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Archive for the tag “MoFPED”

Another look into the Mobile Money Tax!

Yet again, more things are revealing the dire consequences of the new Exercise Duty tax that the Parliament voted through. This time it shows the significant amount of money that is already exchanged through the Mobile Money, as this is the sole way of transferring it without having bank-accounts or being involved with banking sector in general. This is made for the ones who doesn’t have a local bank and needs to transfer money to relatives, friends or even to pay-off bills through the phone. Therefore, these services are vital.

This is numbers taken from the Bank of Uganda, in their fresh Annual Supervision Report. Where the rates and usage nation-wide is presented. It shows significance. Also, the massive amount of taxation it really is.

“Mobile money services

As at end-December 2017, there were seven mobile money service providers and these included; MTN, Airtel, Uganda Telecom, Africell, M-Cash, EzeeMoney and Micropay. The number of registered customers across the networks increased by 8.4 percent, from 21.6 million as at December 2016 to 23.4 million as at December 2017. Mobile money activity continued its growth, during 2017. Transaction values increased by 44.0 percent to USh.63.1 trillion in 2017, up from USh.43.8 trillion recorded in 2016. The number of transactions rose by 23.8 percent over the same period” (Annual Supervision Report December 2017 | Bank Of Uganda).

Because if the whole you of 2017, the total mass of funds transferring through Mobile Money are on the levels of 63 trillion shillings, that means that if this was taxed with the new Exercise Duties, it would be about 630 billion shillings in direct taxes on the money. That is because the new tax is 1% on every transaction. That means that the total value being delivered from one to another is slimmer, as the one percentage of the transmitted funds will be collected as direct tax. That means if someone is sending a 1000 shillings somewhere, that means 10 shillings are directly taxed and leaves behind 990 shillings to the ones receiving it. There are also other taxes, but on this alone, there is certain amounts to be eaten by the state.

If this amount of tax doesn’t stop the growth nothing will. This is sort of amount will stop the amounts, maybe even people will send less times than before. Because they have to consider the added taxes on every single transaction. They want to make sure their money goes where it is supposed to and not give a too big of a slice to the government for the usage of the mobile money services.

Clearly, the state has hit a growing industry, but instead of making it increase, these sort of measures make it decrease and the cost will be carried by the consumers and not by the banks. They are still amassing in profits and taking their costs for the services as it is. Not like the consumer is transferring the money for free. They are not in it for charity, but for profits.

So just think about the massive cost it will be with the transactions and the lack of consideration the state had when they voted it through parliament with lack of due diligence. It wasn’t only the expensive social media tax, but it is this on top of it. To earn revenue on the hard earn cash that people are transferring through their phones. Peace.

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A new look into how the poorest is hit by new Social Media Tax!

Twaweza statistics published on Twitter 8th June 2018

Again, there is proof that the Parliamentary Report on the Exercise Duty Bill Amendment of 2018 was not accurate and not directed to its citizens. I have already questioned it and the lack of due diligence as the 9 page report. The report are directly saying the tax rise and reasons for issuing it. Therefore, I will again show the lowest levels civil servants. They are on salaries, not hawking for money or getting random paychecks. So their estimations are possible to do. The street hustlers will struggle with this. Even the lowest paying civil servants will as well.

By the time of November 2017, the lowest paid salaries for certain government employees are yearly about 250,000 shillings likes the U8 Local Government Workers. Others are the likes of U7 Primary School Teachers about 380,000 shillings. For the U8 Monthly salary about 20,000 shillings and the U7 Monthly salary about 31,000 shillings.

When knowing the lowest have 20k shillings to spend and the lowest teachers about 31k shillings. Because Twaweza has made a reasonable stat on the airtime spending plus the new tax. Everyone will be added 6k shillings. That means the one who has lost the most is the poorest who has about 14k before paying for airtime even. The next lowest is down to 25k and that is before airtime on the cell-phone. If you don’t like the numbers and the costs, no one should because this is huge added tax. An as long you can use and have it installed on your device, the state will take 200,- shillings per day.

All of the numbers I use is from Twaweza statistics. If you 9,900 on Airtime a month, the total cost a month on a phone cost 15,900. That is near the whole salary of the U8 and near half of the U7. Both showing that this is something they cannot afford to do. The ordinary rural spending about 7,900 shillings on airtime and total cost 13,900. even with that the rest of the salary for U8 in rural areas will be about 6,100 shillings. That cannot be enough to sustain their daily lives? It works for the teachers, even if it rough for the U7 who has 17,100 shillings left on their salary. This is just one of the new taxes, not on all the rest of the new issued too. Which all will hit the public differently.

While the lowest estimated usage now is the ones that spend 3,700 shillings on airtime, will totally pay 9,700 shillings. That is still a major part of salaries and nearly no use of the phone. The payment goes all to the Social Media Tax and not onto using the phone itself. They are overly taxing the public, the poorest will have to delete social media and save the money. Because they cannot afford to spend close to 10,000 shillings a month and close 120,000 shillings a year on being on WhatsApp, Facebook and Viber.

It is like the National Resistance Movement (NRM) don’t want to show their retrogressive attitude to the public. Where they are attacking the poorest in the rural areas.

This is all boggling me, that this sort of idea wasn’t put in the report and wasn’t considered. If the report and Members of Parliament cared, they would have considered the implications on the poorests. Even the lack-luster salaries of the U7 and U8, which will be severely hit by this.

Is this what Museveni’s revolution was all about eating of the peasants and taking their spoils, while taxing their leftovers and enriching themselves? Was that what the Bush-War was all about?

Take public for granted, keeping them poor and when the debt hit the fan. Make sure the poorest get doubled taxed. Peace.

Opinion: Museveni, how many agencies do you need to battle corruption?

Museveni buying shoes in Wandegeya, 02.06.2017.

I wonder how many types of government institutions does President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni needs to investigate, report and check-upon one the White Collar Crime called Corruption. I am boggled if this has even passed his mind. Because you have the Uganda Police Force, Public Procurement And Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA), Office of Attorney General (OAG) and Inspectorate of Government (IGG). All of these institutions should be capable of battling this issue.

Therefore, I know the National Resistance Movement (NRM) are out of touch and not in order. When he is extending and mushrooming the state even more. The President has clearly lost his touch. How many agencies does the President needs to combat corruption?

President Museveni made the announcement during his 2018 State of the Nation address to parliament in Kampala today. The unit will be led by Mr. James Tweheyo, Ms. Martha Asiimwe and Sister Akiror. President Museveni said the members of the unit have been directed to provide their phone numbers to the public. The public will be encouraged to report any corruption cases that come to their attention to the unit. While making the announcement, President Museveni turned on the office of the IGG and accused it of incompetence” (Agaba, 2018)

That this new Unit, the Corruption Committee will be another one. Even as the PPDA has mandate concerning procurement of the state and review it. The IGG are reporting and looking into the state resources and use of funds. The Attorney General are also overlooking and another branch who is fixated on usage of state resources and funds. The Police Force against indict, prosecute and make sure the prosecution of the people caught up in corruption. Therefore, to extend into a Corruption Committee is obnoxious. This is in the same regard as last years proposal of Presidential Handshake Committee, this is just make provisions to legalize it and clean-the-slate as you may.

That this Unit is cronies and other people close to the President. This is handpicked personnel and not hardliners. They will follow the lead of the President. I doubt they will dig any deeper, than any of the organizations that is there. If you already have the UPF, PPDA, IGG and OAG, what is the need for a separate committee? Except for adding a few more paychecks to some lovable cronies. It is amazing and foolish.

If the President thinks he is fooling anyone. That is just mere ignorant people who are already far up his leopards anus. Because we all know, this is just fooling the public. If you already have all the other government bodies, why are you extending yet another hand? Are you trying to make the state like Octopuses and have dozens of legs on a giant head. The head being the President and the rest being his loyal minions, which is the legs. That is how it is perceived.

I do not buy it that the Republic needs another body to fight corruption. If the will for fighting it was there. Then the state would have used one of the several bodies it already has. Now it is just extending another branch and another leg on the octopus. Thinking no one will mind.

Here ye, here ye, yo you fool, you are just a tool and this is not cool. I thought Mr. President that you learned this school. Peace.

Reference:

Agaba, Tabitha – ‘Museveni Names New Anti-Corruption Unit, Bashes IGG for Incompetence’ (06.06.2018) link: http://nilepost.co.ug/2018/06/06/museveni-names-new-anti-corruption-unit-bashes-igg-for-incompetence/

Opinion: Taxes get levied deliberately, not by a mistake!

Again, the Mobile Money and the Exercise Duty Tax Amendment of 2018 are proven to be without due diligence. There so many aspects that is left behind. This time it comes from the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) Matia Kasaija. Whose now is trying hard to wash his hands from the added taxes on the public. Like it would make a giant difference between a half percentage or 1 percentage of the transaction in taxes to the state. Yes, there is a difference and the cost are still hitting the public and making Mobile Money more expensive before even spending it.

This is the proof the National Resistance Movement (NRM), how they have rushed these taxes to please the President. Because there hasn’t been enough consultation or proof of the possible outcome of it. Other than some numbers hitting the wall and hopeful earnings for the state. The state needs revenue, but will they bill themselves into more trouble, as they are hitting the poorest the most. Which doesn’t use banking services. They use Mobile Money for their transfers and use the Cellphones for their transactions. That is why is worrying for the public.

The Excuse from the Minister:

““The NRM caucus and Cabinet sat and agreed on 0.5% instead of 1%. I don’t know what happened,” he said. Last week, Parliament passed a 1% tax on mobile money as part of the Excise Duty amendment Bill. The opponents of this tax say that the 1% tax on mobile money will hurt the economy, its people and it is counterproductive. “I am sorry. I was out of the country when it was passed. I will have a discussion with the President and maybe by the time I read the budget next week, a solution will have been found,” Kasaija said” (Wamala, 2018).

It help to be on vacation. I wonder if the President did the same during the Age Limit debacle, as he traveled around the globe. While the skirmishes was happening in the Parliament. Now the Minister says the same. That he now will try to fix it. No matter if he reverse it, it will still add more cost to the consumers and the ones who needs the Mobile Money. A service that is needed, as the banking system isn’t for everyone and neither is the day-to-day lives of many able to even be parts of it. That is because the state has left these groups of unemployed and poor behind.

What still worries me, is that there are no scope of the possible effect and what it will do to the economy. If there will substantial growth or down-turn. If certain groups that is hit, will be worse of and struggle more. Then the question is, will the added revenue be used in other parts of the economy to boost their need for services or just to pay off old debt?

Because, these taxes will be felt by the amounts of people who struggle, who has little or nearly none. There are plenty of them. These will pay-off huge sums for them, because this is subtracted directly from their salaries and sales as hawkers and traders, farmers and whatnot. Just sending money to relatives in up-country will be more costly. This is clearly just sending the memo, that the digital age is in for the taking and the advantages are becoming more expensive.

This wasn’t error, this was deliberate, even if you we’re away Mr. Kasaija. You can try to save face, but its better to reverse before speaking out. This is you trying to look good for the spotlight before addressing the Parliament. That is all. Peace.

Reference:

Wamala, Maria – ‘Mobile money tax was passed in error – Kasaija’ (05.06.2018) link: https://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1479138/mobile-money-tax-passed-error-kasaija

Lack of Due Diligence on the Exercise Duty Amendment Bill of 2018!

The nine page memo on the Exercise Duty Bill Amendment of 2018 is an insult to everyone who cares about governance. The leaked Report from the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED). Is really just a carbon copy of the initial taxes and rubber stamping the bill without any considerable efforts, arguments or questions to the new taxes.

It is weird that the MoFPED can get away with lax work and lack of work ethic, lack of reasonable numbers and crunches of statistics. Proof that this is actually good for society, that the new taxes on Mobil Communications, Mobile Money and Cooking Oil is of an calibre good. Alas, that is not the case, the report isn’t spelling out that. It is just saying, That it is just unfair that ones actually calling is paying taxes, but the ones using mobile data is not. However, isn’t the Telecommunication Companies already paying huge level of taxes on their profits of every sale of airtime? So now just topping it off by adding taxes on Social Media Apps and on Mobile Money? Also the VAT on the Airtime as well?

You have the tax on the airtime, tax on the profits on the airtime; you will have tax on the usage of social media and mobile money. Meaning the state gets revenue from nearly all aspects of usage of the phones. Soon you cannot open anything without withdrawing money from your account as the state is billing you extra for the top services. They are calling this “over the top service” sort of like all the benefits the Members of Parliament has and is billing on the Republic.

Therefore, reading this report, that no one questioned it or had any concern, that no one said anything or looked into the amount of usage and the cost on the cell-phone user. Neither, the added cost on the basic household for any of the new taxes. Show a unpleasant disregard for the hardships of the citizens in question. You cannot expect to be enlighten on 9 pages of a report, you cannot, because your not digging deep into a problem or a situation on a 4 page brief. Your just touching the subject matter and disregarding the issues at hand. The Parliament has recklessly added this taxes, as the President ordered in his letter. The letter from 12th March 2018 dubbed “Re: Lack of Seriousness in Tax Collection”. As they are just following his words and not considering any implications. That is what is bugging me.

If these was serious MPs who cared about the constituents and the citizens in general, before imposing taxes, they would see what estimates and who would be hit. Secondly, what it would do with quality of life and consequences for the poorest of the Republic. That is if they cared about that. Apparently, they don’t, because they are just whistling after the President and his every whims.

The people should be insulted by their MPs and their lack of understanding, their lack of concern. They should be ashamed to have this sort of people representing them. That they cannot have any of these following government bodies to do, due diligence on the amendment:

Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA), Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED), and Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (MICT).

All of these should have delivered some sort of report and proper framework, the actual costs and the implications of these taxes on Mobile Money and Social Media Tax. However, the didn’t do that, because they don’t care.

Neither did URA or MoFPED. They just didn’t care to put in the work and show the reality of these proposals. They are just blindly following the blind, aka the President. That is what they do and people have to suffer because of it. Paying much more for service, being invoiced as long as they have the possibility to use the services. That is what the Exercise Duty does, that is what the state do to its citizens. Peace.

Uganda: The lowest paid civil servants would be hit by the Social Media Tax, up to about 20% of their total yearly salary!

You know that is wrong, when the state is issuing taxes that is insane. This is really banishing the poorest from certain aspects of life. By the time of November 2017, the lowest paid salaries for certain government employees are yearly about 250,000 shillings likes the U8 Local Government Workers. Others are the likes of U7 Primary School Teachers about 380,000 shillings. These are the lowest paid staff in and around in the Republic. Meaning this will be hit by the newly minted taxes that the state has imposed today in Parliament. This being the Excise Duty Amendment Bill 2018. These are on all different aspect of life and on needed services, products that people need, that will all become more expensive.

The reports said this about it!

Parliament has passed the Excise Duty Amendment bill 20l8 by imposing one percent tax on every mobile money transaction and 200 shillings on social media. The tax measures approved by parliament are close to 1 trillion shillings and government argues that they will help in improving the tax base of the country” (Mbarara Sun, 2018).

The approval implies that each person using platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Viber and Skype among others, will be subjected to a daily levy of 200 Shillings while each mobile money transaction will be subjected to a 1 percent excise duty. The government is projecting to collect 284 billion Shillings from the measures” (Open Gate FM, 30.05.2018).

There are also some that has calculated it be costing the citizen up to 70,000 shillings on a given year, as the person has to pay the 200 shillings for the use. That will happen from the 1st January 2019. If that is so. Out of the lowest salary, if your paying the total on the Social Media Tax, you will go from 250k to 180k. That is 28% of the salary paying for being on social media alone. That is the poorest of the poor, the salaries which is usually not on time and they are even not getting by. They are the ones that is closed out of the new services and places for information like the Social Media. This is shutting out the poorest from the Social Media, this is only making sure the elite and wealthy can log-on, but the rest will not afford it.

Who wants to use 20% of their salary to go on Facebook, Twitter, Viber and WhatsApp? Who wants to do that? Will people use the VPN to not show their IP Addresses to still come into the Social Media Accounts without paying for the barrier that the Republic has put forward.

This is really making sure the society and space of voices sounding disconcern on social media and in general on the internet. This is closing the web for the poorest. Taking a bargain of about 20% of their check in big swoop. I just wonder how they will enforce this and how they will monitor all accounts, all the log-ins and the grand issue of technical framework to put in place within the spectrum of 6 months too.

It is not like the same state together with the Mobile Industry was able to roll-out the registered Sim-Cards and whatnot over the last two years. It has been hectic, a charade and a mess. It hasn’t been professional or sincere, there been backpedaling and all sort of fatigue within the system. You cannot say the Sim-Card saga was smooth. Then you look into all the government organizations and the orders, which went back- and forth.

Time will tell how the state will enforce this one, this is not just adding a tax, but also the software and the addition of systems on the Mobile Phones. If they all have to be updated and get agreements for payment walls on the Social Media Apps and such. Will that also be on the Computers and whatnot? What is the legal framework that puts this in? Other than the 200 shillings per day!

We should really get people to address the 70k shillings a year possibly, that is lot of money. For some about 20% of their salary. That is just too much for browsing on their phone and looking at what Maureen made for dinner and what Steve wrote about Mao. But that is just what the National Resistance Movement (NRM) are doing.

200 shillings is really nothing, but when you take the whole piece of the puzzle collectively, just imagine all the other taxes put in this bills too. Are they taking 9 slices of the bread and leaving one behind to the taxpayer. Is that what the state is trying to do? Since they are already just on the Social Media Tax alone on the poorest civil servants and the local government workers who cannot afford to go there, because they have to decide to pay rent, food or school payments. Because when this is becoming this much of the salaries. You know just know this hurts the people in general.

This isn’t funny. This is serious. This is theft of the opportunities for the poorest in society. Peace.

Reference:

Mbarara Sun – ‘Parliament Endorses Tax On Social Media, Mobile Money’ 30.05.2018 link: http://mbararasun.com/index.php/2018/05/30/parliament-endorses-tax-on-social-media-mobile-money/

The World Bank commends the rising taxes in Uganda!

Yep, the biggest bank and the Bretton Woods Organization called the World Bank has commended the works of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his plans for added taxes. That comes from the similar institution like International Monetary Fund, that ordered Uganda to follow the Structural Adjustment Plan (SAP), therefore, the IMF that fixed more privatization without lacking investments. Are now okaying a higher rising taxes on the Republic’s citizens. This is done, while the economy is not strengthen, but with added external and internal loans. Therefore, the rise of GDP and use of loans, as well as repayments on those loans will sooner or later hurt the economy. Even with the rise of taxes. This will be start of vicious cycle where the state is issuing loans and taxes, while the revenue is used to repay loans, not development. It is basically. But before I go into the deep of the part of the troubling take from the World Bank. Let me just show you quickly the result of the SAP and their advice there.

The studies also make it clear that for SAP-type policies to have a chance of success, certain preconditions are necessary. The public sector had certain social responsibilities that the current framework has pushed it out of but without “a proper handing over” to the private sector. The assumption and hope were that the market would fill the gap left by the retreating state. Clearly this has not happened. There is therefore need for Government either to retain certain key social sectors, or only hand them over to the private sector only when the latter is ready to effectively take them over. Clearly non-profit making aspects of social responsibility cannot and do not get taken over by the private sector. For poverty to be reduced there are certain social responsibilities or even whole sectors that can only effectively be handled by the public sector. Welfare systems and subsidies to farmers in the developed world attest to the need for the retention of these key areas by the public sector. Therefore a policy that proscribes such a hand-over must also ensure that it is done in a verifiable manner so that the private sector can be held to account. Civil society has in the past tried to fill the gap but this has been done in an ad hoc manner” (Kevin Akoyi Makokha – ‘STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT PARTICIPATORY REVIEW INITIATIVE (SAPRI) – UGANDA COUNTRY REPORT: A synthesis of the Four SAPRI Studies’ September 2001).

So, when the last system from the World Bank and IMF was introduced the system and the government wasn’t ready to privatize, however, that didn’t stop them or the government to do so. Especially since the funds and loans at the time came with the hitch of doing so. Therefore, the troubles with the privatization and the lacking oversight is also partly because of these programs subsidized by these organizations. That is why the World Bank and IMF should be more careful professing what sort of thing would be genuine and sincere, since they have messed up before. It isn’t only the State House who has messed up, he has gotten help and followed the procedures of these mechanisms. If not, he wouldn’t be able to eat such vast amounts of donor funding in the past. This is well-known, but the lack of oversight, is because of the will of wanting to have control and a say in everything. That is why the letter from the President to Minister of Finance, is the reason for the new levied taxes. So, if you wonder why I have distrust to the World Bank and IMF, it is because of their history and that the public is paying for it, because their impact on the governments for the reasons. That these states should be guinea-pigs for the economy belief of trickling down economics, even as the results has begged differ if it really drips back into the system again. Which it doesn’t because the ones that gets a lot want to keep it and get some more. No dole it out to anyone they can find.

Here is what the World Bank stated today: “In the special section of the Update, the report analyses how Uganda could raise more domestic revenues to support its development. Uganda’s tax system is one of the most modern in the region, but revenue collections, at 14 percent of GDP, are low, and way below its tax potential. Tax avoidance and evasion, partly resulting from generous tax exemptions to investors, weak tax administration, and a large informal sector (now at 80 percent), pose challenges to increasing revenues. Up to 5 percent of GDP is lost annually in tax leakages. Personal income tax contributes roughly 18 percent of GDP compared to up to 40 percent in developed countries. VAT collections amount to 4 percent of GDP, but would rise to 6 percent if there were no exemptions. The report suggests that Uganda could widen its tax base by tapping into areas that are outside the tax net; applying tax instruments correctly and fairly; improving efficiency, transparency and accountability in tax administration; and delivering better public services” (World Bank – ‘Improving Taxation to Finance Uganda’s Development’ 15.05.2018).

Therefore, the World Bank likes the idea of adding more tax on the Mobile Money transactions and the movement of digital cash, as well as on Airtime and other needed things. The ones that hasn’t a bank-account or the ability to fund or even try to get a loans from the banking system. Are okayed by the World Bank as possible targets for taxes. This isn’t transparent, but making it more expensive to be poor, as the rates to transmit and the use mobile money will come. The companies whose use this method will bill the users, they will not take the hit. The same with all the traders and the importers of all the other items that was on the lists of the newly taxed items.

I doubt these new taxes will do any good, it will just be more funds for the elites, the NRM and the President to eat. They are not delivering government services with the trillions of shillings they are using now. They are billing up to their asses and spending rampant, without having the revenue. That is why the rising debts are there. Instead of living frugal and thinking of the future, the NRM and President Museveni are eating like there is no tomorrow!

State House, the President and the Cabinet are eating heavy, they are not delivering, they have no plans to do so. If so, they give locally when needed, but the lack of transparency and accountability, is the reason for missing funds. Recently even the documents from the GAVI Funds was taken from the Ministry of Health. Therefore, a government who cannot be trusted with funds giving donations to help the sick, how can we believe the tax put on Mobile Money will go to roads or teachers?

I doubt that, I am not that naive, this NRM has proven for 32 years, that they are eating and not caring. The World Bank can commend and praise. While I condemn, until they prove that they money are delivered to the schools, that the teachers have their salaries and the civil servants are properly paid. Not just hiring some random Cubans to fix the issues for a short time. That is not how to build a national health care system. That is how to mock the ones you already have. Peace.

Telecommunications, Mobile Money and Cooking-Oil is hit by new taxes in Uganda!

You know there fiscal problems within the Government of Uganda (GoU). The GoU is on the rocks, as they are establishing more loans, more interests to pay and has leveraged their forex exchange, when they are levying today’s amount of new taxes. This is coming as reports of lacking hiring for the Civil Service, The Ministry of Public Service has suspended hiring of new positions in the districts and at the government institutions. This is happening, as the amount of cronies around the President is growing. Therefore, the wastage of funds are in and around the President, who can pledge funds as he wishes and give Presidential Handshakes to whoever he likes or needs. Therefore, today is sad day for transparency, as the state is eating itself, but not taking care of the needed services.

We know the state is poor, when the lacking banking-service and with the need of Mobile Money and Airtime on the Cellphones are getting hit by a tax. This is not social media tax, but is that the subscriber and user of the services, will get a withholding tax of 10% on transactions on Mobile Money and Airtime. This means, every time a Ugandan or someone buys airtime, in the price they are paying an added 10 % on the total price of the usage of minutes of airtime or making the transaction of funds between two funds more costly. This is really hitting the breadwinners and the ones who are servicing mobile money from the towns to villages.

Just to prove to how much the added cost on the Mobile Money is wished, as the withholding tax, they are adding direct also the excise tax on this from 10% to 15%, that means the added is 5% more on each transaction. If that isn’t excessive, just think about the two other taxes as well. Therefore, the state has added three taxes on using the phones. The citizens will have to plan more transactions, as they are more costly and will be less transactions of the amount, since the tax will shave off the amount of shillings sent to the fellow they wanted to give needed money through these services.

They are adding even more on every telecommunication services, not just the hit of withholding tax on it, but they are even adding an excise duty on it as well, meaning there are two pieces of taxes put on the same services, but at different times. Making the expenses of using the cellphones, hitting the roof and the value of the airtime dwindles, as you are paying more tax on each minute use. This excise duty is put on the level of 12% as well. So, expect the prices on airtime to rocket, as this hit both the agents to pay more tax on each, and also the cost of actually calling too. This is funds that the Telecommunication Companies will get back from the consumer, meaning citizens will pay more being in touch.

As they continue to give price hikes on necessities, they are putting a levy of 200shs on each liter of cooking oil, this meanings the price for making rollex or banana-pancakes will go up. Since before you buy the eggs and the flour to make your dish. You will pay more for each bottle, while the state gets simple taxation on this single item. It might seems pointless, but all fried foods will be more costly to make and a Samosa will cost more to make, therefore, expect a price hike on the hawkers foods in any stage where you waiting.

These are just some of the measures done by the state, there are several more, but this is really hitting the average citizen usage of phones and also cooking. This are just two items on a long lists of new taxes put on the people. Clearly, the state see the need for spikes of prices, growing inflation and lack of monetary control to come, as the chickens come to roost and the costs of debt services is hitting the fan.

The ones that has to pay for that, isn’t the elite, but all of the citizens who spends time outside their homes and buys into services. Which, means all of them. Peace.

The Uganda Budget Framework Paper FY2018/19 for Energy and Mineral Development is saying that the External Financing is the key for this Sector – Period!

The Budget Framework Paper for Financial Year of 2018/2019 for the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development is really revealing how the financing of the sector is and how the state is involved with the manner. Also, how low-key the main factors are and lacking transparency is hitting the Energy Sector of Uganda. Not that is surprising, since the agreements, the licenses and the tenders are usually kept behind closed doors.

However, the main part of the Framework Paper is evident of the issues at hand:

The indicative budget ceilings for the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development have been rationalised in line with the sector priorities and national priorities as communicated in the Budget Call Circular and in the Presidential Directives. The ceilings for Vote 017 for the FY 2018/19 are as follows: Wage Recurrent is UGX 4.23Bn; Non-Wage Recurrent is UGX 74,04Bn; GoU Development is UGX 307,84Bn and the Development Partner contribution is UGX 1,608.41Bn. Under Vote 123 ceiling is UGX 81.98Bn is for the GoU Domestic Development and UGX594.00Bn is from external financing” (Energy and Mineral Development, Budget Framework Paper FY 2018/19, 2018).

The building of vital infrastructure, the refinery, the pipelines and energy production facilities are all dependent on funding from abroad. If it is grants, loans or paid-in-full agreements done in secrecy. Because, there are more than the shadows of this budget framework paper. It is saying a lot and the votes for the future is showing the future too. That the Ugandan economy is prospering, as the budget are needing all funding from afar to be able to build needed infrastructure. Also, needs the grants for the Rural Electrification, the ones who the state has even borrowed to do.

Therefore, this Budget Framework Paper is showing the troubles ahead. This isn’t voting for better economy, know this is dependency and also proving how much the donors and partners are involved in making sure the economy gets addicted to it.

When it comes to the refinery, the details are clearly still in the wind: “The process of selecting of the Lead Investor is still progressing and the negotiations are ongoing between Government and the selected investor. The process is expected to be completed in FY 2017/2018. There after FEED and ESIA for refinery development will be undertaken with the Lead Investor on board” (Energy and Mineral Development, Budget Framework Paper FY 2018/19, 2018). So the selecting of it is not finalized, well, for some thought Russians had secured agreement and the reason for Museveni to visit Moscow. Clearly, that ship has sailed, we can wonder if Total or any other company would do this. As Total has the biggest chairs of licenses in the Lake Albertine Basin. Time will tell, but another proof of lack of transparency, when the Ministry has to write this.

Procurement Bottlenecks including lengthy bidding processes that require no-objections from the external financiers at each stage of execution. There is need for PPDA to revise guidelines for procurements relating to flagship projects. In addition, the following measures need to be considered: financing agreements are signed, project is almost ready to kick off. PPDA should reduce the administrative review timelines that sometimes stall progress” (Energy and Mineral Development, Budget Framework Paper FY 2018/19, 2018).

This here is initially following the guidelines of the First Amendment of the 1995 Constitution of 2017, the Land Amendment that the National Resistance Movement put forward before the Age Limit. That would fit the narrative of the Ministry and their wishes. It is like reading the same idea, to give more power to the state and able to land issues quickly.

What we can learn, also and which is important, these developments, these infrastructures projects couldn’t have been built if it wasn’t for external loans, externals grants or direct aid, if not on the license fees and the parts that is taxed. However, the grand amount and the majority of the projects needs the external funding.

This is not surprising, it is to be expected because Museveni doesn’t want to use his money. He want to spend other people’s money and also the money of the future. To benefit him today, that is why the deals are done in the secrecy…. We don’t know the reasons and the value of the licenses, the ones who is to build the refinery, even the grand agreement between the Corporations who will build the Pipeline. We know that certain companies has failed to build the dams and used bad material, but that is because of the Chinese Contractors has saved money, while being paid-in-full.

President Museveni blessed that deal and got scraps back. Time will tell, but this isn’t a good look. Not because I want it to be bad, but because the money says so. Peace.

Opinon: Todwong is right on the money!

There been many voices saying the same thing as Deputy Secretary of National Resistance Movement Richard Todwong. Not that they have been listen to or neither acted upon. Because the state sanction the nepotism, the family affairs of Museveni and his elite. That Todwong is still a part of, as he is a crony within the system. It is splendid that he says these things, but that the NRM and Museveni is most unlikely, the rampant corruption and ghosts, are evident even with the refugees and the other beneficiary structures surrounding this administration. Therefore, it is nice to hear in the ears, but has a hard time believe that the NRM will change, when Museveni is still the Kingpin on top!

“However, Todwong shocked the house when he turned guns on his own party, lamenting that they are responsible for a litany of issues that have gone wrong. “We also need to manage greed, during the debate of a transition, those in leadership position may want to collect as much as possible because they don’t see themselves coming back to power. That kind of greed, insensitivity to national issues makes people disgusted to those in government,” Todwong commenced his speech. “Corruption, greed nepotism are things that are making Ugandans more disgusted in the leadership of our party in government. I have to be honest because my church told me to, I have told this to the president,” he added” (…) “The former member of parliament lashed out at government officials for what he termed as “theft with impunity” and misuse of public resources, saying they are the reason the NRM will soon be pushed out to the streets. “If we can’t restrain or control our greed in how we use public resource, how we steal with impunity, then Ugandans will push us out of power. The hills of Kampala are expanding with buildings but schools and hospitals are shrinking, so where do people get this money from?” Toswong posed. “And the owners of these structures are commissioners, permanent secretaries, ministers and directors, people are disgusted,” he added” (Nelson Bwire Kapo – ‘We are stealing the country’s resources with impunity, people are disgusted- NRM’s Todwong’ 06.04.2018, NilePost.Co.Ug).

It is refreshing to hear it, but the state has made their ways, but they are not significant. Whatever regulations the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED), Bank of Uganda (BoU), Attorney General (AG), Inspectorate General of Government (IGG) and The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) is clearly not sufficient. They are still able to get away with murder and see the paychecks go into thin air. Therefore, when you have all of these and nothing happens. You can wonder why they are going to work everyday and if they are really doing anything.

There are so many busy bodies and such, that the rampant corruption should be impossible, as well as the Uganda Police Force and the Courts, should sanction investigations and have cases that logs the corruption cases in the state. However, that seems like a far-fetched scenario where the beneficiary are the ones on top. While all the institutions and the government bodies are fleeing their responsibilities, because if they act upon their mandate. They will naturally hurt allies and friendly cronies of the Kingpin. Because a state with that many different bodies involved, should have capacity to stop. Unless they are all there to collect salaries, smile and move-on.

The Presidential Handshake and the tokens of gifts for the vote to abolish the Age Limit, shows how open the corruption is and how little it matters. Since the big-men are eating and the President wants it this way. Therefore, a nice gathering of thoughts of Todwong, but will the NRM act upon it? Nah, they have already dozens of institutions and mandates to hunt them down. Nevertheless, they don’t, because that might implicate the Kingpin and they don’t want to do that! Peace.

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