American International Group (AIG) has tapped on seasoned insurance executive, Lydia Kayonde to lead their re-entry into the Ugandan market, CEO East Africa Magazine has learnt.
The Insurance Regulatory Authority’s Chief Executive Officer, Ibrahim Kaddunabbi Lubega, was quoted by The Independent magazine in December 2018, confirming that AIG Uganda Ltd, had been issued a green-field insurance investment.
Before its exit late 2016, AIG had operated in Uganda since 1962. It, in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent federal bailout of the mother company, was rebranded to Chartis Insurance in 2009, but reverted to AIG in 2012.
Before its exit, AIG had gradually lost its market leadership position to Jubilee Insurance and UAP Insurance (now UAP), with UGX31.9 billion premiums in 2016 and a market share of 7.10% compared to its heydays in 2013 when it underwrote UGX50.1 billion in non-life premiums and UGX29.9 billion in life premiums.
In 2014, when IRA stopped issuing licenses to composed insurance companies and ordered for the split of life and non-life business, AIG dropped its life insurance arm. Their industry market share and business continued declining till their eventual exit in 2016.
Their headquarter building was sold to Britam Insurance for an undisclosed amount.
However, even in their last days- AIG remained one of the most respected and trusted brands in the business, especially in claims settlement.
Who is Lydia Kayonde?
Lydia Kayonde, is no stranger in both the AIG and insurance corridors. For nearly 10 years, she was the Manager-Liabilities & Financial Lines at both AIG and Chartis before she was tapped by Stanbic Bank to head their newly established bancassurance unit.
Stanbic was the first bank to receive a bancassurance license in October 2017.
Other than leading Stanbic to being the first bancassurance agent, Kayonde has been instrumental in shaping Stanbic as the industry leader in bancassurance.
Stanbic, according to the IRA 2018 annual report, collected UGX9.9 billion in premiums, out of the industry’s UGX19.7 billion non-life premiums- earning a UGX50.22% market share, well ahead of Barclays Bank and dfcu Bank, their closest rivals, who collected UGX5.1 billion and UGX1.5 billion translating into 26.1% and 7.6% market share respectively.
Stanbic also led in non-life premiums collections – having collected UGX1.8 billion in premiums- of the total UGX6.3 billion industry premiums, translating to a 27.9 market share.
Positive 2019 outlook
AIG is yet to officially comment about their return to the Ugandan market, but is believed to be driven by the growth in infrastructure spending by especially government and oil and gas companies- all of which herald positive industry projections.
Government infrastructure investments, reached 8.9 percent of GDP in FY17/18 and is envisaged to increase further this year and next, according to the IMF Uganda Country Report, May 2019.
Uganda is transitioning from the oil exploration stage to development and production stages; industry estimates say this stage will take up to 5 years and will cost up to USD20 billion. Uganda has also opened a second licensing round for five oil and gas exploration blocks in the Albertine Graben.
14 insurance companies in Uganda, under their Insurance Consortium for Oil and Gas (ICOG) have raised over $200m (sh745b) aggregated insurance capacity in readiness for Uganda’s oil and gas industry.
The insurance industry in Uganda underwrote UGX856 billion (USD227.8 million) in 2018- that is UGX73.60 billion (USD19.6 million) more than the Shs782.4 billion (208.2 million) underwritten in 2017. This is a 17.5% growth rate, compared to a 14.75% growth rate registered in 2017.
IRA Q1, 2019 reports show that industry premiums grew 9.1%, from UGX260.5 billion in Q1, 2018 to 284.1 billion, on the back of a 30.7% growth in life premiums- from UGX48.5 billion to UGX63.4 billion. Non-life business grew by 4.1% from UGX190.8 billion to UGX198.5 billion while Health Membership Organisations (HMOs) grew by 4.4% from UGX21.2 billion to UGX22.1 billion.
IRA’s Kadunabbi in a recent 23rd May 2019 industry presentation also expressed optimism that the industry would maintain this positive trend in 2019, on the back of upcoming projects like the Standard Gauge Railway, the USD3.5 billion East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), Uganda Airlines and the UGX470 billion CCTV cameras project in metropolitan Kampala.
He also said that growth in bancassurance as a channel as well the increased uptake of micro-insurance facilitated by mobile money platforms spelt growth news for the sector. Kadunabbi is also betting on recent industry engagements with Uganda Revenue Authority to enforce Section 9(3) of the Insurance Act so as to stop the millions of dollars being haemorrhaged out of the country in marine and cargo insurance.
Section 9(3) of the Insurance Act, dictates that, “all local risks and persons including imports shall be insured by insurance companies licensed to carryout insurance business in Uganda.”
According to Bank of Uganda Balance of Payments report, USD67.5 million (UGX254.2 billion) left the country in 2018 for insurance- this is equivalent to 30% of the entire Ugandan insurance industry.
Kenya, under their revised insurance laws in 2017 localised all marine cargo insurance business, with some penalties for errant parties and in just one year, alone, grew marine premiums by 37%- from KES2.6 billion (UGX96.6 billion) to KES3.6 billion (UGX132.2 billion).
By comparison, Uganda underwrote UGX33.5 billion under the marine/aviation category in 2017.
World Bank’s IFC considering USD70 million loan to Umeme
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) the largest global development institution and a member of the World Bank Group, has reported, they are considering lending up to USD 70 million (UGX263.2 billion) to Umeme Limited.
Umeme is Uganda’s largest power distributor.
In a disclosure posted on their website, IFC said they plan to raise a senior loan for up to USD 30 million from IFC’s own account, and up to USD40 million to be mobilized from other lenders- altogether USD 70 million.
IFC said in the disclosure that the debt financing will be used to support “Umeme’s next 6-year (2019-2024) capital expenditure program, which will mainly focus on: network upgrades to enable load growth and additional connections to support uptake of new generation, safety/reliability enhancements, and implementation of smart meters to continue improving collections and reducing commercial losses.”
“The Project will support the growing demand for electricity in Uganda, and contribute to ongoing efforts to increase access to electricity. This will help fulfil the Government of Uganda’s efforts to improve electrification rate from the current 27% to 60% by 2027, and complement the significant growth (almost double) in generation capacity expected by 2020 (from 183MW Isimba and 600MW Karuma dams, and small solar/hydros),” said IFC in their disclosure.
“In addition, the Project has potentially significant indirect and induced effects on value added and employment as Umeme’s network expansion plan focuses on zones with high electricity demand and economic growth potential. Finally, it will improve resilience of the main distribution network in Uganda and reduce losses, through adoption of advanced smart technologies, adequate maintenance and upgrade of ageing assets,” added IFC.
IFC further said that by availing more affordable commercial and institutional financing, which is not readily available in the Ugandan market, Umeme will be enabled to “increase the average maturity of its loans and free up cash flow for Capex.”
“IFC’s involvement and proposed structure will also provide comfort to existing commercial lenders to potentially increase their commitment to Umeme,” said IFC.
This disclosure, coming at the same time as government’s confirmation last week that it will renew Umeme’s 20-year concession comes in handy and is a growing show of confidence in the power distributor.
The financing, if approved will bring, the total amount of lending to Umeme by IFC to USD185 million over the last 10 years. Umeme, which has previously been hailed by the World Bank as “by far the most successful Public Private Partnership “in the previous past has attracted up to USD 265 million in funding from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Standard Chartered Bank, and Stanbic.
In a recent interview with CEO East Africa, Patrick Bitature the Umeme board chairman, said Umeme will need to invest up to USD450 million in capital expenditure (CAPEX) alone. He however added that to create a robust enough distribution network to last the country for over 20 years, Umeme will need to invest between USD1 billion and USD1.5 billion over the next five to ten years.
To date, Umeme has invested $627m (UGX2.4 trillion) into doubling the distribution network to over 34,000km from the 16,000km it inherited and grown customer connections by more than 4 times- from the 290,000 inherited to 1,291,811 by end of 2018.
BoU Currency Scandal- URA tells BOU: “Don’t drag us into your mess”
Amidst the raging scandal in which the Statehouse anti-corruption unit is investigating how illegitimate cargo, found itself on a chartered plane carrying new BoU banknotes, the Ugadna Revenue Authority (URA) whose customs officials cleared the cargo have said they did nothing wrong and instead asked BoU to own up their mess.
Full statement by Dickson Kateshumbwa, the URA Commissioner Customs, in verbatim:
In April this year, URA Entebbe Customs was informed by BOU of an impending import of Currency and requested to facilitate quick clearance. A private chartered plane arrived and as normal practice for sensitive cargo Customs facilitated clearance of the currency at the tarmac in presence of BOU Officials, BOU Security, Aviation Security, Police and other security agencies.
The consignment was offloaded, inspected and loaded on BOU vehicles and taken to Kampala under heavy security escort.
The same plane contained other cargo which belonged to various individuals / companies / organizations. As per normal customs clearance procedure, this cargo was offloaded into the licensed bonds at the airport and subsequently the owners made customs declarations, paid applicable taxes and Customs physically verified each consignment to ascertain accuracy and consistency with the declaration and released the goods to the owners.
Each consignment had its individual airway bill. Customs was not party to the airline charter arrangements between BOU, the airline and the other owners of the goods. It is not the responsibility of Customs to concern itself in logistical arrangements of importers or exporters. Our duty is to ensure that imported cargo through the airport is received and tallied with the cargo manifest, verified and is cleared in line with the Customs Laws as established under the East African Customs Management Act (EACCMA).
In this particular consignment like all others, our Customs staff followed the procedures to the dot and we can account for the cargo cleared fully. URA has provided the details of the information required by the investigators and we are available to offer any clarification if required.
URA should not be dragged into logistical contractual failures or mistakes of BOU and their service provider.
Government to renew Umeme Concession- Matia Kasaija
The Government of Uganda will renew Umeme Limited’s electricity distribution concession, Hon Matia Kasaija the Finance, Planning and economic Development minister, has confirmed, ending months of uncertainty and speculation.
“With respect to power distribution, the distribution concession with Umeme Limited will be renegotiated and extended to ensure further investment, and also lower electricity tariffs,” Kasaija told MPs and the whole country at the reading of the 2019/20 budget speech yesterday, June 13th 2019, at Kampala Serena Hotel.
He said the decision is to enable Umeme promptly undertake the necessary investments needed to facilitate government’s ambitious targets to connect 300,000 customers annually to the grid, with a goal of attaining access to electricity by 30% of the population by end of 2020 and 60% by 2026.
Government, under a reinvigorated industrialization policy also plans to build fully planned and serviced Industrial Parks in 22 locations across the country that will host both medium and large scale industries. In the 2019/20 budget, Kasaija has provided UGX428.68 billion- out of which UGX147 billion will go towards extending electricity to the parks, UGX103 billion towards, the development of supportive export infrastructure in export processing zones and industrial parks while UGX178 billion will go towards supporting science technology and innovation.
Government is banking on the recently launched 183 MW Isimba Dam and the expected commissioning of the 600 MW Karuma Dam sometime this year – altogether raising Uganda’s generation capacity to 1,767 MW by end of 2019, to feed this mega-industrialisation push.
Umeme investors welcome Kasaija’s decision
Richard Byarugaba, the NSSF Managing Director, welcomed the pronouncement by government as “Great news!”
“The largest workers investment in the Uganda stock exchange is now secured,” he said.
NSSF is the largest shareholder in Umeme with a 23% stock in the power distributor.
The bourse is yet to react to the announcement by government, but it is expected that institutional investors who have been on the edge, will rush in to absorb more Umeme shares.
Currently, according to a May 30th, 2019 report by investment bankers Crested Capital, Umeme is the hottest stock on the bourse with a dividend yield of about 13.63%.
Umeme’s total dividend for 2018 is UGX40.90 per share,
Umeme to invest up to USD1.5 billion over 10 years
The announcement comes as relief to Umeme who have been looking to the decision so as to start arranging financing for numerous investments needed for the sector, both to cover the remaining 6 years of the current concession and beyond.
In a recent interview with CEO East Africa, Patrick Bitature the UMeme board chairman, said Umeme will need to invest between USD1 billion and USD1.5 billion over the next five to ten years, so as to create a robust enough distribution network to last the country for over 20 years.
Bitature said that over the next 6 years, Umeme estimates to invest up to USD450 million in capital expenditures (CAPEX) alone.
“From our estimates, achieving the above targets, shall require significant investments focusing on uptake of new capacity, increased access, and driving efficiencies in the business operations. The resulting large geographical footprint shall require opening more service centres, building more substations, extending lines, injecting more transformers and recruiting more people on the ground,” Bitature said.
Bitature argued that investing for the long term allows the power distributor to amortise the costs over a longer period, thus resulting in a downward pressure on the end-user tariff.
“We are looking for longer term funding of 15 to 17 years and then we can spread that cost- amortize it over time. That shall have a lowering impact on the tariff,” he said.
According to recent estimates by Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, when Isimba and Karuma HPP are commissioned and fully absorbed/utilized, it is expected that the weighted generation tariff will reduce from the current US Cents 6.47/kWh (UGX243.43) to US cents 5.34/kWh (UGX200.93), representing a reduction of 17.45%, which shall be reflected in the end-user tariffs.
Bitature also said that Umeme was willing to reconsider their rate of return- currently at 20% since the investment environment had greatly improved, since 2005 when the concession was signed.
“Today the perceived high risk of the country is much lower than then, so it is easier to attract capital. The policies of this country have been very stable, the movement of foreign exchange, the amount of inflation etc. the risks in many of the areas have been mitigated.
If the high rate of return is the pain in the thigh of the government and the public, we are willing to consider a few points on our rate of return, as long as it makes business sense- for our customers and shareholders,” he told CEO East Africa Magazine.
Over the last 13 years, Umeme has invested $627m (UGX2.4 trillion) into doubling the distribution network to over 34,000km from the 16,000km it inherited and grown customer connections by more than 4 times- from the 290,000 inherited to 1,291,811 by end of 2018.
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