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MTN Foundation, UMC Victoria Hospital partner to offer free corrective surgery to children

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By Our Reporter

The MTN Foundation has inked a one-year partnership worth Ugx 184 million with UMC Victoria Hospital that will see the Bukoto based health facility provide free corrective surgery for over 80 children with special needs and/or disabilities in a bid to improve their quality of life.

Speaking at the MOU signing ceremony, the MTN Uganda Ag. CEO, Gordian Kyomukama reaffirmed the Foundation’s commitment towards improving the livelihood of youth by enabling those who have had an unfortunate start to life.

“Removing the physical obstacles to the youngsters’ growth and development through corrective surgery will enable them to compete favourably and achieve their full potential in life within their respective communities. These are the success stories that we as a brand take pride in,” he said.

“In addition to the partnerships that we have forged with the Ministry of Health and over 15 health centres refurbished and re-equipped countrywide under our Access to Health Initiative (AHI), today we reiterate our desire to contribute to the wellbeing of our customers and Ugandans at large. It is commonly said that a healthy nation is a wealthy nation. We are pleased to play our part in this process as the MTN Foundation.” He added.

The Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of UMC Victoria Hospital, Dr. Anurag Shah lauded the MTN foundation for coming to the rescue of the disadvantaged children.

“The lives of the children will be changed for the better, forever – thanks to this partnership. UMC Victoria Hospitals bring world class medical care, expertise, professionalism and requisite equipment and facilities to the service of Ugandans in need. It will be our absolute pleasure to transform the lives of the beneficiaries by enabling them to regain their mobility among other advantages. We are delighted to partner with MTN Foundation to help them realise their dreams,” said Dr. Shah.

UMC Victoria Hospital is an integrated healthcare delivery provider providing high quality medical and nursing services across a wide range of specialties. Bench-marked to international quality standards, having state-of-art laboratory and radiology diagnostic services, modular operating theatres, in-house pharmacy, the hospital is well equipped to provide convenient, patient focused, quality centric efficient services.

The one-year partnership between the MTN Foundation and UMC Victoria Hospital is supported under the key focus areas for the Foundation which is health. It will also see UMC Hospital engage MTN staff in its community outreaches and medical camps countrywide in weeks ahead and a visit to the hospital located in Bukoto, on the outskirts of the city.

The Foundation recently inked a similar partnership with Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services for People with Disability in Uganda (CoRSU), a local NGO and hospital located in Kisubi to provide corrective surgery to eighty youth and children selected from all over Uganda specifically areas affected by conflict.

The MTN Uganda Foundation is a non-profit entity that was inaugurated in July 2007 as a vehicle through which MTN Uganda implements its corporate social investments (CSI). The main objective of the foundation is to improve the quality of life in communities across the country by supporting and implementing sustainable projects in Education, Health and other National Priorities.

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Local Business

Sanlam makes Ugx 475 million payout to its clients

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Nicholas Lutakome, (Ag.) CEO Sanlam Life addresses media

Nicholas Lutakome, (Ag.) CEO Sanlam Life addresses media.

By Our Reporter 

Sanlam Uganda is set to pay out over UGX 475 million to its Individual Life clients in the form of cash back against premiums paid on their policies. This is to help kick-start its clients’ lives following the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the global pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the world, it has not only claimed over 300,000 lives, but also many businesses. SMEs in particular have suffered in the process, affecting the livelihoods of many families during the lockdown. The country’s lockdown is being relaxed as of today.

“We cannot have a successful Sanlam in a struggling Ugandan economy, which is why we are making half a billion shillings available to some of our customers to provide hope as life returns to normal,” said Mr Nicholas Lutakome, Ag. CEO of Sanlam Life Insurance (U) Ltd.

On 14 April, Sanlam Uganda donated 285 million through the national task force to flatten the curve and assist the Ministry of Health in the fight against COVID-19 through the purchase of protective wear for the country’s frontline health workers, which may include face masks, face shields and PVC aprons.

“We are celebrating 10 years of operations in Uganda this year and are planning to be around for much longer,” Mr Lutakome said. “It’s in times like these that an insurance company needs to move closer to its clients to offer a helping hand towards the recovery of the economy. We want to urge the public to exercise the necessary caution and stay safe.”

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Stanbic Bank donates Ugx 140 million in relief food to vulnerable communities

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Stanbic Bank contributed Ugx 140 million used for purchasing food items for the communities in which they are operating in.

By Our Reporter

In a bid to support vulnerable communities across the country that have been affected by the COVID-19 lockdown, Stanbic Bank contributed a further Ugx 140 million used for purchasing food items for the communities in which they are operating in.

Through the different branches across the country Stanbic Bank employees distributed food items to over 4,000 individuals among vulnerable communities across the country.

Speaking during the handover of food items to Loving Hearts Babies Home, Munyonyo children’s home, Stanbic Bank Uganda Corporate Social Investments Manager, Ms Barbara Kasekende said, “At Stanbic Bank, we understand the drastic effects the lockdown has hard on some of the communities in which we operate it. As a business, we are reaching out to show our support and further encourage the vulnerable in our communities.”

“Stanbic’s sustainability vision focuses on Social, Economic and Environmental (SEE) goals, where we aim to ensure we create shared value in the societies and environment in which we operate.” She added.

One of the communities supported, Loving Hearts Babies Home, Munyonyo has over 30 babies and 13 members of staff at the moment. The Loving hearts team also reaches 200 plus homes in the community.

Stanbic had earlier contributed UGX 100 million towards the National COVID19 task force, and another UGX 20 million through the Uganda Bankers Association.

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Local Business

MTN ordered to pay Ugx 24.2 billion to URA

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By Our Reporter

In August 2016, URA issued MTN with an assessment of UGX 326,996,917,906 for unpaid taxes arising between the period 2011-2014. By Civil Suit 986 of 2016, MTN challenged the assessment in the High Court and a prolonged reexamination of the available evidence ensued, resulting in a partial consent judgement in June 2018 in favor of MTN, wherein it was agreed that the amount of the assessment was reduced to UGX 24,273,771,472.

This residual amount was subject to the interpretation of a technical issue i.e. whether the taxable value of excise duty on airtime was to be charged on usage or at the point of sale, which was referred to the Tax Appeals Tribunal vide TAT Application 8 of 2019. During the proceedings, both parties conducted further reconciliation and as at 3rd March 2020, the agreed reconciled possible tax, outstanding pending further considerations, was further significantly reduced.

On 28 May 2020, the Tax Appeals Tribunal ruled that excise duty should be charged at the point of sale and accordingly upheld the assessment against MTN. To prevent an overpayment of the reconciled amount, which is significantly lower than UGX 24,273,771,472, MTN on 29 May 2020 obtained an interim order against the enforcement of the several agency notices issued by URA.

MTN is studying the TAT ruling, taking advice on the implications thereof and will make every effort to conclude this matter in a fair, legal, and ethical manner.

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Local Business

MTN Uganda appoints Andrew Bugembe as Chief Finance Officer

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Mr. Andrew Bugembe, The New MTN Uganda Chief Finance OfficerBy Our Reporter

MTN Uganda appointed Andrew Bugembe as the company’s new Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Bugembe started work on April 1, replacing Mike Blackburn who retired early this year having served as the Telecom’s CFO since 2011. In his position, Mr Bugembe is part of the dynamic leadership team of MTN Uganda that boasts of 16 members, four of whom are women.

After being away from Uganda for almost 10 years, Mr Bugembe is happy to join a great, experienced and strong management team back home at MTN Uganda. He looks forward to leading the Finance division and contributing to MTN Uganda’s future success as the country embarks on this thrilling Digital journey that the telecom is committed to deliver.

Mr. Bugembe brings to his position, more than 21 Years of Telecom experience from various countries, working at MTN in different capacities, holding executive and senior management roles in finance departments, including holding the CFO position at MTN Liberia and MTN Congo Brazzaville.

Mr. Bugembe’s robust career at MTN has seen him serve in five different countries. Some of the key highlights of his career at MTN include concluding a $300m syndicated medium term facility, in a Project Finance deal that won an award for the best telecoms deal in Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA) in 2012.

Although he takes over office at a difficult time when many company revenues are getting slashed by the global Covid19 pandemic, the seasoned accountant is no stranger to operating amidst disasters like this one.

He spent a lot of time resizing the cost structures for a couple of MTN OPCOs to align with changing macro-economic trends especially during the Ebola crisis in West Africa and the drop in oil prices while in Central Africa.

As CFO of the country’s highest tax payer, Mr Bugembe’s key roles will be to
drive the company profitability mandate, to ensure effective and efficient Capital allocation, and to support Service revenue growth through data analytics with focus on non-voice revenues. He will also support key transformation initiatives, build internal capacity, support digitization with focus on FinTech in addition to continuous cost optimization and improving working capital management among others.

According to Mr Bugembe, there’s still opportunity for telecoms in Uganda, given that the mobile penetration is barely over 51%. The data penetration is still low driven mainly by lower smart phone penetration, customer education and relevant digital content. This will be key for future growth of telecom in Uganda. He also notes that Uganda’s youthful market coupled with the many SMEs, steady GDP growth and low inflation is a great opportunity for any business.

With the telecom trends indicating the customers’ needs are changing towards data, Fintech (Mobile Money) and digital, Mr Bugembe believe these will drive the future of telecoms especially in Uganda with emphasis on financial inclusion as the country moves towards a cashless economy.

In addition to the 21 years of telecom experience, Mr Bugembe is a chartered accountant (FCCA-UK) with a Masters degree from University of Wollongong in Australia and he hold a Bachelors of Commerce Degree from India.

Mr Bugembe describes himself as a passionate, curious and adaptive person, having lived, studied and worked in seven countries. He enjoys travelling to different countries to explore various cultures and have time to himself and his family away from work. He is married with two amazing sons aged 11 and 8 years.

Outside work, he will be found reading books or a couple of journals. He is a huge fan of the Mercedes-Benz team in Formula 1 and a loyal Arsenal supporter.

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