Opinion: Mr. President needs more supplementary funds than the average referral hospital

Today, the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) in the first week of the budget year dropped the first supplementary budget of the budget year. What is striking in this one and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is loaning billions upon billions of shillings for a possible financial recovery after the pandemic.

However, the President is now getting more funds in the Supplementary Budget than the 15 referral hospitals. Yes, the Ministry of Health getting a huge slice of the pie this time. Nevertheless, the fine print shows that the President needs 6,964,000,000 to fight COVID-19. He needs 6.9 billion shillings on his own to combat this.

The 15 referral hospitals, which has been deemed fit for additional funding on the other hand gets the handsome sum of 575,500,000 or 575 million shillings. In total 8,625,000,000 or 8,6 billion shillings. That’s the total direct budget supplement from the state to 15 hospitals in the middle of a pandemic and the second wave.

The funds given to the hospital barely have over 1,5 billions shillings more than the President. However, each hospital gets less funding and they are on the frontline. It is not like the President is giving people vaccine in Kawempe or in Makindye. Heck, he will not even do it in Ankole. The President is rather safe behind bulletproof glass in his vehicle, than ever giving a helping hand. Unless, there are some elders willing to bend their knees for him and kiss the ring for his majesty.

This is a supplementary budget to fight COVID-19 not to further salaries for additional Presidential Advisors or whatnot. Neither it is to cover expenses from the general election or what else you can imagine.

It is just baffling that the state prioritize this way. Just like the External Security Organization gets additional 1.1 billion shillings and Internal Security Organization gets 4.7 billion shillings. You can wonder how these organizations combat this deadly disease. In combination that the Ministry of Defence is getting the 10.4 billion shillings and the Uganda Police Force for some reason has the grand total of 19 billion shillings. This is all security, tear-gas and to enforce the Standard Operational Procedures SOPs or the Presidential Directives plus keeping the officers and soldiers happy during the lockdowns. Because, what does these entities has to offer in the combat of COVID-19?

That is beyond the point, right? Just like the Office of the President has little to nothing to do in the ambition to stop the spread. This just shows how mismanaged the whole thing is and lack of priority. When such vast sums of money can be spent on these parts of government. This is not to procure or get vaccines. This is not to buy PPE or produce more oxygen. This is not train more nurses or doctors. No, this is to boost the fragile ego of one man and secure his reign. Why else would he spend billions on the State House and Security, as a measure to fight COVID?

He is not kidding anyone, only himself and his fellow cadres who eats this nonsense for breakfast. This a mockery and public wastage at it finest. Peace.

Uganda: Statement by Finance Minister Matia Kasaija on IMF Executie Board Approval of extended Credit Facility for Uganda to Support Post-COVID-1 Recovery (30.06.2021)

Common Leauge of Ugandans in the Disapora: Uganda IMF US$1 Billion Planned Disbursement (24.06.2021)

Opinion: Museveni and the NRM is in a ill-advised debt-cycle

The National Resistance Movement and President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni have created a negative spiral of debt. The state have taken out more and more debt over the years. The CSBAG, Uganda Debt Network and other organizations have spoken out about this. As the state have the need to pay more in interests and it takes away more from the general budget.

Now the state is saying it has 65 Trillion Shillings in unsustainable debt. That is happening after the Parliament have had sessions over the last few years. Where the only thing they do is to vote over debt and approve more loans to the state for various of development projects, roads and you can wonder if it does anything.

The state is now owning a lot of money. More money than it usually uses in a state budget. The state budgets of late have had half of the revenue coming from domestic taxes and the other either grants or loans. There is also additional supplementary budgets, which is coming in cycles during the budget year. Which is adding more debt… and creating more debt.

There been worry about the rise of debt, but the NRM and the President has said it has been done within reason. However, that is now the chickens coming home to roost. There is enough problems ahead and the state has created this financial conundrum. It has been done deliberately over time.

The Parliament is on the regular issuing now loans… and taking new loans. While hoping one day they have the revenue to actually do these things. The state is spending money and funds it doesn’t have. That is an unforgiving task… and the NRM cannot run away from this.

The NRM have created problem. The appointments of the President is doing this. The Bank of Uganda (BoU) and Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) should have seen this coming. They have been looking over the expenditures and the interests rates. They know when the grace periods of the loans are over. These folks are the ones who has the oversight and supposed sound judgement to advice the Parliament to accept all these loans. However, that is clearly not the case.

The state is crippling its budgets, overspending and over-loaning funds over time. Now, the creditors and debtors wants their pieces of coins back. They cannot bail on it or default on it. Then the state will not be trustworthy and be credible as a economic broker. The state is clearly struggling and lacking funds. That’s because they are having trouble to raise domestic revenue and have to high costs.

This is a self-inflicted ill-advised debt-cycle. A government not listening to CSBAG, Uganda Debt Network and others. The NRM and Museveni should have done that. It will be harder for them to get solidarity this time around. As the Museveni era of now is destructive. The state actions against its own citizens and totalitarian acts. Is not the ones who makes outsiders forgiving like it did in the early 1990s when Museveni was part of a new group of leaders that the West had hopes in. However, that boat has sailed and the truth has come out. That is why Museveni is still there and depleting the state like there is no tomorrow. This is why the debt is rising and its run without any balance of the budgets. That is why the debt is rising and there is no way out.

They want debt forgiveness. However, getting that now will be a feat, but not sustainable either. As this state will just take out new loans and not re-coup or try to absorb the lack of revenue, which is causing the problem in the first place. That is why the state doesn’t have any liquidity or equity to trade for the lack of revenue. It is just a sinking boat and the captain seems clueless…

Deficit financing can only take that far and now its at the end of that journey. Peace.

OAG Report put Uganda National Airlines Company Ltd on blast

The Uganda National Airlines Company Limited (Ltd.) was registered in March 2019, but incorporated on the 30th January 2018. That was done with shares both in the Ministry of Works and Transport (MoWT) and Ministry of Finance and Planning & Economic Development (MoFPED). That happened after scrutiny of it was all operating and who was really owning the company.

With that in mind, the statements or quotes from the Auditor General Reports of February 2021 isn’t helping the company either.

As it states this:

Whereas Government had invested a total of UGX 934,840,887,000 and reflected it as an investment in the Treasury records at Ministry of Finance, only an amount of UGX200,000,000 was shown as Share Capital in the company statements, the rest of the amount was shown as Share Application Funds. The processes for recognition of the Government investment in the company have not been undertaken to enable appropriate treatment and reporting in the company’s books of account” (Office of the Auditor General, February 2021).

This here proves the problematic aspect of ownership and hows it still not operative. The Company is still not addressing the “owners” and what sort of role the government have in it. Still, the government is providing funds for it and investing in it. But… we cannot know who is owning it and what percentages the state has. That is obnoxious… and outrageous at this point.

It doesn’t help that this is the current results of the company:

The company was unable to realize its planned revenue, yet the expenditure on operations was way above projected costs. The company only realized US$ 9,985,495 (10.8%) of the project revenue of US$92,863,811. On the other hand, the company incurred expenses that were beyond the planned costs and its actual revenue. For example; the company spent US$29,220,933 on direct costs, US$3,606,965 on indirect costs. As a consequence, the company incurred a net loss of US$27,477,513 in the year” (Office of the Auditor General, February 2021).

The company projections was clearly out of whack, but it also came in a year of the pandemic. So, the help of tourist and tourism to gain passengers went in the wind. However, the company is a pit-fall of money loss and wastage of public funds. They have spent money they don’t have and earned mediocre or nearly nothing while having huge bills. That is not a good way of running business.

It is also striking about who will pick up the bill and who will write-down the losses of this company. As the government involvement and unsure owner structure should make people question whose role is it to pay for the costs, which the company have created last year.

The Auditor General quotes isn’t strengthening the company nor its projections. Only that its a money pit and someone has to cover it. It has a higher burn-rate of cash than what it earns. That is a company running towards bankruptcy. One way or another. The government can save it again. It can save it another time too. However, how much value does it add and what services is the public gaining from such a company?

That is for someone else to answer, but there is no proof of now. That the state or the Republic needs this. It is a vanity project and flying high without money for gas (jet-fuel). Peace.

The State propose a 0,5% Cash Withdrawal Tax (!)

The Ministry of Finance, Planning Economic Development (MoFPED) is preparing a tax on every cash withdrawal from ATMS or Commercial Banks. This means every time someone takes out cash from their accounts. The customers i.e. the citizens have to pay the state a fee to access their money. Just like they do with the mobile money transactions. That’s why the state is proposing this.

This is an easy way to access more funds without adding any value to the monetary market. The state will not do anything, but adding a fee. A percentage on every single transaction. In the meanwhile, they will also deplete funds from the citizens. As the citizens have to calculate every transaction to ensure they are paying less taxes. That is what people does when they want to ensure they get most value out of the money. Which will be standard.

The manner of doing this. Is in a state where there is already lots of cash and money in circulation. The Republic is built with cash based economy and need for cash itself. That is why in some ways this will even be a double tax. Especially for the ones having first mobile money transfer to family members and loved ones. They are first paying a fee to send it too them, which is the Mobile Money Tax. Then the person receiving the Mobile Money will have to pay either at a bank or at ATM the Cash Withdrawal Tax. In this way the state is getting paid twice before the money is even getting in circulation.

I wonder, if the MoFPED have thought of the consequences of this? Has the state considered the implications for the citizens? Or are they only trying to figure out new ways to cash in on every citizens. So that their behaviour and need for money will cost them.

Because, it is normal that foreigners or aliens are paying to take out money at a ATM abroad. They usually pay a transfer fee between their currency and the Ugandan Shilling. That is making sense and the bank also takes a fee for doing so. A tourist knows this and accepts it, as it is a way of easily access and securing local currency. However, what the state is proposing is paying a tax to access your own money.

The state is billing people for withdrawal of cash. In essence the state will take money for service rendered for printing money. They are billing the public for having circulated coins and bank notes. Since, they are taxing every transaction and that’s really ill. This sort of enterprise isn’t growing the tax-base, but taking away more funds from circulating. The more you tax, the more funds you are depleting from the system. In the end you have a evil circle where all taxes are overburdening the citizen. In such a manner, that they start to do all business and transactions on the black-market to save money. That is when the state loses out and cannot access these transactions at all. This because they have found other means of moving money and doesn’t want to pay added taxes on their needed funds.

The more these taxes are put forward. The more funds are taken away from the ones who needs them. This is all taken away from the citizens before they get to access the money. Either it is mobile money or taken from their account through a withdrawal. That should worry the Representatives and the ones making laws. The amount of 0,5% doesn’t sound like a lot, but imagine that on every single transaction or withdrawal. That will be huge sum and be a costly endeavour. Peace.

Uganda: Deficit financing is creating an evil circle financially [72% of revenue spent on debt repayment!]

By implication, if sh15.7 trillion for debt service-related expenditures is subtracted from the sh21.9 trillion the Government will have generated in revenue collection, it means that 72% of the country’s revenue collection would be spent on debt repayment. The committee raised concern that the high rate at which government is borrowing is not commensurate with the low level of increasing government revenue collection and, therefore, violates the country’s charter of fiscal responsibility. The report indicates that as of June 2020, Uganda’s public debt had reached $15.27b, which is equivalent to sh56.9 trillion. Out of this sh38.9 trillion is external debt and sh17.9 trillion domestic debt” (Moses Mulondo – ‘Govt earmarks sh15.7 trillion for debt repayment ‘ 03.02.2021, New Vision)

The news on how the state got to repay old loans is coming out. As the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) have put forward the budget for the Financial Year of 2021/22. This is initially telling stories on the revenue or tax base, which will be preoccupied or used for paying debt repayment.

Just to put things in perspective. This is the definition of ‘Deficit Financing’:

Deficit financing, however, may also result from government inefficiency, reflecting widespread tax evasion or wasteful spending rather than the operation of a planned countercyclical policy. Where capital markets are undeveloped, deficit financing may place the government in debt to foreign creditors. In addition, in many less-developed countries, budget surpluses may be desirable in themselves as a way of encouraging private saving” (Encyclopaedia Britannica – ‘Deficit financing’ (25.08.2015).

This here is telling the story, which the state media and others isn’t telling. Because, they are borrowing funds to cover up for the deficit. The deficit is created as a result of the rising cronyism and misuse of funds. These funds have to cover the bloated government and its staff. That is why deficit is created to fix the shortfall between the needed revenue and the expenditures of the state. They are using loans to cover and fix the lacking revenue of the state. If the state had enough funds through its tax-base, the state wouldn’t need these loans in the fist place.

However, the state have prolonged with this game over years. The state has used loans to cover its baseline and usage of funds. They have went out for foreign creditors to get enough funding. That shows that the state haven’t been fiscal responsible. They have misused the authority of the state and taken up loans, which now accumulate to over 70% of yearly revenue. While this is happening. The state and the Parliament is still issuing new loans and creating a bigger debt burden. That is what they are doing… and that cycle must stop.

Soon, all revenue will go directly to debt repayment. We know the state wants to have debt relief, but this is self-created by the regime, as they are borrowing for basic commodities and necessities. They are always loaning funds to build development projects and infrastructure, which will be costly. As funds are lost and misused in the building of these. That is why the price of road is so expensive and also projects in general. Therefore, the state is crewed over more than it can swallow.

That is why the state is deficit financing and its become a burden, which it cannot carry. The debt is not sustainable. When 72% revenue is spent on debt repayments. That shouldn’t be a thing, but that is fiscal policy of this regime and apologist cannot hide the fact. They have run down the state and taken up loans they cannot carry. Peace.

The UTL Saga: The state salvages the debt to resurrect the Walking Dead

This Mango has gone through a lot. A former state company sold to Libyan investors and after the Libyan credit started to fail. The Ugandan Telecom Company (UTL) or Mango started to suffer too. The Telecom have been so hard hit that three years ago the state had to take it over.

There been so many twists and turns, where the company have been rumoured and speculations. Even the Minister and owners was speculated to moved to a shell company in Mauritius. Therefore, today’s sudden windfall and paying off debts. Is only bailing out a sinking ship and hoping it still doesn’t sink.

The UGX 45.6 Billions to the TDB (Eastern & Southern Trade & Development Bank). With this payment of this debt. The state is initially taking over UTL. This as they plans to make the UTL attractive to investors again. Mango haven’t been viable for years…

The Libyan Post ditched in March 2017 and since then it has struggled. The Libyans said the Government of Uganda needed to figure out a transformation plan for the UTL. It has clearly taken three years to figure this out. That nobody wanted to takeover the loans of a company, which haven’t invested in Telecommunications in years. Where the changes of mobile data, 3G and 4G networks for smartphones. The UTL haven’t had the funds or the ability to change with the times.

UTL is struggling because the state haven’t been able to save it before now. The regime needed over three years to figure this out. This with the steady leadership of Evelyn Anite, Frank Tumwebaze and Gen. Kahinda Otafiire interfering all at different times. While they have all done their part … it still took the Committee until now to secure payment for the debts. This should have been resolved earlier, if they intended to make it viable business.

In 2017, Anite even wanted all Ugandans for Patriotic reasons should have one UTL line. Maybe, she thinks everyone has a Airtel, MTN and could have UTL sim-cards in their phones. As the usual person should have at least double or dual sim-cards.

This all been a long lasting saga, which shouldn’t take this long. It is a fledging company. A former state corporation privatized and sold for scraps to Libya investors. Who earned on it in the good times, but ditched it when it got hot. Because, it been years since the UTL been viable and been a commodity.

This Mango is rotten. The Mango tree isn’t yielding any fruits anymore. This is a Walking Dead Enterprise. A Telecom who has no traction and is only throwing good money for bad investments. The money could have been burned in a street or thrown down a storm-drain, and it would still have more sense then investing it here.

UTL is being saved, but was it worth saving? Does it have any assets or financial liabilities worth mentioning? The competitors are miles ahead and the UTL needs huge investments to be in the same arena. Do they think another investor will spend money like a drunk uncle in a market, which is already filled with big companies. Who has small margins and higher taxes.

Therefore, the ones doing it … has to be regime “friendly” and willing to throw away good money for a bad investment. Peace.

The Art of Deficit Financing: Budget 2020/21

Deficit financing, however, may also result from government inefficiency, reflecting widespread tax evasion or wasteful spending rather than the operation of a planned countercyclical policy. Where capital markets are undeveloped, deficit financing may place the government in debt to foreign creditors. In addition, in many less-developed countries, budget surpluses may be desirable in themselves as a way of encouraging private saving” (Encyclopaedia Britannica – ‘Deficit financing’ (25.08.2015).

What is striking from the 2020/21 budget is that its not only 45 trillion shillings, but the way they are financing this spending. Because, the budget need financing or revenue to pay the expenditure. You cannot use air to pay the bondsman. The people you owe money or supposed to spend on needs real cash-flow and liquidity to be fiscal responsible.

What we learned again is the debt deficit financing, which has been common staple in the Republic. Since domestic revenue or tax revenue is about 20 trillions shillings. This means that the rest of the budget has to paid for in various of other ways. In this regard, the state are borrowing, refinancing and gaining more debt. As the state is also wasting more of the budget on paying interests.

This is really making a evil circle and continuing debt trap. Even if the trillions upon trillions owned by the state is growing. That this still haven’t hit a debt ceiling. However, the issue here is the amount of paying interests. They are wasting away money on paying for old loans. This is what the state is initially offering. While it is gaining new debt to finance the over-expenditure today.

When the state pays 4 trillion shillings (9% of the budget) in interests. That shows how destructive this is for the budget. How important it has become. When 1 in 10 shillings of the budgets are paid in interest. This money could have been spent in all parts of society. It could have changed people’s lives and invested in the future. Instead its paying on the debt trap created by the same state.

Deficit financing and refinancing will only ensure the future generations are paying for the growing debt created by the current government. They are borrowing on the future growth and supposed revenue. Even as the state is ballooning the budgets, that they are not able to cover more than half. That is worrying and should worry the republic too.

Yes, that budgets get ballooned in election years are common. That the budgets are insincere and write of taxes in these years are typical too. All of this isn’t new. It is what happens when the Republic is preparing for elections in the coming year. Therefore, the state needs a treasure chest to bling out on chiefs, voter tourism and whatever else to look good for everyone.

That is why this budget is like this. We can clearly see that the state are continuing to acquire more debt, which means the interest payments will grow every year. This is why the refinancing and growing debt should worry everyone. Because, just like the interests payments are now at 9% or 4 trillion shillings this year. We can wonder how it will look when the grace-periods of several of loans are over and the initial price of these as well.

The Republic of Uganda deserves better, but the leaders and the ones in-charge are making it like this. They are not concerned about the future and that is very clear. As they are spending and squandering away the future today. Then someone have to pick up the tab in the future. Peace.

Opinion: Mzee wants it to BOP his way

You want another rap? Nah, didn’t think so. Even if President Museveni wants a BOP. Not a DaBaby track or anything. His just approved the US$500 million dollars to the Republic. This was reported earlier this month and he approved it on the 6th of May 2020, but stamped by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) on the 11th of May 2020.

What is unique here is that this loan is given on the idea of “Balance of Payments”. Economist would know that this to cover the deficit and the balance the budgets. This is to ensure the state has enough revenue to already cover the deficit it has. That is why grants and loans comes to ensure the levels of revenue covers the spending. This means that the state has spend a hundred dollars, but only had 50 dollars in liquidity. So, to ensure the accounts are balanced, the BOP comes in and fix the shortfall.

Museveni writes this in the letter:

The money that goes to the Bank of Uganda is for “balance of payments support”. “Balance of Payments supports” does not only mean helping the country to “import more” but must also mean helping the country to “import less” by manufacturing these products here. With this undertaking, I approve the loan” (Museveni, 06.05.2020).

Because what the support does in the instance of the hundred dollars budget with a shortfall of 50 dollars revenue. The BOP support is the missing 50 dollars and makes it zero. Meaning, the accounts and financial flows should turn into zero. That means with the budget with its expenditure and its revenue its should be a nil or zero sum game. Therefore, when the President claims this helps local industry and less imports. I don’t see it.

Especially, if this is a BOP. Because, a BOP is a fixated way of balancing the budgets, not secure more trade. Its to cover deficits between expenditure and revenue. This isn’t a magical sphere of happiness and joy. This is budgetary measure to cover the shortfalls and lack of domestic revenue. To cover expenses that appeared or was already budgeted. Therefore, the need of Balance of Payments from the IMF to cover those.

This can be seen as a Financial Inflow to cover the deficit.

Like this:

-100 dollars budget/Import

+50 dollars revenue/Export

+50 dollars Financial inflow (BOP Support)

= 0

That is why, when the man says like this. Its a game of balancing the budget. Not putting a wand on the thing and swiftly changing things. This is just a financial measure to cover a deficit. A short-term solution to a shortfall. That will not solve anything, but by time. Not cover debt, not create a market nor make a big difference. Its just covering expenditure. Nothing else.

The President can make it seem so, but that wouldn’t be a BOP. That would be another instrument and another measure. Where the funds was actually meant for investment. This is covering the basics.

Let me end with DaBaby: “I needed some shit with some bop in it (Let’s go)” (DaBaby – ‘BOP’ of KIRK, 2019). Peace.