Showing posts from 2014

Bugala island gets new ferry

Kalangala Infrastructure Services [KIS] has delivered a second ferry to boost marine transportation services between Bukakata in Masaka and Luuku landing site on Bugala Island. The MV Ssesse, which awaits commissioning, arrived at Port Bell for inspection last week. John Opiro, the managing director of KIS, said the “delivery of the second ferry is tangible evidence of our ability to deliver on our promises and that the project is reaching the maturity stage thereby increasingly benefiting the islands inhabitants.” He continued: “The power plant (which KIS operates) is already serving parts of Kalangala town, the road is being worked upon and the water project is already serving a large portion of the island’s residents. We are confident that once all the four project components have been completed, Bugala island will be a very different place with infrastructure and services comparable with those on the mainland.” With the breakdown of both the MV Kalangala and MV Amani, traders hav…

Shs 43bn to boost logistics, transport

TradeMark East Africa (TMEA)  has launched a $16m (about Shs 43bn) fund, dubbed the Logistics Innovation for Trade (LIFT), for innovators who can develop a strategy to reduce the cost and time of transporting goods within East Africa. The fund is expected to spur innovative solutions to the problems the logistics and transport industry faces in order to improve trade competitiveness within the region.
Isaac Njoroge, the manager of the fund, said: “The challenge fund comes in to help private businesses and innovators mitigate risks… LIFT recognizes the ability of the private sector to innovate, to produce new products that can transform the lives of people not only in Uganda but throughout East Africa.” He was speaking at the launch of LIFT at Protea hotel this week. East Africa is reported to have the highest freight and transport costs in the world. Transport costs for landlocked countries such as Uganda can be as high as 75 per cent of the value of exports, experts say. These costs…

GET FiT to attract private investors

Uganda could attract more private investment into its energy industry as a result of the partnership between the Electricity Regulatory Authority [ERA] and Global Energy Transfer for Feed-in-Tariff [GET FiT], the chief executive officer of ERA, Dr Benon Mutambi, has said. Mutambi said GET FiT’s inclusion of solar energy into the energy mix would increase the country’s electricity production capacity and widen access to power, which at less than 15 per cent of the country’s 35 million people, is one of the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa. “This programme is expected to leverage approximately $375m in private finance of renewable energy generation projects. Overall, GET FiT will attract more than $450m of private investment into Uganda, thereby reducing transmission losses and stabilizing the grid,” Mutambi is quoted in a statement. He continued: “By introducing a new technology to the generation mix, Uganda’s dependency on hydropower is reduced, making the country’s electricity supply mo…

Signet to manage digital migration

Signet Uganda has been handed the contract of distributing digital signals countrywide as the long-awaited deadline of switching from analogue to digital broadcasting draws closer. Rose Namayanja, the minister of Information, said recently that Signet is expected to be professional in its distribution and that the company’s impact should be felt countrywide. “We expect equitable and non-discriminatory service delivery to all content providers. Signet is coming at a time when the public is yearning for information on various aspects, and I expect that this information will be disseminated very professionally,” she said, during the launch of Signet Uganda at Serena gardens in Kampala. Signet Uganda was handed the contract after some electronic media operators protested against leaving signal distribution entirely to the national broadcaster, Uganda Broadcasting Corporation, who they felt was a competitor. UBC, which was earlier given the role of sole signal distributor, decided to sepa…

URA recoups Shs 25bn from tax evaders

Uganda Revenue Authority continues to tighten its grip around tax evaders with the tax body’s enforcement team recording a Shs 25bn recovery in unpaid tax between November 2013 and October 2014. The money recovered is higher than the Shs 24bn recorded in financial year 2012/2013. The tax body announced that the recoveries were made on goods worth Shs 52bn. James Kisaale, the assistant commissioner, Enforcement, URA, said under valuations still remained a major challenge especially now with the advent of technology. “Enforcement actions against outright smuggling have made it very difficult for most people to engage in that business. We still have those who are bold. Many of them [tax evaders] think they can deal with the advantage of technology,” Kisaale said. He was speaking to the press at the URA head offices in Nakawa last week. URA’s team seized up to 5,635 items from which it made its recovery. The biggest swoop happened in May, when URA’s team grabbed 581 items and made a reco…

MTN to deal with spam messages

MTN Uganda has put up what it calls a Content Management Solutions [CMS] system to deal with all the complaints from customers over unwarranted text messages, which had cost some of them money.
According to MTN, the feature will enable MTN customers to accept or stop promotional messages and alerts to subscribe to information such as news, sports, relationship tips and service updates among others. Brian Gouldie, the CEO of MTN Uganda, said the initiative was launched to address the several complaints raised by the customers. “We are very mindful of the concerns our customers have continued to raise about the spam messages they receive from content providers, and hence have taken the initiative to give them the power to take control,” Gouldie said. He was speaking recently during a press conference at MTN’s business centre at Nyonyi gardens. MTN is implementing a 30-day programme where customers will have an option to select ‘continue’ if they wish to receive the subscription notifica…

Vivo Energy introduces eco-friendly fuel oil

BY ALI TWAHA Vivo Energy Uganda, the company that distributes and markets Shell-branded fuels and lubricants, has launched an eco-friendly heavy fuel oil, which targets the manufacturing sector.
The new fuel oil, Shell FuelOil Plus, is aimed at enabling manufacturers improve their boiler efficiency, lower their plant running and maintenance costs, according to Vivo Energy. Hans Paulsen, the managing director of Vivo Energy Uganda, said: “We are cautious about what is emitted to the environment, thus the efforts to develop this advanced oil type that reduces fuel-related emissions such as black smoke, soot and carbon dioxide.” He was speaking at the launch of the product at Serena hotel in Kampala last week. He continued: “Fuel oil never burns completely and with time, industrial equipment can become less reliable as the build-up of deposits can lead to efficiency loss or costly maintenance. Vivo Energy is committed to ensuring that these deposits are properly managed and the environm…

MTN to compensate data customers

MTN Uganda will compensate data customers who have lost money through the multiple data activations they experienced over the last few months, Brian Gouldie, the chief executive officer of MTN Uganda, said. “We learnt of the problem our data customers have been facing and we have for the last ten days been fully engaged to identify the problem. MTN has grown by 50 per cent year in year out and the volumes of transactions have increased, and that’s why we have to upgrade the system to support our customers’ needs,” he told journalists at MTN towers in Kampala.

The monetary value of the data activations is not known, and neither is the compensation package. Data services are increasingly becoming a strong revenue base for telecom companies as internet penetration continues to deepen in the country, although the money from the voice services is still higher.

Gouldie attributed the system instability to the large customer base the company is handling. MTN, the biggest telecom firm in ter…

Fallacies in Uganda’s tax policy criticised

The assertion that increasing indirect taxes will help in widening the narrow tax base by establishing taxes on basic food items is a fallacy, Kigo Thinkers [KT] have said.
While addressing journalists recently at Shanghai restaurant in Kampala, Oskar Musoke, a founding member of Kigo Thinkers, said increasing indirect taxes will not widen the tax base. “The common belief is that government has the powers to decide and the citizens are resigned to government telling them what to do,” he said, adding: “It should, therefore, be contested whether government ever makes laws or policies with the citizens as the primary beneficiary.” Musoke cited government’s policy of taxing the citizens to keep the status quo as opposed to taxing them to bring about social transformation. He said such contentions should raise the question of good governance in the country. In the 2014/2015 national budget, government terminated exemptions on agro-inputs. Exemptions on interest income earned …

NSSF becomes East Africa’s biggest fund

Uganda’s National Social Security Fund [NSSF] is now the biggest fund in East Africa, according to the fund, which could make it one of the most sought-after institutions for finance. According to a statement from NSSF, which was released during the members’ meeting early this week, the fund’s current asset base of  Shs 4.4 trillion ($1.7 billion) as at June 30, 2014, outstripped NSSF Kenya ($1.6bn) and NSSF Tanzania $1.3bn. “NSSF Uganda has become the benchmark for the industry both within and outside the East African region. Our performance over the last four years has laid the foundation for our future,” NSSF Chairman Ivan Kyayonka said at the meeting. Geraldine Ssali, the acting managing director of NSSF, said the asset base widened as a result of the improvement in compliance. She said the fund’s asset has grown by more than 150 per cent over the last five years. She said annual total contribution more than doubled to Shs 638bn in 2014 from Shs 295bn in 2010.  She said companies…

RVR gets locomotives

The Rift Valley Railways (RVR) has received three new electric locomotives as a measure to boost the industrial sector. The trains will increase RVR’s cargo haulage capacity to about one million tonnes, the company said in a statement. The procured equipments are part of a Shs 60bn purchase to acquire 20 locomotives that are expected in the country soon. The trains have the capacity to move 1,200 tonnes. Speaking at the function at RVR main offices in Kampala this week, the chairman RVR, Charles Mbiire, said it takes time to bring in such assets. “We had to reestablish the company, borrow and these are not things you pick from the shelves. We are not the only country that buys them [locomotives]. So, you have to order for them and sometimes they can take two to three years,” Mbiire said. Mbiire explained that a one-way trip from Mombasa to Kampala will now take less than four days, down from eight days

How pre-packaged goods fared during UNBS tests

A recent investigation by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) shone the spotlight on city supermarkets over the sale of rotten beef products. However, if an investigation by The Observer is anything to go by, then most of the pre-packaged commodities in the supermarkets at least come in the right quantities. On August 1, The Observer obtained samples of pre-packed products including sugar, milk, rice, and salt manufactured locally and availed them to Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) offices in Katwe for re-weighing. The household items were randomly selected from supermarkets around the city. The samples were only tested for quantity since the major objective of the survey was to determine the weights of such basic pre-packaged products used on a daily basis by people. Issues regarding quality and labelling were not considered during this investigation. Test results With its packaging stripped off, a kilo of Kinyara sugar posted a gross weight of 1,006.9gm, according to a…

Repeating fails hardworking students

Recently a student of Trinity College Nabbingo committed suicide after she was advised to repeat a class. The parents to this girl agreed with the teachers to repeat the student against her will. It’s alleged that this forced her to end her life. 
Some school teachers often make students repeat classes with intensions that they might catch up and better their grades. According to a research carried out by it was found out that, students who repeat a grade tended to be less likely to do their homework, they had more days absent from school, they tended to be a bit lower on the academic engagement and motivational scale, they were lower in academic confidence and they were lower in their general self-esteem.  

The system of repeating classes does work to students in their early years of schooling. Rather than seeing class repetition as a default opinion for under achievement. We should think of options that can be rolled out to keep a child with their peers. We should…

Let’s unite against the West

By Ali Twaha
The decision by President Museveni to sign the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law proved that he was ready to fend-off foreign influence.
As Ugandans, we are blessed with the value of culture. The West should be taught to respect our cultural and religious beliefs before luring us into contrary behaviours.

They have used human rights as a mask to whatever evil they want to push through.  We may need foreign aid, but I pray that our self-esteem continues to take precedence.

Irrespective of our religious affiliations, it is time for all Ugandans to unite and fight-off this satanic act.

Ali Twaha is a 2nd year student of Mass Communication  Islamic University In Uganda

Pre-marital sex dangerous

By Ali Twaha Evidence has shown that couples who wait until marriage to have sexual intercourse report more satisfying sex life than those who do the reverse. The degree of sexual damage people receive is mostly dependant on how they were sexually involved before marriage. Not everyone who has sex gets pregnant. Not everyone who has unprotected sex contracts HIV or other STDs. Yet enough people do repeatedly warn people of the potential dangers. Sadly, pre-marital sex, which can negatively affect people for the rest of their lives, is not given utmost attention. We need to re-programme the way we think about sex, beyond simply the fears associated with disease. Ali Twaha is a 2nd year student of Mass Communication  Islamic University In Uganda

A Word of Advice to Graduands and Varsity Rectors

By Ali Twaha 
A number of candidates will be graduating this year in various disciplines from different universities country wide. A total of 12,616 have already been passed out by the nation’s oldest university, Makerere and a mammoth more awaits their academic accolades through the week.
This is the season for guardians, students and instructors to wear big smiles especially when the results are overwhelmingly impressing.  After a period of 3-4 years of struggle, characterized by payments of huge sums of tuition fees coupled with accommodation costs, course work…you name it. Sponsors will breathe a sigh of relief to reach this “finishing line.” Graduation is a one way permit to face the world. University is a place where one has to learn how the world works globally. The piece of paper you receive today or tomorrow is a representation of 3-5 years of hard work. It is, therefore, paramount to remember, that there are other 30,000 or more about to receive that same piece of paper. 
As y…

You and your TV are family.

By Ali Twaha

It was 6:45 pm when she signed-out from her usually tiring job. Darkness was beginning to shove light away. Stuck in the gridlock and her mind only hooked on the clock at the front of the car, her face looked worried and even when she regaled her mind with facebook from her smart phone, still she seemed anxious.  
Twenty minutes later, she got back home, ready to watch her favorite soap opera as she normally does on a daily basis, in a jiffy after opening her door, her eyes soaked in tears and her face soiled with sadness. She had been robbed while at work. There were many things stolen but what hurt her most was the Samsung flat screen she was sent by the fiance living abroad as a birthday present. Each time she remembered her lovely program on the giant screen, she relapsed into sorrow. The house felt so empty and forlorn without a TV. The television meant a lot to her. She is not alone, as our television sets have turned to be part of us in this age, given the programs…

The death of letter writing

BY Ali Twaha

The youth today with the advent of the social media facebook, twitter, instagram you name it. Society especially youth have gotten lazy with letter writing. The effect of social media is hitting hard on society. One may also be surprised that even undergraduates are not better writers themselves, majority cannot even write a simple comprehensive application letter for a job. The elites among members of the society tend to depend more on the internet and decided to shun the library. Youth are ever looking for a short-cut to pass information, feelings, opinions, thereby distorting the whole essence of communication.
So worrisome now is that the social media bug is hitting hard at our children (primary and secondary pupils) who have become so disinterested in letter writing, this has been one of the many reasons they don’t score good and passable grades at terminal examinations.
I want to submit that authorities in the education sector should compel schools across Uganda to m…