Local Content Development Investment Must Be Supported By Strong Regulations

There's so much excitement about where Angola's energy sector is headed. Sergio Pugliese, a successful entrepreneur and oil executive, is really hyped and enthused about recent developments and future direction of his country's energy sector.

Angola is ranked second largest oil producing country in Sub-Saharan Africa and an OPEC member with an output of approximately 1.55 million barrels of oil per day and an estimated 17,904.5 million cubic feet of natural gas production.

Production levels in Angola are expected to soar by 2020 following the country's restructuring, including the reorganization of the state oil company Sonangol.

In addition to a drastic revision of  Angola's legislation related to oil and gas, the government's intent is to spur growth in the sector, encouraging exploration in development areas, improving operation efficiencies, reducing taxes, empowering the private sector, and attracting investors.

Since the 2017 elections, Angola's oil and gas sector has been featured in numerous conferences aimed at linking top government officials with the global energy industry.

The African Energy Chamber (AEC), the continent's voice for the ongoing change and progression in the African energy industry recently named Sergio Pugliese as the AEC's President for Angola.

The appointment will be the first of many to follow across the continent as the AEC guides local content development that will enable African companies to grow and take the lead in the development of their continent. In an official statement, Pugliese notes:

"It is with great sense of responsibility towards Angola and the African Energy Chamber that I am assuming this new function. Angola is reforming is very fast and the need to provide accurate information and guidance for investors doing business in Angola is growing".

Prior to being named the AEC's President for Angola, Sergio Pugliese most recently worked with BP and Statoil as top executive before founding Angola-focused oil and gas services companies Motiva LDA and Amipha LDA.

The rapid change and reform in Angola's oil sector since the 2017 election has caught the attention of many. Will this enhance Angola's work towards attracting more investment into local content development? 

Investment into local content development needs to be channelled and supported by strong regulations. As more foreign investors get into the market, the country is currently working on a new regulatory framework to promote the development of the Angolan content and build domestic capacities.

At the moment, several pieces of legislation touch on local content and there is a definitive need to make our local content framework more efficient and competitive. A draft presidential decree on local content has been in the works this year and is expected for release and public consultation this month.

The oil Industry is looking forward to the Angola Oil and Gas conference organised by Africa Oil and Power in Luanda from June 2nd to 4th. The President is going to unveil the government's oil and gas agenda.

As the largest oil lobby in Africa, we will be working closely with the government and the oil industry on this. The Oil industry and Angola needs a champion and we will be that champion.

There was an announcement this year by the Angolan Government that it will create a regulatory body for the hydrocarbons sector – What do you expect this move to encourage within the Angolan Oil and Gas sector? 

The creation of the new Angola National Petroleum and Gas Agency (ANPG), officially launched through Presidential Decree 49/19 in February 2019, is one of the most significant reforms since 2017. Its pioneer Chairman is non-other that experienced oil and gas executive and former Secretary of State Paulino Jeronimo, who has earned a very good reputation within the industry following an impressive track record stretching over many decades.

More importantly, it will be acting as Angola's national concessionaire for hydrocarbon licenses and be in charge of regulating the industry and implementing government policy. The creation of the agency is part of Angola's efforts to streamline and overhaul the governance of its hydrocarbons sector. Up until now, state-owned Sonangol was responsible for such licensing activities. Setting up the ANPG

puts Angola at par with best oil and gas industry practices, and is a positive move to promote good governance and transparency within the Angolan industry. We expect foreign investors and operators to respond very positively to this measure.

What strategies does Angola have to further encourage the financing of expansion of SME's in its petroleum sector?

The government of Angola currently runs a number of programs, some of them, jointly funded with multilateral organizations which offer soft loans to SMEs in all sectors of the economy. These loans are accessible via state-owned banks but have especially since the 2014 financial crisis stringent criteria for access attached to them.

The Africa Energy Chamber continues to advocate for such loans to be made available to local entrepreneurs who are likely to employ more people in good-paying jobs whenever they have access to the right kind of financing. In the near future, I will lead a delegation to Europe, America and other African countries to see what they have done right and will build more coalitions to help the Angolan sector.

Are there any specific local content projects that Angola will be highlighting?

I think the current approach by the Angolan government to encourage and strengthen local companies via tools such as offering them soft loans, rather than legislate them into projects is the best way of building local companies in a competitive manner. That is, they are more likely to be capable of competing with internationally active companies and hence ensuring their survival in the long-term.

What in your view are the common challenges in implementing strong local content policies in the Oil and Gas sector?

Some of the common challenges include the absence of capital, technology and deep industry know-how for local companies to carry out the high paying services in the industry. This eventually leads to local content being relegated to low paying and low jobs that do not in the long run help develop the kind of capacity needed to run the industry in the future with reduced dependence on foreign staff or capital.

What is the importance of working with local companies across the value chain?

Local companies are the ones that support the local economy and create the most jobs. Engaging, partnering and working with them promotes technology, skills and know-how transfers. It is also beneficial for robust national employment growth.

More importantly for business perhaps, local companies are the ones with the deepest and most relevant knowledge of the local market environment, its dynamics and the way to do business. Setting up a joint venture with a local company or partnering with them has proven a very sustainable and profitable business strategy for many foreign investors. 

The Chamber will be pushing for more joint ventures and encourage a lot of technology and skill transfer. Local companies have to also do their best to meet the industry demands and standards.

How can this strengthen capacities and transfer know-how and increase local capability?

Exposing local companies to best international practices, be it on an operational or managerial level, is very beneficial. National oil companies have grown a lot this way, by having stakes in licenses operated by international oil companies, and acquiring de facto the technology, know-how and practices that they now use to operate their own blocks.

This move wouldn't have been made possible without their prior association with major IOCs and international oilfield services providers. The same thinking applies to engineering, procurement and construction, manufacturing and the overall value chain.

Equatorial Guinea's Minister Gabriel Obiang Lima has been very vocal about this and we will work with the Angolan oil sector to ensure this happens.

Given the highly technical and technological demands of the oil and gas industry, is the Angolan workforce ready to accommodate the growth of a local E&P industry?

Yes, certainly so. Similar to Nigeria's experience, where the government created the right kind of enabling environment to spur the growth of local E&P companies, Angolan companies can do the same if provided the same opportunities. Nigeria can now boast of names like Oando, Sahara, Aiteo, Shoreline, Atlas Oranto and Seplat amongst others which are now respected brands in the region.

Angolan banks have to develop capacity in terms of understanding E&P, be willing to lend to local players at reasonable rates and the government has to encourage joint ventures between Local and international companies. The Africa Energy Chamber strongly advocates for such measures to be taken.

What, in your view, is the most pressing problem for Angola's energy sector?

Angola desperately needs more exploration, including in marginal fields to stem the declining oil production. This is currently being addressed by the government which set up a technical committee that includes IOCs and government stakeholders to discuss existing hindrances to investment in the sector.

This committee is already bearing fruit with Total announcing that it will invest hundreds of millions into Angola, including towards the increasing of production in block 17. The government also set up an independent Petroleum and Gas agency which is tasked with action as a regulator in the industry and implementing government policy in the sector. The agency has already announced that it will carry out an auction for block licenses this year in an attempt to spur exploration in Angola.

Where do you see the greatest potential for Angola's Oil and Gas sector in the future?

There is potential across the value chain. In upstream, our production has been decreasing for over a decade due to a lack of investment, especially in exploration. We are seeing the trend reversing now with several investment commitments from operators in the market. More importantly, perhaps, the rest of our value chain remains under-developed.

Our midstream and downstream infrastructure needs billions of investment to connect existing and future fields to consumption centres, and to build the refineries, power plants, petrochemical plants and fertilizer plans who will be processing our future output of oil and gas.

What is your thought on what is considered an urgent need to develop a gas economy in order to fuel future electricity, enable renewables and support industrial development for the benefit of Angolans?

The major pillar that was needed to build our gas economy was the regulatory one, which has been passed last year. Presidential Decree No. 7/18 is the first law aimed at specifically regulating the prospection, research, evaluation, development, production and sale of natural gas in Angola.

To date, only the Angola LNG Project had benefited from a special legal and tax framework. Before the passing of PD 7/18, the exploration and production of natural gas in Angola was subject to very broad principles only.

These notably included making associated natural gas surplus available for free to Sonangol, and the possibility for oil companies to jointly-develop non-associated natural gas with Sonangol, with terms defined on a case-by-case basis. Sonangol was free to develop the non-associated gas discoveries on its own shall no agreement be reached with the oil company.

Under PD 7/18, both Sonangol and oil companies have the rights to prospect, research, evaluate, develop, produce and sell natural gas in the international and domestic markets. More importantly, the decree provides for the possibility of specific and longer periods for natural gas exploration and production as compared with crude oil. Such periods can now all be extended so as to accommodate the particularities of developing a natural gas project.

However, and as experience has shown, the success of Angola's gas economy will now rely on the creation of gas demand centres and the development of gas-consuming industries. These include power generation, petrochemicals and fertilizers, compressed and piped natural gas in the retail space, but also steel and cement.

This is probably where the most urgent need currently lies as we want to make sure the future gas output will not be just exported internationally but used domestically to build industries and create jobs for Angolans.

With Africa been considered the last frontier, why does it seem to not have reached its full potential? What is causing this blockage in greater development? What role could Intra-Africa trade play in this regard?

Weak governance structures and lack of investment in exploration have so far prevented Africa from exploiting its full potential. This particularly applies to Angola. The crash in commodity prices in 2014 was just the ultimate blow to our industries who were, in fact, relying on weak foundations.

Tough lessons have been learned over the past few years on the need to reform our legislative frameworks, provide better clarity to investors, and diversify our economies. Intra-African energy cooperation has a major role to play in this regards as it is able to unlock massive deals and projects.

The case of Senegal and Mauritania who are developing the giant Tortue gas field, or of Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon who recently signed a unitization agreement for gas, are prime examples.

There is so much to be achieved from a greater African energy dialogue in terms of transnational projects and exchange of commodities. In this regard, we believe that not only the private sector, but also and above all African national oil companies (NOCs) have a major role to play in driving that cooperation forward.

Could you introduce yourself to our international audience and the scope of your role as AEC's President for Angola?

I moved back to Angola two decades ago after I completed my studies at Cambridge and the University of Adelaide from where I earned my MBA. This was the golden age of Angola's oil and gas sector, so I naturally started working with major international oil companies such as Statoil and British Petroleum.

This is where I got firsthand experience into the commercial, financial and technical aspects of operating producing oil blocks. I am a strong advocate of our local industry and have always been an entrepreneur at heart, so I eventually went on to set up Amipa LDA and Motiva LDA, two Angolan oil & gas services companies.

In my role at the Chamber, I intend to both facilitate the entry of new players and investors and ensure domestic capacities and capabilities are developed and good paying local jobs are created for Angolans.

The reforms led by H.E. President Joao Lourenço are profoundly transforming our oil and gas industry by improving its business environment. This is generating tremendous interest from the international energy community and the network of partners the Chamber has. With over a decade of experience in the sector globally, I am able to bring them the kind of local and sector expertise they seek when coming to Angola.

Under the leadership of its Chairman NJ Ayuk, the Chamber has been at the forefront of the most important and recent deals in Africa's hydrocarbons sector and we truly look forward to bringing these deal-making abilities to Angola. We are going to be champions for Angola. Our country needs champions.

What will be the strategic importance of African Energy Chamber to the Angolan Oil and Gas sector?

The African Energy Chamber will be channelling global interest for Angola's oil & gas sector, providing local knowledge on the market and advisory support for investors and local companies. More importantly and in line with our mandate to build African capacities, the Chamber will act as a catalyst for training Angola's oil & gas workforce, build domestic capacity and advocate for an enabling environment.

Low taxes, limited government, fair local content, fair fiscal frameworks, market-driven policies, incentives to drill, judicial security and respect for the rule of law will get us to a fairer and balance oil sector.

What advice do you have for potential foreign investors looking at Angola as well as your own AEC members?

A major advice is to carefully choose a local partner. Investors tend to think that with enough capital and experience they can make it. While this is not entirely false, tying-up with an Angolan partner or establishing cooperation with a local entity on the ground always gives a major boost to a new business, especially in its early years.

Operating in Angola does come with a few challenges that can easily be overcome if an investor works with the right people and the credible and efficient local companies that know the market and how to get things done. We also tell investors to not just look at the upstream segment but consider opportunities across the value chain, be it in midstream, downstream, fabrication, services and supplies.

A market like Angola which produces almost 1.5 million bpd offers considerable opportunities across the industry and anyone looking at Angola shouldn't consider exploration and production as the only lucrative investment to be made here.

Where do you want to take the AEC in your tenure of President for Angola?

The AEC will become the entry door to Angola's oil & gas sector. We want to ensure that there is an enabling environment for oil and gas investments. Oil companies must be given the incentives to invest but we are the oil industry also know we have an obligation to the Angolan people.

We have to work with policymakers and implement strategies and solutions that will work in Africa. Look at Gabon's leadership on the environment, Equatorial Guinea on Gas monetization, Ghana on building regulatory frameworks.

Also, also look at Nigeria when it comes to empowering Africans.  We are already receiving lots of queries from new investors wishing to enter the market, and having local representatives on the ground is positioning us as a strong advisor and facilitator for foreign investors, while being able to properly communicate what is happening on the ground to the international energy community.

On the second hand, we also want to be building domestic capacity, both by training and skilling Angolans so they can take on additional responsibilities across the value chain, but also by bringing in more technology and best practices to our local companies so we contribute to boosting local content.

Why Uganda Should Prepare To Reap Big From Approaching Cannabis Market

The world is opening up and becoming more ‘accommodative’ towards medical cannabis trade as its market size continues to expand. Researchers each day discover more benefits from the largely prohibited herb.

While the global market for cannabis was estimated to reach a value of US$ 13.4 Billion in 2018, it is further expected to reach the value of US$ 44.4 Billion by 2024, exhibiting a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 22.9% during 2019-2024.

Cannabis is a psychoactive drug which is derived from the cannabis plant of the Cannabaceae family. It has been used medicinally for several years in ancient Indian, Chinese, Egyptian and Islamic cultures.

Treating A Wide Range Of Diseases

Nowadays, cannabis finds application in the treatment of a wide range of diseases and symptoms including cancer, chronic pain, depression, arthritis, diabetes, glaucoma, migraines, epilepsy, MS, AIDS, ALS, Alzheimer’s, PTSD, Parkinson’s, Tourette’s, etc.

Owing to its therapeutic benefits, cannabis has been approved for medical use in numerous countries, with varying degrees of legal restriction. Some of these countries include Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, etc.

Clinical trials, R&D activities and commercialization of cannabis-based indications are further expected to catalyze the growth of the market. Cannabis is safer and has less severe side effects in comparison to other treatment options.

It also finds usage along with other treatments either to enhance their effect or to combat negative side effects. For instance, cannabis is very effective in reducing nausea and increasing appetite among the chemotherapy patients, making the agonizing treatment more tolerable.

Similarly, it is also used in combination with traditional opioid painkillers, which enables patients to significantly reduce the dosage and frequency of opioids, and also imparts greater pain relief.

A steadily rising ageing population has also played an significant role in driving the demand for medical cannabis as geriatric patients are more likely to develop chronic illnesses and require more physician visits.

Although expenditure on health products are less susceptible to fluctuations in consumer’s expenditure, the uptake of medical marijuana is liable to changes in disposable income due to its unconventional nature. As a result, we expect increasing disposable incomes to create a positive impact on the demand of medical cannabis.

Cannabis in Uganda

Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng told a press conference at Uganda Media Cente recently that growing of marijuana or cannabis is illegal but negotiations are underway to legalize it with proper legislation and regulation.

Global companies have expressed interest to do medicinal marijuana business with Uganda but the ministry of health has sat on this breakthrough in the guise of undertaking policy research and regulation formulation.

According to a news report by Daily Monitor, Uganda is set to export medical marijuana products to Canada and Germany worth Shs600b in June. It has also emerged that on December 7, 2017, Uganda exported unrefined cannabis buds/ flowers to South Africa’s National Analytical Forensic Services in Pretoria. The order to Industrial Hemp (U) Ltd, a private company, was valued at $10,000 (Shs37.1m).

The marijuana exports from a farm in Kasese District include Cannabinol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with mixture of 2.7mg THC and 2.5mg CBD for Sativex drugs approved in USA, Europe and Canada. Oil Risin contain Dronabinol for making Marinol and syndros capsules and CBD enriched creams for various skin disorders.

Mr Benjamin Cadet, one of the directors at Industrial Hemp (U) Ltd, a private firm jointly working with an Israel company, Together Pharma Ltd, confirmed medical cannabis orders from at least 20,000 pharmacies in Canada and Germany.

“We signed annual supply contracts with pharmacies in Canada to a tune of $100m (Shs371.8b) and €58m (Shs242.3b) for Germany… the current contracts run for 10 years but along the way, we shall expand to satisfy future demand,” Mr Cadet said.

Marijuana companies have reportedly submitted in their bid to ministry of health seeking licensing; the ministry is yet to respond to them with a positive response. These include Industrial Hemp (U) Ltd, Together Pharma Ltd and Natgro Phama (U) Ltd.

Others are Medraw (U) SMC Ltd, Urban Properties (U) Ltd, Prime Ranchers, Silver Seeds (U) Ltd, Dave and Dave Group, Seven Blades, Cannops Africa, Quest Worths International Group, Premier Hemp, Sativa Agro-tech Ltd, Zeus Agro Ltd and Owesia U Ltd.

Kingdom Kampala Now Open For Letting

Kingdom Kampala, a modern shopping centre, is now open to the public for letting after the successful completion of the first phase of the multibillion property located on Nile Avenue. The ten storied state of the art building now beautifully lights the skies of Kampala with glee.

Ruparelia Group’s Managing Director Rajiv Ruparelia recently told journalists that the building was tastefully designed to create unmatched shopping and working environments in line with philosophy of satisfying the unmet need for affordable yet modern space.

Ruparelia Group under Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia recently took over development of the land on which Shimon Demonstration Primary School sat from Saudi Prince Ali Waheed who was supposed to build a hotel to host guests during the Common Wealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 2007 but the hotel was never built.

Rajiv Ruparelia, the managing director of Ruparelia Group describes the building as a one stop centre complex. “This particular building is a blend of light retail, food and beverage as well as ten floors of office space. We have 350 car spaces in the basement. We have 47 retail units, 6 lifts, CCTV monitoring room, backup power generators, 100, 000 liter reserve water tank. I don’t think we have left out anything”

The building also boasts of three floors of parking that can accommodate 450 cars. It has been fitted with a modern sprinkler fire suppression system consisting of a 200,000-litre water tank and two fire pumps with a back-up generator. There is a separate holding water tank with a capacity of 150,000 litres.

The building is also equipped with six lifts - four with a capacity of 13 passengers and two with a capacity of 20 passengers. It also has three 500kva backup generators and has been fitted with 400 CCTVs for security.

Rajiv also revealed that they are soon commencing works for the next phases of the project, which will consist of a 5-star hotel, a shopping mall, another office tower, serviced apartments and a parking bay with capacity for 2,000 cars.

Victoria University VC Tackles Physiotherapy & Occupational Therapy In New Book

Victoria University Vice Chancellor, Assoc. Prof. Krishna N. Sharma, is celebrating a new milestone after launching a new book which tackles Physiotherapy & Occupational Therapy.

The new book titled ‘Advanced Techniques in Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy’ fulfils a promise the VC made when taking over the helm of the university.

Top of his agenda when taking over as VC, Dr. Sharma prioritized research and publication of research and books as a way of advancing academics at the University.

And he is leading by example. This is the second book the professor has released having released another in 2017 titled "Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Depression,"

In the book, Dr. Sharma offers a holistic approach of treating depression using Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) techniques. Dr. Sharma has bred a culture of publicizing research at the university.

The faculty of health sciences published more research papers and journals than any other faculty at high rising Victoria University in Uganda.

The Vice Chancellor of Victoria University Dr. Khrisna N. Sharma said in the academic year 2018, 35 publications were released from the University.

“The highest number of publications came from the faculty of health sciences followed by faculty of Business and Management, Humanities and Social Science and Science and Technology,” the vice chancellor said in interview with Health News Uganda.

Dr. Sharma said that new book is for physiotherapy and occupational therapy students and professionals. The book is designed after considering undergraduate and postgraduate PT/OT curricula of several international Universities.

Ms. Susan Akori the President of the Uganda Physiotherapy Association said the association proud that the Vice Chancellor of Victoria University has taken lead and written this book that will guide Granduands in the physiotherapy and occupational therapy field.

Segawa Market Providing Safe Alternative To Motor Spare Parts Traders

The importation of these old cars over the years has given way for a growing motor spare parts trade to grow. The most notable market for spare parts has been the notorious Kiseka Market, downtown Kampala. Until recently, it has been the main source of spare parts and expert mechanics to work on old cars.

Kiseka Market’s monopoly bred a bad habit practiced by mainly by mechanics, middle men and some scrupulous shop attendants who connive to cheat unsuspecting customers. People have reported losing money in the market.

“You go with car needing a small spare part replacement, you come out with a bigger problem,” Yasin Jjemba said. What happens in Kiseka is that mechanics while working on your replace you still working parts of say the engine and replace them with faulty parts.

But the dominance of Kiseka Market has been subdued by the introduction of Segawa Market in Kisenyi – Mengo by Haruna Enterprises, a real estate company owned by Haruna Sentongo. Segawa Market specializes in shops and traders dealing in motor spare parts and other light machinery. It has provided an alternatives to dreaded Kiseka Market.

Segawa Market complex has over 320 shops of different sizes and shape. According to Isaac Newton, the property manager at Haruna Enterprises, Segawa Market, located at Mwanga II Road, opposite Lubiri, in Kisenyi aspires to be the one stop center that sells spare parts for motorcycles, vehicles and other light machinery.

“We have the largest ample parking space, the size of an acre. And while other markets close at 7pm, Segawa market is open 24 hours a day. You can come in anytime of the day, night or day, and buy what any spare or have a mechanic work on you.”

And for tenants, all they have to worry about is paying rent, the landlord takes care of bills for utilities like water, electricity and disposing off of garbage. Because their target is to be a market for spare parts, the landlord prefers to let shops to spare parts dealers.

Haruna Enterprises also offers a subside to its customers. News tenants are guaranteed of three months free of rent to enable them stabilize and grow their business. Businessman Sentongo said this has been done to help tenants grow their businesses without worrying about rent. Sentongo under Haruna Enterprises owns a variety of commercial building in the city such as Haruna Towers in Wandegeya and another one located in Ntinda.

Segawa Market is fully installed with electricity, standby generators, water supply and water tanks to store water for emergencies and a security detail backed by Uganda Police. The property is suitable for business and office space hire.

The shops come in all sizes and prices on the first and second floor and for all sorts of businesses. Imagine finding genuine spare parts and a mechanic in one neat, orderly place with no idlers, crook middle men and at any time of the day, well that is what Segawa Market is offering.

Sentongo, by offering Segawa Market, has helped motorists not to be dependent on only Kiseka Market and other scrupulous dealers operating makeshift garages to get spare parts for their automobiles.

“Our mechanics are attached to those shops. We know them so they cannot cheat customers like the case is in Kiseka market and other places. While other markets close at 7pm, Segawa market is open 24 hours a day. We have the largest ample parking space, the size of an acre. And you can come in anytime of the day, night or day, and buy what any spare or have a mechanic work on you,” Isaac Newton, the property manager at Haruna Enterprises says.

Moses Sebalu, a businessman at Segawa Market explains that the market offers small business owners an opportunities to organize themselves and expand further. “With place like Segawa Market, customers will know where to find and keep in touch with them. With good customer care, you maintain a good relationship with your customers.” Serubiri said.

PHOTOS: When Rajiv Ruparelia Unveiled His New Rally Car At Rock Bar

Rock Bar & Grill was filled to capacity as motor sport fans, drivers and well-wishers congregated to witness the unveiling of Rajiv Ruparelia’s new car, a Volkswagen Polo Proto. Rajiv, the only son of businessman Sudhir Ruparelia, recently announced he was joining the motor sport.

 

To fulfil his potential as a rally driver Rajiv attended and graduated from a South African motor sport academy called RallyStar Motorsport Academy in Johannesburg. The academy is under the stewardship of Africa’s No.1 trainer Leone Botha. Rajiv was assessed and proved that he has the tactics and ability to rally.

 

An excited Rajiv, who will be driving under the Rajiv Ruparelia Rally “Double Trouble” Team, unveiled his VW Polo Proto, imported from Poland, in the presence of his father, Sudhir and wife Naiya. His co-driver and navigator Ronald Wallia was also around and promised to give a good show once they start rallying. Other team members include Mike Mwangi, the chief mechanic.

 

Rajiv revealed that he has been harboring interest of joining the motorsport fraternity and now that dream has come to pass. “My trainer Leone Botha will be coming down as soon the cars are ready and we will be debuting from home with the Pearl of Africa,” he said. Rajiv's VW Polo Proto is the only of its kind in Uganda, Mike Mwangi, the chief mechanic said. He further revealed that the car is lighter, about two times less compared to the conventional ones.

 

The event also attracted other notable senior rally drivers such as Dan Kikankane among others who applauded Rajiv for his interest and joining the game. Speaking at the event, these veterans in the country's motorsport welcomed Rajiv into the sport and encouraged him to drive for fun and for the fans.

 

Everything is now set for Rajiv to take on the top Ugandan rally drivers in the country like Ponsiano Lwakataka, Jas Mangat, Ronald Ssebuguzi and Suzan Muwonge in the different rallies. He also has experience in other fields like Quads, motocross bikes and buggies as well as tarmac driving.

 

commenting on his abilities as a driver, RallyStar Motorsport Academy boss Leon Botha said: "In contrast with some students, where one is slightly hesitant to issue an unconditional recommendation-based on talent and application thereof, I have no hesitation in stating that Rajiv has been the best experience I have had or shall I say enjoyed, from an inexperienced rally driver,” Botha wrote.

 

He added: “Hard to believe but I have established his inexperience to be true.” Botha further explained that he did establish that Rajiv has experience in other fields such as quads, motocross bikes and buggies as well as tarmac driving. “…but despite this, I was still pleasantly surprised at his ability and car control in a powerful rally car.”

 

“I therefore underwrite his participation in the sport of rallying with a navigator with the required ability and preferably early on in Rajiv’s career.” “Rallystar welcomes him into a sport that I believe he has been born for,” Botha concluded.

How To Apply For Victoria University Scholarships

In a letter to the Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs, Rajiv Ruparelia, the Director of Rajiv Ruparelia Youth Scholarships said they will out over 1,100 scholarships to youths joining Victoria University in the Academic year 2019/2020.

The scholarships are aimed at uplifting the lives of underprivileged Ugandans especially the youth. The scholarship covers 70 percent of the tuition fee. He noted that minimum qualification for the degree programme is two principal passes and one principal pass for the diplomas.

The scholarships are to cater to the students who are offering the following courses; Faculty of Health Sciences (200 scholarships), Faculty of Business Management (150), Faculty of science and Technology (200), Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (250) and lastly, Department of Petroleum and Energy Studies (300).

HOW TO APPLY

To be a beneficiary of these scholarship, a candidate must apply for the student admission online from the website http://www.vu.ac.ug/scholarships or pick a hardcopy application from admissions office at Victoria University located at Jinja Road opposite Deweinton road and pay $20 for the student application form

Once admitted and you have a placement at the University, you can then go ahead and apply for the Rajiv Ruparelia Youth Scholarships by filling in scholarship application form will all supporting relevant documents.

Thereafter, the Victoria University Scholarship Committee, after receiving the documents, will review the application and issue an acceptance letter to successful candidates.

The minimum qualification must be a degree. To qualify to study a degree at University a candidate have obtained two principle passes from A’ Level or holder of a diploma from a recognized high institute of learning.

Medical Marijuana To Increase Productivity Of Older Ugandan Laborers

As Uganda ponders to legalize marijuana growing and production, it is emerging that the weed could have direct positive impact on productivity of aging Ugandan workers if medically used.

The study, co-written by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Temple University, and published in the Spring 2019 issue of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, suggests that medical marijuana laws could facilitate an improved health lifestyle for older adults.

While the study examined older Americans' well-being before and after medical marijuana laws were passed, the findings could have a global implication and can easily be used as a benchmark for further research, especially in Africa. According to sciencedaily.com, the paper analyzed more than 100,000 responses from survey participants age 51 and older from 1992 to 2012.

Researchers found a 4.8 percent decrease in reported pain and a 6.6 percent increase in reported very good or excellent health among respondents with a health condition that would qualify for medical marijuana after their states passed medical marijuana laws relative to similar respondents whose states did not pass a law.

"Our study is important because of the limited availability of clinical trial data on the effects of medical marijuana," says Lauren Hersch Nicholas, PhD, assistant professor in the Bloomberg School's Department of Health Policy and Management.

"While several studies point to improved pain control with medical marijuana, research has largely ignored older adults even though they experience the highest rates of medical issues that could be treated with medical marijuana."

At the moment, 20 companies have reportedly applied to ministry of health to be licensed to plant and produce marijuana for medical use. Daily Monitor reports that two of them - Industrial Hemp (U) Ltd and Together Pharma Ltd - are licensed to do so.

The others whose applications are pending are Natgro Phama (U) Ltd, Medraw (U) SMC Ltd, Urban Properties (U) Ltd, Prime Ranchers, Silver Seeds (U) Ltd, Dave and Dave Group, Seven Blades, Cannops Africa, Quest Worths International Group, Premier Hemp, Sativa Agro-tech Ltd, Zeus Agro Ltd and Owesia U Ltd.

Health minister, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, reveals that marijuana has medicinal properties but are still under research. “It has been proven it can be used in reducing pain in cancer patients but even then research is still ongoing. There is also research in areas of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia in cases of epilepsy; it’s still undergoing research.”

But Dr. Aceng’s deputy minister, the state minister for health, Ms Sarah Opendi warned that marijuana growing without proper control measures can be dangerous to the country's youthful population. "Already it is the second highest cause for the Butabika hospital admissions; majority of whom are youth," she told Daily Monitor.

The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 2015 allows cultivation, production and exportation of medical marijuana and mandates the minister to issue written consent for medical marijuana.

Sentongo’s Haruna Enterprises Changing Face Of Markets

A market is a place where people gather to buy and sale commodities. In the past people used to have what was called market day(s) – it would be a particular day in a week or a month when people gathered at a particular place to trade. This practice is still functional especially in rural areas.

In more urban places like Kampala, the capital of Uganda, there are places designated to function as a market on a daily. The most famous one is St Balikuddembe Market, famously known as Owino Market. Others like Nakasero market, Nakawa market, Kalerwe market and others come to mind.

These markets provide all sorts of commodities – from all sorts of food stuffs, clothes, machinery to medicines. They have been serving people over the years – from before the supermarkets and groceries made their way into our lives. What you couldn’t get in the neighboring duka, a retail shop, you could get in the market, on market day.

These markets usually have all that you want, in one place. However because they are a one stop center for shopping they are characterized by poor customer care, congestion, theft and sale of fake products. They can sometimes be a menace to customers who are inconvenienced with all sorts of bad behavior.

The coming of groceries and supermarkets provided an alternative to customers who preferred to do their shopping with ease and in comfort. But as times evolve, real estate developers are coming up with specialized markets especially for bulky buyers. This is intended to cater for specialized buyers and sellers who wouldn’t want to mingle and jostle with customers looking for petty goods and services.

Haruna Enterprises of Haruna Sentongo has successful set out to build and set up special markets specifically addressing needs of a certain class of public and their specialized trade. Sitting on about two acres of land in Kisenyi opposite Lubiri SS gate, Segawa Market is one such market specializing in housing traders dealing in motor cars and cycles’ spare parts.

Segawa Market is a market of two buildings boosting of over 300 spacious shops and a parking lot measuring one acre. Because this is a market for people selling and buying spare parts, the expansive parking lot is used by authorized mechanics who attend to customer problems and needs.

These mechanics are affiliated to tenants occupying the shops. This has reduced on bad behaviors associated with mechanics in places Kiseka Market. These mechanics are vetted and trusted. Therefore customers can trust them too.

Unlike in the traditional markets, Sentongo is helping his tenants to grow their businesses by paying all utility bills (water, electricity and waste management). The property developer is also giving three months of rent for free at Segawa market. It means that the customer upon agreeing to rent space at Segawa market gets an extra free months exemption.

“This is intended to help them settle in at the market and stabilize their business,” Sentongo said. “We want to grow with our tenants and we know that rent can be a stumbling block for their business progress. We are giving them these free months to ease that burden. We want to be affordable so on top of the free three months, we pay our rent in shillings unlike other landlords in the city who charge in dollars,” he said.

Before Segawa market came into play, Sentongo had already set up Nakayiza Market also in Kisenyi – Mengo. Nakayiza Market specializes in trading agro produce products. “It is a market for farm produce and farmers or agribusiness. If you want any type of food come to Nakayiza Market. Traders go to all parts of Uganda to buy all types of food from farmers and bring it here at Nakayiza,” Sentongo revealed.

From Nakayiza, other traders buy the farm produce and sell it to other consumers. Some of these traders have milling machines which they use to process these foods to add value and preservation. “Government agencies, local and international NGOs and exporters come here to buy these agro products. So we have provided farmers a market to sell their agro products. We are promoting agribusiness,” he said. 

Sentongo says they are doing this ‘to be the pacesetter in real estate services’ and ultimately ‘be the leading independent, regional & world-class real estate enterprise providing an integrated prime commercial offering, operating in key hubs across the region,’. From the way things are going, they are not so far away from achieving this.

“The future of Real Estates in Uganda is very bright considering the huge endowment of natural resources, the abundant pool of skilled work force and the enormous market potential the Country offers to investors. Haruna Enterprises is well poised to harness these opportunities with relentless drive and commitment it has taken to become the leading player in our various markets.” He explained.
Haruna Enterprises, the firm Sentongo uses to do his real estate work, has a number of other commercial properties in the city providing office space and other businesses. For example in Wandegeya, Sentongo has Haruna Towers and Haruna Shopping Mall in Ntinda.

Why Local & Foreign Firms Are Clamoring To Grow Marijuana In Uganda

Growing of marijuana for medicinal use in Uganda has lately become a heated topic after numerous local and international firms contacted authorities to seek permission the prohibited weed. A number of international firms are seeking to grow marijuana in Uganda to cash in on the growing multi-billion dollar business.

This site understands that a number of local firms are also willing to venture into the lucrative weed. On March 18, 2019, Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) cleared Together Pharma Limited, an Israel firm, to start growing medical cannabis popularly known as marijuana on a commercial scale in Kasese.

In Uganda, the company will operate as Industrial Globus Uganda Ltd. The company had promised to build a marijuana oil extraction plant in Kampala with an initial investment of $5m (Shs18.7 billion). However, last week government halted Together Pharma Limited’s investment license.

According to Evelyn Anite, Uganda’s State Minister for Investment, government is still awaiting guidance from Cabinet and Parliament for proper direction and setting up of the necessary laws.

“Cabinet has asked the Ministry of Health to do more research on the growing and exporting of medical cannabis. There are four more investors who want to grow cannabis for medical benefits but the Ministry was tasked to see how it will be grown, controlled and set up the necessary laws to govern such a sector,” Anite said.

She added: “…before the Ministry of Health makes a report to the cabinet and Parliament has set up the necessary laws, the license that had been issued is withheld until all the above is in place.”

Whereas the Minister said four more investors want to grow medical cannabis in Uganda, Daily Monitor reports that it has seen a Cabinet information paper by the Ministry of Health indicating that “the minister of Health has received applications from 14 companies interested in the cultivation, extraction and export of cannabis oil for medical purposes in line with the provisions of Narcotic Drug and Pyschotropic Substances (Control) Act 2015”.

The 14 are besides an already established firm, Industrial Hemp Uganda Ltd and its partners, which have been in the country for the past decade with operations in Kasese and other areas.

Medical cannabis is a term used to describe the use of the cannabis plant and its constituent cannabinoids to alleviate symptoms and help people struggling with medical conditions.

Across the globe, cannabis is one of the most exciting growth industries and is garnering significant attention from investors, manufacturers and researchers.

“There is a big economic value potential for the country considering the rate at which countries are opening up their markets for the sale of cannabis products for medical purposes,” the Ministry of Health notes in the brief to Cabinet.

In the Cabinet document, the minister lists the benefits to include employment opportunities, taxes, technology transfer, investment opportunities, and trade surplus, among others.

For example, the paper notes, cannabis farming is labour intensive, all plant care and harvesting are done by hand, providing employment opportunities.

The Health ministry, however, warns that there is reasonable fear that legal cultivation of medical cannabis could lead to increase of the product, which will lead to escalation of cannabis abuse and associated consequences.

“The risks associated or resulting from the legal cultivation of cannabis are mitigated by the fact that cannabis is a highly controlled plant globally, regulations are overly strict, which ensures maximum adherence,” she adds.

In the Cabinet paper, it is proposed that the Minister of Health will issue written consent for the cultivation of prohibited plants, NDA will issue production and export licences and both the police and NDA will conduct inspection and enforcement of the law.

“As much as the area of cannabis cultivation and extraction on an industrial scale is new in Uganda, stringent measures are in place to regulate it. These projects will create jobs, bring in foreign currency, and above all there is no imminent threat to the people of Uganda or the environment if the measures put in place are adhered to,” the Health Ministry memo to Cabinet concludes.

Authorized

Documents seen by Daily Monitor indicate that Industrial Hemp Uganda Ltd, founded and incorporated in 2012 in Uganda, is the only local entity that has so far been authorised to undertake activities related to the growing and processing of medical cannabis (medical marijuana) and cannabis products alongside Sativa for industrial purposes in Uganda, with the supervision of Ministry of Health and other responsible government agencies/department such as the police.

The company, which partnered with Together Pharma Limited of Israel, has commercial contracts signed for supplies in excess of $350m(about Shs1.3 trillion) annually to European Union countries, specifically Germany and Canada in North America.

“Industrial Hemp Uganda Limited obtained a no-objection from the National Drug Authority and equally has all the necessary clearance from the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Health,” Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister, Gen Kahinda Otafiire, writes in a February 15 letter to the chief operations officer of Together Pharma Limited.

He adds: “The government of Uganda is well aware of their operations in Kasese District and the various benefits the said project has in terms of employment of Ugandans, revenue generation, technology transfer, development and improvement of the medical application of hemp and medical cannabis in the medical sector”.

The law

Section 14 Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substance (control) Act, 2019, which commenced on January16, 2019, empowers the National Drug Authority (NDA) to issue licences for export, import, manufacture, etc.

(a) issue licences, for sale, manufacture, production or distribution of specified narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances;

(b) prescribe the manner in which a narcotic drug or psychotropic substance is to be packed or marked for export;

(c) prescribe the records to be kept for the export, import, receipt, sale, disposal or distribution of a narcotic drug or psychotropic substance; and

(d) determine the line of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances which may be supplied and prescribed for medical, dental and veterinary purposes and prescriptions.

Section 4 of the Act criminalises possession of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and provides sanctions, including lengthy prison sentences and fines.

Exceptions

The exception is in  Subsection (3) “(a) a person who has possession of a narcotic drug or psychotropic substance under a licence issued under Section 27 of the National Drug Policy and Authority Act, permitting him or her to have possession of the narcotic drug or psychotropic substance;

(b) a medical practitioner, dentist, veterinary surgeon or registered pharmacist who is in possession of a narcotic drug or psychotropic substance for any medical purpose;

(c) a person who possesses a narcotic drug or psychotropic substance for a medical purpose from, or using a prescription of, a medical practitioner, dentist or veterinary surgeon; or

(d) a person authorised under regulations made under this Act to be in possession of a narcotic drug or psychotropic substance.

Countries legally growing marijuana

Countries such as Uruguay, Canada, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, some states in the United States, Germany and many other countries in the European Union have legalised cannabis for medical use.

In Lesotho, for example, Cannabis is widely produced and is a leading cash crop for the country. In 2017, Lesotho became the first African country to grant a licence for the cultivation of medical cannabis for export. Currently, the UK is the largest exporter of medical cannabis in the world. According to the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), 95 tonnes of cannabis was produced in the UK for medicinal and scientific use, accounting for 44.9 per cent of the world total

Hemp is commercially grown in Africa by Egypt, in Americas by Canada, USA, and Chile.

In Asia, it is grown in China and India and China is the biggest exporter of hemp paper and textile, earning at least $200m (Shs745b) per year. Canada is now the biggest producer and exporter of hemp seed products, including hemp oil, hemp protein powder. It accounts for 60-90 per cent of the total USA hemp import market.

In Europe, it is grown in Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Britain, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain and Ukraine. Europe hemp industry is focused on industrial uses such as materials for automobiles and construction. European Union subsides farmers at $400 (Shs1.5m) per acre.

SOURCE: Business Focus

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