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OPINION: Free Trade For African Countries: Continental Block Will Spur Trade And Develop Africa

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In his book, “Sowing The Mustard Seed”, Second Edition, President Museveni articulates the case for Pan-Africanism with a slant, in part, to business dividends. “The milk production of Uganda is now 2 billion litres, up from 200 million litres in 1986. Uganda, however, currently, consumes only 800 million litres per annum”. He adds that; “What will happen to the rest then? This is true of bananas, goats, cattle, fruits and other products? Our second layer of saviours are the East Africans, the South Sudanese, the Congolese and other regional partners”.

The President has been, and remains a strong advocate of regional integration in Africa. Now, further to the likes of EAC and COMESA, the big one is here. The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) endorsed by African Union (AU) Member States in Kigali, in March 2018, takes effect next year. This, after the ratification of the operational aspects of AfCFTA, at an AU extra-ordinary Summit in Niamey, Niger on 7th July 2019 – The New Vision, 20th July 2019.

The essence of Niamey pact is that Africa’s Free Trade Area will be operational effective July 2020. In Niamey, the necessary instruments were signed by the required minimum 22 AU Member States, including Uganda. It is a major break-through for business across the continent. With 55 Member countries, Africa’s Free Trade Area will dwarf ALL trading blocks, including the EU, in terms of membership. 

AfCFTA is bringing together a combined market of 1.2 billion people and economies with an aggregate GDP of USD 2.5 trillion. It is a huge market under which countries in Africa, will trade with each other, minus tariff barriers. AfCFTA will spur industrialization, grow economies, create jobs, strengthen indigenous capabilities and ease Africa’s vulnerability to external trading shocks.

For Uganda, niche items include fresh, organic grain foodstuffs, which have ready market in countries like Congo, Angola, Senegal, Namibia and the Saharan, North African Countries. Our other niche items include milk, fruits, fish, beef and household consumer items. Uganda is also progressively building capacity in oil and gas and services like tourism and ICT innovations, from which we stand to reap, among others. 

Intra-Africa business will slash Africa’s trade deficit, considering the continent imports food items alone, worth USD 60 billion annually. Relatedly, under the current skewed trade regime, intra-Africa business is at 16% while that with Europe, for instance, is at 65%.

Therefore, the AfCFTA will unlock Africa’s massive economic potential, right from the short term. Indeed, intra-African trade is now projected to rise to 60% by 2022. Retaining the USD 60 billion Africa is “donating” to Europe in annual food imports, will greatly boost the continent socio-economically.

In a riveting address, at a Nelson Mandela Memorial Lecture at Makerere University on 31st August 2017, President Museveni submitted that; “Africa is a huge continent with a land area of 11.7 million square miles, which makes it 12 times bigger than India, 4 times bigger than USA and China each and more than 2 times the size of Russia. We are somewhat working on economic integration through the Regional Economic Communities; although we should be more religious and focused on this issue”. 

Credit to him and other regional leaders for bringing AfCTFA to life. We should, therefore, position Uganda tap into this huge continental market. Priority considerations include accelerating industrialisation, improving product/service value chains, fast-tracking oil, gas, energy and minerals’ development. Others are expanding transport and ICT infrastructure, enhancing agricultural production and aligning our fiscal policies, as may be applicable.

Moses Watasa

Commissioner, Communication and Information Dissemination

MINISTRY OF ICT & NATIONAL GUIDANCE

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With M7 Still In Power, Nobody Will Ever Win Against Dott And Here Is Why This Is The Case…

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Dott Services continues to benefit from political friendship with NRM to the extent of getting many road sector deals without competing fairly with other bidders.

They got the Namanve deal to do all the roads in the industrial park using orders from above and the deal is worth over USD400M. UNRA bosses like Kagina and other guys have tried to oppose the favors M7 gives this company in vain.

UNRA bosses are now more frustrated after M7 ordered that Dott Services bosses get all the tourism roads worthy millions of dollars of America and this is annoying many other firms in the same business. One thing is known about Dott Services and that is its strong connections to Col John Mugyenyi and Bukedea MP Anita Among who helps them access the President each time they want to.

In the letter we have seen M7 has favored Dott Services Ltd by writing a letter telling Minister Matia Kasaija and Works Minister Monicah Azuba to give all the tourism roads to Dott Services because they are going to get the money for the work and recover from gov’t later. Yet there are many other contractors who can do the same but they never get chance to do this because they have no strong connections and godfathers in politics which angers UNRA bosses very much.

Tourism these days is very important to M7 because last year alone more than 2m tourists came and gave Uganda many dollars. Uganda last year made billions of dollars from tourism. Museveni has given it attention to make Uganda more attractive hence favoring Dott Services to do all the tourism roads which by the way are very many.

Dott Services big bosses have been benching until they met M7 to back their proposal to be given these roads and in the same meeting, the Dott bosses asked to be given everything on condition they help government get the lenders.
Museveni liked the proposal and directed Kasaija and Works Minister Monicah Azuba to give his favored Indian men the tourism roads. The same letter went to PSST Keith Muhakanizi and Allen Kagina who doesn’t like Dott Services at all. Dott Services is backed by John Mugenyi and yet his wife Hope is relative of Kagina but they don’t like each other.

By Grapevine Reporter

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Total Finally Speaks Out On The Decision To Invest In Uganda’s Oil Project

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Total’s Chief Finance Officer, Jean-Pierre Sbraire (inset)

Total’s Chief Finance Officer, Jean-Pierre Sbraire has told analysts during a conference call after the French oil major’s third-quarter that as management, they have not yet decided to invest their money in Uganda’s oil project.

He revealed that the company was supposed to decide on the issue of Uganda’s oil last year but there were some issues holding back the decision even though they are still committed to the project and the project is technically mature.

“We are ready to launch but we recently faced some difficulties with the authorities,” he said.  He said that Total had planned to buy some of Britain’s Tullow Oil’s stake in the 230,000 barrel-per-day project but that deal was called off due to a tax dispute with the Ugandan authorities.

Total’s CEO Patrick Pouyanne

“We remain fully committed to the development but we’ll see, at present time, it is a bit too early to assess when the Final Investment Decision (FID) could be taken for the project,” Sbraire explained.  It should be remembered that Total’s CEO Patrick Pouyanne said earlier this year that investing in Uganda’s oil will be a personal priority this year after setbacks led to a delay on the FID in 2018.

By Jamil Lutakome

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Kajjansi Progressive SS Director in Shs1.7bn Scum: Lawyer Accuses Her Of Facilitating Forgery Of US Dollar Currency As She Comes To Court Dressed Like An Al-shabaab Terrorist…

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Nsangi comes to court dressed like an Al-shabaab

City lawyer Derrick Bazekuketta has asked Buganda Road court to issue an arrest warrant against Rebecca Nsangi, the director of Kajjansi progressive secondary school for facilitating the forgery of US dollars.

Bazekuketta told Buganda Road Court magistrate Marion Magenyi that he has enough evidence pining Nsangi in a scum which involved manufacturing of US Dollars amounting to Shs1.7bn.

“Her worship, I have read and internalized the statement made by the complainant Miss Nsangi against the accused and discovered that she must be added to the suspects. She admitted in this statement that she was the one who facilitated the duplication of an international currency which is a very serious crime here and internationally,”  Bazekuketa submitted.

Nsangi in court

He told court that when Nsangi realized that she was facilitating a crime and that she had already lost a lot of money, she decided to turn against her fellow culprits and reported them to the authorities claiming that she was the victim in the scum. He further revealed that there is enough evidence that Nsangi has been pressurizing the state to hurriedly prosecute Rayne Mukasa, Muhammad Ali, Patrick Lwasa and Steven Bukenya on charges of obtaining money by false pretense after the whole deal went bad. 

State lawyer Mike Kintu pleaded with court to allow the prosecution to proceed with his ten witnesses because it’s an urgent matter and some of his witnesses are students who are preparing to sit for their final exams so they don’t have time to frequently come to court. The magistrate overruled Kintu and ordered that she will first make her ruling on the trespass charge sheet. However, there was comedy in court when Nsangi went into the dock dressed like an Al-Shabaab terrorist covering her face to avoid being snapped by the media.

The accused in court

WHAT HAPPENED?

Nsangi alleges that the accused extorted over 180 million shillings from her after lying to her that they had US dollars worth Shs1.8 billion but the problem is the currency notes had a US stamp on them that needed to be erased. They told her that if she could get them 180 million shillings, they will be able to use it to erase the stamp from the US currency notes and give her part of the money.

When she gave them the money, they took off into hiding. Nsangi said that with the help of operatives from CMI and ISO, they arrested the culprits and took them to court on charges of obtaining money by false pretense.

However, the accused say that Nsangi should also be put on the charge sheet because she facilitated the fraud.

By Jamil Lutakome

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