As we approach year 2020, we can’t forget some of the biggest business stories that made headlines in 2019.
Here are some of them;
1. Dfcu ordered to pay Crane Bank client Shs100m
As 2019 had moved just 15 days, the High Court ordered dfcu bank to pay Shs110m to a former employee of the defunct Crane Bank for unlawfully deducting money from his salary.
Shakil Pathan Ismail the complainant, demanded that they should compensate him for the money which had been unlawfully deducted from his salary by the liquidated bank. dfcu bank bought Crane Bank after its liquidation in 2017.
2. MTN staff deportation triggers Rwanda protest
In January two MTN Uganda senior officials were deported after internal intelligence agencies intercepted their communication to “a dangerous foreign group and persons” termed a threat to the country’s security.
However, these claims provoked a protest from the Rwandan mission in Kampala accusing Uganda of deporting several Rwandans under unsatisfied circumstances.
3. Bobi Wine cited in MTN troubles
After the deportation of three senior MTN workers in January, new details emerged that Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, aka Bobi Wine, had links with the suspects.
Sources said that the MTN general manager mobile money was deported on claims that she facilitated the transfer of the undisclosed amount of funds to Kyagulanyi.
4. Government bans sports betting
As the year was beginning President Museveni ordered that no new sports betting company should be licensed to operate in Uganda and licences for the existing companies should not be renewed.
This message was delivered by Minister of State for Finance in charge of Planning David Bahati when he said the President gave the directive because sports betting companies have diverted the attention of youth from hard work.
“We have received a directive from President Museveni to stop licensing sports betting, gaming and gambling companies. The President has now directed the board which has been regulating them From now onwards, no new companies are going to be licensed,” he said.
5. NSSF beats target with Shs11.5 trillion
This year the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) has collected more money from members than was anticipated by the end of this December.
“We are above our targets. As of the end of November, when I look at our balance sheet size, we are bigger than what we thought we would be. We are at about Shs11.5 trillion. We thought we would be about Shs11.3 trillion. So the balance sheet size is ahead because people trust us with their money and we invest it wisely,” Mr Patrick Ayota, deputy managing director NSSF, said this month as he was speaking at the finale of the NSSF Friends with Benefits competition.
6. MTN boss deported
In February MTN Uganda chief executive officer Wim Vanhelleputte was deported as he was returning to Uganda. He was deported on the orders of the Internal Affairs Minister, Gen Jeje Odong. According to a source in Security circles, the government had received intelligence information relating to Espionage, tax evasion and money laundering.
7. Uganda will never seek debt relief, says Finance minister Bahati
During the budget breakfast meeting in June, Finance State Minister in charge of Planning David Bahati said that the government will never ask for debt relief again.
“NRM government is not thinking of asking for debt relief “because everything is under control”.
“Our debt is sustainable in the medium to long term. We are a very cautious lot. We shall never go back to beg for debt forgiveness [relief] and certainly not under the NRM government,” he said.
8. Sudhir wins multi-billion case against Bank of Uganda, dfcu
In August the Commercial Court in Kampala, dismissed a multibillion commercial disagreement that had been filed against city tycoon, Sudhir Ruparelia by Crane Bank in receivership, ending a two-year legal battle.
While making his ruling, the head of the commercial court, Justice David Wangutusi, said that Crane Bank in receivership at the time of instituting the commercial suit against the businessman and his Meera Investments company, was none existent, hence never had powers to sue.
9. Tycoon Sudhir wins case against lawyers Ssebalu and Lule
The Commercial Court in April barred the lawyers of Sebalu, Lule and Company Advocates from representing DFCU bank in the case it filed against tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia due to conflict of interest.
In the ruling which was read by deputy registrar Festo Nsenga, court noted that lawyers of Sebalu, Lule and Company Advocates were in 2016 contracted by Sudhir to review several tenancy agreements for Crane Management service Ltd and leases for some companies under the Ruparelia group and as such they came into contact with his confidential and privileged information.
Court also ordered the lawyers to pay costs to the property monger Sudhir Ruparelia, Sudhir through his real estate company Crane Management Service Ltd sued DFCU bank demanding payment of rental arrears amounting to 2.9 billion shillings in respect of tenancies of properties formally owned by Crane Bank.
10. Uganda expects first oil production to be delayed to 2022
Earlier this year the then Energy minister Irene Muloni said that Uganda expects to begin producing oil in 2022, she indicated that a slight delay from the East African country’s revised target of 2021.
Uganda discovered crude reserves more than 10 years ago but production has been repeatedly delayed by disagreements with field operators over taxes and development strategy.
A lack of infrastructures such as a transportation pipeline and a refining facility has also held up output.
“Production we are now looking at by 2022, our first production, from Kingfisher and Tilenga blocks,” she said.
11. Magufuli cautions Museveni to dissolve URA leadership
While speaking at the Uganda-Tanzania business forum organised by traders from across the two countries with the aim of boosting bilateral trade in September, Tanzania President John Pombe Magufuli asked his Ugandan counterpart, Museveni, to dissolve the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) leadership for delaying the Hoima-Tanga Oil pipeline over tax issues.
Magufuli urged Museveni to ensure his tax man sacrifices some short-term tax benefits with the hope of getting long-term benefits from the oil pipeline.
“Sacrifice some of the short term gains for the long term and your URA officials should not delay you, actually we wanted this pipeline to be named Kaguta Pipeline when it opens,” he said.
12. Uganda’s economy grows to Shs122.6 trillion
In October the Uganda Bureau of Statistic (UBOS) rebased the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) using the 2016/17 base year which indicated that Uganda’s economy is now Shs122.6 trillion, depicting an economic growth of 6.5 per cent for the past financial year 2018/19.
13. Danish Firm Acquires 9.97% Stake in Dfcu Bank
This month, the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) Group, the UK’s development finance institution, announced its decision to sell its remaining 9.97% stake in dfcu bank.
The shareholding was sold to IFU, the Danish development finance institution. CDC made its first investment in DFCU in 1964 as a founding partner to the bank and has played an integral role in its long-term growth over the last six decades, through a number of equity and debt funding rounds.
CDC’s Chief Executive, Nick O’Donohoe said their partnership with DFCU has perfectly demonstrated their credentials as a provider of patient capital.
“And I am delighted that in IFU, we are passing the baton to a like-minded investor that, alongside Arise, the largest existing shareholder in DFCU, will be as equally committed to DFCU’s long-term stability and success,” said O’Donohoe.
14. Panic as BoU payment system breaks down
In July the Central Bank suffered a strange failure of its real-time gross settlements (RTGS) system which forced the Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile to suspend all processing for large payments for most of the days.
Bank of Uganda managers called it “normal system hiccup” as they fidgeted with large cash transactions that needed urgent, safe, secure and real-time clearance.
15. Uganda subjected to Shs3 trillion trade decline
The Minister for Finance, Planning and Economic Development Matia Kasaija said that Uganda’s trade surplus has suffered an Shs3.4 trillion decline due to worsening trade relations with the neighbouring countries.
He said that according to the external trade performance report for the year 2018/2019, Uganda’s trade surplus with neighbours has fallen from Shs3.4t in 2017/2018 to the only Shs340b in the year ended June 30. However, Kasaija blamed non-tariff barriers in some partner states, especially in Tanzania and Rwanda.
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