New Pension company pledges to focus on SMEs

By Deo Wasswa
The Africa’s leading Pension administrator, Enewealth Financial Services Limited has expanded its operations to Uganda after being licensed by Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA).

Enwealth, Currently Manages Pension assets worth over Ush2 trillion and servicing over 120 clients within the region. Over the last 8 years, Enwealth has been providing innovative products and services through which more than 40,000 people in 12 countries in Africa have been impacted.

Speaking during the launch at Sheraton hotel-Kampala. Nelson Kuria, the Enwealth board chair, they joined Uganda after realizing that the pension industry in Uganda is growing steadily under as strong regulatory regime. ‘’ We have keenly observed the pension industry in Uganda growing steadily under a strong regulatory regime, we are therefore excited to introduce innovative, ICT driven retirement products and services in Uganda such as post retirement healthcare funds for a dignified retirement life, Diaspora and expatriates fund, Enwealth Person pension scheme among others’’, said Nelson.

The firm joins nine other pension administrators that are currently licensed by URBRA as a result of the ongoing reform agenda to liberalize the sector.

According to URBRA, the pension sector covers only about two million of Uganda’s population which is less than 10 percent of the population. The pension sector is currently contributing more than nine percent to the country’s GDP, and is projected to contribute a higher share in the near future. According to the regulator the sector’s portfolio is now growing with NSSF recording shs9 trillion in much 2018 from ush3 trillion at inception and other schemes are holding nearly ush1.6 trillion.

At the same event, Simon Wafuba, the Enwealth CEO, revealed that Enwealth’s key target market in Uganda will be the small and medium enterprises which are currently under served. The SMEs employ over 2.5 million people. But due to low income levels and luck of access to information, majority of them do not have adequate savings fir their retirement. Enwealth has tailor-made products for this market as well as financial literacy programs to encourage the population to save and secure their financial security in interment.

‘’We see a very vibrant, robust and well regulated sector with increased coverage and asset portfolio,. With more players joining the market, we will see products suited for the markets that have not had access to retirement benefits before. We are also adopting to modern supervisory tools to ensure that people’s savings are secured, Said Mr. Martin Nsubuga, the CEO Uganda retirement benefits regulatory authority(URBRA).

Notably, the 2016 World Bank development indicators report noted that Ugandans save around five percent of their monthly earnings. This was the lowest record in comparison to other countries in the east Africa whose records stood at 23 percent for Kenya, 13 percent for Tanzania and 18 percent for Rwanda.

Additionally, Enwealth will provide well researched information on issues affecting financial services, social security and employee benefits in Uganda through their regular research based report and debate dubbed Enwealth conversations.

With the expansion to Uganda, Enwealth joins a number of other financial services sector players including banks and insurance companies seeking to establish solid presence across all the markets in East Africa.

Minister appoints new Board of directors for NSSF

By Deo Wasswa

The minister for Finance has appointed an 8 man team to serve as Board of directors of National social security fund for the next three years.

The board is chaired by Patrick Kaberenge who has been re-appointed in the same position. The other appointments include Pius Bigirimana, permanent secretary ministry of gender and Patrick Ocailap, the deputy permanent secretary ministry of finance as representative of government on the board. Florance Namata, general manager human resource at centenary bank has been also reappointed on the board representing employers.

The new appointees to the board are Bamwesigye Fred, the deputy managing director of civil aviation authority also representing employers and Dr. Isaac Magoola, the head of department business administration at Makerere University business school, also representing workers.

Speaking at the inauguration of the new board at NSSF head offices in Kampala, Minister Kasaija has noted that the appointment of the new board follows various consultations with key stakeholders and issuance of licenses to act as trustees by Uganda retirement benefits regulatory authority(URBRA) in pursuant to section 40 and 41 of the URBRA act.

The minister asked the board to abide by the governing laws, specifically the NSSF Act and Uganda retirement benefits regulatory authority Act (2011) as well as the internal policies and procedures.

The minister however clarified that the process to select a representative from the National organization of trade union(NOTU) is still ongoing.

” I have tasked NOTU to re- submit other nominees for consideration because their initial nominees did not make it through the vetting process. I’m confident that with NOTU’s cooperation, this process can be concluded soon.

Nonetheless, Pursuant to section 3 of the NSSF Act, the Board is constituted and authorized to conduct business on behalf of the Fund,” he said.

Kasaija told the new board that their mandate is to ensure that there is secure, profitable and effective financial management of the fund for the benefit of the workers in particular and the country at large.

“Your appointment comes at times when the fund is stable and performing exceptionally well. I therefore challenge you to provide the strategic direction needed to steer the fund to greater heights”, he said.

At the same event, Patrick Kaberenge the board chairman has noted that the focus of this new board shall focus on unlocking the value of real estate projects of pension towers, completion of the first phase of Lubowa project, Nsimbe and Temangalo developments as well as using the right technology for pension administration.

African Cities: Kampala to invest in Cable Car transportation.

Kampala Capital City authority is looking for 200 million US Dollars to embark on the project to introduce cable cars in a bid to decongest the city of traffic.

“We conducted a feasibility study for cable cars in Kampala and we discovered that it is viable and so we are looking for money to run a pilot project. We are actually very composed and we think it is something that can happen in Kampala”  KCCA spokes person Peter Kauju told Capital reporter.

 

Kampala Capital City authority is looking for 200 million US Dollars to embark on the project to introduce cable cars in a bid to decongest the city of traffic. “We conducted a feasibility study for cable cars in Kampala and we discovered that it is viable and so we are looking for money to run a pilot project. We are actually very composed and we think it is something that can happen in Kampala”  KCCA spokes person Peter Kauju told Capital reporter. uju says under the pilot project, cable cars will run from Bwaise in Kawempe division to the new taxi park in the city center. It’s against this backdrop that Kampala Capital City Authority is organizing an investors’ roundtable conference for September to devise ways to fund the project. “We are making preparations for an investors’ conference to see how we can come up with the financing method or possibility for this project to happen” Kauju said. Kauju says they have contacted several companies that can provide the service of installing cable cars in the city. Cable cars are popular tourist means of transport in the French city of Grenoble. These round gondola lifts with clear glass sides gives one a bird’s eye view of the city. They could be new tourist attractions in Kampala as tourists would have a clear view of the city on the seven hills from the sky. French POMA company ; who are experts in ropeway transport are have been in talks with the authorities in Kampala over a possibility of introducing cable cars in the city as the best solution to transportation without creating congestion. Medhi Caillis the commercial officer for Africa zone says using high technology, 5000 people can be transported per hour using cable transport system that is very fast in terms of speed. Depending on the size of the cabin and speed, the car can take between6-12 people every 10-15 seconds. The system once put in place it would not have any conflict with other traffic users since it is installed in space. According to Caillis, cable system can be installed within 12-18 months making it cheaper. The company cable cars are responsible for transporting 6.5 million passengers per hour in different cities where the company enjoys a worldwide presence. With a worldwide presence in more than 80 countries in western and Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, Australia and NewZealand, POMA produces 50 lifts every year accounting for a total of 8000 lifts in five continents. Some of the advantages of using cable cars are that they give a high level of passenger safety, they do not emit fumes, use clean electricity contributing little to air pollution, operate in a quiet manner saving the public from noise pollution and can serve challenging terrain. They require less time and money to implement. To have cable cars running little land is required and there is no need to excavate the ground. However, much as cable cars provide high quality transport experience, they don’t serve many passengers as a bus or a taxi would or better yet a train. A cable car service could be disrupted due to bad weather especially extreme winds since they are pulled by cables that are elevated from one tower to another. Reporter: Gloria Nakiyimba

Kampala Capital City authority is looking for 200 million US Dollars to embark on the project to introduce cable cars in a bid to decongest the city of traffic.

“We conducted a feasibility study for cable cars in Kampala and we discovered that it is viable and so we are looking for money to run a pilot project.

We are actually very composed and we think it is something that can happen in Kampala”  KCCA spokes person Peter Kauju told Capital reporter. uju says under the pilot project, cable cars will run from Bwaise in Kawempe division to the new taxi park in the city center.

It’s against this backdrop that Kampala Capital City Authority is organizing an investors’ roundtable conference for September to devise ways to fund the project.

“We are making preparations for an investors’ conference to see how we can come up with the financing method or possibility for this project to happen” Kauju said.

Kauju says they have contacted several companies that can provide the service of installing cable cars in the city.

Cable cars are popular tourist means of transport in the French city of Grenoble. These round gondola lifts with clear glass sides gives one a bird’s eye view of the city. They could be new tourist attractions in Kampala as tourists would have a clear view of the city on the seven hills from the sky.

French POMA company ; who are experts in ropeway transport are have been in talks with the authorities in Kampala over a possibility of introducing cable cars in the city as the best solution to transportation without creating congestion.

Medhi Caillis the commercial officer for Africa zone says using high technology, 5000 people can be transported per hour using cable transport system that is very fast in terms of speed. Depending on the size of the cabin and speed, the car can take between6-12 people every 10-15 seconds. The system once put in place it would not have any conflict with other traffic users since it is installed in space.

According to Caillis, cable system can be installed within 12-18 months making it cheaper. The company cable cars are responsible for transporting 6.5 million passengers per hour in different cities where the company enjoys a worldwide presence.

WhatsApp Image 2018-08-10 at 3.48.02 PM

With a worldwide presence in more than 80 countries in western and Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, Australia and NewZealand, POMA produces 50 lifts every year accounting for a total of 8000 lifts in five continents.

Some of the advantages of using cable cars are that they give a high level of passenger safety, they do not emit fumes, use clean electricity contributing little to air pollution, operate in a quiet manner saving the public from noise pollution and can serve challenging terrain. They require less time and money to implement.

To have cable cars running little land is required and there is no need to excavate the ground. However, much as cable cars provide high quality transport experience, they don’t serve many passengers as a bus or a taxi would or better yet a train. A cable car service could be disrupted due to bad weather especially extreme winds since they are pulled by cables that are elevated from one tower to another.

Reporter: Gloria Nakiyimba

Uhuru reminds Museveni’s secretary about stalling promises

By Deo Wasswa

The ruling party , NRM chairperson for Kampala central, Salim Uhuru has urged President’s private secretary, Molly Kamukama to take her duty of reminding president Museveni to fulfil the pledges he always make in the communities serious.

According to Uhuru,  locals in communities have on several occasions approach leaders while complaining about the unsettled pledges.

This comes just few days after a group of civil society organization call to the president to full fill his pledge of providing sanitary towels to adolescent school going girls countrywide that he made during the previous presidential campaign

Uber introduces new safety policy

By Patricia Osman
Uber has introduced a new hour’s policy for driver-partners across Sub-Saharan Africa, including Uganda to help enhance driver and passenger safety.
Aaron Tindiseega, Country Manager for Uber in Uganda says the new feature on the app prompts drivers to go offline for six straight hours after a total of 12 hours of driving time.
He adds that drivers who do not take long enough breaks will not be able to log into the app and take trips before that period expires.

Inflation subsides to 1.8% in April

By Edwin Muhumuza

Uganda’s inflation has dropped to 1.8% in the month of April  compared to  2% registered in the previous month of March.

The drop is attributed to reduction in prices of food crops especially fruits such as oranges. Others  include  maize flour, sugar, milk, and simsim.

According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics,principal statistician,Vincent Musoke,a drop in  inflation does not mean prices have come down but rather the speed at which prices are rising is still slow. Musoke, clarifies that unless the drop is down into negatives then that is when you expect prices to come down.

‘’However it should be noted that this is a general measure .You find that some products, their prices come up while the others come down. When you put them together you get the correct figure of the annual inflation.’’

Uganda continues to grapple with increasing prices of some essential products amid proposed tax increases. Among them include, all types of fuel, cement, construction materials, spirits, social services and foods like Rice, Matooke, Onions, and Apples.

According to the Uganda Bureau of statistics,this trend will sharply determine the public’s consumption behaviour.

During the release of the consumer price index for the year ended April 2018,it was also noted that Arua registered the highest annual inflation of 3.9% though lower than 4.8% recorded for the year ended March 2018.The rise was mainly driven by annual inflation for housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels .The second highest was Fort Portal,followed by Kampala High Income and then Mbale.

Economic Outlook

The growth outlook for 2018 is positive. Rebounding investment activity and healthy domestic demand fueled by accommodative monetary policy, are set to underpin GDP growth this year. In the medium term, economic activity should be buttressed by the sustained expansion of the agriculture sector and planned government investments in oil and gas production. Focus Economics panelists project growth of 5.7% in 2018, which is up 0.3 percentage points from last month’s forecast, and 5.9% in 2019.

 

Price fluctuation deters sugar sales at Kinyara

Kinyara Sugar Company Limited in Masindi district is stuck with more than 18000 tons of sugar because of distortions in the sugar prices in the country.

Kirunda Magoola, the Corporate Communications Manager Kinyara Sugar Limited, says the sugar stock has been piling since November last year.

He however, didn’t explain the source of the sugar being dumped on the matter. URN was unable to independently verify the claims.

Last month, Masindi District Sugar Cane Growers Association Limited-MASGAL resolved not to supply sugar cane to Kinyara sugar limited accusing it of reducing cane prices from Shillings 141,000 to Shillings 100, 000.

Magoola explains that the price Kinyara is giving to farmers is not the final one but advance payment pending the completion of their negotiations with the sugar cane farmers

Sugar cane farmers in Masindi district have for long been pushing Kinyara Sugar Company to increase the cane price.

Last year, Kinyara Sugar Company increased the price of sugar cane from Shillings 78,000 to Shillings 141,000 a ton.

However, the price has been lowered to Shillings 100,000 due to the fluctuation of the price of sugar.

Minet Launches Uganda Operations

By Edwin Muhumuza

Minet, formerly AON, has launched operations in Uganda.

Strategically its risk, reinsurance and human resources advisory operation is the beginning of a new push to increase insurance penetration in the corporate sector.

Group CEO, Joe Onsando notes that at the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008,regulations in the west and the US affected AON’s operations in Africa, and so in order to keep footprint in Africa, Aon opted for a correspondent agreement with Minet.

In February , AON Plc announced its decision to change the ownership structure of its operations across 10 sub Saharan countries including Uganda, converting what were once owned entities into Aon’s largest global correspondent network.

Minet , will on its new expedition in Uganda focus on research on risk and emerging risk, with the ability to tap on the expertise of Aon colleagues. Mr.Onsando , in regard to the nascent oil sector, has revealed that early risk was done by Aon in oil exploration and still remains, including bench-marking risk a across the globe in regard to transfer, pricing and re-insurance.

Among the drivers for there decision is that local companies are growing across Africa, a growing middle class and more people are buying assets.

On insurance penetration which is very low in Uganda, CEO,Maurice Amogola attributes the challenge to poor packaging of insurance messages, which he say will now be solved through digital distribution strategies.

Meantime, Capital Works,an African Investor has opted to partner with Minet on its new endeavor. In the near future, the company is expected to expand into Angola, Mozambique, Swaziland and Tanzania.

Court permits former Crane bank employees to sue DFCU

By Sania Babirye

The high court in Kampala has given permission to 10 former crane bank employees to sue DFCU bank on behalf of their 400 colleagues  over wrongfully  dismissal.

The permission has been given by deputy registrar Sarah Langa.

The group which is seeking  6 billions in damages among others includes Managers,tellers and cleaners.

These accuse  DFCU bank of discriminatively firing them in a period of only one month after they took over from Crane bank in January of this year with out a valid and sound reason.

They are seeking compensations for the   mental, reputation and financial damage they continue to suffer as a result of their alleged wrongful termination.

They claim that Crane bank had promised its 700 employees that they will not lose their jobs after the take over.

However when DFCU bank took over  and it laid off some employees in a restructuring exercise.

Through their lawyers of Center for Legal Aid led by Mr Isaac Ssemakadde, the group wants to sue DFCU bank for breaching their alleged employment contract and rights which resulted into many of them losing their jobs.

The aggrieved  former employees are claiming that  DFCU bank contravened the Employment Act by sucking them yet during receivership, their contracts including maintaining their jobs were transferred to DFCU.

These are also seeking compensation after DFCU bank allegedly failed to fulfill any liabilities and obligations of crane bank in relation to their job security as agreed upon.

Crane Bank was the third largest bank in the country by the time Bank of Uganda took it over after its working capital went down below the required minimum  which bank of Uganda  ruled that it poised a risk to the client’s  money.

The shilling hits its lowest against dollar in two years

The shilling this week slumped against the US dollar, getting to its weakest point in two years.

The shilling shifted from its stable range of 3,600 and traded in the range of 3,645/3,655, for the first time in two years.

According to Stephen Kaboyo of Alpha Capital Partners, which watch the market, the shilling was under immense pressure on account of strong demand from the inter-bank, as commercial banks rushed to cover their short positions.

Kaboyo says significant demand was also seen from the energy, manufacturing and importers. By close of the week the shilling registered a modest rebound from its earlier losses as demand receded.

Kaboyo forecasts that the shilling will remain volatile as pockets of demand continue to play out coupled with an undercurrent of negative sentiment on account of domestic and regional political developments.

The Kenyan Shilling was also under pressure due to negative sentiments around the planned repeat presidential election and the deteriorating political and security situation in Uganda’s biggest trading partner.

Kaboyo says the anxiety kept the markets on the edge and the central bank of Kenya intervened and sold dollars in order to calm the markets.

The last time the shilling breached the 3,650 mark was in the last quarter of 2015 on account of prolonged drought and upsurge of conflict in South Sudan, then Uganda’s biggest trading partner.

Speaking to the media Thursday, Uganda’s Secretary to the Treasury Keith Muhakanizi said the Kenyan political turbulence is not yet having any significant effects on Uganda.
 

-URN