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    2022/23 BUDGET, WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: No New Taxes this year – Minister Kasaija; Here are the sectors that have been given a lion’s share “Wetege”…

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    Finance Minister Matia Kasaija arrives for the budget reading

    Matia Kasaija, the Minister for Finance Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) has revealed that there will be no new taxes this financial year.

    Kasaija said this during the budget reading at Kololo Independence Grounds, today, June 14th, 2022.

    Earlier, the Speaker Anitah Among, in company of her Deputy, Thomas Tayebwa declared Kololo Independence Grounds as precincts of Parliament in a proclamation.

    During the reading of the Shs. 48,130.7 billion (48.13 trillion) budget, Kasaija said, “Madam Speaker, no new taxes will be introduced in Financial Year 2022/23. We will achieve revenue targets by improving the efficiency in tax collection and enhancing compliance to tax laws. The capacity of the Uganda Revenue Authority will be enhanced by recruiting and training staff, deploying appropriate equipment and ICT to enforce tax laws.”

    Kasaija revealed that the Budget Strategy for the Financial Year 2022/23 seeks to restore economic activity and accelerate the pace of socioeconomic transformation.

    Kasaija said, “The three broad objectives of the strategy are: Sustaining peace, security and stability as well as macro-economic stability, as key foundations for recovery, growth and socioeconomic transformation; Mitigation of the COVID-19 impact on business activity, livelihoods and the overall economy; and Speeding up socio-economic transformation by repurposing the budget towards wealth and job creation as well as other impactful investments.

    Kasaija decried the sharp rise in commodity prices that has led to increased inflation from 2.7% in January 2022 to 6.3% in May 2022.

    “In the second half of Financial Year 2021/22, however, there has been a significant increase in prices for some of the essential commodities and services. These include laundry bar soap, petrol and diesel, cooking oil, some food crop items such as wheat, sugar, potatoes, and onions. Education services, and building materials such as cement and steel have also experienced price increases,” he said.

    He added, “As a result, the overall inflation has increased considerably from 2.7 percent in January 2022 to 6.3 percent in May 2022, causing considerable discomfort among the public.”

    However, Kasaija projected that the economy is set to expand to Shs. 162.1 Trillion for the financial year ending 30th June 2022.

    He added, “This is equivalent to US Dollars 45.7 Billion. Economic activity has been more buoyant at the growth rate of 4.6 percent per annum this financial year up from 3.5 percent of last year. This shows that the economy is on a path to full recovery from the COVID-19 disruptions.”

    “With this buoyant recovery and resilience of the economy—induced by our deliberate and prudent economic policies— Uganda’s GDP per capita has increased to US Dollars 1,046 in current prices, which is equivalent to Uganda Shs. 3.7 million per person, per year,” he added.

    The minister divulged that this coming financial year, Government must accelerate the economic recovery they began in Financial Year 2021/2022, by integrating more Ugandans into the money economy, and speeding up growth in the country’s productive sectors.

    President Museveni and First Lady Janet Museveni arriving for the budget reading

    HOW BUDGET HAS BEEN ALLOCATED:

    While breaking down how the budget is going to be distributed among the different sectors of the economy, Minister Kasaija revealed that the key priorities for the Financial Year 2022/23 Budget include: Enhancement of security, rule of law and fighting corruption, Sustaining economic recovery; Implementation of the Parish Development Model, Promotion of agro-industrialisation, standards and market entry, Commercialisation of oil and gas among others.

    Here is the budget allocation per sector to help you target where the money is “Kwetega”, and get out of Covid poverty:

    1. Shs. 3.987 Trillion has been provided for improvement of security and security infrastructure.
    2. Shs 3.722 trillion for healthcare delivery
    3. Shs. 5.1 Trillion has been provided as direct financing to Local Governments
    4. Shs. 4.3 trillion towards transport, infrastructure development and maintenance
    5. Shs 4.14 trillion towards the education and skilling sub-programmes.
    6. Shs 381.6 billion has been allocated to the Judiciary, Shs 95.0 billion for the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Shs 876.4 Billion for the Uganda Police, and Shs 308.7 Billion for the Uganda Prisons Service. I have also allocated Shs 79.4 billion for the Inspectorate of Government.
    7. Shs. 1.059 trillion for full implementation of the Parish Development Model. Each of the 10,594 Parishes in the country will receive Shs. 100 million.
    8. Shs. 564.39 billion has been allotated to increase production and productivity through the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries.
    9. Shs. 628 billion has been apportioned to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
    10. Shs 1.449 Trillion to promote agro-industrialisation, standards and market entry.
    11. Shs. 194.7 billion has been allocated to the tourism sector to complement private sector investment and support its recovery.
    12. Shs. 904.1 billion towards the development and commercialisation of minerals, oil and gas.
    13. Shs 1.027 trillion towards the water and environment sub-programme.
    14. Shs. 274.4 billion towards advancing innovation and technological development
    15. Shs 1.573 trillion towards power infrastructure development
    16. Shs. 124.2 billion towards Digitalisation in Information Communication Technology.

    Vice President Jessica Alupo during the budget reading

    HOW 2022/23 BUDGET IS GOING TO BE FINANCED

    Kasaija revealed that the Shs. 48,130.7 billion (48.13 trillion) budget is going to be financed through; Enhanced domestic revenue mobilization; External financing in the form of loans and grants from Uganda’s Development Partners and private creditors, and Public-Private Partnerships that mobilise private sector financing for public projects.

    i) Domestic Revenue amounts to Shs. 30,797.3 billion of which Shs. 23,754.9 billion will be tax revenue and Shs. 1,795.9 billion will be Non-Tax Revenue.

    ii) Domestic borrowing amounts to Shs. 5,007.9 billion.

    iii) Budget Support accounts for Shs. 2,609.2 billion.

    iv) External financing for projects amounts to Shs. 6,716 billion of which Shs. 4,625.7 billion is from loans, and Shs. 2,090.5 billion is from grants.

    v) Appropriation in Aid, collected by Local Governments amounts to Shs. 238.5 billion; and

    vi) Domestic Debt Refinancing will amount to Shs 8,008.0 billion.

    “Total expenditure will be Shs.48,130.7 billion. Excluding domestic debt refinancing and Appropriations in Aid (AIA), it amounts to Shs. 39,884.2 billion of which Wages and Salaries is Shs. 6,366.9 billion, Interest Payments is Shs. 4,691.9 billion, Nonwage Recurrent Expenditure is Shs. 14,259.4 billion and Development Expenditure is Shs. 14,565.9 billion,” Kasaija said.

    Click Here for the full budget document (PDF) >>>

     

    By Hope Kalamira

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    MY MONEY

    Equity Bank’s Bid To Grab Tycoon Higenyi’s Building Becomes Complicated After Gen. Museveni Intervenes…

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    Equity Bank Kampala Road branch and tycoon Higenyi's Namuswa Plaza (R) in Wandegeya

    Kampala city tycoon Dr. Alfred Higenyi Mwenembiye Jaala, who is also a senior NRM cadre, has managed to get the President to intervene in the quarreling between him and Equity Bank Uganda.

    The big man from Rwakitura has already assigned a top Minister to find a way of ensuring that Higenyi doesn’t get deprived of his property unfairly.

    The property in question is the famous Namuswa Plaza (Block 38 Kibuga Plots 298 & 299) which is a huge commercial building based in Wandegeya.

    Higenyi, a vastly rich man with a lot of prime property in Kampala, accuses Equity Bank of fraudulently trying to hide behind the 3bn loan they gave him on 23rd December 2020 to grab his Building valued at 10bn. At the prompting of State House, Higenyi, a long-time friend of Gen Salim Saleh, was asked to put his complaint in writing to enable the president to find some effective way to intervene.

    State House sources have since shared a copy of his 2-page petition which is firmly in the hands of the President with all the relevant annexures. The annexures relate to documentation and correspondence which has been exchanged over the years regarding the 3bn loan.

    In the petition, the senior NRM cadre from Butaleja explains everything clearly indicating why he thinks the much-hated Equity Bank didn’t treat him fairly at all. He starts by begging Museveni “intervene” to help “rescue” his property because it’s all he has looking at it has his source of pension in retirement. ”Equity Bank has made it a habit to grab our properties in the recent times even if one offered to pay,” Higenyi states in a bid to liken Equity Bank to mischief similar to what Sudhir used to be accused of.

    He admits the loan he took out on 23rd December 2020 was repayable in 8 years. That he used the money to complete the building which originally existed as a mere shell. That he acquired the building in that shell state and had to remodel it for the tenants to be able to move in. He says as soon as he began earning some rental income, COVID19 struck and this complicated things for not only him but all other arcade owners.

    Higenyi explains to the President that because businesses were closed down, for two years he didn’t earn any income because his Namuswa Plaza was closed as all tenants stayed away. He approached Equity Bank and requested to have the loan restructured to have a longer repayment period but they refused even when they knew he wasn’t earning anything. “Instead they increased the repayment installments from 57m to 65m per month.”

    He explains this made worse an already bad situation because even when the economy reopened, many of his tenants didn’t return. This deprived him of business and opportunity to make money and be able to promptly pay up but the authorities at Equity Bank weren’t that understanding.

    Higenyi informed the President that he ended up managing 30m per month where Equity Bank demanded 65m.

    That in total, he has so far deposited 500m out of the 3bn he took out barely 2 years ago. Equity Bank insists the balance is now 4.4bn which means the total becomes 4.9bn which Higenyi must pay up and now as opposed to 8 year repayment period he was originally offered.

    On 15th August 2022, Equity bank advertised the building and gave him up to 15th September. He says within that one month, he tried five times to engage his creditors but Equity bosses denied him audience. To him, this shows they were not acting in good faith. Their interest was the building and not recovering the money.

    This prompted him to engage a lawyer, who is former Minister Mwesigwa Rukutana to secure a court injunction against Equity bank. One of Higenyi’s spouses has also put a caveat on the property implying no transaction should take place. She is putting a caveat because this is part of the family property or estate yet no spousal consent was obtained as required by law as the mortgage was being undertaken between her husband and Equity bank.

    The spousal consent plea, once successfully pleaded, could put Equity bank in real trouble to the extent they might even fail to ever recover anything once court declares the mortgage invalid or defective for want of spousal consent.

    Higenyi says that the property value currently is 10bn and yet Equity bank has rejected his proposal to be the one to get the buyer and give them what is due to them. He says this too has been rejected by Equity which shows they have fraudulent intentions. He wonders why Equity bank has rejected his own buyer who wanted to pay 10bn for the building.

    He says his lawyer of Kayanja & Co Advocates has been engaging on his behalf but Equity bank has been dodging them which clearly shows they are not acting in good faith. He wonders why Equity bank even goes as far as ignoring the caveat on the property which has since been sold to SINACO Ltd, a company which is owned by Kampala tycoon Swaib Kiyemba and his son Moses Kiyemba. SINCO is also the one which bought the building housing Senana supermarket near State House Nakasero and Nana hostel in Kagugube near Makerere/LDC. All these were being sold as a result of foreclosure after the original owners failed to meet loan obligations.

    Higenyi informs Museveni of the trauma he endured on Tuesday 4th October when a group of heavily armed army men and policemen raided his Namuswa Plaza management offices and forcefully took over ownership of the building. The Wandegeya DPC commanded the operation which Higenyi says shows bias.

    They claimed to act on behalf of SINCO Ltd whose lawyers from D Kagarura Advocates & Solicitors subsequently went to the building and informed tenants that management and ownership of the building had changed.

    Higenyi also reveals to the President that effective 15th September, he began seeing notifications on his phone indicating some money was being deposited and received on his bank account, something he objected to but still Equity bank never cooperated. The bank eventually purported to garnish his bank account in order to deny him any access to the same.

    He says he was treated very unfairly because he got the money and was ready to pay up within the notice period of 15th August to 15th September but Equity bank denied him audience.

    He concludes with “Your Excellency this is my life investment which I look to for my entire family and very many dependents’ survival. I’m also your ardent cadre from Butaleja. The habit of banks grabbing our property and nobody comes to intervene leaves a bitter taste in our mouth.”

    He signed off as Dr. Higenyi Alfred Jaala the chairman for board of directors.

     

    By Grapevine Reporter

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    Desperate Housewife Blocks Tropical Bank From Selling Matrimonial Home Over Shs.2.9bn Debt…

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    Muhammed Hala, the wife to a city businessman has blocked Tropical Bank from selling their matrimonial home over Shs2.9bn debt.

    She petitioned the High Court Commercial Division challenging the actions of the bank threatening to put their matrimonial home on the market through advertising it in the media without her knowledge.

    In her affidavit, Hala insisted that her husband Muhammed Tariq, of Sudan origin mortgaged their matrimonial home sitting on plot 195 Kawempe Division Kampala City to Tropical bank without her consent as stipulated by law as a spouse and she only learnt about it through media.

    She explained that as a wife, her children don’t have where to go if the said house is put on auction and sold.

    She pleaded with Court to issue a temporary injunction stopping the bank, its agents from going on with their planned move to auction their home.

    Juliet Hatanga, the Deputy Registrar of the High Court Commercial Division agreed with the applicant and stopped the sale of the house until the entire petition is heard and determined.

    “I find it necessary to grant the application of the temporary injunction pursuant to regulation 13(4) of the Mortgage Regulations,” she ruled.

    She however directed the applicant to deposit in Court 30% of the forced sale value of the mortgage property within 45 days from the day of the ruling.

    theGrapevine has established that Hala has deposited in Court her land title comprising Kyadondo Block 107 plot 148 Nakyesanja, Wakiso district, which is valued Shs.1.49bn.

    In 2015, Tariq obtained the Shs.8bn loan using his matrimonial home and their family property on plot 5 Luthuli Drive in Kampala city but failed to service his loan which resulted in bank’s actions to auction the said properties.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    SIMBAMANYO SAGA: Tycoons Sudhir, Luwangula, Equity Bank, Top Judges, Lawyers In Bitter Fight Over Shs.40bn Deal…

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    Tucoons Peter Kamya (top L) and Sudhir Ruparelia (bottom L) and Justice Stephen Mubiru (R)

    On Thursday, Justice Stephen Mubiru, the Head of the High Court Commercial Division dismissed with costs two applications filed by Equity bank Uganda Ltd, Meera Investments Ltd, Luwaluwa Investments and Katende Ssempebwa and Company Advocate seeking stay of the proceedings challenging the process followed during the selling and buying of multibillion properties belonging to city businessman Peter Kamya.

    Kamya, through his lawyers led by commercial law giant Ebert Byenkya filed an application for discovery of e-mails and bank accounts of the defendants insisting that they are very crucial in prosecuting their matter and will help Court to deliver a fair decision which the defendants strongly objected to.

    In his affidavit to support his application, Kamya told Court that he received detailed information from a whistleblower that there was a lot of syndicate and communication between the defendants which resulted into a bribe of USD1.8million exchanging hands to defraud the system so that he loses his Simbamanyo building on Lumumba Avenue Kampala which was sold to Meera Investments Limited and his Afrique Suits on Mutungo hill which was sold to Luwaluwa Investments limited by Equity bank.

    Kamya claims that Ronald Luwangula, the proprietor of Luwaluwa Investment connived with lawyers and Equity bank officials to defraud the process.

    He detailed that Luwangula borrowed money from equity bank under the guise of shipping his goods which were stuck in Japan.

    But when the bank gave him the money, he sold his building in Wandegeya and added the money onto the bank loan and ended up buying his Afrique Suits.

    He added that the lawyers masterminded the entire fraud by illegally advising Sudhir to transfer his Simbamanyo building in minutes after signing purchase agreement with equity bank and the transaction was done during 2020 Covid-19 Lockdown.

    Byenkya based his case on a Supreme Court judgment which states that whenever there is any fraud in the process a transaction, the entire transaction is declared illegal.

    The defendants rubbished the plaintiff’s case insisting that he failed to service his USD10 million debt that resulted in auctioning his properties which he used as security.

    Sources at the Commercial Court told theGrapevine that the defendants petitioned Justice Rubby Aweri Opio, the Chief Inspector of Courts after Justice Mubiru took almost two months without hearing their two applications to appeal in the Court of Appeal challenging his rulings against them.

    The defendants accused Justice Mubiru of being biased and not following the Civil procedures and rules when presiding over the controversial case.

    A source revealed that one of the senior lawyers at Katende Ssempebwa and Company Advocates stormed Justice Mubiru’s chambers pleading with him to allow them to proceed with their appeal.

    “You know that senior lawyer thought that because he was Justice Mubiru’s teacher at the law school (Makerere University) and at the Law Development Center, he will use that background to convince him but the man stood his ground and refused to allow them to appeal against his ruling,” a source said.

    He added that the senior lawyer was very bitter with Justice Mubiru and threatened him that he will soon be forced out of the Commercial Court the way Justice Henry Adonya left after his controversial judgement in Shs.200bn case between Diamond Trust Bank and city tycoon Hamis Kiggundu the proprietor of Ham Enterprises Limited.

    Sources explained that before petitioning Justice Aweri, lawyers petitioned other top judicial officers to intervene in the matter and a number of phone calls were made to Justice Mubiru to change his mind but like Justice Esther Kisakye of the Supreme Court, Justice Mubiru stubbornly responded to his superiors that he swore before the president to deliver justice to all Ugandans without fear or favor.

    The respondents claimed that Kamya’s application was only based on hearsay and if Justice Mubiru’s ruling is not overturned by the Court of Appeal, it will set precedence that any person can come up with a frivolous suit without any evidence of any crime committed demanding to inspect and see another person’s financial statements and other personal records.

    They added that the ruling is very risky to the banking industry and customer’s confidentiality which has to be protected.

    One of the lawyers of the respondents revealed to theGrapevine that there is a lawyer who has been representing Sudhir who leaked vital information to counsel Fred Muwema, one of Kamya’s lawyers.

    And the reason why Kamya’s lawyers are insisting on the emails is because they are sure that whatever the e-mails and bank accounts will reveal, will end the entire case because the whole fraud that led to the execution of the transactions in which their client lost his properties is buried there.

    On 19th September 2022, Justice Aweri wrote to Justice Mubiru directing him to forward the entire Simbamanyo file to him to investigate a number of allegations put against him on the way he presiding the matter.

    “Under Section 9 and 11 of the Administration of the Judiciary Act of 2020, I am writing to immediately call for the entire file and all other applications arising thereunder for our perusal as a matter of urgency,” Justice Aweri’s letter read in parts.

    However, when the matter came up for further hearing, Sim Katende, the lawyer who was in the middle of the entire transaction asked for an adjournment citing Justice Aweri’s letter and noting that their matter is under investigation that is why they cannot proceed which Justice Mubiru rubbished.

    A bitter exchange of words ensued between Justice Mubiru and counsel Katende who threatened to drag the latter to the law council and petition the American Law Council where Katende is a member over his unprofessional and undermining character.

    Katende openly told Justice Mubiru that he is too late to do so because he cannot keep quiet when Courts are doing illegalities.

    In his remarks on Justice Aweri’s letter, Justice Mubiru stated,” If I am to adjourn a case because of an administrative letter, what will I be doing?”

    He insisted that he will not be bound by Justice Aweri’s letter and promised to proceed with the matter to its conclusion.

    Kamya petitioned president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni over the fraudulent sell of his properties and the president directed the Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka and Bank of Uganda to investigate the matter.

    It was established that his properties were legally sold and he was advised to contest the transaction in Courts of law.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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