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Opinion: President Museveni claims in a letter to the FM Kasaija – ‘that the government is “mushrooming”’, well, that is his own creation!

 

It is ironic and hard to take serious that President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni wrote a letter to the Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, Minister of Public Service Muruli Mukasa, Minister of the Presidency Esther Mbayo and Head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet John Mitala. This letter was sent on the 17th July of 2017 and was titled: “Re: Mushrooming Agencies/Authorities”. It is ironic and weird, it is the irrational part of Musevenism. The ones that speaks against corruption, but give provisions for a “Presidential Handshake”. Therefore, this is in line of the others chronic problems, this is just one of them.

This here is in line of this, just like the President has problems to understand that the state will have higher costs with each added district and carving out every single county to have someone to be leaders as Residential District Commander and other local government. The same feeling I’m getting by this letter. Since it is his creation and his vision behind the new agencies and the bold hiring of cronies to any department in Uganda. That shouldn’t be shaved from history. He has had 30 decades, most of the Ministries and their agencies has come as answer to his reasoning and him sanctioning it.

Therefore this quote from the letter is obvious trying to put blame elsewhere:

The questions are: “Why have an Agency when you have a department of the government dealing with the same area of responsibility?” “Why have an Authority when you have a department of the government dealing with the same area of responsibility?” “Why have Boards for money consuming units rather than money generating units?” Boards came into existence when capitalism was growing. In the infancy of capitalism, the owner (the proprietor) would also be the manager because the operations were small. When capitalism grew, it was too much for the owner to manage. Ownership, therefore, got divorced from supervision (board work) and management (managerial work)” (Museveni, 17.07.2017).

I would say most of them are created for the same issue that the state are soon paying former ministers with remuneration to them, even when they are not in cabinet. The same procedure is with hiring cronies to the boards and agencies. Not all about need or necessary for the government or the ministries. How come there are City Hall of Kampala, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and the Ministry of Kampala. That is because the state needs to hire enough cronies to make sure they stay loyal, also the state needs more administrative organs to make sure they can find jobs for their loyalists. Not because Kampala needs all of these administrative bodies to function, it does not help that the state also have a Presidential Advisor for Kampala. All of this is proof of the mismanagement. This is only in Kampala and without taking a deep dig into the wards and under all the mayors of Kampala. Not what that is under Lord Mayor and KCCA Executive Director.

The letter continues:

Why, then, should you separate the policy role from the regulation role for the non-commercial bureaucratic portions of the government; Forests, National Parks, Roads, NAADs, etc? Their functions are just two: policy and regulation. There is no business involved. If the Ministries of Works and Finance want to form Road Construction companies that will compete for construction jobs, then it makes sense for those companies to have Boards and Management but not a Board for a unit whose only job is to award contracts using government money” (Museveni, 17.07.2017).

It is ironic again, because NAADs, SACCOs and other Youth Livelihood Programmes have all been created by Museveni and run by close associates, even Salim Selah in some instances. That the President suddenly have issues with this weird. Since on the Campaign Trials, it seems like it is remedy and the solutions to use these government programs, but now with growing debt, it is an issue? You need this money to build a petroleum pipeline and refinery? You can wonder, I wonder, if this is the reason! Since these sort of boards, sort of agencies has been put in place, by laws signed by Museveni and accepted by him. Many is part of legislation to secure each and several ones for pivotal parts of government. Others are just created to hire cronies! Therefore, weird that he want to sack cronies… but maybe it is within need?

I want efficient with no further delays. You have up to 20th December 2017, to propose a plan to Cabinet” (Museveni, 17.07.2017). It seems only to able to change this with bringing in new tools. President Museveni needs these boards for every produce and every parts of government. That is within himself, as the ideology has no value and also no vision. Other than keeping himself in power by any means. Therefore, the boards and agencies will not cease to exists, he needs to hire cronies and pay them by either a hook or a crook. If not he has to go forward or change his system. Maybe he shouldn’t create so many ministries, districts and sort of specialized organizations, but he cannot help himself. That is his MO, nothing else. This will not change! Peace.

The letter:

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President Museveni letter to Hon. Muruli Mukasa, Minister of Public Service: “Re: Emolument on Personal to Holder Basis” (01.08.2017)

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

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

President Museveni has directed that all Government Loans needs his “Personal Approval”!

“Parliament: President Museveni has written to the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga directing that all government loans must get his “personal approval” before they are tabled in Parliament” (Arinaitwe, 2017).

Yesterday in the Daily Monitor, all government loans has to go by and get approval by the President. So now, it is not all information relating to crisis. Neither is only the matters of grants, presidential donations or presidential handshakes for that matter. It is needless to say, more and more, if there was ever enough that has to get the provisions or the sanctions by the President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

If there is a street in Kampala that has damaged sidewalk, soon the President has to be involved and check his budget. Since now if the government needs loans from either internal banks, state reserves or even multi-national financial institutions, his Excellency needs accept it all.

Certainly, this will hamper any development and stop all the financial inclusions and provisions, who when you look true it all had given lots of power to the Parliament and the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED). Therefore, the Public Finance Management Act, which gives the government a go-ahead actually to loan without the approval of parliament. Now the President orders all loans to be levied by him. That shows his need for control and his passion to cease all the cash.

We can clearly imagine the Ministers, the Members of Parliament and the Local Councilors, all have to travel to the august house of Okello in Entebbe or jointly to Nakasero to plea a deal and get vouches for their needed bills and needed funds. Especially, considering that all State Affairs are now handled by the State House. The need for the parliament and its functions are dwindling when the President are the one that decides these details.

There are clear misconceptions of power, when all the money are under control by one-man and he does the decision. The need for a director of Bank of Uganda is only for show, the fiscal policies and needed understand of the financial markets are bonkers, when the President takes it all in his hand. More and more, the values of Presidential Advisers and Ministers are just for the effort and show. Therefore, they will not turn against him, instead of actually doing the state needed function.

This I say, since even business agreement between trade-off of banks, of estate and public lands are arrangement directly in the chambers of the State House. With investors and merry-men who promises to make gold out of bulk goods and Chinese imports. So that former markets, farms and former private lands are extorted with the benefit of the President, without concern of the traders, the ones living in the houses or the general effect of these efforts. Even the destruction of the National Theater is a prime example of a short-con to gain personal wealth on former old institution in Kampala.

Transparency and good governance, budget control and fiscal responsibly only becomes words needed when begging World Bank and International Monetary Fund for steady cash relief, or even African Development Bank (AfDB). Since it is the stakeout and possible needs of the President those matters, not the general state of schools, hospitals or refugee settlements. If the President see the need and issue or if one, of his fellow cronies beg on their knees and kiss his ring. Then the offer will be settle as a token of loyalty.

Now that the PFMA is out-done and out-played, even outfoxed if you will, because of the Presidential personal approval, therefore the parliament values is close to zero. They are just leaflets of envelopes and extra personnel for him. The parliament is more a front and piece of possible “democratic” institution when needed be, but not in reality. Since the last word and the last decision of any value comes from the State House. Peace.

Reference:

Arinaitwe, Solomon – ‘Museveni takes over loan approvals, rejects 11’ (12.07.2017) link: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Museveni-takes-over-loan-approvals–rejects-11/688334-4011990-124ocj0z/index.html

 

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

Uganda: Civil Society Position on Tax Revenue Measures for FY 2017/18 (21.04.2017)

Report from the MoFPED shows the growing Ugandan debt by June 2016!

Again, the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) dropped another report on the fiscal policies and the fiscal health of the economy in Uganda. The National Resistance Movement (NRM) have created this environment as the growing debt and growing interest payment comes with their planned debt rise. Still, the PriceWaterhouseCoopers spelled gloom earlier in the year, as this report was dropped on the MoFPED web page today. Even if the Report was spelled out in December 2016. It is if like the NRM didn’t want this to spelled out early. Since the numbers aren’t compelling of an arts piece, more issues… just take a look!

The stock of total public debt grew from US$ 7.2 billion at the end of June 2015 to US$ 8.4 billion in June 2016. This represents an increase from 30.6% of GDP to 33.8% over the two periods. The increase was largely on account of external debt, which grew from US$ 4.4 billion to US$ 5.2 billion over the period. Domestic debt increased from US$ 2.8 billion to US$ 3.2 billion” (MoFPED, P:V, 2016).

That the debt are growing quick, as the public debt grew with US$ 1.2 billion, that the percentage of GDP went up with 3,2%, the external debt rose with US$ 0.8 billion and the Domestic debt went up US$ 0.4 billion. All of these numbers show the amount of monies that the Government are adding on their debt, as the UNRA and the development projects are suspended by World Bank. So the Infrastructure development can be questioned as the growing debt, as the government must have other uses of the growing and scaled up debt. Since the transparency of the economy isn’t there and that the sanctioned bills comes from the State House. Just look at the growing interest rates as well.

Interest Payment as a percentage of GDP stood at 2.2% as at end June 2016, up from 1.9% as at June 2015. The increase is largely explained by interest payments on domestic debt, which grew from Shs 1,077 billion in FY2014/15 to 1,470 billion in FY2015/16. There was a significant increase in the weighted average interest rate of Government debt; from 5.9% to 6.5% in June 2015/16. This followed increases in the weighted interest rates for both domestic and external debt, from 13.6% to 15.3% for domestic debt and from 0.9% to 1.2% external debt. As interest rates increase, so do the debt service obligations of Government” (MoFPED, P: 4, 2016).

The difference between June 2015 and June 2016 the percentage has grown with 0.3%, the domestic interest rate grew with Shs. 0.393 billion. The Interest rate alone went up by percentage 0.6%, as the weighted interest rates went up 1.7%. The key sentence that the report wrote and I repeat: “As interest rates increase, so do the debt service obligations of Government”.

That idea isn’t only on the interest payment percentages are running higher, but as the debt goes up, the interests goes up. So the Debt Service Obligations are going up for the Government. This is a natural outcome, that the obligations for the state goes up with the amount of debt it rises. So the government can try to portray this is controlled, and to one extent it is under control. Still, the growth in this regard proves that the NRM regime are pilling up debt and increasing their debt, as well as interests. In the end this will make the state worse. Especially knowing that the energy dams have been built poorly and many of the expensive roads haven been fruitful. This is development that the growing debt is being used to…

So the NRM regime and the Ugandan government isn’t believable… the rise of debt and interests show’s the current state of affairs. Even if the percentage is after plan, the government still has to take charge and make sure they can pay back both the debt and interests. Peace.

Reference:

Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) – ‘DEBT SUSTAINABILITY

ANALYSIS REPORT 2015/16’

Uganda: UPC Calls for Economic Reforms (05.04.2017)

Bank of Uganda: Monetary Policy Statement for February 2017 (15.02.2016)

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