Signum Advocates

Signum Advocates


1.1. The inevitable need for business continuity amid the ongoing global pandemic (COVID-19)
cannot be downplayed. Plenty of organizations have recommended, demanded or approved
Work-from-Home Strategies to ensure such business continuity. With this new strategy of
working, reliance is inevitably placed on technological support for continued delivery, and for that,
technology has to be applauded. Nevertheless, it remains a real and imperative concern for any
organization where its employees, directors, customers, suppliers et cetera interact on platforms
that are no longer within the immediate vicinity or control of the organization or its IT
management team.


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Wednesday, 08 April 2020 17:21



THE first quarter of the calendar year 2020
has had significant impact on the World and
the Tax environment has not been spared.
Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has had a
new Commissioner General appointed and
no sooner had he been appointed than the
Tax Bills 2020 were issued.

The Bills are meant to generate debate and
engage stakeholders as to what the next Tax
law would have as amendments (dabbed 2020
Tax Amendments). The 2020 Tax Bills
generally reflect a Government through the
tax collector, Uganda Revenue Authority,
that is expanding the tax base as wide as
practically possible.

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The Coronavirus ("COVID-19") was classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a
pandemic on March 11,2020. The spread of COVID-19 across the world and the resulting calls
for social distancing, raise a number of unique issues for employers in Uganda. In Uganda, the
Ministry of Health and Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development have issued
guidelines and regulations that are instructive to workplaces and employers.


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Tolea Securities Limited (Tolea) through judicial review process challenged the decision of
the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) to reject the application for approval of Exchange
Traded Funds (ETF) securities on the ALTX Stock Exchange in Uganda.

Being the first time the Capital Markets processes were being challenged in court, it was
paramount that the precedent set by the court would either curtail or propel innovation in
financial markets in Uganda. The decision of the court was that the CMA wrongfully
rejected the prospectus for Tolea Securities to approve the ETF Securities that Tolea
sought to issue on the ALTX exchange. The Court further directed CMA to evaluate
Tolea’s prospectus/application through the ALTX Rules of 2016 which applied to the ETF

A financial market is a market in which people trade financial securities and derivatives at
low transaction costs. Some of the securities include stocks and bonds, and precious




Friday, 06 September 2019 15:07

HOZI & SIFT, both Signum Innovations

Innovating Justice Challenge 2019

The HiiL Justice Accelerator focuses on finding and supporting the best justice innovators who provide solutions to legal injustices. The Challenge is HiiL’s way to evaluate which innovations can make the most of its seed funding and acceleration support.

This year we can fund justice innovations from Africa. Innovations from other regions are welcome to apply, but be aware that we may not be able to support you as extensively -- if at all. Still, we very much want to hear about your innovation, so do complete the application form!

Your innovation should be focused on preventing or resolving pressing justice needs and should include some legal element (whether the formal or informal legal systems in the community).

Good luck!

The call closes August 15. Applicants should expect to hear from us by September 6 to find out if they've reached the second round.



Friday, 06 September 2019 14:47

Employment Law Alert 2019


Understanding the proposed National Social Security (Amendment) Bill, 2019


Wednesday, 03 October 2018 12:12

Digital Matrix



The hullabaloo in Uganda on taxation of OTTs is enormous. The uproar is mainly because this Ug shs 200 is viewed as a draconian and unfair tax that "curtails various civil liberties and principles of taxation". The issue of whether this OTT tax is fair or not and should be scrapped may be addressed by first understanding the digital economy and how it operates and the intricacies of its taxation. I will seek to clarify why the government of Uganda moved to impose the Ug shs 200 on Over the Top services (OTTs) and whether it is justified. Perhaps this will put the tax issue to rest or explore better ways to tax the OTTs or what I would call taxation of the digital economy/transactions.



Friday 7 September 2018
The Wanderers Club, Johannesburg, South Africa


Congratulations to all the winners at The African Legal Awards 2018

International law firm Baker McKenzie and South Africa-based Bowmans were among the big winners at the African Legal Awards 2018, which took place at The Wanderers Club, Johannesburg, South Africa on Friday 7 September.

Baker McKenzie was named International Law Firm of the Year while Bowmans secured African Law Firm of the Year - Large Practice, one of four awards it received on the night which also included Property and Construction Team of the Year and Energy & Natural Resources Team of the Year.

It was also a good night for Bowmans’ South African rivals ENSAfrica and Webber Wentzel, which each secured three awards.

Flagship awards for in-house lawyers and legal teams went to Tinuade Awe of The Nigerian Stock Exchange, who was named General Counsel of the Year, while Legal Department of the Year - Large Team went to theAfrican Legal Support Facility, which is affiliated with the African Development Bank and helps African governments negotiate commercial transactions.

The ceremony, which was attended by nearly 300 lawyers from in-house legal departments and law firms, was jointly hosted by CCASA (the Corporate Counsel Association of South Africa) and Legal Week (organisers of The British Legal Awards). 

The evening culminated with the CCASA Lifetime Achievement Award, which went to Justice Edwin Cameron, who sits on the Constitutional Court of South Africa and is renowned for his pioneering work campaigning for gay rights.

Presenting the award, CCASA president Howard Snoyman, head of legal and regulatory affairs at Discovery Health Medical Scheme, said: “Judge Cameron, with his combination of exceptional legal learning skills, proven commitment to a democratic South Africa in its transformation and his personal courage, must be acknowledged as, in the words of Nelson Mandela, ‘one of South Africa’s heroes’.”

Additional winners included Stellenbosch University Law Clinic (CCASA Achievement Award), legal insurance provider Law For All (Best Use of Technology) and South Africa private hospital operator Life Healthcare (Legal Department of the Year - Small Team).

The awards were judged by an independent panel comprised of senior in-house lawyers and general counsel from an array of leading companies including Nokia, Standard Bank, Absa Capital and Sasol.

The host on the night was leading South African journalist, radio host and television presenter Jeremy Maggs.

The ceremony took place the day after Corporate Counsel Forum Africa which saw 150 in-house counsel come together at the same venue for a full day of peer-to-peer networking, topical discussions and interactive workshops.

The conference, which is in its seventh year, was co-chaired by General Electric Healthcare Africa general counsel Ayele Locoh-Donou and Shibishi Maruatona, general counsel at Ford Motor Company, South Africa.



Friday, 20 July 2018 12:18

Islamic Finance


In January 2016, the Parliament of Uganda passed the Financial Institutions Amendment Bill, 2015 which among other modifications, provided for Islamic Banking/Finance in Uganda.

After a seemingly long silence, Uganda has enacted regulations for the Islamic Banking Sector in Uganda under the Financial Institutions (Islamic Banking) Regulations 2018 herein referred to as the Regulations.
The purpose of the regulations is to provide for the regulatory framework, licensing and operation of Financial Institutions conducting Islamic Financial business and to ensure that the said institutions are Shari'ah compliant.

It is important to note that the Regulations provide for Islamic Financial Institutions which will be conducting Islamic financial business entirely and an Islamic Window which applies where conventional banks opt to conduct Islamic finance business alongside the convention banking business.

We give a review of the Islamic Finance Regulations and environment in Uganda; 



Friday, 20 July 2018 12:02

Signum Tax Dossier 2018



The fiscal year in Uganda commences on 1 July and in each year, the Government proposes amendments to the Tax laws.

Anxiety looms at this time and many yearn to understand the meaning of the proposed changes to their day to day lives/livelihoods. We note that with the amendments in 2018, the government is looking at increasing its revenue collections and taxing many areas that were untaxed before.

For the business community and citizenry, the questions are the impact of the taxes in their day to day business and whether their particular business has been favored or otherwise by the taxman. 

In this issue, we specifically review the implications of the 2018 Tax Proposals on the Manufacturing, Telecommunications and Fintech, Oil Gas and Mining, Housing, Banking and Finance industries and Multinational Businesses. 


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