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Put rafting and bungee-jumping on your bucket list this festive season

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ALI TWAHA

In December 2015, I received an e-mail from MultiChoice Uganda inviting me and 40 other journalists for a media challenge at Busiika Adventure park. I did not show up because of pressing issues I had to attend to. When the opportunity struck for the second time, without asking any questions, I said yes, this time. I would not miss it for anything. When we gathered at the pay TV company’s offices in Kololo at 6am, I had no idea what to expect from this experience. White water rafting is one of the main tourist attractions on River Nile. It fetches the country billions in foreign exchange. We arrived at the Adrift base in Jinja at about 11am. The view of the River Nile looked so beautiful.
It curved gently through the swampy river banks, making the air smell so refreshing and I inhaled deeply. As everyone rushed off to get some breakfast, my attention was quickly drawn toward the sounds of the crashing waves. There, we would go rafting – a high adrenaline sport where several p…

Land probe runs into anti-Asian feelings

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Walking along the streets of Mbale town in eastern Ugandan, you will notice the large number of Asians living in the area. Many of them are Ugandan nationals, born and raised here although they have their ancestral and ethnic roots in Asia, Writes ALI TWAHA As the Catherine Bamugemereire-chaired commission of inquiry into land matters continues its investigations, the question of the departed Asians properties has resurfaced. A number of indigenous Ugandans and the former Asian owners in Mbale are locked in courtrooms, trading land-grabbing accusations. These were part of the scenes that featured in last week’s cross examinations during public hearings held at Mbale resort hotel. When Asians were expelled by dictator Idi Amin in 1972, they left behind about 8,965 properties. All were expropriated by government and placed under the Departed Asians Properties Custodian Board (DAPCB). Following the enactment of the Expropriated Properties Act of 1982, the properties were reclaimed by th…

Artists seek huge pay for copyright

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Officials from the Uganda Registration Services Bureau recently presented a final draft to cabinet on the national intellectual property (IP) policy. As cabinet plans to discuss it, players spot some gaps that might impede the much-desired change in the industry, writes ALI TWAHA.

At a time when most companies are leveraging the power of technology and innovations, the theft and infringement of intellectual property (IP) has finally become an issue that government wants to aggressively tackle.
After several consultations, URSB, an institution mandated to register copyright and other related IP rights, have submitted to cabinet a new national IP policy that aims at mitigating some of the concerns, especially in areas of research, arts and technology to stimulate growth. Abubaker Muhammad Moki, the commissioner, policy development, at the Office of the President, confirmed that cabinet is only waiting for the policy assessment report by their team to examine its likely impact on the indu…

Western Union, Moneygram Meet Biggest Foes in New Online Players

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Sending and receiving money across the border used to be a preserve for two international firms, Western Union and MoneyGram. But with the advent of mobile technology, the future of these two firms remains questionable as mobile money transactions break barriers to connect people across the world. In the last four years and three months since she travelled to work in Oman, Aminah Gamama has sent thousands of Rial (Oman currency) back to her family in Uganda. As a single mother, she has done this effortlessly to fend for her five children, with the oldest daughter now in senior six. In 2014, Gamama sent home Shs 3.5m using Western Union to cater for her children's school fees and other necessities. However, when her sister Mariam went to withdraw the money at a Western Union agent in Kampala, through Equity bank, her identity card did not match the information on the account. "When I reached the [Equity] bank, I was told the money had arrived but the name [used on the transfe…

How China is chipping into Japan’s vehicle market

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For the last 30 years, the Japanese have enjoyed dominance of East Africa’s vehicle market. There is a new player on the block, though, writes ALI TWAHA & MOSES TALEMWA.
With heavy assembly plants in Kenya and Tanzania, Nissan and Isuzu produced several buses, trailers, vans and tippers for the regional market.
Japanese trucks have dominated Uganda’s transport industry for years. But now, there is a new competitor on the block  In 2011, Pioneer Easy Bus services imported 100 Yutong buses from China to provide public transport around Kampala. The plan was to import a further 500 buses over the next three years. The decision to import the buses was a subtle hint at a changing tide. Soon after, China’s Foton followed, with its trucks, cars and buses. Kalita Bus Company, which operates the Kampala-Fort Portal route, had used the Isuzu buses for years. Now Kalita has imported the Chinese-made Zhongtong According to Abdurahman Ssebi, a manager at Kalita, the Zhongtong buses are cost-effecti…

MTN, BOU on spot over patent for mobile saving

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EDAD e-payment limited, a Kasese-based startup company, is accusing MTN Uganda and Bank of Uganda (BOU) for infringing on its intellectual property right, claiming unspecified damages. The company, which says it created and patented a virtual space on which mobile money users can divert some of their savings, notes that MTN Uganda’s Mokash product has a strikingly similar version of the patented invention.  As such, the company has written to the minister of Science, Technology and Innovation as it prepares to go to court to plead its case. “I am sad to report that I have been faced with unjustified interference from the regulators, particularly Bank of Uganda,” reads a letter from Daniel K. Byamukama, the managing director of EDAD e-Payment ltd, to the minister of Science, Technology and Innovation on October 28, 2016. “In view of the seriousness of BOU’s actions, we have been forced to consider taking legal steps, but knowing that court matters can take very long to be resolved, I am…

Local supermarkets stand ground as foreign players crash out

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Five years ago, it was thought that foreign players would displace local supermarkets such as Mega Standard, Quality and Capital Shoppers, in a tightening industry. However, as ALI TWAHA reports, local players have found a way of marking their turf.
In 2015, Uchumi’s chain of supermarkets closed down, leaving several customers, employees and service providers stranded. The supermarket had been in the industry since 2005. Initially based at Garden City, it spread out to several districts, in a bid to shut out any local competition. With Uchumi now out of the industry, Nakumatt Holdings managing director, Atul Shah admitted last October, that they were also struggling financially. In a statement posted on social media platforms, Nakumatt Holdings said they were, “faced with a number of unforeseen business challenges”. However, sources within have revealed to us that they secured a loan from Orient Bank, last month, to offset some of their challenges. So what are these unforeseen challenges …