Tag Archives: food items

Causes for January inflation rate increase identified

New electricity bills, charges for natural gas and school fees for both private primary and secondary schools are some of the items that have led to the increase in inflation rate for January this year. ...

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Lobbies increase pressure on Kenyan Parliament to review VAT Act

Parliament is expected to discuss amendments to the VAT Act, 2013 when it resumes sittings this month. Implementation of the VAT Act 2013 has seen the cost of living rise after manufacturers increased the price of basic commodities to recoup profit. This follows mounting pressure to review the Act. Tax on basic commodities consumed by low-income groups such as milk and processed food items has seen the cost living rise. “With an expansion in the VAT bracket, there could be a reduction in the rates when the next budget is presented,” said Kwame Owino, Chief Executive-Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA). He made these remarks yesterday during the 2014/15 per-budget hearings ending today. The process will involve drafting a memorandum, to be presented to Treasury. The new VAT law has been blamed for recent increase in the price of food items, especially those consumed by poor households. “The amended VAT Bill has gone through the first reading and will proceed to the second reading as soon as we come back from recess,” said John Mbadi, Suba MP, and sponsor of the amendments to the VAT Act 2013. The proposed law seeks to exempt infant milk, processed milk, mosquito and fishing nets, insecticides, fungicides and herbicides from VAT. Other goods and services to be exempted from taxation include vegetables, newspapers, journals, postal and water drilling services. If successful, the amendment will also exempt electricity supply to households and services offered by the Rural Electrification Authority. A raft of proposals is expected to reach treasury ahead of the 2014/15 budget, including critical sectors of the economy. Tax incentives “We need clarification on what is and is not vatable including infrastructure or commercial land,” said Robyn Emerson, chief executive-Kenya Property Developers Association. Developers are seeking for more tax incentives in order to support Vision 2030 goals. It is not only the real estate sector that is unhappy with the current tax regime. “We have seen county governments coming up with all manner of illegal levies, an indication of the need for direction on what tax is allowed at the county government level,” said Chryspin Afifu, official at Micro and Small enterprises Federation. The VAT Act 2013, which became operational on September 2, 2013, has put a 16 per cent tax on essential goods and services that had previously been zero-rated. These former zero-rated goods include milk, maize and wheat flour, bread, sanitary towels, medical dressing and plasters. Some of the zero-rated services that became taxable at 16 percent are electricity and water. By Jackson Okoth, The Standard

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Uganda’s Inflation shot up in January

Inflation went up in January to a recorded 6.9%, down from 6.7% in December last year as prices of many food items like Irish potatoes, cabbages, groundnuts, tomatoes, oranges and chicken soared. Chris Mukiza, the director of macroeconomic statistics, Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBoS) says that the dry spell in some parts of the country might have affected food supply to markets. He says despite the South Sudan conflict, prices in Uganda’s towns bordering the conflict-stricken nation have not gone up and so the impact of the fighting is yet to be studied. Many economic experts predict that the South Sudan conflict might impact on Uganda’s economy as the county was and is one of Uganda’s main trading partners. Uganda Bureau of Statistics has said other prices that have shot up slightly include charcoal, clothing, unmetered water, medical services, hair dressing, rental charges. Prices of items that have dropped or remained stable include fish, cement, bananas, soda, transport fares, petrol, sugar, kerosene, pineapples, passion fruit and carrots. Uganda’s inflation rate has declined from a double digit figure but economic concerns remain over low production capacity, unemployment, high cost of doing business, low stock of infrastructure, a weak shilling in the region and high interest rates. By John Odyek, The New Vision

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Ubudehe: The programme that elevated Ndakaze out of poverty into a food supplier

Tite Ndekaze’s life’s journey is a tale of perseverance and hard work. Once a destitute, hope seemed to be a mirage for Ndekaze, a resident of Gisozi cell, Nemba sector, in Gakenke district Tite Ndekaze used to earn a living from tilling people’s land but thanks to Ubudehe, he now supplies food to two schools. The New Times/ Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshi. However, like the adage goes that it is not over until it is all over, Ndekaze’s fortune started unfolding when residents at a cell meeting  chose Ndekaze and a few other people as the most vulnerable persons who deserved  support to improve their social-economic status. “I was extremely poor and used to till people’s land for survival. I was later chosen by local residents as one of the poorest to be supported by Ubudehe programme. I was given Rwf45, 000 to start a small business of selling local sorghum beer,” Ndekaze says. Ndekaze  started his business in 2005. He used to make local sorghum beer twice a week for sale. “I used to supply jerrycans of beer to people who owned small pubs and made between Rwf 4,000 and 8,000 a week. I worked for a year and bought a cow. I applied manure in my little land and the agricultural produce started improving,” he says The cow produced a heifer which he sold at Rwf 100,000 and added on the savings he had made from selling sorghum beer to buy a small plot of land at Rwf150, 000, in 2007. With a cow, a business and a small plot of land  in a short period, local leaders appreciated Ndekaze’s efforts and recommended him for a bank loan. Working with banks Ndekaze could not get a big amount of money since the  business was still small...

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Makerere gets 244 first class degrees

A total of 244 students have attained first-class degrees at Makerere University. Therefore, this year will see Makerere graduate fewer first class degrees than last year (248 students). Makerere University Makerere University is set to graduate at least 12, 616 students in her 64th graduation ceremony slated to take place from Tuesday January 28 to Friday January 31 2014. The 2014 graduation statistics reveal that at least a hundred more students will graduate than last year. Last year, Uganda’s oldest university graduated over 12,555 students. This year’s graduation will see students receive Doctorates, Masters Degrees, Post Graduate Diplomas; Undergraduate degrees will also be awarded. The 2014 graduation list obtained by the New Vision reveals that, of the graduands; 11,103 are Undergraduates, 1,192 will receive Masters Degrees, 51 will acquire Doctorates, 213 will walk away with Undergraduate Diplomas and 57 will obtain Post Graduate Diplomas. According to a circular issued by Makerere University Academic Registrar Alfred Masikye, the institution’s graduation Ceremony will take place for four days, as usual. The ceremony will take place at Makerere’s famous Freedom Square from 9:00am, on each of the four days. Makerere University Council (The institution’s supreme governing body) approved the graduation date at its 129th meeting held on December 10 2013. In the same meeting, also approved was the date for the 65th graduation ceremony slated to take place from Tuesday January 28 2015 to Friday January 31 2015. Masikye further disclosed that each graduand is allowed one invitation card for two of his/her selected guests only. “Graduands will be required to submit the names of the two guests they wish to invite for the ceremony and thereafter their invitation cards will be issued.  Cards and gowns will be collected from Monday, 20th January, 2014 (yesterday).” Said Masikye in a statement released recently. Nevertheless, Makerere has warned that some electronics and food items will not be allowed at the graduation ceremony. The prohibited items include mobile phones, alcohol, dangerous weapons, canned food and drinks, Cameras (video and still cameras), pocket radio, Fire arms, Bottled drinks, Cells/batteries and chemicals, large bags among many. On the first day, Colleges of Health Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, Humanities and Social Sciences and Natural Sciences will graduate. Students from the colleges of Business and Management Sciences, and Computing and Information Sciences will graduate on the second day. The third day will see degrees awarded to students from colleges Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Engineering, and Education and External. Schools of Law and, Art and design will equally graduate their students on Thursday. The last day is set aside for the graduation of students from Makerere University Business School (MUBS). By Innocent Anguyo, The New Vision

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Sugarcane growing causing food insecurity

Commercial sugar cane growing is accelerating food insecurity in Eastern Uganda especially in the Busoga region, a study by Makerere University has revealed. The study done by the department of Forestry Bio-diversity and Tourism was aimed at establishing the prevalence of food insecurity and the impact of commercial sugarcane growing on household level food security in eastern Uganda. It indicated that commercial sugarcane growing although contributing to increased household income does not necessarily increase food adequacy among households. The authors of the study said that there are few varieties of food crops cultivated by sugarcane growing households and the households are also short of money to supplement what they grow. The study also noted that more people have taken to growing sugarcane on a commercial basis resulting in the conversion of different land-use types to monoculture sugarcane plantations. “Many households in the region especially around Kakira sugar factory rent out most of their land to rich out-growers and remain with a little patch which they also use for growing cane. The changes in land-use are motivated by commercial gains for improved household income than food production,” Dr. Edward Mwavu reiterated. However, Mwavu was fast to note that most men used the income acquired from commercial sugar growing to marry more women. “This might compromise the sustainable management of their agro-diversity as well as food production consequently exposing them to food insecurity and malnutrition,” he added. He made the presentation at Makerere University at the food science and Technology Conference Hall during the next generation of African academics dissemination conference. The study was done by Dr. Mwavu and two other academic doctors who included Vettes Kalema and Fred Bateganya. In their study, the authors found out that 87% of households in sugarcane growing areas reported not having adequate and nutritious foods to meet their family needs. The research also established that even among the commercial sugarcane growers, only 3 in every 10 households reported food adequacy and that nearly 21 in every 25 households reported sugarcane growing as the main source of food insecurity in the area. At district level, 44.2%) of households in Mayuge and 39.4% in Jinja attributed food insecurity to sugar cane growing. Households also reported employing various coping mechanisms that included offering labour in exchange for food (30.8%), borrow food (9.1%), rationing of food (7.2%) and at times stealing from their neighbours. It also emerged that male headed households were most insecure (62.5%) due to disregard for food in favour of other assets such as houses, bicycles and clothes. The study also revealed that those who owned land were most food insecure (68.0%) since they rented it out at about sh500, 000 per acre for four harvest seasons (about eight years) in a bid to make quick money subsequently remaining with little land for food. Food insecurity in the region, the study noted was also worsened by increasing trends in crop failures, family sizes, trade in food items in the villages, and declining food availability, land available for crop cultivation, and livestock numbers. The study involved 208 households in two commercial sugarcane growing districts of Jinja and Mayuge. By Innocent Anguyo,The New Times

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Rice prices in Tanzania to remain stable

Traders say food prices, especially of rice are expected to fall further following bumper harvest in southern highland regions including Mbeya last year. Plenty of rice at a Dar es Salaam market. Traders say rice prices are expected to stabilize due to bumper harvests in Mbeya and Morogoro regions last year. Economists have predicted deeper drop of the country’s inflation rate on the back of favourable prices of rice and other food crops. Rice is a staple food in many parts of the country, particularly coastal areas. The National Bureau of Statistics (TBS) said last week that annual headline inflation declined to 5.6 per cent in December, last year, from 6.2 per cent a month earlier due to slower rise in prices of commodities during the month. According to TBS, the food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation rate decreased to 5.6 per cent in December. Overall, the trend indicates that the speed of price increase for goods and services decreased significantly in 2013, when compared with the speed of price increase in 2012, the statistics body said. The annual average headline inflation rates have decreased to 7.9 per cent in 2013 from 16.0 per cent in 2013.This trend is highly attributed to the decrease in prices for food items. ‘Business Standard’ survey showed rice price range of between 1,800/- and 1,100/- per kilogramme at major food markets in Mwananyamala, Sinza and Mwenge. For wholesale price at Buguruni and Tandale, it ranged from 1,500/- to 1,100/-. The highest price is for rice from Mbeya which is the most preferred and the lowest is for the one sourced from Ifakara in Morogoro Region. Rice traders told the ‘Business Standard’ that the prices have stabilised since early last year when they reached an all time high due to poor harvests in rice growing areas in 2011. They said they expected rice price will not rise as they were assured of its abundant supply, because large stocks of rice harvested in 2013 were still in godowns in Mbeya. They said the stocks of the food from last year’s harvests would not be finished before the new harvest season begins next April and May. According to them, food stores and godowns in Mbeya were full of rice and traders were in a rush to clear the stock before the new season. “Rice is plentiful. People in Ifakara have not sold theirs and so is the case in Shinyanga. We are selling rice from Mbeya and it is still abundant,” said Kassim Mohamed, a trader at Mwananyamala market. “We do not expect the price of rice to rise...

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