KACITA worried about growing debt burden

By Daudi Zirimala

The Kampala City Traders Association, Kacita is concerned about the high debt burden Uganda is having saying this has affected their businesses and exchange rate Volatility.

According to KACITA Spokesperson Issa Ssekitto, the indebtedness of the country has forced commercial banks to increase borrowing terms for traders which later affect their businesses.

Ssekitto says the only way the government can reduce on the debt burden is by reducing on the administrative costs because this alone has consumed a lot of money borrowed from different banks.

Uganda’s public debt has been sporadically rising from only $1.9b in the 2008/09 financial year to over $11b currently.

Taking the rate at which Uganda is paying off its debt, it will take 94 years to repay the existing stock of debt. This is according to a report by the Parliament’s Committee on National Economy for the 2016/17 financial year.

The report puts the stock of external debt for both the public and private sector at 41.4 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), up from 40.2 per cent in the preceding financial year.

It warns that the risk of Uganda rolling over external debt is increasing, just like the cost of attracting debt as the government continues to source for external debt on less concessional terms.

Government makes a step towards saving renewable energy projects

By Daudi Zirimala
The Government has signed an agreement with Regional Liquidity support facility and African Trade Insurance Agency to protect new small and mid-sized renewable energy projects.
While signing the agreement the minister of Finance Matia Kasaijja said that the insurance firm will guarantee investors to access finance to invest in renewable energy projects.
He said that government is committed to improving conditions for investors within the energy sector and government has spent USD00k million on improvement of the grid.
The agreement is a guarantee required from the bank that find the projects because many projects have failed in the padt to access finding because this guarantee was not available.

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.


Trade minister disapproves of KCCA officer’s use of excessive force

By Wasswa Deo

The Minister for Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Amelia Kyambadde has condemned the manner in which KCCA enforcement officers handle street vendors especially women, saying excessive force is uncalled for.

This follows the death of a one Olivia Basemera on Friday August 5th as she tried to escape from KCCA enforcement officers.

38 year old Basemera who was vending handkerchiefs reportedly jumped into the Nakivubo channel in a desperate attempt to escape and ended up losing her life.

In a statement released by Kyambadde, she regrets the death of Basemera saying such mistreatment and brutal arrests of street vendors by KCCA enforcement officers should come to a stop.

“Though the street vendors operate illegally, as human beings and fellow Ugandans, they deserve fair treatment especially the women majority of whom are single mothers fending  for their children in this era of high unemployment in Uganda”, exclaimed Kyambadde.

Ugandan Export traders set for Dubai Convention

By Wasswa Deo

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives with partners  has unveiled the first “Uganda  convention Dubai”, an initiative aimed at promoting Uganda’s exports in the Middle East.

The convention scheduled to take place in Dubai from 24 – 26 August 2017 under the theme “Bringing Uganda closer to Middle East Market”. More than 300 Ugandan exporters are expected to participate.

The initiative will give an opportunity to Ugandan exporters to test and understand the market in the Middle East. They will be given an opportunity to take products to Dubai and link up with the potential buyers.

The project coordinator, Francis Ntangaza noted that the convention will further help to increase the visibility of Uganda’s products abroad.

According Uganda export promotions board, Uganda exporting companies lack corporation and this has remained challenge in penetrating markets and also overcoming trade related issues.

Elly Twineyo, the executive director Uganda export promotions board cautioned companies or individuals that do export trade to stop competing at national level, rather they should embark on process of forming up partnerships and export associations as a platform to seek and share knowledge on overcoming challenges that do face them in business.

Minister Amelia Kyambadde presents bill to manage Sugar industry

Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde has presented a bill to regulate the sugar industry with a view of meeting domestic, regional and international sugar requirements.

Currently, there is no comprehensive law regulating the sugar industry hence disharmony among the key players in the industry.

While tabling the Sugar Bill, 2016 at its first reading, Minister Kyambadde said that the bill intends to introduce a harmonised and modern legal framework to enable the sugar industry develop in an orderly and competitive manner.

A copy of the bill accessed by Uganda Radio Network provides for the establishment of the Uganda Sugar Board comprising of a chairperson, permanent secretaries of the trade, agriculture and finance ministries, five representatives of millers and two representatives of out-growers.

Clause 6 of the bill provides for the functions of the board including regulating, development and promotion of the sugar industry. The board will also be responsible with coordinating activities of individuals and organisations in the sugar industry.

Other functions of the board include ensuring equitable access to the benefits and resources of the sugar industry, facilitate the export of sugar produced by Uganda, arbitrate disputes between parties in the sugar industry, and regulate the disposal of the by-products of sugar production and others.

Clause 19 (1) of the bill prohibits anyone to establish or operate a sugar mill, jiggery mill or a plant to process the by-products of sugar-cane without a valid licence granted by the board.

In order to streamline the management of the industry, Clause 24(1) of the bill provides that growers, millers, out-grower associations and other parties shall enter into agreements referred to as ‘Sugar Industry Agreements’ indicating their respective rights, duties and obligations.

Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadage referred the Sugar bill to parliament’s trade committee for expeditious handling noting that the sector has been faced with a number of challenges that affect ordinary Ugandans.
Sugar prices have been going up in the past three months with a kilogramme going for between 4000 and 5000 shillings in most parts of the country.





Minister Kyambadde warns Chinese companies to register before close of the year

By Kidandi Moses
Chinese business men operating in Uganda have accused Ugandan locals of witch hunting them due to  fear of competition.
This follows the directive by the minister of trade Amelia Kyambadde directing Chinese businesses that are not registered to quit by 31st of December 2016.This was during the official opening of the the week long Jua Kali exhibition taking place at the KCCA grounds Lugogo.
In their defense, the the Chinese traders say they are operating genuinely,employing Ugandans and paying taxes.
The Jua Kali exhibition running under the theme Buy East Africa SME products, build East Africa”  has been organized by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives in collaboration with the Ministry of East Africa Community Affairs.