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|November 12th, 2011, 11:47 PM||#984|
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Littering laws to be enforced – Kabakumba
Publish Date: Nov 12, 2011
(L-R) Army spokesman Felix Kulaigye,KCCA boss Jennifer Musisi and Minister for Kampala Kabakumba M
By Juliet Waiswa
KAMPALA Capital City Authority (KCCA) will not hesitate to arrest anybody found littering in the city, Kampala Minister, Kabakumba Masiko has said.
Masiko said that on several occasions the public has blamed KCCA and government for the mess in the city yet it is everybody’s responsibility to keep their surroundings clean.
“As a ministry, if a law is amended to have a clean city we shall move along with KCCA. There are laws in place and we shall implement them."
"We need to transform Kampala into a modern city, which we can be proud of and this must start with us,” Kabakumba said.
Kabakumba made the remarks at the launch of the ‘Kampala City Yange’ campaign at the KCCA grounds on Friday. She said that Ugandans should move away from the habit of admiring other cities and appreciate Kampala by being part of the campaign to make it clean.
Kabakumba Masiko and Jennifer Musisi ready to release pigeons at the launch
The launch was done at 11am as a symbol of the 11/11/2011 historical date.
“Today we have launched the campaign in the city and we plan to move to other divisions to clear the drainage systems and garbage collection points,” she explained.
The executive director of KCCA, Jennifer Musisi warned all artistes, preachers, entertainers and musicians who place posters in the city that they are committing an offence, adding that KCCA enforcement officers will not hesitate to arrest anybody putting up posters within the city.
“We shall get the people putting up your posters and thereafter trace you as well. In fact, we have arrested some people and sent them to prison. There are laws in place prohibiting littering in the city and we are just enforcing these laws,” Musisi said.
She said that anybody who wants to advertise in the city needs to put up banners with consent from KCCA.
Musisi told owners of buildings to paint them regularly and urged the public to develop a culture of keeping their operational areas clean so as to maintain the city's cleanliness.
She called on the public to report car owners who litter the city during traffic.
Felix Kulaigye sign the Kampala City Yange great Wall during the launch
Army spokesman Lt. Col. Felix Kulayige said that this is an initiative that should go on.
“We have all loved to have a clean city and this is our best opportunity .Kampala is for everybody and not for the Lord Mayor or its executive director,” Kulayige said.
The 'Kampala City Nyange' drive is a private initiative that was started to promote a sense of ownership of the city by the city community.
|November 13th, 2011, 12:09 AM||#985|
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Electric ride??? Keep it!
Publish Date: Nov 08, 2011
The battery allows you to drive for 80km after which you have to take out your big pin charger and l
UGANDA'S first electric car, produced by the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology at Makerere University, was successfully test driven on Tuesday. While the whole nation was ecstatic about this invention, David Kiiza says hash it y’all.
Enough with the melodrama All of a sudden, there is nothing else that my friends from Makerere University can talk about besides the fact that they made a car.
All of a sudden, everyone wants to be noticed and yet most of them spent their time admiring the FIFA 12 videogame during lecture time and were completely and utterly useless to the cause.
I think they are the ones who have shaped my negative attitude to all this hogwash of a car being invented in Uganda. I have to admit that I too, was intrugued in the beginning.
That is why I put on my Lois Lane mask and headed to Makerere, which has now turned into a fully fledged pilgrim site. What I wanted to take a look at was supposed to be the said invented car that had cost about sh92.4m of taxpayers’ money.
I have still not come around to terms of calling it Kiira EV or Wandegs Motors (WM) so you will excuse me if I call it Invented Car (IC). If you are lucky, you’ll catch the IC making rounds on campus like it’s Formula 1 testing for the Makerere Grand Prix.
They called it Kiira Electric Vehicle (KEV) because of the first hydro-electric plant in Uganda, which is stationed at Kiira in Jinja. That’s the most sensible explanation that the students at Makerere College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology could come up with, apparently.
I am a bit slow at understanding presentations, so you guys will have to make do with my interpretation below of what makes the KEV different from other cars: It is completely electric.
Which means that it runs on batteries and turbine technology. This means that it has to be recharged. The battery allows you to drive for 80km, after which you have to take out your big pin charger and look for the nearest wall socket. The electricity it uses to charge if it is to cover the 80km is worth sh6,000.
In case you are not able to recharge it, the inventors covered all the bases on this one by making it lightweight. Making it convenient to be pushed or carried where need be. I have never been a big fan of two-seater vehicles, mainly because boda bodas creep me out so much, but I think I will make an exception for this one once it hits the market.
However, I would prefer a model in a more descent colour. I personaly do not believe that lemon green is the best that Sadolin could have come up with. Talking about Sadolin, the Kiira EV is composed of mainly local materials, with only a few items like the steering wheel being imported from abroad.
The body is made of sheets from Roofings Limited, a company well known for making iron sheets. What remains to be seen is whether the car body will last longer than Roofing’s sheets. That is the only item whose origin can be accounted for because most of the other local materials were made in Katwe, a Kampala surburb famous for its application of ****** technology.
It should be noted, however, that the Kiira EV is not the first electric car to be invented. Other countries such as China, France, Germany and the U.S have successfully tested their electric cars. That is why it would not be politically correct if I called it an invention because in truth, its an imitation. Atleast we imitated it before Tanzania. It’s good to know we are not that backward.
I do not intend to sound sarcastic, but someone has to keep their head up amid this hullaballoo. Someone has to be down to earth. On the contrary, I applaud the efforts of the students at the now open University near Wandegeya and the faith of our Government.
But as a Ugandan, I had started making an effort to stay away from anything that uses electricity, because electricity in this country is so unreliable. In fact, its a once in a lifetime phenomenon, a rarity.
So, how do you expect me to use an electric car? Who cares about my thoughts anyway? I am just another pilgrim at Makerere, staring at the Ugandan Grand Prix until my maalo wears off.
|November 13th, 2011, 10:15 PM||#986|
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LIVING AND LOVING IT: Looking around and counting my blessings
By Carol Beyanga (email the author)
Posted Monday, November 14 2011 at 00:00
Prices of household items are unbelievably high. It is painful to go shopping nowadays. It is even worse fuelling the car. You pass the pump attendant a hefty note of currency and it feels like he has just put in a few drops of the much needed fuel.
The political scene is not any better. Not a week passes by without someone being put to task over the billions of shillings that went unaccounted for. News of Somalia, Thailand and Turkey puts a dark spin on your day. It all makes you want to curl in bed and sleep till the storm passes.
Even then, there is always something to be grateful for. That’s why at the end of every day I am learning to count my lucky stars and cherish what I have. These past few weeks I have been looking at things around me and counting my blessings.
I am most thankful for…
Our little girl who filled the car with screams and shrieks of delight after we picked up one of her schoolmates on the way to school last Friday. It is such a relief to see her happy, excited and enjoying life. She has been disturbed by one bacteria infection after another and the allergies have flared up from nowhere.
Anyone will tell you that dealing with a sick child is just heartbreaking. To see them so weak and pale, to have them moan the whole night because their nose is blocked and they cannot breathe well, to feel their hot body and wonder what aches are plaguing it is all just painful. So when I see her laugh and play, finish her food and ask for more and sleep soundly through the night, my heart sighs with gladness.
I am most proud of…
My garden that never ceases to amaze me. To be frank, I really should heap a lot of the praise on the maids past and present who have done great work on it, planting matooke, beans, maize, pumpkin, Irish potatoes, greens, sweet potatoes and peas in different seasons. It has made for plentiful and varied meals on our table. The maid right now is very ingenious and tried planting ginger and onions.
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We have reaped from that too! The soils at my place must be really fertile. We have found yams, four pawpaw trees, cassava, an avocado tree and tomatoes growing wildly. While the cassava was not too good and we are yet to see if the avocado and tomatoes will get to full term and fruit, we have and continue to enjoy the pawpaw and yams. Most of this by the way grows, on a small piece of land. Every time I look out my window and see it flourishing I cannot help but smile.
I am most grateful for…
The Toyota Corolla (1991 model) we have right now. Not the classiest or strongest of cars but a very good one nevertheless. For the past five years, it has made lots of trips to Bushenyi, Lira and Jinja. It has weathered accidents, rainstorms, dusty roads and is currently doing its best with some of the muddiest roads I have seen. The road home is not that bad but there are two spots that just give us nightmares when it has rained. We literally hold our breaths when passing them on days it has rained.
We have gotten stuck a time or two and lost two tyres but still, the car presses on. Of course the fact that hubby maintains it very well making sure it gets serviced on time and gets repaired when there is a problem, as soon as possible, is a big part of it staying alive and well. I daydream sometimes about what it would be like to have a bigger and classier car. But at the end of the day, I am thankful for our good old car that has many memories and will hopefully carry on for many more years.
The Kiira EV
By Jacinta Odongo (email the author)
Posted Monday, November 14 2011 at 00:00
Painted lime-green for its eco-friendly appeal, the Kiira EV is a two-seater car, and 100 per cent electrically powered. It can travel at up to 100km/hour though it is yet to be driven on the road at that speed. The battery gets used only when the car is accelerating.
Kiira EV has a cabin space of four cargo, power side mirrors, a radio, three operation doors and an-onboard diagnostic system also known as a monitoring device. The parts used to assemble the car were from Roofings Limited.
The rows of lithium ion batteries under the car’s hood are rechargeable after five hours of use. They are high energy storage capability, high charge acceptance, high specific power and high energy density. Battery span can last for up to five or six years. The motor converts electrical energy from the charged battery into mechanical energy to keep the car moving. The battery takes five hours to charge.
“The operational costs are so low and the battery life span can last for five to six years for a person who does not drive frequently,” adds Mr Musasizi. “We are yet to complete the cooling system to provide chilled air to the battery pack and cabin environment. We installed a blower temporarily although it blows ordinary air,” Mr Musasizi explains.
The challenges are that the battery takes long to charge. Also, in case a technical problem arises from the car, there is limited specialised expertise, that is, mechanics who are conversant with electric cars unlike petrol stations which are almost everywhere, there are no electrical stations around once the battery runs out of charge and needs to be recharged.
There is also the energy problem. However, the team thinks there could be a solution to that. “With the power shedding problem that we have in the country, we are looking forward to adapting solar energy to recharge the car battery so people shouldn’t get worried,” Mr Musasizi says.
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The car is yet to be commercialised as the university plans to use it for display to motivate Ugandans who have brilliant skills. Mr Musasizi explains: “If we are to commercialise, it won’t exceed Shs45m since we used a lot of funds in the manufacturing process.”
According to Mr Musasizi, the car was originally named Mac Eve, but was re-named to Kiira EV after President Museveni, suggested the switch, to represent the hydroelectric power station in the country.
Moving past Uganda’s electrical irony into its future of transportation
Making final touches on the Kiira EV the day before Representation. PHOTOS BY Faiswal KASIRYE.
By Philippa Croome (email the author)
Posted Monday, November 14 2011 at 00:00
The Makerere team behind Uganda’s first electric car say they plan on making a 28-seater solar panel bus in the next two years,to overhaul the transportation sector.
Three years back, teams from 30 universities from around the globe were brought together in Turin, Italy for a Vehicle Design Summit organised by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The only African representative was none other than a team of 16 students from Makerere University, who would produce the powertrain, body electronics and communication network for an automobile they called the Vision 200.
Beyond the product itself, the summit aimed at inspiring students with big ideas to act independently and confront their lack of resources head-on. It worked. Just one year later, Makerere students had done it on their own – designed and built a fully functional vehicle that runs entirely on electricity.
The minds behind the Kiira EV
The leaders behind Uganda’s first electric car can barely contain their excitement. From Makerere’s College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology, the project’s manager, Paul Musasizi, speaks frankly about their success. “None of us is really unique,” he says with a humble shrug. “We just need to make sure the enabling environment is there and champions will keep coming up.”
The team of 25 was made up of students and professors from the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology, Makerere University, for whom the car was their final-year project. The team initiated the idea in August 2009 and after two months, they started the actual work.
Finally, in February 2011, they reached the proto-typing stage (stage of making final adjustments to the car). And then, it was ready to be showcased early in November. Their passion was a testament to the environment set up by Musasizi and the project’s principal investigator, Prof Sandy Togboa Tickodri.
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Prof Togboa’s pride
“Having achieved a ‘vocational approach’ to teaching was just as rewarding as the electric car itself,” Prof. Tickodri said. “I’ve participated in starting a generation of human resource of graduates who can undertake any job, any assignment anywhere – a level of training which can allow them to work in China, the US, wherever. Before, that wasn’t possible,” he says.
What’s more, the duo say incorporating this approach across disciplines would allow Uganda to use developing technologies to its best advantage by tailoring them to the country’s specific needs. “If we did this in agriculture, where we have resources in abundance, it would be a real step forward for this country,” Prof. Tickodri said.
Next on the engineers’ docket is a solar-paneled 28-seater bus, which they expect to be able to produce within two years time.
“We are targeting the large population because we are trying to reduce the congestion in taxis. Besides, we want to save our environment by making eco-friendly transportation. Our core factor is technology that can protect our environment,” Mr Musasizi said. “And, one of the things that is a major economic enabler in any country is public transport.”
Getting to another prototype isn’t the problem – the group had already been awarded Shs25b over five years for their research and product development from President Museveni himself in late 2009. But rolling out a fleet of the buses within two years will require a number of things to fall in place. Prof. Tickodri says with 50 acres of land and Shs30b, the team could effectively build a centre for research in transportation technology and even an assembly line.
Commercialising the electric buses will require private partners to come on board, he says, as well as a more reliable electricity supply. While what the team has done with Kiira EV is no mean feat, it must be noted that these types of cars have been in existence for a while.
According to Wikipedia.org, electric cars were popular in the late-19th century and early 20th century, until advances in internal combustion engine technology and mass production of cheaper gasoline vehicles led to a decline in the use of electric drive vehicle.
The website goes on to say that the energy crises of the 1970s and 1980s brought a short lived interest in electric cars, but in the mid 2000s, there was a renewed interest in the production of electric cars due mainly to concerns about rapidly increasing oil prices and the need to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
As of October 2011, Wikipedia states, series production models available in some countries include the Tesla Roadster, REVAi, Renault Fluence Z.E., Buddy, Mitsubishi i MiEV, Tazzari Zero, Nissan Leaf, Smart ED, Wheego Whip LiFe, Mia electric, and BYD e6.
Despite their potential benefits, however, widespread adoption of electric cars faces several hurdles and limitations, the website says, adding that as of 2011, electric cars are significantly more expensive than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles due to the additional cost of their lithium-ion battery pack.
The irony of Uganda producing its first electric car when the country has suffered an erratic power supply for months now is not lost on state minister for energy Simon D’Ujanga. “For an electric automobile you need constant power, and at the moment we are a little bit challenged with lack of power,” he said. He insisted the country’s power will be on track within six months, with the Bujagali hydropower programme finally being commissioned.
And within two years, he says the country’s power grid could be extended to support the electric cars he hopes to see in Uganda’s future. “It’s exciting,” he says, adding that the ministry would “definitely” be interested in working with the Makerere team to fully realise the potential of what’s to come.
|November 16th, 2011, 11:10 AM||#988|
South East Nine
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Airline traffic building up as investment interest grows
16 November 2011
SE9's photos on flickr
|November 17th, 2011, 10:29 PM||#989|
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Uganda set to approve $2.9bn Tullow Oil deal
Publish Date: Nov 17, 2011
Minister for Energy and Minerals Irene Muloni display National Oil and Gas Policy for Uganda to Journalists
Uganda is poised to give final approval to Tullow Oil’s $2.9bn sale of stakes in one of Africa’s most promising oil prospects to France’s Total and China’s Cnooc, spurring a project which a tax dispute and corruption allegations have long threatened to derail.
Irene Muloni, the energy minister told the Financial Times that Cnooc and Total’s so-called “farm-in” agreement was close to being finalised.
“We are on the final touches,” Ms Muloni said on the sidelines of a conference in Coventry organised by the Chatham House think-tank on Wednesday.
The Irish explorer, which wants to launch a $10bn investment to develop the east African country’s oilfields, has waited months for final approval of the deal.
Its purchase of fellow explorer Heritage Oil’s Ugandan assets has been dogged by acrimony, with the government demanding $313.5m capital gains tax on the transaction. Tullow is suing Heritage for that amount. Tullow is also seeking local arbitration over the government’s demand for a separate $472m in capital gains tax on the farm-in plan.
Aidan Heavey, Tullow chief executive, was due to meet President Museveni in Kampala on Thursday, but senior Tullow executives told the FT they did not expect a deal to be signed at the meeting.
“We might have some more reassurance tomorrow with respect to when that [signing the deal] is going to happen,” said a senior Tullow official.
Last year, Tullow announced plans to sell Cnooc and Total one-third each of its Ugandan assets for $2.9bn, retaining the remaining third of the equity itself. The venture lies in the Lake Albert basin on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
State-owned Cnooc’s involvement in Uganda advances Chinese groups’ thrust into Africa, where they have secured energy resources to feed breakneck growth back home.
Government is preparing legislation to govern exploration and production, pipelines and the management of oil revenues. Mismanagement of oil wealth has sowed discord and graft in many African nations.
“By the end of the year all these bills will be before parliament,” Ms Muloni said. Once the new laws are approved, Uganda will invite further exploration bids, she added, saying there had already been “significant interest from companies worldwide in the new acreage”.
She said the government expected new exploration to boost reserves, officially estimated at more than 2.5bn barrels, about 1bn on which are recoverable.
I Will Never Be A Garbage Mayor Again – Odung
Odung shows off the wheel loader donated by NEMA to Lira municipality
By Our Reporter.
Lira municipality mayor who had initially been baptized ‘garbage mayor’ by irate residents has rebuked them saying he will never be a garbage mayor again.
Morris Odung Omara said this after receiving a wheel loader donated by the National Environmental Management Authority to help ease garbage management in the area. Odung said the problem of uncollected garbage will soon be history within Lira municipality.
Red Pepper has been publishing a number of articles about the unhygienic status of some spots within Lira town but on Tuesday Odung said now that they have received a new wheel loader, garbage will be history.
While parading the yellow wheel loader to journalists and blessing it at a mini ceremony held in front of the municipality building on Tuesday morning, Odung said they are also making the best use of collected garbage by making manure which they later sell to locals.
He described the donation as a big one which has come hardly few months into offices. He applauded the government of Uganda and NEMA for the support. Town clerk Ambrose Ocen warned locals to change their attitude towards garbage keeping within their respective areas.
Two months ago residents of Lira main market nicknamed Lira municipality mayor Morris Odung as ‘Garbage mayor’, after the municipality failed for over two weeks to collect garbage especially the one in front of the market.
|November 17th, 2011, 10:46 PM||#990|
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Nile Breweries launches new plants
TUESDAY, 15 NOVEMBER 2011 14:58 ADMINISTRATOR
Nile Breweries has launched two new facilities - a Barley malting plant and an effluent treatment plant - at their headquarters in Jinja. Speaking at the launch on November 3, Nick Jenkinson, the managing director, said the malting plant has the capacity to produce 15,000 tons of malt per year, thus consuming about 20,000 tons of local barley.
He said the new plant was inspired by the success of Epuripur sorghum, which has seen the sales of Eagle Lager and Eagle Extra soaring from one million cases per annum in 2003 to over seven million cases per annum in 2011 and sorghum usage rising to nearly 8,000 tons per year, which provides income worth Shs 7.6 billion to an estimated 9,000 farmers in 19 districts.
“We anticipate that demand for local barley will provide employment for another 5,000 to 10,000 farmers in various districts across the country,” Jenkins said.
The effluence treatment plant processes all the liquid waste from the brewery and the malting plant, and return it to the River Nile “cleaner than when it was extracted.” Meanwhile, SABMiller plc, the parent company of Nile Breweries, recently launched ‘Impala,’ the first ever cassava-based beer, in Mozambique.
Umeme gets set for Bujagali power
TUESDAY, 08 NOVEMBER 2011 07:14 ADMINISTRATOR
Utility company Umeme has said preparations are in high gear for receiving the highly-anticipated increased capacity from the new Bujagali Power Plant.
Florence Nsubuga, the Umeme Outages Project Manager on October 29 said the utility company was working with Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) to connect the new supply of 50 mega watts (MW) to the National Grid at Nalubale, and eventually to the Kawanda and Mutundwe sub-stations in Kampala. The 132KV line at Mutundwe-Kawanda will connect Western Uganda to the new line from the Bujagali Power Plant in Jinja.
A statement said the works would take the whole of November.
“They works will affect certain areas in the short-term, but we have explained to all customers that this is necessary now so that in the long-term there is more electricity to go round,” Nsubuga said.
Over 40,000 customers would have been without electricity for over a month during the preparation period but Umeme said it has made arrangements to provide alternative supply of power. However, some 100 customers will be without power for this entire period. No details were provided about their locations.
The first 50MW is expected to be online before the end of the year, which will reduce the 100MW-200MW significantly .
MONDAY, 07 NOVEMBER 2011 13:34 BY JULIUS BUSINGE
Telecoms say vandalism and high operating costs remain a big challenge
In the remote village of Kitooma in Kibaale District in Western Uganda, almost every adult person has a mobile phone. But very few are happy about it. Due to the poor network signals, getting a call to go through is a nightmare.
The MTN, Orange, Uganda Telecom masts are located dozens of miles away at Karuguuza and Kakumiro Trading Centres and the signal is so faint that making a call is like playing the proverbial hide and seek game.
To make matters even worse, regular airtime cards are sold at 20% more.
“We buy airtime for Shs 500 at Shs 600 here in Kitoma,” said Mugume, a resident. “The sellers argue that that they incur alot in transport fares to the major trading centres. The bigger problem however, is the network, which sometimes takes the whole day when it’s off.”
As for the Internet, most residents don’t even have an idea of what you are talking about.
Kitooma village indeed represents the situation of many rural communities, which form 87 per cent of Uganda’s population.
In a mobile market penetration of 40%, rural mobile penetration in Uganda stands at just over 15%, according to official figures – a clear indication of the huge digital divide between rural and urban areas.
According to the International Telecommunications Union, information and communication technologies (ICTs) are considered a key factor, which makes it vital for governments to ensure universal access as part of the effort to fight household poverty and ensure better health.
In that regard, the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) requires telecom companies to remit 1% of their gross profits in an effort to increase universal access. This Rural Communications Development Fund (RCDF) aims at ensuring wider network coverage, greater access and more local content, and service providers have over the years been investing into network expansion and improving market share, despite the challenging economic times. However, Kitooma is yet to reap any benefits from this either.
The telecom companies say reaching full coverage in rural communities will continue to be a challenge because they are spread over wide sparsely populated areas; thus making the per-unit cost of delivering communication services relatively high. Also, many rural communities are still illiterate and have very low income levels, which makes it less profitable for telecom companies to invest in rural areas. Additionally, the many rural people are still unable to harness communication services for economic benefit yet the high capital and operating costs of rural communications services discourages players from investing there. This is because almost all booster stations and masts are run on expensive diesel generators since the main power grid is still limited to urban centres. But even in urban centres, power supply is unreliable, which makes it necessary to have diesel generators. Other key barriers to ICT access include low levels of technology access, widespread poverty, poor infrastructure, vandalism, high fuel costs, among others.
Themba Khumalo, the MTN Uganda CEO, while acknowledging the challenges telecoms face in expanding to the rural areas, said a large portion of their 7.6 million customers are rural based. However, he said vandalism of equipment was a big challenge to the company. He wants the government to put in place stringent laws to punish individuals found vandalising telecom equipment and materials.
“Kenya did this a long time ago and the problem was solved. Why not here?” Khumalo asked.
Godfrey Mutabazi, the UCC executive director, agreed. He said the poor network is partly caused by several reasons, which include the breakdown of infrastructure due to deliberate vandalisation of the cable networks by unknown individuals and road constructions in different parts of the country, which damage the cables.
“Any disruption at a single point triggers a series of failure over a wider area because of interconnection,” Mutabazi said.
Warid Chief Commercial Officer, Shailendra Naidu said their expansion plans are being thwarted by high operating costs.
“Each site costs the company $300,000 (about Shs 840m) or more and the costs keep on increasing,” he said, adding that it will take time for telecoms to link all areas in the country to the network.
“Our aim is to maintain quality to our customers and we can’t do that when we are operating beyond the input costs. That is why we increased our tariffs recently,” Naidu said, adding, “We are a young company but already we have many sites across the country and will continue expanding them until every part of Uganda is covered.”
Jackie Barbara Aritua, the Airtel head of Customer Services, was of a similar view. She said the company was being affected by the increased cost of doing business, which prompted the company to raise call tariffs to Shs 4 per second; up from Shs 2 per second. “The cost of running a generator is now ten times higher than it was last year,” Aritua said.
“We are aware of problems in rural areas. We make feasibility studies and get reports. All the areas that affected [by the poor network] will soon be worked on.”
With more than 10 million mobile phone subscribers, telecoms are seeing a more popularity of the mobile phone given the coming of mobile money services, which enable phone users to send, receive money, buy airtime and pay for goods and services. MTN, Airtel and UTL have partnered with banks and other institutions to provide the service, which is largely seen as a major boost to enabling rural communities to be part of the financial system.
UTL’s M-Sente has over 30,000 active subscribers, MTN’s Mobile Money has about 2 million subscribers while Airtel’s Zap Money has over 150,000 subscribers. Warid says their service will be rolled out before the end of this month.
“We are bridging the gap between the rural and the urban through mobile money. People can send and receive money any time they wish,” MTN’s Khumalo said.
Kagina new measure hits real estate
SATURDAY, 29 OCTOBER 2011 11:54 BY JULIUS BUSINGE
URA sets Shs25 billion target, but industry players want the new measure suspended saying the timing was wrong.
A couple of weeks ago, John (not real name) bought a property near Kampala at Shs 2.1 billion. But on presenting his documents to Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), as part of the process to transfer the ownership of the property into his names, he was asked if he was a registered tax payer to which he answered in the negative. The revenue officer then asked him if he had paid income tax when he earned the money that he used to buy the property. Again, his response was negative. He had no option but to go and look for more money to pay the tax (30%), which amounted to Shs900 million. On top of that, he was told the transaction on the property required the payment of VAT (18%).
The seller of the property told him that the cost price did not include VAT. He subsequently had to look for an additional Shs 400m for VAT. On presenting the bank slips for the Shs 400m VAT payment, he was asked if he had paid income tax when he earned the Shs 400m. He had to part with another Shs 160m (30%) as income tax. Finally, he was told URA also charges 1% Stamp duty on the cost price of the property so as to transfer ownership. That amounted to Shs 36 million. In total, he paid URA about Shs 1.5 billion.
John is one of the victims of URA’s new controversial “income tax compliance measure,” under which one has to show proof of paying income tax before one can transfer ownership of real estate or vehicles worth more than Shs 50 million.
URA, which has set a target of Shs 25 billion from the initiative, argues that the measure was intended to widen the tax base and lighten the burden on low-earning salaried employees because many big money earners and businesses have been dodging taxes, which has led to loss of billions worth of revenue while the tax burden is being shouldered by a few tax compliant individuals.
However, analysts are worried that the new measure is threatening investment in real estate and the economy generally as most people are now preferring to keep their money on bank accounts or taking it overseas. Real estate companies and banks are particularly starting to feel the pinch.
Timothy Kasoma of Canaansites Ltd, a real estate company, told The Independent that the Association of Real Estate Agents (AREA)-Uganda, PSFU, UMA and other stakeholders are trying to lobby the government to put the measure on hold, because of the worry that in the long run it could undermine the growth of the sector. On a wider level, the private sector is worried that the decline in the buying of real estate could result in dwindling of demand for construction materials such as cement, iron bars and iron sheets, and subsequently a reduction in profits for manufacturers. Additionally, they say the measure is being implemented during tough economic conditions when interest rates have soared to record levels thus significantly scuttling the demand for bank loans for real estate development.
For example, Kasoma says the last months of the year mark a peak season when demand for property is normally high but so far the demand is not increasing.
“I won’t say the policy is responsible for this because it is still new, but what we are doing is to stop it before things get worse. But also interest rates are too high so people are not willing to borrow,” Kasoma said. “We hope government will listen to us and stop this initiative.”
Nickolas Okwir, the managing director of Housing Finance Bank, which pioneered mortgage financing decades ago, said URA’s measure has indeed slowed business.
“We haven’t experienced a substantial decline in demand for property like land and houses but what we are seeing is a slow growth. Most customers say the system of transferring property through URA is consuming a lot of their time,” Okwir said.
However, Okwir said the sky-rocketing inflation now standing at 28.3 % and the high interest rates have also contributed to making borrowing to build too expensive.
URA spokesman Paul Kyeyune dismissed claims that their measure was threatening the real estate business. “We have heard the complaints that our initiative is threatening business. But I disagree. Everyone sees where our economy stands,” Kyeyune said.
Kyeyune said most people either do not return to pay up or take too long after getting their assessment.
From June to August for instance, URA received transfer applications totalling 308 and out of these only 113 had returned and cleared while the rest were nowhere to be seen. It is not clear what will happen when the new owners fail to pay up and transfer their property into their names. Analysts say many people who got their money through dubious means might fear that they would be found out. However, Kyeyune said URA is under no obligation to ask the tax payers to reveal the sources of their money “because all it wants are taxes.”
Bank of Uganda’s Director of Communications, Elliot Mwebya, dismissed worries that people have now shifted to buying dollars, which has contributed to the weakening of the shilling. However, he was quick to observe that unscrupulous people could beat URA at its game by going into trade.
“People will get money through dubious means such as corruption, they will use it for example to import goods, sell them off and then buy property and then claim that that they have earned the money from their business activities,” Mwebya said.
|November 18th, 2011, 07:00 PM||#991|
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Monitor launches new Luganda sports paper
By ISMAIL DHAKABA KIGONGO (email the author)
Posted Friday, November 18 2011 at 00:00
There is a new reason for sports enthusiasts with an affinity to Luganda to enrich and share their knowledge from now on.
Starting tomorrow, Monitor Publications Limited is introducing a weekly 16-page Luganda sports newspaper Ennyanda, which will be out every Saturday.
“We have a long track record of having the best sports and analysis but all this has been in English,” Mr Daniel Kalinaki, the managing editor, said.
The product will provide news, insight and analysis on both local and international sports.
“It will target the Luganda speaking sports segment and is the only publication that directly addresses the aspirations of this target market in Uganda,” Mr Brian Mukisa, the marketing manager, explained.
The editor, Mr Fredrick Kiyingi Musisi, said the paper, which will cost Shs800, would find the right balance between pictures and stories.
|November 18th, 2011, 10:46 PM||#992|
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Museveni commissions new JCRC headquarters
Publish Date: Nov 18, 2011
President Museveni commissining the New JCRC Village-Photo by PETER BUSOMOKE
By Francis Kagolo
President Yoweri Museveni has commissioned new headquarters for the Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC), expected to enhance research and treatment of HIV/AIDS in Uganda.
The sh12b complex, which sits on a 20-acre piece of land, stands atop Lubowa Hill in Wakiso, along Entebbe Road.
It consists of state-of-the-art research and diagnostics laboratories, training facilities, spacious pediatrics and adult outpatients’ clinics, a 200-capacity ward and a mortuary.
President Yoweri Museveni commissining the New JCRC Village at Lubowa
President Museveni commended the JCRC team for hard work, saying they had developed his vision of enhancing scientific research for better care and treatment of HIV/AIDS in the country and globally.
He also applauded them for not being corrupt. “I have long ears and I always monitor (institutions). Some of the groups even give wrong HIV blood test results upon getting bribes from those who want marriages,” Museveni observed.
He warned that the practice was “criminal, and somebody should be hanged for it.”
The President pledged to co-fund the construction of an ultramodern health facility at JCRC to handle complex issues including orthopedics, kidney transplants and heart treatment.
The African Development Bank and Tokushukai, a Japanese company, have committed 70% funding towards the project which is estimated to cost over $120m (about sh306b).
Museveni said the facility, if completed, will eliminate “medical tourism” and save over $150m (about sh382b) that is being spent annually on Ugandans seeking treatment abroad especially in India and South Africa.
Prof. Peter Mugyenyi, the JCRC director, said the Centre was providing ARVs to over 72,000 patients.
He also revealed that the new headquarters would be equipped with two P3 laboratories to handle research and diagnosis of highly infectious diseases like Ebola and influenza.
JCRC was established in 1990 to provide a scientific approach to the national HIV/AIDS challenge.
It has the biggest reference laboratory in Uganda that is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to offer high quality diagnostic and monitoring tests that support the national Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) programme.
|November 20th, 2011, 07:14 PM||#993|
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Kampala in $15b infrastructure gap
SUNDAY, 20 NOVEMBER 2011 11:55 FRANK AHUMUZA
Kampala, Uganda - For Uganda to fulfil the National Development Plan (NDP) targets, it will require an excess of $15billion a study conducted by Delloite Consulting LLP has revealed. The projects in the energy, agricultural and works sector are capital intensive and the governments' ability to finance the sector is limited due to limited.
Uganda aims to generate 3,800MW with a mix of big hydro projects, such as 250MW at Bujagali
The Uganda Infrastructure Fund (UIF) Feasibility Study final report conducted on behalf of the government of Uganda and the Uganda Securities exchange released recently emphasised the need for the government to partner with the private sector for the country to deal with the infrastructure challenges.
"Uganda needs infrastructure and so do many other countries. Uganda has to compete with the countries for the capital," said Linda Burton the Team Leader Delloite Uganda.
The overriding infrastructure challenges have been witnesses in the energy sector as some projects have stalled due to the limited access to capital to complete the projects. The government of Uganda has an energy fund that will be used to finance the 600MW Karuma Power Dam at a tune of Ushs828.6b ($316m).
According to financial analysts this is so much money to spend on one project yet the government could have tapped into a fund. Promptly then the government would go into financing other projects. The proposed UIF is meant to lobby for funds from international financiers and various equity funds so that together with the government infrastructure projects are taken on.
Burton says that the UIF presents Uganda the opportunity to grow its capital markets and also provides the government an opportunity to spend less on infrastructure and concentrate on the delivery of services. The capital markets would be open to infrastructure bonds whereas companies and financial institutions would develop various instruments that the UIF requires.
Uganda quartely GDP recovers
SUNDAY, 20 NOVEMBER 2011 12:40 PAUL TENTENA
KAMPALA, UGANDA- Uganda's quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) that hit a decline in the third quarter of January to March this year has recovered with a 2.4% growth as of June according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics.
The third quarter GDP had declined by 4.2%.
Apart from the 2.4% general GDP growth in the fourth quarter, the agriculture and services sectors also slumped with 5.7% and 0.9% respectively in the quarter following declines in the third quarters.
According Mr. Male Mukasa, the executive director of the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, the slump in the agriculture sector was as a result of a decline in value added to cash crops and food crops while the service sector was due to declines in the whole sale and retail activities.
"It was also due to low harvests for some cash crops and food crops in both quarters attributable to poor rain patterns," stressed Male.
He however noted that the transport and communications value grew due to increased air passenger transport and mobile communication activities.
Gross domestic product (GDP) refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living.
The gross domestic product (GDP) is one the primary indicators used to gauge the health of a country's economy. It represents the total dollar value of all goods and services produced over a specific time period.Usually, GDP is expressed as a comparison to the previous quarter or year. For example, if the year-to-year GDP is up 3%, this is thought to mean that the economy has grown by 3% over the last year.
Measuring GDP is complicated, but at its most basic, the calculation can be done in one of two ways.It's either by adding up what everyone earned in a year (income approach), or by adding up what everyone spent (expenditure method). Logically, both measures should arrive at roughly the same total.
Male indicated it was only the industrial sector that experienced GDP growth, where value added grew by 14.1 in the fourth quarter. This is compared to a reduction of 10.6% in the third quarter of this year. He attributed it to an increase in construction for civil works that resulted into growth of 24.2%.
Trend cycle estimates show that the quarterly GDP grew by 3% in Q4 compared to a decline of 3.6% in Q3.
Kampala development plan ready
SUNDAY, 20 NOVEMBER 2011 12:37 PAUL TENTENA
KAMPALA, UGANDA - A master plan that is expected to revamp Kampala City has been developed and it's ready for implementation by the end of 2012.
A master plan is a blue print for the future. It's a comprehensive document that is intended to guide development in a city or township for the next 10 or so years to come.
According to Mr. George Agaba, the Kampala Capital City Authority director physical planning, the master plan includes demarcating and widening bus terminals, zero tolerance to illegal development of buildings, beautification and ensuring a clean city, construction of flyovers for highway travelers as well as mapping and surveying the construction of new markets within the city.
The plan also tackles total reconstruction and widening of roads, gazzettement of road reserves, street lighting, Kampala youth employment, garbage collection, street children and beggars, restricting congestion of traffic and human, removing or finding alternative parking space for cars off the streets and implementation of a clear transport system.
The master plan will handle poor drainage that leads to flooding through widening of all drainage channels, littering of the environment through programmes like "Kampala City Yange" where massive city cleaning days would be scheduled as wells as other city problems that were neglected by the former regime.
"Kampala physical master plan will be ready by the end of next year. It tries to ensure zoning of the city. It demarcates commercial, residential and industrial areas within the city," said Agaba during a press conference in Kampala.
The development of the Kampala master plan has followed that of Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and Kigali, where the three EAC partner states developed their development master plans a few years back.
Kampala Capital City Authority executive director Ms. Jennifer Musisi also addressed the press conference to review the six months she has been in charge of Kampala.She said, for the six months she has been in charge, KCCA has registered a 75% reduction in fuel expenditure amounting to over Ush150million per week.
"Between April and May 2011, Ush200million was spent on fuel per week. Most of this was abused or sold off by staff.
"Two engineers were arrested and charged in connection with this. Essential controls and processes to address this problem have been put in place," noted Musisi.
The authority embarked on a project to replace street-lights, of which 2180 solar vapour lights have been acquired to replace the existing and inefficient wind powered lamps, and replacing bulbs and fittings on wooden electric poles.
To ensure a clean city, the authority also instituted a ban on all illegal and unauthorized posters and banners erected in the city.Musisi stressed that waste collection and disposal efforts have improved by 37.5% since April 2011, of which 27,498 tonnes of waste is collected by the authority compared to 20,000 tonnes in April 2011.
|November 25th, 2011, 05:44 AM||#997|
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Return of offshore investors bolsters equity trade at USE
|November 28th, 2011, 06:19 PM||#998|
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Uganda national IDs issued
Publish Date: Nov 28, 2011
Photo by Nicholas Kajoba
By Nicholas Kajoba
A total of over 400 Identification cards (ID) have been given out to Ugandans including President Yoweri Museveni.
The chairperson of National citizenship and immigration, Wanume Kibedi said over 400 people have been issued with national identifications. “We have given so far over 400 national IDs to people including the President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni,” he said. The National ID would help to curb insecurity and even help in identification purposes.
Kibedi said this on Monday at Prime minister’s office during the handing over of ID to Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi. He is among the top dignitaries who have received their National ID.
The first was President Yoweri Museveni who received his card early this year. Mbabazi hailed the exercise saying that it should be expedited since Ugandans are eagerly waiting for its completion.
|November 28th, 2011, 06:44 PM||#999|
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Residential areas pave way for expansion of Kampala boundary
A man views upcoming new housing estates in Luzira, a suburb of Kampala. Photo by Joseph Kiggundu
By Robert Mwanje (email the author)
Posted Monday, November 28 2011 at 00:00
Increasing human settlement has created new residential estates despite the delay of a Metropolitan Authority (MA) plan to expand the boundaries of Kampala city to include Mukono, Wakiso and Mpigi districts.
The MA was created to enforce planning and bring orderly settlement and development in the rapidly growing urban areas around Kampala. Government hatched the idea two years ago to carve parts of the three districts and annex to Kampala as a unitary governance entity.
Ms Aidah Kenjeya, the administration and marketing manager of Jomayi Property Consultants, a local real estate property consultants firm, said major residential areas have emerged beyond Kampala, especially on all major roads connecting to the city.
Ms Kenjeya said youth prefer organised and spacious residential areas yet not too far from the city centre, adding that they have appreciated the value of land unlike before.
“You realise that people, especially the youth, want to set up their own homes within Kampala.
This has created more estates and residential areas around Kampala where land is relatively cheap,” Ms Kenjeya said. While the current Kampala boundaries do not exceed 10 kilometres from the city centre, major towns and residential areas have emerged beyond.
According to real estate agencies, Namugongo, Kireka, Kyaliwajjala and Kirinya, have bridged the gap between Kampala and Mukono town on Jinja Road. Gayaza, Matuga, Kakiri and Nalumunye upcoming areas have linked Kampala to Wakiso District while Lubowa estates, Kakungulu and Namulanda are closing Entebbe town to the city.
The prices of land have remained unstable in and around the city due to various social and economic factors.
Ms Kenjaya said the geographical location of a place, its neighborhood, accessibility, road network and power supply were the main determinants of market prices for a plot of land.
Uganda: Investors Rush for Kampala Satellite City Project
Paul Tentena27 November 2011
Kampala — Ten contractors have expressed interest in carrying out different activities, as the construction of the long awaited Naguru/Nakawa satellite city started at a slow pace.
According to an official with the developers, Opec Prime Properties Limited, a United Kingdom based real estate developing company, the construction started with site clearance activities as they await for the city development master plan that is expected to be out in six months.
"Initial commencements like site clearing have started. Ten contractors in different activities have so far showed their interest to work on the project," said the official who preferred anonymity.
The contractors include three from United Kingdom and seven from China. No Ugandan contractor has showed interest in the project.
However, when East African Business Week visited the two fenced off sites at Naguru and Nakawa four months after the eviction of over 1700 tenants, there was no visible activity was going on. "We're still looking for more contractors but these contractors should be locally based. It's not an easy project, so we don't need to rush," added the official who preferred anonymity.
The government evicted the over 1700 adamant Nakawa-Naguru estate tenants in July this year as the developers Opec Prime Properties Limited cited a matter of urgency to re-develop the area into a modern satellite city.
The Naguru-Nakawa housing estates were constructed in the 1950's to accommodate low income earning government employees.
The housing estate was later condemned by the government in the 1990's as unfit for human habitation. The search for a new developer started then that led to awarding of the redevelopment contract to Opec Prime Properties.
Opec Prime Properties Ltd is expected to re-develop the 138 acreage land into a modern satellite town at $300m, including the construction of low-cost houses for the resettlement of the 1,745 tenants.
|November 29th, 2011, 11:23 PM||#1000|
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China keen to build roads, railways in Uganda
Publish Date: Nov 29, 2011
Freight train in Kampala destined for the port city of Mombasa
China has said it wants to build roads and railways in Uganda, where the Asian giant has already been rapidly expanding its economic footprint in recent years, according to the office of the president.
In a statement, it said Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie made remarks to that effect during a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni at the start on Sunday of a five-day visit to the East African nation.
"The visiting Chinese Defence Minister said that Chinese companies would be interested in the construction of railways and roads in Uganda," said the statement.
Over the last five years, China has funnelled hundreds of million of dollars into development of transport and communications infrastructure and construction of gleaming public offices in Uganda.
Two prominent projects have been the funding of construction of a $93 million state house villa in 2007 and a toll road connecting the capital Kampala and Entebbe, the country's international airport.
Chinese petroleum firm Cnooc, alongside France's Total are awaiting government approval of their proposed partnership with London-listed explorer Tullow Oil , in its fields in the country's nascent oil sector.
Upon approval, the partnership is expected to unlock a $10 billion investment to start production in the Albertine basin in the west of the country, where oil was discovered in 2006.
"We look forward to having more trade with China. Uganda always welcomes support from China," the presidency statement quoted Museveni as telling Guanglie.
Although commercial ties with China have been expanding, Ugandan businessmen sometimes complain about a swelling number of Chinese in the country whom they accuse of too much competition when they engage in small businesses.
A local paper, the Daily Monitor, on Wednesday quoted Ugandan Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi hailing China for its support in fighting Islamist militants in Somalia in a meeting with Guanglie on Monday.
"China has been instrumental in giving direct support to Uganda in the war on terror in Somalia," the paper quoted Mbabazi as saying.
Uganda forms the backbone of the African Union's AMISOM peacekeeping force that is shoring up the Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu against Islamist al Shabaab rebels.
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