Posts tagged as: agreement

Namibia: Construction Sector Reach Wage Negotiation Deadlock

Photo: The Citizen

Construction workers (file photo).

Negotiations to determine the increase of minimum wages and minimum employment conditions for the Namibian construction sector have reached a deadlock, the Construction Industries Federation of Namibia (CIF) announced on Thursday.

In a statement release early on Thursday, the CIF indicated that it has started a process of consultation with its members for a negotiation mandate on future minimum wage increases and minimum employment conditions for selected job categories.

As from 1 January 2017, the gazetted minimum wage in the construction sector is N$16.04 per hour, which is the result of two big increases of 10% each, of the minimum wage of N$13.26 in 2014/2015, and the minimum wage of N$14.59 in 2016, respectively.

According to the CIF, MANWU demands a minimum wage increase of 13% for 2017/2018 and a further increase of 13% for 2018/2019. In addition, demands listed by the union include an increase of minimum employment conditions, which – if agreed – would be new additions to the Collective Agreement, and would have serious cost implications for the employer. The total of MANWU’s initial demands constituted an increase of over 70%. These demands included inter alia: a housing allowance, a meal allowance, a transport allowance, an extension of the statutory maternity leave of 12 weeks to 14 weeks for the industry and negotiating with Nam-mic for loans for employees.

“With regard to the minimum wage increase, the CIF, representing employers in the construction sector, feels it would be irresponsible to increase the minimum wages during the current economic downturn, in particular as the construction sector is hit the hardest and the entire supply chain is experiencing large-scale retrenchments, and as it is not clear when the economy and specifically the construction sector will revive,” the federation stated.

Bärbel Kirchner, consulting general manager of the CIF explained: “According to research conducted by the CIF in June 2017, 47% of employees in the industry have lost their jobs. The situation is likely to have worsened since then. Yet, despite large-scale retrenchments since September 2016, the CIF, for now, very reluctantly made an offer of an increase of 2.5% of the minimum wage, in response to the outrageous demands of the 13% by MANWU and their very extensive list of demands.

“In fact, since we have commenced with the negotiations, the situation has worsened. We started negotiating in April 2017 when we had made an offer of minimum wage increase of 2.5% for when a new agreement would be promulgated. The situation is far less hopeful now than it was in April, however in order to honour what already had been agreed and in order to keep negotiating in good faith, we have not retracted that offer. Moreover, it is important to note, any increase would only become relevant once a Collective Agreement would be promulgated in the government gazette. The industry is also adamant that any agreed increase would not be back-dated.

“We are very disappointed that our industry, in addition, is now also facing such demands from MANWU, who is representing workers in the industry.

“Revenues in the industry are extremely low, if not non-existent. Many employers keep their teams employed with the hope of work and projects in the near future. If minimum wages were to increase even further, then many will not be able to continue keeping members of their teams employed. It can have devastating effects, especially if you think, that eight dependents will be affected for every job that will be lost. Many SME’s in our sector will also be badly affected.

“It simply must be in everybody’s interest to keep as many people employed and not to hike up the increase of only a few remaining employees. We must remember, what we are negotiating is the minimum wage increase for the respective categories for semi-skilled and artisans for the entire industry. If we are to concede to the demands of MANWU, it is likely that many workers will lose their jobs”.

Under current economic conditions, the CIF feels it is more realistic to agree to demands that are for the larger construction businesses a matter-of-course, such as provision of drinking water and separate toilets for male and female employees, and the promotion of health and safety education for employees.

Other demands of the union further included an extension of shop steward days from currently seven to a total of 10 days, an increase of pension fund contributions, an increase in Service Allowance and increase in the Living Away Allowance.

MANWU’s original proposal/demands were presented on 15 April 2016. However, in 2016, the CIF had on several occasions raised their concern with MANWU about the timing of their proposal to negotiate for construction wage and substantive proposal increments, in particular as it was soon after the implementation date of the previously negotiated and gazetted two-year collective agreement (gazetted on 31 December 2015).

Negotiations had commenced in April 2017, after the CIF had sought a mandate from its members. Meetings were held on the following days: 7 April 2017, 21 April 2017, and on 9 June 2017. As the two parties were not able to move forward, MANWU had declared a dispute of interest. After two conciliation meetings at the Labour Commissioner’s Office, on Tuesday, 5 September 2017 and on 15 September 2017, a certificate of an unresolved dispute was issued.

The federation and the union meet again this Friday 22 September to negotiate strike or lockout rules in accordance with the Labour Act, 2007; the Code on Good Practice on Industrial Action, 2009; and the Code of Good Practice on Picketing, 2009.

LRA Signs Agreement for Mobile Money Tax Payment

The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) has signed a partnership agreement with LoneStar Cell MTN, Orange Liberia and the United Bank of Africa (UBA) for the introduction of the payment of tax, using mobile money, for the first time ever in the country. The official exercise starts in November this year, according to a press release.

The Proof of Concept Agreement (PCA) for Mobile Payments, was signed on Thursday, September 7, 2017 in Monrovia and will pave the way for taxpayers to make payment by means of mobile money services. Under the pilot arrangement, the two GSM companies will design accessible payment platforms to facilitate tax payment, using mobile money service.

The agreement will cover all tax and non-tax collections, including Cooperate Income Tax, Personal Income Tax, Excise Tax, Goods and Service Tax as well as fees for various licenses and certificates and will eventually cover import duty.

The first phase of the project will cover small tax payments and will more generally benefit small tax payers thereby, facilitating their compliance. The second phase will cover larger payments.

Commissioner General Elfrieda Stewart Tamba describes the partnership as a “major milestone” under LRA’s Transformation and Modernization Agenda. “Today, we are happy to sign a Proof of Payment Pilot Agreement with Orange and LoneStar to introduce tax payment, i.e. the first P to G (Private to Government) payments in Liberia,” CG Tamba says.

She reaffirms the commitment of the LRA in transforming tax administration in Liberia through the application of aggressive and sustainable technologies, good and efficient service delivery and the facilitation of lawful trade aimed facilitating voluntary tax compliance and strengthening domestic revenue mobilization.

CG Tamba, among others, lauds the telecom partners and the UBA for the partnership and also commends taxpayers of the United States for their support to the LRA through the USAID RG3 Project.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, LoneStar Cell MTN Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Louis Roberts, Orange Chief Executive Officer Mamadou Coulibaly and UBA’s Managing Director Olalekan Balogun respectively pledge their commitments to fully implement the agreement.

They express willingness in supporting the LRA to achieve its tax payment transformation programs.

Representative of USAID-Liberia Democracy and Governance Office, Mr. Jeremy Meadows, praises agency’s commitment to LRA and the Revenue Generation for Governance and Growth (RG3) Project, which supports LRA in its various tax and revenue implementation mechanisms.

The Director notes that the collaboration provides a vital step towards achieving the much-needed government-private partnership. “The RG3 Project while intended to mobilize domestic resources, is also intended to reinforce the social contract trying to increase the ways in which Liberians are connected to their government. They way that Liberians own their government, invest in their government, and contribute to their government. This is going to be one of the most significant ways to broaden that capacity and enhance that language.” Press Release


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Nigeria: Aviation Body Backs Establishment of National Carrier

By Chinedu Eze

A think-tank body known as Aviation Round Table Initiative (ARTI), has expressed support for the establishment of national carrier but noted that such airline must be fully funded by the private sector and not by government or its agencies.

The body, which observed that weak government policies were responsible for the failure of domestic airlines, said that this form of funding for the airline would ensure its survival and independence from interferences as well as ensure it operates professionally.

In a statement issued at the weekend and signed by Olu Ohunayo on behalf of the Initiative, ARTI said it supports the establishment of national carrier that is devoid of government financial input but driven strictly by investors, noting that government should provide the necessary enabling ground and aero-political support environment.

“ARTI support for this project is hinged on our recognition of the desirability of a national carrier and the observed floundering of our flag carriers on the international routes. These shortcomings are traceable to weak government policies and poor negotiations skills in various agreements.

“Therefore, the proposed national carrier should be granted full compliments of the appropriate status, independence to be the arrow head in the implementation of operational issues arising from Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASAs) and Multilateral Air Service Agreement (MASAs) to which Nigeria is a signatory unhindered by any concessions or agreements however made,” the body said.

It also noted that all existing concessions and agreements from which benefits are being derived by any person or corporate bodies capable of impinging on the operations of the proposed national carrier should cease forthwith at the inception of the national carrier.

ARTI urged that any outstanding obligations arising from agreements made prior to the emergence of the national carrier must be renegotiated between the national carrier and such flag carrier, which would be supervised by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

The corporate objective of the proposed carrier should be consistent delivery of excellent and competitive customer service; adopting global best standard practices; reciprocating all air service agreements and patriotically negotiated commercial agreement spinoff of BASA.

“We expect the government to take the following complimentary actions: it is vital that very knowledgeable aviators with cognate experience are selected to midwife the birth of the new national carrier; the governing board of directors of the national carrier should be composed of persons with proven track records of success in the aviation industry; the berthing process should last for a period not less than three years from inception and the national carrier should start with a fleet of 10 to 15 aircraft and shall be mandated to utilise the proceeds of all allocated frequencies strictly for fleet expansion and capacity building. This shall be monitored for compliance by NCAA,” ARTI said.

It also suggested that existing operators in the industry should be afforded the opportunity to observe and participate in the proposed national carrier project within stipulated guidelines and transparent process, adding that BASAs and MASAs should be reviewed with the objective of renegotiation where established to be unfavourable to Nigeria’s national interest.


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Victoria University Tips Students On Entrepreneurship

By Safinah Nambafu

Victoria University has tipped secondary students to choose course combinations that will make them attractive to the job market.

Speaking on behalf of the university’s vice chancellor, Dr Sharma Krishna urged secondary students to consider areas of ICT, entrepreneurship, hospitality and services industry seriously.

His call came as Victoria University hosted 200 students from over 10 selected schools in and around Kampala during an open day, at its offices along Jinja road.

“We urge you as young students to have a sense of direction [as you prepare to enroll at university] by making decisions that shall help you become competitive in the job market, through courses that add value to the economy of your country,” noted Dr Krishna.

He was later joined Dr Terry Kahuma, who is the dean of the university’s faculty of Science and Technology. Dr Kahuma urged the students to consider Victoria University due to its strength in training entrepreneurs.

“We implore you to consider joining this university because it has the necessary capacity and infrastructure to train you to become successful future entrepreneurs to add value to the economy of this country,” Dr Kahuma noted.

He challenged the students to make decisions that will empower them to fight household poverty and become economically self-reliant.

Schools that attended the event included Nabisunsa Girls School, Seroma Christian High School, Emma High School, Kakungulu Memorial School, St Maria Goretti SS Katende, Kawempe Muslim HS, Lowell Girls Mpigi and St Francis HS Namagoma.


MPs Ratify Oil Pipeline Deal

Members of Parliament (MPs) yesterday ratified the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) for execution of the mega… Read more »

MPs Ratify Oil Pipeline Deal

Photo: Daily News

(file photo)

By Alvar Mwakyusa

Dodoma — Members of Parliament (MPs) yesterday ratified the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) for execution of the mega Hoima-Tanga oil pipeline project.

The ratification sets a new stage towards the implementation of the 1,445 kilometre East African Crude Oil Pipeline Project (EACOP).

The legislators defied their political divide and joined hands to welcome the project on which they expressed optimism, saying will bring immense economic and social benefits to people of the two countries.

MPs on whose constituencies the proposed pipeline will pass, asked the government to ensure proper compensation for land. Tanzania and Ugandan governments signed the agreement on May 26, last year, but Article 2(b) of the pact, requires, among others, the parliaments in the two countries to approve the project before implementation.

Information, Culture, Arts and Sports Minister, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, tabled the treaty in the august House yesterday on behalf of the Minister for Constitution and Legal Affairs, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi.

Mwakyembe explained that each country will enter into Host Government Agreement (HGA), with companies undertaking the multi-billion dollar pipeline from Hoima in Uganda to Tanga.

“…the contract provides for the governments of Tanzania and Uganda to work closely with companies executing the project on national content for procurement of human resources, goods and services from the respective countries,” he explained.

According to the minister, companies implementing the project are also required to ensure transfer of technology to locals. Dr Mwakyembe explained that in case of unavailability of certain service or product in the two countries, the contractor could engage foreign suppliers subject to involvement of local companies.

The Deputy Chairperson of Parliamentary Committee on Energy and Minerals, Mr Deogratius Ngalawa (Ludewa-CCM), raised concerns over a clause concerning foreign exchange in the contract, saying it could violate Tanzania’s Natural Wealth and Resources (Permanent Sovereignty) of 2017.

“There is also need to be watchful on the clause covering corporate income tax that allows the contractor to forward exemptions to the next fiscal year, losses to be incurred before, during and after implementation of the project,” Mr Ngalawa said when presenting the views of the committee.

Special Seats MP on Chadema Devotha Minja appreciated the government efforts to secure the oil pipeline deal, notwithstanding the stiff competition from other countries in the region.

“It is obvious that winning the project involved wider diplomacy and incentives which encouraged the Ugandan government to opt for Tanga route,” Ms Minja said when presenting the views of the opposition.

In his contribution, Tanga Urban MP on CUF ticket Musa Mbarouk urged the government to ensure residents are adequately compensated for their land at the market value and provided with alternative land for agriculture. Chemba MP Juma Nkamia (CCM) and Muleba North MP (CCM), Prof Anne Tibaijuka, called for public awareness on the proposed project and mobilisation of people for its security.

Uganda has discovered 6.5 billion barrels of crude oil in the Albertine and it plans to refine some of it for markets in the region, with the big chunk of it transported through the pipeline to export markets.

Once the pipeline starts operations, Uganda will be exporting 216,000 barrels of the valuable liquid per day, with one barrel costing 12.2 US dollars in transportation costs.

Nigeria: Senate to Expose Banks Used for MMM Fraud

By Henry Umoru

Abuja — The Senate disclosed, yesterday, that it has concluded arrangements to expose all the commercial banks and operatives of the now collapsed ponzi scheme, popularly known as MMM (Mavrodi Mondial Movement) and make them to face appropriate sanctions.

Speaking with journalists, yesterday, in Abuja, Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on ICT and Cybercrime, Senator Foster Ogola (PDP Bayelsa West), disclosed that as a way of preventing such fraud in future, the Senate would soon come up with a legislation making digital education compulsory in both primary and secondary schools.

According to him, in the move to expose all those who were involved in the MMM fraud, an international expert in unearthing cyberspace and banking crimes is already in the country on the invitation of the committee.

Senator Ogola said: “We need to secure our cyberspace and financial sector against all forms of crimes or frauds as seen with MMM operators who came in collaborations with insiders, expressly entered the banking system, duped and bolted out.”


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Liberia: Electricity Tarrif Cut By Ten Percent

President Ellen Johnson has announced a 10% reduction in electricity tariff for customers connected to the Liberia Electricity Cooperation (LEC) energy grid. The tariff has been reduced from 39 cents to 35 cents per kilowatt/hour. Since August, 2016, the tariff has seen reduction from 54 cents to 35 cents per Kw/hr.

According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf made the pronouncement when Liberia and Germany signed a KfW €15m grant at the Foreign Ministry in Monrovia. She thanked the President’s Delivery Unit (PDU), the German Ambassador to Liberia, Hubert Jager and KfW for the great job and for bringing the agreement to reality.

President Sirleaf noted that over 9,000 connections have been made in the City of Paynesville and other parts of Monrovia with enhanced visibility. She also indicated that funding is already available for 93,000 connections within the Bomi, Kakata and RIA Corridors; an initiative that will spread electricity beyond Monrovia. “The small light today and big light tomorrow has become a dream realized,” President Sirleaf concluded.

The project was initiated in June, 2017 when the President’s Delivery Unit (PDU) met with KfW for bilateral talks in Frankfurt, Germany and that the signing ceremony of Tuesday, this week – will see the release of funds in October, 2017 with the first connections in the second quarter of 2018. The PDU has worked assiduously with KfW to ensure the release of funding and procurement got underway before President Sirleaf leaves office.

The Agreement is expected to deliver 16,000 new connections that will fill the gaps between the larger projects in areas such as Clay Ashland – Bentol- Fendell; Double Bridge-Pipeline-Police Academy; and Duport Road – Rehab Communities. Schools and medical institutions in the targeted areas will benefit from the additional connections. As the customer base grows, there will be further reduction in the tariff rate.

Finance and Development Planning Minister, Boima Kamara and Acting Board Chairperson of the Liberia Electricity Corporation, Dr. Clarence Moniba signed on behalf of the Government while Mr. Herr Andre Collins signed for KfW.

Speaking earlier, Finance and Development Planning Minister, Boima lauded Germany for standing tall in its development cooperation with Liberia. He pointed out that the Agreement will set the platform for a stronger recovery of the economy for post-2017. “Liberia is grateful to Germany and KfW as this intervention comes at a time of strong efforts aimed at resuscitating the Liberian economy,” Minister Kamara said.

German Ambassador, Hubert Jager recommitted his country to upholding its bilateral relations with Liberia and praised the Government of Liberia for concluding the Agreement in record time. He indicated that it took the team just two months to negotiate and conclude the Grant Agreement compared to the nine to twelve months it normally takes for such initiative.


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BOU Files to Amend Sudhir Suit

By Derrick Kiyonga

Bank of Uganda has filed an amendment to its Commercial court suit accusing businessman Sudhir Ruparelia of stealing over Shs 400bn from his collapsed Crane bank.

In its fresh application filed on September 4, 2017, two months after its main suit, BOU said the amendment is meant to address issues raised by Sudhir in his defence and counterclaim, which dealt extensively with his rights under the Confidential Settlement and Release Agreement (CSRA) signed between him and the bank.

Under the agreement, BOU says Sudhir agreed to pay $60m and return 47 freehold/mailo titles for Crane bank’s branches countrywide.

It should be remembered that Sudhir used the CSRA as his first line of defence, contending that the fraud case is dead on arrival because he signed an agreement which, according to him, cushioned him from any central bank civil or criminal lawsuits.

He cited clause 6 of the agreement, which says, “This confidential settlement and release agreement is in full, complete and final settlement of all claims that either party (or related parties or shareholders) may have against the other, and each of Bank of Uganda and Crane Bank Limited hereby fully and finally releases and forever discharges and shall refrain from instituting directing, procuring, instigating or maintaining all or any actions, claims, sanctions (whether administrative, civil or criminal in nature). “

Although BOU admits in its defence against Sudhir’s counterclaim that it dealt extensively with its rights under the CSRA, it says since the businessman has relied much on the agreement, it’s only fair that the bank should also amend its original case to show how Sudhir violated the agreement.

According to BOU, the violation of the agreement would be an alternative to the earlier fraud grounds they set against Sudhir.

“The applicants have accordingly prepared an “amended plaint” to plead the alternative cause of action based on the CSRA, which amended plaint is attached to the affidavit filed in support of this application and it is just and equitable that leave be granted to amend the plaint in the manner set out therein,” the application reads in part.

Meanwhile, the Commercial court has set September 13, 2017 to hear BOU’s application seeking to be allowed to file its defence to Sudhir’s counterclaim in which he wants BOU to pay him $8 million.


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American Corner Gitega – Over 80 Certified After Summer Holiday Activity Termination

By Pierre Emmanuel Ngendakumana

At least 82 among 269 participants who have attended different sessions of summer holiday activities organized by the American Corner Gitega since July were issued with certificates on Friday, 1st September 2017. The two month sessions were centered on leadership, computer science, entrepreneurship, English language learning and culture.

Participants said Martin Luther King American Corner Gitega offered them an opportunity to learn skills that help them to positively impact their society, empower themselves, create jobs and pursue their dreams.

Gateretse Sylvie, who attended the computer science sessions during these last two months, says the skills she learned will help her become competitive at the job market, seek online opportunities and pursue her studies abroad.

“The knowledge I got inspired me to implement a farming project in empty spaces of Kumoso to alleviate hunger and unemployment in my community”, says Albert Nduwayo, who followed business entrepreneurship sessions in the American Corner Gitega.

Among the 82 participants who were issued with certificates “because they distinguished themselves” as said by one of the organizers of the training sessions, 27 participated in English learning sessions, 38 attended computer literacy sessions and 17 others attended sessions on entrepreneurship.


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Mauritius: Health Ministry Signs Agreement With Indian Company to Improve Health Care Services

press release

Government is committed to improve and implement several major projects in the health sector so as to provide the best medical treatment as well as raising the standard of health care for the Mauritian population.

This statement was made by the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Dr Anwar Husnoo, during the signature of an Agreement for the implementation of twelve major projects to the tune of Rs 4 billion between the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life and the HSCC India Ltd on 25 August 2017 in Port Louis.

The signatories were the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Dr Anwar Husnoo, and the Deputy High Commissioner of the Republic of India to Mauritius, Shri Ashok Kumar, in the presence of other eminent personalities.

Dr Husnoo lauded the successful on-going collaboration between Mauritius and India and expressed gratitude to the Government of India for their continuous help and support. The HSCC India Ltd which is a hospital services consultancy corporation, he added, has a rich and long experience in the implementation of projects in the field of health throughout the world. According to him, the Indian company will provide value-added, innovative and integrated services, hence, enhancing health care in Mauritius.

The Agreement provides for, amongst others, the construction of four new hospitals (Eye hospital at Moka; ENT hospital at Vacoas; Cancer hospital at Solferino and a hospital at Flacq); three mediclinics at Quartier Militaire, Bel-Air and Stanley respectively; a neuro-surgery unit at the Jeetoo hospital; the computerisation of the health system; and the construction of a warehouse for the storage of medicines.

For his part, the Deputy High Commissioner of the Republic of India to Mauritius, Shri Ashok Kumar, spoke of the new chapter that is being opened with the signing of the Agreement. He stressed that India will further collaborate with Mauritius and extend all possible support for the implementation of these projects and ensure that they will be completed in due time.

HSCC India Ltd is a pluri-disciplinary organisation with experienced professionals, which offers a comprehensive range of professional consultancy services in health care and other social sectors, in India and abroad. It encompasses conceptual studies, health care facilities design, project management, procurement and supply, logistics and installation, commissioning and skill enhancement through training and retraining.


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