Six Year Old Vulnarable Girl Burns In Hidden Child Labour Practice

By George Busiinge

In the outskirt of Hoima Municipality, six year old Joan Kusiima lives with her stepmother under constant pressure and fear. Young Kusiima is forced to prepare a meal for a family of 12 people among other atrocious inflicted on her at that tender age.

Kusiima in a heartbreaking revelation told Earthfinds that she is not only made to cook for the large family but she is also denied the chance to go to school like many of her age mates. Instead, this website learnt, Kusiima is made to look after her young step sisters and brothers.

She also spends much of her time looking after domestic animals, doing domestic work like collecting firewood and water. She is sometimes forced by her stepmother to go and till the farm from morning up to lunch time.

An eye witness told us that despite all efforts by Kusiima to accomplish what her step- mother tells her to do, the toddler is beaten by the woman who is supposed to protect, be her mother and guardian.

Joyce Kyomusiime, the child’s stepmother, when contacted denied the allegations including that her step-daughter got burnt when she forcefully made her prepare a full saucepan of porridge for the family.

It is alleged that Kyomusiime told Kusiima to lift the hot saucepan with hot boiled porridge from the fire spitting charcoal stove without the help and supervision of an adult.

The stepmother apparently threatened to beat the child if she did not do what she was being instructed to do.

Kyomusiime said: “I have never forced Kusiima to prepare a meal for the whole family because she is vulnerable. Never have I instructed her to do any house work. She got burnt when playing with other children in the kitchen. There is nothing I know about what those who claim to be eye witnesses are saying.”

Kusiima is nursing serious wounds in a small clinic around Kiryateete, outside Hoima town, after efforts to get money that would enable her get better treatment failed. She is now being helped by Good Samaritans from a catholic church within Hoima.

Grace Bigabwekya, the mid-western police regional head of Family and child protection unit confirmed the heinous act saying that such incidences of hidden child labour are common in Hoima district but those who are involved will be prosecuted in courts of law.

It is difficult to know when these cases of hidden child abuses are committed because inside households and are never reported. “We are fighting the vice when such stepmothers and fathers are got they will be prosecuted in the courts of law without any mercy.” Bigabwekya told Earthfinds in Hoima, at his office.

“We are still hunting for Kyomussime and she if arrested, she will be taken to court when investigations are complete to answer the charges of child abuse.” He added.

Chamber of Young Entrepreneurs Ink Victoria University Partnership After Launch

The Chamber of Young Entrepreneurs (CYE) is set to closely work with Victoria University Kampala, including working on this year's young entrepreneurship summit which took place at Serena Hotel Kampala, Tuesday.

In a joint statement, CYE President Edwin Musiime and the Director of Victoria University Rajiv Ruparelia revealed that the two entities will soon launch a Leadership and Management short course at Victoria University.

The short leadership course is aimed to further nurture a stronger spirit of competitiveness and effectiveness in the market place and corporate world.

Victoria University is an institutions of learning promoting dynamism, innovative learning and raising students with cutting edge knowledge fit for the 21st century challenges while The Uganda Chamber Entrepreneurs is an initiative with a nation-wide reach among young to inspire a sustainable Entrepreneurship culture.

The first milestone was realized at this year's young entrepreneurship summit opening on Tuesday the 3rd April at the Kampala Serena Hotel hosting up to 1000 young business owners. The summit that closes on the Wednesday the 4th is running under the theme: Inspiring a Sustainable Entrepreneurship Culture.

"I have always believed in the power of an idea and the unlimited potential a vision carries and I believe that the time for Uganda to have its young people rise to economic power is now," says Mr. Edwin Musiime the Executive Director of Chamber of young entrepreneurs Uganda.

The chamber is set to set new standards in Increase of business start ups, Train and Skills develop the startups, engage on increasing job creation. CYE has an ambitious Vision 2020 of Empowering 10,000 young Entrepreneurs, Create 1,000,000 jobs and contribute 20 million Dollars to the National GDP.

"We are vested with the transformation of the entrepreneurial landscape in Uganda and as such, we are constantly rolling out programmes and initiatives that will help shape Uganda's youths for a stronger social and economic future," CYE President Edwin Musiime says.

Global reports indicate that the Youth in Uganda are the youngest population in the world, with 77% of its population being under 30 years of age. There are 7,310,386 youth from the ages of 15–24 years of age living in Uganda.

We are focused on promoting the positive role of entrepreneurship in driving Uganda's social and economic development. In doing so, we hope to accelerate the spread of economic prosperity and social progress throughout Uganda, strengthening the country's entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Making Affordable Housing A Reality In Kenya

The Kenyan government's aim of building one million affordable homes in five years, if successful, could ignite a lagging real estate sector, and place Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) at the centre of economic life for one of Africa's most rapidly urbanising countries, said Kfir Rusin.

As the managing director of the region's largest real estate focused event, the two-day East Africa Property Investment (EAPI) Summit, a primary focus for the conference is developing a strategy for realising the government's goal.

"We're bringing private and public-sector stakeholders together under one roof at EAPI 2018, and we believe we will develop the roadmap to making affordable housing a reality," said Rusin.

President Kenyatta's announcement, in November 2017, energised a tepid real estate market, still recovering from its worst performance in six years. But the Chairman of the Kenya Property Developers Association, Mucai Kunyiha, argues there is a lot of work to be done first.

"Our members are keen to unlock the key obstacles that have hindered progress in the sector in the past, including proper planning by local authorities, provision of adequate infrastructure, and a complete overhaul of the Land Registries, whose ability to deal with the existing volumes of transactions is already strained," said Kunyiha.

But the demand for affordable housing is one of the most significant opportunities for PPPs in Africa, with Kenya having the opportunity to create a workable model for the continent to adopt.

Kecia Rust, the executive director of the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAFH), argues that the opportunity for affordable housing is immense and could lead to the creation of 1.3 million jobs across the continent and $400 Billion in direct economic activity. Kenya, she argues, is one of the markets that could lead the way by creating a workable PPP model: however, certain fundamentals must be addressed.

"The real challenge is the housing value chain, and if we look at the first step, land, how do we get access? We have to look at the municipalities and ask who administers it and address infrastructure requirements and needs first."

For Rust, the state has an essential role to play in making it attractive for developers to invest in housing by providing incentives and infrastructure financing. One solution, she says, is to split funding between housing and infrastructure, with the state issuing 100-year bonds to fund bulk infrastructure (roads, water) projects. This strategy would reduce development costs and make affordable housing projects more attractive for developers.

The need to develop bulk infrastructure has been a principle driver for developers in focussing on higher-end consumers alone, in delivering an estimated 35,000, mostly unaffordable, homes per year, while the lower and middle end of the market continues to be underserved.

As Rust commented, "The majority of the middle class and working-class households simply can't get a foot in the door."

Reducing costs and providing finance for aspirant homeowners is critical, in a market facing such an acute shortage. Prices have risen dramatically in Nairobi since 2010, with a ten-fold increase in price from Sh400,000 to Sh4 million for the most inexpensive home. Yet mortgage uptake remains low with only 25,000 mortgage-purchased homes, in total.

While the government remains tight-lipped on what an 'affordable home' is; Kunyai defines it as a building costing up to Sh4 million to buy, and aimed at households that earn between Sh40,000 and Sh100,000 per month.

"We're very much looking at affordable housing and how we can work together with the government and the private sector, to participate in the government's housing agenda under the big 4," said Barclays Kenya's Head of Strategy, Moses Muthui.

Addressing the shortage of homes will provide an economic stimulus to the entire economy through the creation of jobs and increased investment, which is likely to spill over into the regional economy. And while PPPs are not a new route to large infrastructure development, globally, the scale, social focus and timeline of the projects will lead to increased attention by investors, developers and public-sector stakeholders across the continent.

At the EAPI Summit this year on the 24th and 25th of April, a core theme for its stakeholders, will be the ambitious housing projects launched by the state. While public housing has been used as an electoral campaign pledge throughout the world, the distinction is that the Kenyan Government is extending its hand in partnership through creating favourable tax incentives, providing land, and investing a considerable portion of its GDP into industrial construction plants to reduce capital expenditure (CAPEX) by developers.

What If Wakanda Was Actually Uganda?

By Simon Singiza
Student at Victoria University Kampala


Wakanda forever!!To all those relieving themselves from the blank panther hype. As a huge fan of Chadwick Bozeman and the marvel series.I didn’t expect anything less of the movie. What actually took me by storm was the excitement it caused globally not to mention in Kampala streets with cinemas seats fully booked anywhere you turned .

The last time I saw such hype was the time our Lord Jesus Christ received some serious cains in the release of passion of Christ. If I you haven’t watched it run and buy that movie ticket, or you can choose to be patriotic (be Ugandan, buy Ugandan) and wait for the vj junior version to come out.

There so many aspects that made this movie thrilling starting from the cast of African actors, the authentic fight scenes as well as the concept of a technologically advanced Africa. But the real entertainment for me was the effort made by social media to affiliate the movie based kingdom wakanda to Uganda.

Its all starts when the movie points out that the location of the wakanda kingdom was somewhere around East Africa. Then the Mengo lords casting the first stone swore how that name is actually pronounced as Waganda and not Wakanda.

The basoga too were not going to let anyone steal the glory right and so they rushed to lay claim on one of the two Ugandan actors that were part of the Black Panther cast was of Busoga origin. One could hear them affirm how they even sent Daniel Kayunga the kanzu he wore on during the premier of the Black Panther.

What Ifound more interesting was the pictorial evidence the Bakiga revealed of the similarity of the wakanda geographical scenery to Lake Bunyonyi and the Ruwenzori Mountains as they too tried to own the movie. This got me thinking supposing there was some truth in these arguments, how can Uganda and its tourism benefit from this opportunity.

The music and film industry has played a big role in influencing today’s culture, way of life, and general public opinion about certain topics. This is why the business world will not mind paying millions of dollars just so their products can feature in popular movies.

You imagine how much Mercedes Benz had to pay just so batman could be seen driving a Mercedes in the justice league movie. Or how much American car companies have to pay for their vehicles to feature in movies like the transformers or the fast and furious.

I’m quite sure tourism in Madagascar sky rocketed immediately after the release of the famous cartoon animation Madagascar. Not to mention the benefit Kenya and Tanzania tourism has received courtesy from the classical animation the lion king which not only stressed the beauty of the Kilimanjaro Mountain and national parks but also Swahili language phrases like hakunamatata

If businesses and other countries are benefiting from Hollywood, what would be we are not the only African country that is suffering the effect of bad publicity. after all, one of the reasons the blank panther movie is a hit is because this is among the first few movies that has made an attempt to change people’s mindset about Africa and therefore we should grab this opportunity and use this movie to focus that attention further on Uganda’s tourism before some other country does.

The writer is a BBA student at Victoria University Kampala and Head of Marketing Voyager Hotels.

SURVIVAL INSTICTS: Why Bagyenda Is Hanging On BoU Job, Fighting Mutebile

Justine Bagyenda’s long and glorious tenure as Executive Director in charge of Supervision at the Bank of Uganda (BOU) came to a surprising end when the Governor, Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, on February 2, 2018, fired her as he made changes he said would scale up efficiency of the financial industry regulator.

The new changes, which Mutebile said were ‘normal’ at BOU, would immediately bring in Dr. Tumubweine Twinemanzi, formerly working with the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) as Director Economic Affairs, to replace Ms. Bagyenda. Prof. Mutebile, according to analysts, is punishing long-serving Bagyenda for the mess she reportedly caused as BOU sold Crane Bank to DFCU Bank at just Shs200b.

It is alleged Bagyenda sanctioned the payment of Shs13 billion legal fees to MMAKS Advocates and AF Mpanga (Bowmans) to defend BOU against Sudhir Ruparelia for allegedly using Crane Bank money worth about Shs400 billion. Though Mr. Ruparelia has dismissed the allegation as untrue, the case is in Commercial Court and Bagyenda is expected to be a key witness.

But MMAKS and AF Mpanga law firms won’t represent BOU as court dismissed the advocates for ‘conflict of interest’, having worked for Crane Bank. This further brought the central bank on the spot as it made losses worth Shs5.4 billion in three months, having brought on Sebalu and Lule Advocates to replace the two law firms mentioned earlier. Indeed, BOU had to face the wrath of Parliament for the loss made.

Bagyenda, who was to retire in June this year, having worked at BOU for over 30 years, is contesting her dismissal and has not officially handed over the office to her successor, even as reports indicate the latter has assumed his duties. She accuses Prof. Mutebile of ignoring the law when he fired her.

She has since moved in another office at BoU. She says she is a public servant who is permanent and pensionable and cannot just be dismissed without clear reasons, the reason she rushed to the Inspector General of Government (IGG), Irene Mulyagonja, who now is at loggerheads with Mutebile over Bagyenda’s dismissal.

But insiders say this was an alleged cover up for the bad deals orchestrated by Bagyenda and the law firms that would later present an opportunity enabling DFCU Bank to hurriedly buy off Crane Bank, with the executors of the deal reportedly expecting to gain from the transaction.

Bagyenda’s genesis of financial troubles, analysts say, start here. She is now battling to save her image as several accountability oversight agencies like Parliament and Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA), close in on her.

IGG Vs Mutebile fight over Bagyenda

Bagyenda’s rush to the IGG has not helped her regain her juicy job that she used to amass wealth in billions of shillings and properties. Despite the IGG Irene Mulyagonja writing to Mutebile to rescind his decision, Mutebile says the Constitution gives him independence to streamline the human resource at the central bank when need arises.

Interestingly, the BoU Act gives Mutebile, who is a Governor and doubles as the chairperson of the BoU board, powers to enforce several issues at the bank without necessarily going through other channels.

Consequently, he has asked the IGG to back off. The public is watching as the Governor and IGG quibble over the interpretation of the law. Latest is that President Yoweri Museveni has this Monday summoned the two principals to a meeting at State House. This meeting could provide the decisive line in the multi-faceted saga that has drawn in the ‘who-is-who’ in the country.

Bagyenda’s billions

Leaked documents show that Bagyenda stashed billions of shillings totaling 20 billion in various bank accounts in just six years, on top of owning properties worth billions of shillings.

This has caused her more trouble, causing the IGG and now Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) to launch investigations into her sources of income. Bagyenda formerly chaired the FIA board when she still held the supervisory role at the central bank.

The investigations

City lawyer Denis Nyombi recently wrote a letter asking Parliament to investigate Bagyenda’s wealth. “The purpose of this letter is to inform you that our client (whistleblower) is in possession of information about some of the properties of Bagyenda, which he says were not declared as required the Leadership Code Act 2002,” part of the letter wrote. The Act is meant to stop public officials from engaging in corruption.

Nandala Mafabi accuses Bagyenda, banks of money laundering

Budadiri West MP and former Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Nandala Mafabi, a distinguished accountant has called for the investigation and prosecution of Bagyenda over money laundering.

“We are going to carryout investigations and we are going to deal with those banks because they have been doing illegal things with Bagyenda,” Mafabi fumed during a recent press conference held at Parliament.

The MP was warning Barclays Bank and Diamond Trust Bank, among others which are not happy with their staff who leaked Bagyenda’s transactions to the public. Mafabi says that if convicted of corruption, Bagyenda could serve twenty years in jail for money laundering, according to Mafabi.

FIA orders closure of Bagyenda’s accounts

The Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) has confirmed that an investigation into Bagyenda’s billions of shillings is ongoing. Bagyenda was a board member of the FIA before she was axed.

The Executive Director of FIA Sydney Asubo said days ago they were acting on a petition from a whistleblower who indicated that Bagyenda’s wealth is not commensurate with employment at her former job, suggesting she could have been involved in money laundering.

Asubo said FIA would share information with relevant law enforcement agencies to take action. “The information we have, we shall share it with other law enforcement agencies. We are still compiling information about the financial dealings of Bagyenda. We shall then have to verify it,” he said in Kampala.

Accounts frozen

Latest reports coming in Monday say FIA has instructed banks to close Bagyenda’s accounts after she failed to appear there for interrogation last week. If true, this means she won’t transact any business on those accounts.

 

Last month, a whistleblower petitioned the Inspector General of Government (IGG) claiming that Bagyenda had accumulated more than Shs 19 billion within a space of two years.

She is also linked to 17 properties in central and western Uganda worth several billions. Bagyenda was supposed to declare her wealth under the Leadership Code Act that stipulates that a person shall within three months after becoming a leader and thereafter every two years, during December submit to the IGG a written declaration of their income, assets and liabilities.”

The IGG has since opened investigations into the allegations. But one wonders how the IGG will save her job at BOU given her questionable acquisition of too much wealth.

URA taxes

Bagyenda is also on the URA radar for alleged tax evasion especially as regards her real estate empire (rentals) where she earns hundreds of millions monthly without reportedly remitting corresponding taxes to URA.

Bagyenda was also attached to Microfinance Support Centre. She was also contact person for IMF/World Bank and Board member, Insurance Regulatory Authority.

Bagyenda’s sad ending in financial sector

Those who have watched Bagyenda’s rise in the financial sector especially at BOU claim that despite the fact that she was about to retire, her current position is precarious and is likely to impact on her future dealings in the financial sector.

She will mostly likely concentrate on private business, albeit with hiccups, they say.

SOURCE: Eagle Online

Visit www.eagle.co.ug for this and other insightful and analytical articles.

Crude Oil Export Pipeline To Increase Uganda, Tanzania FDI By 60 Percent

The foreign direct investment (FDI) to both Uganda and Tanzania as a result of the construction the East African Crude Oil Export Pipeline (EACOP) will increase by 60 percent, Ahlem Friga-Noy, Total E&P Uganda Corporate Affairs manager recently told journalists in Kampala.

“The magnitude of the project is big and we expect that during the construction phase the direct foreign investment for both Uganda and Tanzania will increase by 60 percent. That should give you an idea of what magnitude we are talking about.” She said.

Friga-Noy was recently speaking at a press conference organized by Association of Uganda Oil and Gas Service Providers (AUGOS) to announce the upcoming Local Content Stakeholder Dialogue on March 28th-29th 2018 at Hotel Africana in Kampala.

The East African Crude Oil Pipeline is intended to transport crude oil from Uganda's oil fields in Hoima through the Port of Tanga, Tanzania to the world market. The 1445km long pipeline is largely being funded by Total.

The heated crude oil pipe line, commissioned by President Yoweri Museveni and Joseph Pombe Magufuli of Tanzania in August, 2017 will cost $3.5 billion and will be completed by 2020 making Uganda join the ranks of oil producing countries. The pipe line will on completion carry 216,000 barrels of crude oil for export daily.

The investment planned for the construction of this pipeline presents a myriad of opportunities for citizens and businesses of both countries. Both countries and the joint venture partners are devising means in which nationals can participate in this huge infrastructure project.

Engagements like the Local Content Stakeholder Dialogue which will happen next week presents an opportunity to discuss how businesses in both countries can maximize the opportunities the EACOP project presents.

Among the opportunities the EACOP project presents is direct employment for skilled individuals like welders, engineers, land acquisition (compensation), supply of quality food, security services, transportation services among others.

Friga-Noy notes that the participation of local content or man power in a project of this magnitude is key and that Total is willing to play a role and contribute towards building local content in Uganda.

“We strongly believe that it is important when you start a project like this in a country where oil is quite nascent partnerships between international and national companies are developed.

“This is a formidable way to ensure transfer of knowledge, skills, capacity building, increasing standards and meeting requirements. So this is one of the pillars we emphasis because it has the power to push towards local content.” She explained.

Address Uganda – DRC $10bn Reparations Case Amicably

Last month, February 2018, the timeframe set by the Internal Court of Justice (ICJ) to receive the outcomes of the negotiations between the Ugandan and DRC governments regarding the $10 billion reparations that Uganda owes the DRC elapsed.

The $10 billion reparations that ICJ awarded to the DRC government was in respect of a dispute concerning acts of armed aggression apparently committed by Uganda on the territory of the DRC in 1998.

The DRC government instituted court proceedings against Uganda at the ICJ in June 1999 and the decision that Uganda pays the DRC $ 10 billion was reached in December 2005.

This is not the first time that Uganda and the DRC have failed to hold successful negotiations within the timeframe set by the ICJ. For record following the court decision and award of reparations in 2005, the ICJ gave the Uganda and DRC an opportunity to discuss how to settle the claims. Unfortunately, 10 years later, the two countries had failed to reach a mutual agreement.

The failure prompted the DRC government in July 2015 to file new application to the ICJ requesting court to order Uganda to pay the reparations. In December 2016, the court awarded both parties (Uganda and the DRC) more time for negotiations and fixed February 2018 for Uganda and DRC to submit the outcome of their negotiations. Once again, the negotiations were unsuccessful.

It should be noted that part of the evidence used by the ICJ to make her ruling in December 2005 was contained in the Justice David Porter Commission report, which report Uganda attached as evidence in court. The report confirmed the looting of DRCs natural resources and implicated some top Ugandan government and military officials.

The report confirmed that indeed Uganda engaged in military and paramilitary activities against the DRC by occupying their territory and actively extending military and committing acts of violence against nationals of the DRC.

In addition to killing, injuring and dispossessing them of their property, and by failing to take adequate measures to prevent violations of human rights in the DRC by persons under its control among others.

As a country, we must understand how we ended up in such a mess and how we can get out of it without turning our country into a failed state. Most of the implicated individuals in the Justice David Porter report are known, wealthy and still working in government.

If Uganda is compelled by court to pay the said reparations, as a country and particularly as citizens, paying these reparations will make Uganda poorer and a possible failed state based on our economy with current (GDP of $25.53 billion, 2016). Moreover, over the years Uganda has accumulated an external debt of over $8 billion (over 33% of the GDP).

In addition, it could damage the intergovernmental relations that the two countries have tried to build over the years. For instance if Uganda is compelled to pay the said monies and as a result, the Ugandan economy collapses, Ugandans would blame the DRC government for their misery.

In the same vein, if Uganda refuses to pay the $10 billion reparations, the government and citizens of the DRC would view Uganda with negativity. Furthermore, economists would urge that since the assessment was done in 2005 over 15 years have elapsed, this would attract interest hence limiting any possibilities of Uganda having the capacity to negotiate and pay them. Moreover, this huge debt will be transferred to the over 40 million citizens including Uganda's innocent and unborn children.

On worse case scenery, it could lead to conflict between Uganda and the DRC with the DRC retaliating against Uganda for looting their natural resources and the extrajudicial killings perpetrated against her citizens.

This could result into loss of life, property and would worsen the refugee crisis in the Great Lakes region. In addition, the potential conflict can destabilise the economies of both countries even further.

Therefore, the Ugandan president should open up the negotiations with the DRC government and consider an out of court settlement with respect to sustainability of both economies.

In addition, the president of Uganda should consider constituting a multi-stakeholder committee comprised of representatives from government, the parliament, the judiciary, religious leaders, civil society, cultural leaders and regional bodies to persuade the DRC government to accept feasible terms on the settlement including reducing the costs.

Finally, the findings of the Justice David Porter Commission report should be acted upon and implicated government and UPDF who engaged in wrongful acts in DRC should be prosecuted and demanded to pay the reparation.

By Samuel Okulony
Programmes and Research Coordinator
Africa Institute for Energy Governance
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sugarcane Farming Accelerating Food Insecurity in Hoima

By Busiinge George

Commercial sugarcane growing is accelerating food insecurity in Kabwoya sub-county Hoima district, the sub-county chairman has observed. The district has started feeling the pinch of plantation agriculture as a result of mushrooming sugar factories which are luring the local population to hire out their arable land to plant sugarcane.

The sub-counties feeling the effects include Kabwoya, Kiziranfumbi, Bugambe, Kitoba, Kyabigambire among others where cases of food insecurity and malnutrition have started to emerge because farmers are hiring out their land at give-away prices.

Steven Buryahika, the LC3 Chairman for Kabwoya observes that although sugarcane growing has increased household income, it does not necessarily increase food adequacy among households as farmers do not have alternative land to cultivate other crops since sugar-cane growing does not support inter-cropping.

Buryahika explains that there are few varieties of food crops cultivated by sugarcane growing households as he advises them to allocate more land for growing food crops as opposed to cash crops as a remedy to food insecurity.

None of the affected sub-county leadership has come up with bi-laws to address the problem of food insecurity. However Buryahika says as a sub-county, they are planning to introduce bi-laws which will prohibit farmers with less than three acres of land from planting sugarcane.

He also faults sugarcane plantation firms of failure to incorporate food security element in their policies to farmers. There are mainly two sugar millers located within Bunyoro which include Kinyara sugar works and Hoima sugar works.

Ruparelia Seeks To Expand Flower Farming

Flowers remain among the top five agricultural produce that earn Uganda millions of dollars in foreign exchange. The leading exporter of flowers in the country is Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia through his two firms Premier Roses and Rosebud Limited.

The businessman continues to show interest in the flower business. It has been reported that Dr. Ruparelia will acquire 9 square miles of land in Kayunga district. He was seen in Kayunga on Saturday interacting with residents as he scouted the land for the floriculture projects.

Ruparelia already runs two floriculture companies in Entebbe, Wakiso district — Rosebud Limited and Premier Roses. Rosebud and Premiers are the biggest exporters of flowers in Uganda, exporting over 180 million stands per year to over 10 countries and employing over 5000 Ugandans at the moment.

Based in Entebbe, Uganda, Rosebud Ltd is the country's largest exporter of roses, commanding around 40% of Uganda's raised export market. The green houses on the farm cover a total of 50 hectares producing and exporting over 12 million stems per month.

Premier Roses Ltd is the largest exporter of Sweetheart cut. The farm has steel structures and a 100% Hydroponics system supported by a fully automatic centralised irrigation system. Premier Roses Ltd is in the process of expanding up to 65 hectares of green houses for the targeted export of 15 million stems per month by 2014.

The two firms were last year granted a free zone developers license by Uganda Free Zone Authority (UFZA). “The new status means that both companies won’t have to pay taxes when importing inputs for their production process,” Richard Jabo the Executive Director of UFZA said last year.

On the same, Rajiv Ruparelia, he MD of Ruparelia Group said the freezone status will go a long way in helping boost the exports of roses for both Rose Bud and Premier Roses.“Currently, we face stiff competition from Kenya and Ethiopia who are producing large quantities of roses at less cost,” he said.

“It is about 35% more expensive to produce roses in Uganda. We are a landlocked country, freight charges are higher and there is no tax incentive. The free zone will create efficiency for us because we shall be more competitive on the international market.” Rajiv added.

Total To Train 200 Local Oil & Gas Welders

Total E&P Uganda has said 200 Ugandan capable welders will be trained and equipped with the skills and certification that enable them to work in the oil and gas sector. The training according to Total E&P Uganda General Manager Adewale Fayemi will be free of charge.

The beneficiaries must be residents of districts in the albertine grabben region and district that will host the crude oil export pipeline. To qualify for the training that will be conducted in Buliisa and Lwengo districts one must possess a welding certificate and experience of not less than two years.

Total speaking to journalists in Kampala on Tuesday said the training will develop a domestic pool of internationally certified welders of the American Welding Society Standard.

The training will be held over the course of at least 24 weeks and will initially benefit 200 welders from Nwoya, Masindi, Nebbi, Buliisa and Hoima, as well as the districts along the pipeline route, to include Kakumiro, Kyankwanzi, Mubende, Gomba, Sembabule, Lwengo and Kyotera.

Fayemi said Uganda’s oil and gas project is moving steadily into the development phase and a strategy has been developed to strengthen the National content potential and the ability for local companies to compete favorably.

“During the development phase, a lot of technicians will be needed for the project. It is therefore essential to train and certify technicians such as welders to enhance their knowledge and skills required to not only meet the demands of the project but also ensure that the highest standards of safety are considered. Due to the highly technical nature of the industry, quality and safety cannot be compromised” Fayemi added.

The training will be conducted by 2 Ugandan Companies, Q-Training also known as the The Assessment and Skilling Centre (TASC) and E360 Group Ltd. The two companies have commendable experience in providing manpower services for the past ten years, serving clients in large multi – national companies in the region.  

Calls for applications to the training will be made through radio advertisements on local stations, vocational training institutes, District officials and local government offices.

The trainers will perform technical training and certification of candidates up to 2G and 4G coded welding levels in line with the industry standards and health, Safety and environment training among others.

 

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