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Lira. Relatives and in-laws have threatened to disown Lands minister Betty Amongi for marketing the controversial Land Amendment Bill. The Bill seeks to give government powers to acquire one’s land without first adequately compensating them as it carries out its projects on it.
In light of the Bill, the line minister, who hails from Lango sub-region, is being looked at as a traitor at her home backyard despite her fulfilling her Cabinet responsibility.

During a consultative meeting where MPs from Lango sub-region were seeking views of the residents about the proposed land amendments at Uganda Technical College, Lira on Monday, some residents called on Lira Municipality MP Jimmy Akena to divorce his wife over the Bill. The residents booed Mr Akena as he made his speech.
Mr Akena, a son of former president Milton Obote and Ms Amongi got married in April 2013.

During the meeting, Mr Patrick Rolex Akena called on the MP to disown his wife for fronting the controversial Bill.
However, Mr Akena hit back at those asking him to divorce his wife because of the proposed Land Amendment Bill, saying he cannot do such a thing.
“I will not disown my wife here. I cannot do such a thing,” MP Akena told hundreds of residents gathered at the meeting.

In anger, the residents heckled and booed Mr Akena for defending his wife’s support for the controversial Bill.
Ms Dina Bua, a former district councillor in Otuke District, shouted that the microphone which Mr Akena was using should be grabbed from him.

The visibly shocked Akena could not believe that he was getting that kind of treatment from the same people who have often referred to him as the only ‘atin kic’ (orphan) of the deceased former president.
After composing himself, Mr Akena told the residents that he had listened to their cried about the proposed law, saying he had taken note and that he would not “betray” them.
“I heard many people saying let things remain the way they are. Before coming here as this matter was heating up, I wrote my own recommendations on how we can address some of the problems in the Land Act, not the Constitution,” he explained.

“I stand by the position to protect the rights of the citizens. I will not go against aspirations of the people of Lango and I am going to struggle to find a workable solution…,” he added
Lango Parliamentary Group chairperson Felix Okot Ogong said almost all the legislators from Lango sub-region are opposed to the new proposed land law. He added that they would not betray their constituents by embracing a law that they (residents) are opposed to.

“You can see it clearly that the people of Lango have rejected the new Bill and that will now help us substantiate that whatever minister Amongi is saying is not the voice of the people of Lango. She is either doing it individually or fulfilling her Cabinet responsibility of the principle of collective responsibility,” Mr Ogong said.
However, Ms Amongi had a day earlier, while appearing at a local radio station, said those against the Land Amendment Bill are ignorant and they don’t understand the law.

The law

Recently, the government tabled in Parliament the Land Amendment Bill to change Article 26 of the Constitution aimed at facilitating quicker land acquisition for public projects.

The amendment proposes that where the owner of property or any person having interest in or right over property objects to the compensation awarded under the law made under clause (2)(b), the government or local government shall deposit with court for the property owner or any person having an interest in or right over the property, the compensation awarded for the property, and the government or local government shall take possession of the property pending determination by the court of any dispute relating to compensation.

This, according to government, is aimed at fast-tracking the development of government projects that have in the past been hindered by unnecessary court litigations by the owners of the land.

2 days 21 hours ago

The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament has tasked Education ministry officials to explain the irregular transfer of Shs2.1 billion to private universities.
The money was allegedly transferred to six private universities in the 2015-2016 financial year.
The beneficiaries include Kisubi Brothers University College (912 million), Bishop Stuart University (380 million), Kumi University (300 million), Nkumba University (300 million), Mountains of the Moon University (150 million) and Ndejje University (150 million).
The allocation was allegedly in fulfilment of presidential pledges. In one of the pledges made in 2010, President Yoweri Museveni pledged to finance the training of 50 science teachers at Kisubi Brothers University College each year for five years.
The maiden implementation of the pledge was in the 2011-2021 financial year. During the year, the Ministry of Education provided Shs12 million per student totalling to Shs600 million.
The anomaly was detected by the Auditor General, Mr John Muwanga who said the transfers lacked detailed information regarding the status of implementation.
The audit also revealed that the transfers were made without putting in place mechanisms for accountability and that the Ministry of education issued the money without drawing any agreement with the beneficiaries.
PAC Vice Chairperson, Mr Gerald Karuhanga questioned how the Ministry would commit huge sums of money to private universities, yet public universities continue to grapple with funding shortfalls. He also questioned why the Education ministry budget should be used to implement presidential pledges, yet parliament allocates funds to the Office of the President to meet the same.
The Ministry officials acknowledged the absence of a Memorandum of Understanding with the universities that benefited adding that such requirements have since been put in place.
Mr Alex Kakooza, the ministry's Permanent Secretary asked PAC for more time to avail letters demanding private institutions for accountability.
The Director Higher Education, Mr Robert Oceng told the committee that so far, Nkumba and Ndejje universities have availed accountability for the funds allocated to them.

2 days 21 hours ago

KAMPALA- Police on Monday announced that it would start registering homesteads in order to “increase neighbourhood vigilance” as part of renewed mechanism to fight crime.

Police spokesperson, Mr Asan Kasingye, said police have selected a team of officers who would be collaborating with local council chairpersons to ensure that members of every homestead are registered.

Mr Kasingye said the registration exercise would start in Kampala police Metropolitan area and crime-prone areas like Nansana and Entebbe in Wakiso District, where 20 women have been murdered in the last two months.

“This registration exercise starts in Entebbe and Nansana where murders are high,” Mr Kasingye told journalists at police headquarters in Kampala.

Police said the officers working alongside local leaders would move with registration forms on which community members would register their name, telephone numbers, occupation and contacts of their next of kin. 

“One leader and one coordinator will be identified to form a security team in every 10 households. This joint intervention is aimed at raising security awareness and vigilance,” he said.

However, Mr Nicholas Opio, a human rights advocate described police’s exercise as infringement on people’s right to privacy.

He wondered why police would conduct fresh registration of homesteads yet a similar exercise was conducted under the National Housing and Population Census in 2014.

“Generally speaking, the police have got the mandate to protect people and property. But police have got to work as part of government. The data they are collecting was already captured by the census. They should get data from them,” Mr Opiyo said.

Mr Opio warned that police is likely to face resistance because the public might be suspicious of the motive behind fresh registration.

Meanwhile, police have arrested two men suspected to have shot dead a German national, Remus Manifred, in Lugazi in Buikwe District last week. 

Mr Kasingye said the suspects were arrested at the weekend with a pistol suspected to have been used in the crime.

3 days 21 hours ago

Kampala- Uganda has signed a deal to start supplying power to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) in the next three years.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed last week by Energy minister Irene Muloni.

Ms Muloni revealed this while speaking at the launch of the ISO certification of Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL) in Kampala last Friday.
She said Uganda will supply electricity to eastern DR Congo.

The supply will be connected from Kasese District in Uganda to Beni city in northeastern DR Congo, Butembo in North Kivu and finally to Bunia town in Ituri Province.
When contacted yesterday, Ms Muloni said once Karuma, Isimba and other small power dams are completed, Uganda will have excess power, which would be exported.
She also said efforts to connect power to 80 per cent of Ugandan households are underway. She said the government is trying to reduce the cost of power as a first step towards easing access by all.
Karuma and Isimba dams combined will generate 783MW. Uganda currently generates 825mw.

“The financing of the project will be about $150m. Of that amount, Uganda will contribute about $22m and the rest will be the responsibility of DR Congo government. Once that funding is secured, it will take two years to complete the project, which could be by end of 2019 or there about,” Ms Muloni said.
The money will be borrowed from the African Development Bank.

It emerged from the interview with Ms Muloni that this is part of regional countries’ efforts to interlink their infrastructure, which initiative will also be extended to South Sudan.
Muloni applauded UEGCL, saying it’s the country’s first government agency to have its processes internationally certified.

According to UEGCL chief executive officer, Mr Harrison Mutikanga, the ISO 9001: 2015 certification means implementation, monitoring, procurement and human resource management of the power generation corporation will be streamlined to international standards.
He said this will put UEGCL under tighter scrutiny in the way it does business, a tough but desirable challenge.

3 days 21 hours ago

Kampala- Property mogul Sudhir Ruparelia has submitted his defence in the case that was recently brought against him by former shareholders of the defunct National Bank of Commerce (NBC).
In his written defence he filed before the Commercial Court last Thursday, Mr Ruparelia denied being involved in the takeover of NBC about five years ago. The NBC was taken over by Bank of Uganda (BoU), which sold it to Crane Bank owned by Mr Ruperelia at that time. Crane Bank too was liquidated in October last year and later sold to dfcu Bank.
“The 3rd defendant (Mr Ruparelia) did not take possession of NBC’s T24 Core Banking System at all nor did he in any way act with dishonesty. The plaintiffs shall be put to strict proof of the said allegations,” Mr Ruparelia states in his defence.
He is represented by Kampala Associated Advocates.

“The 3rd defendant (Mr Ruparelia) avers that he was not party to the transaction for the sake of NBC assets and any allegations in the plaint in relation to the said transaction cannot be attributed to him nor can he be held liable for any alleged loss caused as a result of the said sale of the NBC assets,” he says.
However, Mr Ruparelia admits that the NBC assets were purchased by Crane Bank but for lawful consideration.
In September 2012, BoU took over NBC and sold it to Crane Bank owned by Mr Ruparelia at the time.

NBC was co-owned by former prime minister Amama Mbabazi, city businessman Amos Nzeyi and retired Supreme Court judge George Kanyeihamba, among others.
Last month, Mr Nzeyi sued Mr Ruparelia on account that he and Mr Rasiklal Chhotalal Kantaria acted dishonestly in purchasing NBC assets and did not meet the test of managing, controlling and owning the bank.
Mr Ruparelia is jointly sued with his business associate Kantaria, Crane Bank and BoU.

Mr Ruparelia denies having committed any act of dishonesty or fraud or acted in any irregular way. He argues that the allegations against him have no merit.
His co-accused, Mr Kantaria, Crane Bank and BoU, had not filed their defence by close of yesterday.

“The 3rd defendant (Mr Ruparelia) avers that he did not authorise the execution of the purchase of assets and assumption of liabilities agreement for NBC’s assets and that the allegations of dishonesty are false and misconceived,” Mr Ruparelia further states in his defence to the NBC suit.
In the suit, Mr Nzeyi wants the Commercial Court to declare that BoU’s takeover of NBC and the subsequent sale of its assets to Crane Bank within six hours after the seizure on September 27, 2012, was illegal and in bad faith.
Mr Nzeyi further alleges that the central bank’s takeover and liquidation of NBC was in breach of the Financial Institutions Act 2004, and should be declared null and void.
He also wants court to hold BoU liable for failing to supervise the banking sector, which is its statutory duty.

He is further seeking court to order BoU to provide a register of assets and liabilities inherited from NBC at the time of the takeover, proof of tax compliance in the sale of NBC assets to Crane Bank and a forensic investigation report plus refund of the money paid for purported liquidation expenses.
awesaka@ug.nationmedia.com

3 days 21 hours ago

Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu and two others have today been nominated to run for the FDC presidency.

Muntu arrived at the party headquarters in Najjanankumbi this afternoon accompanied by several party bigwigs including the leader of opposition in parliament Winnie Kiiza.

Gen Mugisha Muntu supporters

After nomination, Muntu promised to continue with his mission of building grassroots capacity for the 12-year-old party to enable it take national leadership.

“It is gratifying that today I have been nominated to run for the second and last term as FDC president,” Muntu said.

“It has been a very hostile environment visited upon us by the regime. Even when we met a lot of resistance, both internal and external, my purpose has been to overcome it and build a strong party.”

He noted that Uganda is facing a lot of challenges which only a focused political party leader can surmount.

Before Muntu, Dan Malcom Matsiko and Moses Byamugisha were also nominated.

Matsiko promised to help the party mobilize funds to run its numerous activities while Byamugisha promised to rally the youth to reclaim the 2016 election victory which he said was snatched by the NRM government.

Moses Byamugisha (L) being nominated. Photo and videos: Nicholas Bamulanzeki

The three-month campaigns kick off on Thursday with candidates expected to crisscross the country trying to convince the electorate that they are the best to lead the party.

Tomorrow, Moses Bakubi Lukubira, Kawempe South MP Mubarak Munyagwa and former Kumi MP Patrick Amuriat Oboi are expected to go for nomination.

bakerbatte@observer.ug

3 days 21 hours ago

Police has today promised to work with Kampala Capital City Authority’s law enforcement officers to rid the city of illegal vendors.

In a closed-door meeting at the Office of the Prime Minister, the Kampala Metropolitan commander Frank Mwesigwa assured the authority’s minister Beti Kamya that his men will cushion KCCA officers from hostile vendors.

Kamya also assured the officers that no one should intimidate them from doing their job, despite growing public concerns over claims of brutality and ill-mannerism.

“Feel empowered to resist any interference when you are doing your job. Resist interference even if it is from police or anyone else. We are going to work together,” said Kamya. “There shall be order in Kampala.”

KCCA law enforcement officers arresting a vendor recently

She further urged the enforcement officers to desist from engaging in corrupt activities such as being compromised to release vendors arrested for illegally trading along Kampala streets.

Kamya observed the importance of law enforcement officers in cities world over, noting that Kampala is no exception.

The meeting was called days after a vendor drowned at Nakivubo channel at the hands of KCCA officers, prompting the authority to pull its officers off city streets following death threats from the public.

Charles Ouma, the KCCA deputy legal director, told the officers that they will soon be told when to resume work.

He, however, noted that the public needed to first be sensitized about the importance of law enforcement officers such that both parties could harmoniously work for a better city.

“Law enforcement officers are provided for in the legal department. No one should state that you are vigilantes because you are here by a statute which established KCCA,” said Ouma.

Some law enforcement officers complained about poor remuneration and being harassed by angry city vendors.

Kamya, however, called for calm from the public.

“People should do self-policing and that spirit of defiance even on lawful orders doesn’t help,” said Kamya.

Since the drowning of Olivia Basemera and the subsequent withdrawal of enforcement officers, the city has been littered with all kinds of vendors. Kamya says that with the help of police, the authority will send vendors back to gazetted markets and bring the city to order.

Meanwhile, the directorate of legal affairs at KCCA has drafted an ordinance bill that will help guide the authority on how to recruit and train enforcement officers and conduct operations.

Currently, the enforcement officers are recruited by the legal department on a four-month contract.

 

3 days 21 hours ago

Having been criticized by some Ugandans for their loud silence on current social and political developments in the country, religious leaders have finally weighed in on the debate on plans to limit the presidential age limit. 

While some are for total rejection, others in support, some clergy have played safe by refusing to comment altogether on plans to amend article 102(b) of the Constitution to lift the presidential age limit currently capped at 75 years.

The article seals the age of the president at between 35 and 75 years beyond which an individual cannot stand for the highest office.
 

Bishop Reuben Kisembo says lifting the age limit will lock out other potential good leaders for Uganda

Parliament is currently considering an amendment to the constitution on land issues, after the tabling, a month ago, of the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2017 which ,among other provisions, proposes an amendment that seeks to remove the 75-year upper age-limit for a presidential candidate.

However, the discussion of the new bill is as divisive as the debate on the age of the president, an issue yet to be formally brought to parliament.
 
But the tone within the ruling party, National Resistance Movement shows that many are in favour of lifting the age limit to allow President Yoweri Museveni extend his rule beyond 2021 when he will be 77 years.
 
And now religious leaders have weighed in on the issue with many saying amending Article 102(b) could turn Uganda into a dictatorship while others argue that the matter should be decided through a referendum.
 
Among those opposed to amending the Constitution include Bishop Reuben Kisembo of Ruwenzori Diocese, a Church of Uganda episcopal territory that covers the districts of Kabarole, Bundibugyo, Ntoroko, Kyenjojo and Kyegegwa.
 
Bishop Kisembo says that if the Constitution is amended, the Members of Parliament will have done a disservice to the people of Uganda. Bishop Kisembo also says that the Uganda has able people who can lead the country and should be given an opportunity as well.
 
"Why should a single leader rule this country for three decades? There are many people out there who can also be presidents. My prayer is that our beloved constitution should be respected," Kisembo said.
 
On Sunday, shortly after attending the installation of Reverend Dr Alfred Olwa as third Bishop of Lango Diocese, Bishop Kisembo posted on his Facebook page a message with clear intentions.
 
"Today we have been at All Saints Cathedral Boro-Boro in Lira Town witnessing a peaceful handover of power from Bishop John Charles Odurkami relinquishing authority over the Diocese and handing it to the Rt. Rev Dr Alfred Olwa. This is a big lesson to us in offices that time should come and we see peaceful transition of power. However good we are, we should leave and others continue for the good of our offices and institutions. No need to change the constitution or age limit."  
 
Last week, while speaking at Fort Portal Diocese headquarters in Virika, the Bishop Fort Portal Catholic Diocese, Dr Robert Muhirwa, expressed the same views.
 
Bishop Muhirwa warned legislators against amending the Constitution, noting that such a move would breed dictatorship in the country. Speaking in Runyoro-Rutooro, Muhirwa also reminded the MPs that they swore an oath to protect the Constitution, therefore it should be respected.
 
The bishop warned that changing the Constitution could plunge the country into turmoil leading to death of innocent people.
 
Sheikh Habibu Mande, the Rwenzori Region Khadi, however, sounded cagey when URN sought his comment. He said that there is nothing wrong with amending the Constitution as long as it benefits the country.

On whether the presidential age limit should be lifted, Mande says that he will first seek permission from the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council before speaking to the media on the issue.
 
Rt. Rev. Giuseppe Filippi of Kotido Diocese says the matter requires a referendum, arguing that every country has a right to determine how it should be governed including changing the Constitution.
 
He however notes that there must be big support from the public.

"Uganda needs a referendum on this matter to get a clear view of the people. However, in some countries like Brazil and Venezuela where minority selfish people tempered with the Constitution, people reacted in a bad way," Bishop Filippi noted.
 
His counterpart from Moroto Catholic Diocese, Bishop Damiano Guzzetti, highlights what he calls a lot of efforts for transformation in the last 30 years.

"I came to Uganda in August the same year President Museveni took over power. I have seen so many government initiatives targeting community transformation but somehow not successful due to poor implementation. I can have a brand new car and hire a driver but it depends on the skills of the driver to deliver me to my destiny," Bishop Damiano said.
 
Both bishops, Filippi and Guzzetti are missionary priests from Italy.
 
Some of the bishops say they need a higher authority to speak on the matter. Bishop Joseph Abura of the Anglican Diocese of Karamoja declined to speak openly saying the matter is delicate and requires consultation with the Province of Church of Uganda or the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda.

He however underscored the achievements of ruling NRM government in the region as a key milestone to progress in the entire country.
 
Bishop Abura revealed that the issue of the presidential age limit was brought in the agenda of the last House of Bishops meeting in July but was differed since it had not been brought to parliament.
 
"We couldn't discuss it there because it is just being fronted by the media and activists. If government initiates the process through parliament we shall then talk about it. It's not good to speculate," Bishop Abura notes.
 
Other religious leaders who say they need permission from a higher authority to speak include Kasana-Luweero Bishop Paul Ssemogerere. Known for being vocal on political issues, Bishop Ssemogerere this time asked for time to consult the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU).
 
However, Bishop James Nasak of Northern Karamoja Diocese voiced his opposition to any moves to amend the constitution saying it sets a dangerous precedent for the country.
 
The cleric notes that much as President Museveni could be a tolerant leader, rules must be observed by all parties for democracy to thrive. He adds that amending the constitution often is not solution for the country.

"How are we going to test the different abilities and different skills of the young people coming up? [Lifting the age limit is] One way of limiting and blocking off some of the talents that God is bringing up in the country especially of young people", said Bishop Nasaka.

"You serve for 20 years, 30 years, 40 years because there is no limit. Another regime will come with different in different times, with authority and also begin to suppress people but we’ll have to live with it because there is no term limit and there is no age limit.  I mean, we must limit ourselves that is why rules are there. Even in football, there are rules of the game so that there is control . I mean if the church is regulating its own leadership why not in politics?". 
 
Sheikh Auni Aramazan, the district Kadhi for Karamoja, however, says the presidential age limit should be removed. Citing Karamoja sub-region, the Kadhi notes that it's only through President Museveni that Karamoja is peaceful and accessible.

"According to the religious views on the present age limit amendment is; it can be possible  if the country is peaceful and you have somebody who can maintain it. It can be amended beyond 75 years, it just like a driver when you are driving, how do you bring somebody who doesn’t know how to drive. It can cause accidents. For me there can be amendment what where after is peace", Sheikh Aramazan said.
 
In Masaka region, Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa of Masaka Diocese told URN he cannot talk about the age limit debate saying he doesn't understand it.

"Please, don't ask me about two things; age limit debate and the constitution amendment bill on land. I don't understand them. I need to first study them and clearly understand them," Bishop Kaggwa noted.
 
Sheikh Shaibu Ndugga and Sheikh Bulhan Bagunduuse both Masaka district Kadhis loyal to Kibuli and Uganda Muslim Supreme Council respectively, declined to speak share their views about the ongoing debate.
 
While Sheikh Ndugga explained that it is not yet time to talk about age limit, Sheikh Bagunduuse simply said he has nothing to say.

Last week IRCU issued a statement on land issues but remained silent on the age limit debate. Joshua Kitakule, the IRCU secretary general, when reached last week on position of the council on age limit debate, he replied that they are yet to issue any statement because the matter is still in speculation.
 
"We always guide on issues or bills that have been gazetted or formalized and currently the age limit bill has not been gazetted, so we cannot base on speculation."

President Museveni, who has been in power since January 1986, will be 75 in 2019. If the constitutional provision remains as it is, he will be ineligible to contest in 2021.

3 days 21 hours ago

Bodies of the fallen Uganda People's Defence Forces soldiers killed during Sunday's ambush by Al-Shabaab militants are to be returned home today, Wednesday.

In a statement, Lt Colonel Deo Akiiki, the deputy UPDF spokesperson says the plane carrying "the caskets of the deceased" will touch down at Entebbe Airforce base at 1:30pm. Lt. General Wilson Mbadi, the deputy Chief of Defence Forces will head the military delegation to receive the remains, according to the statement.

The names of those killed and injured are yet to be released. The UPDF said on Monday that 12 soldiers died on Sunday morning when Al-Shabaab fighters ambushed African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) troops.

The incident took place at Gorowen town between Bulumaler and Beladamini in Lower Shabelle region, about 140kms southwest of Mogadishu.

Army spokesperson, Brigadier Richard Karemire said another seven soldiers were wounded during the ambush. Brigadier Karemire said he was quoting the UPDF Amisom contingent commander, Brig Kayanja Muhanga.

Other sources yesterday however, quoted the number of the dead higher than the official figures. A military source who preferred to remain unnamed has told URN that the UPDF lost 21 soldiers in action and nine others are seriously injured. The source further said another 25 soldiers returned to the UPDF base alive while two are still missing.

Hours after the attack, Reuters news agency quoted Abdiasis Abu Musab, a senior Al-Shabaab military officer as saying they had killed at least 39 Amisom troops during the ambush. The Somali government was also quoted by some media as putting the number of killed soldiers at 23. 

But Brigadier Karemire dismissed this figure as Al-Shabaab propaganda when URN contacted him on phone on Monday. He insisted that nobody knows the UPDF soldiers more than their commanders who quoted the figure of 12 deaths and seven injuries.

Brigadier Karemire said the army was instituting an inquiry "to establish circumstances leading to this fateful incident."

This is the first major Al-Shabaab attack since September 2015 when the UPDF lost at least 19 soldiers. Different government officials, however, kept giving conflicting reports about the 2015 attack as international media put the number of dead at close to 50. One soldier, Private Masasa, was taken alive by the militants only to be executed in January this year.

Early this month, UPDF flagged off 1456 soldiers under Battle Group 22 and United Nations Guard Unit (UNGU) IV to the war-torn Somalia where Uganda has maintained presence for 10 years.

Uganda currently has over 6,000 troops in Somalia as part of the 22,000-strong Amisom peacekeeping force fighting the Al-Shabaab, a terrorist group that pushes to rule Somalia based on Sharia Law.

Uganda was the first country to deploy in Somalia in 2007, some 16 years after the country descended into anarchy following the fall of General Mohammed Siad Barre in January 1991.

3 days 21 hours ago

Uganda's external and domestic debt has hit $11.2 billion according to the latest Bank of Uganda State of the Economy report.
 
The report says provisional total public debt stock (at nominal value) as at the end May 2017 stood at Shs 34 trillion, an increase of 14.1 per cent relative to June 2016 and 16.7 per cent in the same period a year ago.
 
It comprises of Shs 21.1 trillion or $5.7 billion in external debt, commanding a dominant share of 62.4 per cent of the total public debt, and Shs 12.7 trillion in domestic debt.
 
The external public debt at the end of May 2017 stood at $11.2 billion dollars. Undisbursed external debt stood at 5.3 billion dollars, down from 5.5 billion dollars as at end June 2016.

The debt burden has been exacerbated by infrastructure projects 

The former Finance minister, Maria Kiwanuka in 2013 introduced a Public Debt Medium Framework (PDMF) in an effort make Uganda's public debts sustainable.
 
But the Bank of Uganda says latest figures indicate that most of the domestic debt cost and risk indicators were outside the Public Debt Medium Framework (PDMF) benchmarks and domestic debt stock continues to exhibit roll over risk.
 
The rate of public domestic and external debt has been worrying though finance Minister Matia Kasaijja in June insisted that it was sustainable.
 
President Museveni in July declared that he must personally approve all loan applications requested by the government before they can be put to a vote in Parliament.
 
The president's decision was aimed at reducing what he called wasteful spending while the country navigates its way out of choppy economic waters. Museveni also halted the approval of 11 loans worth $914.79 million.
 
The current high public debt has been attributed to ongoing infrastructure developments in the road sector, oil and gas and hydro power projects.
 
Uganda's public debt burden has risen by 12.7 percentage points to 38.6 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2016/17 from 25.9 per cent of GDP in 2012/13 and is projected to continue rising towards 45% of GDP by 2020.
 
Debt as a percentage of revenues has risen by 54 per cent since 2012 and is expected to exceed 250 per cent by 2018.
 
The debt burden, which is more than this year's budget of Shs 29 trillion, accounts for 33.8% of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
 
The preliminary Debt Sustainability Analysis shows that Uganda is likely to face moderately high risk.
 
There is also a risk of a further increase in the already high interest costs in the budget, which currently account for more than 10 per cent of government expenditure.
 
Debt Sustainability Analysis is a tool developed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to help donors in mobilizing critical financing for low-income countries, while reducing the chances of an excessive build-up of debt.
 
Uganda's debt had peaked to unsustainable levels nearly two decades ago, such that the economy did not have the capacity to meet its debt obligations.
 
The situation was only turned around when Uganda qualified for debt relief under the Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) Initiative in 1998 and subsequently under the Enhanced HIPC in 2000.
 
Uganda also benefited from another form of debt relief under the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) in 2006.
 
These eased Uganda's debt service obligations but Bank of Uganda is concerned that government borrowing is exceeding Public Debt Medium Framework (PDMF) 2013.

3 days 21 hours ago

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