Opinion: Mzee needs about 3 trillions for secret projects [or a slush fund for his re-election]

In the next financial year it is voted in UGX 2.8 trillion shillings in the Financial Year of 2020/21. This is very special in consideration as the whole budget has grown to 45 trillion shillings. Also in regards to things and rising debts, the state will have to pay UGX 4 trillions in interests payments. That is close to 10 % and the Confidential Expenditure is close to 7,5%.

This is really special that the President needs this amount for confidential expenditure for the FY 2020/21. This is ahead of the General Election of 2021. There is already a supplementary budget for COVID-19 as well. Which is also adding more confidential expenditures too.

That is deliberate. The National Resistance Movement (NRM) and the President is acting with a clear message. They are doing it and we know it. Because, the state needs a lot of funds for the campaigns, for the tours, campaign material, paying ads in New Vision and paying off chiefs, RDCs and whatnots. That is why the President is begging for cars now. He needs them for campaign season, he always buy cars for Pastors, RDCs and other appointed officials to get their loyalty.

So, who knows what they will use Three Trillions Shillings for, but surely it will be for selfish and entitled reasons. NRM and the President will misuse these funds. Just like they are spiking up the budget again. New heights as of the budget is estimated in loans and grants. This means, the state is only able to get revenue for the other half. Meaning 22,5 trillions are gotten from elsewhere and will be more interests to pay later. This is special, as the state is getting debt relief from the IMF. Not like they playing into it. Loaning more, while the IMF is offering relief. Such a brilliant move!

While the state is doing that, they are adding more and more confidential expenditure. This is done in manner and fashion, where we know that it will got devious things. That is why they cannot state it. If it is weapons for proxy-wars. If it is for paying side-dishes, cronies and “foreign investors”. Because, there is a lot of things ahead. The President has a lot of people to pay. A lot of campaigning to do and spend like a drunk sailor in the coming months. Especially after the lockdowns.

The President will use the LDUs, UPDF and Police Force. There will be means and pain, interference and intimidation to ensure another term in office. Not like he can do it with gained popularity at this point. He cannot even get enough to feed the poor. He cannot even find ways to properly serve the public or contact trace within the COVID-19 pandemic.

That is why he needs classified expenditures in the ranking of 3 trillions in the up-coming financial year. Since, he needs secret trading, procurement and usage of funds. These things will not have ordinary due diligence or oversight. The President can use it like his Donations Programs. He can spend it without question and suddenly give a blown-up doll to his wife or something. We don’t know, but that is what he could do.

The NRM has surely ensured they have secured the State House, Office of the President and Office of Prime Minister funds as well. All of this usually spins a big web in the election time. So, expect it to be a supplementary budget for the State House in 2021. As the water-bill, lack of funds for salaries for a few Presidential Advisors and so on suddenly hits the fan. This is partly covered by the Confidential Expenditures. However, it can go anywhere. We just don’t where. It could go to ammunition, Armoured Personnel Vehicles and whatnot. That would be shocking, even if it get some additional tear-gas too.

However, don’t expect these three trillions to make the society better, the Republic to prosper. This is slush funds for the President and his cronies. This is securing their fate ahead of the election. Peace.

Bank of Uganda: Measures to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 (20.03.2020)

Bank of Uganda: Monetary Policy Statement for February 2020 (13.02.2020)

Mobile Money Tax shortfall: People change behaviour after levying an unfair tax

Levy on mobile money contributed a deficit of UGX 30.48 billion which can be explained by the fact that high value clients withdraw their funds from agency banking e.g MTN has had a drop of 36 percent in MM transaction values since the introduction of the levy on mobile money” (Uganda Revenue Authority, 06.02.2020).

There is also reported that it has been a 36% drop in Mobile Money Transactions since the enaction of the Exercise Duty in 2018. That means, the added tax on the MM transactions are backfiring. The State isn’t adding revenue, but ensuring that people are finding other ways of moving their money.

This is not shocking, that people change behaviour, when the state makes it more expensive. As the people used these services to send each other money by convenience. Now, one third of the transactions are gone. Meaning, the ones that can change their ways has done that.

The losers are not only the Telecoms, but also the state. As the shortfall of taxes got to be covered elsewhere. As the state had put this into the budgets to cover other state works. This means the targets for domestic revenue wasn’t considering the implications of doing it. As, there wouldn’t be an natural reaction to the consequences to the new taxes.

Instead of increasing the tax base, they are making it smaller and not able to find measures that makes sense. The state has clearly done this without due diligence, neither also configured the stats and the possible behaviour of the public. As their ways gotten more taxed and not considering that they would stop, if they found it to expensive or unreasonable.

The MM tax and the OTT taxes was measures made to tax the digital market-space in the Republic. However, they have both been flawed and also not met their targets, because the public found other ways of doing things.

The ironies about the MM saga is that before the tax, the business of MM was growing. A natural growth and having more transactions every year. Now, that they levied the tax its has a big fall. That is a result of the MM Tax and the public is not having it. Peace.

Opinion: Spending the future, today and yesterday…

Well, those where the days before the previous election. When the state and the Parliament wanted show some promise of some sort of laws, which would contain and actually save some of proceeds from the Petroleum Industry. However, we are now in 2020 and the news is out. The UGX 700 billion shillings that the Petroleum Fund had has been used over 3 budgets year.

That with:

2017/18 they spent 125bn

2018/19 they spent 200bn

2019/20 they spent 445bn

Which is in total: 765bn.

What is really more beautiful with this, is the PFMA restrictions and means that both the Bank of Uganda (BoU), the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) and the Investment Advisory Committee. All of these had an oversight, plus the Auditor General was supposed to write semi-yearly reports on the status of the Petroleum Fund. So, how come they have run empty. That’s because certainly nobody cared that it was used to contain the shortfall in the growing budgets, instead of what the laws said. Like the part 74 of the PFMA of 2015, which says this.

74. Prohibition on encumbrance of the Petroleum Fund.

(1) The financial assets of the Petroleum Fund including presentor future financial assets shall not be earmarked, pledged, committed,loaned out, or otherwise encumbered by any person or entity.

(2) In this section, “earmarked, pledged, committed, loaned out,or otherwise encumbered by any person or entity” means—

(a) using the financial assets of the Petroleum Fund—

(i)to provide credit to Government, or any other person or entity;

(ii)as collateral for debts, guarantees, commitments or other liabilities of any person or entity; or

(b) borrowing from the reserves of the Petroleum Fund.

(3) Government shall not—

(a) borrow money from the Petroleum Fund; or (b)hold a financial instrument that places or may place aliability or a contingent liability on the Petroleum Fund” (Public Finance Management Act of 2015).

We can see that the government itself used the Petroleum Fund for credit and not what they intended the fund for. Which is a misuse of the own fund it created. Instead of making these instruments and such. They should have just put it straight in the consolidation fund and spent it like drunk seamen. Because, this sort of charade doesn’t make sense.

Why make these sort of laws and don’t follow it? Why try to make a petroleum fund and empty it mere years after making it a thing?

Seems like a fools errand or like a big heist. Instead, the Auditor General, the Bank of Uganda and Minister of Finance all looks like idiots. This is a mess, a self-created mess. Just like the Presidential Handshake. This is a smaller thieving, but thieving never the less. Especially, if the fund should have any meaning.

However, I am not surprised, the state needed to fill their shortfall of revenue and why not do it with the monies already in “one” of your accounts. Because, that is what they did and they did it step by step. Until this year, when they went totally overboard and scraped the whole treasure-chest. Peace.

Bank of Uganda: Monetary Policy Statement for December 2019 (09.12.2019)

UCC: Suspension of all Sim Registration with the Use of Refugee Cards and Attestation Letters from OPM (07.10.2019)

Bank of Uganda: Monetary Policy Statement for October 2019 (07.10.2019)

Uganda: Fresh report states that the debt-service has grown 129% within one financial year!

 

The Republic of Uganda’s economy is really reeling, it cannot be sustainable as the Government of Uganda is growing their debt like there is no tomorrow. While the fiscal growth is substantially lower than their rate of debt-service. As the growth of debt combined with lacking growth to substantiate the shortfall.

In addition, with the knowledge of added expenses, growing shortfall of funds in the upcoming Financial Year of 2019/20 and the election year of FY 2020/21. There will be more add-ons on the need for debt service, as the state already had loans outstanding, which the grace period ends and the debt-service begins on. Therefore, the amount of loans will transpire even more, than what is in this report. The endless cycle of debt and growth of it, is worrying, as well, as the state thinks that the magical wand of oil-money will clear this debt. Even as the first operational oil field and such has been postponed yet again.

Just look!

“The total Government of Uganda external debt service by end of FY 2017/18 amounted to US$275.75 million, which was an increment of l29% compared to US$120.62 million in FY 2016/17” (…) “Debt service of Uganda’s external debt is on the rise and outstripping growth of the country’s income, currently at 6%. This poses risks for future debt repayments, especially as the country continues to acquire external debt at less concessional terms, especially to finance the oil development programme” (P: 6-7, 2019)

“It follows that as interest rates increase, the debt service obligations of Government also increases. The rise in external debt interest costs attests to the fact the government is increasingly contracting non-concessional debt, which will increase the repayment burden” (P: 24, 2019)

“However, this may not be the most likely scenario, as most projects have been discounted and some excluded in the macroeconomic framework. With the development of the NDP III, additional project and other pipeline project related to the oil developments and other infrastructure, will increase the financing requirement of government in the medium term. The inclusion of the above projects will re-classify Uganda from low risk of debt distress to moderate risk of debt distress or high risk if the export shocks materialize. A downgrade would have significant implications for the program with the IMF, where Uganda’s credit risk rating will worsen; implying that accessibility of nonconcessional financing will be limited. This will limit credit to Uganda to only concessional and grants financing.” (P: 28, 2019)

You don’t need to smart about it, as the state has bigger budgets with higher shortfall in the economy, combined with debt service and higher interest payments on the growing amount of loans. You know sooner or later, the economy will tank, as the fiscal responsibility is taken for granted and that fresh funds are lacking, because these are taken out of the economy to finance the payments of the old debts. Instead of generating growth and actually naturally grow the economy, by spending and investing as a state. The money is taken away to service debt, instead of building the state. That is what they are doing and at a alarming rate. Peace.

Reference:

NEC1-19 – ‘REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL ECONOMY ON THE STATE OF INDEBTEDNESS, GRANTS AND GUARANTEES’ June 2019, Parliament of Uganda

Uganda Peoples Congress: Caution on Coffee Bill (17.07.2019)