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China-Uganda relationship benefits the Chinese, BoU Paper states!

This should not surprise you, that the Chinese government and their subsidiary businesses are making sure they are gets the best deal with the Ugandan counterparts. The Bank of Uganda policy paper are spelling out the advantages for the Chinese in the bilateral and the state-to-state offerings given to the Ugandans. They are clearly getting infrastructure loans and plyaing minor rolse in GVCs, therefore, the Ugandans are people loaning for infrastructure and then repaying, while the Chinese contractors and Chinese labor are working on the indebted projects. Just take a look, it is not a positive read!

It should be emphasised, however, that for Uganda to leverage the shifting growth dynamics in China (such as a shrinking labour force, rising wages and an appreciated Renminbi), it must create a conducive investment climate. Low wages and a competitive exchange rate alone will not make much difference without reliable power and transport links, or in the face of suffocating bureaucracy and corruption” (Bank of Uganda, P: 6, 2017).

With the migration of labour-intensive manufacturing shifting from China and an improvement in investment climate, Uganda also stands to expand its involvement in global trade, including Global Value Chains (GVCs). Historically, countries like Uganda have played a relatively minor role in GVCs. Figure 5 below, which illustrates a useful measure of Uganda’s integration in GVCs, relative to other sub-Saharan countries, indicates that Uganda is below the average value-chain position for developing countries” (Bank of Uganda, P: 6, 2017).

It must be pointed out that while China has emerged as a significant financer of infrastructure projects in Africa, it still lags behind both private investment and the more traditional sources of funding. Recent research actually reveals that, over the past few years, China has contributed about only one-sixth of the US$30 billion Africa receives annually as external finance for infrastructure” (…) “Moreover, most of this financing to the transport and energy sector takes the form of state-to-state, non-concessional deals and comes from the Export-Import Bank of China (China Exim Bank). Examples of the major state-to-state deals signed with China Exim Bank in Uganda include: US$1.4 billion and US$483 million for Karuma and Isimba hydropower dams as well as US$350 million for the construction of the Kampala-Entebbe express highway” (Bank of Uganda, P: 7-8, 2017).

For Uganda, which has so far committed up to US$ 2.3 billion in contracts with China Exim bank and is soon to take on more debt for projects like the Standard Gauge Railway, debt sustainability is a growing issue of concern; underscored by the fact that the country faces a low tax-to-GDP ratio relative to its regional peers and significant public investment challenges. Uganda’s debt as a percentage of revenues has risen by 54% since 2012 and is expected to exceed 250% by 2018, raising calls for caution and improved public investment management from various policy circles including the IMF, World Bank and Moody’s, which downgraded Uganda’s long-term bond rating in 2016 citing deteriorating debt affordability” (Bank of Uganda, P: 10, 2017).

This here report shows both the possible troubles with the debt, that already are problem with current budget, but will become bigger. Secondly, that the relationship and bilateral business agreements with China, will only benefit China and not Uganda. As they might get the infrastructure projects, but they have to repay the debt and also use funds on labor from the Chinese contractors and businesses. They are not hiring and educating locals to work these sorts, because Chinese are getting their own hired.

This here is not bringing positive results, but instead are being a nice debt collector for China and will be indebted to them. While the Ugandans gets scarps from the Chinese, as the infrastructure projects like the Dam they have bought on debt, has been said is “shoddy” work. That proves the Chinese gets easy money, get expat workers and later returns on every single Yen. Peace.

Reference:

Dollar, David; Mugyenyi, Akura & Ntungire, Nicole – ‘How can Uganda benefit from China’s economic rise?’ (August 2017) – International Growth Centre Uganda & Bank of Uganda

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Uganda: “Re: Media coverage of the achievements of Karuma Project”

The Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP) elects new board (11.07.2017)

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

Sigiri Bridge collapse is the perfect breakdown and picturesque misuse of government loans by Jubilee!

We are the only political party that has a track record that speaks for itself in an array of areas” – Deputy President William Ruto (Jubilee Manifesto Launch, 26.06.2017).

Certainly the relationship between Chinese Government and Kenyan Government is paying-off under the Jubilee Administration, as President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto. Who had inspected the done project of building the Sigiri Bridge over River Nzoia in Budalangi. A promise he made in September 2014, when he was traversing the district. Therefore, that it just under two weeks after falls to pieces, is showing how shoddy the works of the bridge must have been.

The business of the bridge that makes it special is that Geotechnical Sub Consultants, second company BAC Engineering and Architecture Ltd, third company China Overseas Engineering Group Co Ltd (COVEC), which is a Chinese State Owned Engineering, and the last company is Abdul Mullick Associates Ltd (AMA), therefore the should have been enough man-power and consultants for securing the bridge building in Budalangi and over the River Nzoia. So it took 5 companies to make a faulty bridge on the price of a fortune. That should boggle your mind, all of them are displaying the working on their pages. I checked it out today on the 26th June 2017.

That a project started in 2016 and finished early June 2017. Should have the time and preparation for building it, as the State started in 2014 the whole infrastructure project, they signed with the Chinese Engineering company on the 1st July 2015. The whole project was anticipated to cost about Ksh. 1 Billion. Therefore, the visit of the President and deputy in mid-June checking of the bridge seems now a bit pointless. Since it broke-down last night.

Citizen TV Kenya also reported this today: “10 construction workers injured after a section of Sigiri bridge in Busia County collapsed last night” (Citizen TV Kenya, 26.06.2017). But if there was 10 construction workers on open bridge, means that they we’re done yet. That the construction still continued after the President and Vice-President visited it in June. Certainly, the Kenyan government could have made this better and made sure both the engineering, architecture, geotechnical consultation and implementation of the works. The government should have made sure the infrastructure project of this size and spend this sort of funding, as the Ksh. 1 billion.

That all of the contractors and suppliers, together with the engineers are clearly not delivered. If so the bridge would last longer than a month. As the project started as a promise in 2014 and broke down in 2017. This is proof of lack of governance and procurement of infrastructure projects. We should be able to see the reason for why COVEC got the deal, why the other companies was hired and the reason for the broken down bridge in Budalangi and over River Nzoia. This is clearly a giant slap in the face and proof of bad work and not of promising use of state funds. Since this was a Billion Kenyan Shillings used on building it!

That the Jubilee needs answer, the locals in Budalangi needs answers, also the Kenyan people need answers as this bridge was built on commercial loans and for the possible benefit of them all. Instead, it will be more expensive and need to be fixed. Maybe even get another design to make it safe. What is certain, is that this massive project and its expenses will be remembered as the tax wasted by President Kenyatta and DP Ruto. Peace.

UNRA: Termination of the Contract for Civil Works for Upgrading of Musita Lumino/Busia – Majanji Road (104km) From Gravel to Paved (Bituminous) Standard (12.06.2017)

A look into the Oil Road Cost: the Hoima-Butiaba-Wasenko Road!

As the Budget Framework paper for Financial Year 2017/2018 in Uganda, the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) requested for the roads a total of Shs. 1,779bn and the required just to build the road in this budget year alone where 1,107bn. This was seen as a strategic area from the state, as the road is seen as one of them Oil Roads. Which, is one of the most important projects the government has, as the future profits of these are soon all used before the drilling starts. This with the giant projects and the misuse of funds. This is epitome with the Hoima-Butiaba-Wasenko road! Just take a look at the reports collected on the road. But the official paper of the budget said otherwise than the framework, who was just nonsense.

While the Budget report to the Parliament of May 2017 Vote 113 UNRA Hoima – Wanseko Oil Road Shs. 29.00bn. This funds will be available after reconciliation of numbers. While the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) where planning proposed numbers for the Oil Roads and the Hoima – Wanseko road where the length of 83 kilometers, and the budget was 444bn. Which is a bit more than the vote! And doesn’t fit with the records even. The numbers are staggering and confusing. As to put it further every unit or kilometers are estimated to cost 5,35bn. So the cost of the oil-road just in this budget year is insane.

Hon. Cecilia Ogwal expresses concern about the cost of the Hoima-Butiana-Wasenko oil road of shs53billion per kilometre” (Parliament, 31.05.2017). The Road that is under construction and is upgraded are 111 kilometers road. If the MP’s estimate is correct means the road cost shs. 5,883bn or Shs. 5.8 trillions. In the budget plenary session on the 31st May 2017 she was also very adamant that the roads who we’re budgeted without feasability studies should be cut and get other use of the funds. Still, that didn’t happen. One of these roads was the oil-road of Hoima-Butiaba-Wasenko. But with this years Budget report and actual feasibility study alone, proves the state will use 444bn on the road. As the other reports prove what they we’re planning to use. But this project started in 2015 and the reports of the misspending on it, seems so big as it gets. So the Road development and the Oil Road could be proof of another UNRA scandal. Take a look!

The works on Hoima-Butiaba- Wanseko road are expected to start during the second half of 2015. This is subject to availability of funding for the project,” said Dan Alinange, the UNRA head of corporate communications” (Rwothungeyo, 2014).

Hoima-Butiaba-Wasenko cost Shs. 454bn:

Works minister John Byabagambi and the new Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) executive director Allen Kagina have agreed to handpick a contractor for Hoima-Butiaba-Wasenko road despite an earlier petition on influence-peddling and fraud in the process. Mr Byabagambi has also changed from his earlier position where he opposed the move, when he was still a junior minister. A whistleblower had raised the red flag in a petition to Ms Kagina indicating that the project cost had been inflated by Shs66 billion ($20 million)” (…) “The 111km road stretches from Hoima to Butiaba on Lake Albert and one of the major corridors in the oil-rich Albertine Graben in south western Uganda. The project is expected to cost Shs454 billion” (Musisi, 2015).

UNRA on the Spot:

The third road project, pointed out by the whistleblower is the 55km Hoima-Butiaba-Wanseko road. According to the dossier, bids for the road were opened on January 22, 2016 and the deal was awarded to China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) at Shs 398 billion. According to the whistleblower, this would translate into $2m per kilometre, which is exorbitant. The whistleblower notes that this is way above construction estimates posted on the Unra website, which are at $960,000 per kilometre. Later, after an outcry from some bidders, Unra cancelled the deal, the whistleblower says. “The IGG should investigate the people who crafted this ignominious evaluation and bring them to book. They should even be interdicted as investigations continue,” notes the dossier. The whistleblower claims that roads in the oil sub-region of Bunyoro have been restricted to only Chinese firms because of the funding from Exim bank. Local and other foreign firms, the dossier noted, were left out” (Kiggundu, 2017).

So the prices of the budget framework and the budget report of 2017/2018, as the whistleblower of early May 2017 are clearly saying that the $2m per kilometers on the Hoima-Butiaba-Wanseko. If the US Dollars are Currency converted into Uganda Shillings which means the price per kilometers are Shs. 7,187bn, that means the price calculated by the budget and the MoFPED are Shs. 5,35bn. That means that are a difference in the price per kilometers which is Shs. 1.837bn. If the budget would be correct than the total price for the 83 kilometers, would e 596bn. I also find it strange that the UNRA budget and length on the FY 2017/2018 is 83 kilometers, as the initial length was 111 kilometers. That is also a length of roads that suddenly couldn’t disappear.

This road is surely more expensive than the government wants it to be, or certainly some lost public funds. Not shocking in the nation run by National Resistance Movement. The total tally of the cost will be revealed, but is not yet. Peace

Reference:

Kiggundu, Edris – ‘UNRA on spot over Chinese contracts’ (03.05.2017) link: http://observer.ug/news/headlines/52685-unra-on-spot-over-chinese-contracts.html

Musisi, Frederic – ‘Minister, Kagina hand-pick contractor’ (26.06.2015) link:http://mobile.monitor.co.ug/News/Minister–Kagina-hand-pick-contractor/2466686-2765360-format-xhtml-9uhqklz/index.html

Rwothungeyo, Billy – ‘Hoima-Butiaba-Wanseko road for upgrade’ (02.01.2014) link: http://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1336203/hoima-butiaba-wanseko-road-upgrade

Two Problems with SGR: First the Cost of Phase 1 and President Kenyatta cowardly blocking of Gov. Joho!

President Uhuru Kenyatta is a coward for not letting the Governor of Mombasa County, the Orange Democratic Movement leader Hassan Ali Joho attend the launch today of the Freight Train at the Port Reitz Station in Mombasa. It seems the Jubilee Party cannot handle opposition and has to freeze them out. Even as the launch of the SGR was happening, the Police escorted him away.

Maybe because the Chinese wrote this about the Kenyan Railway:

Kiraithe added that the government, through the ministries of finance, transport and environment, hasbeen heavily involved in accelerating the completion of the SGR built by the China Road and Bridge Corporation.“But the infrastructure is for Kenyans and has been achieved to improve our living standards,” Kiraithe said. In 2013, President Xi Jinping and his Kenyan counterpart, Kenyatta, witnessed the signing of the memorandum of understanding on financing the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR. The Export Import Bank of China financed 80 percent of the project” (Morangi, 2017).

“I was among a group of people who wrote a letter to the president [Uhuru Kenyatta], specifically with regards to the value for money proposition,” political analyst Tom Mboya told RFI on Tuesday. At a staggering cost of nearly four billion euros–almost entirely funded by China’s Export Import bank– just for the first phase linking the capital Nairobi to the port city Mombasa, there is reason to be concerned, reckons economist Aly-Khan Satchu” (Okello, 2017).

The Presidency statement on it:

President Kenyatta, who was flanked by Deputy President William Ruto and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, said every Kenyan should be proud of the Standard Gauge Railway. “I call upon all Kenyans whatever their political beliefs to celebrate, today we should be together holding hands in celebrations,” said the President moments after the cargo train pulled alongside the Presidential Dias waiting for the flag off. It was song and dance as choirs played patriotic songs apt for the moment. “This is the Kenya we seek and this is the Kenya we want our children to inherit from us and their children to inherit from them,” said President Kenyatta amid applause, cheers and ululation. President Kenyatta said the SGR will make the port of Mombasa more efficient and will enhance the performance of the facility where the Jubilee Government has invested more than Sh60 billion in the last four years” (Presidency, 2017).

By the Statement made by the Presidency yesterday means that the Government spent: 60bn times 4 Shs. 240bn on the Standard Gauge Railway. Still, the East African reported differently earlier in the month: “So far, Sh327 billion has been spent on the first phase of the railway between Mombasa and Nairobi and Sh150 billion on the Nairobi-Naivasha section. With a national population of about 46 million, every Kenyan is set to owe China Sh18,413 in SGR debt once the deal is sealed” (…) “The SGR has been President Kenyatta’s pet project since he came to power” (Mutambo & Omondi, 2017). So if this is true, than the Presidency are dropping different numbers than the papers. Clearly the government trying to look more efficient, than what they are in reality. This should worry since most of the building of the SGR are based on development loans from the Exim Bank.

Is this why the words of and address to this from Joho is so striking:

In the light of this, we hereby demand that

1. That the government release the terms of the contract with the Chinese Exim Bank, the details of disbursement and attendant relavant information

2. The Government of Kenya release all details of the Take or Pay contract between KPA and the financiers? What is the goods threshold and the responsibility of collection of the these fees.

3. Due to conflicting reports, the government clarify in details all charges related to goods and their destinations.

4. The government clarify the method of nomination of goods for rail and the point and implementation of charges.

5. The government clarify the extinction date of the Railway Development Levy on goods and come clean on the amounts collected since.

6. The government release the terms of the port concession, all monies paid and the details of the contract

7. The the Government clarify the details of site selection of Naivasha as a dry port. The feasibility study and the project appraisal report.

8. That the government release the “Willingness to Pay” survey of the goods for meant for railway and the feasibility report of the proposed Naivasha Special Economic Zone.

9. And that the Jubilee government show us their plan for Mombasa” (Hon. Ali Hassan Joho, 31.05.2017).

By all means the Governor of Mombasa wants to know the realities of the SGR, but that is something every single Kenyan deserves as this is the pet-project of Kenyatta. Kenyatta might be proud of Phase 1, but can the government carry the price of the trains and lines. Or is this is a stunt for development?

That the Governor was blocked from the Train Station that is opened in his county, as he was blocked from the relaunch of the ferries in March 2017. Shows that the Jubilee cannot handle opposition or their eyes on their projects. They are so initiated to represent the whole community, that if the community and citizens elects opposition. Than they are not allowed to enter public displays and their launching of projects. This has now been proven twice. That the Jubilee cannot handle NASA leadership or ODM party leaders. If they could than they would have entertained and made it possible for Governor Joho to be at the state functions as he is the local elected leadership of Mombasa county. Is that hard for the President and his deputy?

But the President and his Team is cowards who cannot even have the local government leadership at the launch of SGR at the Port Reitz Station. Peace.

Reference:

Morangi, Lucie – ‘ Chinese-built SGR to improve Kenya’s global standing’ (30.05.2017) link:http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2017-05/30/content_29548836.htm

Mutambo, Aggrey & Omondi, George – ‘Uhuru seeks Sh370bn more to extend railway to Kisumu’ (16.05.2017) link: http://mobile.nation.co.ke/news/Kenya-requests-for-Sh370bn-for-SGR-third-phase/1950946-3928546-15jp48i/index.html

Okello, Christina – ‘Kenya’s ambitious new railway raises cost concerns’ (31.05.2017) link: http://en.rfi.fr/africa/20170530-kenya-4bn-railway-opens-amid-controversy-kenyatta-china

Presidency – ‘New dawn for Kenya as Standard Gauge Railway rolls out services’ (30.05.2017) link: http://www.president.go.ke/2017/05/30/new-dawn-for-kenya-as-standard-gauge-railway-rolls-out-services/

EAC: Signing of the Inter-Governmental Agreement between the Republic of Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) Project (26.05.2017)

Somalia: P&O Ports WINSUSD $ 336 m 30 Year Concession for Port of Bosasso in Puntland (06.04.2017)

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