Baz Waiswa

Baz Waiswa

Katuntu Has Done A Good Job Unearthing Bank of Uganda Dirt – FDC’s Epenu

Forum for Democratic Change’s (FDC) official Sarah Epenu unlike her peers at the country’s leading opposition political party is happy with the work Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprise’s (Cosase) under chairmanship  of Hon. Abdul Katuntu has done to expose the rot at Bank of Uganda. Epenu wants the Bugweri legislator to finish the job he started.

"I am an FDC. I work in the President's office. But on Cosase I want to give my personal view. The Speaker has asked that Hon. Katuntu be given extra time to finish BOU probe.” Sara Epenu said.

“What is wrong with that? Only an extension of one month and people shout about that. Katuntu has done a great job, let him finish it to logical conclusion. He has unearthed the dirt in BOU. My party FDC should know that the success of Hon. Katuntu is also our success. Let him continue and Hon. Munyagwa comes later. This small issue should not divide us."

The FDC has been up in arms with the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga who chose to extend Katuntu’s tenure by a month to finish Bank of Uganda. Katuntu’s tenure as chairperson of Cosase ends this month and Kadaga preferred that it is extend by a month however which had already appointed a replacement is against the month.

Victoria University To Start Training Oil And Gas Non Technical Workers

Victoria University will effective March 2019 be allowed to undertake the responsibility of training young non technical workers in the Oil and Gas sector a job it will do alongside Kichwamba Technical Institute.

The remark was been made by the higher education state minister Dr.Crysestome Muyingo during an interview with Xpress Times, an online news publication recently.

The minister revealed that Victoria University was solely selected among Universities to help offer training courses in Oil and gas related areas like plumbers, electrical works among others.

He added that Victoria University was cleared and is expected to start the job next year in March.

‘’Our technical teams have been holding discussions with officials from the UK based Coventry University who are set to oversee the entire training program as seconded to us by the World Bank and we believe Victoria has garnered that potential to do the job alongside Kichwamba Technical Institute’’ noted Muyingo.

He  observed that this University had been given the mandate to assemble competent lecturers  who would kick start the training of trainers [ ToT]  courses with a view that hundreds of our young people can scoop the necessary academic and professional competencies to be able to work in this new area.

The University vice chancellor Dr.Sharma Khrisna told EARTHFINDS at the sidelines of their end of year party that was held recently at Speke Resort Munyonyo poolside that indeed arrangements are in top gear to  ensure that they put in place  necessary infrastructure to enable them do the job effectively.

‘’We have been meeting  technical delegations from Coventry  with view to discuss strategies of how best to move forward with this task and we can assure the public that we shall do all it takes to ensure that  more Ugandans get trained in this sector and be able to garner skills and graduate in this promising industry’’ noted Sharma.

‘’Coventry  with technical support from the government  helped us develop the  first ever  country’s new Oil and gas  curriculum that is acceptable at International standards meaning that students that shall graduate here can work anywhere around the World’’ he observed.

He thanked the government through their mother ministry of education for giving them opportunity to spear head this very critical project saying they would work hard to ensure that Ugandans shall benefit from this massive project through access to jobs.

‘’We are challenging Ugandan students to join Victoria University because we have all it takes to offer you highly specialized training skills that shall enable one to work anywhere across the global without disappointment’’  Sharma concluded.

The permanent secretary in the ministry of education Alex Kakooza said during a separate interview that the government had tasked them with responsibility of ensuring  that they train hundreds of young people that can in return be employed in the Petroleum industry as opposed to scouting out for workers from other countries.

‘’We have been given a tall order to ensure that we vigorously train thousands of Ugandan youths with a view that they get absorbed into this new Petroleum industry that we all expect that it will bring in more foreign currency to the government and help youths fight poverty and unemployment’’ noted Kakooza

Why Bank Of Uganda Probe Is Good For Banking Sector

By Taddewo William Senyonyi

It is a public secret that all is not well at Bank of Uganda, the regulator of Uganda’s banking sector.  The ongoing probing of BoU officials by the Parliamentary Committee of Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) over the controversial closure and sale of seven defunct banks has exposed BoU administrative and governance weaknesses.

The Parliament investigations follow a special audit report by the Auditor General that exposed the rot at Bank of Uganda.

The seven banks in question include Teefe Bank, International Credit Bank Limited, Greenland Bank, Co-operative Bank, National Bank of Commerce (NBC), Global Trust Bank and Crane Bank Limited.

At the beginning, BoU led by Governor Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile never wanted to be probed on grounds that the Central Bank was independent. However, COSASE defeated this argument and the probing went on.

“.. We are conscious of your constitutional independence…Independence doesn’t mean non-accountability. We know BoU is independent, but accountability is a constitutional requirement. What we are looking for is accountability not criminal prosecution.

In case there is anything we think falls within mandate of other institution, then we shall refer. There is no criminality that’s going to be discussed here,” Abdu Katuntu, the COSASE Chairperson said on day one of the probe.

What Does The Probe Mean To Banking Sector?

Given the sensitivity and importance of the banking sector to the economy, some government officials including President Yoweri Museveni never wanted the probing to be public.

“I think the procedure is wrong, because this is Bank of Uganda; if you want to investigate it, why don’t you do it quietly not in camera … I think the inquiry is good, they should inquire, but they are doing it the wrong way. I haven’t had time to speak to the Speaker,” Museveni said during celebrations to mark the International Anti-Corruption Day held at Kololo Independence Grounds on December 10, 2018.

None the less, Katuntu vowed to continue probing BoU officials in camera for transparency purposes.

But what does the probing mean to the banking sector?

Firstly, bankers are happy with the probing being public, arguing that if it was carried out quietly, they would have been left out on proceedings yet they are key stakeholders of BoU and the economy at large.

Senior bankers who spoke to Business Focus on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal from the Central Bank said the probe will not leave the BoU and the banking sector the same.

“I am happy with the process. Bank of Uganda corruption tendencies have been exposed before cameras; it is good the dirty linen is being exposed so that we can all improve. I believe after the probe, Parliament will make key recommendations and a number of institutional reforms will be undertaken at Bank of Uganda and the banking sector at large,” the source said.

Banking industry players add that there are some elements in BoU that had made it a habit to ‘extort’ money from banks by reportedly falsifying assessment tests, a practice they hope will stop.

Some banks have also been reportedly bribing BoU officials to project them positively.

“I hope heads will roll at BoU after the probe report is out,” another banker said, adding that after being exposed, BoU will carry out its duties professionally and pay attention to detail- well knowing that they are accountable to Ugandans.

It is worth noting that the former Executive Director, Supervision at Bank of Uganda, Justine Bagyenda revealed that Uganda’s financial sector is full of ethical and governance challenges.

In her hand over report to her successor, Dr.  Tumubweine Twinemanzi, Bagyenda said, “The financial sector continues to face governance and unethical challenges across the board.  This includes concealment of information, provision of misleading information and possible collusion; they may need to strengthen market intelligence section of the Directorate.”

On whether the inquiry shows a broken system at BoU, Twinemanzi said: “Let’s wait until end of the process; when the report is out, we shall have a discussion on fixing [the issues raised].”

Has Probe badly affected banking sector?

The fact is that some BoU officials have lost credibility before the public, but the Central Bank continues to carry out its constitutional duties of ensuring macro-economic stability.

Bank of Uganda executive director for research, Dr.  Adam Mugume recently expressed confidence in the country’s macroeconomic fundamentals, insisting that the parliamentary inquiry into the controversial closure and sale of seven commercials banks has not in any way impacted on the Central bank’s corporate governance image.

In an exclusive interview with Business Focus, Patricia Amito, the Head Communications & Corporate Affairs at Uganda Bankers Association said BoU probe is being handled well and won’t affect the banking sector.

 

“We believe this is being resolved well and will not necessary have any impact on the banking sector,” Amito said.

Dr. Fred Muhumuza, an analyst and economics lecturer at Makerere University agrees with Mugume and Amito.

“The BoU is still respected in the banking sector and continues to exercise its supervisory role with vigour. The noise in Parliament is largely seen as administrative weaknesses, but not supervisory failures or threats,” Muhumuza told this site.

Tanzania Eyes Economic Benefits From Uganda Oil Export Pipeline

Tanzanian authorities are strategizing how to maximally benefit from Uganda’s crude oil which will be exported through their sea port of Tanga once production start, prefereably in 2021 as the new deadline set by authorities in Kampala.

Merdard Kalemani, the Tanzanian energy minister told journalists during a bilateral meeting meeting Uganda and Tanzania that his country is putting national interests first in the ongoing talks on the construction of the Uganda-Tanzania Crude oil pipeline.

“We must make sure that the country benefits from the project. To start with, we will identify, empower and bring on board local companies to provide services during the construction of the pipeline,” Kalemani stated.

“We want to ensure that the economic benefits from the oil pipeline project contribute to our economic growth. What is being done so far is that we are digging the trenches in Manyara, Tanga and Kondoa in Dodoma in preparation for the laying of the oil pipeline.” He further explained.

Uganda is planning a 1445km long crude export pipeling to export its oil. It has sought the corporation of Tanzania to use its sea port. The two countries together with international oil companies are working out modalities to see this multi-million dollar project is implemented.

Once implemented, especially during the construction phase, thousands of both Ugandan and Tanzania nationals will get jobs and opportunities to provide goods and services directly or indirectly to the project.  

In January the energy ministers from both countries will meet again in January, in Kampala, to deliberate further on the project. Talks are expected to lead to the signing of the Host Government Agreement which will be a big step towards commencement of the pipeline construction works.

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