25 Nov 2016

DO CITY VENDORS BEING EVICTED BY KCCA HAVE ANY RIGHTS?

DO CITY VENDORS BEING EVICTED BY KCCA HAVE ANY RIGHTS?

It has been a rather hot and heated debate on whether the vendors should ‘GO’ or ‘STAY PUT’. As far as the debate- it is still ongoing in some circles, however the decision was made to have all unauthorized vendors removed from the city’s streets. When the operations to remove vendors started, the mode in which the street vendors were being removed raised calls of distress through the public the methods of the Authority’s enforcement officials were widely condemned. Even the Minister for Kampala, Hon. Betty Kamya has criticized the methods of some law enforcement agents also colloquially referred to as city KABODES.

WHAT IS THE POINT OF CONCERN?

Believe it or not these city vendors are countrymen and women of the Republic of Uganda and while their economic status and location may be at stake they still have respected rights. During the process of removal, some vendors reportedly had their property dragged away or damaged, individuals were roughly thrown onto patrol vehicles, some of them with infants. The outrage which followed the Authority was not about the evictions and arrest, but rather about the manner in which they were carried out.

DO CITY VENDORS HAVE RIGHTS?

As a prime reference, the 1995 Constitution of the Republic Of Uganda lays out a number of rights that people in Uganda are entitled to. These are summarized to include the following:
1. A right to life,
2. A right to protection from discrimination,
3. A right to protection from inhuman and degrading treatment,
4. A right to personal liberty and freedom of movement,
5. A right to a fair hearing before a competent court or tribunal.

The rights listed above are only a few of the freedoms and entitlements the city vendors have- among many. While carrying out any directives- the KCCA officers, agents and the police they work with are supposed to respect and ensure that these rights are protected.
The rights of people in Uganda are supposed to be protected and enforced for all people regardless of their social status. There are some rights where in certain circumstances they can be limited, however generally speaking the constitutional rights of every person are supposed to be protected and upheld.

DO THE CITY VENDORS HAVE DUTIES?

Even though the vendors should not be abused and their rights denied them, they have got duties to obey the law.
Hawking in a place where the authority has been clear it is illegal to amounts to an offence. When the authority notices that there is an offence committed it has the power to order the offenders to leave that restricted place. Where the offenders refuse to leave that place, then the authority can remove them.

WHEN ILLEGAL VENDORS ARE BEING REMOVED- IS FORCE ALLOWED?

When vendors are being removed from a prohibited place, the authorities are not supposed to use force. Should the vendors refuse to move as instructed, then the authorities can use minimal force- just enough, to get them to move from the place.
Where the said vendors resist their being removed, and in their resisting they use force- then they can be removed with more force which is just enough to execute the orders of the authority. This means that when people sit down and refuse to move, the authorities can carry them away, and like that they will end up using force.

WHAT COULD BE DONE TO SAFEGUARD AND PROTECT LIVES?
In order to ensure that rights are safeguarded and people’s lives are protected it is prudent for all involved parties to keep in mind the following

Vendors:
1. You have rights, but also a responsibility to follow the law
2. Where you are unsatisfied with a decision by an administrative authority, use legal means to challenge it
3. Resisting arrest is an offence/ crime in itself, and only makes things worse
4. Using force to resist arrest enables the law enforcement officials to use more force

Law Enforcement Officials
1. Force should be reasonable and only what is necessary, excessive force is unlawful
2. Please try all other methods of achieving a goal before resorting to force
3. A person does not lose their rights just because they commit a criminal offence or break the law.

04 Nov 2016

WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE CRANE BANK FILE DISAPPEARANCE

WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE CRANE BANK FILE DISAPPEARANCE

WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE CRANE BANK FILE TO DISAPPEAR FROM URSB

The Crane Bank Saga recently got deeper when it was reported that indeed the Crane Bank File in the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) went missing.

URSB PUBLIC NOTICE
The notice published by the Bureau on 02nd November acknowledged that the Bank’s file was declared missing on 10th October 10, 2016 and that the matter was reported to the Uganda Police Force. The Bureau also notified the public that it has got a duplicate file with information on the company from July 1990 when it was registered however it did not mention the date of the last update to the duplicate file which is what may be of most interest to any investigations going on into the Bank’s operations.
Many have wondered, why this is important, and does it in any way affect the bank in its current situation. In order to find out whether this event is important, it is necessary to get an understanding of What URSB is and what it does.

WHAT IS URSB?

URSB is the statutory body (this means it was created by an Act of Parliament) which is in charge of carrying out all registrations which are required under Uganda’s laws, maintain the registers of the data and records and generally manage this information which it collects. The information it collects is termed as “public information” meaning it is open to the public to access.

URSB is the place where companies are registered when being formed and all company decisions are supposed to be filed as Resolutions here. This means that all the major decisions a company makes are contained in the file of that Company at the URSB offices. The file of a company will contain key information from the identity of the shareholders to the managerial decisions made by the Directors and by the Members of the Company.

ARE THE FILES KEPT AT URSB SECRET?

The documents at URSB are typically not secret and one can carry out a search at the Companies Registry to find out information about any given company or registered business- this is usually necessary to find out details before dealing with a particular business as a part of “due diligence”

THE EFFECT OF A MISSING FILE

When a file goes missing from the Bureau, it becomes hard for anyone investigating the activities of the business- especially with Companies- which make all their major decisions through documents called “Company Resolutions” and they must be filed at the Registry. A lost file therefore has a negative impact on the integrity of the company in terms of its decisions and activities and their authentication.
Because documents filed at the Company Registry are considered Public documents at the time of filing, there is no need to prove their validity. However, where the file goes missing, the documents not on record purporting to be of the Company cannot just be believed on the face of it and need to be proved.

25 Oct 2016

ROLE OF A STATUTORY MANAGER

ROLE OF A STATUTORY MANAGER

On the 20th of October 2016 , Bank of Uganda suspended the Board of Directors of Crane Bank Uganda limited and took over management of the bank. On the same day Bank of Uganda appointed a statutory manager of the bank.

But what exactly does the statutory manager do; Section 90 (4) of the Financial Institutions Act 2004 provides among the many roles of a statutory Manager the role to;

• Trace and preserve all the property and assets of the institution he or she is appointed to administer.

• Recover debts and other sums of money due and owing to the financial institution he or she is appointed to administer.

• Evaluate the capital structure and management of the institution and recommend to the Central Bank any restructuring or re-organisization which he or she considers necessary .

• Enter into contracts in the ordinary course of business of the financial institution.

• Obtain from any officers or employees of the financial institution any documents, records , accounts, statements or information relating to its business.

• Issue new balance sheets, profit and loss accounts of the financial institution.

Do you think the appointed Statutory Manager will enable Crane Bank Limited regain economic and financial stability?

18 Oct 2016

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH THE TAXES ON TAXI OPERATORS?

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH THE TAXES ON TAXI OPERATORS?

Written by Pennie Igaga.

The issue of taxi operators’ fees (levies) between taxi operators and KCCA keeps getting more heated. Broken down, reports indicate that each taxi in Kampala pays a road monthly user fee of Shs. 120,000. With that considered, each taxi is also expected to pay money to every local government it drives through. This means that depending on the area the taxi operates in, the taxi operator may have to pay multiple road user fees- which they say is double (triple etc.) taxation.

The Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda recently asked the Local Government minister, Mr Tom Butime to urgently investigate the taxation of taxi operators in the country and to streamline the taxation system in order to dispose of this long running disagreement between local government and taxi owners.
In carrying out this probe, there are a number of canons of taxation/ principles under taxation that have to be considered:

CANONS OF TAXATION
To begin with, Adam Smith, one of the propagators of taxation principles, stresses that taxation must ensure justice. To him, there are four main canons or maxims of taxation on the administrative side of public finance which are still recognized as classic:

1. Canon of Equality or Equity.
The canon of equality or equity implies that the burden of taxation must be distributed equally or equitably in relation to the ability of the tax payers. Equity or social justice demands that the rich people should bear a heavier burden of tax and the poor, a lesser burden. Hence, a tax system should contain progressive tax rates based on the tax-payer’s ability to pay and sacrifice.
The media has reported that multiple taxation has left the drivers so poor and vulnerable to road accidents as they tend to work for long hours to compensate what has been taken away from them by various local governments and Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA).

2. Canon of Certainty.
Taxation must have an element of certainty. The time of payment, the manner of payment, the amount to be paid ought to be clear and plain to the contributor and to every other person.

3. Canon of Economy.
This principle suggests that the cost of collecting a tax should not be exorbitant but be the minimum. Extravagant tax collection machinery is not justified. According to Adam Smith, “Every tax has to be contrived as both to take and keep out of the pockets of the people as little as possible over and above what it brings into the public treasury of the state.”

The cost of collecting tax may be a reason for exorbitant tax payment. The collection of taxes should be economically fair. There is a need for the tax master to put this into consideration when probes are being carried out.

4. Canon of convenience.
A tax should be collected in a convenient manner from the tax payers. Adam Smith stresses: “Every tax ought to be levied at the time or in the manner in which it is most likely to be convenient for the contributor to pay it.”

This suggests that a tax should be determined on the ground of its economic, social and political expediency.
Equity in taxation refers to fairness or justice in the distribution of the tax burden. Since taxation implies a burden or sacrifice on the part of the tax payer, modern economists put great emphasis on justice in taxation and state that taxation should be based on the principle of equity so that direct money burden as well as real burden should be distributed in a just manner.

By Pennie Igaga

31 Jul 2016

MONEY LENDERS INTEREST RATES

MONEY LENDERS INTEREST RATES

Did you know you can challenge your money lenders interest rate?

The key parts of a money lending contract normally are the Loaned amount, interest charged, payment period and collateral. Money lenders are generally aware that the interest rates they charge are both illegal and socially unpopular which are rates above the ceiling or the required rate as under the money lending Act.

In practice in Uganda written loan agreements often indicate the sale of items pledged as collateral. Sometimes loan contracts purport to be assistance agreements to friends in need. Other lenders ask for postdated cheques or assets to be kept in trust by the money lender.

However some registered money lenders do sign loan agreements that more or less accurately reflect the actual terms of the transaction. Although the terms of a loan are verbally communicated transparently to the borrowers who understand the amount they must pay the period of repayment and the guarantees, written loan contracts are deliberately confusing.

Rather than stating the amount of the loan and the interest to be paid , contracts usually imply that the total amount of principal plus which was lent must be repaid, with no mention of interest. These contracts are considered more easily enforceable , not only because they raise illegality or high interest rates but because socially a magistrate is more likely to be sympathetic with claims of someone who made a no interest loan to a friend , than a professional money lender charging 30% per month.

Mandated rate as under the money lending Act provides that money lenders are to have an interest on any money lent out to be 24% per annum and not above it, this thus implies a month installment of 2%. This however has not been the practice of lender in Uganda as interest goes up to 30%.
In case you feel you have been cheated by your money lender however the irregularities can be resolved by filling a case in the commercial court.

THE DUTIES OF THE COURT;

1. The court has power to recall the contract of money lending that has unfair terms.
2. The court can reopen a contract of money lending and relieve a borrower of his obligation if he or she was cheated and exploited.
3. The court can order the return of collateral sold illegally by a lender.
4. Court can determine if an interest rate has been harsh and excessive.

In the event a person feel unfairly treated in a money lending contract one can have the contract reviewed and the challenges addressed.

African proverb ; When people are asking for money they are seated when time for repayment of the loaned amount is due they stand up and shout.

28 Jul 2016

CAN FOREIGNERS ENGAGE IN RETAIL BUSINESS IN UGANDA?

CAN FOREIGNERS ENGAGE IN RETAIL BUSINESS IN UGANDA?

GOOD NEWS FOR UGANDAN RETAILERS

The President recently made a statement referring the phenomenon of foreigners operating retail trade businesses in Uganda as an “importation of importers” and saying it has worsened poverty levels.

Kampala City Traders Association has been pursuing this matter for some time requesting for the government to enforce limitations on the nature of business foreigners can engage in, in order to secure some sort of space for Ugandans.

The President explained that foreigners engaging in retail trade business is one of the reasons for increasing unemployment.

The relevant government ministry was instructed to ensure that foreigner businesses are limited to manufacturing and construction with retailing left for Ugandans “or possibly, the other African immigrants as well.”

WHAT DOES THE LAW SAY?

The Investment Code Act is the law that provides for foreign investors who wish to do business in Uganda. An analysis of this law exposes the loopholes in the law, essentially making it easy for non-Ugandans to engage in almost every type of business except a few categories which we name in the analysis what follows.

FOREIGNERS ARE PROHIBITED FROM CERTAIN BUSINESSES

Section 10(1) of the Investment Code ACt says a foreigner is not supposed to carry on business unless it is in accordance with the Code.

This Section later goes on to prohibit foreign investors from carrying out the following businesses.

1. crop production
2. animal production
3. acquiring land for the purpose of crop production or animal production.

However, related to this, the foreigners are allowed to:

1. provide material and other assistance to Ugandan farmers in crop and animal production
2. lease land for purposes of manufacturing or carrying out the activities in the Second and Third Schedules of the Act.

FOREIGN INVESTORS ENGAGING IN TRADE

The same Act states that a foreign investor who intends to engage in trade only does not need to comply with the provisions of Section 10(1) *meaning they do not need an investment license* but must:
1. Incorporate a company
2. Deposit USD 100,000 or its equivalent in Uganda shillings at Bank of Uganda to be used in setting up the business.
3. Acquire a certificate of remittance from the Bank of Uganda
4. Apply in writing to the immigration department with the certificate of remittance attached along with other relevant documents and information after which the immigration department may issue an entry permit to the foreign investor.
5. After acquiring this permit, the foreign investor is supposed to obtain a trade permit

WAYS FORWARD

With the provisions reflected upon above, it is clear that the current laws relating to foreign investors do not inhibit foreign investors from engaging in retail trade in Uganda. It would appear to us that the only way to change the policy relating to foreign investors engaging in retail trade, an amendment of this law may be require.

12 Jul 2016

HOW MUCH TAX SHOULD SMALL BUSINESSES PAY

HOW MUCH TAX SHOULD SMALL BUSINESSES  PAY

Taxation is a compulsory charge which the government requires people in a country to pay it for a number of reasons which include financing the operations of the government, building infrastructure, promoting equal distribution of wealth, among others.
Of course, whether or not you agree with taxes, you are required to pay them. Taxes can be levied by the central government and the local governments.

In Uganda, the main law governing taxation is the Income Tax Act. This law sets out a description of the different activities that attract tax and how it is charged. Our website contains a page dedicated to providing information about the law regarding taxation of businesses in Uganda, but today we would like to share with you a brief on the presumptive tax rates on small businesses.

WHAT IS A SMALL BUSINESS?
These are businesses whose annual turnover is greater than 10 million shillings but does not exceed 150 million shillings. They are taxed under the presumptive income tax system which is a method used to tax small business enterprises with sales turnover categorized into grades as in the table provided.

The table provided shows the tax rates applicable to small businesses with turnover ranging from 10million to 50million within Kampala city and its division. Tax will be determined in accordance with the second schedule to the ITA cap 340, sec (5) where the gross turnover is less than 50 million.

BUSINESS GRADE I GRADE II GRADE III
General Trade 500,000 400,000 250,000
Carpentry/metal works 500,000 400,000 250,000
Garage 550,000 450,000 300,000
Restaurant & bar 550,000 400,000 300,000
Hair and beauty saloon 550,000 450,000 300,000
clinics 550,000 450,000 300,000
Drug shops 500,000 350,000 100,000
Others 450,000 300,000 200,000

GRADE I –Turnovers from 35million to 50million.
GRADE II– Turnovers from 20million to 35million.
GRADE III– Turnovers from 10million to 20million.

Tax rates for business turnovers ranging from 50million to 150million are presented below.

Range of turnovers Rate of tax
>50million but less than 75million Ugx 937,500 or 1.5% of turnover whichever is lower.
>75million but less than 100million Ugx 1,312,500 or 1.5% of turnover whichever is lower.
>100million but less than 125million Ugx 1,687,500 or 1.5% of turnover whichever is lower.
>125million but less than 150million Ugx 2,062,500 or 1.5% of turnover whichever is lower.

The different grade shows the different turnover in which the sales amount fall.
It’s only applicable to small business resident tax payers who are dealing in taxable supply.
None residents are not allowed to use these tax system. But note that no deduction will be allowed for expenditures or losses suffered in the production of income included in their gross income.

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU FEEL OVER TAXED

A tax payer who feels dissatisfied with the tax amount levied upon his business can apply to the commissioner general by writing a notice of complain to be reassessed .This should be done within 45days of receipt of the tax invoice and the commissioner will reply with his decision within 45days as well. For further dissatisfaction, the tax appeal tribunal and the high court shall pass a final ruling.

FILING RETURNS.

Every corporate tax payers dealing in taxable supply must submit an annual income tax return by not later than six months from the end of its corporate tax year. However, you can apply for an extension of a maximum period of 90 days before the due date of filing the return. This therefore calls for a proper documentation of all records of transactions before submission to the tax authority.

18 May 2016

HOW TO REGISTER YOUR COMPANY

HOW TO REGISTER YOUR COMPANY

It is one thing to know the advantages of registering a company, but how does one do this? A question we have got far so often so we decided to come up with this detailed guide on how it is done in Uganda. Here is a brief guide on the steps.

a) Effect a search.
b) Reserve the name.
c) Draft the articles of Association.
d) Draft the Memorandum of Association.
e) File the M.O.A and A.O.A
f) File the Statutory declaration.
g) Issue of certificate of Incorporation.
h) File the Annual returns.
i) File the statement of Nominal capital
j).File the return of the allotment of shares.
k)File the location of the registered offices.
l) File the particulars of the directors.

Here are the details on the steps to register a business in Uganda.

HOW TO CONDUCT A COMPANY SEARCH;
• Fill a search requisition form or apply by letter addressed to the Registrar General at the Uganda Registration Services Bureau.
• Pay the Search fees
• You will then be able to access the record for search at the registry office or receive a response by letter.
After a successful search of a desired name one will then have the name reserved for purposes of registration as a Company or Business name to be registered.

HOW TO RESERVE A NAME;
• Fill Name Reservation Form
• Submit applications For Name Search;
• Pick Processed Reservation Form in One day.

HOW TO REGISTER A COMPANY;
A company is a legal person which has capacity and powers to act on its own (the law sees a company in the same light as a natural person) .It is created by the companies Act No. 1 of 2012 which is the machinery that enables the company to be formed for lawful purposes in Uganda.

To register a Local Company limited by shares, one needs to reserve the name to be used and then file the following documents with the Registrar of Companies;

A) Company Registration Form (S.18)
B) Memorandum and Articles of Association
C) Other Company Forms
1. A.1 Statement of Nominal capital.
To register a local company limited by guarantee, one needs to reserve the name to be used and then file the following documents with the Registrar of Companies;
a. Company Registration Form (S.18)
b. Memorandum and Articles of Association;
When you have all the documents ready , pick assessment forms from the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) or do a self-assessment an pay registration fees and stamp duty. Upon registration, the Registrar will issue a certificate upon
incorporation within two working days.

After the company has been registered, the following forms must be filed (Company Returns).
1. Company Form 18 , 19 and 20 Particulars of Directors and Secretaries (within 14 days)
2. Company form 9 – Notice of Situation of Registered Office & Postal Address (within 14 Days)
3. Company Form A3 – Return of allotment (within 60 days)
4. Form of Annual Return For a Company Limited by Shares (to be filed once every year).

31 Mar 2016

WELCOME TO THE mSME GARAGE

WELCOME TO THE mSME GARAGE

WELCOME TO THE mSME GARAGE

Uganda is recognized as the most entrepreneurial country in the world with almost 1 in every 8 adults running a business at some point in their lives. But sadly, most of these have a high mortality rate; nearly 50% collapse before they reach their first birthday. With the shocking levels of youth unemployment – finding a job has become a dream, a reality for a select few.

This is what we have set out to find – a solution to these challenges. The Barefoot Law Team presents you with the best of the many possible solutions we had at hand, promoting entrepreneurship and supporting the micro and small businesses in order to boost employment by promoting those who provide the most jobs to us- the everyday businessman and woman.

The mSME Garage is the solution that we are presenting you with, to be your silent partner in business, support you with legal guidance, taxation and accounting support in order to not only allow your business to survive but to thrive. If you want to start a business, we have got the guidance and support you need, the information which will help you decide how to create your business, how to run it and how to grow it.

DO YOU REMEMBER THE INNOVATING JUSTICE CHALLENGE?

We once asked many of you who were with us last year to vote for us in the Innovating Justice Challenge- well, your support has made the mSME Garage a reality, since it was by your efforts and much needed support that we were able to successfully create this service.

What can the mSME Garage do for you?

We provide you with legal information for your business. Everyday! This information is important for you whether you are a sole proprietor, an entrepreneur starting out, or an SME that is already operating. We guide you on legal processes, quick information which we hope can help you plan and structure your business, and dedicated updates to the business world that affect your business on the legal front.

We also provide you with template documents which you can use to understand legal documents as well as utilize to develop your own documents.

We also provide you with an interface to get in touch with us! Contact a lawyer directly through our website platform.

It is easy, just register on our website and Start a Chat session; when our lawyers are online, you will have a live chat session, or if we are offline, our lawyers will get back to you. There also other exciting ways to utilize the mSME Garage to benefit you and other entrepreneurs. If you would like to meet with a lawyer face to face, use our contact details to set up an appointment. You can also request for a group session for you and a group of entrepreneurs, just contact us and make your request for support. This is ideal for entrepreneur groups or innovators facing similar legal challenges.

All these services and resources, we provide them FREE! So, get in touch, make use of the mSME Garage.