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Archive for the category “Budget”

Opinion: Blackmailing doesn’t work in negotiation of a budget, even if Trump and Republican’s think it works!

The United States of America is now without a captain, a head honcho and without clear steering leadership. President Donald J. Trump is clearly not stable or a capable person who can hold thought longer, than he holds his thirst for a Diet Coke. So it is old-fashion way that, when the weekend started and during the weekend. Either the White House or the Republican Party has assaulted the Democratic Party for not doing their patriotic duty. However, they are not the majority in the House of Representatives, they are not the majority in the Senate and they do not have the Presidency.

All of that should come into consideration as the Budget negotiations has been going on. There been counter measured to secure payments for soldiers and people in combat. While that has been silenced by the same Republican Party, that are blaming the Democrats. Its the whole way of discussing the deal and agreement with the minority leader, has proven to failing. That President Trump can get into one state of mind and then hours later a call from Chief of Staff John Kelly. Can sway in another direction. Then again can another call from Trump to Democratic leader Chuch Schumer being about another piece, that was not agreed upon.

Its this constant changes and not stability. Its the constant use of military and health care for the needy, while the same majority party has dismantled a lot of that in the tax-cut bill in late part 2017. So the Democrats knows how the Republican party operates, not for the people need, but for the needs of their donors. They don’t care about the CHIP Program and neither care about DREAMERS. That is evident by their way of reasoning and their way of negotiations. Trump clearly doesn’t care about these, he promises left and right, but just wants tax-cuts for him and another party at Mar-A-Lago in Florida.

That the Democrats has been in the trenches trying to fix something is evident. While Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan have no heart. We knew they operated that out some time ago and its left behind in the closet of one of their main donors. Since, they are using the speeches of the past, but they are the ones that filibustered the crap out of the House and Senate during the Obama Years. Now that they cannot get 60 votes in the Senate. They are sending assaults to Schumer and the Democrats. It is insane!

When they are throwing out bi-partisan deals, by the time spent to forge a deal that both parties can work on and secure funding. Also for popular programs like CHIP and DACA. Clearly, the Republican party doesn’t see that, because they are lost in the InfoWars, Breitbart and Fox News news-cycle, where if they go outside of that paradigm. They will lose popularity in the needed midst of 20% – 30% electorate, which they need in the midterms 2018. Clearly, the Republican Party is afraid to look weak and not following promises made during the 2016 election.

While that is happening, the cost of this a government shutdown. That means many will not during next payout of salaries and government programs will cease until the shutdown is stopped. The natural funding and the in-activity will mean that many ordinary non-life danger programs will stop. This because the President and his party cannot be in balanced and stable in negotiations. They are their worst enemy, but playing the blame-game on Democrats. Who can support this government, but has no incentive to do, when they are shot down and has no reason to give way over nothing.

What the Republicans should do, which they won’t, is to look into themselves and their blackmailing of the other party. Nothing else has happen. That is why the speeches of McConnell and Ryan has been like they are. They know about the changes and calls between them and Democrats. Still, they are blaming them.

They are easily the opposite of Robin Hood, giving more to wealthy and less to the poor. They are struggling to govern, because their enemy is gone in the White House. The Republicans we’re good as long as the Freedom Caucus and the Tea Party Activist could block progressive and liberal ideas from the White House. But now that they have the man in the office and the Capitol Hill for themselves. They cannot explain or be able to agree themselves on what is key or important. Therefore, they have to make enemies out of the Democrats. Secondly, they expect to get away with that.

Not so strange, the blackmailing is their thing, it is the thing of Trump. That is why he has record of lawsuits during his corporate career, why he has not paid workers on his buildings and properties and then sued the contractors for negligence and whatnot. Trump has done that all his life and therefore, tries the same trick as President. However, this isn’t mob business or contractors who needs his money. This is people who has constituents and future votes to be in their favor. Democrats doesn’t need Trump. They don’t need him or his presidency. That is the truth. Trump, thinks everyone needs him and wants him. He is the center of the Universe. However, for the democrats, he is a necessary evil. A devil you work with, in need, but buries hopefully in the future.

So the Republican Party has gone wrongly about it all, they are the ones that need the Democrats. Not the other way around. They have the majority and is supposed to govern. It seems easy on West Wing and Yes Prime Minister. Therefore, they should feel the pinch and their guilt. Even as they deflect and even Kellyann Conway are on TV, still spreading the news of the deal-maker Trump is. Well, it is proven he is jello. It is proven that his shifting and short-term memory, also lack of focus is destroying the importance of the budget negotiations and their deadlines. Combined with the neglect of leadership from his side. Trump cannot whip his party into one focus and one line. If Fox & Friends or Breitbart excel a bad story. He will twist his mind and change way. That is not the way of making significant changes in law.

I think the Republican’s has to jump from the wall and find a middle-ground. If they are serious about governing and not just creating headlines. If the Republicans care about their government and the service it provides, other than giving tax-relief to the wealthy. Time is to open their minds and mouths, talk with the Democratic Party and see where they can go. Peace.

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Uganda: Museveni letter to UNRA – “Amicable Solution with Dott Services LTD, To Complete Nakalama-Tirinyi-Mbale Road” (08.01.2018)

Opinion: Mzee says its hard to build roads in Ntungamo district, maybe you should supply them with something else than fake Chinese Equipment?

Just as President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is on the road in a By-Election in Ntungamo District and in the Ruhaama Constituency. He was talking well for the National Resistance Movement flag-bearer, who only has three independent candidates to run against on the 11th January. Therefore, this should be walk in the park and ready made road to the Parliament for the NRM candidate.

However, what was interesting, was what Museveni said about roads. He said this:

The hilly terrain of Ruhaama poses a challenge to building of roads, however, the government is committed to providing good roads to all parts of the country. The Government has built the Ntungamo-Kafunjo road and plans are underway to build the Kitwe–Bugamba road” (Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, 09.01.2018).

Dennis Singahache wrote in the Budget Framework Paper for Ntungamo District for the Financial Year 2017/2018 this about the road works in the district. Its revealing, that the President has not looked into the dire needs that is there:

Lack of training in RAMPS,Lack of substantitve District Engineer, Senior Engineer in charge of Mechanics among other critical staffs required,are Major challenges” (…) “Cut in the District budget with strict guidelines,Very little funds received from central Government of average 300,000= for maintenance per km” (…) “Chineese road equipment very fake and break continously and Lack of a low bed and supervision vehicle” (Local Government Budget Framework Paper, P: 14, 2017).

So it is not strange that the road works are hard to work on, when you have fake and breaking down Chinese equipment, also cut in the guidelines and critical staff is required to be able to maintain and also build roads in the district. Clearly, the memo has not been received by the State House. If not he just haven’t minded it, because its just talk from the President anyway.

But it wasn’t hard to find the District Chairman’s Singahache addressing his concern and then seeing the hypocrisy of the President. Then, they might get better roads in the Ntungamo District. Seriously, it is mismanagement from the State House and beyond. The Local Government have addressed the challenges, but its doesn’t seem to matter! Peace.

The Uganda Budget Framework Paper for FY2018/19 signals growing debt and steady growth of interest repayments!

I will go over key points of the National Budget Framework Paper of Financial Year 2018/19 – FY 2022-23, that the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development released at the end of last year on December 2017. MoFPED or Minister of Finance Matia Kasaijja must surely flatter himself with this release. As the numbers and troubles ahead has to be meet with swift action. That the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni should answer for the consequences their economic policies has affected the financial stability and fiscal responsibility.

On page seven of the paper, it was said this:

i) Low revenue to GDP ratio, poor planning and budgeting due to non-adherence to Sector Investment Plans and increasing trends in supplementary pressures; ii) Lack of inter and intra sectoral coordination and increased cost of public administration resulting from creation of Authorities, Universities, Districts and related Administrative Units. iii) Accumulation of domestic arrears, arising majorly from court awards and delayed payment to the private sector that supply Government; and, iv) Low budget absorption especially for infrastructure projects resulting from delayed acquisition of right of way for projects and lengthy procurement processes” (MoFPED, P: 7, 2017).

If this isn’t signs of trouble ahead and lack of control of the economy, nothing is. When the government has trouble paying their dues, when they cannot absorb needed budgeted funds and also create longer procurement processes, while there is poor planning and lack of cooperation between different parts of the government and institutions. Therefore, the basic cost of developing projects and day-to-day services will be more costly, while the misuse of funds will grow. That is not the good steady progress, the ruling government promised in recent elections or anytime else for that matter in the reign of Museveni.

As the scale of debt has been on the rise of different years. The paper is clearly signaling bad news as well: “Amortization of external debt is projected at US$ 236.5 million, equivalent to Shs 894 billion in FY2018/19, which is relatively high compared to past levels because of repayment of the PTA loan. Thereafter, external debt amortization is projected to reduce to US$ 131.8 million in FY 2019/20” (…) “Government‟s interest payments are projected at Shs 2,701 billion in FY2018/19, of which Shs 2,279 billion is interest on domestic securities (Treasury bills and bonds) and the rest is interest on external debt. Interest payments constitute 9.8 percent of total resources available for spending next financial year. The figure is projected to rise to Shs. 2,788 billion in FY 2020/21 and will amount to Shs. 3084 billion during FY2021/22. A great percentage of interest payments about 84 percent is domestic interest payments which partly reflects high cost of domestic borrowing” (…) “Total government expenditure and net lending (excluding debt refinancing) will amount to Shs 22,520 billion in FY2018/19 and further increase to Shs 25,059 billion in FY2019/20. The bulk of this expenditure (10.5percent) is largely on account of increase in development spending arising from the scale up of public investments by Government. However, moving forward the implementation of the infrastructure projects will be more gradual to ensure consistency with the requirements to meet the EAMU convergence criteria. Recurrent expenditure is projected to increase by Shs. 166 billion during FY 2018/19 mainly driven by an increase in domestic interest payments” (MoFPED, P: 13, 2017).

That this combined with the early signs of worrying of procurement process, bad collective effort of ministries and also growing debt. None of this is a well-made government to secure services and institutions to serve the public. Clearly, there are other outlines and worries, since none of the early pages of the paper are too hopeful. These numbers has been shown before, but the MoFPED are really not hiding the fact, that the growing debt and services of it is taking a bulk of the budget this year.

As in previous years, the State House and Office of the President are getting big chunks of the budget. In the coming financial year the State House total budgeted funds are in the massive amount of UGX. 265,342 billion shillings and the Office of the President gets the amount of UGX. 56,436 billion shillings.

Will look more into that, when I get the hold of the Budget Framework paper directly made for that part of government. Since it is always showing some inspiring expenditure, if it is expensive water or spending on bad seeds for Operation Wealth Creation (OWC). That depends on what excuse the President and NRM needs to overspend on the majesty for life.

More will come later. Peace.

UK Statistics Authority Chairman Sir David Norgrove letter to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson: “On his clear misuse of statistics” (17.09.2017)

Burundi: OLUCOME Communique – “Le Gouvernement Burundais en Place devralt cesser de pendre des mesures qui bafouent certains textes legaux et principaux qui guident les Finances publiques” (11.09.2017)

Kenya: The County Government of Nandi has made the following changes (28.08.2017)

Opinion: Trump has bankrupted the Secret Service because of his golfing and nepotism!

We know that President Donald J. Trump has taken nearly one-third of the term into vacations, weekend trips to Florida and other days outside the White House. When the President travels, this is costly and extra hours for the Secret Service. The Secret Service is obligated to be the security guards and have convoys securing the President and his family. With the Trump presidency, it has also been extra lounges at the Trump Tower, as the First Lady stayed there for months before leaving for D.C. Therefore, the expenses has grown with the extra traveling days, but also the rallies and all other activity the President has been up-to. Just take a look!

Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles, in an interview with USA TODAY, said more than 1,000 agents have already hit the federally mandated caps for salary and overtime allowances that were meant to last the entire year” (…) “ Alles said the service is grappling with an unprecedented number of White House protectees. Under Trump, 42 people have protection, a number that includes 18 members of his family. That’s up from 31 during the Obama administration. Overwork and constant travel have also been driving a recent exodus from the Secret Service ranks, yet without congressional intervention to provide additional funding, Alles will not even be able to pay agents for the work they have already done. The compensation crunch is so serious that the director has begun discussions with key lawmakers to raise the combined salary and overtime cap for agents, from $160,000 per year to $187,000 for at least the duration of Trump’s first term” (Johnson, 2017).

So the Secret Service already are overworked as they have taken hours and trips with the President. That a 1000 agents already are over the mandated caps for salary and overtime. Shows how much the President are traveling and extra work that the agents has gotten by the actions of the President and his family. That the numbers has gone up from Obama, is also typical, since the family of the Trump needs security in New York and nepotism is rampant in the White House. This sends worrying signals of how little the Trump Administration and New York Gang cares about the budget, as long as they are living their lives.

That this arrogance and double moral is clear in this, as he claimed Obama traveled to much and was such a burden on the budgets as a President. It only tool 7 months before he cracked the budgets of the Secret Service, this from a government that plans to deplete many government subsidized programs to the poor, while expanding the army. The US government under Trump isn’t fiscal responsible or caring about the outcome. Since he in just such short time has spent enormous amounts of funds taking vacations and playing golf on his own estates. That has also added extra expenses to the Police Force and States, which he has visited. It isn’t only the Secret Service who has had to spend fortunes on Trump, but the state of Florida and New Jersey has had to get added funding for their ordinary work.

This proves the mockery of it all, as such a rich man likes this is living lavish on the state and also using the security operations in a way that it even breaking the bank and accounts for the Secret Service. The Secret Service are in August, but has not funds to pay for the extra services needed for the President until December. That is 4 months left of the year and already overspent. This is something the White House and the Capital Hill has to discuss, so that the state can continue to flood the extended fleet and need of agents around the President. The state cannot afford to go broke and not pay the security guards. Then, the state would see deserters without pay or resignations, as who wants to be working for a state; a state who doesn’t pay the salaries and the overtime. Peace.

Reference:

Johnson, Kevin – ‘Exclusive: Secret Service depletes funds to pay agents because of Trump’s frequent travel, large family’ (21.08.2017) link: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/08/21/secret-service-cant-pay-agents-because-trumps-frequent-travel-large-family/529075001/

Opinion: President Museveni wants cronyism on steroids!

We know that the loyalty based between former Members of Parliament, former NRM historical’s is not based on merit or on ideology anymore. It is on the possible paycheck and envelopes given by the state and the favors it gets the President. Everything else is and should be seen as a lie. Therefore, when the Observer quotes a letter from 1st August 2017 sent to his loyal cronies, saying they have to make sure the other loyal cronies get more perks. It fits the paradigm of his growing entitlement and his regime. The President do know the only way of keeping them within reach and loyal to him, is to pay them. That is the only way he can sway them and make sure they got his back. This is the reason for the sudden; we need to give MP allowances and benefits to the ones ousted and who has left office in disgrace. They need a new form of payday, since I still need their loyalty. Just look!

“In an August 1 letter, President Museveni directs the minister of Public Service, Muruli Mukasa, to give the former ministers who were appointed ambassadors the same remuneration they used to get while they still served in cabinet. “As you are aware, I have appointed some former ministers as ambassadors. I, therefore, direct, if it is not against any law, their remuneration, personal to holder, like when they were ministers, minus of course elements like constituency allowance because they no longer have constituencies,” Museveni’s letter reads. The letter is copied to Vice President Edward Ssekandi, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa, head of Public Service and secretary to cabinet John Mitala and the permanent secretary of the ministry of Foreign Affairs, Patrick Mugoya. Museveni’s letter suggests that the former ministers could alternatively be paid an equivalent of the monthly pay of Shs 15m for permanent secretaries, although this could come with additional benefits. “Sort it out in a rational manner on the basis of maintaining some of the benefits the individuals were getting previously minus the elements that are no longer applicable,” Museveni further wrote” (Kaaya, 2017).

It is amazing that former Cabinet Members will get perks when they have left office, that can only be keeps his cronies at bay. Not because it is benefits the state or is fiscal responsible. Since the Ministers and Members of Parliament get very high salaries and their reunification, that the ordinary worker in Kampala could “die” for.

Certainly, the President knows this and wants to make sure the former loyal cronies get their paycheck, which they will smile and grin. That they will continue to support him and speak well of him. If that weren’t the case, then this wouldn’t be necessary for him to propose. This isn’t for the love of the country and to take someone. These are the former well-paid politicians and loyalists, who are now sure they get another payday, without any work or office! It should be insulting, but is more of the same, seriously, since many former cabinet members becomes ambassadors, presidential advisors or any sort of title to pay for their loyalty. Not for their advice or political savviness. We all know better.

This certainly will bill up more funds and put more strains on the debt-ridden economy. But why doesn’t President Museveni, he will be dead when the interests and the debt has to be repaid to the creditors. Peace.

Reference:

Kaaya, Sadab Kitatta – ‘Museveni wants ex-ministers to draw cabinet-level pay as envoys’ (18.08.2017) link: http://observer.ug/news/headlines/54467-museveni-wants-ex-ministers-to-draw-cabinet-level-pay-as-envoys.html

This is what the Constitutional Amendment Bill of 2017 do: It makes it easier for the State to grab land!

The Constitutional Amendment Bill has been criticized and created worry, since the National Resistance Movement (NRM) have worked for and to get their leader to stay in charge and executive as long as he pleases. That is the President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. So the article 102 (b) could easily been seen as possible change to fit the life and the age of the aging President. Instead, the gazetted bill of retired Major General Kahinda Otafiire is about making it easier for the state to compensate and take land from civilians. Since they want to make more cheap and make it legal to take land. If so make it easier to settle in court. This is clearly making the road development and pipeline building cheaper, also giving the government more power. Just by looking at the text from the government. Take a look!

The purpose of the Bill is to resolve the current problem of delayed implementation of Government infrastructure and investment projects due to disputes arising out of the compulsory land acquisition process. The problem of delayed Government projects has caused significant financial loss to the Government amounting to millions of dollars in penalties paid to road contractors for redundant machinery at construction or project sites as the courts attempt to resolve the disputes, most of which relate to quantum of compensation” (Otafiire, 2017).

Original Article 26:

26. Protection from deprivation of property.

(1) Every person has a right to own property either individually or in association with others.

(2) No person shall be compulsorily deprived of property or any interest in or right over property of any description except where the following conditions are satisfied—

(a) the taking of possession or acquisition is necessary for public use or in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health; and

(b) the compulsory taking of possession or acquisition of property is made under a law which makes provision for—

(i) prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation, prior to the taking of possession or acquisition of the property; and

(ii) a right of access to a court of law by any person who has an interest or right over the property” (Constitution of 8th October 1995)

Amendment of Article 26:

(3) Where the owner of property or any person having any interest in or right over property objects to the compensation awarded under a law made under clause (2Xb), the Government or local government shall deposit with court for the property owner or any person having any interest in or right over the property, the compensation awarded for the property, and the Government or local government shall take possession of the property pending determination by the court of any dispute relating to the compensation” (Otafiire, 2017).

(4) The owner of property or person having any interest in or right over the property shall have a right to access the compensation deposited with the court referred to in clause (3),at any time during the determination of the dispute” (Otafiire, 2017).

(5) Parliament shall, by law, prescribe the time within which any dispute referred to in clause (3) shall be determined” (Otafiire, 2017).

So now the part of the article 2 (b) was already giving the citizens and land owners set of rights, but not telling how the procedure for compensation for possible value of the land and neither loss of possible costs of moving. The new part of article 26, is about giving the courts rights to find compensation and awards to fellow citizens property.

What is new is even as the pending award and compensation to the land owner, the government still has right to take possession of the land. Which means the government even if the land owner or the one who has the title of the land has to move before the case is settled in courts. This means that the government can cease the land and later pay the people who lives on the land. So if the state and need to build infrastructure or any other project, they can take possession of the land and pay-off the ones living there later.

The Parliament can put a time-table for the possible ending of land dispute, but the possession is already cleared by the state. Therefore, the loss of possession and pending time depends. The real issue isn’t only the dispute, but no consideration of the loss of title, livelihood or even the possible all other costs like moving to another property or housing. This should have been taken in consideration when writing new standards. This one only gives positives to the state, but the citizens and owners of land titles get the hurt.

It is easy to see the Republic/State are the ones winning with the change of article 26 in the constitution not the citizens. The changes of the law is only to benefit the state and the ones acting by orders of the state, not for the citizens. This should be itself worrying as there are no part that is positive for the citizens in the amendment. The land can be possessed and has to wait for the time-table put forward by the Parliament and within that time while the dispute happening hopefully get compensated. Clearly, this is only giving more powers to the state, while taking away the total ownership of land. Since the state can possibly take possession and pay the title-owner later. Peace.

Reference:

Otafiire, Kahinda – ‘Constitutional Amendment Bill of 2017’ – 08.06.2017 – Uganda Gazette No. 33, Volume CX, Bill Supplement No. 7

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