Capital flight from Uganda must stop – Museveni

Emerging details of President Yoweri Museveni’s meeting with Rob Shuter, the MTN Group Chief Executive Officer  indicate that the President has changed his stance on foreign companies doing business in Uganda.

In Davos, Switzerland where he is attending the World Economic Forum, Museveni had discussions with Shuter over a range issues including telling the telecom giants to float shares on the Uganda Stock Exchange so that Ugandans can partly own the company.

“Local ownership is important because it helps us stem capital flight which happens when the company is fully foreign owned. The question of repatriating 100% of your profits yet there is little value-addition and wealth creation for Ugandans is unfair,” Museveni told Shuter.

Syphoning out profits by foreign companies is among the reasons that Museveni is advancing to ban foreign companies in the betting sector.

“It is for this reason that we are banning registration of new fully-owned foreign betting companies while the old ones will not have their licences renewed. All they do is accumulate money from Ugandans then ship it out of the country,” Museveni said.

The current shareholding by Ugandans in MTN’s Uganda subsidiary is said to be 5% but the company is understood to be in talks with National Social Security Fund (NSSF) for the workers fund to buy stake in the telecom company.

Museveni also warned telecom companies against underdeclaring calls because this way, they cheat the  government of revenue.

“We have bought machines to track these calls but it is still important that the companies do not engage in this vice,” Museveni said.