“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” – Edmund Burke
The Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) must be a idle force of civil servants, a big bunch of lazy people who has very little to do or even trying to make up work. Because yesterday, a breaking news, which shouldn’t be breaking news is happening again.
The UCC and the Telecom Companies have had several of drives and issues with their SIM-Cards over the last few years. As the companies was even suspended from trading SIM-Cards for a while. That is what has happen. However, it is no returning. The UCC and National Resistance Movement (NRM) likes to toy around with the public and the Telecoms as they are fountains of funds, apparently.
In this spectrum, lets build a timeline before yesterday. The first deadline for registration of SIM-Cards was on 21st April 2017. Second deadline was on the 19th May 2017, but that wasn’t enough either. Because of that, it was postponed to the 22nd May 2017. Alas, that was not the finalization. The registration run continued until 30th August 2017. This was the final one of that SIM-Card Registration drive.
The issues in the last go around was between National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) with the National ID Number (NIN) activation on the SIM-Cards, as well as the technical difficulties with the UCC and the Telecoms. Therefore, as the OTT Tax is in play, the state should know, whose is who and know who pays the tax or not. The SIM-Cards should be registered in some sort of system already.
That was the issue of 2017. Now the UCC is revising this and reissuing the same sort of activity. For whatever reason they have. As they now did on the 29th March 2019. Why it is weird, is that the Telecoms had new guidelines selling the SIM-Cards from beginning of August 2017. Therefore, the need shouldn’t be there?
However, this is the latest: “The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has directed all telecom companies to verify the identity of their subscribers who hold multiple phone SIM cards” (91.2 Crooze FM, 29.03.2019).
Didn’t the new guidelines of August 2017 set the status clear of the ownership of the SIM-Cards, even if they have dozens of phones. The new guidelines from two years ago should have been proper and established the ownership. Especially, since all the SIM-Cards needs the NIN have to be registered now. Alas, that is apparently not the case.
How, bad can you do a job? Or how lazy are you, since you have to repeat it again? After reviewing and revising it, two years ago and tanking the Telecom Industry, because in the last go-around the state blocked the sale of the SIM-Cards. Therefore, expect something similar in this circus too. Expect it going back and fourth. Suddenly, the President will come with an final order combined with the Minister of ICT Frank Tumwebaze.
That is just how these things goes. The State House has to have a finale say, before the stamp of approval. Than, this saga might be close to end, before it returns to years later with a new modification. Peace.
“Everybody (yeah), everybody (yeah), just get into it (yeah), get stupid (come on)
Get it started, (come on) get it started (yeah), get it started” – The Black Eyed Peas, ‘Let’s Get It Started’ 2003
Well, this week has been revealing in concerning the supposed newly minted airlines in Uganda. Where the state incorporated Uganda National Airlines Limited in January 2018. However, the supposed registration and certification happen this week. The documentation now shows, that the Ministers are owners of the Airline and it’s registered on the 26th March 2019 and certified on the 27th March 2019.
Alas, the state has already spent close to $30m USD on it, as they have procured several of planes for the operations and the first are supposed to arrive on the 31st March 2019. Therefore, the whole ownership and usage of state funds comes into question. As the Report to Parliament confessed that the state and the two ministries only owned 2 shares out of 2 million, until yesterday, when suddenly the Ministers of Works and Transport and Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development suddenly had 1 million shares each, a 50 50 split.
This all seems suspicious and within reason. Because, it has been done in wrong order and ensured to not follow procedures or anything of that fashion. As the State for the second time are infringed to deliver new funds to State Owned Enterprise, even as the ghosts of owners and registration suddenly appears. You can wonder, if they would have done this, if it didn’t get public scrutiny. Because, the scribbling document of ownership only appeared, when the Observer and other media houses questioned it.
This shows that there was something lurking and weird about it all. Where the insiders and the ones operating it, maybe, had shell-companies and significant portfolios, where they could earn the profits of this state owned enterprise. That would not be shocking, even if all the investments, all the funding and procurement have happen directly from the Ministries and with the blessings from above high.
With all of this in the open. It seriously question the operation, the ownership and who really controls the company as whole, because its hard to believe the two ministries does it. As it was incorporated in January 2018, but was registered shareholders yesterday, a year and two months after. Which is suspicious at best, if not revealing of how the state operates in this matters.
We can play along and act a fool, but that doesn’t change the remaining questions, the lack of trust and also the lack of protocol. As the state have toyed around spent fortunes on establishing, procuring and investing in the company, while it has been a ghost and non existing entity, which could be someone’s secret bank-account.
Certainly, this is not over and will leave a giant paper-trail that somehow will be resolved in the State House and by whoever the benefactor whose project this is. Because, that is the rule of the day and how these things are under this Presidency. It is common knowledge, but never really said or revealed, unless, family members of the President owns it or runs it. Peace.
“Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird,
That cannot fly.” – Langston Hughes
Today, there was tabled a report on the 26th March 2019, reported titled: “Report on the Budget Committee on the Supplementary Expenditure 2 for FY 2018/19” especially the vote – “Vote 016 MOWT – USHS 280.046 For Financing Costs of Uganda National Airline”. In this report there are vital information coming up. That I will address, but also show, as it proves how the state plans to invest the taxpayers money on the airline, but also what sort of finance it has already.
The government clearly have already invested money into it, but doesn’t have ownership in it. That is what the report says. It shows intent of investing more in it, but not actual ownership of it. However, not claiming it, which is weird, but that is what they do. They are buying planes for it and investing in it, but not owning it. That is what they are initially saying. This is really rare and weird.
Here is the quotes from the report that matters in my sense:
“The Government of Uganda has injected approximately 29.9 USD million into this company but has only 2 shares allocated to it”
“Ministry of Works and Transport has requested for on additional Ushs 280,046,77 6,933 to cater for investment costs of the Uganda National Airline”
“The Ministry of Finance, Planning ond Economic Development indicated that it was to use proceeds from MTN licence amounting to USD 60 million (approximately UGX 222 billion) to portly finance Uganda National Airlines”
“The shore capital of Uganda National Airlines Company Limited is 200 million divided into 2 million shores of UGX 100. Of the 2 million shares only 2 shares worth UGX 200 to Minister of Works and Transport as well as Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. This makes both ministries to be minority shareholders holding only 0.0001% of the shores. At the moment the owners of the 99.97 shares are unknown. The owners will only be determined when the Directors decide to allocate the shares. It was asserted that the minority shares will be floated to the public. However contention arose as to whether the minority shareholders can float what they do not own. lt was however asserted that this move was undertaken to limit the liability of government. Hence a concern pertaining intension of government to establish o company that it already roles 10 be huge liability from the onset”
As you see, the $30m been invested in the Airline already. The Government and Ministry of Works and Transport, that they need more funds. Also, telling their lack of the shares in the company, while also planning to use licencing funds from MTN to cover the spending on the Company. Which later, in the Report states they will not, but I added to prove how the state spend the revenue it is getting.
The Uganda National Airlines is clearly not well-managed or well prepared, as it is a pile of expenditure, but not allocated what it needed. Since, the state is in need of more after spending millions already. As the first planes are coming in the coming week. Therefore, the National Resistance Movement and the ones behind it is clearly playing games.
They are spending public funds on a possible Uganda National Airline Company Limited, when they arrive. Since the report turned public the GCIC have claimed this in response to the report delivered. Which clearly shows the significant stature of the ownership in question.
They are claiming this:
“ CLARIFICATION: There has been misleading information regarding shareholding of Uganda Airlines Company LTD. The company was incorporated on 30th Jan, 2018. The company has 2 million shares. Minister for Works was allotted 1 million shares & Minister for Finance, 1 million shares. 3/3: In July, 2018, the management of the company allotted the entire shares of the company as follows:
1. Minister of Works & Transport (represented by Hon. Monica Azuba Ntenge)- 1 million shares.
2. Minister of Finance (represented by Hon. Matia Kasaija) – 1 million shares” (GCIC, 27.03.2019).
This is countering the facts in the report, that even before the ink is dry. Before the time and test of the knowledge given by the Ministry and the Government itself. So why does the GCIC have other indications and facts, than the report. You can wonder who gave them and where it is from? Why wasn’t this given as facts to Parliament and signed of by the Members of Parliament then?
Well, this will be played out in real-time. This is not a fan-fiction, West-Wing drama, no this is real live events of the operations and investing in the resurfaced Airline Company. This shouldn’t be that tricky or played out like this, but it is because the state and the ones involved in it. Because, there must be some loose ends, which is not yet caught. It will eventually. Peace.
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.