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Archive for the tag “Republic of Uganda”

Opinion: RDCs getting cars isn’t governing, but a cheap trick!

The Minister for Presidency, Esther Mbayo has given out 65 cars to Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) from different regions to improve on service delivery. The RDCs who received the cars on Thursday constitute 50% of the total number of Resident District Commissioners currently deployed in the country” (Muhamad Matovu – ‘Minister Mbayo Gives 65 Cars To RDCs From Different Regions’ 22.11.2019).

There are 135 districts, which is operative in the Republic. This is November 2019. There will come more districts in 2020 and so-on. As the Republic is made into smaller and smaller units as political favours and for personal gains of the political elite. That is well-known, as well as a measure done to establish good grounds of new constituencies with no voting history ahead of any given election.

With this in mind, there is an up-coming election in 2021. It is not the first time the National Resistance Movement (NRM) run government have given cars to its officials. They are not only giving that to the MPs and the cabinet, but also anyone in association with the State House. Therefore, the State House and the Parliament should have a car-lot and a car-dealership, if they were supposed to run it smoothly and cheaper.

Because, back in 2015, the state bought 111 cars for District Chairpersons. Therefore, this sort of enterprise happens on near-regular basis. Just as the state bought cars for the CPC in Parliament in this calendar year. So, this is a business the state knows and deals with a lot.

The special thing about this, is that service deliver is important with a car. Not with a mandate or actual factual work that the RDCs do. The Residential District Commanders, the ones overseeing and oversight of the government works in the districts. This is 65 cars and in total, that is 50% of the appointed RDCs. This means there is 130 districts who has RDCs by what the Mbayo states. That means the state lacks funds, manpower and appointed leadership for 5 districts alone. Which is a rare move.

The President has the opportunity to give broader mandate, to give funds and opportunities to the RDCs to actually do more. But thinking a car would make a big difference is naive. As they have the same mandate, the same lacking structure and weak local government. Just today, the President and the state gives state officials cars, instead of building viable institutions.

The state is acting like a car dealership, not a governing institution nor following up on obligations in the districts. This is a cheap ploy for poor districts, for lacking funds and for not investing in all the created micro local-government units, which is now 135 districts and so-on. Where the RDCs and others has supervision and mandates to work. Therefore, there should be more than cars and more than a quick fix, which this is and nothing else.

To buy 65 cars will not fix the districts, it will only give for a short amount of time, mobility for some few persons in association with the RDCs. It doesn’t make the roads being built, schools being furnished nor town halls run properly. That is done over budgets, policies and actual governing being done.

To govern is an art and giving away cars isn’t building a nation, it is only cheap fix. You don’t give an alcoholic an beer, you take them to rehab and stops the availability to beer. Instead, here the state gives another beer and hope that it doesn’t catch on. Sooner or later, these cars will have a breakdown. As the cars are hit by driving miles upon miles every year.

Therefore, this isn’t it. Other than a rundown, over used idea, which isn’t scratching the surface. Peace.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Uganda’s Position on the Situation in Hong Kong (03.10.2019)

OTT Tax: Totally failed its supposed revenue targets in 2018!

Today, the Uganda Communication Commission released their annual sector performance report of July 2019. It was really a bit funny look, as the state, the President and all of his handlers said the Over-The-Top Services would create a tax-base and revenue, which would benefit the state. That is why Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) had set up targets to streamline these new taxes.

I will show more of the fun and explain, as the UCC report really shows how malfunction and lack of due diligence hurt. But first a previous calculation, which was stated to the media. To show how much lack of tax-base the OTT had in 2018, as it was implemented in July and keeps pushing to this date.

Look:

Daily Monitor Reports: “Government collected Shs20.5b from social media in the last quarter ended September, according to data obtained from Uganda Revenue Authority. The tax, which was implemented in July, was however, less than the Shs24.9b target that URA had hoped to collect in the period. URA has a monthly target of Shs8.3b. The tax was introduced in the Excise Duty amendments of financial year 2018/19 requiring all social media users to pay Shs200 per day, before accessing certain platforms such as Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter, among others. Government intends to collect about Shs100b before the end of the 2018/19 financial year” (Christine Kasemiire – ‘OTT raises Shs20b in first quarter, URA fails on targets’ 07.11.2018).

Let’s first do the math, accordingly, as the URA monthly target is 8,3bn shillings in revenue, every single month. A quarter of a Financial Year is 4 months. In today’s UCC report, it shows the numbers for the Q3 and Q4 of 2018. Which means, that states revenue from July-September and October-December in the previous years. By these standards its 8,3bn X3 to get the supposed of any given Q. That is 24,9bn shillings is estimated to earn per quarter.

However, the UCC report states that in the Q3, the revenue was 12,696,558,400 or 12,6bn shillings which is only about half of the anticipated revenue. The final quarter or Q4 isn’t much better:12,952,833,800 or 12,9bn shillings. Of the estimated earnings, the state is nearly able to gain about half of its target. The market and the consumers are not contributing or using the phones as much as they thought. What is striking if you combine the two quarters of revenue is that the state earned approximately 25,5bn shillings, which is sadly just above one quarter estimate of the URA in supposed revenue on this tax. The estimated earnings of the period would be about 49,8bn and this shows the state managed a deficit of about 24,3bn shillings. That is about on quarters earning not happening at all. Thats a giant shortfall of cash and the URA/UCC needs to explain the Ministry of Finance this one, because this a major loss of promised funding for the state.  

This shows how failed this tax is and what a waste of enforcement and making the tax in its first place. This isn’t fun and games, but a way of misusing power to tax people, just because you find something obnoxious. That is how it seems, since the President want to stop the gossip online and such. Stop spreading of information and ensure that poorest cannot afford to get online and use the OTT services. Because, that what this tax does. Peace.

Uganda: Press Statement – Justification of procurement of OTT services for Members of Parliament (16.05.2019)

Uganda: Ministry of Internal Affairs – Press Statement – False Allegations that Diosdado Cabello (Venezuelan) used a Ugandan Passport to Evacuate Tito Cabello to China (01.03.2019)

Chapter Four: Towards Inclusivity (01.03.2019)

MTN Uganda Not Subjected to an ISO Raid on Friday 15 February 2019 (16.0.2019)

MTN Uganda Scandal: Why are all of these people deported?

There are speculations going on there as the biggest Telecom Company MTN Uganda Limited have been under fire since the midst of January 2019. This has been shown over the recent month, as the leadership and executives have been deported. By my count since mid of January, there been four people.

The three firsts was addressed like this by MTN Group:

MTN Uganda has not been officially notified of the grounds for these arrests and deportations and is trying to establish the precise reasons for the deportations. We are understandably concerned about these developments and the wellbeing of all our employees. MTN Uganda is fully committed to respecting and operating within the laws of the country. Notes to the editor: On Saturday, 19 January 2019, the MTN Uganda Chief Marketing Officer, Olivier Prentout, was arrested by police at Entebbe airport upon arrival from a business trip abroad. On the morning of Monday 21 January 2019, the MTN Uganda Head of Sales and Distribution, Annie Bilenge Tabura, was arrested by unidentified security personnel upon arrival at the MTN headquarter offices, in Kololo, Kampala. Subsequently, both Mr Prentout and Mrs Bilenge have been deported from Uganda to their home countries, France and Rwanda respectively. On the 22 January 2019, Elza Muzzolini, Head of Mobile Financial Services was also deported from Uganda. – Issued by MTN Group Regulatory and Corporate Affairs” (MTN Group, 23.01.2019).

Therefore, three people has already been deported, this being Prentout, Tabura and Muzzolini. They have all been banished from the Republic. Today, it has escalated again, as CEO Wim Vanhelleputte, whose also has been interrogated and been questioned by ISO/CMI during January 2019. Was today on the 14th February 2019 deported to Belgium by the authorities.

Clearly, the state is retaliating, as they are fearing for their safety and the data shedding the company is doing. As there been speculation that the company has had disgruntled staff leaking intelligence to Rwandan Intelligence Service. This has been reported by various of online news-outlets. Therefore, some thinks it is connected to this, that the President and the regime is afraid of this. That is why these people are all deported from the Republic.

It is clear, that there something going on behind the scenes. As the Security Organizations summons, interrogate and deport MTN executives from the Republic. This is happening, as the state are trying to silence the MTN or stop leaked intelligence to Rwanda. We don’t know if that is true or what. But what we do now, is that the Ugandan government and authorities are acting swiftly and retaliates against the high-ranking officials within the Telecom. Peace.

The Media is under siege in Uganda!

There is no joke, there is no play in concern for the journalists in the Republic of Uganda. This can be said after the Uganda Communications Commission yesterday has suspended the Daily Monitor Online Newspaper after publishing a traditional healer story connected with the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga on their pages in the end of January.

As that is happening, today, there was arrest of Next Media Limited, which are behind the NBS Television, who has arrested the wife Vivian Serwanjja of senior investigator Solomon Serwanjja, also arrested Kassim Mohammed, Rashid Kaweesa and Godfrey Badebye from the BBC TV. All of them gotten arrested today. As they were working on an investigation into government drugs and the black market trading in the Republic.

As that is happening, the journalists Raymond Wamala (Spyreports Uganda), Bob Atwiine (Spyreports Uganda), John Njoroge (CEO Magazine), Richard Wanambwa (Eagle Online) and Andrew Irumba Live (Spy Uganda) have been summoned by CID to be at the Police HQ tomorrow. Tomorrow they will be questioned and interviewed by the Police for certain stories they have posted or published. As they have been critical of the regime and what they are claiming. All of these has been there before, as the state tries to intimidate them from doing investigative reporting.

As, we see, it is a pattern, that repeats itself. Every-time someone digs deep or tries to uncover the truth. The state answer with intimidation, arbitrary arrests and even taking people hostage, like they have done in Vivian’s case. Today, Solomon has been hiding, therefore, the state took Vivian in instead. That is how they deem fair treatment of citizens and of the ones possibly exposing the oppression and unjust in society. While doing that, they themselves become criminals and outlaws. As they are just doing their job and trying to report on the events and acts that is done in the Republic.

The media is just telling what they are seeing, they are just exposing and revealing what information they are gathering and finding. They are not trying to make a situation look different than it is. They are trying to reports and explain the background and the context to all the acts that is done in the Republic. If the Republic and government has nothing to fear, then they should not fear journalists. But if the ills of society comes from the government, than the journalists will find it, as they dig into the realities and society they are apart.

Nevertheless, reporting and journalism isn’t a crime, they are just painting the canvass, they are not trigger the gun, but explaining why the person used the gun and the possible reasons for why the person used it in the first place. They are just painting the story, they are not creating the stories. That is reality, that is why these arrests, which isn’t new. The summoning of others, isn’t new either. In the middle of December 2018, the same people was summoned by the CID. So, they are doing it again, apparently.

The BBC has gotten arrested at Abim Hospital and in Kasese in recent years, as they were reporting both during the Campaign before the General Election. Also, as the Special Force Command was burning down the Palace in Kasese. I even remember the journalist outside of Besigye house in Kasangati, Wakiso, as Besigye was house-arrested. He was taken directly, as he was filming it live and was detained while he was on air. That was right after the General Election of 2016. These are just some quick examples, where the authorities has silenced the media. Because, they want to keep to people in the dark.

The Police continues to do this, the authorities wants this, but they are clearly sending the message, that they want to keep the public in the dark. Peace.

The 200 Shillings of Doom: Tumwebaze mixed messages concerning the Social Media Tax!

We knew that the statements of 2018, as the loyal ICT Minister Frank Tumwebaze hadn’t done his due diligence, as the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoPED) issued a Social Media Tax last year after President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni wrote a letter to the Ministry of Finance asking for the opportunity to tax this.

That has no been done over the last few months, but as the realization of the effects are coming. The forewarning of CSBAG and others wasn’t listen to. I wrote that it lacked due diligence of the tax in June 2018 and today. As I open Daily Monitor and seeing that Frankie Boy has changed his ways. He has opened his eyes and seeing what some of us saw all along. As the cost of content, the cost of using social media and that this has ensured that it is less viable. Since, its the elites who can use it, but the lower level civil servants cannot afford to be online. That was natural, that the 200 shillings per day would be taken directly of the plate and also evaporate funds for investment within the Republic. It is a negative tax, and therefore, naturally have reverse effect, than what the state promised when they levied it.

Tumwebaze statement in July 2018:

When Ministry of Finance is borrowing, we, the Parliament and civil society are grilling them for borrowing. But when we say this is a sector that has grown in the economy so let’s get a bit of it, let’s get Shs. 6,000 from every holder of a smartphone consuming OTTs, what production capacity will it stifle?” (…) “Is USD 1,4 too much for a citizen to contribute to tax yet you have money to buy a smartphone, minimumly at Shs. 300,000 that is data enabled, and you load bundles of over shs. 30,000? Logically it doesn’t make sense” (Frank Tumwebaze, 17.07.2018).

Tumwebaze statemetn in January 2019:

The committee chaired by Annet Nyakecho said Over The Top tax seems to negatively affect the consumption of ICT services and products. In response, ICT Minister, Mr Frank Tumwebaze admitted that the tax is has had adverse effects on the sector. He said they were “hoodwinked” by their counterparts in the Finance Ministry that the introduction of the tax on the basis that it would widen the country’s revenue base” (Ssebuliba, 2019).

ICT Minister Tumwebaze was so positive and thinking this was the future. This was how to widen the tax-base, but instead. It has as expected made the usage of Social Media expensive. Which means also there is lack of funds for the ones operating within the Social Media and making Online Businesses. This is both happening because of the hard hitting taxes on Social Media, but also the Mobile Money Tax. Both taxes has both the Mobile Money Industry and the ICT development, as they are both having less activity and less usage. Which is natural, when the costs are going up.

The ICT Minister should have known this before speaking so warm about it. Any tax are taking money out of the system. The 200 shillings of doom is clear. The state could have listen to the advice, but didn’t open the ears to it.

In June 30 2018, Daily Monitor reported this: “Civil society organisations have accused the government of trying to stifle debate online with this tax, while others like the Civil society Budget Advocacy group CSBAG, say the tax will have a negative impact on a business.” (Hinamundi, 2018).

So, if the ICT Minister Tumwebaze could have known and stopped this. They could have done the right thing and not continued this path. Instead they have hurt the industry, because they are all blindly following the orders of the President. That is what the state did and they levied the 200 shillings of doom, as it was anticipated by anyone else. Than, the authorities itself. Peace.

Reference:

Samuel Ssebuliba – ‘Parliament orders assessment on impact of social media tax’ 18.01.2019, link: https://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Parliament-orders-assessment-impact-social-media-tax/688334-4940312-rph8g3z/index.html

Collins Hinamundi – ‘How government will collect the new social media tax’ 30.07.2018, link: https://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/How-government-will-collect-new-social-media-tax/688334-4639596-juy8n3z/index.html

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