Well, the day finally came and the Presidential Candidates of these elections have step-up to the plate and showed their platform while certain journalists would keep them in check.
Even UMEME had to tell the public today:
“#UGDEBATE16. We have standby teams to ensure you enjoy the presidential debate. All teams clothed, cars fueled, and tools in hand to ensure any outage is resolved as quickly as possible”.
Well, the UMEME has been reported that in Fort Portal, Entebbe, Jinja and so many other places the electricity went down so that the citizens couldn’t get the feed and watch the debate, even in parts of Kampala the power went off in Ntinda, Kiwatule, Naalya, Njeera around 21:00PM. This is just a little trait’s of the reported suspicious malfunctions and glitches in the system that let a lot’s off people lose the live feed, because Mzee was busy having his campaign rally in Bushenyi and wouldn’t let the people listen to the rest of the Presidential candidates. He was moving his mouth and brain there while the rest of candidates where explaining their manifestoes and programs in a civilian and peaceful manner to the citizens and the world.
There will be many set of commentaries on this, I am sure mine will be biased as, well as it should be, because this will be that. First my favorite quotes, then what I think about their performance. Seems fair right?
One memorable quote from each candidate:
Joseph Mabirizi said: “I am the only candidate who has Plan A, Plan B and Plan C. I won’t allow vote rigging so please vote me in”.
Amama Mbabazi said: “My clear answer is that I am not aware of election rigging. I have heard some stories, but I have no personal knowledge”.
Professor Baryamureeba said: “oil companies must publish what they pay to Gov’t and Gov’t should publish what it earns from oil so far”.
Maureen Faith Kyala said: “There is more tear gas at every police post as compared to medicine in the hospitals”.
Abed Bwanika said: “I have never mentioned that Baganda should support me, I asked for support from the people in Buganda”.
Gen. Biraaro said: “The only soldier who has been in power lives in state house, this regime has not served me well, that’s why I am here”.
Dr. Kizza Besigye said: “The real change is that power moves from those with guns to the citizens that is the project I am working on. The urgent change that our country needs is empowerment of our citizens. I have promised that in every Ugandan will walk with swagger”.
The moderators that the organizers put in place we’re BBC’s Newsday programme presenter, Allan Kasujja and KTN’s Nancy Kacungira. The one who was persistent with the candidates was really Kasujja, but it seemed that he was not a fan of Besigye, since he always cut him of in the middle of reasoning and addressing a question he had.
Kacungira was more the soft spoken mediator who levelled the hardheaded Kasujja, at one point I was waiting to see the red-eye-machine in light from wall to turn into the shades of mediator; so he would look a macho terminator. But that was just me.
Professor Bayra got the questions first, but didn’t earn that well, his quotes got easily forgotten and his stamina during the debate died down. I am sure in writing as professor he could have argued with strength, but he proved more to mayoral of a town in the eastern town in Tororo district then being a president. He has the words and etiquette of leadership, but doesn’t have the program or manifesto to really seem deemed for a lower-level position, as he has already been in-charge of the university of Makerere.
Maureen Faith Kayala seemed more focused on her gender as the questions tended to become focused on that. She was also on her own will more directly telling the issues of Busoga instead of the national issues, seems like she should become an MP for the district or a sub-county fitted for her in the area, since it’s also where she has moved the most and campaigned. When she hasn’t been lost in London; she could be more interesting with time and like wine become better in her game, but right now she is unfinished and seems to scattered to focus national.
Joseph Mabirizi must have had bad advice or lost his tongue at some point. Seem like he was stressed by the cameras and public watching his every move. He was walking through the wilderness stuttering and thinking… pounding the matters into the first thing that pop-up into his mind and wasn’t really address the question properly while saying it in such a fashion he was cracking Ugandans up, instead of making sense of the political issues. If he will gain crowds in the same stage as Professor Joel, no wait, Professor Joel should have come in President Museveni place, well, we come to the shadow of Bushenyi later!
Gen. Benon Biraaro the NRA historical who stood firm and was very apologetic in his tone. Much more than I expected he seemed clearer than and not as aggressive as the reports from the campaign trail. This man made more sense and was intelligent. Something I was not expected to say. But if this will make a giant difference in his whole campaign, I doubt it. The thing is that he will be more respected for his attitude and progression then some of his peers by the mere fact on how he precieve the matters.
Abed Bwanika was a gentle surprise and show lots of character at the debate. He had a much bigger presence then I expected, he ate of the hands and was shining actually. This was unexpected since he seems very uninteresting while following the campaign trail. The candidate showed that he had class and also thought through manifesto and plans for development.
Now I will take the two big-men who was at the shin-ding and debate the two of the three since the ghost of the event where in districts campaigning thinking that UMEME let the public miss the debate as they was ordered too. Who is the fool now? If his men will tell him something is that the Twitter #UgandaDecides and #UgandaDebate16 was going hectic in the hours. Before the start even discussion and had the spotlight of CNN telling about the historic event happening in the country that Mzee had to miss, because Ofwono Opondo and Mike Mukula said it was waste of time, seems like Bushenyi was really wasting time. For the NRM-members this must have been time is a wasting!
Let me continue on the two last candidates while done with Mzee and NRM for the moment, just have to throw a snag at them. They deserve them. Well, Hon. Amama Mbabazi, Mr. 30 years under the NRM and parts of the NRA. He was very defensive. Extremely defensive except for the matters of the detaining and Christopher Aine; also cleaning his hands on the land deal with NSSF which have followed him and still be a torn in his flesh. It did seem like he never was ready for the debate or that all the questions from the other candidates. It was like hot-water into a glass and not a cup that he wasn’t ready to hold it while drinking it. He addressed things more as an former NRM Prime Minister than actually address the Go-Forward manifesto or wishes. The most extreme was that he hadn’t heard or could talk well about the borrowing money that the government has done; and that it was a good thing! That bugs me and shows that he was just washing his hands instead of taking leadership, showing character like Gen. Biraaro og Besigye. So as knowing he was a lawyer before becoming a politician in the NRM, he has lost touch with good arguments that Bwanika and Biraao had compared to him. And they do not have the new machine for elections that Mbabazi has!
The last candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye he had for me a slow start it was a bit out of character for a man who has a gift for speeches and give’s the people show for the money; while at the same time address the matter at hand. This took time to get there and to show his plans to the public about the manifesto of the FDC. Besigye was slow, but had lots of energy when it came after the first commercial break. There where points where there was heavy with questions to him, like the other candidates singled him out, it often came to him or Mbabazi, not like Professor Bayra would ask Mabirizi some governance questions that would just be out of touch with formula of the debate. Besigye came after the accusations of the closeness to the first-family because of his wife, and his answer was clear that they we’re far away anything near them. Also with the answers on economic policies and how it was structured into the agricultural sector, we’re inspiring though sounding alike to Biraaro and Bwanika, though they had the luxury of always to answer before him. So Besigye ideas seemed less enthusiastic since there were modifications compared to them considered to them. I wished for my part that he we’re more on point in the beginning. I am a supporter of Besigye and his cause. Seemed like also one of the moderators tried to stop Besigye from finishing his arguments and answers, more than the other candidates, also cut him generally shorter than for instance Maureen or even Joseph they we’re not stopped in the same way, only Maureen jumped once into the whole madness when it was not her turn; Besigye proved leadership and calmness while growing into the debate and taking more and more space. I got more and more enthusiastic on his part, while feeling sorrow over the ways the Mbabazi was portraying himself like a sorry victim instead of being one of the big-men in the race for presidency.
Now that I have gone through the thing, let’s have one thing clear there was like a way of letting Besigye be last or late like every time while the other candidates got early shots, and also being more direct visible. I don’t know if that was fixed before Mzee we’re part of the event, since the empty seat would have eaten the issues and would have made the debate differently, though he would not have stopped talking while the mediator asked kindly to succeed spotlight to the next candidate. The ghost was there the whole evening since they we’re discussing governance, systematic failure and government inconsistency in general. The men who shined was not one or both presidential candidates who is in the top three. Bwanika and Biraaro had the smart ways of portraying and answering. All the NRA/NRM historical persons answered well, especially Besigye, but this was after his mojo was on fire. He ended the evening on the spark, the other last remarks was more humble and obliged then trying to convince them of voting on them.
What saddens me was the way Kasujja kept his composer and acted kind of differently between the candidates, he acted humble and nice against those who shined in the debate, while Amama Mbabazi and Dr. Kizza Besigye was either asked long-long questions or stopped in the middle of their arguments trying to answer the matter. The other mediator asked shorter and easier question, there wasn’t much fuzz about her and was more trying to keep cool while Mabarizi was answering questions. Mabarizi was like Professor Joel and a funny-character instead of acting as presidential candidate, he didn’t make the funniest face that was Mbabazi who looked lost at one point… The picture from that moment tells more than his answers in the debate, though the debate was not a good luck for Amama Mbabazi. That is clear, I myself have many unanswered questions about his past and what he really wants to achieve in the future.
The biggest and strangest about this is that the incumbent President Museveni, the almighty Mzee, the executive ruler and the one who reign in the land. Mzee have had the first chance to show together with other candidates his true self, instead he loved himself up-country where the people would listen to his voice without being asked any critical questions. If he had been in the studio he would have been shut-down while talking to long and had to answer the questions in a manner he is not used to. Mzee would be out of character and without his spin-doctors to make his message soft and beautiful. They could have prepared him, but he would have entered into the only mode he knows, his voice and his achievements, without seeing the issues that are there. Then he would go defensive like Amama Mbabazi and blame somebody else, since the executive wouldn’t order everything and opposition MPs has issues. Mzee would not be able to address the matter in humble way. But humility and humbleness is not in his ways as we all know. Therefore the empty chair show more his blissful arrogance then the attitude towards the debate. The brief and shallow seat where the camera sometimes went to; especially when the questions on the NRM-Regime were heavy! The NRM was not present or had their presidential candidate at the debate. So there was a lose end, and the losing end was not the other candidates, they had an ability show accountability and transparency towards the public. Something that is unusual and not the norm! The NRM can’t be looking weak and Mzee can’t handle not being seen as the almighty his Excellency instead of being just one of the candidates for the elections. He rather blast them in all of his papers and radios until the 18th February then being a man who could move his mouth and brain in the TV-studio, but being critical of him is a sin, therefore opposition mobilizers and members get jailed, while NRM members who insist on violence get’s supported either by the police force or by NRM organizers, then the police and electoral commission wonders why the FDC candidate have the campaign of defiance, since they taste the endless violence from the NRM-Regime. It would be an interesting event to see if Mzee could have given a proper answer on the matter.
Mediator: “What are your take on the recent election violence and campaign harassment of opposition parties?”
Wonder if Mzee would have had it in him to answer that or if he had gone the IGP Kale Kayihura road, and said it is the laws and people have to follow the rules, secondly there is also bad police and violent opposition so there can’t all be wrong in the NRM or the Police. Well, we didn’t get that kind of fashion because Mzee doesn’t have it in him to be together with the candidates unless he is in the spotlight like when the Papal visit we’re in November 2015. This here was a small-time event for him and Bushenyi was more important.
The other candidates were graceful and tactful, even when asked very critical questions. Hope the next time there will be a mediator who doesn’t act like Kasujja and stop Mbabazi and Besigye constantly while giving space to the other ones. There were some unjustified actions from his part, instead of being a peace maker and making the transition between the candidates going smooth. For me he was the Terminator with those shades and light. But that is just me. Hope this was enough of one evenings debate, and I sure there been pointed out at many venues and media-houses, but this here is how I saw it.
Look forward to the second Live TV Debate in the history of Uganda at the 10th Feburary 2016. When the second live presidential TV debate will be hold, and what a grand event that will be and in the closing stages of the campaign trail. Just a week before the polls and actual voting! Peace.
Well, we are in the middle of election hiatus and all, the Nomination and planned campaign that last to 18th February 2016. This here will not be on that, but be crunches numbers delivered from the Bank of Uganda Yearly report for the 2014/2015 budget year. This here will tell what I see as important from that report.
“The external position weakened with the current account deficit excluding official grants deteriorating to 11 percent of GDP compared to 8,8 percent in 2013/14. The deterioration of the current account deficit was largely driven by the services deficit, which deteriorated to US$ 731 Million in 2014/15 from USD 323 million in 2013/14 mainly account of higher payments of government services related to infrastructure projects, particularly Karuma and Isimba Hydro Power Projects” (BoU P:1).
That is big change in deficit! That must be a bit worrying that the amount of monies is becoming this big. Also with the infrastructure projects makes so big hunch of that deficit.
Financial risk management at Bank of Uganda focuses on the risk exposures in both the foreign exchange reserves portfolio as well as other operational areas of the Bank. Notably, foreign exchange reserves account for over 86 percent (2014: 74 percent) of BOU’ assets” (BoU, P: 12).
A lot of foreign exchange is major parts of the reserves of the bank. Is that a safe way to do it and doesn’t that devalue its own currency?
“The higher than programmed expenditure was partly, compensated for by the over performance in government revenue. Total government revenue, including grants amounted to UGX. 10,866.0 Billion, which has higher than target by UGX. 249.1 Billion. Grants and domestic revenues over performed by UGX. 173. 0 Billion, respectably” (BoU, P: 28).
The good news is that Government is able to collect more revenue as of taxation and grants to the Government. Though we can say it is a steady rise and the bank doesn’t explain how the rise happen, because this can’t all be collected on the Cellphone, Alcohol or VAT taxes, but something else.
“The fiscal deficit of UGX 3,621 Billion was financed by both domestic and external source, which amounted to UGX. 2,479.0 Billion and UGX. 919 billion, respectively. Domestic financing included a drawdown on savings amounting to UGX. 1,060.0 Billion and net issuance of Government securities of UGX. 1,386.0 Billion. The drawdone of savings was specifically used to finance expenditures related to the public infrastructure projects” (BoU, P: 29).
This here continues on how the financed and the fiscal deficit and sure the drawdone on the savings to build infrastructure projects.
The total public debt stock, in nominal terms, at end June 2015 is estimated at UGX. 24,242.0 billion, an increase of 24,2 percent of UGX. 19.518. 0 Billion at end of June 2014. External and domestic debt increased by 27,7 percent and 21,1 percent, respectively” (BoU, P: 29).
This here is frightening how much the rise is steady and getting more… The terms of it and the rise should make people shake their heads and worry. The Government of Uganda continues to hedge the Public loans and having a rise like this can’t be a sign of a healthy economy.
The depreciation pressures which started in early 2014 continued through June 2015, with the Shilling depreciating by 18,8 percent year-on-year on a trade weighted basis and by 29.1 percent against the USD to an average mid-rate of UGX. 3,398,49 per USD” BoU, P: 31).
That the currency loses value towards the dollar should also be worring. When you see how much shillings you need now to get the dollar now.
“Petroleum Revenue Investment Fund:
In June 2015, the Government opened two accounts (UGX and USD) in order to operationalize the PF. These accounts are to receive all oil related revenues. In June 2015, USD 36 million was received as part payment of the USD 250 million capital gains tax (CGT) liability from Tullow. This sum includes USD 142 million received in 2012 and USD 108 million to be paid in three equal installments of USD 36 million in 2015, 2016 and 2017” (BoU, P: 45).
“During the year, an amount of UGX 1,607,814 million was transferred from the Oil Tax Revenue Fund to Uganda Consolidation Fund. This balance relates to an amount of UGX 1,161,737 million from Tullow Oil paid to GOU for the settlement of tax dispute between the Government and Heritage Oil & Gas (U) Limited. It also includes stamp duty of USD 171 million (UGX 447 million) on sale of Tullow Oil’s assets to Total and CNOOC” (BoU, P: 107).
“In addition, the bank received USD 36 million (UGX 119,057 million) on 22 June 2015 on behalf of GoU, relating to Tranche 1 Tullow Oil tax settlement” (BoU P: 107).
“Ugandan Consolidation Fund refers to the Government appropriation account where all tax receipts are credited and appropriations made. During 2014/15, UGX 1,612,080 million relating to the oil tax revenue collections was transferred to the UFC” (BoU, P: 107).
As seen Petroleum Revenue Investment Fund and Oil Tax revenue shows how the oil impact has on the economy. We can also see the result of the longstanding dispute of the Government of Uganda and Tullow Oil Company. That has now been overturned and gotten the Total and CNOOC. There will be more monies at stake on a later stage coming with the found oil in the Bunyoro area and Lake Albert.
“The special loan to government relates to an advance to government for procurement of the presidential aircraft with interest rates (LIBOR plus 100 basis points), maturity date and repayment terms agreed between Ministry of Finance and the Bank as stipulated in the memorandum of understanding. The last loan instalment was paid off on 24 July 2015” (BoU, P: 107).
That was an expensive airplane for the president! Though it’s all back-paid this still shows how the President buys what he needs and wants, and not what the people need.
Uganda Consolidation Fund: (by the 31. June of the year)
2014 it was UGX 3, 245,961 million.
2015 it was UGX 2, 386,056 million.
(BoU, P: 117).
As proof with the rising debt and deficits, even with rise of higher taxs returns the Government of Uganda. Stills shows that their spending more than they getting since the Taxation fund is dwindling and become less and smaller account. That in total with the other numbers should be a worrying thing to see. Especially knowing how the NRM-Regime goes mayhem on the economy the coming months of elections paying for every votes with chickens and goats in the districts. We have seen that before and will see it again. This will also lead to rise of inflation with more running through the economy so the value of the currency might also dwindle towards on dollar. Wouldn’t be surprised if the Shilling comes up to 4,000 on a dollar!
And that is not a good luck, since the imports and prices will rise for the rise of cost of imports. But hope my predictions isn’t correct, but election cycles usual make the ordinary voter pay and those receiving just get a patch on the wound created by the mayhem done to economy by the ruling regime. Peace.
Bank of Uganda (BoU) – Annual Report 2014/2015
Today is a day where I will discuss and show findings for certain UNMISS report that is from UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) and UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) its numbered: ST/SGB/2007/06. It is the United Nations Security Risk Assessment – South Sudan. It was approved 11th September 2015! And here are some interesting findings. I think the quotes speak for themselves!
“Following the onset of the conflict in December 2013, UNMISS could not fully perform its mandate given it under Security Council resolution 1996 (2011) because of the security situation and the need to maintain impartiality. Subsequently, Security Council resolution 2155 (2014), 27 May 2014, fundamentally shifted the basis of UNMISS’ mandate from support of the Government in capacity-building in traditional UN peacebuilding areas to four key areas. In the line with the UN Security Council resolution 2223 (2015), UNMISS activities are:
- Protecting the Civilians
- Monitoring and investigating human rights
- The Creation of conditions conducive for humanitarian assistance
- Supporting the implementation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement” (UN SRA SS P: 2-3).
“Despite the attacks on the Akobo CSB and the BOR PoC in April 2014, that were more linked with the ethnic based targeting of South Sudanese sheltering within UN premises, generally speaking the UN is not a primary target for hostilities. Moreover, the UN is more often caught in crossfire during armed conflict and access is affected as a result of armed conflict. This will continue to be a risk”(…)“The fact that UNMISS hosts over 166,000 Internally Displaced People (IDP) increases the UN’s operational risk profile and reputation” (…)”PoC sites are volatile with the potential that the high level of tension amongst the IDPs may spill over in violent clashes. Staff members are therefore at a higher risk working within these sites” (UN SRA SS P: 3).
“The armed conflict, which is now in its second year, followed last year’s pattern where the dry season was fighting season enabling forces to take control of vast areas of the country. During the rainy seasons (July-Nov) the roads become impassable curbing direct clashes for the period. Even with the IGAD peace agreement signed in Juba on 26. August 2015, assessment is that the country security situation in 2015/16 will remain unsecure” (UN SRA SS P: 4).
“Currently there is no mainstreaming of Security within the UN activities/ programmes. Therefore, the policy that defines that security needs to be involved at all levels of management to ensure security is considered/ mainstreamed into all the activities or programmes is not applied, specifically in UNMISS” (…)”Maintaining security training would enhance the functional expertise of all international and national staff although programme managers would need to receive training in order to learn the identity inherent and associated risks in a timely manner” (UN SRA SS P: 5).
“Peace Operation: To help implement the mandated tasks, UNMISS will consist of a military component of up to 12,500 troops of all ranks and a police component, including appropriate Formed Police Units, up to 1,323 personell” (UN SRA SS P: 9).
“Humanitarian programme assessments have indicated that, as the violence deepens, the humanitarian needs and risk to aid workers increases. 27 aid workers are presumed to have been killed in South Sudan since December 2013 and over 150 NGO staff are unaccounted for” (…)”In Juba, there have been a growing number of armed attacks against humanitarian compounds” (UN SRA SS P: 10).
“At the height of the conflict large numbers of people split over the borders into neighboring countries seeking refuge in Ethiopia, Uganda, Sudan, Kenya and Abyei; these numbers stand at approximately 510,000 individuals” (UN SRA SS P: 13).
“The increased risk specifically in Malakal and Bentiu would require an increase in the deployment of security staff and expansion of the collective security posture” (…)”As the rains of 2015 began to cut off supply lines, military offensives increasingly used riverine methods of transporting goods and fighters to the frontline. The method of delivery was also being used by humanitarian agencies to transfer large quantities of food to communities in need. In April 2015 a barge convoy hired by UNMISS to carry food and fuel supplies for the base in Malakal was attacked by RPGs and small arms fire , injured four persons. In July the government gave strict warnings that all river transportation should stop, further restricting aid delivery around the country. In September there have also been reported incidents of alleged attack on government owned barges and gunboats in Upper Nile State, the SPLA-io claimed responsibility ahead of verification” (UN SRA SS P: 14-15).
“Since the beginning of the conflict (December 2013) until June 2015, there were a total of 594 security incidents involving IDPs in UNMISS PoC sites. Cases include serious assaults, civil unrest, mob violence, robbery, death threats and harassment, and several locations have also recorded serious disruption to humanitarian operation” (…)”Continued accusations by the government actors or affiliates that the PoC sites are a sanctuary for supporters of the SPLA in Opposition also make the PoC sites a target; this point was actively demonstrated in the attack in the Bor in April 2014 resulting in the death of 55 IDPs within the UNMISS site. Similar incidents have occurred near PoC sites in Juba, Bentiu and Malakal” (…)”An outbreak of cholera started in South Sudan on 18 May 2015 reaching total of 1718 cases [dates 4 September 2015], this rapid spread is largely affecting areas of the state capital Juba and also a separate smaller spread in Bor. One death have been reported at the PoC site in Juba with a total of 76 cases of people who contracted cholera inside the site” (UN SRA SS P: 16).
“UNSMS will have to work much closer with the GoSS security agencies to ensure an improved security response to UN security related incidences” (…)”In Juba a “blue zone” was implemented to manage the locations which were approved by UN security for International UN staff to reside in based on accessibility to the area, crime rates and distance to UN base in case of relocation and emergencies” (…)”Where the UN has a presence Operational Zones have been created where security clearances are not required in all main urban areas to allow for improved access. This approach is underscore by risk management as opposed to a risk adverse approach, this concept needs to be maintained and where possible further enhanced or monitored” (UN SRA SS P: 17).
“The disruption in oil revenues and devaluation of the currency as a result of the fighting has had a detrimental effect on the already weakened economy; government, civil servants, armed forces and police are having their salaries delayed. The breakdown in social infrastructure has reduced employment opportunities; creating desperation which has translated into crime” (…)”For example, the on-going cattle raiding and inter-clan revenge clashes that has been served in retaliation have devastated Lake States” (…)”Government officials have sometimes exacerbated tense situations with alienating remarks on their perception of the UN, often with accusations that the UN is favoring one side over the other within the conflict itself” (UN SRA SS P: 19).
“Animosity grew when the government made accusations that the UN was harboring rebels within its Protection of Civilian (POC) sites. Direct and veiled threats to attack POCs became widespread” (…)”The effect of this was in April 2014 when “armed youth” attacked the UNMISS base in Bor resulting in the deaths of 55 IDPs and injuring many others including UN peacekeepers” (…)”On 26 August 2014 under suspicious circumstances a UN contracted helicopter crashed near Bentiu in Unity State, killing three (3) aircrew and injuring one (1) other underlining the threats involved in working within South Sudan. Investigations into the cause of the crash were inconclusive” (…)”In the middle July 2015 there are approximately 166,142 people saying in seven (7) UNMISS bases (UN SRA SS P: 20).
“There is also notable internal political friction between the Central Government and the Equatoria States who have been calling for the greater autonomy via a federal government system. This has lead to local Equatorian communities feeling threatened and evacuating their families from the area” (…)”In Jonglei state” (…)” During rainy season in 2014 there were major skirmishes between the SPLA and SPLA-io reported in Jonglei. The SPLA-io has continued to threaten to fire upon aircraft flying in the areas, which were seven of the eleven counties during this period; the last threat was on 17 July 2014” Upper Nile” (…)”Several major clashes between the SPLA and SPLA-io have occurred; during one heavy exchange some stray bullets entered the UNMISS camp killing and injuring IDPs and causing structural damage to UN resources. All UN personnel remain concentrated in UNMISS camp including several agencies who had to abandon their own compounds” (…)”Unity State” (…)”To the west of Bentiu, UN staff previously based in the former Mayom UNMISS County Support Base (CSB) regularly were “caught in cross fire” incidents when the parties to conflict attempted to take control of the strategically important town, which is principally inhabited by Bul Nuer. UN Mission and Agencies Funds and Programme (AFP) staffs have become the target with regular ambushes, the demand for their trucks, and/or fuel and the forceful attempt to board UN flight by military” (UN SRA SS P: 22). “Also in the Upper Nile UNICEF reports that 89 boys were forcibly recruited by an unnamed armed group in late February 2015. They were takin in an area currently under government control, which is defended by government-allied Shilluk militia commanded by Maj Gen Johnson Olony” (…)”There are reports of an LRA attack in Western Equatoria State in March 2015 when one person was killed, the village was looted and eleven people were abducted but four were later released. This resuming of LRA attacks has increased fear amongst the population as the last attack in the 2012” (UN SRA SS P: 23).
“The oil pipelines exit South Sudan in both Unity and Upper Nile State, oil is refined in Sudan before being exported. The potential loss of oil revenues affects both nations so good trade relations’ remains key to maintaining income” (UN SRA SS P: 23).
“Currently the flow of refugees is affecting both countries as fighting affects the communities and so they move on, in Sudan the fighting in South Kordofan has created an influx of refugees into South Sudan and the fighting in northern Unity State in South Sudan has meant many refugees travelled north to refugee sites within Sudan” (…)”Cross border grazing & migration rights also areas of dispute as they host well-armed Sudanese Misseriya cattle herders who move around South Sudan in search of feed for their animals” (UN SRA SS P: 24).
“South Sudan lacks an adequate air traffic control system, countrywide. The government took control of the country’s airspace from Sudan in 2011, but to date has not issued any “Notice to Airmen” (NOTAMs), There are areas, however, that the government has declared a “no fly zone” (i.e. over the Presidential Palace in Juba), suggesting that the government reserve the right to fire upon an aircraft that violates this airspace” (UN SRA SS P: 25).
“Use of the River Nile for transportation of UN supplies and fuel has proved difficult with the government threat against all river travel by humanitarian agencies. With military supply vessels regularly travelling the river to the frontline it is not a safe option for delivery of humanitarian provisions” (UN SRA SS P: 26).
“Communicable diseases in South Sudan constitute a major cause of morbidity and morality largely due to the limited access to clean water and sanitation being extremely poor with open defection rates, which reaches 60% in urban areas and 80% in rural areas” (UN SRA SS P: 29).
“In regards to infrastructure, the entire country remains underdeveloped. Road and air mobility is seriously jeopardized especially during the rainy season where whole regions are cut off. Electricity, food and clean water supplies are scarce and seriously impact UN operations in remote duty stations” (…)”Due to poor road conditions in both dry and rainy season and lack of infrastructure there is a heavy reliance on UNMISS and UNHAS air assets for the delivery of humanitarian aid” (UN SRA SS P: 30).
“The existing EU sanctions delivered in July 2014 had little impact on the de-escalating of the crisis, however further extensive UN sanctions were delivered in a tough UN Security Council Resolution on the 3 March 2015, the decision affects individuals through the freezing of their bank accounts and travel bans will affect all players who do not work towards peace and security. There is also an African Union (AU) report which has investigated human rights abuses last dry season which is completed but yet to be published” (UN SRA SS P: 41).
“There is an increase of visible signs of South Sudan being a failing state: there is no free media, intimidation, by government security is commonplace, economy close to collapse and lack of provision or accountability of the civilian population by the state with most funds diverted to fund the war effort. Law and order is collapsing too, in some states wages have been stolen or simply delayed for months on end, in urban area reports of police becoming active criminals, local courts do not function and reports that crimes are committed due to perpetrators acting with impunity” (…)”Large numbers of IDPs rely on the security of UNMISS peacekeeping forces for their protection, however crowd control measures can never maintain order if the IDPs turn on their protector if the tensions rise inside the confines of the POC sites, the numbers are simply overwhelming” (UN SRA SS P: 42).
It is all worrying even with the Peace Agreement between the SPLA/M and SPLA-IO which signed a deal with amendments and tokens taken off. The worrying path is the records and analyses that the UN and UNMISS is delivering in this report. The numbers of people that are fleeing from South Kordofan in Sudan and the ones fleeing South Sudan to neighboring countries like Ethiopia, Uganda and DRC is massive! Should be worrying and the way the air-space is not secured. Also the reports on how the seasons are changing and making it difficult to spread necessities like food through air should be seen as a GIANT sign that something has to change. Infrastructure that is gone during rainy season and the air-drops has to happen for no open roads. River Nile isn’t safe and is in the front-line and dangerous travel with transportation of necessities though that path.
There are the issues with the skirmishes in different areas and also military assaults in the various states. Both between SPLA and SPLA-IO but they are not alone. There other military groups making it worse, also the report of even LRA has done damage in the country. Those also innocent children have been abducted and all the weakness of the security issues together with the fractions inside the SPLA making the reports and data on the ground more worrying.
On top of it all the sanctions that has been put on the Government of South Sudan and it hasn’t hit the ground running, but been useless and if it does anything it’s been just a certain individuals that has lost bank accounts, but it hasn’t stopped the fighting or stopped small-arms coming to the country!
There is so much more I could have put into ink and discussed because its powerful to see what the UNMISS is writing and discussing in the report. I have taken what I seen as main issues and fresh insights. I am sure somebody else would have taken more of the context and background into it, but that you can read somewhere else. Peace!
United Nations Security Risk Assessment South Sudan – September 2015 – UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) & UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) – Approved 11. September 2015 – (Given out 15.09.2015)
Here is my discussion on the document that is about the new Public Finance Bill of 2014.
Professor Ezra Suruma wrote a paper called ‘Will Parliament lose influence to the Executive in the budgeting process under the new Public Finance Bill?’ in August of 2014 (Suruma, 2014). Ezra Suruma is a Ugandan economist he works at the Brookings Institute in Washington D.C. where he is a part of the African Growth Initiative of in the institute. Second occupation is senior advisor to Ugandan President on finance and economic planning (Wikipedia, 2014).
Ezra Suruma says about the part of macroeconomic and fiscal policies where he is quoted to say: “The development of fiscal policy and the charter of fiscal responsibility lie solely with the minister. However, in the first session of Parliament, the minister is required to prepare and submit to Parliament the Charter of Fiscal responsibility for approval” (Suruma, 2014, P: 2).
New Zealand government has a splendid way of looking at what Fiscal responsibility:
“Fiscal policy comprises decisions about government spending and taxation. These decisions are made with a view to goals such as the optimal allocation of resources, economic stabilisation and the longer term sustainability of public finances” (New Zealand Government, 2005).
So if there is only transparency for the Minister and not the responsibility for the Parliament to oversee an approval. Then we know that there will be instances where the Ministers doesn’t have to show their progress or work to a broader public. This isn’t what you would call a transparent fiscal policy from the government of Uganda.
“The Minister shall within one month of the commencement of the first session of Parliament, submit to Parliament the Charter of Fiscal Responsibility for approval.”(Suruma, P: 2 2014). Suruma comments that it will only take from 31. December to the 1st of February until reading the budget, something which seems like a little time to prepare and give the opposition time to answer and make switches and tweak the budget of that year to come.
There is given specific powers to the Parliament which is part of ‘Clause 10’ in the new Public Finance bill of 2014 says:
“(1) The Parliament shall analyze the policies and programs that affect the economy and the annual budget and where necessary, make recommendations to the Ministry on alternative approaches to a policy or program. (2) The Parliament shall ensure that public resources are held and utilized in a transparent, accountable, efficient, effective and sustainable manner and in accordance with the Charter of Fiscal Responsibility and the Budget Framework Paper.” (Suruma, P: 2, 2014).
All of this should be in a bill, if you expect the parliament to shine lights on the budget and are main objective for the Fiscal Responsibility. The Parliament should make recommendation to the Ministry to a certain policy and give insights to other visions of what the government need to use sufficient funds and budget enough for the expenses of running the state and its obligations to its people.
This was on the Part II Budget preparation, approval and management on page 3 (Suruma, 2014). Directly from the new law text:
“12. Approval of annual budget by Parliament (Suruma, P:3, 2014).
(1) The Parliament shall, by the 31st of May of each year, consider and approve the annual budget and work plan of Government of the next financial year and the Appropriation Bill and
any other Bills that may be necessary to implement the annual budget (Suruma, P:3, 2014).
(2) Where the President is satisfied that the Appropriation Act in respect of any financial year, will not or has not come into operation by the beginning of any financial year, the President may, in accordance with Article 154 Constitution, by warrant under his or her hand, addressed to the Minister, authorise the issue of monies from the Consolidated Fund for purposes of meeting the expenditure necessary to carry on the services of the Government, until the expiration of four months from the beginning of that financial year, or from the coming into operation of the Appropriation Act, whichever is the earlier” (Suruma, P3-4, 2014).
As Suruma himself commented on page 3.Read directly part 12:2. Do you see what it is really is saying. That it has to be “one third of the budget would be approved by the executive without the approval of Parliament”. The Executive approve one third of the budget without the Parliament. That is lots of money that doesn’t need any transparency, or votes to the public unit, or in the view of more than the executive. Suruma continues on Page 4: “If this is approved it will reduce the power of Parliament from 100% power over appropriation to 67%. The appropriations for 33% or the first 4 months of the year will now shift to the President” (Suruma, P: 4, 2014). As you see that the approved power will be 33% will be delivered directly to the president. They have only 67 %. The Parliament is supposed to have a full discloser and 100 % power of the budget, not a little over 50 %.
Another main change that is being discussed by Suruma on page 4:
“Although the minister may increase the appropriation of a vote by 10%, the amount so increased must come from the Contingency Fund. The Contingency fund has been raised slightly to 3.5% of the budget” (Suruma, P: 4, 2014). So the minister of finance has also gotten more power than before. Just see the percentage of the vote that he has for the Contingency Fund and also the piece of the whole budget.
“28. Investment of balances on the Consolidated Fund.
Any sums standing to the credit of the Consolidated Fund may be
(a) with an approved financial institution at call; (Suruma, P: 4, 2014)
(b) subject to notice not exceeding twelve months; or
(c) in an investment authorized by the law for the investment
of trustee funds and approved by the Minister.
(Suruma, P: 5, 2014).
- Who approves the financial institution to be invested in? There is room for considerable corruption here.
- What is meant by “an investment authorized by the law? Which law?
- The “trustee funds” are not defined in this law’s definitions (interpretations).
- Does authorization by the minister place her at risk?
(Suruma, P: 5, 2014).
This here has already Suruma pointed on big important points and questions that should be visible and addressed. Like which law question is just so cold and still so clear what he means when Suruma ask it. The minister has authorization and also right to choose investment even though it doesn’t say what kind of law that is authorization to the funds he needs to provide investments or what powers he need to give rights to authorize the actions of the ministry.
Suruma is continuing on Part VI accounting and audit:
(5) An Accounting Officer shall be responsible and personally accountable to Parliament for the activities of a vote (clause 43 (5) (Saruma, P: 5, 2014). As Suruma says and is understood that there is technocrats, there is only Parliament is mention in the law from the page 5 is on a previous audits. As it seems there is technocrats who gets the overview over the budget and not the parliament. This has become very natural process in many nations from the USA, Zimbabwe and even Greece. So this is not a problem only for Uganda, but a modern day issue which shouldn’t be left under a rug.
Under Amendments on page 6 (Suruma, P: 6, 2014). The Committee on National Economy Suruma himself even he comments that the power over the Committee is the Executive branch of the Government. This means that the President can control the Committee on National Economy.
“On Parliament Budget Office:
“(1) There shall be a Parliamentary Budget Office within the Parliamentary Services with the Clerk of the Parliament being the Accounting Officer, consisting of full time and part time budget and economic experts as may be required from time to time” (Suruma, P: 8, 2014).
(2) The function of the Parliamentary Budget Office shall be to provide Parliament and its committees with objective and timely analysis to assess economic and budget proposals including analysis of the economic and fiscal planning and reporting documents and annual budget documents, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing shall-
(a) Provide budget related information to all committees in relation to their jurisdiction;
(b) Prepare reports on budgetary projections and economic forecasts and make proposals to Committees of Parliament responsible for budgetary matters;
(c) Prepare analyses of specific issues, including financial risks posed by Government policies and activities to guide Parliament;
(d) Consider budget proposals and economic trends and make recommendations to the relevant committee of Parliament with respect to those proposals and trends;
(e) Prepare analytical studies of specific subjects such as fiscal risks posed by government owned or partially owned enterprises and other sources of risk;
(f) Evaluate the government’s explanations of deviations from the fiscal responsibility principles or fiscal objectives and the plans to address such deviations;
(g) Report to the relevant committees of Parliament on any Bill that is submitted to Parliament that has an economic and financial impact, making reference to the Charter of Fiscal Responsibility and its principles and to the financial objectives set out in the relevant Budget Framework Paper;
(h) Generally give advice to Parliament and its committees on the Budget and economy;
(i) Report on any other subjects relating to fiscal policy and performance requested by a committee or initiated by the Parliamentary Budget Office in the interests of assisting Parliament.
(3) The Parliamentary Budget Office shal1 ensure that all reports, studies, evaluations, findings, recommendations and other outputs are presented in a user-friendly form and that all outputs are published in a timely manner unless publication is not in the public interest”
(Suruma, P: 8-9, 2014)
Minister’s Report on Performance:
(1) The Minister shall report at least twice per financial year on Government’s performance against the fiscal objectives in the Charter for Fiscal Responsibility and Annual Budget.
(2) In reporting performance against its fiscal performance, the government shall provide-
(a) Updated macroeconomic and fiscal forecasts with sufficient information to show changes from the forecasts in the last Budget Framework Paper or Annual Budget;
(b) Budget execution compared to the appropriations and other lawful spending authorities.”
(Suruma, P: 9, 2014)
The continuation is of the problem that we’re on page 6. The technocrats have the powers over the budget and not the parliament who will execute the budget on these matters. It is not something new in this matter, it’s kind of normal in our day and age. NPM – New Public Management and those technocrats get their wisdom across instead of the people we elect.
PART VII: PETROLEUM REVENUE MANAGEMENT
The major players in petroleum revenue management are the following:
- The Bank of Uganda plays a leading role as the account holder of the Petroleum Fund and the operational manager of oil revenue investments.
- The Uganda Revenue Authority is the institution empowered to collect and receive the oil revenues and then pass them on to the Bank of Uganda.
- The Minister, the Secretary to the Treasury, the Accountant General and the Auditor General are all central figures with numerous powers in the management of oil revenues.
- Parliament is also a key player in so far as it has the ultimate power to decide how much should be taken from the Petroleum Fund and placed on the Consolidated Fund and how it should be spent (appropriation).
- The Investment Advisory Committee is appointed by the minister of finance and is supposed to advise her (him) on the policies to follow in investing the oil revenues.
- External Investment Managers are the investment banks, brokers, financial advisers etc who will be selected to manage the petroleum investments overseas.
(Suruma, P: 10, 2014)
ISSUES IN OIL REVENUE MANAGEMENT
There ia an old saying that “too many cooks spoil the broth”. There are so many power centres that it is difficult to know how they will interact and not conflict and cause paralysis. Specifically, I wish to make the following observations:
- The powers of the Advisory Investment Committee appear to conflict with those of the Bank of Uganda in deciding what to invest in and with whom. It is difficult to see how the minister will negotiate between these two policy advisory bodies.
- The minister has potentially damaging powers of determining “other qualifying instruments” in which the funds can be invested. This power will make her the subject of “vultures” seeking to woo her to invest with them. The phrase should be removed.
- The Bill allows investment in “derivitives” which I consider unduly risky. I do not think it should be a qualifying instrument. The idea that anyone can determine the relative risk of the underlying instrument vis a vis the derivitive and then determine that they have equal risk is in my opinion not realistic.
- Although the amendments purport to create only one Petroleum Fund and to abolish the “Investment Reserves Account” yet the Bill reverts to the term “Funds” in place of “reserves” and sometimes speaks of investments. At the end of the day it seems certain that there is more than one “Fund”.There may be one “mother fund” but the context of the law suggests that there will be many funds and investments. So the amendment creates more confusion than clarity.
- The idea of an “agreement” between the Minister and the Governor to manage the investments properly seems to add to the confusion. On top of that the minister is to give “directions” to the Bank of Uganda on how to invest. Do not forget that there is also an investment policy arising from the Investment Advisory Committee.
- The number of reports which Bank of Uganda has to give and the frequency, while reassuring, is mind boggling. There are requirements for monthly reports, forecasts, semi-annual reports, annual reports, annual plans, audits, 10 year plans, schedule of investment managers, risk assessment reports, compliance reports etc. Similarly, the minister has to make corresponding reports to Parliament.
I have two concerns:
(a) Can bank of Uganda do all these reports and continue to its other responsibilities such as banks supervision and monetary policy?
(b) Can the Minister or the Parliament possibly absorb all these documents?
- There is confusion in the utilization of oil revenues. On the one hand Parliament is to decide how much to appropriate from the Fund to the Consolidated Account. It is also to decide the appropriations to different votes. Yet the Bill purports to legislate, before hand that the oil money can only go to infrastructure and development projects.So when it comes to access to the government oil funds the direct beneficiaries will be the external investment managers, the external owners of infrastructure companies (the road and power constractors) and the districts of the oil producing areas who will get 7% of the royalties. The rest of us will be indirect beneficiaries – those who drive and those who have access to electricity. The rural populations will wait for a long time.
- Employment is mentioned once in Schedule 2. Pension for the aged or disabled is not mentioned. Health insurance is not mentioned. Credit for businesses and for agriculture is not mentioned. No new banks, no new directions to increase access to more and cheaper credit. Even education does not seem to feature anywhere. Only hardware and external beneficiaries are clearly demarcated.
(Suruma, P: 11, 2014)
As seen on Petroleum Revenue Management you can see that there are many actors in it. For the Bank of Uganda and Uganda Revenue Authority has their part. Then it’s all the different parts of the government which is supposed to follow the industry of the oil revenue. From the Parliament, Treasury Secretary to the Investment Advisory Committee and also the External Investment Managers. With this it proves that it should be transparent with the Oil revenue because it has to go by everything from the National Bank of Uganda, the tax office in URA and all the Governmental institutions and committees. This tells it all.
I think the eight points that Suruma has pointed out I don’t think I need to address since there are so valid on their own. You should think about them yourself! There are just a lot of issues for the government and the parliament together with the other institutions of finance that the government has at its disposals.
The technocrats have a lot of power when it comes to budget and also the financial of fiscal transparency. Public Transparency Bill gives much more power to executive branch or the President. The Parliament will now have around 60 percent of its power instead of a 100 % as it has today. Which is a big step for the government and also with the movement of financial transparency has the same issue as the rest of the world where the technocrats has a lot of power over the planning and executing the budget, and not the Parliament or the Executive branch. Even if the Executive branch is getting more place, even the; “Although the minister may increase the appropriation of a vote by 10%, the amount so increased must come from the Contingency Fund. The Contingency fund has been raised slightly to 3.5% of the budget”. This proves that both the Executive branch, the president and also the Finance Ministry gets more direct power even if the technocrats get a bigger oversight over the budget and the finances of the state.
PS: Want to say thanks to Parliament Watch Uganda! For loading the document online.
New Zealand Government – ‘A Guide to the Public Finance Act’ (August, 2005) Link: http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/guidance/publicfinance/pfaguide/guide-pfa.pdf
Suruma, Ezra – ‘Will Parliament lose influence to the Executive in the budgeting process under the new Public Finance Bill?’ (August, 2014) Link: http://www.scribd.com/doc/237400795/Public-Finance-Bill-Paper-14-Aug-2014
Wikipedia – ‘Ezra Suruma’ (02.05.2014) Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ezra_Suruma