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Gov’t Applauds Patidar Samaj Community For Supporting COVID19 Fight…

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Seremba inspecting the facility

The government of Uganda through the Ministry of Health has applauded the Patidar Samaj Community for their effort in the fight against the deadly COVID19 Pandemic.

Geoffrey Seremba the undersecretary in the Ministry of Health thanked Patidar Samaj Community for giving government their property as a quarantine center to accommodate hundreds of Ugandans who returned from abroad.

Seremba with members of Patidar Samaj Comunity

Dr. Richard Mugabi, the National Coordinator COVID19 explained that the experts have assessed the premises located on plot 11/13 Bombo road and found them fit to be a quarantine centre.

“The site has a capacity of 100 residents. We appreciate and accept this offer from the Patidar Samaj Community. The Ministry of Health has committed to avail the items to ensure the site is fully functional,” Muhahi noted.

He promised that the government is going to provide the site with bed sheets, blankets, fumigation, security and food for the quarantined returnees.

Some of the Patidar Samaj community leaders

On behalf of the Patidar Samaj Community, Patel Kamlesh the chairperson Board of trustees revealed that they have spent over Shs.50m on working on the facility to make it fit for the returnees and government is free to use it.

He added that the reason behind their move to give the said facility to government was after realizing that all the facilities put in place to accommodate COVID19 suspects and patients are full.

Patidar Samaj is under the Indian Association in Uganda.

 

By Sengooba Alirabaki

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Parliament Hastily Approves 220 Budget To Construct Roads In Congo Amidst Resistance From Other Legislators….

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Parliament has passed a supplementary budget of upto Shs 3.7 trillion amidst resistance from both opposition and some NRM legislators, some of whom wanted to know why government was asking for more money, months after the first budget was passed.

Of the total Shs 3.7 trillion, Shs. 220 billion was granted to the Ministry of Works and Transport to facilitate the construction of the roads in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo met the most resistance from both NRM and opposition legislators who wanted to know the details of the MoU between the two countries. There move has also led to an uproar from the public who questioned why Uganda would invest billions of Shillings in another country, yet its own infrastructure is wanting.

But the MP’s efforts to deter the approval of the money pending tabling of the agreements was in vain because when the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga posed the question asking if the funds should be approved, the majority voted in support. Kadaga said that the road was vital especially at a time when Ugandan products are blocked from accessing markets like Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda and Tanzania.

The works Ministry says that the 2.2 billion Shillings will efficiently aid Uganda’s quest to boost business around the border area by jointly constructing a 223-kilometre road with the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Uganda and DRC apparently got into a bilateral agreement that will see both countries implement strategic infrastructure projects which includes constructing the road from Kasindi to Beni measuring about 80 kilometres, Beni to Butembo measuring 54 kilometres and the Bunagana border to Ruchuru-Goma road which measures 89 kilometres.

Uganda will according to the agreement contribute 20 per cent of the total cost of the project estimated at USD 334.5 million, as a measure to boost trade between the two countries. But the move attracted huge criticism from legislators.

Budget Committee chairperson Amos Lugolobi who presented the report, which in total sought a supplementary budget if 3.7 trillion Shillings, recommended that the signed agreements should be laid in Parliament before implementation of the project commences.

Works Minister General Edward Katumba Wamala committed to providing the documents before project works commence.

In the same supplementary budget Shs 451 billion has been allocated to State House of which Shs 400 billion is for classified expenditure and Shs 1 billion for scientists developing the Anti-tick vaccine.

In the biggest share of the grant, Shs 1.2trillion has been allocated to the Ministry of Defence and Veterans to cater for mainly classified development expenditure, while Shs 2.4 billion will be given to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to facilitate the movement of new officers abroad.

The Electoral Commission has been given an additional Shs 50 billion; Uganda Police Force Shs 30 billion, Uganda Prisons Service Shs 10 billion; Shs 100 billion for NAADS and Shs 10 billion is for the various local governments.

The National Medical Stores will take Shs 50 billion; the Ministry of Finance Shs 95.6 billion; Shs 50 billion will be given to the Ministry of Energy while the Ministry of Justice has been allocated Shs 30 billion.

Also the Shs 50 billion that was allocated to the Ministry of Health to procure face masks generated a serious debate as legislators questioned the accountability of the first Shs 82 billion that was meant for the same purpose.

The MPs however agreed to allocate an additional Shs 89.3 billion to the ministry of Health to help in the fight against the deadly COVID-19 disease.

 

By Baron Kironde

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Ham Lied About Forgiving Tenants Rent Arrears – KACITA, Tycoon Haruna Waives Off COVID19 Rent Arrears, Traders Demand For Tax Holiday From Gov’t…

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L-R: Tycoon Ham Kiggundu and KACITA boss Kayondo

Kampala City landlords under their Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) have resolved to waiving rent arrears for their Tenant’s who have been struggling to pay as a result of the post lockdown effect taking a toll on them.

Mr. Everest Kayondo, the chairperson of KACITA, disclosed that traders operating in Aponye Mall, Dembe Arcade and business centres managed by Knight Frank Uganda Ltd such as Forest Mall, Lugogo, have all been given rent waivers.

Mr. Kayondo cited the government’s dire need to intervene as a way of helping traders who are struggling to pay rent. Kayondo applauded operators like Knight Frank who he commended having clearly written to their tenants excusing them rent arrears for April to May; then for June to July, the tenants were supposed to pay 35 per cent less; August to October they were supposed to pay 25 percent less,” he told Daily Monitor.

Referring to renowned city tycoon, Hamis Kiggundu alias Ham, Kayondo added that some landlords are habitually making empty promises of waiving their tennants of monthly rent arrests in a selfish bid to attract traders to their empty premises.

“Ham said he excused his tenants for some months but he later demanded them to make a full payment because there was no agreement written down,” Kayondo narrated.

Ham however in response maintained that, landlords including himself and others are handling the issue of rent payment and waivers in different ways best known and appropriate amongst themselves.

“It’s a discussion between me and my tenants,” he added.

According to Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA),  traders are failing to keep their businesses afloat because of low purchasing power, and a solution had to be found with immediacy in approach. Waiving rent fees for tenants was therefore inevitably appropriately to at least keep the business set up intact.

KACITA apparently assessed the current situation and came up with the ultimate decision seconded by the owners of arcades and malls after traders massively started deserting the buildings in the city centre to operate shops in city outskirts.

However, when theGrapevine talked to Ham Kiggundu, he sent us a WhatsApp message telling us to ask the tenants he forgave rent arrears.

Businessman Haruna Ssentongo told Daily Monitor that he has also pardoned 120 tenants on his Haruna Mall in Ntinda. Haruna says that he has lost more than a billion shillings in failed clearance of rent arrears. He narrated how he tried to engage his tenants to pay their rent arrears but they failed.

Businessman Haruna Ssentongo

“I have lost more than a billion shillings because the economy is bad and businesses are down. I have forgiven tenants rent arrears worth Shs.1 billion for the past six months, from May to October,” he said, adding that chasing tenants is not good for business.

“We need tenants and tenants need us. We must work together and support each other for the economy to revive,” Mr Sentongo added.

Mr. John Walugembe, the executive director of the Federation of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, said more businesses are closing because customers are not coming and that those who are coming make purchases on credit.

Mr. Walugembe appealed to government to focus on resuscitating the businesses that are dying and stimulate those that are struggling instead of only focusing on generating of taxes.

“We engaged the Finance Ministry for a stimulus package. We asked government to put in place an emergency economic injury fund which is a partial grant and loan which is interest-free, and we also asked for a tax holiday,” he said.

“The government put in place close to Shs1 trillion in Uganda Development Bank (UDB) for onward lending and other amounts of money for lending to SACCOs, among others. But there are many complaints about hardship in accessing the money at UDB,” Mr. Walugembe added, asking the government to consider coming up with alternative means for business owners to access the stimulus money.

 

By Baron Kironde

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Uganda’s Money Lenders To Run To EAC Challenging What They’ve Called Tycoon Kiggundu’s ‘Economic Suicide’ Court Victory…

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Mabirizi and Ham Kiggundu (Inset)

Money lenders through their association the Uganda Money Lenders Union has joined the Uganda Bankers Association to challenge High Court Commercial Division’s decision in the case between tycoon Hamis Kiggundu of Ham Enterprises Limited and Diamond Trust Bank (DTB).

In their petition through their secretary general Hassan Male Mabirizi Kiwanuka, the money lenders claim that Justice Henry Peter Adonyo’s ruling violates article 2(4) of the East African Treaty which provides for free movement of goods, persons, labour, movement of capital and services.

They state that as money lenders who are trading in financial transactions, they cannot take for granted court’s pronouncement since money lenders are always targeted by Uganda Police, RDC’S  and courts.

They noted that bank managers are not arrested for selling security but money lenders are always arrested and sometimes charged in courts of law.

In their petition, the moneylenders  added that Ham’s court victory violates article 6 and 7 of the East African Treaty which provides principle of non-discrimination of nationals of other states on grounds of nationality, ensures transparency in matters concerning the other partner states.

The money lenders further noted that the ruling violates article 4(1)(2) which states that the overall objective of the common market is to widen and deepen cooperation among the partner states in the economic and social fields.

“The ruling is not different from president Idi Amin’s 1972 Decree that expropriated Asians’ properties except that now, it is court decreeing that the property of a Kenyan can be taken without compensation. But both claim to be working under law to protect Uganda’s interests. We decline to be part of this clean economic suicide,” Money lenders stated in another statement issued.

In his judgement, the presiding judge Adonyo directed DTB bank to refund Shs120bn to Kiggundu’s account with 8% interest and return to him all the land titles he put as security in the bank.

 

By Sengooba Alirabaki

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