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Why We Need Shs.150bn: CAA Speaks Out On Resumption Of Flights And Why They Need Gov’t Help…

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Entebbe airport (Courtesy photo)

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has clarified on why they asked for government support of Shs.150bn.

In a letter dated 11th June 2020, CAA management says that the money will enable them sustain air transport operations for the next Financial Year.

“Our attention has been drawn to the debate in relation to a request for support from Government by Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) for a subsidy of 150 billion shillings to enable sustainability of air transport operations for the next Financial Year,” CAA management says.

They add, “We wish to clarify as follows: UCAA, which is mandated to regulate air transport in Uganda, manage and operate Entebbe International Airport and other aerodromes, derives revenue for day-to-day running of activities, including infrastructure upgrade from air traffic in and out of the country. Suspension of passenger operations in March 2020 negatively impacted on this revenue, which is used to sustain operations at Entebbe International Airport.”

“While the Authority previously collected an average of 20 billion shillings per month, in April 2020, only about 1 billion shillings was earned, the situation is worse at the moment and is not likely to improve in the next few months. The aviation industry will not immediately pick up in terms of passenger traffic even when passenger operations resume. This implies that the current financial shortfalls may prevail for the entire financial year (2020/2021) yet the Airport will be expected to render the same level of service amidst higher international expectations in a bid to restore confidence on measures in place to combat the spread of COVID-19 through air transport,” the letter reads in part.

Management adds, “In light of recommendations from international bodies, Port Health requirements such as social distancing, screening, disinfection of baggage and facilities, rapid testing prior to check-in and disembarkation are becoming recommended practices and standards in the aviation industry across the globe. Adhering to social distancing at airports will require a lot of interventions, including additional space, terminal modification, expediting the on-going terminal expansion and acquisition of self-service kiosks for check-in to reduce human interface in the passenger facilitation chain.”

“Some of the above, which were planned for the medium term now require short term implementation in order to achieve the desired lounge sitting that ensures that social distancing standards are adhered to, among others.

CAA management says that the airport currently experiences space constraints leading to congestion, especially at peak hours, which calls for more space to avoid long queues.”

“More advanced equipment for the Search Park, new Cargo Centre and existing terminal will also be required. All these (a number of which had been budgeted in anticipation of steady income) require massive financing yet the revenues have dwindled. UCAA substantially finances recurrent and development expenditure using internally generated revenue, which (as indicated) is not available at the moment,” they add.

“Airport operational costs are high even during the current period where there are limited flights (cargo and emergency) since international safety regulations require certain protocols in place whether the airport is handling the 90-120 flights per day that Entebbe used to handle before COVID-19 or the current 7-14. The 150 billion shillings bail-out that the Authority requested for is meant to meet maintenance, operational and other associated costs for a whole year from July 2020 to June 2021. It is not a precondition for reopening of the airport like is the impression that may have earlier been created. It is to ensure smooth operations amidst the additional and urgent requirements occasioned by COVID-19,” CAA says.

 

By Grapevine Reporters

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How COVID19 Exposed Intrigue Inside Kabushenga’s Fragile Vision Group And Forced Top Journalists To Run To Other Media Houses For Safety And Into Politics…..

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The deadly CODVID19 pandemic has not only exposed the fragility of our economy but also unmasked witchcraft, intrigue and National Resistance Movement (NRM) party politics at play in the country’s leading media house, Vision Group, which has forced top experienced journalists and managers to leave the company.

All hell broke loose when the group Chief Executive Officer of the company Robert Kabushenga implemented the board’s decision to send some of the staff on forced leave because of the outbreak of COVID19 pandemic.

Among the top journalists who were affected is the famous Innocent Tegusulwa of the host of the famous ‘Toli Mwavu mutwe gwo gwe mwavu’ show and Noordin Ntege all of Bukedde 1 television.

The affected individuals were supposed to receive a payment of Shs500,000 as their monthly salary. Credible sources at vision group whispered to theGrapevine that immediately after the forced leave ended, a number of staffs reported back to their work stations and among them was Noordin Ntege and Tegusulwa thinking that the COVID19 dust had settled and they were free to resume work.

Unfortunately, they were informed that the company had added them another term of forced leave.

Tegusulwa and Ntege on behalf of the affected staff immediately petitioned Kabushenga to explain to them why their forced leave had been postponed and why they were no longer allowed to sit at their stations.

Sources at the Vision group further disclosed that Kabushenga refused to meet the petitioners and directed them to discuss their issues with Bills Tibangana, the head of Televisions at Vision group.

This website established that in the meeting, Tibangana told Tegusulwa that he should wait until the company recovers from COVID19 financial shock.

The source disclosed that Tibangana’s communication forced Tegusulwa to play his last card by declaring his political move to join Bobi Wine’s National Unity Platform party.

Tibangana on the other hand informed Ntege that Vision Group top management resolved to let him come back because he was needed to host political programs due to his experience in hosting political programs but on condition that his supervisor Hannington Muluta, the head of current affairs on all vision broadcasting waves officially communicates to top management.

“From that time, the man was always in Muluta’s office pleading with him to recommend him to the top management but he kept on promising him that he was going to work it. After some time, Noordin decided to move on because by that time there were a number of televisions asking him to join them,” our source revealed.

At this point, Ntege decided to move on and join Jinja based Baba TV as the station’s manager and head of politics and current affairs.

When contacted, Ntege confirmed that he left vision group to Baba TV because of a lucrative big offer from Baba TV.

“The guys gave me a big deal they doubled my pay, I am very happy and my life is now safe,” a happy Ntege said.

In the same development, Tegusulwa also joined Pastor Jackson Senyonga’s top media as a political show host.

Many senior staffs are at crossroads not knowing what to do next since most sections have been joined as the company continues to cut costs.

Like any other big organization, sources inside the industrial area based media house also told theGrapevine that there is a lot of intrigue among staff with many fighting for their colleagues positions using all the arsenal they can think of including witchcraft.

 

By Sengooba Alirabaki

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Trouble As Kenyan Salt Smuggled Into Uganda Leaves Traders, URA Counting Loses…

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Kenya based Krystalline Salt Ltd; producers of Kay Salt, and also one of the largest salt producers in East Africa are currently under fire on allegations of smuggling salt into Uganda.

Reports indicate that the giant salt producer has minted billions of Uganda shillings from the illegal trade. Stores in Kampala are filled to capacity with non taxed Kenyan salt branded with a ‘For sale in Kenya only’ tag, a clear implication that the product is only smuggled to the country it’s not taxed.

Krystaline also manufactures and distributes Habari salt within the East African market and capitalises on using the same channels of distribution for Kay salt which is reserved for only the Kenyan market.

Krystalline Salt Limited seems to be be paying a deaf ear to the fact that tax evasion by individuals, corporations and trusts is totally prohibited, and highly punishable; it without doubt facilitates the misrepresentation of the actual economic state to the tax authorities reducing their tax liability characterised by dishonest tax reporting like declaring less income, profits or gains differing from the actual amount.

At a busy trading center like the st. Balikudembe (Owino Market) in Mengo Kisenyi, Kampala, there’s case evidence of wholesale stores with Kay Salt in bulky stocks.

The Kay salt producers have not only evaded taxes and other import duties, but also lubricated excruciating losses to legal brands on the market, dropping their sales to over a 60 percentage decrease.

It is reported that the Kenya bound salt product is smuggled into Uganda via it’s borders of Busia and Malaba.

One anonymous trader revealed the different ways salt is smuggled into the country; he said it’s mainly smuggled through narrow ‘panya’ paths by facilitated by bicycle riders who make many trips a day with small quantities. Then people with disabilities with their wheel chair bicycles make several trips a day with reasonable quantities, And then the big trucks which directly pass through the right paths after bribing their way through.

The Traders admitted that the illegal purchase of the product is cheaper at the border, where they purchase to sale in different packages.

Reports also indicate that Kay salt is not only smuggled into Uganda, but also Burundi, DR Congo and South Sudan.

By doing so, Kay salt is breaching the Uganda Revenue Authority importing requirements that include; import declaration, content particulars, suppliers invoice, documented evidence, carriage of goods, customs value declaration, compliance information, good release order, among other elements.

 

By Baron Kironde

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Doing Business In Mbale, Iganga, Tirinyi Made Easy After Road Construction Giants Dott Services Puts Final Touches On 100km Road…

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Dott Services Contracts Manager Eng. Jamesone Olonya

Road construction giants Dott services limited has revealed that they are putting final touches on the 100km Iganga-Tirinyi-Mbale road.

During a media tour of the state of the art road, Dott Services Contracts Manager Eng. Jamesone Olonya, thanked Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) for diligently playing a supervisory role during the construction process, he promised that the project is expected to be finished next month (August).

“We are happy that throughout the duration of this whole project, we have been closely supervised by our employer and we think the UNRA team is doing a very good job,” Eng. Olonya said.

Eng. Olonya said that the 100km road that cost UGX 135 billion and was fully funded by the Ugandan government will not only ease transport for people and goods, but will also reduce accidents since they have put special walkways for pedestrians in some busy trading centres.

“Completion of the road was initially set for April 2020 but it was extended by three months by UNRA after heavy rains raised the water levels on the many rivers along the highway,” Eng. Olonya said.

The road starts at Nakalama, a suburb of Iganga District, on the Jinja–Tororo Highway, approximately 44kms and proceeds in a north-easterly direction, through Namutumba, Tirinyi and Kamonkoli before ending at Mbale, a total distance of about 100 kilometers.

Locals in Iganga and Mbale told theGrapevine that they are happy that the new road is going to boost business in their areas by easing the movement of goods in the four eastern districts of Iganga, Namutumba, Tirinyi in Kibuku District, Kamonkoli in Budaka District, and Mbale.

DOTT Services Ltd is a 25 years’ old Ugandan Company, incorporated in 1994.

The construction company is ranked in Class A1 tier and also has operations spread out in countries like Zambia, South Sudan, Tanzania and India among others.


By Sengooba Alirabaki

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