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Airtel Uganda Donates 1.25 Billion Shillings To Support COVID-19 Health Workers

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Airtel-hands-over-their-contribution-to-the-ministry-
Team from Airtel-hands-over-their-contribution-to-the-Ministry of Health

Kampala: – Airtel Uganda today confirmed that it will contribute 1.25 Billion Uganda shillings to the Ministry of Health in Uganda, primarily to support health workers on the frontline in the battle against COVID-19.

As the number of confirmed cases in the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) updates multiple times a day, health workers continue to fight the outbreak on the front lines and this puts them at risk of contracting the virus due to their close proximity to the most severe cases.

Airtel Uganda recognizes that without an influx of urgently needed protective equipment, more healthcare workers may fall ill, reducing the availability of care for patients. They are working in stressful environments, not just because the virus is little understood, but because in most settings they are under-protected and are themselves vulnerable to infection.

Commenting about the significant contribution, Mr. V.G. Somasekhar, the Airtel Uganda Managing Director said; “Today, we announce our additional support for Uganda’s COVID-19 response through a contribution of 1.25 billion Uganda shillings, primarily focused on supporting our frontline health workers.

Now more than ever, we all need to apply our capabilities to the needs of nurses, doctors, midwives and community health workers. At this moment of crisis, no country can cope with what they need alone. The private sector needs to mobilize resources, alongside National Governments, to fight the raging pandemic.”

Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Hon Robinah Nabbanja, the State Minister of Health for General Duties noted that “This is an important partnership with Airtel in Uganda and demonstrates a real commitment to support our health workers who are battling day after day to defeat this pandemic.  As individuals, members of the public should strictly follow the key hygiene measures and social distancing, to help flatten the curve of the epidemic, avoid overwhelming hospitals, and preserve access to healthcare.”

Airtel has already taken several steps to help mitigate the impact of social distancing on its customers during the coronavirus outbreak. These include:

  • Guaranteeing network availability and stability by rolling out additional 50 sites during this period.
  • Encouraging customers to embrace electronic transactions and the use cashless modes of payment by removing all the charges on all on-net P2P (person to person) transactions, Bank to Wallet transactions, Airtel Money Pay and Wallet to Bank transactions.
  • Free SMS Broadcasts by the Ministry of Health on COVID-19.
  • Creating a Call Centre, within the Airtel Call Centre, for the Ministry of Health COVID-19 related calls and inquiries.
  • Zero-rating the website for Ministry of Health, World Health Organization and many other websites where the public can access information from relevant authorities on the Pandemic as well as education websites to enable students get free access to education materials while at home.
  • Introducing Airtime cash back for Community champions through our ‘Kyakabi Be The Champion’ promotion to encourage subscribers to stay at home and share airtime digitally with their families and friends while standing a chance to earn 3% back.

Boosting Exports: MAAIF injects UGX52bn in Atiak Sugar project

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The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) through the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) has boosted Atiak Sugar project with Shs52b to facilitate sugar cane production as part of the vision to develop and support Commercial agriculture and industrialization in the country.

This was revealed today by Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja the sector Minister. He said the fund covers all the steps of sugar plantation development including bush clearance, land preparation, seedlings planting and weeding of the crop.

“This will help our efforts to create more jobs for Ugandans through agriculture as well as boosting exports”. The Minister said. “The demand for Sugar is increasing here in Uganda and even within our neighbors. We are soon starting to export Sugar to Tanzania. That’s why we have to produce sugar in plenty”. He added.

The Minister had accompanied Hon. Jane Ruth Aceng the Minister for Health at the factory base in Gem village, Pacilo parish, Atiak sub-county in Amuru District to guide the management of the factory on how best to prevent covid-19. 

The factory employs thousands of workers and the beneficiaries are war returnees, vulnerable women, demobilised ex-combatants, household persons with nodding syndrome and all the chiefdoms of Acholi.

The factory outgrowers comprise of 13,400 households. Each household will get a maximum of five acres and a minimum of three acres. A household with five acres shall make a profit of Shs18m per harvest and a household with 3 acres will make a profit of Shs10.8m with the first crop.

COVID-19 Lockdown: Thieves are Starving in Kitgum.

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Suspected thieves rounded up Photo by Joel Odota

The recent lockdown imposed by the government in an attempt to fight coronavirus is affecting many groups of people in society, and thieves are no exception.

The impacts of the coronavirus lockdown that many governments have opted for to combat COVID-19 is yielding mixed results. Although Uganda is doing relatively well in the fight against COVID-19, with just 74 cases (including foreign cargo truck drivers), there are many sections of the economy that are not fairing well.

The head of state last week on Tuesday extended the lockdown for another 21 days, expiring on May 5. The initial dose of the lockdown was significant in slowing down the spread, but many sections of the society felt pressured into complying with the strict regulations. Boda Boda riders especially felt punished as they were totally banned from distributing luggage beyond 2:00 pm. However, they got some smiles on their faces when the President came back behind the microphone last week and extended their working hours until 5:00 pm. Other non-food businesses were still asked to remain shut.

Now, one part of the informal sector of the economy where thieves belong is greatly affected by the curfews. They seem to have been forced to change their work shifts from night to day as the latter time (7:00 pm to 6:30 am) are exclusively dedicated curfew hours during which only soldiers patrol. While some uncompromising thieves still risk their operation at night, they have mostly failed and been caught by or security operatives.

Two weeks ago, two unidentified young boys jumped over the gate of Mzee Albino in Go Down Village and stole nothing but peanut paste (odii) before they left. Fortunately, Police detectives tracked them down with the help of a K-9— “Police dog” and brought them to book.

Another group of two unnamed youngsters yesterday shamelessly decided to rob in broad daylight. One stole his mother’s goat from Go Down Village, Kitgum Municipality, while the other took a solar panel from another family. Of course, they were arrested and handed over to the former Mayor, Tabu Alex Odongo who ordered some well-built men to castigate them before they were marched to Police.

Today April 25, yet another pair of thieves were chased by the Local Defence Unit (LDU) officers at about 11:00 a.m local time after they were found to have stolen a solar system from a residence not far from the Central Police.

Everywhere in Kitgum, there are numerous cases of confrontation between these burglars and local people or with the forces.

The lockdown is hard for everyone and thieves need to get this right. We all need to endure and resume business once COVID-19 is defeated. We can’t afford to have another form of the virus (COVID-20) even before we have completely done away with COVID-19.

Let your local police know of any suspicious movement of people in your neighbourhood. 

Total Acquires Tullow Entire Interests in Uganda Lake Albert Project

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Total and Tullow have entered into an Agreement, through which Total shall acquire Tullow’s entire interests in Uganda Lake Albert development project including the East African Crude Oil Pipeline.

The overall consideration paid by Total to Tullow will be $575M, with an initial payment of $500M at closing and $75M when the partners take the Final Investment Decision to launch the project. In addition, conditional payments will be made to Tullow linked to production and oil price, which will be triggered when Brent prices are above $62/bbl.

The terms of the transaction have been discussed with the relevant Ugandan Government and Tax Authorities and agreement in principle has been reached on the tax treatment of the transaction. Under the terms of the deal, Total will acquire all of Tullow’s existing 33.3334% stake in each of the Lake Albert project licenses EA1, EA1A, EA2 and EA3A and the proposed East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) System.

The transaction is subject to the approval of Tullow’s shareholders, to customary regulatory and government approvals and to CNOOC’s right to exercise pre-emption on 50% of the transaction.

“We are pleased to announce that a new agreement has been reached with Tullow to acquire their entire interests in the Lake Albert development project for less than 2$/bbl in line with our strategy of acquiring long-term resources at low cost, and that we have an agreement with the Uganda government on the fiscal framework,” said Patrick Pouyanné, Total Chairman and CEO.

“This acquisition will enable us, together with our partner CNOOC, to now move the project forward toward FID, driving costs down to deliver a robust long-term project.”

Airtel Uganda Introduces Community Champion Campaign to Encourage Sharing During COVID-19 Lockdown

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Community champions to earn 3% cash back instantly

Kampala, Uganda. 21st April 2020 – Following the extension of the COVID-19 lockdown for another 21 days, Airtel Uganda has introduced a new campaign that encourages subscribers to become community champions by loading airtime for their friends and families safely and conveniently using Airtel’s digital solutions.

The Airtel Uganda digital solutions include:

My Airtel App (Airtel’s Self-care App)

Online recharge portal which is available on the www.airtel.co.ug

USSD channel (using Airtel Money wallet)

Through the App and website, the customer can either pay through Airtel Money or Credit/Debit cards

As part of the campaign, the community champion gets 3% airtime back instantly as a reward for recharging their family & friend. The cashback is received instantly and goes to the subscribers main account to be used without any validity restrictions.

Commenting about the new campaign, Airtel Uganda Managing Director Mr. V.G. Somasekhar noted that Airtel Uganda is committed to standing with Ugandans during this COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have put in place multiple interventions to ensure that Ugandans can continue enjoying our superior network offerings during this lockdown. This Community Champion campaign encourages sharing between friends and families while standing to benefit by earning a 3% cash back on the airtime shared using our simple and convenient digital solutions,” he noted.

Community Champions can earn their 3% instant cashback from transactions as low as 100 shillings. For debit, credit card and other wallet options, there is a minimum threshold for recharge of 150,000 shillings to receive the 3% airtime back.

To use the Airtel self-care app, subscribers simply have to click on ‘Buy Airtime’, enter mobile number of friend or family member (or) choose from contacts, enter amount they want to recharge, choose a payment option & complete payment. Subscribers using feature phones and cannot download the app can also be part of this promotion by buying any airtime for friends & family through USSD Airtel Money menu & earning

the cashback of 3%. They simply have to Dial *185#, Select Airtime/Bundles, Select Buy Airtime, select for another number, Enter Mobile number, Enter Amount and Enter PIN to confirm payment.

To ensure excellent customer experience during the lockdown, Airtel Uganda recently announced the rollout of 50 additional network sites thereby reaffirming their network leadership position in Uganda with a total of 2,000 network masts across the country.

Makome Bus and Courier Services Donates Towards Fight on COVID-19.

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Douglas Peter Okao receiving part of liquid soap from the management of Makome

Leaders in Acholi districts have expressed gratitude following the donations of fuel and liquid soaps by Makome Bus and Courier Services geared towards the fight against COVID-19.

The bus company with a regional touch revealed that they had opted to boots the capacity of the regional task force in the district of Gulu, Kitgum and Omoro in their fight against COVID-19 with a donation of 900 liters of fuel and 300 liters of liquid soap in a special event held at the Don Petrol Station in Gulu Town.

Douglas Peter Okello, the Chairperson LCV, Omoro district who received the offer from Charles Lamony, manager Makome Bus and Courier Services said, the assistance was timely and a great step towards supporting the district coronavirus taskforce which was cash strapped.

He explained that the district is faced with monetary challenges for fueling vehicles and motorcycles for responding to the coronavirus disease emergencies within the community.

According to Dougla Peter Okello, the liquid soap will be directed to maternity wards and Out Patient Department (OPD) in various health facilities in the district to enhance hygiene.

Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, while receiving the donation on behalf of Gulu said that the district has several vehicles which are not operational due to lack of fuel caused by lack of a designated fund.

Makome Bus and Courier Services Manager Gulu, Charles Lamony said that the assistance will help the districts taskforce teams to help in fighting the coronavirus disease pandemic which has ravaged the whole world. The company according to Lamony, had injected at least Shs 4.9million shillings.

Childfund Gives UGX 1.4bn to 29,000 Local Households Across Uganda.

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ChildFund International (JPG Web-MSOffice)

Kampala (April 14th, 2020): On Thursday April 9th, ChildFund Uganda Country Program disbursed funds worth UGX 1.4 billion to 9 local partners to implement cash transfers to 29,000 enrolled households.

The Country Office decided to reprogram its available funds to respond to the emerging needs of vulnerable enrolled households in the communities it serves in the 28 districts in the Country. The transfers will be made through mobile money, banking and other appropriate platforms available to families to access the cash. Rural households will receive UGX 50,000 while urban households will receive up to UGX 100,000.

This contribution to vulnerable households is intended to enable families access immediate hygiene kits including handwashing facilities, as well as meet the basic needs in the households. ChildFund has also been supporting awareness efforts on prevention and control of COVID19 through messages aired on different media platforms across the country.

“The endeavors are part of our response to complement the government of Uganda actions in responding to COVID19 including supporting the most vulnerable families. “ChildFund Uganda Country Director Moses Otai said.

ChildFund continues to monitor the situation and will make additional response mechanisms as the situation evolves, he added

“This pandemic requires a concerted response and cooperation from all stakeholders, every preventive, control and mitigation measure is valuable, and every person and entity can make a difference to stop the spread of this virus and protect our children and communities.” Otai said.  

In addition to national partners, ChildFund will continue to work closely with the nine local implementing partners: Acholi Child and Family Program in Gulu, Masindi Child Development Federation in Masindi, Lango Child and Community Development Federation in Lango, Community Efforts for Child Empowerment in Kiboga, Kampala Area Federation of Communities in Kampala, Jinja Area Communities Federation in Jinja, Partners for Children Worldwide in Soroti, Mbale Area Federation of Communities in Mbale and Busia Area Communities Federation in Busia.

COVID-19 National Task Force Welcomes UGX 100m Cheque and Sanitary Materials from dfcu Bank.

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As the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to impact communities across the country and the economy, dfcu Bank has made the health and well-being of the health workers and volunteers among its top priority.

dfcu Bank today handed over, to the Ministry of Health, a cash contribution of UGX 70,000,000 and assortment of items valued at UGX 30,000,000, towards efforts in improving sanitation hygiene in line with COVID-19 interventions. The items included; 5,000 non-sterile disposable gloves, 2,500 litres of liquid detergent, 2,500 litres of Sodium hydrochloride solution –JIK and 2,000 bars of soap.

Speaking during the handover of the items, dfcu Bank’s CEO, Mathias Katamba applauded the work that was being done by the Ministry of Health and Government of Uganda to ensure the fast-tracking and curbing of this crisis.

“I would like to extend our appreciation towards the ongoing Government of Uganda efforts to control the Covid-19 pandemic and commend the measures that are being implemented to minimize the potential socio-economic impact of this crisis. We are confident that the ongoing efforts by all stakeholders will yield the intended good results sooner than later,” Katamba said.

“I trust that dfcu’s contribution, in this very difficult moment for Ugandans, in addition our ongoing Corporate Social Investments will go a long way in uplifting the communities in which we operate,” he added.

dfcu Bank continues to respond to the needs of individuals and business customers who have been directly affected by COVID-19, as a demonstration of the Banks brand promise of Making more possible – particularly in this time of need.

The Bank’s Corporate Social Investment vision is to focus operating its core business in a socially responsible way, complemented by sustainable investment in communities where it operates.

This contribution is in line with one of the bank’s CSI intervention areas of emergency relief.

dfcu Records 21% Growth in Profitability a Firm Position for Future Growth.

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dfcu Limited has this morning released its 2019 consolidated financial results revealing a strong position having recorded a 21% growth in profitability from UGX 60. 9bn in 2018 up to UGX 73.4bn in 2019. Despite the performance, a dividend payout will depend on the assessment of the full impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on the operations of the business.                        

“The emergence of the COVID-19 global pandemic presents a lot of uncertainty in global economies and Uganda is no exception. Nevertheless, dfcu has consistently paid a healthy dividend over the years and will continue to do so in the future,” said Mr. Elly Karuhanga the Board Chairman, dfcu Limited, of which dfcu Bank is a subsidiary company.

Commenting on the effect of the pandemic dfcu Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Mathias Katamba said: “We are cognizant of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic that may adversely impact the operating environment by majorly disrupting global supply chains, transport and travel. But with guidance and support from our Board, strong management team and dedicated staff, we remain focused on driving efficiency to harness institutional capabilities and growth.”

According to Mathias Katamba, the Banks profitability in 2019 was driven by increased efficiency and a reduction in operating costs. “We focused on cutting down our operating costs by 4% from 202 Billion Shillings in December 2018 to 193 Billion Shillings in December 2019, in addition to reducing our funding costs by 7% in terms of interest expenditure from 105 Billion Shillings to 97.6 Billion giving rise to a 4% growth in net operating income from 306 Billion Shillings in December 2018 to 319 Billion Shillings in December 2019. This effectively set the Bank on a solid footing to further harness institutional capabilities going forward,” he said.

2019 Performance Highlights

  • Overall interest expense reduced by 7% from UGX 104.7 billion to UGX 97.8 billion showing improved efficiency in the liability mix as a result of management’s effort to shed off expensive funding and concentrate more on cheaper liabilities. Consequently, the net interest income increased by 3% from UGX 221.1 billion to UGX 227.4 billion.
  • Non-funded income in terms of fees and commissions grew by 28% from UGX 51.2 billion to 65.4 billion as we continue to harness the benefits of the investments in technology and growth in the customer base.
  • Operating expenses reduced by 4% from UGX 202.2 billion to UGX 193.1 billion showing improved operating efficiency. As a result, the cost to income ratio reduced from 66.2% in 2018 to 60.6% in 2019.
  • Net profit after tax increased by 21% to UGX 73.4 Billion from UGX 60.9 billion. This was mainly driven by significant increase in efficiency and cost management. Loans and advances grew by 10% from UGX 1.3 trillion to UGX 1.5 trillion as a result of increased disbursements and focus on continuous monitoring of the asset quality for the entire portfolio. The increase in loans and advances was organic.
  • The asset base increased by 1% from UGX 2.916 trillion to UGX 2,958 trillion, upheld by strong growth in loans and advances.
  • The Group’s deposit base grew by 3% from UGX 1.9 trillion to UGX 2 trillion. The growth was as a result of both newly acquired and existing clients across the business segments. Management implemented a clear strategy of growing the liability base, as well as retention of the existing customer relations.
  • Shareholders’ funds grew by 9% from UGX 521.5 billion to UGX 569.7 billion as result of increase in retained earnings.

Other Non-financial highlights

Deployed key digital solutions that were geared towards improving the all-round customer experience – and further enhancing the Bank’s capacity to be a digitally driven organisation in line with its strategic aspiration of becoming the next generation bank in Uganda.

  1.  Investment Club App which revolutionized the management and administration of group savings that had previously been a key bottleneck to their growth as highlighted by the members
  2. Roll out the next generation intelligent ATMs that now make it possible for customers to do much more at the ATMs including instant deposits, transfers and payments.

Top 5 shareholders of dfcu Limited

Shareholder Percentage
Arise B.V*** 58.70%
Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU) 9.97%
National Social Security Fund 7.46%
Kimberlite Frontier Africa Master Fund 7.35%
SSB Russel Investment Company Plc Fund 1.93%

***Arise B.V is a consortium of Norfinance, FMO and Rabo Development BV.

Thugs Raid Betting Center in Bukesa.

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Old Kampala Police Station has responded to an armed robbery early today at Bukesa.

The robbery took place at Premier Sports Betting LTD located in Bukesa near Bukesa traffic lights.

Four thugs armed with a rifle are said to have attacked the cashiers of the betting company and demanded for cash and phones on gun point.

Uganda Police at Old Kampala Police Station responded swiftly after being alerted , and headed to the scene of the crime.

An organized offensive operation led to the arrest of eight thugs, recovery of four motorcycles, and cash worth sh1m that had been robbed.

An SAR rifle and mobile phone sets were also recovered. Police have established that two of the suspects are attached to SGA Security Company.