The UTL Saga: The state salvages the debt to resurrect the Walking Dead

This Mango has gone through a lot. A former state company sold to Libyan investors and after the Libyan credit started to fail. The Ugandan Telecom Company (UTL) or Mango started to suffer too. The Telecom have been so hard hit that three years ago the state had to take it over.

There been so many twists and turns, where the company have been rumoured and speculations. Even the Minister and owners was speculated to moved to a shell company in Mauritius. Therefore, today’s sudden windfall and paying off debts. Is only bailing out a sinking ship and hoping it still doesn’t sink.

The UGX 45.6 Billions to the TDB (Eastern & Southern Trade & Development Bank). With this payment of this debt. The state is initially taking over UTL. This as they plans to make the UTL attractive to investors again. Mango haven’t been viable for years…

The Libyan Post ditched in March 2017 and since then it has struggled. The Libyans said the Government of Uganda needed to figure out a transformation plan for the UTL. It has clearly taken three years to figure this out. That nobody wanted to takeover the loans of a company, which haven’t invested in Telecommunications in years. Where the changes of mobile data, 3G and 4G networks for smartphones. The UTL haven’t had the funds or the ability to change with the times.

UTL is struggling because the state haven’t been able to save it before now. The regime needed over three years to figure this out. This with the steady leadership of Evelyn Anite, Frank Tumwebaze and Gen. Kahinda Otafiire interfering all at different times. While they have all done their part … it still took the Committee until now to secure payment for the debts. This should have been resolved earlier, if they intended to make it viable business.

In 2017, Anite even wanted all Ugandans for Patriotic reasons should have one UTL line. Maybe, she thinks everyone has a Airtel, MTN and could have UTL sim-cards in their phones. As the usual person should have at least double or dual sim-cards.

This all been a long lasting saga, which shouldn’t take this long. It is a fledging company. A former state corporation privatized and sold for scraps to Libya investors. Who earned on it in the good times, but ditched it when it got hot. Because, it been years since the UTL been viable and been a commodity.

This Mango is rotten. The Mango tree isn’t yielding any fruits anymore. This is a Walking Dead Enterprise. A Telecom who has no traction and is only throwing good money for bad investments. The money could have been burned in a street or thrown down a storm-drain, and it would still have more sense then investing it here.

UTL is being saved, but was it worth saving? Does it have any assets or financial liabilities worth mentioning? The competitors are miles ahead and the UTL needs huge investments to be in the same arena. Do they think another investor will spend money like a drunk uncle in a market, which is already filled with big companies. Who has small margins and higher taxes.

Therefore, the ones doing it … has to be regime “friendly” and willing to throw away good money for a bad investment. Peace.

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.

Uganda Telecom Limited: President Museveni letter to Gen. Kahinda Otafiire – ‘Re: Administration of Uganda Telecom Limited’ (09.11.2019)

UCC: Suspension of all Sim Registration with the Use of Refugee Cards and Attestation Letters from OPM (07.10.2019)

Uganda Police Force: Police Investigates Minister’s Death Treats (26.08.2019)

Uganda Telecom Limited: Influence Peddling, Abuse of Office and Fraud in Relations to Administration of Uganda Telecom Limited by Honourable Evelyn Anite (09.08.2019)

Opinion: The fall of Evelyn Anite

She had it all, she was a golden child of the President, the former radio presenter from Koboko, who became the Youth Representative MP for the Northern Uganda in 2011 and became the incumbent winner in 2016. Evelyn Anite in her second term became also a State Minister for Investment & Privatization. Where she has now shown force, but maybe she’s aiming to high, a bit to fast.

That is why the recent months, she has both expressed pressure on the clean-up for ownership, audit of and transparency surrounding Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL). A company the government had sold to Libyan owners, but had to re-corporate and restructure after the fall of Gadaffi. Now, this has turned a bitter pill for the loyal subject and minister. She has lashed out and said the mafia is out after her.

Certainly, she has ruffed some feathers, she has questioned some big-men, which will not accept to be hassled with. Anite has with her quest to clear the slate of the UTL, she has surely gone into the hidden secrets within the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and the government itself. Where she should have stayed away. As the ones who does that, is the likes of Muhammad Kirumira, Andrew Felix Kaweesi and so on.

They did all say similar things like Anite. They were on the rise and was also saying there would be a moment of silence, if you pushed the forces of power in the Republic. That is what Anite now is stating too. She calls it a mafia running the government, that means she is directly a part of racket herself. Meaning, it was cool, when she was a “made man” within it, until she crossed within the boundaries and codes within the mafia. This is what it seems, because, why else would she blast and rant like this in the public?

Anite is now going far, but sounding more like the opposition, than someone who is government. She could be mixed with Besigye or Bobi Wine in this matter. There is similarities in the usage of words. Because, the tale of going after the walking dead within the UTL is to costly. That the NRM doesn’t want to show the dark-side of the business and how its done. This is why, she suddenly shouldn’t continue to pursuit it.

Anite is therefore, receiving the hardship, which is usually intended on the dissidents and not the ones whose loyal to the projects of the President and his cronies. Evelyn though she was made and part of the inner-circle. Instead, she has crossed a path, which the NRM doesn’t accept. That is why Ante is in trouble and shouts out so loud.

Instead of winning, she’s continue to loose. Anite isn’t succeeding …. she is failing and not finding her way out of the trouble that she has put herself in. She could have let it all go, because this is more a ego-boost and to prove her place within the hierarchy.

She was a soldier, a loyal subject and a “made-man” but not one of them. An outsider, who got a big position. Now she is afraid of the enforcers, as the confidants and the consigliere advice behind closed chambers, maybe has aimed at her. Because, she broken a secret code and added pressure on something she shouldn’t have.

That is why she has fallen, why she’s trailing. She hasn’t resigned or even backed away from the mafia. She’s still there and trying to get through. But will she? Will she end up like others whose been taken out or is she another Abiriga in the waiting?

We don’t know, but she surely has fallen from the pedestal and is now a commoner with a fancy title. Peace.

Uganda Telecom Limited: Hon. Evelyn Anite letter Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development – “Re: Audit of Uganda Telecom Limited” (02.08.2019)

Uganda Telecom Limited: President Museveni letter to Hon. Evelyn Anite – “Re: Audit of Uganda Telecommunications Limited” (16.07.2019)

Uganda Telecom Limited: Gen. Otafire letter to Registrar General of Uganda Registration Services Bureau – “Revamping of Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL) – (04.07.2019)