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Uganda Update Summer 2008

Uganda Update Summer 2008



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Published by: simguybar on Feb 17, 2009
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    U    G    A    N    D    A     U    P    D    A    T    E
With GDP projected to grow by 8.1% over the next fiscal year, an upbeat Finance Minister, the Honorable Ezra Su-ruma, introduced a budget in June that provides a host of targeted measures to spur new investment in Uganda.
Among the sectorsexpected to benefit mostare agroprocessing, tour-ism, health, educationand infrastructure devel-opment.Mr. Suruma, in hisspeech introducing thebudget to Parliament,said that the governmentwould inject $59.9 mil-lion into the NationalAgricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), aswell as allocating $1.7million to increase mechanization of agriculture. Incomearising out of new agro-processing investments will be ex-empt from income tax over the next year. ere will also bea 20% to 30% reduction on excise duty for locally-producedbeers.“Uganda is an agricultural country, and we need to en-courage production and processing of our agricultural prod-ucts,” the Minister said.Schools and tertiary educational institutions will be ex-empt from income tax and the tax relief on constructionmaterials for hotels and hospitals will be extended anotheryear.Overall spending on education and health will also be sub-stantially increased. e government has asked Parliamentfor $514 million to fund improvements in Uganda’s primary and secondary schools, and for $359 million to fund thehealth sector. Much of that sum, Mr. Suruma said, was to re-form drug management systems, recruit more health work-ers and ensure universal access to anti-retroviral treatment.With the construction of the Bujagali Dam on track, Mr.Suruma said attention will now shi to building two new hy-droelectric dams at Karuma and Isimba.Moving goods to market is also a priority in the newbudget. e government has proposed scrapping the value-added tax (VAT) on trucks of 3.5 metric tons and over to helpreduce the cost of transportation. In addition, it has allocated$197.5 million to the construction of the Northern TransportCorridor, a dual carriageway from Busia/Malaba at the Ken-yan border to Katuna at the Rwandan border. Overall, thegovernment is asking for a record $679 million to fund newroad construction.Exemption from the VAT will be extended for anotheryear for the tourism sector and resident airlines will also be
African peer reviewers have praised Uganda for achievingsustainable economic growth, law and order, a good hu-man rights record and democratic government.
e review was conducted under the African Peer ReviewMechanism (APRM) developed by the New African Partner-ship for Economic Development (NEPAD). Uganda was theseventh nation to voluntarily undergo the process.Speaking at the release of the report atthe African Union (AU) summit in July,Professor Adebayo Adedeji of Nigeria, whoheaded the review congratulated PresidentYoweri Museveni for transforming Ugandafrom the chaos under Idi Amin and MiltonObote into a democratic society.“e government led by [President]Museveni...has transformed the country over the past two decades,” he said. “Firstthere is law and order...secondly, develop-ment has become sustainable...irdly,from being a military government, it hasnow become a democratically-electedgovernment and human rights are enjoyed by the people.”e report also noted that political liberalization had ledto the emergence of a free media and civil society and thatUganda’s decentralized system of government had resultedin greater participation in the formulation and planning of development policies at all levels.e reviewers commended Uganda for its success in com-bating HIV/AIDS as well as the key role it has played in fa-cilitating regional peace and security through leadership innegotiations and peacekeeping operations.e APRM process brought together representatives fromthe Government of Uganda, civil society, the private sector,academia, members of the political opposition, religiousleaders, trade unionists, farmers, youth, women, people withdisabilities, members of Parliament and members of the legalprofession. Also represented were stakeholders from all lev-els of regional and local government.In his speech before the AU regarding Uganda’s review,President Museveni described bringing together so many di- verse viewpoints as a challenge but one that was “a continua-tion of the process of building consensus and agreement.
exempt from taxes. In addition, the budget included a $9.9million land fund to establish investment parks.Mr. Suruma said that the economy grew by 8.9% over thepast fiscal year and that total export earnings had risen by $295 million to $2.3 billion. He added that combined domes-tic resources represented 70% of the budget with donors pro- viding 30%. Two years ago, donors funded half of Uganda’sbudget. Remittances last year from Ugandans living abroadmore than doubled to over $864 million, becoming the coun-try’s biggest source of foreign exchange.
 Moving goods to market is a priority for the next fiscal year Prof. Adebayo Adedeji, Chair of the Ugandareview panel 
Uganda’s Kilembe copper plant in Jinja has begun to smelt copper from the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo(DRC), according to Mr. omas Eggenburg, General Manager of Deutsche Rohstoff AG and Bergbau Mining Company,which operates the Kilembe plant.
And, Mr. Eggenburg told Uganda’s
New Vision
newspaper, there was enough copperore in the DRC to supply the Kilembe plant for a very long time. “Even if 20 companiesstart mining copper in the DRC now, they can only exhaust the mineral aer 200 years,he said.Furnaces and other equipment were imported to bring the plant up to capacity. Duringthe 1970s, it was used to treat copper ores from the Kilembe copper mine, but the minewas closed in 1982 amid low global metal prices and rising mining costs.With the surge in the price of copper, however, the Government of Uganda is lookingfor investors to revive mining and mineral treatment facilities in Uganda. Copper reservesin Uganda are believed to be around 4.1 million metric tons. e metal, which was tradingat $3,500 per metric ton in 2004, is now trading for over $8,000 a metric ton.
President Yoweri Museveni said in July that revenue from newly discovered oil in western Uganda will be used to supportagriculture, manufacturing and infrastructure development rather than for consumption of luxury goods.
“Oil revenues will not be used for consumption and importing per-fumes, wines, cars and paying salaries,” the President told participantsat a seminar in Kampala organized by the Governments of Uganda andNorway and the African Development Bank (AfDB). “We shall use it asa finite resource to create infinite capacity for Ugandans. is is our core view in building long-term benefits from the oil.UK-based Tullow Oil Plc and Heritage Oil Ltd, an independent explo-ration and production company based in Canada, have discovered oil innumerous locations in the Lake Albert Ri Valley Basin. “e Albert Ba-sin looks increasingly like it has the elements to make it a world-class pe-troleum basin. e flow rates...far exceed our expectations,” said HeritageCEO, Mr. Tony Buckingham.e Ugandan government has also announced that it would not exportcrude oil, but would have it refined domestically to maximize returns. It is negotiating with Tullow to build a mini-refinery and a power plant in Uganda that will begin production in 2009. e refinery will produce diesel, kerosene and heavy fueloils for domestic consumption. e power plant will be capable of generating 50 megawatts to 85 megawatts of electricity andwill be added to the national grid.e Ugandan government has proceeded cautiously on granting exploration licenses to ensure that it has the human ca-pacity to make wise decisions regarding the exploitation of the resource. It has consulted extensively with officials from theNigerian oil and gas industry who have counseled Ugandan officials to avoid developing an overdependence on oil.
 An oil exploration site in the Albertine Basin A Kalembe Mines worker on anore carrier 
A new trade center to ease access for small and medium enterprises to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Af-rica (COMESA) will soon open in Kampala, Mr. Julius Magala, the CEO of the new Comesatradehub announced in July.COMESA is a regional free trade area with 19 members that generated $8.8 billion in intra-regional trade in 2007.
“e cost for a single company to effectively market itself internationally can be prohibitive,” Mr. Magala said. “e tradecenter makes it possible by providing a venue where [smaller companies] can market and sell their products at a low cost.e center will consist of a showroom divided into seven categories - foods and beverages, health and beauty, electronics,household goods, construction materials, automotive products and stationery - and an export warehouse. Sellers will display their goods in the showroom and Comesatradehub will do the marketing and take orders electronically. Sellers will thendeliver the goods to the export warehouse and the center will transport the goods to buyers. Comesatradehub will guaranteeand prepay all orders.Ugandan exports to COMESA grew 60% in 2007 to $504 million. Top COMESA markets for Ugandan goods are Rwanda,Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan.
MWH, a global provider of environmental engineering,strategic consulting and construction management servic-es, announced in July that it had won a contract to provideengineering services for the Bujagali Hydroelectric PowerProject in Uganda.
Under the terms of the contract, MWH will provide tech-nical assistance, design review and contruction drawing re- view during the start-up and commissioning of the dam overthe 44-month engineering and construction phases of the$682 million project. e Colorado-based company will bepaid about $3.8 million over four years for its services.When completed in 2011, the Bujagali Dam will gener-ate 250 megawatts of electricity and is expected to doubleUganda’s energy capacity. e hydroelectric facility will pro- vide power from an indigenous and renewable resource withlow carbon-dioxide emissions, re-using water already usedfor power generation at upstream dams, thus contributing tosustainable development.e project is one of the largest private power sector invest-ments ever made in sub-Saharan Africa. MWH will be work-ing with the project sponsors, Industrial Promotion Servicesof Kenya and Sithe Global Power of the United States.MWH provides water, energy, natural resource, programmanagement, consulting and construction services to indus-rial, municipal and government clients around the world.e Bujagali contract is its first in Africa.
Uganda Green Computers Company, a computer refur-bishment and recycling center, opened in June in Kampala,making PC ownership more affordable and accessible toowners of small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs).
e company aims to refurbish about 10,000 quality-brand PCs a year and resell them for about $175, one-thirdthe price of a new business PC. Each recycled computer willcome with a one-year warranty and Windows soware pro- vided free by Microso under the Microso Unlimited Po-tential program.e center was made possible by a partnership signed in2007 between the United Nations Industrial DevelopmentOrganization (UNIDO) and Microso aimed at supportingbusiness opportunities and entrepreneurship among localSMEs in Uganda. Funded primarily by local private and pub-lic sector investors, its business model aims for commercialand environmental sustainability.“e opening of the PC refurbishment center in Kampalamarks a major step forward for the economic opportunitiesavailable to SMEs, the majority of employers in Uganda,”said the Honorable Ham-Mukasa Mulira, Uganda’s Ministerof Information and Communications Technology. “Access toaffordable PCs will help SMEsincrease their productivity,share information, grow theirbusiness, create local jobs andultimately help make Ugandaa more competitive, knowl-edge-based economy.”e center will refurbishPCs for resale to SMEs acrossthe country through a net-work of distributors that is ex-pected to grow from six to 20within one year. e qualifiedlocal staff will train distribu-tors on aer-sales support and marketing. For its distribu-tor network, Uganda Green Computers will rely on Dis-trict Business Information Centers, established by UNIDOthroughout the country to provide SMEs with access to theinternet and business advisory and information and commu-nication technology services.e company also offers a program for the return of therefurbished computers at the end of their useful life and theresponsible disassembly of the hardware. It will reuse work-ing components, resell high-value material including copperand circuit boards, and locally recycle materials like steel andplastic.
Worker at Uganda GreenComputers
A banking group based in the United Arab Emirates hasannounced it will set up the first Islamic bank in Ugandain the near future.
e National Islamic Bank of Uganda, formed followinga merger between the International Investment House (IIH)of Abu Dhabi and the local National Bank of Commerce, willoperate in accordance with Sharia law prohibiting interestpayments on both deposits and loans.e
East African
reports that the bank will serve as a con-duit for equity investments, including from sovereign wealthfunds in the Middle East that will provide capital for big-ticket infrastructure projects in the country.e bank will focus on providing innovative financing topeople who have so far not accessed banking services but whoare benefiting from Uganda’s economic growth. IIH officialsestimate that only one to two million Ugandans use banksout of about six million who are considered “bankable.e bank will also not set up a traditional physical branchnetwork, but will instead rely on providing services throughmobile phones using Hits Telecom as the distributor. IIH isexpected to invest $50 million in the new institution. It willown 76% of the shares, while National Bank of Commerceshareholders will own the remaining 24%.e National Islamic Bank of Uganda will be the secondIslamic bank in East Africa following the opening of Gulf Africa Bank in Kenya in 2007.

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