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.

Ugandans wasting time in watching soccer and sleeping -Report

By Alice Lubwama
A new report released by Uganda Bureau of Statistics on “time use in Uganda 2017-2018 “has indicated that Ugandans spend a lot of time in unproductive work in a day compared to productive work.

According to this survey , it has been discovered that Ugandans spend 13 hours of their time in unproductive work out of the daily 24 hours available.

While releasing this survey, Dunstan Aguta a statistician with UBOS said that many Ugandans spend most of their time in activities like sleeping, watching football , resting and others.

In terms of gender the survey show that women spend 6 out of 24 hours in unpaid care work including cooking and looking after children, while men spend only 5 out of 24 hours in unpaid care work.

Aguta however say that the trend is not good for a country like Uganda that is aspiring to reach the middle income status.

The survey was conducted between 2017-2018 in 122 districts engaging 3364 with a response rate of 96%.

Kadaga demands for interim report on Kutesa’s bribe scandal

By Alice Lubwama

The Speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga directs Government through the attorney general William Byaruhanga to provide parliament with an interim report into the allegations that foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa received a bribe from Former Hong Kong Home Affairs minister Patrick Ho Chi-ping in order to help him secure business deals in Uganda before parliament closes business on 20th of this month.

This was after Lwemiyaga county MP Theodore Sekikubo raised the matter before parliament and asked the house to take a decision in order to redeem the image of the country since Kutesa received the bribe as the foreign affairs minister of Uganda.

The MP also demanded that Government explains how money moved from Hong kong bank through united states and ended up in Uganda without the financial intelligence agency detecting this financial laundering.

In response the attorney general William Byaruhanga informed parliament how the president had asked him to investigate the matter and will share the findings with parliament in January next year. How ever the mp disagreed with the attorney general on the time frame, saying they needed the report very first.

Kadaga then ordered Byaruhanga to present an interim report before parliament breaks off for a Christmas recess.

On 6th of this month the Former Hong Kong Home Affairs minister Patrick Ho Chi-ping was found guilty by the federal court in USA of offering millions of bribes to several African leaders including Ugandan and Chadian presidents.

According to media reports, its alleged that the total of $500,000 bribe given to Kutesa was in a bid to secure business dealings in railway services, infrastructure construction, fishing, hydro-energy, banking and finance as well as tourism for the Chinese conglomerate CEFC China Energy Co. Other potential deals for CEFC included;
construction of a Chinatown to boost tourism on land near Victoria and possibly an island.

Democratic Party applauds the COSASE report

By Robert Segawa
Democratic Party  hails Abdul  Katuntu’s  COSASE report saying that unlike other committees, this report has pinned government officials who always solicit public resources even when they are well paid.

During a  press conference at City house party president Nobert  Mao  said that the committee’s recommendation to block president Museveni from getting a supplementary budget to refund the handshake was among the best ideas.

Mao congratulated the house over the recommendations and they agree with the findings. He therefore calls for the office of the IGG to take up the report and  implement as per law.

He adds that even power sharing in signing of Government  documents within ministries as per the report will minimize mistakes like minister Saida Bumba did when she signed on documents which she didn’t read through an act indicating that she could even have signed her resignation letter if it had been tabled before her.

Beware Internet exposes adolescents to sexual abuse

About 80 percent of adolescents think young people are at risk of being sexually abused or taken advantage of online. Another 50 percent think that friends participate in risky behaviors while using the internet.

That’s according to a new study “Perils and Possibilities: Growing up online” which is based on an international opinion poll of more than 10,000 18-year-olds from 25 countries. Its findings reveal young people’s perspectives on the risks they face growing up in an increasingly connected world.

The new report finds that Two-thirds of 18-year-olds in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean believe children and adolescents are in danger of being sexually abused or taken advantage of online. This compares to 33 percent polled in the Middle East and North Africa.

“The internet and mobile phones have revolutionized young people’s access to information, but the poll findings show just how real the risk of online abuse is for girls and boys,” UNICEF’s Child Protection Officer Clara Sommarin says.

“Globally, one out of every three internet users is a child….UNICEF aims to amplify adolescents’ voices to help address online violence, exploitation and abuse, and make sure that children can take full advantage of the benefits the internet and mobile phones offer,” she added.
As part of the effort to engage children and adolescents in ending violence online, UNICEF is launching a drive codenamed #ReplyforAll, which is part of its global End Violence against Children initiative.

The #ReplyForAll campaign makes young people advocates for staying safe on the internet or while using social media. Children and adolescents will be asked to give their advice on the best ways to respond to online violence or risks and to raise awareness among friends through social media.

UNICEF, together with the WePROTECT Global Alliance, is calling on national governments to establish coordinated responses between criminal justice systems including law enforcement, and child welfare, education, health and the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sectors, as well as civil society, to better protect children from online sexual abuse and exploitation.

“When young people, governments, families, the ICT sector and communities work together, we are more likely to find the best ways to respond to online sexual abuse and exploitation, and send a strong message that confronting and ending violence against children online – indeed anywhere – is all of our business,” UNICEF’S Associate Director of Child Protection, Cornelius William says.