Finance

Finance (415)

Bigirimana, Kasirye, Attorney General In Multi-Billion Trouble

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations has written to the Secretary to the Judiciary Pius Bigirimana seeking for an explanation in reference to the fraudulent transfer of Shs16,8171042/=, Command1Post reports.

The cash which was released by Bank of Uganda was deposited on the accounts of Ms Heed Debt Recovery Services Ltd through its account held in ECO Bank Rwenzori branch.

Pius Bigirimana is the chief accounting officer of the judiciary and is charged with signing for every single coin released by the institution. It remains unclear how the said billions were released to the fraudsters under his watch.

“The amount was transferred by Bank of Uganda to the said account and by the time the fraud was detected the suspects had already withdrawn Shs200,000,000/=,” the letter reads.

It adds "The purpose of this letter is to request you to provide; requisition with its attachment (if any) made to your office which led to the approval of the payment, payment request to Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development and other documents, a list of officials who handled the process and any other document related to the case under investigation”

“You are also requested to make a statement in relation to the alleged fraudulent transfer,”

Ag Registrar High Court Ikit Mary wrote to Pius Bigirimana requesting for security deposit refund in the sum of Shs16,8171042/= vide Commercial Division HCC 08 of 2006 arising from tax appeals tribunal of Kampala Application number TAT 902 /2008 Kasekende Mujuzi and others Vs Uganda Revenue Authority

Mary Ikit noted that the above case was completed at commercial court and that court ordered for the refund.

“This is therefore to request you to authorize payment of shs 16, 8171042/= as security deposit for the above case to the detailed bank account”.

The account is in the names of Heed Recovery Services Ltd 7255001733 held in Eco bank Rwenzori branch.

Bigirimana in his letter to the Director Criminal Investigations also said that the money was paid on recommendations of Her Worship Dr Agnes Nkonge who issued a court order directing to pay the said money on June 2020. The requisition was originary made by H/W Chemtai Tom and later by Mary Ikit.

He also indicated that H/W Mary Ikit also made a requisition confirming that it was genuine.

Bigirimana also handed over payment evidence where Kasirye Byaruhanga and Co Advocates also bagged USD 48, 29426 about shs 17,806,068,439.27 in favor of Entebbe Handling Services.

Attorney General Byaruhanga is a partner in Kasirye, Byaruhanga Co. Advocates which received the money while Entebbe Handling services which manages Entebbe international airport is owned by one of the influential ministers from Greater Masaka region.

Bigirimana’s name featured prominently in the infamous OPM scandal where billions of money was stolen from the office of the prime minister. He was again the chief accounting officer of the said money.

After the money had been stolen, Bigirimana again blew a whistle on the now disgraced former OPM principal accountant, Geoffrey Kazinda, accusing him of orchestrating the scam and of poor work ethic

He claimed that Kazinda forged his signature to release the said money from bank of Uganda.

He was subsequently transferred to the ministry of labour, Gender and Social affairs and later to the ministry of justice.

SOURCE: Command1Post

DPP Starts Process To Prosecute Kasekende, Bagyenda, Sekabira

The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has ordered police to round up, question and search the homes of a city lawyer and two former officials and one current official of Bank of Uganda, Trumpet News reported on Friday.

The order by DPP brings a ray of hope to the owners of the defunct International Credit Bank (ICB), Greenland Bank and Cooperative Bank whose properties were taken over and sold by Bank of Uganda, in a process that the Parliament of Uganda found to be flawed.

Under the case, with reference number Ref: HQS-CO-0191-2020, police and DPP are investigating circumstances under which certificates of titles belonging to former clients of the above three defunct banks ended up in the possession of a city lawyer, Mr. Kakembo Katende of M/S Kirkland Associates.

Odiit Andrew, the Senior Assistant DPP/Head, Land Crimes Department at the Directorate of Public Prosecutions named Dr. Louis Kasekende the former Deputy Governor; Mrs Justine Bagyenda, the former Executive Director, Commercial Bank Supervision; and Benedict Sekabira, the current Director Financial Markets Development as suspects.

The case was opened by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), on recommendation of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee on Commissions, State Authorities and State Enterprises (PAC – COSASE) to investigate circumstances under which Mr. Kakembo came to be in possession of the land titles, yet they were to be in the possession of Nile River Acquisition Company Ltd (NRAC), the company incorporated by Octavian Advisors, the American company that originally bought the assets of the defunct banks. 

Shortly after acquiring the assets, NRAC appointed SIL Investments, a company incorporated a few weeks before the sale of the assets to manage the recovery process in Uganda.

Kakembo’s law firm, M/S Kirkland Associates was hired by Bank of Uganda to advise on the disposal of the assets. An investigation by this website later found a close link between NRAC, SIL Investments, the company appointed by NRAC to handle the sale in Uganda and Kirkland Associates.

It shall be remembered that one of the major issues probed by the MPs on COSASE, is why and how assets (loans) belonging to International Credit Bank (ICB), Greenland Bank and Cooperative Bank Assets (loans) amounting to UGX 135 billion were sold to NRAC USD5.25m (Shs8.9bn), causing a loss of UGX126 billion, according to the Auditor General.

The sold assets included UGX34 bn of loans that had valid, legal and equitable mortgage supported by proper legal documentation. According to the AG, the UGX8.9bn sale price, represented 26% of the total secured loan portfolio and 7% of the total loan portfolio.

Writing to the Director of the CID, Odiit said that to fast-track the case amidst hostile suspects, some of whom were now on the run, it was important to secure a court order to round up the suspects, search their homes, obtain statements and retrieve the said titles.

“For meaningful inquiries to be carried out, there is need to ensure that the said certificates of title are recovered. We shall thus need the assistance of court through Court Orders to properly facilitate our inquiries.

These court orders may include criminal summons, warrants of arrest, search warrants etc., and yet these orders can only and properly be secured when we have a matter before court. Therefore, in the meantime we need to have a case registered in court for that purpose for now,” Odiit wrote.

“You are therefore directed to ensure that you prepare a charge sheet ready for court in respect to the offence of concealing a title deed C/S 278 of the Penal Code Act. There ought to be a count for each of the titled deeds we currently have and from the complainants so far.

The probable suspects include; Kakembo Katende and all his associates/partners trading as M/S Kirkland Associates, Nanyonga Evelyn and all her co-Directors in SIL Investment Ltd and the coordinators of the defunct commercial banks in liquidation, a one Ben Sekabira together with Polly K. Ndyarugahi his co-coordinator. Have all the suspects arrested and ‘arraigned in court,” Odiit instructed the CID.

“Record statements from the former Deputy Governor of Bank of Uganda one Louis Kasekende and one Justine. Bagyenda (Mrs). Evidence on record indicates that they were as well involved in this saga,” Oddit further orders.

In an attempt to establish whether there was a link between Kasekende, Bagyenda and Sekabira, the DPP has also ordered that the CID obtains from the Ugandan Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) information about an American company called Octavian Advisors, which, through NRAC bought the said assets.

The DPP also wants police to “record a statement from the proprietor of SIL Investments Ltd in respect to its association with Octavian Advisors, Kirkland Associates, Ben Sekabira and other Bank of Uganda employees.”

SOURCE: Trumpet News

Here Is Why Victoria University Offering 50% Discount On Tuition Fees

The management of Victoria University has announced a 50% discount on tuition fees as a response to the devastation the COVID-29 pandemic has had on the education sector in Uganda. The discount which commences September this year will benefit new and continuing students, including non-Ugandan students.

The university directors Sudhir and Rajiv Ruparelia while addressing the press conference to announce the discount emphasized the need to make education affordable and accessible.

“The decision was taken to reduce the fees because of the global pandemic that has come in. We believe that quality education should be affordable to Ugandan students. The current economic situation is not good and we have used his opportunity to give back to the society by reducing our fees," Rajiv said.

“This pandemic is not only for today, it will be here for the next 2 to 3 years so the fees structure will remain stable for long time to come and we will review it in consultation with students’ body, university council and the market but I don’t see us raising fees for the next 2-3 years” Dr Sudhir noted.

The Chairman of Victoria University Council, Atike Matovu said that the University made a decision to reduce the fees structure to ensure continuity of learning by the students at affordable rates.

“University ought to make sound and bold moves to ensure learning continues and thus cut on tuition. Victoria realized that quality education should be acceptable by all and therefore has taken a drastic positive step,” he said.

The acting Vice Chancellor, Victoria University, Bill Nkeeto noted that in order to foster innovation and create a positive social and economic impact, the reduction in the cost of education is a tailored made support to government efforts of building a better society post COVID19.

Atingi-Ego, Takes Over As New Deputy Governor BoU office

Bank of Uganda has announced that ‘Michael Atingi-Ego (PHD) assumed his role as the Deputy Governor, Bank of Uganda on August 03, 2020, following his appointment by His Excellency the President on 23 April 2020.’

The appointment of Atingi-Ego President Yoweri Museveni came after the expiry of Dr. Louis Kasekende’s contract. Efforts by Kasekende to have the president renew his contract fell on deaf ears. Allegedly, the president fell out with Kasekende because of the controversies he courted at the central bank.

Several reports by the Auditor General, parliament faulted Kasekende for ruining operations at the central bank and the entire financial sector he was supposed to regulate. Some of Kasekende actions as second in command at the central bank attraction investigation from the IGG and police.

A statement from the central bank described Atingi-Ego as ‘a seasoned Economist who has served in several capacities at various institutions and brings a wealth of experience to the position of Deputy Governor.’

He started his career at BoU in August 1984, rising through the ranks to become the Executive Director, Research. His research and publications focused on macroeconomic and financial policies and statistics, and he was an eminent resource in capacity building and a consultant on monetary operations and balance of payments in East, West, and Southern Africa.

In 2008 he took up an assignment with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) serving as Deputy Director of the African Department (AFR). While at the IMF, he was instrumental in enhancing the effectiveness of capacity development; modernising monetary policy frameworks in developing countries; and improving macroeconomic statistics in sub-Saharan Africa.

In addition, he was deeply involved in the Fund's work on data management across the institution besides providing strategic guidance to many IMF African country teams on programme and surveillance work.

From September 2018 until the date of his appointment as Deputy Governor, Bank of Uganda, Mr. Atingi-Ego was the Executive Director of the Macroeconomic and Financial Management Institute of Eastern and Southern Africa (MEFMI). MEFMI is a multinational capacity building institute based in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Dr. Atingi-Ego holds a PhD in Economics from Liverpool University (1996), an MSc. Economics in International Economics and Banking from Cardiff Business School, University of Wales (1991), and a BSc. Economics from Makerere University.

He returns to the Bank of Uganda with a wealth of regional and international experience; well-honed managerial and open communication skills; as well as the commitment to advancing the goals and governance of the Bank of Uganda through professional leadership on crucial policy & institutional issues.

 

Bank Of Uganda Director Sekabira Faces Charges

The Criminal Investigations Directorate of Uganda Police Force, in a letter dated July 27, 2020, and addressed to the Governor Bank of Uganda, summoned Benedict Sekabira, the Director Financial Markets Development at Bank of Uganda and others to help in the investigation regarding their role in the concealing of land titles and later the seize of the land titles belonging to some of the commercial banks that the central bank shut down.

The Criminal Investigations Directorate in the letter was seeking permission from the governor to release Sekabira so that he can be prosecuted. 

“The Directorate has been investigating the above matter that arose from the Committee of Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) with directive to the Inspector General of police t immediately upon adoption of Special Audit Report on defunct banks seize all the land titles in possession of JN Kirkland and Associates and MS SIL Investment arising from the loan portfolio sold to Ms Nile River Acquisition Company BY bank of Uganda”

“This is to inform you that the Director public Prosecution sanctioned the matter for the suspect to appear in Court and the purpose of this communication is to request you release Mr. Benedict Sekabira to report at CID headquarters on July 30, 2020,  such that he can be produced in court for the charges of concealing titles deeds under sections 278 of the penal code” reads the letter to the governor.

According to media reports, Sekabira, despite being released by the governor Bank of Uganda, Emmanuel Tumuiime Mutebile, didn’t appear at the CID offices on July 30, as indicated in the summon letter. It is not yet known what course of action the police will take.

Market Plaza Offering Two Rent Free Months To Tenants Booking In August

Businesses in Uganda, like it is the world over, have been battered by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and are looking at ways they can wake up from the economic death the virus put them.

The real estate sector was not spared. Many tenants have had to close their businesses and operation. Some are struggling or unable to meet their rent bills and are calling on property owners to be lenient when demanding for rent arrears.

Well aware of the complicated economic situation affecting trade, some landlords are working out a win-win situation where they can help tenants afford to let their property premises. They are offering discounts and other offers.

Crane Management Services (CMS), the real estate arm of Ruparelia Group of Companies, is one such landlord who understands the economic hardships Ugandans are going through due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The company managing arcades, warehouses, apartments and other commercial properties has decided to put up an offer for any person who wants to rent office space on their Market Plaza commercial building.

Market Plaza, located Market Street within the heart of Kampala city, has 250 shops, 110 offices and a wide parking space to accommodate over 100 cars.

What you have to do is simple, just book the office space in the first two weeks of August and you get two months’ rent-free. For more information contact CMS on +256752 711 750/ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..    

This offer comes at a time when traders in Kampala are having a push and pull relationship with their landlords over rent arrears. After almost five months under COVID19 lockdown, many traders are short of money to afford the rent bill.

Therefore, discounts and offers as such that Crane Management Services if offering comes handy for both the landlord and tenant. While the tenant wants a place to put his or her business, the landlord also is in need of tenants.

Bank Of Uganda Accused Of Not Operationalizing Islamic Banking

Bank of Uganda's failure to establish the Central Shari’a Advisory Council, five years after the law was passed, is a deliberate move to frustrate the final lap of establishing Islamic Banking, Daily Monitor reports, quoting a statement issued by Islamic leaders.

“We wish to expose (sic) our prolonged suffering caused by Bank of Uganda's delay to establish this council [Central Shari’a, Advisory Council]. This has taken almost five years since the law was passed.

Bank of Uganda should not have any excuse in finding the two Shari’a, scholars as specified by the law,” the statement reads in part, highlighting at least “10 technically suitable local Shari’a scholars, where it [Central Bank] can choose from,” Daily Monitor quoted the statement.

The statement headlined: How the delay in establishing the Central Shari’a Advisory Council at Bank of Uganda has Frustrated Islamic Banking, also noted that it was unfortunate that all the “amendments that were passed in the law in 2016 (such as agent banking and bancassurance, have been established except Islamic Banking.

The Islamic leadership in the finance sector pushing Islamic banking and listed on the statement include Dr Sulaiman Lujja, the Tropical Bank head of Islamic Banking, Dr Abdul Hafiz Walusimbi, the IUIU head of Shari’a, Dr. Anas Abdunoor Kaliisa, the director, Salaam Charity, Sheikh Muhammad Ali Waiswa, second deputy mufti, Uganda Muslim Supreme Council and Dr Sowed Juma Mayanja, a lecturer at Makerere University.

Others are Dr. Kisuule Muhammad, director House of Zakat, Dr Rashid Semuddu, consultant, Dr Ediriisa Kasozi, deputy dean and head of department Islamic Law, Faculty of Law, Yahya Kasujja, Senior associate account, Islamic Development Bank and Sheikh Ismail Njuki, director, Madina International Development Agency.

Par­lia­ment four years ago passed the Fi­nan­cial In­sti­tu­tions amend­ment Bill, the law that among oth­ers things in­tro­duced Is­lamic bank­ing that is con­sis­tent with Is­lamic Shar­i’ah (law). 

The par­lia­men­tary clear­ance was, how­ever, sub­ject to the es­tab­lish­ment of a Cen­tral Shar­i’ah Ad­vi­sory Board in the Cen­tral Bank to reg­u­late banks pro­vid­ing Is­lamic bank­ing prod­ucts. This has not been actualized by Bank of Uganda.

SOURCE: News Today Uganda

 

Poor Youth Movement Petition M7 To Stop BoU From Wasting Taxpayers’ Money

President Yoweri Museveni has been asked to intervene in the matter involving Bank of Uganda, Crane Bank and businessman Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia that has seen the central bank waste a lot of time and money in pursuing the businessman in court.

A petition that was written by Ssempala Zahid, the national spokesperson for Poor Youth Movement, wants President Museveni to intervene and save taxpayers from costs brought by what he described as incompetent Bank of Uganda staff in the case of Crane Bank under receivership against Meera Investments and Sudhir Ruparelia.

“We are writing to inform you that, on 23rd June 2020, in the middle of the COVID 19 Pandemic, in the worst period for all Ugandans locked down, the Court of Appeal (Court) ruled yet again against Crane Bank Limited in Liquidation (CBL) in a case where BOU filed to recover Shs397bn from Dr Sudhir Ruparelia claiming that he allegedly siphoned the same from CBL before it was closed and sold in 2017,” Ssempala says.

“It ought to be noted, that under HCCS 493 of 2017 the High Court had dismissed the case on the grounds among others that Crane Bank Limited (CBL) once put under receivership lost its ability to sue, that the statutory time for receivership was limited to 12 months.

That Crane Bank Limited was a foreign company and lacked locus to own land Free Hold or own the 48 properties that had been seized by the BOU and sold to DFCU bank and that there was no cause of action as there was nothing to sue for, as all assets had been sold to DFCU bank,”

“Upon dismissal of the case, CBL / BOU was condemned to pay costs of the suit which was at that time at 25% per annum of a sum believed to be in billions of shillings plus other legal costs,”

The petitioner explains that the greed in the BoU Legal Department misled the Board to authorise an Appeal which was filed to the Court of Appeal Civil Appeal No. 252 of 2019 “this appeal was dismissed and the costs awarded to Meera investments limited and Sudhir Ruparelia yet again. The total taxed bill is yet to be filed which according to Legal experts could be anything on the region of 150bn which will be visited on the taxpayers’ money, as BoU does not have its own money to pay those costs and will have to seek for recapitalization or a refund from Government after payment”.

“Your Excellency, it should be worth noting that, the government is currently facing deep budget cuts and might not realize the 22trillion budget for 2020/2021. This condition will be further aggravated by payment of the legal costs by taxpayers in the suit which by law must be paid and considering views/ analysis of legal experts will be lost again in the Supreme Court in the event of an Appeal,” he stressed.

“BoU has a litany of lost cases where billions have been paid to claimants and winners of cases. The performance of the Bank’s Legal Department could be as a result of over-reliance on so-called external legal experts who are bent on appealing any losses given that they will be paid. And as it is common knowledge, the higher they Appeal, the higher their fees.

A law firm billed BoU over 13bn for services in the CBL closure which services where later on regarded as ineffective and contrary to the law by COSASE as parliament faulted BOU in deliberately disregarding the law or legal procedures in the process of closure of CBL, which leaves one wondering why the said “legal experts” were paid a hefty 13bn for wrong advice,”

“Your Excellency, this cannot be sustained anymore by the taxpayer given the dwindling tax base consumed by the negative impact of COVID 19 on the Government’s bottom line,”

He also stressed that the case of closure of CBL and indeed other Banks have been a subject of investigation and probe by parliament and others which established that BOU had not done its job well and COSASE made a raft of proposals for reform of supervision and Legal Department which have all been washed aside by the Bank and the Ministry of Finance which should have given Parliament and Cabinet an update of the progress in implementing the COSASE recommendations.

“Instead the BoU has continued to accumulate costs in lost cases especially on CBL which ceased to be a Legal matter when it was evident the closure had all the hallmarks of a failed and botched regulatory action,”

“Your Excellency, you have recently demonstrated your ability to axe incompetent public officials who have either failed to execute their mandate or caused loss to Ugandan taxpayers. We beg you to take action over the incompetence in our mother bank,”

Ssempala fears that there are many questions which have left the Wanainchi puzzled like; When will someone be asked to account for actions of this Institution? When we have Governor BoU the same time chairman of the board, who punishes the Governor when he fails to execute his mandate as we all watched him pointing fingers at junior officers during the COSASE probe and junior officers pointing back?, When will Ugandans survive this wanton squander of public authority? When will BoU Board and its top Executives be called to order?

“As soon as the ruling was made dismissing the Appeal, the same Legal Head Mrs Margaret Kasule was summoned by the Board which was sitting on that same day to advise on the way forward and as expected, the Legal Head advised that the only way out of this was through an appeal to the Supreme Court. Indeed several interactions and engagements are underway to file an appeal to the Supreme Court where one of the Justices who dismissed the case is likely to be seated again this time as Chief Justice as he is Acting Chief Justice at the moment”.

“Even a blind person will see that this case which has so far cost Ugandans in excess of 20bn in costs to Lawyers is a waste of public resources. The COVID 19 pandemic has slowed down productivity, Ugandans have borne the brunt of biting poverty, revenue collection estimates have been reduced drastically fiscal discipline and austerity measures have been proposed and now Ugandans have to watch and see as the usual mistakes are being repeated by the same advisors misleading the BoU Board into entering a bottomless pit that is likely to cost BoU an arm and a leg”.

“Many questions have been raised by the public in regard to the viability of the said Appeal by BOU to the Supreme Court like; what is the ultimate goal of this appeal, is it to appease the Governor or the President? Is it to recover real money? If so how much has the BoU recovered in the last 20 years of Bank resolutions?”.

“The Bank has instead sunk billions into the coffers of expensive unthankful legal sharks who have no heart for Ugandans but their wallets”.

“Your Excellency, as your Bazukulu and taxpayers who feel the pinch of our monies being wasted by BOU in endless litigation, the purpose of this petition is to say enough is enough. Let this wanton disregard to the financial bleeding of BoU STOP HERE. Let Sudhir Ruparelia be paid his money and let Ugandans start with a new slate”.

Huawei Announces First Half Of 2020 Business Results

Huawei has today announced its business results for the first half of 2020. The company generated CNY454 billion in revenue during this period, a 13.1% increase year-on-year, with a net profit margin of 9.2%.

Huawei's carrier, enterprise, and consumer businesses achieved CNY159.6 billion, CNY36.3 billion, and CNY255.8 billion in revenue, respectively.

As countries around the globe are grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, information and communications technologies (ICT) have become not only a crucial tool for combatting the virus, but also an engine for economic recovery.

Huawei reiterated its commitment to working with carriers and industry partners to maintain stable network operations, accelerate digital transformation, and support efforts to contain local outbreaks and reopen local economies.

The complex external environment makes open collaboration and trust in global value chains more important than ever. Huawei has promised to continue fulfilling its obligations to customers and suppliers and to survive, forge ahead, and contribute to the global digital economy and technological development, no matter what future challenges the company faces.

East Africa’s Food Basket: Balancing Import Substitution & Regionalism

By Christopher Burke, WMC Africa

Government support for the promotion of agriculture in the 2020/21 budget with the scrapping of VAT on agricultural equipment and processed milk are welcome steps in the right direction; however, care is required in the utilization of import duties to pursue import substitution associated with agricultural products.  Uganda is a relatively small economy and must maintain access to regional markets.

Tagged the “Pearl of Africa” over a century ago, Uganda remains “gifted by nature.” Geographically located at the centre of one of the fastest growing and most dynamic economic regions in the world, Uganda has become a prominent procurement and distribution hub for the greater East African region. Strategically located at the head of the Nile River and extremely rich in natural resources with fertile soils and consistent rainfall across much of the country; Uganda clearly has the potential to be a food basket for the region. 

Even before the COVID 19 pandemic, East Africa was leading economic growth on the African continent consistently registering over 5 percent while the global economic slowdown over the past decade saw growth in Europe and North America hovering between 1 and 2 percent.  While the Bank of Uganda’s projected economic growth for Uganda in 2020 is now between 2.5 t0 3.5 percent, the negative balance of payments is expected to increase significantly this year with reduced demand for Uganda’s exports while foreign debt continues to escalate.

The population of the East Africa including Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan is approximately 185 million people.  If we add in the 17.6 million people living in the four provinces of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) comprising Haut-Uele, Orientale, Maniema, North Kivu and South Kivu we have almost 20 percent of the total population of the African continent—a very substantial market.

Though still low, purchasing power parity is rising and Uganda’s population of 42 million people is among the fastest growing and youngest in the world.  Nonetheless, the Ugandan market is relatively small and underdeveloped. Exports are dominated by raw produce, particularly agricultural products. This is a binding constraint that needs to be addressed before Uganda can fully import substitute and gain wider access to regional and international markets.

Still heavily reliant on subsistence agriculture, government must explore ways to promote value addition to develop the agricultural sector.  Every segment of the value chain requires strengthening, starting with the farmers, to ensure good quality and competitively priced produce.  The reduction in taxes on agricultural equipment goes a long way towards this, but it needs to be complemented with a coherent effort focused on value chain development. Until the internal market can distribute rewards fairly across the value chain, it will be difficult to develop a production system that is responsive to the sophisticated standards of regional and international markets.

Import substitution is the first step in the development of an export sector and critical to improving the balance of payments; however, a viable import substitution strategy requires that production first meets the needs of the domestic market.  Substantial investment is required to achieve this and to exploit the economies of scale presented by the regional market, government must look at ways to improve trade relations with neighbouring countries within the East Africa Community (EAC) and the Common Markets for East and Central Africa (COMESA).  

The development and full implementation of robust regional tariff regimes would provide serious economic benefit.  The development of larger markets through the realization of trading communities would attract the necessary investment for the production of goods and services for regional markets and position Uganda as a trade hub in East Africa and better position the region to take on an increasingly fractious world.  

 

 

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