Auditor General Report says the government lacks ‘Fleet Management’

This is really special, unique and utter brilliance. For a government and a ruling regime so addicted to cars/vehicles. The Auditor General Report is really stating the errors of the National Resistance Movement (NRM). The OAG is clearly not saving its words.

When it states: Management of government vehicles (Fleet management) is faced with a number of challenges, such as: inability to respond to national emergencies, like COVID 19; inability to support the delivery of public service by government entities; high government expenditure on purchase of vehicles; misuse of government vehicles; inaccurate vehicle management records; and a general lack of a comprehensive and standard government fleet management policy” (OAG, February 2021).

If you read those sentences… the challenges is the whole gig and set-up. There is nothing that is done correctly and neither is there any procedures to follow. That is the government of over 30 years for you. A NRM who is always in every election buying vehicles and gives away that to public officials. Therefore, they should have secured these things and ensured their ‘fleet’ which they clearly are not careful about.

Just in the last three years, 36 government entities bought a total of 677 vehicles with a total cost of 176 billion shillings. That is the average price of each vehicle for close to 260 million shillings each. While the COVID-19 donations to cars was only 38.98 billion shillings, which is used to acquire 202 vehicles. That is at a price of 192,5 million shillings for each vehicles. So, the prices on the cars have clearly gone down, but still expensive.

It is ironic that the Daily Monitor reported this earlier this year:

The industry price increase is estimated to be between 6.25 per cent and 9 per cent spread across all sizes and models. Uganda is a net importer with much of the country’s motor vehicle imports sourced from Japan, India, South Africa, UK and Germany. According to data from Uganda Revenue Authority earlier this year, a total of 5,188 units were cleared in December 2020, which was a 22 per cent increase from the 4,012 units in the previous month” (Dorothy Nakaweesi – ‘Prices of used cars increase 30.04.2021).

So, on that note alone the OAG report doesn’t make much sense. Unless, the state suddenly bought smaller cars and not just Toyota Land Cruisers with V8 or something similar. Now, they are buying Toyota Corolla’s or a Sedan, which is cheaper than a big SUV.

We know there is no proper guidance or protocol for the fleet or vehicles as earlier stated, as the OAG Report further says this:

Furthermore, I observed that 38 entities (76.0%) out of the 50 entities did not have a specific policy or guidelines on Motor vehicle management to guide the usage and eliminate theft, losses, wastage and misuse of motor vehicles. This was in addition to the absence of a comprehensive standardized fleet management policy of Government. Different aspects of government vehicles management are found in different policies and guidelines cited in various government documents, such as; the Uganda Public Service Standing Orders 2010, the Public Procurement and Disposal Act, 2014, and Treasury Instructions, 2017. This affects the entities’ ability to address the unique motor vehicle management challenges which may not be envisaged in the standing Orders and Treasury Instructions” (OAG February 2021).

So, the government haven’t any sort of idea what it needs to do, if the cars are lost, forgotten about or lack service. These cars can just dwindle or disappear into the thin air. Just like cars bought decades ago and suddenly found in a government organization parking lot dusting down. While the cars are falling apart without anyone knowing why and was a procurement deal gone bad or something. Therefore, this report isn’t shocking, but its proof of why this is a mismanaged cash-bonanza for the government entities.

To make things even worse, the OAG Report says this:

I noted that 33 of the selected entities holding a total of 4,979 vehicles spent UGX.123.4bn on vehicle maintenance, and had an increment of 35.3% of the average total maintenance costs per vehicle over the 3 year period. The increasing maintenance costs were attributed to the ageing fleet. For example, 1,794 vehicles (55%) out of 3,234 vehicles held by 27 entities had exceeded the recommended 5 years useful life or had their mileage above the recommended 250,000km” (OAG February 2021).

The Auditor General is clear in the message. Though this is only from 33 government entities and still shows a pattern. It also shows the massive car-park or fleet it has. Which is ageing just like the President and needs a peaceful transition to buy new ones. Since, the government is on a spending spree when it comes to vehicles.

That will clearly not stop as there is a possibility there is a need to downplay the value of the current fleet and even scrap the cars eventually… as they are not fit to be on the road. This here is another proof of no guidelines or planned procurement of the vehicles. As that is a short-term expense and not planned for what happens after a while. That’s how it looks and it isn’t shocking.

We can always remember the vehicles bought for the papal visit a few years back. Those cars was spent a small fortune on, but left behind. To never be seen and kept in a government parking-lot.

The OAG is just putting the truth out and this needs to be discussed, as this is horrible governance and misuse of government funds. They are wasting millions of shillings and cannot even take care of the car park it has created. Peace.

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.

Opinion: Chameleone needs to “pimp his ride” or just pay his taxes!

This is not the first time Jose Chameleone struggles to pay taxes. Jose has forgotten to this several of times. It is actually his M.O. and a thing he does. It is just his arrogance as he lives in a house on a hill and the rocky road to it. Makes him think that the Uganda Revenue Authority will not touch him.

In 2012 Jose got in trouble over a 2004 Toyota TX Prado, as he undervalued the car to URA and therefore the car got impounded by them. In 2014, the singer had to answer for back-taxes on his Cadillac Escalade , as he had tax-arrears on it. Also in 2016 the singer had tax-arrears on another Escalade.

Now in 2020, the same issues happens again. Now with his Toyota Land Cruiser V8. It is like this man doesn’t like to pay taxes or try to avoid it. Chamelone tries to run away from the tax-man. The man doesn’t want pay the state. This is how it seems, since he cannot manage to cough up for the cars he buys.

This is the third car he haven’t paid properly his dues. The man is incapacitated or ignorant of the levies of taxes on motor-vehicles. Seems, like someone needs to give the Mayoral Candidate a lesson or get him to meet URA. Since, this is something he repeats. He rewinds the same story, only to switch with car and what type of car. The rest is the same.

Chameleone can blame others, he can throw under the bus and say that URA is on a vendetta. However, most likely his lazy and his Team isn’t covering for the man. The auditor and the ones running Leone Island isn’t doing it well. Since, this continues to happen. If they have the same person running the books of the company. Than that man should get the axe and the singer hire someone new. Because, this practice is getting old.

You have three cars in questions of the years now.

First in 2012: Toyota TX Prado.

Second in 2014: Cadillac Escalade

Third in 2020: Toyota Land Cruiser V8

As we see, the theme continues with just another ride. He could either pimp his rides or do himself a favour. Pay the damn taxes and move-on like a grown man. You own things, now cough up the dough and let it be. Peace.

A look into the new URA Commissioner General John Musinguzi Rujoki

Today its official that John Musinguzi Rujoki is appointed as the Commissioner General for Uganda Revenue Authority. He takns now over after 5 years and 5 months of Doris Akol at the helm.

So, the appointed Commissioner General has been the Head of Finance and Audit at the Special Revenue Protection Services under the wings of IGP Kale Kayihura. That’s something he was until he became the Senior Presidential Advisor for ICT. Last year he was appointed the Chairman for NITA-Uganda. Therefore, this man has risen to the upper echelon. His now switching boards and chairs to the liking of the President.

Musinguzi has shown his loyalty in the past as a false witness in the rape case against Besigye in January 2006.

At the rape trial he said this:

DM: At 27, you were heading the department of audit and finance?

MJ: Yes

DM: To whom were you answerable?

MJ: Head of the unit.

DM: Who was this?

MJ: The current inspector General of Police, Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura.

DM: In your report line, did you have to report to the President?

MJ: Yes.

DM: Did you know the President before?

MJ: Yes.

DM: Prior to working with SRPS, were you known to the President personally or your family?

MJ: Yes.

DM: Was he known to your family?

MJ: He must be knowing the family because we come from the same county” (New Vision – ‘Details of Besigye rape case. DAY FOUR: Jan. 11, 2006’ 31.01.2006).

So, we know why his picked for the URA Commissioner General, as his a loyal waterboy of the President. Who the President knows and trust. That is why his been a Presidential Advisor and held responsibility for so long. His one of the cadre that will be used and also learned from Kayihura. Therefore, he has the qualities that the President looks for.

The appointment comes from the quasi-military outfit SRPS, which was important and lucrative. As it did cease contraband and smuggled goods. This was goods and valuables that could get “lost” and suddenly vanish. That is why there was questions about how the accounting about the SRPS and the “lost” billions shillings too. Also, how ceased goods like cars, tobacco and other valuables disappeared. Surely, these stories should haunt a former head like Rujoki. Not only his false testimony, which he did out of loyalty.

We can anticipate a loyal cadre, someone who will not even dare to insult the mind of the President. He follows the orders from above and will not question the President. He knows what happens if he does and he knows, if he stays loyal he will be compensated. Just like his been paid respectfully for the deed of being a false witness years ago.

Being the Chairman of NITA and now Commissioner General of URA. Surely, loyalty pays off. Gone from a hack inside SRPS to become a big-man in URA. If you know, now you know. 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.

Opinion: URA is striking at the taxes of opposition candidates ahead of 2021

The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Commissioner General Doris Akol has today stated that she intends to get every single candidate standing for elections in the 2021 General Elections to get a “Tax Clearance Certificate”. However, that is not implemented in any law nor regulation at this point. The Electoral Commission hasn’t said this is needed, as there is no protocol nor law assisting that.

That is unless, the Presidential Elections Act is revised before the election or is amended in time. However, the Presidential Election Act, Fourth Scheduled in the Annex of the law states this:

6.* (a) I have paid all taxes due from me; or

(b) I have made arrangements satisfactory to the appropriate

authority for the payment of my taxes. *(delete where inapplicable)”

(…)

*A commissioner for oaths, magistrate, registrar of the High Court (including deputy and district registrar) or other person authorised by law to administer oaths” (Presidential Election Act, 2000).

The other laws for candidates is to either not being detained for 9 months before the next election. Also, the proof that the person has not been bankrupt. As the candidate has to pay fees to stand as a candidate, which a price that varies on the various candidacies for a individual of a sound mind and being a Ugandan national.

Therefore, the URA could, if they may, be presiding officers, which preside over the oath and have commissioners that administer these oaths. That would be fair to the candidates, as there is no mention of certificates, neither in the Parliamentary Elections Act nor the Presidential Election Act. We can without further judgment …. say its not in the 1995 Constitution, as this is a made up ordeal of the URA Commissioner General Akol.

This is a clear target at opposition MPs, Presidential Candidates and whatnot. To make life harder for them and their candidacies. As they have to suddenly make moves to contact URA and then look over their taxes. This is giving way to the URA to even stop someone from standing, especially if they are finding discrepancies from the candidate.

So, will the Electoral Commission asks for oaths and who will be authorised to administer these oats within the Electoral Road Map of 2021? That should be put in print and they should start moving. Because, there is no mention of a certificate for it. That is a made up regulation, that only fits the mind of Akol.

As long as there is no legal text, no legal bound for the action made, the candidates should necessarily go through this. Unless, Gen. Kahinda Otafiire is writing a new amendment as we speak and wanting it rubber-stamped before dawn. Peace.

Opinion: OTT Tax on Data Bundles is like a dual-VAT

“URA Commissioner General Doris Akol told the Finance Committee of Parliament chaired by Henry Musasizi that the controversial OTT Tax will be charged directly on data instead of mobile money to curb the evasion” (NBS Television, 14.01.2020).

I wonder if Doris Akol has thought this through or is winging it? As she see the losses and lack of results, revenue or tax base with the 200 shillings of doom. The whole OTT Tax is to expensive for the public daily. Now, she wants to move it and indirectly tax it instead.

Surely, they will get revenue, but this will make it more expensive to buy data-bundles for the customers and make the packages more viable. VPN and similar networks to circumvent the usage and payments of the daily OTT Tax have beaten the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA). That is why URA does this now.

It is a sign of defiance and civil disobedience. They are trying to patch the hurt. But will this succeed? Will more try to only load data through Wi-Fi networks and wireless networks in general. Not load so much data on the go. Because, people are smart and tries to undercut extra taxes. Especially, when on the data is already paid VAT and the Mobile Company pay their taxes on the profits too.

Therefore, URA and Akol seems fishing. They will raise revenue, but also make the data bundles more expensive and with that stop plenty of people from buying bigger data bundles for surfing online on your smart-phone.

That is just the mere reality. It is a sign, yet again that the OTT is a failed project, who didn’t hit the targets and wasn’t measured right. If it was, the aim and the bargain wouldn’t be like this. That is not happening.

This method is a clever way of adding the costs of data, while charging for service not necessarily used. The OTT Services, which is the reason for why these are charged. Because, the data could be used for other things and therefore, is violating its attempt to make it costly for certain usage on online.

This is again, pushing one story, pushing one tax and trying to tax the public by any means. When the hook doesn’t work, they use the crook. Instead of doing directly, they want to do it indirectly and initially in some way adding a separate VAT on data-bundles masked as OTT Tax. That is really it.

We all know this, URA verify it today. That the only things certain in life is death and taxes. Thanks Akol for reminding us. Peace.

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