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The East African : Apr 13th 2015
The EastAfrican 36 TELECOMMUNICATIONS TRAFFIC Calls, text from EA into Kenya increase One Netwo≥k A≥ea pays o≠ but sma≥tphones, data d≥ive fall in inte≥national t≥a∞c By SCOLA KAMAU Special Correspondent African Community counterparts increased in the past three months of 2014, riding on the One Network Area as international traffic slowed down due to increased data usage and uptake of smartphones. According to the latest data from T the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA), incoming traffic from the East African region grew by 8.2 per cent to 20.7 million minutes in the three months to December from 19.1 million the previous quarter. Traffic out to East African countries grew by 24.4 per cent to 17.8 million minutes. Uganda led in incoming mobile voice traffic and outgoing mobile voice at 11.4 million minutes. Tanzania followed with incoming mobile and outgoing voice traffic at 5.7 million minutes and 6.7 minutes respectively. Rwanda had 3.6 million and 1.9 million minutes for the two categories while Burundi and South Sudan registered 65,015 minutes and 24,637 in the incoming traffic and 269,839 and 3,715 respectively in the outgoing traffic. “Kenyan companies have sub- sidiaries across the region and ONA has made it cheaper to use office lines to communicate. The rates should be brought down further to enhance increased trade and EAC integration,” said Vimal Shah, Kenya Private Sector Alliance chairman. New methods and communica- tion apps (such as Skype, Viber, Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter) aided by the uptake of smartphones and lower charges for data compared with voice and text messages ate into international traffic. The total international outgoing elecommunications traffic between Kenya and its East THE NUMBERS 8.2pc Growth in traffic from the East African region into Kenya to 20.7 million minutes n the three months to December. Of these, Uganda led at 11.4 million minutes while Burundi had 65,015 minutes only. 9 million High Speed Packet Access connections in Kenya by 2017, from 2 million, while 2G connections will decline from 25 million connections to 21.9 million, according to global market researcher Ovum predictions. traffic declined by 3.4 per cent during the quarter to register 108 million minutes, down from 112 million minutes posted during the previous quarter. In the period under review, the volume of SMS received from other countries increased by 4.0 per cent to 44 million messages, up from 42 million messages reported in the previous quarter. International outgoing SMS, on the other hand, declined by 6.3 per cent to 11.24 million messages, down from 12 million messages. “We could attribute this to the increase in data usage, especially among the youth, who are preferring social media to voice calls, especially for the convenience and Operators will have to be innovative ... as technology continuously favours data usage.” Eric Musau, an analyst at the Standard Investment Bank BUSINESS APRIL 11-17,2015 ‘You’ll ca≥≥y you≥ own litigation c≥oss’ By HALIMA ABDALLAH Special Correspondent UGANDA’S JUSTICE Ministry will no longer meet litigation costs for other departments. In a new policy that was first proposed in 2001, liability for such an event will be placed on the accounting officer who causes the loss. “We have clearly told the Min- istry of Finance that we are not going to pay any more compensation and so no department should hide behind the Ministry of Justice to abdicate their responsibilities,” said Justice Minister Maj-Gen Kahinda Otafiire. The implementation of the New methods and communication apps (such as Skype, Viber, Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter) aided by the uptake of smartphones and lower charges for data ate into international traffic. Picture: File cost,” said Adil El Youssefi, Airtel Kenya chief excutive. According to Eric Musau, an an- alyst at the Standard Investment Bank, the shift to data usage is having a huge impact on mobile revenue. “Operators will have to be innova- tive to maintain the relevance of the voice and sms as technology continuously favours data usage,” said Mr Musau. The total number of data/Internet subscriptions in the three months to December grew by 10.8 per cent to reach 16.4 million from 14.8 million subscriptions reported the previous quarter while mobile subscriptions rose 8 per cent to 33.6 million, up from 32.8 million subscriptions. The estimated number of Internet users during the quarter increased to 26.1 million, up from 23.2 million subscriptions reported last quarter. This marked an increase of 4.8 million subscriptions. The population with access to the Internet shot to 64.3 per 100 inhabitants, up from last quarter’s figure of 57.1 per 100 inhabitants. “The growth in Internet access and usage can be attributed to the numerous data promotions carried out by the various service providers during the quarter,” CA said. According to Steve Chege, head of regulatory and public policy at Safaricom, the decline in international traffic can be explained by the failure to file returns by Essar Ltd as the report did not take into consideration their portion of outgoing traffic. In the period under review, Essar was acquired by Safaricom and Airtel Kenya. The acquisition raised Airtel Net- works Ltd’s market share to 22.6 per cent up from 16.5 per cent posted during the previous quarter. Safaricom’s market share increased by 0.7 to 67.4 per cent during the quarter, up from 66.7 per cent posted during the last quarter while Telkom Kenya (Orange) gained 0.8 per cent to reach 10 per cent. Pa≥liament wants ≥egulato≥, NSSF punished ove≥ Umeme By DICTA ASIIMWE Special Correspondent UGANDA’S PARLIAMENT wants officials at both the National Social Security Fund and the Capital Markets Authority dismissed for their involvement in the divestiture of electricity distributor Umeme’s shares. While debating recommenda- tions of a committee formed to investigate mismanagement at NSSF, parliament asked that about 12 bosses at CMA be dismissed over negligence and risking Ugandans’ money by allowing Umeme to float shares that could have voided the distributor’s concession with the government. Following its secondary public of- fering, Umeme with 16 per cent lost its majority shareholding to Invest Asset Management, which owns 18.5 per cent of the electricity distributor. However, Umeme spokesperson Henry Rugamba insists they acted within the requirements of the concession. “The only thing we have done is to consolidate ownership for Ugandans, by selling to 5,600 shareholders,” he said. An ERA official who preferred anonymity said that the requirement for the government was that Umeme remain the majority share- holder for the terms to be valid. “We are currently looking at their concession with a view to terminating it,” the official said. Parliament agrees with ERA’s assessment and has recommended that the concession be reviewed, since ownership has changed. The legislators also want ERA and CMA investigated for possible fraud, for approving Umeme’s public offerings. ERA has been under pressure over the lenience afforded private players involved in the generation and distribution of electricity and this showdown with Umeme presents an opportunity for redemption, since Uganda can end the concession without incurring high costs. Under the concession with the government, Umeme was to be compensated under all circumstances. Parliament found in March 2014, that these terms were unfair and that the government should terminate the concession, but the high cost of this acted as a deterrent. For the concession to be termi- nated in March 2014 Uganda would have had to pay $148 million to Umeme. Uganda can now terminate the concession without costs, but parliament says this risks NSSF’s Ush34 billion ($11.3 million) investment. Justice Minister Maj-Gen Kahinda Otaafire. Picture:File policy comes after the Financial Audit report, released by the Auditor General recently, put compensation awards at $69 million as of June 2014. Maj-Gen Otafiire told The EastAfrican that the ministry’s budget is already overwhelmed and can barely meet all its operations requirements. The new policy shift has already been tabled and approved by Cabinet. However, a PAC report tabled in parliament last month shows that legislators are concerned that decentralising the award payments alone is not enough to sanitise the public purse; the Attorney General must do more in defending cases against the government. “We do not have enough ad- vocates to represent the government nor ... enough prosecutors to help. Police itself is not adequate. Prison staff is insufficient,” said Maj-Gen Otafiire. Non adherence to contracts, political interference, unco-ordinated and negligent activities or connivance of some government departments and poor remuneration of public servants are however what the legislators view as leading to huge awards. For example, President Yoweri Museveni directed that Dura Cement’s mining deal be cancelled only four months after it was awarded. The company went to court and was awarded $16 million for damages.
Apr 6th 2015
Apr 19th 2015