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)

Ugandan National Airlines: A bird not made for flying

The Ugandan National Airline Company is the sort of State Owned Enterprise (SOE) which is the epitome of everything done wrongly. The company was launched with grandeur. As socialites and others was on the maiden journey. The airline was aiming for the skies and for the moons.

However, the way it was launched. The stakeholders, the shareholders-structure and everything else was put into the question. Just the questionable way of ownership and secretive deals was a detriment from the get-go.

This company was launched in 2019, but now by 2021. The Board of the Company is either on-leave or suspended. What we do know is that its a mess. Where the company had the opportunity to pay civil servants to get favourable reports of the standing of it (stated in the Confidential Report of 27th January 2021). Though the Auditor General gave it a bad report. Where the company already was only earning 10% of projected revenue. Meaning the company had a 90% shortfall of revenue. That was the OAG Report February 2021 saying about the company.

Now, there is leaked a Confidential Report of 27th January 2021, which is showing more dire needs too. The report for instance states that members of board is promoting self-interests, instead of safeguarding the interest of Ugandan Airlines. There members of the management team who tries to find way of invoice loading or other money-making schemes from the Airlines. Procurement managers worked directly with people in the government ministry to find ways of making money out of the airline. That means the company culture is wicked already.

What is also striking is that officials from the ministries in the contracting processes, but these officials didn’t understand aviation or the supply chain of an airline. That’s why the airline didn’t have proper boarding passes in the beginning. This also resulted in procurement of high prices, lack of supplies and ensuring the services needed. The lack of expertise and people with knowledge of the aviation industry was also a burden on the company.

That plus the lacking funds needed to keep the company is showing how this has been a cash-cow for the officials, the board members and everyone running the company. Everyone have been able to pull the tenders, the procurements and the services to get a quick buck. The state owned company has become a fountain of coins.

The Uganda National Airlines Company Limited is clearly run like a bird with no wings. It is a reason why its an expensive flashy bird, but not really ready to fly. The wings are clipped off and it’s just a spending spree with no end.

The reports of the reckless spending, the operational costs and the arrears from previous years are just growing. Only by the time of 2019 the company lacked UGX 133 billion shillings. Funds required in the budget year of 2020/21 is close to UGX 219 billion shillings. The state budget is already creating a shortfall of UGX 101 billions shillings. The budget was UGX 117 billion shillings. The arrears of the airlines is already as high as UGX 219 billion shillings, which will cover the last two years arrears. This shows how bad things are…

The state run company is clearly not only mismanaged, but been a corrupt fantasy-land.

This bird shouldn’t fly. It isn’t a dream, but a corporate nightmare. Peace.

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.

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 NRM lacks Fiscal Responsibility!

There been so many times the National Resistance Movement (NRM) apologists and defenders have claimed the opposition lacks Monetary Polices. However, contrary to public belief or perception it seems like the NRM is failing on this themselves. It is very simple reason for all of this.

The NRM and the Government of Uganda, which is the legal entity and de facto legitimate state at the moment. Have the power to borrow, loan and get funding for their operations. They can budget and make monetary policies. The government can make it possible to inject and add stimuli to the economy as a whole. That is what is happening all the time, but it is also very important. That if they fail to do it properly. It can have dire consequences.

One key aspect the NRM and its government have failed over time is to show fiscal responsibility or balance its budgets. The NRM regime have been borrowing and been deficit financing. They are in a cycle of loans financing old loans. They are adding debt burdens to build roads, pay salaries and do basics of the state. While nothing having funds to cover the shortfall and the interests. This is why fiscal responsibility is so important.

On EconomicsHelp.org it states that Fiscal responsibility is defined as this:

Fiscal responsibility implies a government pursues the appropriate level of government spending and tax to:

– Maintain sustainable public finances.

– Ensure fiscal policy aids the optimal rate of economic growth.

– Maintain appropriate levels of public investment” (Tejvan Pettinger – ‘Definition of fiscal responsibility’ 13.10.2020).

It is very simple concept. To be fiscal responsible isn’t an revolutionary act. It is initially only spending the money you have and not spend other people’s money. Know what sort of revenue you do have and not expect a sudden miracle of funds appearing out of nowhere to cover a possible shortfall or lack of funds. This is how the NRM has practically operated.

They have needed loans for any sort of project. The NRM have tried to add their tax-base, but at the same time drained the economy. While spoiling itself and adding more and expenses. When they are not generating more natural income. The plus and minuses isn’t adding up. The state is also anticipating more loans, paying more interests and not paying civil servants.

Civil servants, the local government officials, the teachers, nurses and such needs their salaries to sustain a living. That salary pays the overhead, the food on the plate and other expenses. Some of this money will be returned back in taxes and VAT. Therefore, the state will return some of the funds.

This is why the state has really outplayed itself. When its living on borrowed money and donor grants. The state isn’t sufficiently run, when the funds dries up like this. When the state have to issue suspension of paying out salaries and expenses. Except for a handful of cronies, the army and law enforcement. That isn’t a sign of strength, but of weakness. This is basic governing.

The government who governs should be able to plan, secure and add enough revenue to able to pay salaries to its civil servants. If they are not paid? Why should they go to the office? They should be farming instead or work for a public company instead with their experience and skills. It is a waste to be a civil servant, if it doesn’t pays. The mortagage, the plate for supper and the UMEME doesn’t stop asking for money. The bills will continue to come. The landlord can knock on your door and give you an eviction notice.

That is why this is failing the basics. To not balance the budget and be fiscal responsible. It isn’t a magic masterpiece or an unbearable task. To explain what the NRM has done for years. Instead of spending within their means. They have instead been spending like an alcoholic, being buzzed drinking at the bar with no coins in your pocket, but hoping someone else is paying your tab. Peace.

Uganda: A halting economy ahead of the polls

The National Resistance Movement (NRM) and President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, which is clearly struggling ahead of the polls in January 2021. The NRM cannot run away from the problems, as they have no overhead and isn’t fiscal responsible.

The NRM have already issued a budget of 39 trillion shillings for the Financial Year of 2020/21. They have also issued Supplementary Budgets, which has added more funds. Still, they have not covered the needed funds to expenditure. This is even as the NRM issued a Supplementary Budget three days ahead of this Budget Year and a First Supplementary Budget recently with big confidential expenditures. Therefore, the state has given itself funds and added expenditure apparently without having room to actually spend those. Because if it did.

This wouldn’t be the case:

The crisis has been unleashed by the permanent secretary to the Ministry of Finance, Keith Muhakanizi who says where things are heading, government is likely to pay salaries of only civil servants in the State House, Electoral Commission, Public Service and the Ministry for Defense. The other departments will be ruled out as non essential and according to Muhakanizi, most of the servants will be laid off till government recovers from the economic pandemic” (Emmanuel Busingye – ‘Exclusive: Only UPDF, police to receive salary as bankruptcy looms, 12.11.2020, Ekyooto Uganda).

This is being fiscally irresponsible. That the Ministry of Finance has to cut of expenditures and spending on state employees in the middle of a pandemic and an election. No matter when really… it is just wrong. It shows that they are not balancing the budgets. They are not showing responsible action towards revenue versus expenses. The state and the NRM is spending money they don’t have and which is squandered. Because, if they we’re using funds properly and had some sense. They wouldn’t be in this in the first place.

The state would not bank on funds coming from a weakening tax-base, expecting donors to bail them out and in addition expect multi-national organizations (monetary organizations) to give grants or loans. This is what the state has expected, also thought and used wrong projections of revenue. That is why they are here. If they had planned within their means and spending within reason.

It wouldn’t be cracking like this. However, the state usually have cracks and is broke after elections. Not in the middle of it. As the state needs funds to campaign and pay off political affiliates. They will give away cars, t-shirts and other things to the general public. Also, ensuring pastors, chiefs and leaders across the Republic campaigns for the President. That all costs and usually makes the campaigns expensive and breaks the bank.

This is irresponsible behaviour of the state. They are misusing their powers and their mandate. As they are anticipating people to work, but for no salary. As the state is not paying it out on time. When people have bills and need their salaries to survive. It is a dire need and the cash grabs of the cronies is eating the funds, which is needed for public servants like teachers etc. These are the ones left behind.

The NRM cannot act like its “Securing Your Future” or delivering “Steady Progress” when it cannot even carry its own expenses at times like these. Peace.

A Trillion Shilling to cover three days [A Treasure Chest for 2021 Elections?]

A fiscal year in Uganda runs from 1st July 2020 to the 30th June. What is really rare is that the Parliament and the Government gave itself a Supplementary Budget on the 26th June 2020 to cover arrears of supposed 1 trillion shillings. These funds are to paid out in the budget year and cover expenditure not hold. It is really sketchy do that so late in the budget year. As this is the end of the Fiscal Year of 2019/20 and days ahead of the 2020/21.

So in a budget of about 34 trillion shillings, the state needed another 1 trillion in the end. Meaning the budget wasn’t prepared correctly since they needed to amend it to this extend. To add yet another trillion shillings like it was nothing.

What is striking is how easy it is to adjust the cash balance, the fiscal year and the supplement budgets. These are easily voted through and the money doled on whatever. This time it wasn’t paying the water-bills of the State House. However, other random projects of the state. Which suddenly lacking funds. It just appearing right that and just right now. It was needed to be done now. In mind that it wouldn’t look to bad or be able to keep this accountable for later.

That you need a trillion shillings this late in the fiscal financial year is sketchy at best. Especially considering the implication of a new financial years just days ahead. These sort of arrears should be considered into the next financial year. If these numbers are real and have a basis. It could just be taken out of thin-air and cover whatever else the state needs ahead of campaigns and elections. These years are always more expensive and a trillion shillings for the campaigns wouldn’t be far fetched. To cover added expenses, cars for VIPs and such. Which comes with every single election.

The President, the Office of the President, State House and Office of the Prime Minister would suddenly eat more food and expand their organization. As it has to pay off cronies, new allies and ensure the electorate get a pinch of the future middle-income country. They get some soap, food and small tokens to carry them for the next four years. This is what they always do. Some even come with a few thousand or a thousand shillings as a part of the NRM Village Project Outreach, which it also does during elections.

None of the added expenses is cheap. It cost to be king. The king needs to give the public, food and circus. That is what he does and it continues the way it has always done.

The NRM, the President and the whole team passes this along. Knowing there will be no overlook or accountability over the sudden 1 trillion shilling added in the end of this fiscal year. Not like these billions here and there couldn’t end elsewhere. As long as they are voted for and can be used by the state to campaign.

The General Election is coming up and the incumbent needs a treasury chest. If there ever was one. The one trillion shillings would be helpful to run an campaign. I wouldn’t be shocked if it went missing and was used for campaigns. That would be just another day in the Republic. Peace.