Majority Ugandans unhappy with economy -Report

By Edwin Muhumuza

Four out of five Ugandan households (81%) say their household income does not meet daily expenses. These figures are similar to 2017. However, the amount of money that households report needing every day has gone down from UGX 11,800 to UGX 10,300 in the same period.

Half of all Ugandan households have a member who has been forced to drop out of school for financial reasons. And two out of ten households (22%) have had a member die due to lack of financial resources for medical expenses. One out of ten households (12%) report that the main breadwinner has lost their job in the last two years.

These findings were released by Twaweza in a research brief titled More food, less money: Ugandans’ experiences and opinions on poverty and livelihoods. The brief is based on data from Sauti za Wananchi, Africa’s first nationally representative high-frequency mobile phone survey. The findings are based on data collected from 1,905 respondents across Uganda in November 2018.

When asked about the most serious problem facing the country and their household, the largest proportion of citizens name poverty. Nationally, the proportion of citizens naming poverty as the most serious issue has doubled from 14% in 2017 to 29% in 2018. Similarly, lack of employment is the third most named problem, named by twice as many people in 2018 (12%) as in 2017 (6%). Overall fewer citizens are concerned about public services, like health, education and water, and more are worried about poverty and economic issues. Additionally at household level, half of Ugandans are concerned about the gap between rich and poor.

Almost three out of four citizens are unhappy with the country’s economic direction (72%). Many as also unhappy about employment (67%) as well as the state of corruption (70%).

There has also been a notable reduction in food stress at the household level in 2018: citizens are less likely to report not eating for a whole day (37% compared to 49% in 2017) and running out of food because of a lack of money (69% compared to 53% in 2017).

However, more rural and poor Ugandans suffer from food stress than their wealthier and urban compatriots. Even so, one out of four wealthier Ugandans (25%) went without eating for a day in the past three months.

When households face financial difficulties, they try first to cut spending (37% report doing this). This number has increased from 2017 when 20% of Ugandans used this as a way to deal with financial difficulties. Far fewer Ugandans ask friends and family for help in 2018 (4%) compared to 2017 (15%).

However, when they face an emergency, most Ugandans (51%) still turn to family and friends for help, although the share of people saying they do this has decreased since 2017 (67%). More citizens are now likely to say they will sell something (up to 18% from 11%) or take a loan or overdraft (17%, compared to 8% in 2017).

If given a cash injection of UGX 350,000 from the government, on average Ugandans are likely to spend close to half of it (44%) on starting or growing a business, 18% on agriculture and 13% on school fees.

Marie Nanyanzi of Sauti za Wananchi at Twaweza, said: “The data in this brief tell the story of economic hardship for an expanding majority of Ugandan citizens”. Poverty is their most serious challenge and in some households it has cost lives adding that these voices are an important alarm bell for the government to heed, so as to minimize further suffering.

New solar energy website aimed at improving customer service

By Edwin Muhumuza

Uganda Solar Energy Association (USEA), an independent not-for-profit association dedicated to facilitating the growth and development of solar energy business in Uganda and East Africa, has launched a state-of-the art interactive website aimed at boosting solar energy uptake in Uganda.

According to the Dr. Sheila Desai, Director for Economic Growth, USAID Uganda is cognizant of the fact that access to cleaner and productive energy is critical for addressing poverty and economic development in Uganda with the aim of reaching thousands of rural Ugandans with cleaner and productive electricity as part of efforts to enable Uganda achieve goal seven of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on access to energy for all by 2030.

“Solar energy has the potential to meet the energy needs of Ugandans including women and girls especially those in rural areas. With solar energy, communities power irrigation systems; communities can store medicine in rural health centers; and communities can improve the quality of education children receive,” said Dr. Desai.

“This however must be achieved with the support of policy interventions in addition to ICT and digital transformation efforts that culminate into the much-needed cost reductions to enhance cost-effective service delivery,” she explained.

Speaking at the launch, USEA’s Chief Executive Officer, Joyce Nkuyahaga noted that USEA is proud to officially unveil this online platform that will serve as a knowledge hub for USEA’s members and others key stakeholders interested in the solar sector, the opportunities and financial resources related to the solar energy sector in Uganda. Key stakeholders include; government, donor agencies, foreign missions, businesses, potential investors, and the general public.

“A critical part of USEA’s work is communication and advocacy. As an industry body, USEA is responsible for advocating to key stakeholders such as consumers and policy makers, about key issues related to the solar sector for instance on how to purchase quality solar products and support on tax related issues on behalf of its members to advance the industry,” said Nkuyahaga, adding, “This platform will avail us the opportunity to reach as many industry actors as we can.”

“I encourage interested companies to join USEA today and become a member for collective representation & advocacy, training, financial support, capacity building, networking, quality equipment assessment and management and market opportunities,” concluded Nkuyahaga, at the USAID Power Africa sponsored launch and breakfast meeting.

Power Africa is a US government led partnership that brings together technical capacities, capabilities, resources and programs of 12 US government Departments and Agencies and 16 international Development partners to provide market-driven solutions to advance the goals of the electrify Africa Act of 2015 to catalyze growth of small business, the power industry and bring electricity to millions of people for the first time.

According to a study on the use and Viability of Solar Energy in Uganda by the National Association of Professional Environmentalists, 88% of Ugandans use kerosene for lighting and 79% use firewood for cooking while only 1% use solar energy for the two purposes.

The heavy reliance on biomass by the country as a source of energy in day to day life puts the country at risk of environmental degradation and climate change.

Furthermore, statistics show that Uganda’s electricity access currently stands at about 20% with 90% of the population still dependent on biomass. More so about 78% of Ugandans are not connected to the national grid. Important to note is that existing solar energy data clearly indicates that the solar energy resource in Uganda is high throughout the year and has the potential to meet the energy needs of Ugandans.
However, the scale at which solar energy is being used for productive purposes in Uganda is still very small because of a number of constraints notably; lack of investment finance and adequate knowledge among others. USEA, the umbrella body for the solar energy industry in Uganda is working with several partners including; UNCDF, USAID, UKAID, WORLD BANK and the Government of Uganda to increase the uptake of solar products, promote better regulation and good business in the industry.

Increased access to clean water could improve gender equality

By Edwin Muhumuza

Women representatives of UN Member States and civil society organizations say without access to clean water, there is no gender equality. This as they gathered in New York at the sidelines of the 63rd Session on the Commission on the Status of Women.

They say that majority of rural women do not have the right to access to clean water and that generally it is women who have to walk miles looking for water.

Hon. Jacquiline Amongin, noted that rural women are highly vulnerable due to social prejudices that deny them their human right to access water.

“Women are subjected to discrimination, sexual and physical violence due to WASH related factors especially when they walk long distances looking for water,” Amongin said adding that “women fail to relate to their domestic chores effectively because they are overwhelmed with long distance water points.”

This was during her presentation, on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), a parliamentarian’s perspective in strengthening gender equality, Amongin told the delegates that as a way of addressing these challenges, in 2012, the Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Water and Sanitation (UPF-WASH) was formed to raise awareness and advocate for water and sanitation related aspects.

To this end she said, the Forum has influenced budgetary allocations to the district water and sanitation conditional grant to address the needs of women and girls.

Amongin explained that there is a strong linkage between access to water, sanitation and hygiene, and gender equality; and that focus should therefore be put on promotion of gender equality and women empowerment by ensuring convenient access to water and sanitation facilities.

Hon.Immaculata Raphael representing Tanzania and who is the Head National Water Sanitation Development Programme in Tanzania, explained that access to WASH and healthcare facilities leads to better health outcomes for women and children, adding that when women are healthier they have more opportunities to invest time into income generating activities.

Experiences from Colombia, Zambia and Niger demonstrated to the idea that access to water, sanitation and hygiene was a pathway to gender equality.

Honourable Alex Ndeezi, a Member of Parliament from Uganda representing persons with disabilities, was quick to note that water and sanitation related aspects had not been given the due attention it needed during the ongoing women’s conference.

“The main programme of this year’s session on the Commission on the Status of Women does not adequately capture water, sanitation and related issues and yet we believe that without promoting WASH issues, it is impossible to attain gender equity. It is also impossible to enhance welfare of women, especially rural women, if access to water is not a priority,” he explained.

The legislator recommended that the next session on the Commission of the Status of Women should prioritise access to water and sanitation in its agenda.

The 63 rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women, taking place at the UN headquarters in New York, has been meeting under the theme, social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

KCCA law enforcement officers warned against brutality

By Robert Segawa

Kampala Capital city authority Lord Councillors have resolved to meet the KCCA law enforcement officers on Monday afternoon hear some of the reasons why they have continued mistreating traders while enforcing trade order .

This was resolved in the council meeting that is still ongoing at city hall debating on the document that was released by the minister for Kampala Betty Olive Namisango Kamya to interdict the 9 KCCA law enforcement officers that were pinned recently for their continued brutality.

Before the resolution Councillors had proposed that such KCCA enforcement officers be expelled from the authority something that the acting deputy executive director Samuel Sserunkuma objected saying that the KCCA enforcement team must first be heard before the decision .

The KCCA Lord Councillors during the last council meeting had passed a motion to prosecute the KCCA law enforcement officers who engage in acts of brutality towards street vendors and hawkers.

The motion was brought by Makerere University Councillor Doreen Nyanjura in a meeting chaired by the Lord mayor Elias Lukwago at City Hall Kampala, and out of 34 Councillors 19 supported the motion.

Currently councilors are Still debating on how best they can pardon hawkers and street vendors as the minister for Kampala Betty olive Namisango kamya proposed in her statement that she released on 12 March 2019.

Beti Olive Namisango Kamya has suspended eight Kampala Capital City Authority law enforcement officers.

In a letter dated March 12, 2019 to the Acting KCCA Executive Director Eng Andrew Kitaka, Kamya said the officers in question were accused of extortion and brutality and that they should be interdicted immediately to pave way for investigation into their conduct.

The suspended officers whom the minister mention by one name include Jemba Bernard, Wampamba, Mukalazi, Kato, Muyimbwa, Kabito and Mariam.

Minister said, they should be relieved of their duties and hand in their uniforms, tools and facilities.Kamya adds that she expects a report within one month from the date of the letter.

Early this month Minister held a meeting with over 1,000 vendors and hawkers operating in downtown Kampala who accussed the law enforcement officers of being brutality and corrupt.

During the same meeting Central division Mayor Charles Musoke Sserunjogi asked KCCA law enforcement to stop arresting vendors beyond the stipulated time.

Lukwago said KCCA trade act stipulates that the law enforcer should stop operating at 5 pm, but some enforcers have gone a head to impound the goods of the vendors after the time some thing that’s illegal.
The authority still in discussion to have the vendors relocated to gazetted places.

Candidate classes registration slated for 1st April

By Deo Wasswa
Uganda National examinations Board (UNEB) has set 1st April, 2019 up to 31st May, 2019 as the Normal period for registration for all Primary Leaving Examination, Uganda Certificate Education and Uganda Advanced Certificate Examinations candidates.

In a statement released and signed by the UNEB executive secretary Daniel Odongo, is indicating that the registration will be through the Electronic registration process.

The statement also shows the fees that each candidate must pay according to the examination level.

The registration fee for PLE candidate is shs 34,000 per head and late registration is shs 68,000

For UCE, registration fee is 164,000 and additional fee for shs 15,000 for each private candidate. For UACE, registration is shs 186,000 and additional fee for each private candidate is shs 18,000.

The late registration fee per candidate for UCE and UACE is 50% of the total registration fee and the late registration will start on 1st June, 2019 and close on 30th June, 2019.

According to Odongo, the UNEB general secretary all UPE, USE and universal post O-level Education and Training (UPOLET) Candidates are expected to register during the normal registration since the fees will be paid by the government of Uganda.

Date set for Sudhir -DFCU bank lawyer case

Hearing of the case in which Kampala Tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia filed against DFCU bank will finally kick off on the 3rd of April 2019 after numerous flopping due to a lack of a judge .

This is after commercial judge Paul Gadenya accepted to preside over the case and set the date following an earlier decisions by both the head of the commercial court David Wangtusi and his deputy declining to preside over the case.

Justice Wangtusi was the second judge to excused himself from trying the case in which Sudhir Ruparelia wants Sebalu & Lule advocates to not represent DFCU Bank against him.

Justice Wangtusi become the second judge to withdraw himself from the same case after his deputy justice Jane Elizabeth Alidviza also excused herself from the same case and sent the case file back to justice Wangtusi on grounds that he was already handling cases related to the same file.

According to Sudhir who is the owner of the Crane management service Ltd , the lawyers can not represent DFCU Bank because of conflict of interest since the same lawyers had represented him before and can not turn around and represent his opponent DFCU bank .

Sudhir says the same lawyer can not represent him in one case and then represent his opponent in another case because confidential information that was exchanged and discussed between them will be prejudiced in relation to the dfcu matter.

Sudhir is seeking an order stopping the law firm from representing DFCU bank

Crane management service ltd dragged DFCU bank to court accusing it of failing to clear rent arias amounting to 2.9 billion Uganda shillings.

Africa needs leaders who care about humanity – Elumelu

By Edwin Muhumuza

“The Future of Africa is at Stake – We All Must Show A Genuine and Uncompromising Commitment to Building A Better Africa” – Tony Elumelu

UBA’s Group Chairman-Tony Elumelu while speaking to delegates at the recently concluded Africa Summit along with other African Heads of State and influential personalities from the private sector, remarked that “The leaders we need in Africa today, are leaders who genuinely care about humanity. We need leaders who are driven by an ambition to leave society better than they met it. We need leaders who understand and care about creating a positive legacy. We need leaders who are genuinely committed and care about the future of Africa,”

This as he gave the keynote address, entitled “The Leadership Needed to Catalyse Africa’s Transformation” at the inaugural Africa Now Conference held in Kampala, hosted by the President of Uganda, HE Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

Tony Elumelu, is the Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation and Chairman, Heirs Holdings and the United Bank for Africa while The Tony Elumelu foundation has funded over 300 entrepreneurs in Ugandan since inception.

He challenged African leaders to prioritise the future of the African continent to an audience of public and private sector leaders where he was introduced as Africa’s leading proponent of entrepreneurship,

In his speech Elumelu offered a robust and direct message to African leaders from the public and private sectors emphasised the need for public-private sector collaboration to drive sustainable development, encapsulated in his economic philosophy, Africapitalism.

“Leadership should not be about directing blame, leadership is not about absolving responsibility. Leadership is the catalyst for positive change.

‘’We need to take collective responsibility for our own future – as I have often said, no one is going to do it but ourselves – whether we are in the public or private sectors. This is the philosophy of Africapitalism, which is a call on the private sector to play its role, the leading role in securing our continent’s destiny – and achieving it by creating both social and economic wealth.”

In his speech, President Museveni outlined key enablers required to empower the African people and transform the continent. ‘At independence, although a lot of time was lost with military governments engaged in primitive fascism, nevertheless, many African governments have correctly identified two crucial stimuli that can catalyse social transformation. These are education and health for all (human resource development) and private sector-led growth’

Commending President Museveni on the achievements of his country, Elumelu noted that “We have a role to play and we need to play this role by investing and managing, so we can create employment, create prosperity in a manner that will help to address many of the problems we have in the society today.

Speaking on the concept of shared prosperity, Elumelu stated that the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Programme was a robust mechanism to empower Africa’s entrepreneurs, with the goal of delivering efficiently and effectively wealth creation directly into local communities. Reiterating the importance of entrepreneurship in unleashing the continent’s true potential, Elumelu concluded by making a call to partners, charging private sector leaders to focus on inclusive wealth.“As private sector leaders, we realise that, if the wealth we have is not inclusive, if the prosperity we have is just for family and self, it will not help us create the society we need” he concluded.

Kadaga solicits funds for refugee mothers

By Edwin Muhumuza

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has called for a special fund to cater for women raising families in refugee camps .This while Speaking during the 14th session of the Parliamentary Union of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Conference (PUOIC) in Rabat, Morocco,

The speaker said the funds will come in handy to save women battling difficulties in refugee camps.

“Motherhood in refugee camps is a devastating experience; single mothers in conflict areas are faced with the difficult task of raising families because the fathers are either dead or active combatants,” said Kadaga.

“Let us create a special fund and ensure that we eliminate their suffering and make life better for them,” she added.

The conference, has attracted speakers from OIC Parliaments, who are discussing conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa, and centering on how to bring an end to wars, death and suffering in those troubled areas.

Kadaga said the best solution lies in ensuring opportunities are created at home for youths dying in the conflicts, as well as those taking dangerous journeys to flee the wars.

Describing the Mediterranean as the “graveyard of troubled young people from our countries who have been denied opportunities”, Kadaga said there is need for introspection to address the causes of those conflicts, which create refugees.

Uganda has been hailed for being receptive to refugees, amidst growing populist, far right movements in Europe and some parts of South America, which triumph on the anti-immigrant card.

In 2017, a Uganda Solidarity Summit on Refugees was held on the sidelines of the 28th African Union summit in Addis Ababa. It raised funds to support Uganda’s refugee hosting activities.

Based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the PUOIC is the second largest international organization after the United Nations with 57 member states and was founded in 1969 to, among others safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony.

Speaker meets Qatar counterpart

On the sidelines of the PUOIC, Kadaga held talks with the Speaker of the Shura Council of Qatar, Ahmed Abdullah bin Zaid, where the two agreed to closer engagements in future.

Kadaga welcomed Qatar’s support to African countries, saying with more opportunities, the continent stands to register progress and accelerate its journey to self-dependence.

“Africans never want to leave their countries; it is only pressures like unemployment, conflict…opportunities are what the African people are looking for,” she said.

Uganda’s Ambassador to Morocco, Mr John Alintuma Nsambu was part of the meeting. Kadaga is leading a delegation comprising MPs Latif Sebaggala (IND, Kawempe North), Sarah Nakawunde(NRM, Mpigi), and Zaitun Driwaru (IND, Yumbe).Others are Ogama Alli Ismail (NRM, Lower Madi County), Abbas Agaba (NRM, Kitagwenda) and the Clerk to Parliament, Jane Kibirige.

Arua treason suspect re arrested

By Sania Babirye
One of the suspects charged with Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi and 32 others has been re-arrested by security operatives.

Ssenyange Musa ishas been arrested by police immediately after the case being adjourned to the 4th of July by Gulu grade one magistrate Issac Kintu.

He is said to be driver of the grader that was confiscated during the arrest of the suspects in Arua in August 2018.

He was whisked and dragged in a Toyota Premo No.UBE 128F and his were about is still unknown.

Ssenyange had appeared together with all his co accussed including Mike Mabike, Bobi Wine, Gerald Karuhanga, Kasiano Wadri, Francis Zaake and paul Mwiru and others before Gulu Magistrate court for further mentioning of their case..

These have asked court to dismiss the treason charges against them on grounds that they were tortured and hence the charges can not be sustained per the constitution of Uganda.

These argue that once a suspect or an accused person is tortured then charges can not be sustained against them.

These further states that if court does not dismiss or discontinue the charges against them, then the cade should be referred to the constitutional court for further interpretation.

These have also asked court to have their properties that were confiscated by police in Arua as exhibits including Watches, Phones and cars among other items returned to them.

Court has now given state 30 days to make sure that the accuser’s properties are returned to them.

However state says that they are ready with evidence that can sustain the said charges against the accused.

The court will rule on the said matter on the 4th of July 2019.

These are accused of stoning one of President Museveni’s Vehicle on the 15th of August during campaigns in the Arua by elections.

UBA group launches full banking operations in the UK

By Edwin Muhumuza

United Bank of Africa (UBA) has launched full banking operations in the global financial city of London. Now UBA UK, courtesy of authorization by the Prudential Regulation Authority(PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority(FCA) ,the Bank will carry out full scale wholesale banking across the United Kingdom.

As UBA Group further consolidates its unique positioning as the first and only Sub-Saharan African financial institution with banking operations in both the United Kingdom and the United States, it continues to reinforce its strength as Africa’s Global Bank, facilitating trade and capital flows between Africa and the world.

The Group Chairman, Mr. Tony Elumelu said the Group is excited by the authorization by the relevant regulatory authorities in the United Kingdom to upgrade its operation and further fulfil its aspiration of deepening trade and investments flows between Africa and Europe.

“The enhancement of our business in the United Kingdom is very timely and mutually beneficial for African and European corporates as well as respective governments. With the British and other European governments seeking new and improved measures to grow trade relations with Africa, we are enthusiastic on our positioning and capabilities in supporting corporates and government institutions to fulfil these lofty aspirations, which we believe are pertinent for the sustainable growth of both continents.”Elumelu noted.

This development comes three weeks after the UBA group launched its operations in Mali.

At the upscale ceremony which was held at The Prestigious Shard in the city of London, UBA UK was formerly introduced to business leaders across Europe and Africa with a commitment from the UBA Group of its readiness to galvanise trade and commerce between Europe and Africa.

Also speaking at the event, The Group Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, said “Simultaneously, we are serving the trade and capital needs of our African customers, who are seeking exposure to the European markets. With the upgrade of UBA UK Limited, we are excited to deepen our support to existing customers whilst also providing the leverage for new customers to effectively fulfil their cross-border transactions through UBA Group’s network.”

“With our expansion in London, African countries trade barriers with the UK have been reduced and we now expect top African exporters to the UK will take advantage of the new bank,” said Mr Uzoka in London during the official launch.

He urged investors in the UK to take advantage of the London based Pan African bank to do direct foreign investment in Africa especially in the 20 African countries where UBA bank operates

The CEO, UBA UK, Mr. Patrick Gutmann, said; “We are now on a stronger footing, as the authorization of the PRA and FCA for an enhanced business model affords us the opportunity to swell our capital and balance sheet as well as the broader UBA Group’s network across Africa. We welcome our existing and new customers to this new world of borderless opportunities, as we creatively serve our customers in meeting their international transaction needs.”

Some of the guests In attendance at the event were the President of Dangote Group; Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President; Afreximbank, Dr. Benedict Oramah; Former Prime Minister of Pakistan, H.E Shaukat Aziz; Member of the British House of Lords and Executive Committee.

Member of the All Party Africa Group, Rt. Hon Lord Anthony Tudor St. John, amongst many others. The event was not short on entertainment as one of Africa’s leading entertainers Dbanj performed to the admiration of guests including Star boy, musicician, Wiz Kid.