The State propose a 0,5% Cash Withdrawal Tax (!)

The Ministry of Finance, Planning Economic Development (MoFPED) is preparing a tax on every cash withdrawal from ATMS or Commercial Banks. This means every time someone takes out cash from their accounts. The customers i.e. the citizens have to pay the state a fee to access their money. Just like they do with the mobile money transactions. That’s why the state is proposing this.

This is an easy way to access more funds without adding any value to the monetary market. The state will not do anything, but adding a fee. A percentage on every single transaction. In the meanwhile, they will also deplete funds from the citizens. As the citizens have to calculate every transaction to ensure they are paying less taxes. That is what people does when they want to ensure they get most value out of the money. Which will be standard.

The manner of doing this. Is in a state where there is already lots of cash and money in circulation. The Republic is built with cash based economy and need for cash itself. That is why in some ways this will even be a double tax. Especially for the ones having first mobile money transfer to family members and loved ones. They are first paying a fee to send it too them, which is the Mobile Money Tax. Then the person receiving the Mobile Money will have to pay either at a bank or at ATM the Cash Withdrawal Tax. In this way the state is getting paid twice before the money is even getting in circulation.

I wonder, if the MoFPED have thought of the consequences of this? Has the state considered the implications for the citizens? Or are they only trying to figure out new ways to cash in on every citizens. So that their behaviour and need for money will cost them.

Because, it is normal that foreigners or aliens are paying to take out money at a ATM abroad. They usually pay a transfer fee between their currency and the Ugandan Shilling. That is making sense and the bank also takes a fee for doing so. A tourist knows this and accepts it, as it is a way of easily access and securing local currency. However, what the state is proposing is paying a tax to access your own money.

The state is billing people for withdrawal of cash. In essence the state will take money for service rendered for printing money. They are billing the public for having circulated coins and bank notes. Since, they are taxing every transaction and that’s really ill. This sort of enterprise isn’t growing the tax-base, but taking away more funds from circulating. The more you tax, the more funds you are depleting from the system. In the end you have a evil circle where all taxes are overburdening the citizen. In such a manner, that they start to do all business and transactions on the black-market to save money. That is when the state loses out and cannot access these transactions at all. This because they have found other means of moving money and doesn’t want to pay added taxes on their needed funds.

The more these taxes are put forward. The more funds are taken away from the ones who needs them. This is all taken away from the citizens before they get to access the money. Either it is mobile money or taken from their account through a withdrawal. That should worry the Representatives and the ones making laws. The amount of 0,5% doesn’t sound like a lot, but imagine that on every single transaction or withdrawal. That will be huge sum and be a costly endeavour. Peace.

Bank of Uganda: Measures to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 (20.03.2020)

Bank of Uganda: Monetary Policy Statement for February 2020 (13.02.2020)

Mobile Money Tax shortfall: People change behaviour after levying an unfair tax

Levy on mobile money contributed a deficit of UGX 30.48 billion which can be explained by the fact that high value clients withdraw their funds from agency banking e.g MTN has had a drop of 36 percent in MM transaction values since the introduction of the levy on mobile money” (Uganda Revenue Authority, 06.02.2020).

There is also reported that it has been a 36% drop in Mobile Money Transactions since the enaction of the Exercise Duty in 2018. That means, the added tax on the MM transactions are backfiring. The State isn’t adding revenue, but ensuring that people are finding other ways of moving their money.

This is not shocking, that people change behaviour, when the state makes it more expensive. As the people used these services to send each other money by convenience. Now, one third of the transactions are gone. Meaning, the ones that can change their ways has done that.

The losers are not only the Telecoms, but also the state. As the shortfall of taxes got to be covered elsewhere. As the state had put this into the budgets to cover other state works. This means the targets for domestic revenue wasn’t considering the implications of doing it. As, there wouldn’t be an natural reaction to the consequences to the new taxes.

Instead of increasing the tax base, they are making it smaller and not able to find measures that makes sense. The state has clearly done this without due diligence, neither also configured the stats and the possible behaviour of the public. As their ways gotten more taxed and not considering that they would stop, if they found it to expensive or unreasonable.

The MM tax and the OTT taxes was measures made to tax the digital market-space in the Republic. However, they have both been flawed and also not met their targets, because the public found other ways of doing things.

The ironies about the MM saga is that before the tax, the business of MM was growing. A natural growth and having more transactions every year. Now, that they levied the tax its has a big fall. That is a result of the MM Tax and the public is not having it. Peace.

A snap-shot into the Budget Framework Paper for 2020/21

It is budget season, this is out-takes from the Budget Framework Paper for the Financial Year of 2020/21. The Financial Year, which the General Election will be held during the early start of 2021. Therefore, the budget will be hit by this.

The Budget is estimated to be a total of 39 trillion Uganda Shillings. External loans to cover the budget is projected to be about 7 trillion shillings.

While the debt repayment is growing too. That is why in this budget year, the estimated interests payment is 1.2 trillion shillings.

In special usage, the Office of the President plans to spend 101,9 billion shillings under Public Administration. We got to address the needed Shs. 1,8 billion spent on medals, so that the President will not be embarrassed.

While the State House has the expenditure of 407 billion. From that one, I have a few snap-shots of the expenditure. First, the Procurement and maintenance of transport and specialized equipment including the Presidential Jet and Helicopter at Shs. 31.172bn. Which was put under the vote of the Public Administration. Shs. 34 billions on the ageing fleet of Cars at the State House. Also, Shs. 10 billion to refurbish the State House.

The Office of the Prime Minister set to Shs. 498,531bn.

In election costs, the total budgeted expenditure. The election will cost 1 trillion, 800 billion in security and another 200 billion shillings on the Elections Road Map. The Electoral Commission is budgeted to spend about 318 billion shillings on the management of the elections.

What the NAADs plans to do:

– 130 tractors and matching implements

– 1,000,000 hand hoes

Let see if the NAADs will keep their old promise, which was a big deal before the previous election. Even if you cannot find a budget post where the hoes are fitted in. Surely, they are hidden somewhere, but not somewhere obvious to the naked eye.

These was the most fitting things I found so far. Surely, there are plenty more juicy things. There wasn’t any water bills or explaining to do. The Budget Framework Paper is very straight forward. However, usually something daft get passed through. We really will see more.

But these are few tit-bits of it all. Peace.

Bank of Uganda: Monetary Policy Statement for December 2019 (09.12.2019)

Bank of Uganda: Monetary Policy Statement for October 2019 (07.10.2019)

Uganda: Fresh report states that the debt-service has grown 129% within one financial year!

 

The Republic of Uganda’s economy is really reeling, it cannot be sustainable as the Government of Uganda is growing their debt like there is no tomorrow. While the fiscal growth is substantially lower than their rate of debt-service. As the growth of debt combined with lacking growth to substantiate the shortfall.

In addition, with the knowledge of added expenses, growing shortfall of funds in the upcoming Financial Year of 2019/20 and the election year of FY 2020/21. There will be more add-ons on the need for debt service, as the state already had loans outstanding, which the grace period ends and the debt-service begins on. Therefore, the amount of loans will transpire even more, than what is in this report. The endless cycle of debt and growth of it, is worrying, as well, as the state thinks that the magical wand of oil-money will clear this debt. Even as the first operational oil field and such has been postponed yet again.

Just look!

“The total Government of Uganda external debt service by end of FY 2017/18 amounted to US$275.75 million, which was an increment of l29% compared to US$120.62 million in FY 2016/17” (…) “Debt service of Uganda’s external debt is on the rise and outstripping growth of the country’s income, currently at 6%. This poses risks for future debt repayments, especially as the country continues to acquire external debt at less concessional terms, especially to finance the oil development programme” (P: 6-7, 2019)

“It follows that as interest rates increase, the debt service obligations of Government also increases. The rise in external debt interest costs attests to the fact the government is increasingly contracting non-concessional debt, which will increase the repayment burden” (P: 24, 2019)

“However, this may not be the most likely scenario, as most projects have been discounted and some excluded in the macroeconomic framework. With the development of the NDP III, additional project and other pipeline project related to the oil developments and other infrastructure, will increase the financing requirement of government in the medium term. The inclusion of the above projects will re-classify Uganda from low risk of debt distress to moderate risk of debt distress or high risk if the export shocks materialize. A downgrade would have significant implications for the program with the IMF, where Uganda’s credit risk rating will worsen; implying that accessibility of nonconcessional financing will be limited. This will limit credit to Uganda to only concessional and grants financing.” (P: 28, 2019)

You don’t need to smart about it, as the state has bigger budgets with higher shortfall in the economy, combined with debt service and higher interest payments on the growing amount of loans. You know sooner or later, the economy will tank, as the fiscal responsibility is taken for granted and that fresh funds are lacking, because these are taken out of the economy to finance the payments of the old debts. Instead of generating growth and actually naturally grow the economy, by spending and investing as a state. The money is taken away to service debt, instead of building the state. That is what they are doing and at a alarming rate. Peace.

Reference:

NEC1-19 – ‘REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL ECONOMY ON THE STATE OF INDEBTEDNESS, GRANTS AND GUARANTEES’ June 2019, Parliament of Uganda

Uganda Peoples Congress: Caution on Coffee Bill (17.07.2019)

Opinion: BoU and UTL share the same sins, just different institutions

We can lie to ourselves, we all do it now and then, and even the most holy of us does it, but acts like saints. Nevertheless, the realities are hard-hitting and not as people tend it too be. In the recent days, there been steady scandals in two institutions connected to the government of Uganda. This being the Bank of Uganda and Uganda Telecom Limited. Both whose place is vital and both under “ownership” of the state.

They have very different roles in society, as one is the Reserve Bank and the one that follows direct guidelines of the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, while the same Ministry owns the other! That is why there are some of the same aspects, as the stories are pouring out.

The BoU is rocked by lack of due diligence, lack of minutes, lack of working after protocol and procurement. The UTL is lacking leadership, lacking structure or even basic control from the state. Both is run by the MoFPED and still has the same issues. It is like they are two ugly siblings and none of these bastards can get a date.

The BoU is the epitome of corrupt behaviour from buying pens, securing quick-fix funds for trading commercial banks and so on. While the UTL have shady-back-door deals with willy-nilly abroad in Mauritius or Nigeria, even some skeletons in Libya. Still, even if Hon. Evelyn Anite tries every avenue and use all parts of the dictionary, she still doesn’t have the powers to sack the ones running UTL, because the MoFPED is involved and who knows how the President Museveni micromanages these state owned enterprises. Since his known for guidance everywhere in the Republic. That is why Hon. Anite had to send a letter to him to further her cause in the UTL saga.

We can lie to ourselves, but not that it does any good. At this point, the involvement of the state, the known actors and only the small-fries are getting caught. The ones doing the heist, doing the handshakes and getting the kick-backs from there is working directly with the State House. That is well known and not unknown, they even ask permission before doing so. This is what they do. Its only the ones who doesn’t ask who ends in the files of various departments fighting corruption. Even if they end up there, they might lose the paperwork or minutes before investigation, as the loyal subjects clear the house. So, that the big-man on top, doesn’t get humiliated.

This is just what is up and what is going down. These men who runs these SOEs are allowed to what they do, because the higher power let them do it and they are all eating. Especially, when the “high above” sanctions it, its all cool, but if he doesn’t get a cut; than there is an issue and someone have to pay. That is the end-game, that is why it continues and why it floats like this. Not because this is a healthy practice or even a way that the state should govern, but this is what they are known to do.

The UTL and BoU have similar issues, they are doing similar acts, but with different enterprises. We can act a fool, but that will still not save the face of the ones running it. Sooner or later, someone will fall on the sword of their master. Right now its not needed, but when these two institutions needs a boost of confidence, someone will swallow their pride and do their last act of mercy. That is just how it goes. We just don’t know who will fall and for what cause, other than saving the high above from humiliation. Peace.