Young entrepreneurs given push to pursue business dreams

By Edwin Muhumuza

Thousands of young entrepreneurs in Uganda are gearing up for 2019 cohort of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. This is courtesy of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, the leading African-funded and founded philanthropy committed to empowering African entrepreneurs. Also involved is the United Bank of Africa(UBA)which has facilitated over 60 entrepreneurs who want to benefit from this initiative .

The head of Retail and SME,UBA, Paul Luyima, says they are targeting over 5000 daring entrepreneurs so as to increase their chances of winning.

‘’We are trying to prepare them or polish them, their proposals and approaches so that by the time they submit in,they will be considered.’’ He adds that ,’’this year is different and as UBA, we have decided to support the entrepreneurs ,call them in, try to highlight a few areas they need to consider and we have also decided to invite alumni to give them tips on how to succeed.’’

Kenneth Twesigye, owns a company called TechBuzz Hub, now three years old. He says they give life to entrepreneurship, innovation and start ups. As a previous winner, he hailed the TEF program for the mentorship training.

He says one must be shrewd enough to defend their application, must be a go-getter, have an entrepreneurial element, be committed and lastly the applicant must be able to scan the environment; creative, innovative, very ready to see a problem and suggest a solution so as to succeed.

Twesigye reveals that he was selected in 2016 and went through the training, mentor-ship and did business planning and financial planning, still under the guidance of TEP and thereafter they were given the money. It has been two full years since inception of his company and currently he has a contract with government to support young entrepreneurs in the IT sector and has 13 entrepreneurs that they harbor as company ,among other initiatives.

Now in its 5th year, the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme has empowered 4,470 entrepreneurs, using a bespoke and robust selection, training and implementation process to create visible and sustainable impact across all 54 African countries.

In 2018 over 2,210 Ugandans entrepreneurs applied for the program, ranking Uganda the third highest after Nigeria and Kenya in submissions. Over 126 Ugandan applicants were successful and received n the USD 5000, seed capital in 2018. Since inception over 300 Ugandan entrepreneurs have benefited from the program.

The other thing about the work shop is the entrepreneurs were told about the readiness of UBA to support their journey through positioning themselves from day one to ensure that they achieve along with the bank, Luyima said.

Every year the foundation opens up a portal for people to submit and through the marketing department, a message is sent through social media to invite those who would like to benefit from the Tony Elumelu Foundation .The Programme is a 10-year, $100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor and fund 10,000 African entrepreneurs with an objective to generate at least 1,000,000 new jobs and create at least $10 billion in new business revenue across Africa.

Sudhir demands for return of banks’ bad loan book


By Deo Wasswa

The vice chairman of the defunct Crane Bank, Business man Sudhir Ruparelia has demanded for the return of the banks bad loan book which he values at UGX570 billion.

The bank was closed in October 2016 and sold to DFCU three months later.

Sudhir made the appeal during a presentation by shareholders of the bank before the COSASE.

According to the former chairman of Crane Bank Joseph Biribonwa The bank of Uganda had a premeditated plan to asset strip Crane bank and sell it to a preferred buyer.

He told Members of Parliament that the Bank Of Uganda frustrated the efforts by the share holders to bring in an equity investors.

Birobonwa had earlier told MPs that the liquidity crisis at the bank had been caused by an economic downturn in 2014/2015.

He blamed the BOU for causing loss of confidence in CB in April 2016 by halting the bank from issuing letters of credit, bonds and bank guarantees. In addition he said the BOU placed a lien on treasury bills held by CB worth 169bn.

These actions he said killed the bank since they caused capital flight and serious reputation damage.

The lien on treasury bills also led to equity investor Atlas Mara losing interest in Crane Bank.

He revealed that the shareholders had raised capital amounting to 8m dollars which funds were detained by BOU and not allowed in the bank.

He also disclosed that on 19th October 2016 Crane bank had agreed to terms of a loan from the central bank amounting to 79.2bn shs but the BOU moved to take over the bank that very night at 11pm.

He noted that BOU made the decision to sell Crane Bank in November 2016. This was less than a month after the takeover and in violation of the financial institutions act.

The chairman of Ruparelia Group who was vice chairman of the Bank Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia told the MPs that the shareholder of the bank demand the return of the bad loan book that was handed to Dfcu.

He demands for the return of 23.5 dollars raised by the shareholders and held by the BOU.

UDB scores highly in Fitch rating

By Edwin Muhumuza

Uganda Development Bank (UDB) ranks ‘B+’ according to the latest credit rating by Fitch, a top international credit rating agency.

A credit rating is an evaluation of the credit risk of a prospective debtor (an individual, a business, company or a government), predicting their ability to pay back the debt, and an implicit forecast of the likelihood of the debtor defaulting.

The state owned development Bank and its issuer default ratings are driven by its support rating floor of ‘4’ and ‘B+’, respectively, which reflects Fitch’s view of a high propensity of government to support the bank when need arises especially due to its policy of financing Uganda’s priority areas, full-state ownership, significant funding guarantees and ordinary capital contributions from the state.

The managing Director, UDB, Patricia Ojangole notes that they intend to use the credit rating to increase funders’ confidence in the bank and thereby increase the banks chances of raising capital.

Currently the authorized capital contribution to the bank stands at shs.500 billion but so far government has put in 274 billion shillings, Ojangole said.

The head of Risk and Compliance Moses Ebitu, said the credit rating is good in that it raises the horizon of borrowing but also lowers the cost of borrowing which translates to the cost of facilities they offer and so they look to borrow from multinationals and then extend it to clients.

‘This rating speaks to a lot of things, a combination of different factors including how the bank is run and managed. Regardless of how good UDB may be, they can only be ranked to the extent of the support that government offers.’added Ebitu.

The bank has operations covering the entire country but without retail branches because they finance their own operations without government support for operating costs according to the officials.Government had committed to fund the bank up to 2022 but they hope that government fast tracks funding before then.

‘When the bank’s capital base significantly increases then they will be able to increase their nation-wide reach with time, and Ugandans will be able to access the money they want’, according to Ojangole.

Fitch Ratings of B+ on Uganda. cites the country’s high levels of infrastructure spending and its sound macroeconomic policy framework and a stable outlook on Uganda.
The Bank continues to focus on agriculture; the entire value chain, manufacturing, tourism, human capital development that is health and education plus infrastructure development

Farmers asked to form groups to get government support

By Moses Kidandi

The Uganda People’s Defense Forces have announced the second roll out of government support from Government to local farmers under the operation wealth creation project. Under the second phase, farmers will be required to form groups from 61 in rural-based areas, 41 in urban areas and committees of 9 people in different villages across the country.
“We encourage them to form committees for management, for supervision, committees for finance and investment and then committee for technical for value addition, because we want to go agro-industrialization so that whatever they do, there is value addition,” said Gen. Angina

He emphasized that the committees are for collective responsibility to ensure that you cannot compromise an individual. “In finance where we find a group with a treasurer, we know that it is liable to miss the rest of the group because if the treasurer is compromised then you lose everything, we even believe that we take lessons from other failures that have been in cooperative, in SACCOs because of compromise” he stressed.

Deputy Chief Coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation Lt. Gen Charles Angina is now asking different farmers to start mobilizing themselves to groups to benefit from the free distribution of seeds, animals and other agricultural inputs. Gen Angina says farmers who will be organized stand the chance to be the first beneficiaries of Government support to local farmers

“We intend to see to it that we form farmers groups so that they themselves will choose what they want to plant. We only guide them that in this ecological zone you should not grow what will not do well. Because each ecological zone of Uganda has its strength in what you can do best” he said.

With a vision to promote and transform the agricultural sector in Uganda from the point of view of technical leaders, political leaders, farmers, the private sector, Operation Wealth Creation was launched by the Uganda government as an intervention intended to create a system that facilitates effective National Socio-economic transformation with a focus of raising household incomes for poverty eradication and sustainable wealth creation.

Gen Angina was speaking at the National Launch of activities to mark the 38th Tarehe Sita Anniversary at the Ministry of Defense Headquarters in Mbuya, a suburb of the capital Kampala. The day will be observed under the theme “Consolidating peace for sustainable development and prosperity”. The main celebrations will be held on 6th February .in the northern district of Kitgum.

German Investors partner with UDB to Finance Innovations

By Edwin Muhumuza

Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, has overseen the start of the signing of a series of pacts around cooperation and joint ventures anchored by German’s public and private sector entities worth millions of dollars.

Uganda’s Green growth development strategy, which aims at promoting sustainable financing, innovations, start-ups, and industrialization, has received an endorsement from a visiting German delegation.

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Uganda Development Bank(UDB) which has also signed an undertaking with Germany’s City of Karlsruhe, will be at the center of the financing projects around the Green Growth development strategy. Ugandan enterprises ought to reap from new cooperation of promoting and financing green growth sustainable development projects, being championed by Germany, says Finance Minister Matia Kasaija.

‘I also would like to call upon all Ugandans, companies, and institutions to seize this golden opportunity and build on the foundation we made when we visited Germany in order to make partnerships that will benefit our two countries’.Kasaija remarked.

‘The biggest now that am focusing on is Bukasa port with support from Germany to enable us to be able to load our cargo either via Dar es Salaam or Mombasa port.’he added.

The signing-off is to establish the German – Uganda Training and Research Centre for Renewable energies at Makerere University’s College of Engineering.

The Ambassador Dr. Albrecht Conze said that the cooperation between Uganda and Germany’s City of Karlsruhe is also expected to support Uganda’s national efforts in creating a modern, resilient and sustainable economy.’since this spirit of the invention is strong in the country.

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‘So I think it is very interesting because you also have a different landscape of enterprises of situations you need solutions for and it’s often better to go the way with small and medium-sized enterprises and not with the big players…’ according to the Dr Frank Mentrup, Mayor of Karlsruhe Germany.

For Private sector actors, the Uganda Development Bank will under the pact support interventions into projects in innovations, energy, industry and education among others.

The Managing Director, UDB, Patricia Ojangole said that at the end of it there will be lots of initiatives they will undertake and implement but all is towards help Uganda fast track its economic development Agenda.

Uganda’s tourism stakeholders form a joint security committee

By Edwin Muhumuza

Tourism stakeholders have formed a joint security committee in a bid to ensure quick and efficient handling of crime in the sector. This during a dialogue at the Uganda Tourism Board offices hosted by the head of quality assurance Samora Semakula.

The stake holders dialogue was attended by the commandant of tourism police Frank Mwesigwa ,Association of Uganda Tour operators(AUTO),Uganda Hotel Owners Association(UHOA),Uganda Safaris and Guides Association(USAGA),The Uganda Association Of Travel Agents(TUGATA).

‘Members of the committee are expected to keep track of cases that have been reported countrywide to rid the industry of masqueraders who often fleece tourists of their money’ Semakula explained.

Tourism being the economic backbone of Uganda, has attracted quite a number of people into the sector seeking to cash in on the rewards of the God-given beauty of the country, consecutively listed among the top three destinations of the world every year by global tourism agencies.

However, weaknesses in the law have been a challenge in ensuring transparency amid concerns that the Tourism Act,(now under amendment) is silent on several issues pertaining to safety and quality of services offered by stakeholders.

Commandant of tourism Police Frank Mwesigwa appealed to tour operators to liaise with the police to ensure that tourists are accommodated in Known hotels and to provide security when necessary. This on grounds that tourists have complained of theft of property and other valuables when accommodated in poor quality and substandard hotels and lodges.

The Chairperson of the Uganda Safaris and Guides Association, Herbert Byaruhanga noted that all members of registered associations should have their lists displayed on their websites as well as that of the Uganda Tourism Board, so that Police can easily identify criminals adding that blacklisting and displaying of suspected criminals will go a long way in ensuring that tourist and hotels will shun them.

The Executive Director, Uganda Hotel Owners Association, Jean Byamugisha called for a Name and Shame list of tour operators and Hotels that have been named to have been involved in criminal activity because there are no consequences for now, so that the law can deal with them. Byamugisha added that there is need for the sector to ‘bite’ and use one culprit as an example to the rest to desist from crime.

Concerns were also raised from the Uganda Association Of Travel Agents over the laxity from some airlines to join their association, a move they say may be a set back to the sector.

Other issues of concern was that there is no one in the country that can produce a record of the number of tourists entering Uganda per day from all entry points for accountability purposes. However members observed that it will have to take an order from cabinet to the sector to deliver the records daily to the tourism police other than the Uganda Bureau of Statistics that has red-tape.

Flights to Entebbe Cancelled: Ethiopian Airlines plane overshots runway

Report by Robert Segawa

Flights to Entebbe international airport have been cancelled after an Ethiopian Airlines plane overshot the runway early this morning. Communications director Civil aviation authority Vianney Lugya says all 139 passengers on board the air craft Boeing B_737_800 safely disembarked from the airport.

The flight registration number ET- ATV with flight number ET- 338 on 3rd January 2019 on regular schedule service from Addis Ababa to Entebbe Uganda over shot the land way that led to hundreds of passengers remain stranded at Entebbe international airport after suspension of some incoming flights.

This led to tighten the security at the Airport as officials didn’t allow people to access the stream of Airport.

Lugya Civil aviation authority effort is under way to remove the Athiopian airline plane for planes that are coming to the country to land.

The facts that it over shot the land way and is at end of the land way, has some how affects the incoming flight which can not come in at the moment, says Lugya. He however says there wasn’t any passengers that was injured in the morning incident.

The aircraft had a total of 139 people on board all of them disembarked safely without any problems and no observed damage to the aircraft. Lugya adds that it over shot the land way has some how affects the incoming flight which can not come in at the moment.

Road Safety: World Bank launchs a road inspection report of the North Eastern Road Corridor

BY GLORIA NAKIYIMBA

The World Bank has today launched a road inspection report of the North Eastern Road Corridor which calls for improvement of safety measures to make the road safer for all users. Some of the safety measures proposed in the report include, changing the design of the road to make it more consistent to the terrain.

Other measures are , improving the cross section from two-lanes to four-lanes with guardrails in the towns of Tororo, Mbale, Soroti and Lira and at the Manafwa steep descend, use of speed guns, installation of speed humps, and delineation of horizontal curves to enhance safety for night-time driving with chevron signs.

The 340km stretch, known as the North Eastern Road Corridor Asset Management Project covers the Tororo-Mbale-Soroti-Lira-Kamdini road, and is about to undergo rehabilitation and improvements funded by the World Bank “Uganda has made important strides in the past decade to reduce communicable diseases, maternal deaths, and improve the overall life expectancy. Therefore, a concerted action on road safety would bring additional far-reaching benefits for the public health sector, and economic development,” said Tony Thompson, Country Manager, World Bank.

The report, funded by the Bank’s Global Road Safety Facility, identified several challenges including rapid urbanization along the corridor, poor road design that is inconsistent with the geographical terrain, ineffective and limited speed control measures as well as steep embankments and slopes.

According to the report a total of 98 accident black spots were identified in the corridor – equivalent to one black spot every 3.5km.

Speaking at the launch of the report in Kampala on Thursday, Allen Kagina the executive director Uganda National Roads Authority-UNRA noted that “the unit will be coordinating and liaising with all key stakeholders, including the police, the contractor, and the National Road Safety Council. The Unit will follow up on the NERAMP road safety performance and compliance to requirements of the national road safety standards and programs.”

UNRA says road Safety activities are aimed at the reduction of road traffic injuries and fatalities by strengthening the road safety management capacity, and reducing road crashes on the project corridor.

UNRA boss Kagina says the authority’s Traffic and Road safety department will play the leading role in the implementation of the safety interventions of the project, particularly the education and support to enforcement aspects.

The unit will follow up on the NERAMP road safety performance and compliance to requirements of the national road safety standards and programs.

Road safety education campaigns will be carried out in schools and on radio and TV stations in major towns along the road corridor including Tororo, Mbale, Soroti and Lira while support will be given to the road safety enforcement agencies like police in enforcing safety measures.

Charles Muhangi found dead in his bed

BY ROBERT SSEGAWA

Police has confirmed the sudden death of Charles Muhangi a city business man, sports personality and also the proprietor of Horizon coaches.

Muhangi was reportedly found dead this morning at his home in Buziga surbab of Kampala in Makindye division by his wife.

According to Vicent Ssekate the CID spokesperson, police got the information from local leaders in Buziga and sent detectives to his home who confirmed his death.

“All i can tell you is we are taking the body to Mulago for postmortem and ascertain the possible cause of death” Ssekate said.

Mike Mawanda a family friend says the family will also conduct a joint post mortem with police through a family doctor.

“ We have heard from the people who were with him last night in the meeting, he was not sick up to 1 am he Departed and agreed to meet this morning”, says Mawanda.

60 year old Muhangi a renowned rally driver was the first Ugandan to win African rally championship in 1999.

He has been involved in a land wrangle with property mogul Drake Lubega and Mansoor Matovu alias Young. The three Kampala business men were battling for the ownership of Qualicel Arcade, and Nabukera arcade .

Muhangi claims ownership of the 0.58 hectares of the land on which the two arcades were built.

Last month the office of the Solicitor general issued Muhangi with a letter confirming the ownership of the land that housed the two arcades.

Muhangi further produced the letter to Kampala Metropolitan Police commander Moses Kafeero for eviction, and was given a go ahead letter and officers to secure the premises during the eviction.

After retaining the ownership of two arcades Charles Muhangi change the names of Arcades from Qualicel terminal to “Horizon city” and Nabukera Plaza to “Bazannya N’engo”.

After changing the names of Arcades the two tycoons Drake Lubega and Mansoor Matovu alias Young closed the two arcades last month in protest which left many traders renting on the buildings stranded on streets of Kampala.
The arcades were later opened after two days.

The two business men were accusing Charles Muhangi of grabbing their buildings and have been battling the case in the courts of law for the last 13 years.

UBA Foundation launches Each one Teach one’ initiative

By Edwin Muhumuza

United Bank of Africa(UBA) Uganda through the UBA Foundation, the arm of the bank charged with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has launched the ‘Each One Teach One’ Initiative designed to benefit youths in Africa.

The purpose of the Each One Teach One Initiative is to create opportunities where UBA staff across the continent voluntarily commit their time to their communities, teaching youths various skills such as cooking, agriculture, foreign languages, photography, fashion design, music, reading, writing and much more, to empower youths with knowledge, which in future will facilitate their financial independence and support enterprenual development.

In Uganda, the team launched the project at Bugema Adventist Secondary School where UBA staff donated literature books, agricultural material, planted trees and trained students on financial literacy and entrepreneurship.

The ‘Each One Teach One’ initiative will be rolled out across the country in areas of operation.

‘We believe the youth are the future of this country and the education they receive does not singlehandedly prepare them to succeed in the future. Through the UBA foundation and the ‘Each One Teach One Initiative’, we hope to give the youth a head start by equipping them with the necessary skills to succeed,’ said Johnson Agoreyo, the UBA Uganda Managing Director and CEO.

According to officials at the Bank,UBA Foundation through its four major areas of focus – education, environment, economic empowerment and special projects will continue to positively impact the lives of Uganda youths and communities.

United Bank for Africa (UBA) is one of Africa’s leading financial institutions, with operations in 20 countries and 3 global financial centers: London, Paris and New York.UBA has evolved into a Pan-African, provider of banking and related financial services through diverse channels globally.

United Bank for Africa Uganda represents UBA’s pioneer country activities in the East and Southern African sub-region. With a growing network of branches and ATMs across the country, the bank continues to expand the retail and commercial playing field in Uganda by delivering unique financial products and solutions.