I write what I like.
That the political map and the organization in and around Kampala is frustrating. Is because there is first the Kampala Capital City Authority, who is a legal administration and Executive Director Jennifer Musisi. The Second there is the elected City Hall with the Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and the Divisions and Wards. Thirdly is the Ministry of Kampala and the State Minister Beti Kamya. Fourthly is the Members of Parliament representing the Capital City itself and the fifth the Presidential Advisor for Kampala Singh Katangole. Plus you have the added interference of the State House and the President, who micro-manage everywhere and especially in the Capital.
When you see this and the stages, you knew Jennifer Musisi had a hard job. Surely it was easier when she and the Minister Frank Tumwebaze impeached the Lord Mayor in 2013. So, they settled the score and one less item to pass through. Because you don’t need to be a wise-guy to understand there are to many cooks and to many procedures to do anything in Kampala.
You don’t only has the elected from the Wards to the Lord Mayor, the ones elected in Parliament with their reasons and wants of change. The KCCA has their jurisdiction, the City Hall has their, the Ministry orders people around and the Presidential advisor says whatever he says to the President, who suddenly intervenes as well. That is why I have always been worried about Kampala.
The hierarchy and the political landmines are everywhere. There are no leeway, as the monitoring and the checks and balances comes into question. The KCCA answers to the Ministry and orders the City Hall. The City Hall is ordered by both the KCCA and Ministry, while the City Hall is trying to have a saying in the KCCA and the Ministry, without getting anywhere. As they are both acting as the City Hall is a symbolic enterprise. Instead of having elected leadership to make changes, the President has appointed the KCCA and the Ministry to try to evaporate the City Hall. To some extent they have managed that.
We know that even the Division Mayors have wondered what their tasks are, as they have little or less to do. As well, as the Lord Mayor are feeling override by the KCCA. The KCCA was established to counter the opposition and get in their way. Combined with the Ministry of Kampala, they are never giving space and when the State House orders the Minister. The whole chaos are happening. Like the kicking out of vendors from Owino Park Yard. This was done by the will of State House on decree by the Minister and met with hostile reception from the Lord Mayor. This is a sign of a messed up system and not of building a better Kampala.
There are too many cooks and for a reason. The President wanted to ensure the value of the elected leadership get as low as possible, while his loyal minions will overcome them. That is seemingly working, but must be tiring and Musisi gave up battling with the Ministry, State House and City Hall. That is unforgiving job, but she carried it and did what the President wanted her to do. The only thing she didn’t manage was to usher Ragga Dee in as Lord Mayor. Peace.
“Uganda is your country. When you’re writing a story, ask yourself if it is going to build or destroy Uganda. Is it going to bring peace or anarchy?” (…) “I’m advising my good friends of New Vision that for the good of your country, do not publish stories that are not true. My telephone number is known by everyone, call me. If I can’t respond then wait, because I’m also a busy man but I’ll respond. Let me repeat, for the good of your country, please don’t publish false stories” – Matia Kasaija, Minster of Finance.
I know, some people get touchy when stories comes out. Out of the woodworks suddenly the questions arise and people are thinking? Why? Why does the state borrow even more funds, is it needed even? How come the State, who is already borrowing heavy sums of money from all sort of bilateral, multi-national banking institutions suddenly need to borrow money from domestic sources. That question should be asked and need to questioned. Since the reality of the matter, isn’t what it is used to, since this government cannot even explain where the PTA Loans went. It is amazing how things are going, that the State can take up loans like this after already no accountability on the previous ones. The same minister is already questioned for the loans done with PTA loans, who knows what else that has gone missing, as the GAVI and CHOGM Funds of the past suddenly vanished into thin air, hard not imagine that this could happen again.
“Yesterday, Monday 19th February 2018 the New Vision Newspaper front page lead headline stated that Government is borrowing UShs. 700 Billion to pay salaries for public servants. I would like to inform the General Public that this story was an exaggeration of the proposed borrowing that I laid before Parliament. We borrow to a large extent to finance capital development and production. In my letter dated 9th February 2018; I submitted a proposal to Parliament seeking authority from the House, in accordance with the requirements of Article 159 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, to borrow additional Ushs 736 Billion from the domestic financial market to finance the Budget for FY 2017/18” (Uganda Media Centre, 2018).
This money will go to “development and production”. We can wonder where that is, if it is the bills of Gen. Salim Selah hotels as the seedlings delivered by, Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) is lack-lustre at best. Who knows where all the pooled monies for NAADS are going, but clearly not all of it is not going to micro-economic benefits for the society.
Shortfall is clearly there and the weak economy, that has been juiced up and run like a drunk seaman. That is why as the last end of bottle of beer is there and the need to go down to the bar and buy more brew on credit. That is the ordeal of the day. It is not a narration by Morgan Freeman and a beautiful tale of forgiveness and hope. No, it is a tragic day of even more debt, this time internally and used by the state. Since they are embezzling and taking away funds from the public. This will create more pressure for liquidity in the banks who borrows to the state, as this is taking from their own reserves to bailout the state. Eventually, the state has to find other funds to pay back the banks.
It doesn’t take a wise to understand, that adding more debt, while growing debt and also paying interests is a vicious cycle. They are recycling loans and adding more interests and more debt to be repaid in due time. We can just pound on that and wonder why the state hasn’t made a budget that is within the reach of the economy, but the government isn’t like that. They are spending money like there are no tomorrow. Having one beer, another one and another one. Now it’s drunk and don’t want to lose the edge, the steam and the good feeling of tipsy. The state doesn’t want to get the hangover and deal with the cure. They just want to shug more bottles and hope no one notice. Peace.
Uganda Media Centre – ‘Statement on the proposed government borrowing of UGX 700 billion #UGCabinetResolutions’ (20.02.2018) link: https://ugandamediacentreblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/20/statement-on-the-proposed-government-borrowing-of-ugx-700-billion-ugcabinetresolutions/
“The government has announced plans to borrow US$200m from the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (known as the PTA Bank)” (…) “It will, however, do little to ease the near-term pressures. The weak currency is pushing up the cost of external debt (the new PTA Bank loan will add to the burden of US dollar-denominated debt), while high interest rates are driving up yields on domestic securities. The government originally budgeted USh172bn to service external debt in the current 2015/16 fiscal year and USh4.8trn for domestic debt, but the actual outlays will exceed this” (The Economist, 2015).
In today’s exchange rate the loaned planned would be 727,749,571,653.20 Uganda Shillings, or UGX 727bn. So that means that the Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija cannot find the documentation for a huge amount of money. This isn’t a lost pocket or recite, this is like loosing bank. However, we know the context, the loans that came from PTA came within months of the General Election and the Campaigns. Therefore, we can imagine where the money has gone. That is just speculation, but National Medical Stores (NMS) has given some signs, that the PTA Loans was not for them.
In June 2017, the Public Notice of NMS said this:
“This funding facility was the PTA Bank loan, which was later approved by Parliament on 26th April 2016. The record on the Hansard clearly indicates ugx. 68billion required to avert an impending crisis at NMS as one of the primary reasons why the loan “should be urgently” approved. If NMS was therefore not meant to get the ugx. 68billion as additional funds, then the Ministry of Finance, Planning
and Economic Development misled Parliament” (…) “NMS provided the contracts by a letter
dated 13th September 2016, and waited for disbursement of the money from PTA Bank. However the said funds have to-date not been provided. This fact was brought to the Ministry of Health and the Permanent Secretary/ Secretary to the Treasury on 27th March 2017. It is important to note that the PTA Bank Loan, was approved by Parliament on the understanding that part of the Proceeds would go to NMS to cover the sh.68billion deficit” (…) “We wish to restate that if this money is not provided, over and above the Budget for FY 2017/18, all Health Centre IIs, IIIs and IVs, including those of UPDF, Uganda Police and Uganda Prisons, shall not receive Medicines in the FY 17/18 except ARVs, Vaccines, ACTs and TB medicines” (NMS, 2017).
“Although documents indicate that PTA Bank released the loan basing on documents submitted by the agencies, it was never remitted to them accordance with the agreed terms of the funding. Last week while requesting for a supplementary budget for NMS, Finance State Minister David Bahati was put to task to explain why NMS lacks funds to procure medicines yet the funders released the money in November last year. MP Cecilia Ogwal (Dokolo) wondered why NMS was going through a financial crisis when Parliament approved a loan request of $200m. During the meeting yesterday, members put Bank of Uganda officials led by the Governor Tumusiime Mutebile to task to explain whether the loan was released from the funders to the respective recipients. Mutebile told the committee that between October20th 2016 and May 23, 2017; BOU received $97.9m from PTA bank and transferred all the money to the Ministry of Finance Consolidated Account as instructed by the Ministry of Finance. “How it was used, is the ministry of finance to explain,” he said” (Karugaba, 2017).
So just part of the loans that trusted to NMS never came and never was delivered. The amount of funds needed the crisis in the NMS was not given. Therefore, the lack of oversight of the funds and the loans was evident even last year. Still, PTA Loan of 2016 has not been honored. The BoU will explain what happen after the money was released. So, it means that the documentation of receiving it is there, but what happen after is now gone. The NMS are clear, the BoU, but not the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED).
Just to put the loan in more perspective, even the World Bank described there in January 2017:
“Uncertainties related to both local and external events, including the freezing of new loans by the World Bank and the impact of the results of the Brexit referendum and the US presidential election being the most significant causes of this uncertainty. This is notwithstanding the fact that the Government has contracted balance of payments support credit from PTA Bank to provide the BoU with sufficient resources to prevent spikes in the foreign exchange market when the need arises” (World Bank, P: 11, 2017).
However something that is striking is the Letter of intent written by BoU Governor Tumusiime Mutebile and Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development Kasaija. Who both prepared a statement, to build trust in the economy and the loans made by the government.
Who wrote this this to IMF on 18th May 2016:
“Government requested a line of credit of USD 200 million from the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (PTA Bank). The three year revolving facility has terms that are deemed more beneficial than those prevailing in the domestic markets at the current juncture and near future, so we plan to use these resources in FY2016/17 and FY 2017/18 to finance our deficits. Therefore, these resources will replace existing, more costly domestic financing, rather than expanding the available envelope. We will not use the loan in FY2015/16” (Kasaija & Tumusiime Mutebile, P: 6-7, 2016).
While this story started after Public Accounts Committee in the Daily Monitor this:
“Two of the most prominent Banyakigezi – Bank of Uganda Governor Tumusiime Mutebile, secretary to the Treasury Keith Muhakanizi and other top officials in the Finance hierarchy are set to answer questions over how Shs340 billion of Shs720b ($200m) loan meant for medicines and rural electrification was used. They are going to be quizzed by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) with the vice chairman Gerald Karuhanga saying that Muhakanizi, Mutebile, Auditor General John Muwanga and Mr. Lawrence Semakula, the acting Accountant General have been summoned to appear before MPs on Wednesdays to “explain the whereabouts of the money because no agency has received anything.” Mr. Muhakanizi called the probe ‘misdirected’ because ‘everything was done properly and I will prove that with documents.’ He said the money was pooled into the consolidated Fund and spent on approved expenditures” (Daily Monitor, 05.07.2017).
On the 13th June 2017, Treasury Secretary Keith Muhakanizi tried to explain where the money went:
“As explained above, all the funds disbursed from the PTA Bank Loan have been fully accounted for. ii No funds has been lost as the Monitor Newspaper has alleged. iii I thank the PTA Bank for quickly providing the funds to the Uganda government when needed. iv It is, therefore, professionally unacceptable for Monitor Newspaper which has represented at the meeting of PAC in Parliament on Wednesday 7th June 2017, to have published an incorrect story in its editorial of 11th June 2017” (New Vision, 2017).
However, the story is not ended in last year. The PTA Loan continue to haunt the MoFPED and the BoU. They both have answers to give. Now a few months later. The answer from MoFPED are differently. Because the Treasury suddenly promised documents in June 2017. However, we are in February 2018 and still not there. Even his own defense that was a notice in the New Vision. Now a half year later, we see the same story and the same issue in the Parliament. That the same amount of monies are not accounted for. The same actors are trying to defend it. The whole affair smells not like Teen-Spirit, but more of State House affair. Since, they are trying to defend the misuse of funds and loans in the timeline of Campaigning. That is what it seems. Since suddenly during campaigns and such the needs for funds is there. Paying off political parties and loyal commissioners. There are so many things to buy and needs. So much material, buses, t-shirts and bribes. You have to print massive amounts of money. In a way where the State House also always needs bigger Supplementary Budgets after the General Election of 2016.
Here is the movement today:
“Mr Kasaija yesterday failed to present a personal statement detailing what went wrong with the loan but maintained that no money was “stolen” as he fought to save his job.“I request that we should give an opportunity to a government authority to find out where this money went. But I want to give assurances to this House that no money was diverted or stolen,” Mr Kasaija said. With the loan approved only after the Finance ministry changed its labelling, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga last evening ruled that she will today make a decision regarding the fate of the report, with the duos fate set to be decided today. “I may not talk much but I had engagements with Ministry of Finance over that money. I had engagements to remind the ministry that that money was partially borrowed for NMS. I had meetings in my office over that money,” Ms Kadaga ruled. The loan put the Executive and Parliament at loggerheads with the Speaker at some point ordering the Rules Committee to investigate Mr Kasaija over contempt of Parliament as the fallout escalated” (Arinaitwe, 2018).
So still to this day there is no proof of where it went. Even if the trail leads to two familiar faces, the MoFPED Kasaija and Treasury Muhakanizi, who both trying to save faces. This all seems like misused funds from the Consolidated Funds for Campaigning. Since it was not used for the Rural Electrification Funds or the NMS. Who was both in dire needs, but not important enough. The NMS has lacked it anyways, and not gotten the needed medicine.
Therefore, the two financial heavy-weights has to either forge the paper-trial, since the NMS and the other agencies hasn’t received the funds. They have been spent elsewhere. Suddenly missing and that Muhakanizi uses so long time, that from June 2017 to February 2018 is unbelievable. If you use that long time proving parliament where the funds went. You know there are some shady misuse of it. It has gone to all sorts of activity, to tear-gas, paying police officers to keep Besigye under house arrest and whatnot. Because it didn’t go the place where the MoFPED and BoU promised.
This the GAVI Funds and CHOGM scandal all over again. This isn’t new, it is just PTA Bank loan gone missing. You miss a shilling, you miss a book or even some keys. But you do not loose this amount of money. They have gone to a growing patronage and securing the President’s Private Plane or something. Peace.
Arinaitwe, Solomon – ‘MPs plot to censure Kasaija over Shs700b’ (07.02.2018) link: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/MPs-plot-censure-Kasaija-over-Shs700b-/688334-4294524-r1k3ls/index.html
The Economist – Intelligence Unit – ‘ Loan secured from regional bank’ (11.12.2015) link: http://country.eiu.com/article.aspx?articleid=63762990&Country=Uganda&topic=Economy&subtopic=Forecast&subsubtopic=Fiscal+policy+outlook&u=1&pid=923837876&oid=923837876&uid=1
Karubaga, Mary – ‘Finance makes U-turn on sh150b NMS loan’ (08.07.2017) link: https://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1455202/finance-makes-sh150b-nms-loan
Kasaija, Matia & Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile – ‘Uganda: Letter of Intent, Memorandum of Economic Financial Policies, and Technical Memorandum of Understanding’ (18.05.2016) link:
NMS – ‘CLARIFICATION ON FUNDS RELEASED TO NATIONAL MEDICAL STORES (NMS) FOR PROCUREMENT, STORAGE AND DISTRIBUTION OF ESSENTIAL MEDICINES AND HEALTH SUPPLIES (EMHS)’ (16.07.2017) link: https://www.nms.go.ug/jdownloads/Press/NMS%20Full%20pg%202017.pdf
New Vision – ‘Clarification on Allegations that US$200 million meant to procure medicines for health centres and implement Rural Electrification Projects Went Missing’ (17.07.2017) link: https://www.newvision.co.ug/digital_assets/fa485f48-5a96-4b7b-be1a-3969e7a45cc3/9-Min-of-finance.pdf
World Bank – ‘Uganda Economic Update 8th Edition, january 2017 – Step by step Let’s solve the finance puzzle to accelerate growth and shared prosperity’ (January 2017) link: http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/662191486394023103/pdf/112621-WP-P161699-PUBLIC-UEU-8TH-edition-final-for-web.pdf