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Archive for the tag “UCOM”

Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL): New owner, clearly disconnected

Since March 2017, the Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL) have been struggling, it started even before then, but at that time. The state started to intervene, by the next month in April 2017. The state had already put the company under provincial ownership. Meaning, that the state took it over and has tried to find new ownership of this company. Something it hasn’t succeeded in. This all happened because of the Libyan crisis in 2011 and the frozen accounts of Libya Post Telecommunications & IT Company (LPTIC), which had a majority ownership in the UTL until that point. However, they didn’t get all out before March 2017. Even as there was a set-up a new board in the Company in fall of 2016. Even, with all of this, the UTL continues to live, but by mere state injections and not because it is viable for business.

Even after a year in May 2018, the Cabinet announced that they were looking for new owners, alas, meaning that the state wouldn’t have the major stake in the company. Why I am saying all this? Well, the news this week that Minister Evelyn Anite and government sources states this:

The source added that the government had created incentives to make the company more attractive. They include managing the backbone, wiping all the liabilities off the balance sheet, and that the government would take responsibility for the pension liability of more than Shs 30 billion to former UTL employees. Other liabilities that the government would take care of include the regulator’s fees and taxes. “All these wipe off the balance sheet and handed it [UTL] to you, clearly you can start from a clean slate.” the source said” (URN – ‘Gov’t offers to pay Shs 500bn UTL liabilities’ 20.04.2019, link: https://observer.ug/news/headlines/60467-gov-t-offers-to-pay-shs-500bn-utl-liabilities).

With this in mind, the state would clean the slate of the company, an embattled one who is fighting in a competitive market. Where it is directly competing against the mighty MTN and Airtel. Therefore, the UTL needs an decent upgrade, as it has been in a stalemate for years now. Where the lack of investment in the company and the debt it have already.

We can clearly see that the company is not so viable. The lack of interest and value is shown as the President even needed to direct the state ministries to use the UTL Internet Services and mobile phone services by a letter in January 2018. That is why, a year after that, the government sources are trying to connect it even more and juice it up. Even if it has little to offer.

The UTL doesn’t look solid or offering something of strong value for a buyer. As it has a strong competition and they are on point when concerning the telecom infrastructure, which the UTL haven’t the ability to afford to do or invest in. Therefore, the next owner has to pick up, where the Libyan owners left off. Since, the state haven’t done anything else, than keeping it alive. Peace.

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Hon. Evelyn Anite clearly doesn’t know the fair market regulation in the Communication Act of 2000!

 

“Speaking at the launch, the State Minister of Finance for Investment and Privatization, Hon Evelyn Anite praised UTL for taking the lead in spearheading such initiatives” (Uganda Telecom, 19.06.2017)

Honourable Evelyn Anite, the State Minister for Investment and Privatization, the one who was speaking on the 19th June 2017 at the Constitutional Square in Kampala. This is where she uttered words of special disgrace. Especially in a free-market ideology that the National Resistance Movement (NRM) has bought into with the Structural Adjustment Plan (SAP). Together with the privatization of all sort of markets. Uganda Telecom isn’t the only Cellphone provider or the ones delivering telephone services in Uganda. There are dozens owned by local and by foreign investors. These are all from MTN to Airtel, even Smile Telecom and others. These are in competition and is one of the most profitable industries in Uganda.

Therefore, just look into what the Privatization Minister said yesterday, which is interesting.

Once the managerial problems at Uganda Telecom have been fixed, Ugandans will be compelled to own a UTL Simcard just like having the national identity (ID) card Evelyn Anite, the outspoken State minister for Investment and Privatization has revealed” (…) “”It did not take us to get somebody from another country to come and fix what is [problems] in UTL. We’re not yet done but we are close by…I want to tell you something; that once we fix the problems in Utl, it is going to be compulsory for Ugandans to hold a UTL line just as it is for you to have a national ID, you must have a Ugandan line. That is the spirit of patriotism”, she said” (URN, 2017).

Sometimes, there should be given some public ethics and governance practices to fellow ministers, as their reach and their possible outreach of laws and proposals. Even the State Minister Anite should learn some parts of the Uganda Communications Act of 2000, which says: “56. Commission to encourage fair competition. The commission shall, in the performance of its functions under this Act, promote, develop and enforce fair competition and equality of treatment among all operators in any business or service relating to communication (Uganda Communication Act, 2000). So the laws abiding by the state itself, says it is supposed to be fair, but what is even more neat.

The Second section in Part X, which is worth looking at, since this is the exact part that the operators and the Minister totally forgotten or overlooked, if ever have read: “57. Prohibition of acts exhibiting unfair competition. An operator shall not engage in any activities, whether by act or omission, which have, or are intended to or likely to have, the effect of unfairly preventing, restricting or distorting competition in relation to any business activity relating to communications services. Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), an act or omission referred to under that subsection shall include— any abuse by an operator, either independently or with others, of a dominant position which unfairly excludes or limits competition between the operator and any other party; entering any agreement or engaging in any concerted practice with any other party, which unfairly prevents, restricts or distorts. competition; or (c) the effectuation of anticompetitive changes in the market structure and, in particular, anticompetitive mergers and acquisitions in the communications sector. Neither the Uganda Telecom Limited nor any of its affiliates shall hold or acquire an ownership interest in the second national operator or its affiliates. Neither the second national operator nor its affiliates shall hold or acquire an ownership interest in the Uganda Telecom Limited or any of its affiliates” (Uganda Communication Act, 2000).

So the idea of the State Minister of Privatization are actually thinking of making provisions for the failing state-owned company Uganda Telecom, to get all citizens to have sim-cards and making them costumers in the midst of free-market and also in the midst of all competitions. This is clearly a massive breach of the law and these pieces of legislation. You don’t need to be a scholar or a man of wisdom to understand the possible problems of UTL. This clearly can be seen as limiting the competition and the other companies, as the state only in this way looks into UTL and not helping the other companies. Because she didn’t say all citizens should have MTN and Airtel too, only mentioned UTL.

This is not enforcing free and fair competition and equality of treatment between them. The words of State Minister Evelyn Anite isn’t enacted or become law, even a motion to Parliament. But shows the disregard for functioning law by the own Parliamentarians. That is clearly needed and Speaker Rebecca Kadaga should get the functioning staff to teach their fellow MPs. So they know their laws and provisions within their departments. This so they don’t create these sort of embarrassment, which Anite has done yesterday and revealed today. If not maybe a NRM Caucus at Kyankwanzi could be a learning seminar instead of bashing in the glory of the President and his controlling ways. Peace.

Reference:

URN – ‘Uganda: UTL Simcards to Become Mandatory for Ugandans – Anite’ (20.06.2017) link: http://allafrica.com/stories/201706200332.html

URSB: Press Statement on Provisional Administration of Uganda Telecom Limited (28.04.2017)

Libya: Regarding recent development concerning UTL (03.03.2017)

Government Takeover of Management and Affairs of Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL) – (01.03.2017)

utl-01-03-2017-p1utl-01-03-2017-p2

WikiLeaks – Relations between Uganda and Libya (Saga of Gaddaffi and Museveni)

Museveni start as President in 1986:

On the 29th of January 1986 Yoweri Museveni was inaugurated as president, who in the last week battled for the capitol city Kampala and overthrow of Tito Okello. Museveni himself on the matter: “Mere Change of Guards” (…)”Nobody is to think that what is happening today, what has been happening in the last few days is a mere change of guards” (…)”This is not a mere change of guards. I think this is a fundamental change in the politics of our government” (…)”Any individual, any group or person who threatens the security of our people must be smashed without mercy” (…)”The people of Uganda should only die from natural causes which are not under our control” (Rule, 1986). Museveni’s thoughts on democracy: “the right of the people of Africa” and about government: “the masters but the servers of the population”. He continued: “The solution is to have enough strength to ship the whole garbage and put it where it belongs, on the garbage heap of history” (Rule, 1986).

Libyan support for NRA/NRM:

“Idi Amin’s former Minister of Finance, Brig. Moses Ali, along with an economist, Dr. Suleiman Kiggundu, Ugandan Muslim clerics Shiekh Ali Kulumba and Shiekh Obeid Kamulegeya, and a businessman called Habib Hassan Kagimu are the men who introduced Yoweri Museveni, the leader of a news fighting group the National Resistance Army (NRA), to Gaddafi in 1981 and so started the Libyan sponsorship of the NRA guerrillas” (…)”Libya then started air dropping heavy field guns and rocket launchers into the NRA camps in Luwero Triangle in central Uganda in 1982, greatly boosting the NRA guerrillas and making possible their victory in Jan. 1986” (…)”Brig Ali was in jail in Kampala when Gaddafi first visited Uganda led by Museveni in 1987. Ali had to be taken out of jail after Gaddafi asked about his whereabouts” (…)”In the early days of the new NRM government, several officers and men of the new national army, the National Resistance Army (NRA) were sent to Libya for military training. Gaddafi also helped supply the Rwandan guerrillas, the RPF, with weapons in 1990 in the early stages of their invasion of Rwanda. The Libyan weapons were airlifted into Uganda and then the Museveni government passed them on to the RPF rebels” (…)”When Uganda failed to repay money she owed Libya, the debt was swapped for Libyan shares in the Uganda Telecom phone company, the Crested Towers and National Housing and Construction Corporation housing estates in Kampala and the Windsor Lake Victoria Hotel in Entebbe” (Dispatch, 2011).

In the 1986 – Creating an oil company:

Libyan has sent a trade delegation (both medical and financial teams). President Museveni has discussed to have a Joint Holding Company with Doctor Mukhtar. Both Government of Uganda and Government of Libya announced that their examining opportunities to set up an Oil Company. Since 1979 war against Amin the Libyan Peoples Bureau had 6 six employees, the staff has now a higher profile in Kampala. Ugandan government is naïve about it, but the largeness of Libyan interference in the oil company, Uganda can still control it through. Government of Uganda is in to secure oil supply and also setting up a company, because of NRMs distrust in the operations of the multinational capitalism. This company is to secure the supply of oil, in that they also would like to be a part of the Mombasa Refinery from the Government of Kenya (WikiLeaks, 1986).

Suits Museveni well:

The Libyan style of leadership where it’s all centered on the president. If Museveni need to be accommodated in any manner, he can just pick up a phone and call the Cornel Gaddaffi. The Americans describes the Libyans as radicals and calls Museveni’s action towards them as a risk, for him and also the interest of USA (WikiLeaks, 1986).

Relation between Uganda and Libya in 2007:

Libyan Africa Portfolio (LAP) bought shares of 51% of the Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL). The shares were bought from UCOM a German, Swiss and Egyptian consortium. LAP has also bought other assets in Uganda. They gotten 60 % of the textile company Tri-Star and also was awarded with the tender to build the oil-pipe that goes from Uganda to Kenya. Museveni has promised Coronel Gaddaffi that he will not sell the unrefined oil. He has also praised Gaddaffi for his collaborated effort to support Uganda (WikiLeaks, 2007).

Relation between Uganda and Libya in 2008:

President Museveni said Libyan president Gaddaffi: “is a problem” and for his wish of making the “United states of Africa”.  He also commented on Gaddaffi’s “imitations” towards smaller and tinier African nations with bribes and pressure. This has led to that these nations haven’t participated as strongly or corporative in international forums, organizations like United Nation and international meetings. Because of the tension between Gaddaffi and Museveni, this has led to him having radar on his plane when he flies international airspace to get additional information of the airspace (WikiLeaks, 2008).

Relation between Uganda and Libya in 2009:

TamOil the Libyan owned company who is run by director Habib Kagimu. The company hopes that it gets the contract to build the pipeline between from El Doret, Kenya to Jinja, Uganda (WikiLeaks, 2009).

Museveni on Gaddaffi in 2011:

In his own words said Gaddaffi was wrong to support Idi Amin with weapons and arms. This he could use during the battles of the 70s (Museveni, 2011).

Mistakes:

He knows that Gaddaffi supported him because he was seen as Muslim country oppressed by Christians. The second mistake Gaddaffi did after Museveni’s reckoning: he was not polite in AU and respected the regional collaborations in Africa. If he could he would ‘Overrule’ it. The third mistake by the Cornell was to interfere in internal matters of others. Like his actions towards the kings in Uganda. Fourth mistake is that he was like other Arab leaders and did not support the cause of South Sudan. Also not a direct mistake but he commented that as a radical Gaddaffi didn’t distant himself enough from terrorism (Museveni, 2011).

Positives:   

First is that Gaddaffi always has had an independent approach to foreign affairs. Not being an Western countries, where he also did an effort to get rid of British and American Military bases. Second positive was how we able to use and rig the oil-prices, from the meager 50 cents a barrel to 40 dollars a barrel. Fourth is the economic progress of Libya. With that was the current time Museveni wrote in the value of GDP of $89, 03 Billion, which is the same size of South Africa in 1994 and the same time Spain (Museveni, 2011).

Thanks for reading. Peace.

Links:

Dispatch.co.ug – ‘Uganda’s long complicated relationship with Gaddaffi’ (07.04.2011) Link: http://www.dispatch.ug/ugandas-long-complicated-relatioship-with-gaddafi/1745/

Wanock, Frank & Conway, Patrick – ‘Post-Conflict Recovery in Uganda’ (1999) International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/World Bank

Link: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/WBI/Resources/wbi37152and37153.pdf

Rule, Sheila (NY Times) – ‘REBEL SWORN IN AS UGANDA PRESIDENT’ (30.01.1986) Link: http://www.nytimes.com/1986/01/30/world/rebel-sworn-in-as-uganda-president.html

Yoweri Kaguta Museveni – ‘Article on the Libyan crisis’ (20.03.2011) Link: http://www.scribd.com/doc/51285348/Museveni-attacks-West-over-Libya

WikiLeaks – ‘MUSEVENI AND THE RADICAL MUSLIMS’ (16.07.1986) Link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/86KAMPALA2314_a.html

WikiLeaks – ‘UGANDA: MARCH ECONOMIC REVIEW’ (14.03.2007) Link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/07KAMPALA457_a.html

WikiLeaks –‘A/S FRAZER’S JUNE 13 MEETING WITH UGANDAN PRESIDENT MUSEVENI’ (18.06.2008) Link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/08STATE65820_a.html

WikiLeaks – ‘UGANDAN PRESIDENT SEEKS OIL SECTOR SUPPORT IN IRAN’ (04.07.2009) Link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09KAMPALA561_a.html

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