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Archive for the tag “Hon. Matia Kasaijja”

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

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OTT Tax: Totally failed its supposed revenue targets in 2018!

Today, the Uganda Communication Commission released their annual sector performance report of July 2019. It was really a bit funny look, as the state, the President and all of his handlers said the Over-The-Top Services would create a tax-base and revenue, which would benefit the state. That is why Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) had set up targets to streamline these new taxes.

I will show more of the fun and explain, as the UCC report really shows how malfunction and lack of due diligence hurt. But first a previous calculation, which was stated to the media. To show how much lack of tax-base the OTT had in 2018, as it was implemented in July and keeps pushing to this date.

Look:

Daily Monitor Reports: “Government collected Shs20.5b from social media in the last quarter ended September, according to data obtained from Uganda Revenue Authority. The tax, which was implemented in July, was however, less than the Shs24.9b target that URA had hoped to collect in the period. URA has a monthly target of Shs8.3b. The tax was introduced in the Excise Duty amendments of financial year 2018/19 requiring all social media users to pay Shs200 per day, before accessing certain platforms such as Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter, among others. Government intends to collect about Shs100b before the end of the 2018/19 financial year” (Christine Kasemiire – ‘OTT raises Shs20b in first quarter, URA fails on targets’ 07.11.2018).

Let’s first do the math, accordingly, as the URA monthly target is 8,3bn shillings in revenue, every single month. A quarter of a Financial Year is 4 months. In today’s UCC report, it shows the numbers for the Q3 and Q4 of 2018. Which means, that states revenue from July-September and October-December in the previous years. By these standards its 8,3bn X3 to get the supposed of any given Q. That is 24,9bn shillings is estimated to earn per quarter.

However, the UCC report states that in the Q3, the revenue was 12,696,558,400 or 12,6bn shillings which is only about half of the anticipated revenue. The final quarter or Q4 isn’t much better:12,952,833,800 or 12,9bn shillings. Of the estimated earnings, the state is nearly able to gain about half of its target. The market and the consumers are not contributing or using the phones as much as they thought. What is striking if you combine the two quarters of revenue is that the state earned approximately 25,5bn shillings, which is sadly just above one quarter estimate of the URA in supposed revenue on this tax. The estimated earnings of the period would be about 49,8bn and this shows the state managed a deficit of about 24,3bn shillings. That is about on quarters earning not happening at all. Thats a giant shortfall of cash and the URA/UCC needs to explain the Ministry of Finance this one, because this a major loss of promised funding for the state.  

This shows how failed this tax is and what a waste of enforcement and making the tax in its first place. This isn’t fun and games, but a way of misusing power to tax people, just because you find something obnoxious. That is how it seems, since the President want to stop the gossip online and such. Stop spreading of information and ensure that poorest cannot afford to get online and use the OTT services. Because, that what this tax does. Peace.

Uganda: Press Statement – Justification of procurement of OTT services for Members of Parliament (16.05.2019)

Bank of Uganda: Monetary Policy Statement for April 2019 (01.04.2019)

MTN Uganda Not Subjected to an ISO Raid on Friday 15 February 2019 (16.0.2019)

MTN Uganda Scandal: Why are all of these people deported?

There are speculations going on there as the biggest Telecom Company MTN Uganda Limited have been under fire since the midst of January 2019. This has been shown over the recent month, as the leadership and executives have been deported. By my count since mid of January, there been four people.

The three firsts was addressed like this by MTN Group:

MTN Uganda has not been officially notified of the grounds for these arrests and deportations and is trying to establish the precise reasons for the deportations. We are understandably concerned about these developments and the wellbeing of all our employees. MTN Uganda is fully committed to respecting and operating within the laws of the country. Notes to the editor: On Saturday, 19 January 2019, the MTN Uganda Chief Marketing Officer, Olivier Prentout, was arrested by police at Entebbe airport upon arrival from a business trip abroad. On the morning of Monday 21 January 2019, the MTN Uganda Head of Sales and Distribution, Annie Bilenge Tabura, was arrested by unidentified security personnel upon arrival at the MTN headquarter offices, in Kololo, Kampala. Subsequently, both Mr Prentout and Mrs Bilenge have been deported from Uganda to their home countries, France and Rwanda respectively. On the 22 January 2019, Elza Muzzolini, Head of Mobile Financial Services was also deported from Uganda. – Issued by MTN Group Regulatory and Corporate Affairs” (MTN Group, 23.01.2019).

Therefore, three people has already been deported, this being Prentout, Tabura and Muzzolini. They have all been banished from the Republic. Today, it has escalated again, as CEO Wim Vanhelleputte, whose also has been interrogated and been questioned by ISO/CMI during January 2019. Was today on the 14th February 2019 deported to Belgium by the authorities.

Clearly, the state is retaliating, as they are fearing for their safety and the data shedding the company is doing. As there been speculation that the company has had disgruntled staff leaking intelligence to Rwandan Intelligence Service. This has been reported by various of online news-outlets. Therefore, some thinks it is connected to this, that the President and the regime is afraid of this. That is why these people are all deported from the Republic.

It is clear, that there something going on behind the scenes. As the Security Organizations summons, interrogate and deport MTN executives from the Republic. This is happening, as the state are trying to silence the MTN or stop leaked intelligence to Rwanda. We don’t know if that is true or what. But what we do now, is that the Ugandan government and authorities are acting swiftly and retaliates against the high-ranking officials within the Telecom. Peace.

Bank of Uganda: Monetary Policy Statement for February 2019 (07.02.2019)

Preparation for General Election 2020/21: When these budget posts are served extra-funds!

As we are aware and since the National Resistance Movement (NRM) dropped their Road Map for the General Election of 2020/21, the whole system has started to flair up for it. Both with Electoral Reforms and other measures, to secure swift results in favour of the President and secure his cronies. That is just the way it is.

As we will see in the Budget Framework Paper for Financial Year 2019/2020, the government and their agencies are clearly gearing up for elections. As the NRM wants to make sure the appointed and anointed get their cut ahead of scheduled elections.

The first ones whose secured and getting well funded is the Residential District Commanders, they are getting 5,5bn shillings to promote government policies. There is also estimated right before the elections, the state will go from 128 districts in 2018/19 to 135 districts in 2019/2020, there the state has to use more on them just for the need of new RDCs too.

To give RDCs possibility to do their work, the Office of the President has asked for 25.4bn shillings to buy 165 Double Cabin Pickups, but there is only small fry for what is coming up.

The State House itself is gearing up, as the Office of President has asked for an allocation of 741.1bn shillings.. Just to give a feeling of the changes of gear, is that in National Budget Framework for Financial Year 2018/19, alone, the State House got 265,342bn shillings. We can see a significant change ahead of the coming elections.

To top it off, the logistical support, welfare and security to H.E the President, Vice President require 118.38bn shillings. Therefore, the Presidency, the State House and everything concerning that is much more expensive in Election Times and ahead of campaigns. As proven by the Report delivered to the Parliament.

This are just small pieces of what the Committee and what Jesca Ababiku MP delivered the Parliament, as requested to secure funding and also more funds to certain aspects. As it is fitting the elections and the timing for more cash to certain places. We saw it before the General Election in 2016 and is seeing it now. Repeating itself, getting budget for cars and more expenses paid. More funding to the State House and President. Just as programmed. To think otherwise is to be blind to what is up.

This is just what they do, not building institutions or such, but buying to time to linger in Office. Peace.

Reference:

REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON PRESIDENTIAL AFFAIRS ON THE BUDGET FRAMEWORIT FOR F’Y 2OL9/12O – 2023/2024, Parliament of Uganda, January 2019

The 200 Shillings of Doom: Tumwebaze mixed messages concerning the Social Media Tax!

We knew that the statements of 2018, as the loyal ICT Minister Frank Tumwebaze hadn’t done his due diligence, as the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoPED) issued a Social Media Tax last year after President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni wrote a letter to the Ministry of Finance asking for the opportunity to tax this.

That has no been done over the last few months, but as the realization of the effects are coming. The forewarning of CSBAG and others wasn’t listen to. I wrote that it lacked due diligence of the tax in June 2018 and today. As I open Daily Monitor and seeing that Frankie Boy has changed his ways. He has opened his eyes and seeing what some of us saw all along. As the cost of content, the cost of using social media and that this has ensured that it is less viable. Since, its the elites who can use it, but the lower level civil servants cannot afford to be online. That was natural, that the 200 shillings per day would be taken directly of the plate and also evaporate funds for investment within the Republic. It is a negative tax, and therefore, naturally have reverse effect, than what the state promised when they levied it.

Tumwebaze statement in July 2018:

When Ministry of Finance is borrowing, we, the Parliament and civil society are grilling them for borrowing. But when we say this is a sector that has grown in the economy so let’s get a bit of it, let’s get Shs. 6,000 from every holder of a smartphone consuming OTTs, what production capacity will it stifle?” (…) “Is USD 1,4 too much for a citizen to contribute to tax yet you have money to buy a smartphone, minimumly at Shs. 300,000 that is data enabled, and you load bundles of over shs. 30,000? Logically it doesn’t make sense” (Frank Tumwebaze, 17.07.2018).

Tumwebaze statemetn in January 2019:

The committee chaired by Annet Nyakecho said Over The Top tax seems to negatively affect the consumption of ICT services and products. In response, ICT Minister, Mr Frank Tumwebaze admitted that the tax is has had adverse effects on the sector. He said they were “hoodwinked” by their counterparts in the Finance Ministry that the introduction of the tax on the basis that it would widen the country’s revenue base” (Ssebuliba, 2019).

ICT Minister Tumwebaze was so positive and thinking this was the future. This was how to widen the tax-base, but instead. It has as expected made the usage of Social Media expensive. Which means also there is lack of funds for the ones operating within the Social Media and making Online Businesses. This is both happening because of the hard hitting taxes on Social Media, but also the Mobile Money Tax. Both taxes has both the Mobile Money Industry and the ICT development, as they are both having less activity and less usage. Which is natural, when the costs are going up.

The ICT Minister should have known this before speaking so warm about it. Any tax are taking money out of the system. The 200 shillings of doom is clear. The state could have listen to the advice, but didn’t open the ears to it.

In June 30 2018, Daily Monitor reported this: “Civil society organisations have accused the government of trying to stifle debate online with this tax, while others like the Civil society Budget Advocacy group CSBAG, say the tax will have a negative impact on a business.” (Hinamundi, 2018).

So, if the ICT Minister Tumwebaze could have known and stopped this. They could have done the right thing and not continued this path. Instead they have hurt the industry, because they are all blindly following the orders of the President. That is what the state did and they levied the 200 shillings of doom, as it was anticipated by anyone else. Than, the authorities itself. Peace.

Reference:

Samuel Ssebuliba – ‘Parliament orders assessment on impact of social media tax’ 18.01.2019, link: https://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Parliament-orders-assessment-impact-social-media-tax/688334-4940312-rph8g3z/index.html

Collins Hinamundi – ‘How government will collect the new social media tax’ 30.07.2018, link: https://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/How-government-will-collect-new-social-media-tax/688334-4639596-juy8n3z/index.html

President Museveni letter to Hon Matia Kasaija: “Re: Massive Tax Evasion and Concealment of Rental Tax” (23.11.2018)

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