I am very thankful to the project; it has contributed significantly to improving the lives of my family-Norah Maridiyo
Adjumani district, Uganda
33 year old Norah Maridiyo lives in Malipupu, a remote village in Adjumani district. Adjumani is one of the districts in the semi-arid northern part of Uganda with a height between 1356-1524m above sea level, a precipitate of 400-600m litres and temperatures above 30 degrees centigrade .Water scarcity is a big problem in this district as it is far from the main water source the River Nile. The district is also still recovering from decades of conflict posed by Kony rebel forces and is host to hundreds of thousands of refugees from neighbouring South Sudan and the Democratic of Republic Congo.
However, it was not all smooth sailing as she had anticipated. She faced some challenges in managing the Aquaponics system.
“The system was installed at my home in the dry season and there was a problem of water scarcity which made it difficult to change the water and also the rate of evaporation of water from the system was high” says Ms.Maridiyo.
Also, she had not mastered the techniques of managing the Aquaponics system well at the time. “It was a gamble for me; I wasn’t sure when to feed the fish and the quantity of feeds to put in the system”.
This led to poor yields from the fish .she harvested only 78 fish though the crop yields were good.
Nonetheless, this did not discourage her in fact the money earned from the fish sales and the good yields from the crops made her realise that it was a profitable venture, and that fish was on high demand. She then decided to dedicate time and learn more about managing the Aquaponics system with the support of the WGI project staff and the farmer guides.
Ms.Maridiyo stands next to her two Aquaponics units with flourishing spinach vegetables
Ms Maridiyo also installed additional two aquaponics systems. In June this year, she again received 1,763 fish fingerlings and collard greens, tomatoes and spinach from WGI which were placed in the three systems. Her efforts are already paying off.
“I have so far had good yields from the vegetables which has earned me Ugx shs.160, 000 that I will use to buy fish feeds. I’m also hopeful that I will get good fish yields because most of the fish currently weighs 350grams at just 3months.” Says Ms Maridiyo.
She was also contacted by Zawadi hotel who have become her biggest customer for her fish and vegetables.
“I am very thankful to the project; it has contributed significantly to improving the lives of my family- they now eat a balanced diet from the fish and vegetables .I am also able to earn money and contribute meaningfully towards my family’s needs ” She says.
She has also become a model farmer in her community. People keep flocking her home for training on how to set up and manage aquaponics systems as an alternative farming method and business investment option.
Mrs Maridiyo is one of the many farmers in Uganda who have benefitted from the WGI three year project aimed at promoting commercial Aquaponics farming among smallholder farmers/households for water efficiency, food security and livelihoods improvement. Adjumani was chosen as one of the project districts due to the high poverty rate and huge influx of refugees in the district.
Listen to her testimony below;
Tax incentives have been used over the years with the belief that they lead to the attainment of public policy objectives that would ordinarily be accomplished through public (revenue) spending or as an avenue of encouraging activities that will lead to setting up of investments especially FDI that would provide jobs and contribute to future revenues. Read more
Water governance Institute is a member of the of the Tax Justice Alliance
A worker walks past oil pipes at a refinery in Wuhan, Hubei province March 23, 2012.
By Henning Gloystein
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Oil prices recovered some losses on Monday after a 3 percent fall in the previous session, but markets remain under pressure from high drilling activity in the United States and ample supplies from producer club OPEC.
Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $46.80 per barrel at 0703 GMT, up 9 cents, or 0.2 percent, from their last close.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $44.33 per barrel, up 10 cents, or 0.2 percent.
Traders said the higher prices reflected opportunistic buying following Friday's steep fall.
After cutting positions that would profit from higher prices to a nine-month low by late June, data shows money managers have started raising their long positions again since the start of July, indicating that many believe prices have bottomed out.
The speculator group raised its combined futures and options position in New York and London by 15,518 contracts to 172,810 in the week to July 3.
Despite this, traders said that overall market conditions remained weak.
Brent prices are 17 percent below their 2017 opening despite a deal led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut production from January.
ANZ bank said on Monday that the market "continued to focus on the increasing (U.S.) drilling activity and higher production."
U.S. energy firms added seven oil drilling rigs last week, marking a 24th week of increases out of the last 25 and bringing the total count up to 763, the most since April 2015, Baker Hughes energy services company said on Friday.
U.S. oil production has risen over 10 percent since mid-2016 to 9.34 million barrels per day (bpd).
The rising U.S. output comes as supplies from OPEC also remain ample despite a pledge by the group to cut production between January this year and March 2018.
OPEC exported 25.92 million barrels per day (bpd) in June, 450,000 bpd more than in May and 1.9 million bpd more than a year earlier.
Given ongoing oversupply, analysts said that the market was still some way off from finding a closer balance between demand and available supplies.
"There seems little hope for (market) rebalancing... unless we see an exceptional increase in demand as reining in supply seems to be getting tougher," said Sukrit Vijayakar, director of energy consultancy Trifecta.
(Reporting by Henning Gloystein; Editing by Richard Pullin and Christian Schmollinger)
Water Governance Institute’s Aquaponics system is helping households generate food and income — and bringing nutritious fish to a region that needs it.
In Hoima, Uganda, fish is hard to come by. Demand for the nutritious meat is high, especially among families with growing children and elderly people in their household. Fish fetch a good price at the market — and fish farming can be a profitable business.
Ms. Proscovia Rujumba recognized the opportunity and set out to farm fish in Hoima. Initially, she didn’t do as well as she’d hoped: The large, outdoor earthen pond she used to breed and grow tilapia and catfish failed to produce enough fish for her to sell.
Water Governance Institute, a Ugandan social enterprise, heard about Proscovia’s struggles though the Hoima Hoimdistrict local government. They suggested she install an innovative tank system called Aquaponics to replace the pond and increase the farm’s production.
Proscovia was skeptical at first — she had never seen fish raised outside of ponds, streams, or lakes. But Henry Bazira, the executive director of Water Governance Institute, and his team persuaded her to give Aquaponics a chance. Soon after, Water Governance Institute set up a unit in her house.
The Aquaponics system consists of two parts: A grow-bed where crops grow in a fertile sand-gravel mixture and a tank beneath the grow-bed for the fish (see above). The two parts depend on and complement each other — the fish tank provides water and organic nutrients to the plants in the grow-bed, while the plants clean the water before it returns to the fish tank.
Fish farmers can install the system inside of or next to their homes, saving space and making it easy for people with physical constraints to access and operate. An Aquaponics system saves water too, by recycling water between its two parts.
“We bring fresh fish right into the home,” says Bazira. “The Aquaponics system makes fish farming accessible for anyone who wants to earn an income or who wants to put a healthy and nutritious meal on the dinner table for the family.”
Within three weeks, Proscovia was convinced the system worked. The catfish and plants were growing right before her eyes!
By itself, a working system didn’t guarantee success. Proscovia had to learn how to operate and maintain it, and she faced several challenges — especially with the water recycling. When the water didn’t properly move from one part to another, the water quality suffered. A musty smell started emanating from the fish tank, and two of her small fingerling fish died. But Water Governance Institute staff came to her aid, walking her through the maintenance steps and showing her how to prevent future problems.
With support, skills, and determination, Proscovia’s fish farm flourished. She was able to produce one hundred and ninety-seven catfish weighing around 1–1.5 kilograms each, along with produce from the grow-bed. She ate some of the catfish and tomatoes at home and took some to market, earning USD 612 from her work.
Soon Proscovia’s neighbors began visiting, excited by the Aquaponics technology and her success. She realized that the system could work for her friends and neighbors too.
Proscovia is now a successful fish farmer and a local promoter of the Aquaponics system, sharing her success and answering familiar, skeptical questions about whether this system really works. She even spoke about her experience on a local FM radio station, telling people throughout the region why they should try Aquaponics.
Water Governance Institute learned from Proscovia’s experience as well: They resolved to put greater focus on maintenance training during the system installation. That training will empower each customer with the knowledge and expertise to keep their system running smoothly — generating food and income for a long time.
Together, Water Governance Institute and small entrepreneurs like Proscovia are giving women and small farmers all over Uganda the ability to feed their families and earn a living by farming nutritious, homegrown fish.
’Femi Asu with agency report
Uganda is set to sign on Thursday two oil production sharing agreements with a Nigerian firm, enabling the company to begin exploration work, the Ugandan government has said.
The firm, Oranto Petroleum International, was among a number of companies that bid in the country’s first competitive oil exploration licensing round last year, with two other Nigerian firms and Australia’s Armour Energy also getting through to final negotiations for the award of the PSAs.
Uganda discovered oil in 2006 in the Albertine rift basin along its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Gross crude reserves are estimated by government geologists at 6.5 billion barrels of which between 1.4 and 1.7 billion barrels are considered recoverable. Production is expected to start in 2020.
The first licences that Uganda awarded in the early 2000s were given on a first-come, first-served basis.
Action Aid Uganda, policy and advocacy manager Mr James Kawooya (L) Water Governance Institute executive director Mr Mugisha Bazira (R) during the press conference in Bukoto May 29, 2017
Civil society organizations (CSOs) have asked government to carry out a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether the country was benefiting from tax incentives.
This financial year, government spent Shs 77bn to pay taxes for Bidco Oil Refineries Ltd, Aya Investments Ltd, Steel and Tube, Cipla Quality Chemicals, Uganda Electricity Generation Company Ltd and Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Ltd.
At least 23 companies will benefit from tax incentives in the coming financial year. Parliamentarians have also raised concern over the manner in which tax waivers are given out.
The incentives are meant to endear Uganda to investors but increasingly, there is a feeling that they are being abused and Ugandans hardly get value for money.
Nelly Busingye, a programme officer at Southern and Eastern Africa Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI), said research suggests that developing countries do not need tax incentives to attract foreign investors.
She said most corporations looked at other parameters such as cost of labour and energy, presence of adequate infrastructure and the country’s overall investment climate in order to invest.
“We recognise that FDI [foreign direct investment] is critical in fostering economic growth and development, we are also aware that tax incentives can promote investments in the country if they are transparent, equitably accessed and properly managed,” she said.
Busingye quoted the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank assessments showing that successful countries at attracting investment did not offer tax holidays but, rather, invested in other important factors such as good quality infrastructure, low administrative costs of setting up businesses and political stability.
Christine Byiringiro, a programme officer at Uganda Debt Network, said Uganda’s debt at Shs 38tn could be paid easily if government was not offering tax holidays.
“We should concentrate on priority sectors like education, energy, health and infrastructures; there is no need for tax holidays,” she said.
According to Busingye, preliminary findings from an analysis being conducted by the Tax Justice Alliance coordinated by SEATINI Uganda shows that about Shs 900bn in 2015/16 was tax forgone in the form of tax incentives.
Julius Mukunda, executive director at Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG), said: “In 2016, Members of Parliament (MPs) exempted themselves from paying taxes on their allowances, this alone led to a loss of more than Shs 53 billion annually, we have also learnt that Saccos have been exempted from paying taxes.”
Source: the observer
In Uganda all ore exports are banned, but some are less banned than others. Why? Yoweri Museveni shakes road cash out of World Bank coffers. How? German Chancellor Angela Merkel today meets African leaders in Berlin. Which?
Only one dealer in Uganda is able to bypass the country's ban on the export of unprocessed ore, according to the top story in regional paper the East African.
After publicly advocating value addition by announcing a ban on the export of Uganda’s iron ore in 2013, President Yoweri Museveni seems to have caved in to pressure from one mineral dealer and backtracked on the position, says the report.
Details of what influenced Museveni’s change of heart are not known but an 18-month investigation by extractive industry watchdog Global Witness reveals that the dealer, Moses Kamuntu, met the president and gained permission to continue exporting the ore.
The report also reveals that it is almost impossible to do business in Uganda’s mining sector without paying bribes or drawing support from high-level political connections.
World Bank unfreezes development cash for Uganda
That's not the only story in the East African featuring the Uganda leader.
Under the headline "How Museveni got the World Bank to unfreeze road funds," we read that Museveni has intervened to unlock funding from the World Bank for Uganda’s road sector, after an 18-month freeze caused by the negative environmental and social impact of the projects.
In a statement released last week, the World Bank said that Museveni had committed to continuing a campaign aimed at reducing gender-based violence.
“President Yoweri Museveni confirmed to the Bank that the government of Uganda is committed to ensuring that social and environmental safeguards policies are adhered to in undertaking large infrastructure projects. He also emphasised that the government is committed to continue with the national campaign for reducing violence against women and girls,” according to the statement from the World Bank.
Unofficial strike continues at South African gold mine
In South Africa an unofficial strike at Sibanye Gold’s Cooke operations west of Johannesburg continued yesterday. Financial paper BusinessDay reports that 138 illegal miners have been arrested since the stoppage began on Tuesday.
Sibanye said the strike, which has seen 16 miners assaulted in a wave of intimidation, was triggered by worker anger at a company drive to root out illegal miners. This has included the arrest of employees for collusion and a policy that forbids the bringing of food into underground operations.
Illegal gold mining has plagued South Africa for decades, with bullion pilfered from both operating and disused mines.
Sibanye has vowed it will clear all illegal miners from its shafts by January 2018.
Mugabe fires Zimbabwe’s top prosecutor
In Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has fired the country’s top prosecutor.
The Harare-based Herald newspaper reports that suspended prosecutor general Johannes Tomana was fired for misconduct and incompetence after a tribunal set up by the president recommended dismissal.
Tomana faces charges of "criminal abuse of office" and is awaiting trial.
He was suspended in February 2016 after dropping charges against two men accused of plotting to bomb a dairy belonging to the president’s wife, Grace Mugabe.
A year earlier he was convicted of abuse of power after refusing to prosecute a legislator from Mugabe’s Zanu-PF Party accused of raping a minor.
Merkel to meet African leaders in effort to slow migrant influx
And the Nigerian Guardian says German Chancellor Angela Merkel will later today meet African leaders in Berlin to discuss initiatives aimed at reducing the poverty and conflict driving the mass migrant influx to Europe.
The idea is to team up with African nations willing to reform with private investors who would bring business and jobs to a continent where instability or graft often scare off foreign companies.
Merkel is hosting the initiative as part of Germany’s presidency of the Group of 20 powerful economies, whose leaders are due to meet in the northern German port of Hamburg next month.
Invited to Berlin are Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the leaders of Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal and Tunisia.
SOURCE: The African Press Review
Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni inspects gold flakes at a refinery in Entebbe. The sector has grown rapidly but a new report alleges rampant corruption.
(CNN)----Uganda's mineral industry has enjoyed a spectacular surge in recent years.
Should such plans come to fruition, Uganda's gold could yet be, for many, more of a blessing than a curse.SOURCE: CNN
Today, the Tax Justice Alliance in Uganda ( a loose coalition of civil society who WGI is a member and individuals) called upon the Government and other key stakeholders to End Harmful Tax Holidays in Uganda.
SEATINI Uganda alongside members of the Tax Justice Alliance including; Oxfam in Uganda; Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG); Uganda Debt Network(UDN); Action Aid Uganda (AAIU); Citizens Watch-Information Technology (CEW-IT); Women and Girl Child Development Association (WEGCDA); Water Governance Institute (WGI); Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC); Inter University Tax Justice Forum (IUTJF); and Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER) organized a press conference at SEATINI Uganda offices in Kampala this 29th May 2017 to present concerns, observations and recommendations in respect to tax holidays in Uganda.
The Tax Justice Alliance recognises that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is critical in fostering economic growth and development. There is awareness that tax incentives such a tax holidays and exemptions can promote investments in the country if they are transparent and equitably accessed, awarded and managed. It’s also a fact that tax incentives when mismanaged can distort internal market dynamics and bleed corruption.
However, an analysis conducted by the Tax Justice Alliance suggests that developing countries do not need to grant tax incentives, exemptions and/or holidays to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), because the decision to invest by genuine multinational corporations is largely based on other parameters such as cost of labour and energy; presence of adequate infrastructure; and the country's overall investment climate. This has also been confirmed numerous times by IMF and the World Bank, which state that countries that are most successful in attracting foreign investors did not have to offer tax holidays, but rather invested in other important factors such as good quality infrastructure, low administrative costs of setting up and running businesses, political stability and predictable macro-economic policy that will encourage growth and expansion of indigenous investments. The same questions abound whether it is relevant and critical to offer tax holidays to attract FDI.