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News (16)

Lubowa hospital: Uganda should learn from the Lesotho experience

Salima Namusobya, executive director of the Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER), says Uganda should learn from the Lesotho experience before implementing the public private partnership (PPP) for the International Specialised Hospital of Uganda (ISHU) at Lubowa. “It is, therefore, very likely that the government will spend taxpayers’ money on debt repayment for a hospital that will serve a small number of people, yet the Shs1.3 trillion shillings would go a long way in improving the public healthcare system in the country. The money could, for example, also go towards improving the Uganda Cancer and Heart Institutes at the Mulago National Referral Hospital. It is not too late for Uganda to learn from the Lesotho experience and drop this PPP that is coming at a very high cost to the public.”

Source: Daily Monitor

When Electricity Means Life

Primah Kwagala of the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development in Uganda writes that health facilities should not be targeted by privatised energy providers. “When Uganda’s privatized electricity supplier shuts off power to hospitals, the results are catastrophic. In 2012, 150 babies on oxygen concentrators at a hospital in Jinja died after utility company UMEME Uganda Limited turned off the electricity with no prior notice. In 2015, Kiboga District Hospital was without power for over a month. UMEME disconnected the supply because the government of Uganda had not paid the bill of over 100 million Uganda Shillings (US$26,600). The utility has a right to be paid for the services it provides. But when it comes to hospitals, the consequences are too grave for such hard and fast rules.”

Source: allAfrica.com

Efforts to partially privatize the national pension scheme have been met with skepticism

Efforts to partially privatize the national pension scheme have been met with skepticism and calls for reform to improve its operation. President Museveni is not supporting the bill. “In 2015, at one of the NSSF celebrations, the President said: ‘Some people have been coming to me with this idea that the sector will be more efficient when private players are allowed in, but I just kept quiet. I have never opposed or supported the proposed reforms.’ He continued: ‘Unless these people who are pushing for liberalization are saying that NSSF is being mismanaged, they will really have to convince me more.’ At the same function, he observed: ‘Having one player has one good advantage that we have money available for any useful capital development projects. (…) From the ULS, the Workers' Unions, the Workers' MPs and the NSSF, the message has been one: Amend the NSSF Act but do not repeal it.”

Source: allAfrica.com

There is renewed controversy over the contract, performance and tariff collected by electricity distributor, Umeme

There is renewed controversy over the contract, performance and tariff collected by electricity distributor, Umeme, the private, listed company that has held a 20 year electricity distribution concession since March 2005. President Museveni has expressed his dissatisfaction. The issue “brings back the question of competence and due diligence by government officials and institutions who oversee public trust. It also suggests there are issues of technical and financial competences, and business ethical behaviour by service providers who often take advantage to cheat as they make colossal profits.”

Source: www.mediacentre.go.ug

Privatise national museums

The tourism industry wants to privatize public museums. Amos Wekesa, CEO of Great Lakes Safaris, says “I think museums should be privatized… We have not tapped into culture yet there is so much potential. When we talk about culture, we mean mountains…”

Source: www.independent.co.ug

Privatization of public services have diminished access to education, healthcare and other opportunities

Muwanga Batuuka, writing in the Daily Monitor, says “the mismanagement and privatization of public services have diminished access to education, healthcare and other opportunities generally, which has given rise to biting poverty. Couple that with incompetence and you begin to scratch at the big mess Uganda faces today.”

Source: peopleoverprof.it

The FitchGroup’s BMI research gives Uganda high marks for east Africa but low marks by global standards

The FitchGroup’s BMI research gives Uganda high marks for east Africa but low marks by global standards in its “Economic Opennness” report, noting “extensive privatization programmes by the government have opened up industries that were formerly closed to the private sector, such as infrastructure.” BMI says “while the Ugandan government has been on a privatization drive since 1993, dominant state-owned players still operate in [oil and gas, water services, power and agriculture]. Given the high levels of corruption in the Ugandan government they are likely to receive preferential treatment in terms of access to land at specific rates.” Land privatization will be an important issue, says the rating company. [BMI Research, “Economic Openness Analysis—Uganda—Q4 2017,” 17 October 2017]

Source: peopleoverprof.it

Bridge International Academies has come under criticism for promoting the privatization of public education in Africa

Bridge International Academies, a private, for-profit company backed by American billionaires that has come under criticism for promoting the privatization of public education in Africa and elsewhere, has struck back against its critics. “Speaking to the UK’s International Development Select Committee, Shannon May said an ongoing legal battle over the future of Bridge’s Uganda business was down to a period of ‘misinformation’ and ‘confusion,’ that had since been ‘cleared up.’ In November, Uganda’s high court ordered that the education ministry could go ahead with plans to close Bridge’s 63 schools in the country due to concerns over standards and compliance with licensing regulations.” The company is also striking back in the courts.

Source: www.publicfinanceinternational.org

A counterattack against Kenya National Union of Teachers secretary-general, who has been critical of Bridge International

In Uganda, more than 60 Bridge International Academies were ordered closed by the government and courts for failing to meet legal and educational requirements.” Nevertheless, a counterattack against Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) secretary-general Wilson Sossion, who has been critical of Bridge International, has been organised.

Source: hivisasa.com