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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Sheraton Kampala change of guard this Thursday

When Chris Pollard arrived at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel, a long agenda of ‘things to do’ awaited him and as coincidences play out, I was one of the first locals he met, introduced by James Rattos, back then one of the senior executives of the hotel. When he heard from James about my background and my long standing relationship with the hotel, he literally dropped what he was about to do, quickly had his PA reschedule the meetings for the next two hours and joined James and myself for a breakfast which lasted a lot longer than he had initially planned for. Like with his predecessors, a rapport was swiftly established and a very cordial working relationship ensued over the years, with both sides giving and seeking input, for the benefit of Uganda’s tourism industry at large and the hospitality sector more specifically. This Thursday, Chris will be saying his final good byes’ to his colleagues at the Kampala Sheraton, to his friends and to his clientele, as he introduces Ian Duncan as his successor. More about Ian in a moment as I am about to give a bit of an insight into Chris’ impressions of Kampala, which he just shared with me: ‘I love adventures and that has given me the opportunity to travel Africa for the hospitality industry. Each new and wonderful place I have been I have been able to meet people and work within environments that have been exciting and challenging. I had just returned from Angola when I got a call asking me to consider the Sheraton Kampala hotel as a project. I was advised that it would probably be quite quick but as it was returning me close to my roots in Nairobi where I was born I thought I would come but had little or no knowledge of Uganda. UGANDA what a surprise! I arrived at a hotel that was full of promise, had amazingly nice people, but little leadership and was not sure in what direction to go, and that was the start of my three months that became three years supposed stay in Kampala. In my first meeting with the EXCOM crew I discovered we had a wealth of knowledge but a lack of feedback and figures to all departments. This started a mammoth training programme that included sending H.O.D.s and others to various parts of the world to gain insight and knowledge into what I believed a five star hotel in Kampala should be striving for. We set about becoming a hotel for Uganda both in achieving the best results and the best recognition (we received an Award for The Best Commercial Hotel in Uganda)...

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