green leaf
Tea farmers across the country have been asked to pick only the recommended green tea leaves so as to curb the decline of international tea prices.The call was made by Caleb Kipande, the former chairman of the board of directors of Kayonza Growers Tea Factory.He was addressing the 19th annual general meeting for the factory shareholders in Kanungu district.He said many farmers harvest poor quality green tea leaves, which has compromised the international market value at the auction market in Mombasa.“Our main auction market in Mombasa has witnessed a fall in prices due to the quality supplied. This has affected our incomes,” Kipande said.As a result, farmers are earning only sh380 per kilo for their leaf. Previously, they earned sh410. He, however, said that although the operating environment had remained subdued, Kayonza Growers Tea Factory which started has managed to deliver a fair result. Read more
UCDA: : Bunyoro advised to grow more coffee
Bunyoro Kitara Diocese Bishop, Nathan Kyamanywa has urged people in the sub-region to grow more coffee if they are to improve their household incomes and live better lives. Kyamanywa, made the remarks at the Diocese offices in Duhaga, Hoima district while presiding over the distribution of coffee seedlings.The 30,000 coffee seedlings of Arabica coffee to benefit over 100 people from four archdeaconries in Hoima district were donated by State house through Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) following a request by the diocese.St. Peter’s Cathedral church got 3,740 seedlings for 34 individuals, Bishop’s office 1,910 for 10 people, Butema parish 6,490 to benefit 59 people while, Karongo parish received 1,100 for 10 people.He said government’s commitment to give free coffee seedlings to the community as one way of increasing coffee production in the country to eradicate household poverty is an opportunity that people should utilize to plant more. Read more
TMEA: Uganda moves to adopt use of electronic trade system
The cost of doing business across borders is set to go down following a partnership between the Royal Danish Embassy, Uganda and Trademark East Africa (TMEA), aimed at funding an electronic trade clearance computerised system. The two development partners signed a bilateral agreement  to support the implementation of the National Electronic Single Window (NESW) in Uganda. The project, which have so far been implemented in Rwanda, will enhance availability and handling of international trade documents and information, reducing delays and costs related to document handling for imports and exports. Read more
African chief executive officers, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Uganda
African chief executive officers (CEOs) have named technological advancement, urbanisation and demographic shifts as the top three factors that will transform businesses on the continent.In a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) titled Africa Business Agenda, the CEOs note that technology advances at 69 per cent, urbanisation 67 per cent and demographic shifts at 63 per cent as the top three defining trends that will transform their businesses.The report compiles results from 260 CEOs in Africa and includes insights from business and public sector leaders from 18 countries including Uganda. Commenting on the report, Mr Suresh Kana, a Senior Partner for PwC Africa who issued the report in South Africa said: “We are also seeing more use of technological innovation and products, with no less than 91 per cent of African CEOs either recognising the need to change their investments or in the process of doing so. Similarly, 85 per cent said the same about data analytics.” Read more

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