Monday, August 30, 2010

Stanbic Bank profits dip 4%

Stanbic Bank profits dip 4%
Monday, 30th August, 2010

By sylvia juuko

Stanbic Bank registered a 4% drop in net profit to sh44.7b in the first-half of this year compared to sh46.8b in June 2009, the latest unaudited financial statement has shown.

The decline was attributed to lower interest income. “The substantial decrease in yields on Treasury Bills (TBs) had a negative impact on interest income.

“This has impacted, not just Stanbic Bank, but the whole industry because a lot of our lending is predicated upon the inflation and TBs rate,” said Phillip Odera, the managing director.

Despite the reduction in profitability, he said, the balance sheet had grown by 39%, the strongest growth in three years.

“We have had a substantial improvement in the balance sheet, with loans and advances to customers growing by 31% to sh1.03 trillion in the first-half of the year compared to sh786.7b in the same period last year,” he said while unveiling results to investors at the Kampala Serena Hotel on Thursday.

Customer deposits surged by 45% to sh1.8 trillion in the first-half of the year, from sh1.2 trillion in the same period last year.

Odera explained that because the banking industry was paying highly to get deposits, Stanbic has changed strategy to focus on customer delivery.

“If you compete on a price level, you are reduced to a commodity. Once you are that, you are up for the highest bidder. Our strategy is to stay away from that, and this accounted for 45% increase in customer deposits,” Odera explained.

He said operational costs went up because the bank was investing in extending its footprint and delivery channels across the country.

The bank also plans to open an additional 22 branches. Odera’s outlook for the second-half of the year was bullish.

“The outlook is positive. We believe we are on the right track. We have been able to identify some alternatives revenue streams, which will come to fruition this year. That will translate into better 2010 numbers,” he said.

The board has not recommended a payment for an interim dividend. Stanbic’s share was trading at sh235 at the close of trading on Thursday.

Fire guts Kisekka Market

Fire guts Kisekka Market
Monday, 30th August, 2010

Traders helping the Police extinguish the fire that gutted Kisekka Market yesterday
Traders helping the Police extinguish the fire that gutted Kisekka Market yesterday
By Eddie Ssejjoba

TRADERS of Kisekka Market in downtown Kampala were on Monday morning awakened to the news about a fire that gutted over 500 stalls and destroyed merchandise worth billions.

The fire, which is suspected to have been caused by an electric short circuit, started at about 6:00am.

It brought down the entire Block U in the middle of the highly-populated market where electrical appliances and motor vehicle spare parts are sold.

The fire also spread to several shops in the neighbouring block. The Police fire brigade together with Fire Masters, a private fire company, and the traders battled with the flames for over two hours.

The market is known to supply vehicle spare parts and old electrical appliances to Rwanda, Southern Sudan and Tanzania.
The Police said they were able to stop the fire from spreading to other blocks apart from a few neighbouring shops that were partly burnt.

Some traders collapsed upon reaching the scene and seeing flames consuming their merchandise. They were rushed to hospital by sympathisers and Red Cross workers.

The Kampala Metropolitan Police commander, Andrew Sorowen, was joined in the operation by Police commanders from the Central Police Station, Wandegeya, Jinja Road and Old Kampala.
The officer in charge of national operations, Grace Turyagumanawe, and the RPC Kampala South, Moses Kafeero, also joined the operation.

Sorowen said the Police was tipped off at about 7:00am when traders saw smoke emerging from the middle of the market.
He said the fire fighters failed to access the source of the fire due to congestion and blocked corridors.

Explosions from fridges and other heavy metallic equipment occasionally went off, causing the Police to fear that loose electric wires would cause more havoc.

“We are happy that nobody died and we stopped the fire from spreading,” Sorowen said.
Traders used basins and other containers to scoop water from the Nakivubo Channel to boost efforts to stop the fire.

There was drama, however, when some traders grabbed water pumps from fire fighters in a bid to focus on their stalls that were burning down. A few people sustained injuries in the process.

Hawa Nankinga said she could not save anything from her shop, while Resty Naiga, was carried away by Red Cross staff after she fainted in front of her shop.
Isaac Ssebaggala from Kawaala sustained injuries as he battled the fire. He managed to save some of his goods.

“I found the market engulfed in smoke and flames, but we were able to save some items,” he said.

Nakalema from Kasubi, who also deals in car spare parts, blamed the Police for cordoning off the scene, saying she could have tried to save her goods.

Other traders said they had lost money and goods in the fire. “I got a loan and was saving to pay it back, now everything is gone,” a trader said amidst sobs.

Many traders, however, congratulated the Police and Fire Masters for stopping the fire. They, however, battled with thieves who took advantage of the situation to steal.

Most shops remained closed yesterday as the traders asked the Police to investigate the cause of the fire.

Kampala City Council (KCC) recently handed over the land title for the market to the sitting vendors following advice from President Yoweri Museveni.
The move ended a leadership wrangle and demonstrations that threatened security in the city and occasionally brought business to a halt.

The vendors were protesting KCC’s decision to grant a 49-year lease to Rhino Investments as a private developer.

UPC quits opposition coalition

Sunday, 29th August, 2010
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Otunnu appearing on a Vision Voice talkshow
Otunnu appearing on a Vision Voice talkshow
By Barbara Among and Moses Mulondo

THE Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) party, one of the five political parties that form the Inter-Party Cooperation (IPC), has opted out of the coalition over what it called irreconcilable reasons.

The party is expected to announce its fallout today after a meeting at the Christ the King Conference Hall.

The decision to pull out of the coalition was arrived at over the weekend after a consultative meeting with the party’s national leaders.

“There will not be speculations about our position. We shall tell Ugandans whether we remain in IPC or we move out,” said UPC secretary general Joseph Bbosa.

However, sources in the party said the leaders agreed to pull out. “The problem is how the party does it without hurting other opposition members,” a source said.

A split arose two weeks ago over how to move forward with the fight against the Electoral Commission (EC).

While UPC wanted the IPC not to participate in any activities organised by the EC, other members wanted the coalition to prepare for next year’s elections as it continued to fight the commission.

UPC President Olara Otunnu on Saturday said the core reason for the IPC was to have the commission disbanded. He added that the commission was not capable of delivering free and fair election.

But the IPC chairman and FDC president, Kizza Besigye, maintained: “We can discuss other issues but we can never boycott. We can fight the EC as we prepare for polls. We think a change in the commission is possible even towards elections.”

Sources said it was too late for UPC to reconsider its position, since the IPC campaigns end today and voting is tomorrow for a single opposition candidate.

The bickering is said to originate from the party’s disagreement with the dominate opposition party, the FDC. UPC accuses FDC of dishonesty and hijacking the coalition for its own gains.

“An example is when the former katikkiros were recently called to an FDC campaign launch in the Buganda region, which was disguised as an IPC meeting. It is this kind of behaviour of FDC using IPC to widen its political base that has made us move out of IPC,” the source said.

Political analyst, however, note that UPC’s pulling out of the coalition would hurt the opposition. “Going alone, will fracture the opposition,” said law professor Golooba Muteebi.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Government takes away Tullow oil licence

An oil rig prepares to drill in western Uganda, near the shores of Lake Albert, June 15, 2007. FILE PHOTO
An oil rig prepares to drill in western Uganda, near the shores of Lake Albert, June 15, 2007. FILE PHOTO 
By John Njoroge  (email the author)
Posted Friday, August 27 2010 at 00:00
Government has taken back a major oil field in western Uganda over a tax dispute, bringing Tullow Oil’s operations in the country to a standstill. The oil-rich Kingfisher field is part of block 3A that Tullow shared with Heritage Oil but which it acquired after buying out Heritage’s 50 per cent stake for $1.5billion.
Tax war The sale has sparked off a dispute over $405 million that government says Heritage must pay in capital gains tax. Heritage, which says the transaction does not attract tax, paid $121m to Uganda Revenue Authority out of $1.045b it received from Tullow and put another $283m in an escrow account, pending resolution of the dispute through arbitration.
Government says the tax must be paid in full and Energy Minister Hilary Onek last week wrote to the oil companies informing them that the exploration licence they hold over block 3A, which expired in February, would not be renewed until the tax is paid in full.
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“We put our foot down and nothing moves until they have paid tax,” Mr Onek told Daily Monitor yesterday. Government officials say Tullow was advised not to pay the amount in dispute to Heritage but went ahead and did so.
This development means that while Heritage shareholders are due to share a special dividend of £315m today, having cashed in their interest, Tullow, which plans to sell two-thirds of its interest in the blocks on to France’s Total and China’s CNOC for development, finds itself without its money and without its oil field.
Tullow’s shares on the London Stock Exchange fell by 59 pence, on the news, wiping over £500m off the company’s value. The slide also sliced £3.8m off the value of Tullow CEO Aidan Heavey’s stake in the group, which is now worth £79.2m.
Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Heavey told the Dow Jones financial publication in London that the tax dispute between the government of Uganda and Heritage Oil will ruin the country’s infant oil industry.
Tullow attacks Heritage He accused Heritage Oil of trying to avoid paying capital gains tax and said Tullow would, in fact, pay capital gains tax to the Ugandan government when it closes an agreement to sell two-thirds of its Lake Albert oil licences to China National Offshore Oil Company.
“Tullow will owe capital gains tax and we will pay it without question,” Mr Heavey said. “We need to sit down with the government and calculate the amount due once the deal is complete.
The tax is due; it’s just a matter of the quantity. It does the oil industry no good for Heritage to deny all its capital gains liability. The dispute should be resolved quickly to demonstrate to the Ugandan people that the oil industry is legitimate,” Mr Heavey told Dow Jones.
Tullow’s Corporate Affairs Manager in Uganda, Mr Jimmy Kiberu, said, “The issue of capital gains tax payment is obvious. Tullow will pay its bit and so should Heritage whom we bought off.”
Heritage’s sale of its Ugandan assets means it no longer has any interests in the country and it is understood it will continue to fight the demands, analysts said. Tullow has no get-out clause it can use to wriggle out of the Heritage deal, and has no way of forcing its former partner to cough up.
The oil reserves in western Uganda are estimated at two billion barrels and it is understood that once the tax is paid, Tullow will receive a go-ahead to start a $10 billion project to get the oil out of the ground in conjunction with Total and CNOC.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

herberlists treat most Ugandans

Herbalists treat most Ugandans
Wednesday, 25th August, 2010

By Conan Businge
and Cecilia Okoth

ABOUT 80% of Ugandans depend on traditional healers and herbalists for treatment, according to a report.

The report on health care in Uganda by the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative showed that there is one traditional health practitioner for every 200 to 400 Ugandans.

The ratio of Ugandans to conventional medical practitioners is 1:10,000.

Herbal medicine is a combination of plant materials that contain active ingredients in their crude form and is a suitable alternative to conventional medicine as long as it can cure the ailment.

The report said various alternative medicines were emerging from China, India and Arabia. The report said there were over 20 Chinese clinics around the city.

The report, which was released yesterday at Hotel Africana, showed that the National Drug Authority had “failed to exercise control over the operation of traditional healers and there is no regulatory framework for their operation”.

This, it said, had exposed patients to exploitation by unscrupulous traditional healers.

Contrary to rules, the report said the traditional healers often advertise their services on public facilities like buses and streets. Others claim they can enlarge body parts and cure AIDS.
A Bill to regulate herbalists has been drafted, though it is yet to be tabled before Parliament.

Presently, herbalists and traditional healers operate without oversight from the Government.

The director general of health services, Dr Kenya Mugisha, who launched the report, expressed concern that some reflexology companies operating in Uganda were not licensed.

“The machines they use to carry out their work have also not been approved by the Government, and may endanger the patients’ lives,” Mugisha said.

The report also showed that the number of health facilities in the country was increasing annually, but the infrastructure and equipment were still lacking.

“In some hospitals, there is no privacy in the maternity units. Women deliver in the open, and are sent home on the same day. This has left the women (at the mercy) of untrained traditional birth attendants in villages,” the report added.

In a recent survey by New Vision, most Ugandans said delivery of health services was the most important issue they wanted the Government to address.

The report also queried the Government policy of purchasing medicine and equipment exclusively from the National Medical Stores.

Things to Consider Before Buying Small Business Accounting Software

Things to Consider Before Buying Small Business Accounting Software
The world of small business accounting software can be a minefield for any business owner. However choosing the right package is one of the most critical business decisions you will make.Here are the seven things you must consider before making a purchase that will help you achieve your businesses goals.1. ScalabilityBusinesses change over time so it's critical that the small business accounting software you choose can change too. Some things that often change are the number of products and services offered and the number of employees. When you choose your package try and imaging the business in 5 years or 10 years time and how different it will be. Use this information to guide your purchase decision. It may well be better to pay a little more now for the software knowing that it can be easilyupgraded when needed with minimum disruption and cost to your business.2. SupportIt is important that any software has great support for when something goes wrong (and it always does). Most major companies offer support but you also need to think about support in your local area. It's often much easier to have someone locally come in and do things you need done with your software than have someone trying to help you over the phone. Make someenquiries with other businesses about the package they use and who helps them.3. Accountant InterfaceIt's most unlikely you will handle every aspect of your businesses accounting. Your accountant is an important factor in making the right decision. What software are they used to working with and what do they prefer? Can you easily supply them data and reports from your package without the need for any extra work (which you'll have to pay for). Don't be afraid to ask their opinion as they live and breathe this stuff.4. Best Value For MoneyOnce you have selected the right package for your business you may as well get the best value. Shop around as the price can vary greatly and the product is exactly the same. Online merchants such as Amazon may offer better pricing because of the sheer volume of products they sell. However price is only one part of the equation so if their is great merchant locally with support or installation assistance this may be far more valuable.5. Major BrandsThere are two major players in the small business accounting software market. They are QuickBooks and Peachtree. Microsoft is expected to enter the market soon. I recommend choosing a major brand so that you can get regular updates and you know the company will be around as long as your business needs them.6. Ease of UseEase of use is a personal thing but it is worth trying the software before you buy it if you can. Remember to get the person who will be the main user to test the software as well. Also consider how well the package can interact with other software you use. This is an advantage the Microsoft package may have when it's available.7. Features NeededI touched on this earlier when talking about thinking ahead as to where you business will be in 5 or 10 years time. Most accounting software packages come in several different versions. If you don't need certain features now and can't see a need for them in the future then don't buy them. The major differences are usually - number of users allowed, inventory management capability and number of reports available.

Business Resources

Business Consultants Uganda Realises that there are very many small companies which cannot afford a full time accountant.
We are here to fill that Gap , small firms can out source their accounting and auditing function at a small fee with us.
We also Carry out;
Business Planning
Tax Consultation computation and Online filling.
Auditing and Accounting.
On line Preparation of financial Accounts.
Online Business Consultation
We are Online 24/7 and cover the whole country, to meet all your business requirements.
Other Activities Include the following Audit, Accounting Investigative auditing
Routine and one-off project financial audits Management reporting and interpretation of financial reports
Financial systems (internal controls) review and design Development /Analysis and improvement accounting systems.
We also determine appropriate book keeping policies and undertake the drawing of financial regulations.
Preparation of financial statements, namely balance sheets, income statements, appropriation statements, and funds flow statements.
Verification of the correctness of books of accounts.Provision of advice to clients on the process and prudence of internal control.
Value for Money Audits VFA as well as business performance appraisal. VFA to ensure full utilization of scarce resources.
Analysis of the financial statements to monitor business performance and Tax liability plus input into better management and allocation of resources.
We offer online book keeping for our small clients so that they can always download their financial statements anywhere anytime.
Preparation of Value Added Tax (VAT) and Pay As You Earn (PAYE) returns
Cost and Performance Evaluation
Preparation, monitoring and review of budgetsPreparation and review of cash flow forecasts Sales forecasting and target setting
Costing and pricing new and existing services and products Financial systems review and improvement
Setting up financial management system
Writing financial management manuals
General Accounting Computerization of accounts and staff training
Project financial analysis.Cost and Performance Evaluation

We Set up prices and review existing cost structures with a view of eliminating unnecessary waste.

Business Process Outsourcing
Preparation of Financial Statement:- Annual Statutory Accounts and Employers Annual Returns:
Conputerisation of Manual accounting systems
Developing/ Improving Internal Controls of Accounting System:
Taxation advisory servicesTax planning and tax consultancy services
Preparation of Value Added Tax (VAT) and Pay As You Earn (PAYE) returns
Tax planning, computation and online filling for Vat , PAYE, Nssf and Corporation Tax.
Information systems
Designing/Review and organize information systems that conform with an organizations particular needs so that all functional areas are linked to one another by relational information
Corporate Finance And Related Matters
Investment and portfolio analysis advice on buying portfolios Treasury Bills, Bonds, Shares, Equity, Facility , Mergers and Take overs.
Business planning and project proposal
We provide relevant and reliable information on various investments they intend to undertake.