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Over 3000 get free treatment in Tororo

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At least 3000 people were able to receive free treatment from a two day medical camp organized by Hima Cement Limited in partnership with Case Med care and medical personnel from and within Tororo district.

At least 3000 people were able to receive free treatment from a two day medical camp organized by Hima Cement Limited in partnership with Case Med care and medical personnel from and within Tororo district.

Mr Nicolas George, the Country Chief executive of Hima Cement said the two day medical camp is part of their corporate social responsibility and their way of giving back to the community.

He also said they have some special initiative for the needy people in the community in areas of health, education and environment. He said the two day camp is one such way they are helping the needy by offering free medical services to them.

Among the services offered at the medical camp were HIV/AIDS Voluntary Counselling and Testing, Malaria testing, cervical cancer screening, TB testing and diagnosis of other common diseases. He also announced that they are committed in ensuring that their relationship with the surrounding communities is cemented.

Medical personnel from Case Med care assisted by other medical officers from Tororo and Mbale attended to the sick who trickled in large numbers. The camp attracted over 1,500 people on the first day from the neighbouring communities of communities of Rubongi and Mukujju, the immediate sub counties. However, many more people from the neighbouring counties trickled in on the second day of the camp.

There was a blood donation drive also carried out by the Mbale regional blood bank and over 30 people took part.
Caroline Kezaabu, the Communications Coordinator at Hima Cement said that the purpose of the medical camp was to help the needy people in the community and also provide medical care and medicines to those who would not be able to afford treatment.

“This program is part our CSR focus areas of health and safety, education and the environment. The two day camp was targeting over 4000 people and they were providing services like treatment and testing of common ailments like malaria and typhoid, HIV testing and counselling among others,” Ms Kezaabu said the cement manufacturer injected about Shs 50 m in the two day medical camp.

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Specials/Features

2017 was an interesting year in the banking industry, 2018 promises to be even more exciting.

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Wilbrod Humphrey Owor, the Executive Director of Uganda Bankers Association

Wilbrod Humphrey Owor, the Executive Director of Uganda Bankers Association

By Wilbrod Humphrey Owor

As the period for publication of bank financial reports gets underway, it is a good time to start sharing reflections on the year 2017.

The year began with continued slow credit growth resulting from spillover effects of slow economic activity and high non-performing loans whose share to gross loans stood at 10.47 percent in December 2016. The high non- performing loan (NPLS) ratios were also partly attributed agricultural shocks, delayed payment of domestic arrears, slow down on growth of the real estate sector, continued instability in South Sudan and Eastern DRC and an overall tough economic environment among others. From preliminary results, total assets of the banking industry increased by 12% from Ugshs 23.7 Trn to Ugshs 26.5 Trn over the year to 31st December 2017.

All banks met the minimum regulatory capital adequacy requirements as at end of December 2017 and aggregate core capital and total regulatory capital ratios were at 21.1% and 23.4 % respectively.

Customer deposits grew by 12% from Ugshs 16.2 Trn to Ugshs 18.2 Trn but gross loans hardly grew by a marginal 1.5% from Ugshs 11.5Trn to Ugshs 11.7 Trn reflecting challenges in the credit space inspite of the monetary easing championed by the Central Bank during the year.

The key sectors of manufacturing, trade & real estate which constitute 12.6%, 18.7% and 20.5% of total industry lending respectively suffered heavily with trade & commerce registering a decimal growth of only 0.1%, while manufacturing and real estate actually slipped downwards by 1.1% and 2.9% respectively.

Banks exercised a lot of caution during the year and this effort dropped NPL ratios from the 10.5% of 2016 to 5.6% at end of December 2017.

The excess liquidity arising from the above is reflected in the liquid assets to total deposits ratio which increased from 42.5% to 54.6% over the year 2017 most of which was in investments in Government & Bank of Uganda Securities.

Bank holdings of BOU securities (Repos & deposit facility scheme) grew by 204.1% to Ush 2.5Trn. Overall the banking sector’s profitability improved significantly and average return on equity (ROE) and return on assets (ROA) improved to 16% and 2.7% respectively.

The major banking industry event of the year however, was the timely resolution of the Crane bank issue by Bank of Uganda without loss to depositors or contagion to the rest of the banking system. The Purchase and Assumption agreement entered between Bank of Uganda and dfcu bank guaranteed smooth transition and integration of customers into dfcu bank who were able to access their deposits seamlessly, did ensure continued stability in the industry. dfcu bank’s ability to mobilize USD50m at short notice to finance the transaction, followed by a successful rights issue, with 96% uptake, is a clear testament of the confidence investors have in Uganda’s financial sector.

It is this stability and confidence in the sector brought about by a combination of factors including consistency in monetary policy and regulatory frameworks, that must continue to be applauded and reinforced. The conversations today would be very different if depositors were unable to access their money and the exposure by other banks in the interbank lending market crystalized leading to what is called contagion (the communication of disease from one person or organism or institution to another by close contact).

The financial sector is in a way similar to blood pumped by the heart across the body. An infection can be dangerous, poisonous and can bring infection to other body parts, an un-coordinated policy direction be it monetary or fiscal can lead to numerous un-intended consequences of catastrophic proportions. Our own country has been through this path, and as a nation or group of institutions driving growth initiatives in the country, working together and harmonizing approaches must be the leading light ahead of us all the time.

The financial sector is a confidence industry that takes time to build and is measured by its resilience in the ability to absorb shocks. It however depends on the millions of silent depositors who oil it with savings and turnover from various businesses, taxes, transactions collections, payments and a combination of instruments etc. As policy makers or implementers, we must therefore constantly be alive to the impact of a policy signal to the financial sector.

Developing economies like ours must particularly be aware that we start from a very disadvantaged terrain with very low financial penetration and literacy levels anchored on a poor agrarian base.

The number of accounts in commercial banks increased from 4.5million in June 2015 to 7.4million in June 2017. Although this represents a decent growth, it is low considering Uganda’s population of nearly 40million people and is a far cry from the number of mobile phone accounts which is estimated to be over 23million.

Our efforts must therefore be towards encouraging and bringing on board the biggest proportion of our population into the formal financial sector where monetary policy can be transmitted effectively by initiatives that increase access to financial services, financial penetration, increasing access to credit, productivity, and markets which automatically widens the tax base to finance further development.

The financial sector is adjusting to these priorities by adapting technologies that deliver services to previously underserved or completely unserved markets and segments of the population.

Banks are increasingly sharing infrastructure (creating synergies) to enable them lower costs of delivery by pooling resources and reducing redundancy and its attendant costs. This allows for scalability, while focusing on introducing more and more services and products to address the needs of the various segments of the population. This process is journey that requires many travelers and partners to join hands.

The new developments such as Agent Banking will go a long way in expanding financial services, lowering costs of delivery and bringing services closer to customers, most importantly those that are currently financially excluded. In addition, Banks in collaboration with the regulator (Bank of Uganda) are working hard at increasing financial literacy initiatives and efforts to help reduce this barrier to use of banking and other financial services.

We call upon all stakeholders to join hands in ensuring financial sector stability, and its intended outcomes of penetration, deepening and growth.

As an industry, we embrace and will continue to support the national strategic objectives and vision therein and remain keen to work with the various agencies of government contributing to the development of the Country.

About author:

The writer is the Executive Director of Uganda Bankers Association (UBA) and also represents contributing institutions at the Deposits Protection Fund Board.

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StarTimes announces it will broadcast the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

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StarTimes has today confirmed it will broadcast all the 64 FIFA World Cup matches live and in HD. StarTimes acquired media Pay-TV broadcasting rights for the Sub-Saharan Africa to broadcast the World Cup and the theme will be “ALL 64 MATCHES IN HD AND LIVE”.

StarTimes Vice President also Brand and marketing manager Aldrine Nsubuga stated “Our current market leadership with close to 1.4 million subscribers guarantees that the 2018 FIFA WORLD CUP RUSSIA will now be enjoyed by many more households than the previous ones. This is excellent news to millions of television owners in Uganda who couldn’t watxh the World Cup due to high cost of acquisition and subscription.”

The world cup will broadcast on StarTimes on four dedicated channels which are World Football, Sports premium, Sports Life and Sports focus.

StartTimes was launched in 2010 and is now the leading digital TV operator in Uganda with 1.4 million subscribers.

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Uganda Little Hands Go Green To Celebrate Earth Day With Conference

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Uganda Little Hands Go Green, an organisation that champions keeping Uganda “Green” through young children so as to keep its pride as the Pearl Of Africa is set to hold a conference on Sunday April 22, 2018 as a way of celebrating Earth Day.

This year’s conference will run under theme End Plastic Pollution,Restore Wetlands,Protect the Future from 8 Am to 4PM where children will be provided with information and inspiration needed to fundamentally change on human attitude and behavior about plastics, interactions, discussions, Kids Challenges and Exhibitions.

The International Children’s Climate Change Conference will be held at the Ntinda School For the Deaf, it will have participants from different schools in Uganda like Otim Tom Memorial Primary School from Lira District and neighbouring countries like Rwanda. Uganda Little Hands Go Green is partnering with KCCA, Mixakids, Java House, NEMA and Round Bob.


Inorder to make the conference known to children, the Go Green team led by Joseph Masembe have been visiting schools around Kampala planting trees and teaching children about environmnental conservation.

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