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    You Can Claim Your Money Through Stanbic Bank – Governor Mutebile To Africell Users…

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    The governor of Bank of Uganda, Tumusiime Mutebile has advised Africell users to claim their money on the Africell mobile money platform through Stanbic bank.

    “All Africell mobile money customers are advised to approach Stanbic Bank with their identification details and an alternative phone number or bank account to which payment shall be made,” Mutebile said in a statement released today.

    He added that Stanbic Bank will pay the beneficiaries over a period of ninety days with effect from 8, October, 2021.

    “After the expiry of this period, the details of any unpaid beneficiaries and the respective amounts shall be transferred to Bank of Uganda,” Mutebile noted.

    He also noted that Africell subscribers can obtain guidance from Stanbic Branches across the country.

    Africell has been offering mobile money services during it’s operations but announced last month that they have closed shop in Uganda and will cease all operations today October, 7, 2021.

    According to the Governor, Africell has been partnering with Stanbic Bank on mobile services.

    “The Central Bank will continue to safeguard the stability and integrity of financial sector,” he concluded.

     

    By Hope Kalamira

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    Confidence In Our National Airline Is Increasing – MPs Impressed With Uganda Airlines Performance, Ready To Approve Shs25bn For Carrier’s Spare Engine…

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    MPs on Parliament’s Committee on Physical Infrastructure inspecting Uganda Airlines equipment

    MPs on Parliament’s Committee on Physical Infrastructure are impressed with the performance of Uganda Airlines and have promised to lobby for more Government funding to the national carrier.

    This comes after the lawmakers went on a guided tour of Uganda Airlines operations on Thursday.

    The MPs started by visiting the airline’s Kampala based office before heading to the main office in Entebbe where they interacted with staff from the carrier’s various departments.

    They also toured the self-handling yard that contains equipment for the self-handling project that is expected to start two months from now.

    The aim of the visit was for MPs to know more about the operations, performance and plans of Uganda Airlines. They also wanted to know the challenges the national carrier is facing and how better they can be addressed.

    Speaking to journalists after interfacing with Uganda Airlines Management, David Karubanga, the Chairperson of Parliament’s Committee on Physical Infrastructure, said they had a candid discussion on the operations of the national carrier for the last three years. Uganda Airlines started commercial operations in August 2019.

    “As a Committee, we have observed that the airline is growing; Ugandans and other passengers have embraced the airline. Confidence in our national airline is increasing and as a Committee, we would like to see the airline move to a point where it can fully support itself in terms of revenue,” Karubanga said.

    He added that although COVID-19 has affected the airline’s revenues, the performance recorded so far is impressive.

    “As a Committee, we are going to call the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Works and Transport to come and talk to them on the commitment in terms of funding the airline because the aviation industry is global and it has regulatory compliance issues [an airline must fulfill],” he said.

    Karubanga added that the Committee is happy with the airline’s strategic plan that will see the national carrier roll out more aircraft; mid-range aircraft for cargo and domestic flights.

    He added that the Committee supports the self-handling project as it will greatly cut the operational costs of the airline.

    “We have inspected the equipment purchased by Uganda Airlines for self-handling project This means that Uganda Airlines will save on the money it is currently spending on another service provider (DAS). It will also earn more revenue (by offering ground handling services to third party companies). They are just waiting for certification from Uganda Civil Aviation Authority.

    We are going to follow up that issue as a Committee. They should get that license as soon as possible because it will enhance their revenue as an agency of Government,” Karubanga said.

    The Committee is also happy that Uganda Airlines management has made strategic partnerships with other airlines and countries.

    “We are happy that they have resolved the challenges in leadership. We are hopeful that this airline is going to develop since the number of passengers using Uganda Airlines has increased. It started with 65,000 and in the third year, it has over 270,000 passengers.

    That’s a very big growth in terms of passengers and trust in the national carrier,” Karubanga said.

    He also revealed that Committee members got a technical explanation on why a spare engine is important. The MPs are now convinced that Uganda Airlines needs the spare engine urgently.

    “The rationale of having a spare engine is agreeable by the Committee. We support it fully because the cost of hiring one is quite high,” he said.

    Ephraim Bagenda, the Director of  Engineering and Maintenance at Uganda Airlines, told MPs that a standby spare engine is necessary because engines are changed after a period of time.

    “When you operate up to 8,000 flight hours, then the engine has to be removed and sent for performance restoration; you can call it overhaul. When you remove one engine, you need to install another to continue with the operations or else get grounded. If we don’t have a spare, we have to lease an engine from abroad while we send ours to the workshop. The one which goes to the workshop will take a minimum of 90 days to be overhauled. If you hire one, you must spend daily until the overhauled one returns.

    Leasing an engine for 90 days will cost a minimum of US$650,000 (Shs2.52bn). If you have a spare, once you remove the engine which needs to be overhauled, you put your spare; you avoid leasing. A new spare engine costs US$6.5m (Shs25.2bn). That is with a discount of 15%,” Bagenda explained.

    He added that Uganda Airlines has a total inventory of spares worth US$12m (Shs46.5bn).

    The Committee also realized that the airline has a challenge of skilled manpower especially pilots.

    “We are calling on Ugandans to undertake on those courses. If they can gain enough flight experience, the jobs are there,” Karubanga said.

    Jenifer Bamuturaki, the Uganda Airlines Chief Executive Officer (CEO), said that there are mandatory numbers of pilots the airline must have for both the Airbus and for the CRJ.

    It’s important to note that Uganda Airlines currently operates a fleet of four (4) CRJ900 and two (2) Airbus A330-800neo.

    Bamuturaki says they don’t have adequate numbers for pilots. This is after the national carrier upgraded First Officers to Captains.

    “So the manpower we need will be in the First Officers. We need about 10 of them,” she said, adding that without adequate numbers, there’s a likelihood of an aircraft being parked as the few pilots  may travel for training or may go on leave.

    “We have a few that have relocated; we didn’t only hire Ugandans but also international pilots. So, some of them have relocated back to their countries.  We are now recruiting more pilots; the board has been supportive; they have approved for us to recruit pilots,” Bamuturaki said, adding that they have also recruited more people in reservations and ticketing office.

    She added that the airline is working hard to minimize flight delays and cancellations.

     

    By Hope Kalamira

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    Former Vision Group Boss Reveals How He Was Dismissed As Myopic And Parasitic In Controversial Coffee Deal…

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    Former Vision Group boss, Robert Kabushenga has revealed how he was kicked out of the controversial coffee deal.

    Kabushenga revealed that the current coffee debate started in December 2019 with the controversial Bill that later became law.

    “Since then, some of us who are active in different parts of the value chain have been exchanging ideas on what can be done. I am going to share them here,” he noted.

    Kabushenga added that they had hoped that there would be a forum where they can share their thinking.

    He disclosed, “Apart from the parliamentary committee on the Vinci Deal, we have simply been dismissed as foreign agents, parasitic & myopic. They see no use in engaging those who actually generate the coffee wealth.

    “Those of us invested in the coffee sector take a 20 or more years perspective. You can’t do that with myopia. We are involved in production of wealth so you can’t say that is parasitic. Ours is for export so we are working for ourselves not foreigners.”

    He divulged that it is only those whose income and livelihood is derived from taxes and levies that can be correctly described as parasites because they need to work for foreigners from whom they can extract ‘rents’.

    “Which is why they focus on the deals and are shortsighted in their outlook.”

    Kabushenga furthermore broke down what they, as coffee sector players would want to see.

    He contended, “We are in full agreement with the need to set up a soluble coffee plant. In fact, I have been lobbying for this in some corridors. It will increase the value of low-grade coffees that are fetching low prices in the market.

    “The best option is a freeze-dried coffee plant which gives the best instant coffee product. The model should be a PPP (Public Private Partnership) that invests in the plant but allows coffee final product entrepreneurs to rent time on the plant and produce their own coffee brands and market to the final consumer.

    “This will spur local innovation in the local coffee values chain and generate diverse and more meaningful employment opportunities. It will also grow local consumption since soluble coffee is more convenient to make. This is especially true for those who make coffee in their homes.”

    The coffee farmer also asserted that for the start, they can position markets across Africa but below the multinational processors as they build capacity.

    “It means that we can position in urban markets across Africa but below the multinational processors. This would allow development of new markets as we build capacity to compete.”

    He maintained, “We must look at our current market. Uganda is a net coffee exporter. We sell our coffee mainly to processors. This requires us to know how they want their product. Imposing a product on a consumer could backfire. To go directly to end-user market means to know how coffee is consumed.

    “It may be that by processing for export in the manner we claim will earn us more money, we may have the opposite effect. Processing may come at a high cost and will make our coffee expensive. Market entry barriers are higher in this segment which denies us access to this lucrative market.”

    Kabushenga also revealed that there has been no marketing of their coffee to give it a unique standing.

    “The processed coffee market is very unforgiving for those seeking to play here. Where is our coherent strategy in this regard? Over what sustained period will we invest in this to effect uptake of our coffee?”

    He added that the policy of confusion is derailing the sector and will undermine the processing agenda.

    He divulged that Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) argued that the Vinci processing approach was very good but now they want to do a consultancy on the viability of such a plant which is already portraying them as confused.

     

    By Kalamira Hope

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    Prime Minister Nabbanja Summons UBOS Bosses Over Misleading Advice On Parish Development Model…

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    Dr. Chris Mukiza and PM Robinah Nabbanja

    Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja has summoned the leadership of the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) over their ill advice on government’s Parish Development Model (PDM).

    In an exclusive interview with theGrapevine, Nabbanja revealed that it was improper for UBOS leadership led by Dr. Chris Mukiza, the Executive Director of UBOS and Dr. Albert Byamugisha, the UBOS chairperson to rubbish a government project before the media, instead of addressing it with government stakeholders.

    “I am going to summon them to my office, they should explain to me why they went to the media before briefing me or the Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development,” she said.

    She added that the government officials especially the ministers and Members of Parliament have been mobilizing people to prepare to receive the money, and the people have in turn organised themselves through SACCOS to be given money to develop themselves, but telling them that the money is not coming make them lose all the hope they had and puts government in bad light.

    Nabbanja admitted that there are still a few hicups with data collection especially in towns and municipalities but in villages, authentic data of the beneficiaries is already available.

    “It is true in towns it is very difficult to follow those people who will borrow the Parish Development Model funds because many of them don’t have permanent homes, they are just renting. Foe example, today, a person who stays in Nateete may receive PDM funds and then shift the next day to Kasangati and also receives money from there. That is why we need to get a better solution on how to handle such incidences,” Nabanja explained.

    On Tuesday, Dr. Mukiza told journalists at his office in Kampala that the data that has been collected by the local leaders which the government is set to follow when delivering PDM cash is not authentic.

    “We shall not advise the government to release the money now because we have not completed the collection of data across the country. Until we get the right data, government cannot release this money,” Mukiza said.

    He further warned that if government releases the money, wrong beneficiaries will benefit and poor people will not because the data collected is not authentic.

    Government is set to release over Shs100m to each SACCO at the parish level for beneficiaries to borrow, invest and return later.

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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