Posts tagged as: council

Thousands of Free Mosquito Nets Sold On Black Market

By Agencies

Thousands of treated mosquito nets that were procured the by government for free distribution to citizens across the country in the fight against malaria have found their way to shops and streets in Kampala.

The mosquito nets which have a hard texture compared to the other brands on the open market, go for Shs25,000.

Mr Abbas Tuhabwe, a vendor in Ntinda, near Kampala, says he gets the mosquito nets from a certain shop in the city at Shs12, 000. He, however, declined to disclose the location of the shop.

He says the nets are on high demand because they are durable and treated compared to other nets being imported.

Mr Edward Kakungulu, another hawker says he gets the nets through a network of people who manage the stores where they are kept before distribution and those who transport them to different parts of the country.

Both Mr Tuhabwe and Mr Kakungulu say they repackage the nets before selling them to the public.

The Director of Health Services Clinical and Community in the Health Ministry, Dr Anthony Mbonye, says they have so far recorded two cases of theft of government mosquito nets in Kapchorwa and Serere districts.

According to Dr Mbonye, the theft of nets is detrimental to the malaria control programme since it abuses the campaign and leads to the loss of nets in an already expensive venture.

Mr Jimmy Opigo, the Manager National Malaria Control Programme, says one shipment of 574 bales of mosquito nets enroute to Serere in Eastern Uganda was diverted to central region. He says the transporters decided to go to Mityana instead of the designated district.

He says the truck packed at a house in Mityana where the nets were stashed temporarily before being moved to unknown locations.

Under the campaign, the Health Ministry targets to distribute 25 million nets valued worth 331.5 billion shillings.

The nets were procured with funding from the Global Fund, Department for International Development and President’s Malaria Initiative and Against Malaria Foundation.

However, officials at the Health Ministry say they have so far distributed 7,095,479 million nets in 44 districts such as Adjumani, Agago, Alebtong, Amuru, Apac, Arua, Gulu, Kitgum, Koboko, Kole, Lamwo, Lira, Maracha, Moyo, Nebbi, Nwoya, Omoro, Otuke and Oyam.

Ms Vivian Serwanja, the spokesperson says there is a standard procedure being followed while delivering the nets.

According to Serwanja, the mosquito nets are monitored from the moment they are taken to privately owned contracted ware houses fitted with state of the art security systems like cameras.

“From the store, the nets are escorted by security personnel from both the Uganda Police forced and Internal Security Organisation to pre identified sub-county stores manned by trained store managers and security personnel before they are moved to designated distribution points for distribution on a particular day. From that point, the end user receives their net from their Local Council 1 leader and Village Health Teams,” she said.

Uganda: Thousands of Free Mosquito Nets Sold On Black Market

By Agencies

Thousands of treated mosquito nets that were procured the by government for free distribution to citizens across the country in the fight against malaria have found their way to shops and streets in Kampala.

The mosquito nets which have a hard texture compared to the other brands on the open market, go for Shs25,000.

Mr Abbas Tuhabwe, a vendor in Ntinda, near Kampala, says he gets the mosquito nets from a certain shop in the city at Shs12, 000. He, however, declined to disclose the location of the shop.

He says the nets are on high demand because they are durable and treated compared to other nets being imported.

Mr Edward Kakungulu, another hawker says he gets the nets through a network of people who manage the stores where they are kept before distribution and those who transport them to different parts of the country.

Both Mr Tuhabwe and Mr Kakungulu say they repackage the nets before selling them to the public.

The Director of Health Services Clinical and Community in the Health Ministry, Dr Anthony Mbonye, says they have so far recorded two cases of theft of government mosquito nets in Kapchorwa and Serere districts.

According to Dr Mbonye, the theft of nets is detrimental to the malaria control programme since it abuses the campaign and leads to the loss of nets in an already expensive venture.

Mr Jimmy Opigo, the Manager National Malaria Control Programme, says one shipment of 574 bales of mosquito nets enroute to Serere in Eastern Uganda was diverted to central region. He says the transporters decided to go to Mityana instead of the designated district.

He says the truck packed at a house in Mityana where the nets were stashed temporarily before being moved to unknown locations.

Under the campaign, the Health Ministry targets to distribute 25 million nets valued worth 331.5 billion shillings.

The nets were procured with funding from the Global Fund, Department for International Development and President’s Malaria Initiative and Against Malaria Foundation.

However, officials at the Health Ministry say they have so far distributed 7,095,479 million nets in 44 districts such as Adjumani, Agago, Alebtong, Amuru, Apac, Arua, Gulu, Kitgum, Koboko, Kole, Lamwo, Lira, Maracha, Moyo, Nebbi, Nwoya, Omoro, Otuke and Oyam.

Ms Vivian Serwanja, the spokesperson says there is a standard procedure being followed while delivering the nets.

According to Serwanja, the mosquito nets are monitored from the moment they are taken to privately owned contracted ware houses fitted with state of the art security systems like cameras.

“From the store, the nets are escorted by security personnel from both the Uganda Police forced and Internal Security Organisation to pre identified sub-county stores manned by trained store managers and security personnel before they are moved to designated distribution points for distribution on a particular day. From that point, the end user receives their net from their Local Council 1 leader and Village Health Teams,” she said.

South Africa: Court Ruling On Zuma’s Nuclear Deal Is a Marker of South Africa’s Political Health

analysisBy David Fig, University of Cape Town

The South African government’s plan to bulldoze through a nuclear energy deal has been dealt what might be a fatal blow by the Cape Town High court which has declared the plan invalid. It found that the government had not followed due process in making the decision to pursue a nuclear power option, as well as in other critical areas.

The court’s decision has put paid to President Jacob Zuma’s hopes of clinching the nuclear build programme before leaving office in 2019 if he completes his term.

The case was brought to court by Earthlife Africa and the Southern Africa Faith-Communities’ Environmental Institute. The two NGOs were challenging the way in which the state determined the country’s nuclear power needs. The plan would have seen South Africa purchasing 9,600 megawatts of extra nuclear power.

The judge, Lee Bozalek, ruled the government’s action unconstitutional and found that five decisions it had taken were illegal. These included the government’s decision to go ahead with the nuclear build and the fact that it had handed over the procurement process to the state utility Eskom. The court also ruled that Eskom’s request for information from nuclear vendors, a step taken to prepare the procurement, which ended on 28 April 2017 was invalid.

If it still wants to pursue the nuclear deal the government will have to start all over again. To do so legally it would have to open up the process to detailed public scrutiny. The country’s electricity regulator would have to have a series of public hearings before endorsing what would be its highest ever spend on infrastructure. And any international agreements would have to be scrutinised by parliament.

All this will take time – something Zuma doesn’t have. And it’s unlikely that his successors will be as eager to champion a new deal as he has been. Meanwhile the facts about the deal will become public. This will undoubtedly demonstrate two of the biggest criticisms of the deal to be true: that the country can’t afford it, and that it’s energy needs have shrunk, making the vast investment redundant.

The court’s ruling has turned the nuclear procurement issue into one of the key markers of South Africa’s political health. It’s not yet clear whether the South African government will appeal the Western Cape High Court’s decision, or comply with the judgement. A third option is that Zuma simply ignores the courts and continues to pursue the deal.

Demand and affordability

South Africa currently has more than enough electricity to meet its needs. This wasn’t the case about five years ago when widespread outages hit the country. Since then new electricity generation capacity has been added, through the the rapid roll out of renewables, and the opening up of two new giant coal burning plants. Consumption, particularly by industry, has steadily declined due to faltering economic growth and higher electricity prices. Demand has dropped so much that Eskom plans to close five coal burning power stations.

The argument that the country needs another 9,600 megawatts was identified in documents that produced in 2011. These are now widely acknowledged as being badly out of date. Recent studies by the University of Cape Town’s Energy Research Centre have shown that the country doesn’t need to consider nuclear for another 20 years.

A number of studies have also shot holes in the government’s argument that the country can afford the proposed nuclear build. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has developed models showing that new nuclear is likely to be much more expensive than coal or renewables. The price ticket for nuclear – which some estimates put at more than R1 trillion – doesn’t take into account the costs of operation, fuel, insurance, emergency planning or the regulation or decontamination at the end of the life of the reactors.

It would also impose a financial burden on the country’s fiscus which it can ill afford particularly now that the economy has been rated at junk status.

Ulterior motives

So why is Zuma still pushing for the deal to go ahead? One source of pressure might be the Russians. South Africa’s former energy minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, had been instructed to signed a deal with the Russian utility, Rosatom to build the reactors. South Africa has also already signed nuclear power cooperation agreements with other countries like the US and South Korea, which the court has declared void.

A more likely reason for Zuma’s zeal is the involvement of the Gupta family with whom he has close ties. The family’s web of interests around the nuclear deal are complex.

What is known is that the Gupta family controls South Africa’s only dedicated uranium mine. The family has developed close relationships with key individuals at Eskom. In November last year the country’s then Public Protector pointed to overlapping directorships between Gupta-owned companies and Eskom.

The report also suggested that Brian Molefe, Eskom’s CEO, had a close relationship with the family. These revelations led to his resignation shortly after the report was published.

Another strand in the complex web is the fact that Zuma’s son Duduzane is a business partner of the Guptas while other relatives are directly employed by them.

Despite his determination, Zuma has become increasingly isolated in his quest for nuclear procurement. The African National Congress is clearly divided on the issue. This is evident from the fact that Zuma has resorted to reshuffling his cabinet to make way for more compliant ministers without reference to party officials as would be the norm.

The private sector has also come out against the idea while the list of civil society organisations opposed to nuclear expansion goes well beyond the environmental lobby and includes a broad spectrum of foundations, faith communities, human rights campaigners and defenders of the country’s constitution.

High stakes

The nuclear judgement in Cape Town indicates that South Africa’s legal system has not yet been “captured” by private interests.

The key question is whether Zuma and Eskom will accede to the verdict, or whether they challenge it while continuing to ignore the rule of law. Not only would this subvert the country’s constitution and its democratic form of government, it would also deny the constitutional right to popular participation in energy democracy.

The stakes are high – for the country as well as for the president. Will he continue to treat the country’s energy future with impunity? Or will this judgement symbolise the rollback of the democratic dispensation envisaged by the authors of the country’s constitution?

Disclosure statement

David Fig has had a long association with Earthlife Africa, and serves on the steering committee of the African Uranium Alliance.

Gambia: Motirie – Entry Into Road Transport Industry Is Free

By Awa Gassama

The of Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment has stated that entry into the road transport industry is free and any individual owing a roadworthy vehicle with all necessary licenses and permits can operate transport services for goods and passengers along any routes.

Below is the full text of the Press Release:

This Ministry has been informed that recently there have been interruptions of vehicles transporting goods by some members of transport unions. As a result, this Ministry wishes to inform the general public that entry into the road transport industry is free and any individual owning a roadworthy vehicle with all necessary licenses and permits can operate transport services for goods and passengers along any routes.

The Government of the Gambia is in the process of drafting a legal framework for the smooth operation of the transport sector. In the interim, the Ministry of trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, Ministry of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Ministry of Interior, Office of the Inspector General of Police, Banjul City Council and the Gambia Ports Authority have come up with the following measures which must be adhered to until further notice;

l Investment in the transport sector should be opened to all irrespective of nationality and that there should not be any discrimination;

l All trucks involved in the commercial transport of goods within the Gambia should join the queue;

l Foreign Vehicles should not be involved in the commercial transport of good within The Gambia and as such they would not be subjected to the queuing system established.

l A retailer with private trucks for the purpose of transporting his or her own goods should be allowed to leave the queue at any time for only one pick up. All the rest of the vehicles should join the queue.

l All vehicles engaged in the commercial transportation of goods from the Greater Banjul Area should be parked at Bond Road/Abuko being the designated parking areas when they are not due to loading, to reduce congestion in Banjul and to ensure transparency in the implementation of the queuing system.

We urge all stakeholders to comply failing which the due process of the law will be applied.

Gambia

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Report Lists Kenya Among Top in Wind Energy Investment

By Brian Ngugi

Kenya is among the countries poised to lead in wind energy investment in Africa this year according to a new report.

Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), the international trade association for the wind power industry, says Kenya is setting the pace in the region in the use of wind as a renewable source of energy by initiating the generation of 700 megawatts for the national grid.

“For the Middle East and Africa, the main drivers will continue to be South Africa, Morocco (and we hope) Egypt, with strong contributions from Kenya and Ethiopia as some of the smaller markets are just getting off the ground,” says GWEC in its latest annual Global Wind Report market update.

It notes that at the end of 2016, over 99 per cent of Middle East and Africa region’s total wind energy installations were spread across 10 countries – South Africa, Morocco (787 megawatts), Egypt (810 megawatts), Tunisia (245 megawatts), Ethiopia (171 megawatts), Jordan (119 megawatts), Iran (91 megawatts), Cape Verde (24 megawatts), Kenya (19 megawatts), Israel (6.25 megawatts) and Algeria (10 megawatts).

The report cites Kenya’s Lake Turkana wind project, now completed and set to be commissioning in the coming months, as an example.

The 310-megawatt project will account for almost 18 per cent of Kenya’s total installed power generation capacity.

The German Development Bank and Agence Française de Développement of France are also doing due diligence of a wind farm of the KenGen in Meru with plan to construct a 400-megawatt plant.

Kenya

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Tanzania: Blocked Kenya Bound Doctors Ordered to Report Within 14 Days

Photo: The Citizen

Doctors during operation (file photo).

By John Namkwahe

Few days after President John Magufuli ordered employment, locally, of 258 doctors who initially registered to work in Kenya, the government on Friday published the names of doctors and areas where they have been posted.

Notice issued by the government asked the doctors to report to their respective duty stations within 14 days from the date of the announcement.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Dr Mpoki Ulisubsya indicated in a statement that some of doctors will work under President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government and others will be under the ministry.

According to the statement, the doctors have been directed to report with their original birth certificates, original secondary education certificates, their professional certificates, certificates issued by Medical Council of Tanzania and two passport size photos.

According to the government plans, doctors aged below 45 years will be offered permanent contracts they will be directly enrolled in the pension fund while those aged above 45 will be offered a two year contract employment which can be renewed.

Tanzania

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Doctors Blocked From Kenya, Told to Report in 2 Weeks

Photo: The Citizen

Doctors during operation (file photo).

By John Namkwahe

Few days after President John Magufuli ordered employment, locally, of 258 doctors who initially registered to work in Kenya, the government on Friday published the names of doctors and areas where they have been posted.

Notice issued by the government asked the doctors to report to their respective duty stations within 14 days from the date of the announcement.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Dr Mpoki Ulisubsya indicated in a statement that some of doctors will work under President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government and others will be under the ministry.

According to the statement, the doctors have been directed to report with their original birth certificates, original secondary education certificates, their professional certificates, certificates issued by Medical Council of Tanzania and two passport size photos.

According to the government plans, doctors aged below 45 years will be offered permanent contracts they will be directly enrolled in the pension fund while those aged above 45 will be offered a two year contract employment which can be renewed.

Tanzania

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Tanzania: Doctors Blocked From Kenya, Told to Report in 2 Weeks

Photo: The Citizen

Doctors during operation (file photo).

By John Namkwahe

Few days after President John Magufuli ordered employment, locally, of 258 doctors who initially registered to work in Kenya, the government on Friday published the names of doctors and areas where they have been posted.

Notice issued by the government asked the doctors to report to their respective duty stations within 14 days from the date of the announcement.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Dr Mpoki Ulisubsya indicated in a statement that some of doctors will work under President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government and others will be under the ministry.

According to the statement, the doctors have been directed to report with their original birth certificates, original secondary education certificates, their professional certificates, certificates issued by Medical Council of Tanzania and two passport size photos.

According to the government plans, doctors aged below 45 years will be offered permanent contracts they will be directly enrolled in the pension fund while those aged above 45 will be offered a two year contract employment which can be renewed.

Tanzania

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Zimbabwe: Central Bank Bails Out Mines From Tobacco Sales

By Shame Makoshori

PAYMENTS to mining industry’s foreign suppliers have improved since the tobacco marketing season kicked off in February, according to industry sources.

This comes after the sector lurched into crisis due to failure to pay foreign suppliers as a result of foreign currency shortages which worsened at the end of last year after the introduction of bond notes by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to fund export incentives.

Imported raw materials in other industries have also run out.

In the mining industry, inputs like explosives and other critical supplies have been difficult to purchase as suppliers have been demanding cash up front.

Payment backlogs had extended to about four months. And even though the situation remains volatile, sources said there had been an improvement.

CoMZ chief executive officer, Isaac Kwesu, was not available for comment.

Over US$200 million has so far been generated by tobacco since auction floors opened in February.

While the crisis remains, with long queues in banks, foreign cash holdings by local banks, which fund imports, were reported to be improving.

“There has been a marked improvement since the tobacco selling season started. This tobacco marketing season is usually good for the country,” an executive said, noting that problems usually start after the marketing season.

He said the injection of US$100 million by the central bank to ease the foreign currency crisis last week would help ease payment problems.

Foreign suppliers discontinued credit facilities to Zimbabwean customers following the emergence of payment problems late last year, which worsened at the beginning of this year.

The CoMZ last year wrote to the RBZ, pleading with the central bank to act on international payments.

Mining industry revenue averages US$2 billion per year and contributes the bulk of liquidity in the country.

Under the RBZ’s foreign currency allocation priority list introduced last year, exporters who import raw materials and industrial machinery to boost exports are supposed to get preference ahead of importers of luxuries such as cell phones and other goods.

Non-exporting importers of raw materials and machinery for local production or value addition are also supposed to be on top of the list, provided the raw materials are not available locally and their products support import substitution.

C&M reported recently that the world’s largest airlines had started tightening screws on Zimbabwe owing to the worsening foreign currency crisis that had resulted in a huge backlog of unremitted payments for local ticket sales, with some now outstanding for over five months.

At least five global airlines namely Qantas Airways, Lufthansa, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Air France and Delta Airlines have informed their travel agents that they have to bill their passengers in cash or stop accepting bookings altogether to avoid non-settlement of obligations from Zimbabwe’s banks, which are battling an acute shortage of foreign currency.

The RBZ said last week airlines would be among those prioritised for payment on the US$100 million facility.

Zimbabwe

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Army Officers Set for Huge Pay Rise

Photo: The Observer

UPDF soldiers (file photo).

By Olive Eyotaru

UPDF soldiers of all ranks are set to receive a massive salary raise in the 2017/18 financial year, which starts on July 1, The Observer has learnt.

According to figures that this newspaper has obtained from the ministry of Defence headquarters in Mbuya, the biggest beneficiaries will be officers holding the two most senior ranks in the army.

A General is set to receive an 86 per cent salary increment, raising the pay from about Shs 2 million to Shs 3.77m, while a Lieutenant General will receive an 83 per cent pay rise, from Shs 1.87m to Shs 3.4m.

The salary of a Major General will rise by 40 per cent from Shs 1.7 million to Shs 2.4m while a Brigadier will receive Shs 2m, up from Shs 1.6m (a 33 per cent rise). Soldiers’ salaries are not taxed.

All the other ranks, right from a Private at the bottom of the military chain to Colonel, will also receive a considerable improvement in their earnings, which is set to further bloat the army’s already large salary and wage budget.

MINISTER CONFIRMS

The minister of Defence, Adolf Mwesige, confirmed the army’s salary enhancement plans during a meeting with the parliament’s Defence and Internal Affairs committee yesterday.

“We have a proposal which has been blessed by the High Command and Defence Council to make sure that the minimum a private should get is at least equivalent to a primary school teacher’s salary,” Mwesige revealed. “That decision was adopted and we want the committee to support it so we get funds to pay our soldiers. We know it is not enough but we could begin from there.”

Mwesige, who was flanked by senior ministry staff and senior UPDF officers, was in Parliament to defend the Defence ministry’s Shs 1.396 trillion budget proposals for the 2017/18 financial year, which they had earlier submitted as part of a ministerial policy statement.

In the policy statement, the minister noted that one of the defence ministry’s medium-term plans is to “gradually and affordably increase the salaries of soldiers until they come in line with the salaries of teachers and medical workers.” The statement says they also plan to enhance the salaries of scientists attached to the UPDF.

“The salary of the UPDF personnel is still low; there is need to raise the salary of the Private to equate to that of a Grade III teacher. This will go a long way in improving the morale and welfare of the soldiers,” he said.

According to our source, the issue of salary increments for army officers has been discussed by the army’s senior leadership, right from the High Command, Army Council, and top management of the defence ministry.

In addition to salaries, UPDF members also receive allowances, food rations, medicare provided to the troops and their families, as well as formal education provided to the children of all the soldiers.

PIECEMEAL INCREMENTS

In the 2017/2018 financial year, Defence is set to receive Shs 1.396 trillion, up from 1.263 trillion that was allocated to it in the current period. According to the ministerial statement, about half of the budget (Shs 641 billion) will go into paying wages and salaries of the soldiers.

However, according to the ministerial statement, the government is unlikely to enhance the salaries of all the UPDF officers at the same time. This will mean that some of the proposed salary increments will only be effected in the subsequent financial years.

It is not clear which ranks will be catered for in the next financial year, as the Defence ministry did not delve into the matter at Parliament. However, according to the ministerial policy statement, the initial salary enhancement would require Shs 87.594 billion. Yet, due to inadequate funds, the ministry intends to provide only Shs 43.594 billion in the 2017/18 budget and the rest of the money in 2018/19 financial year.

The chairperson of the Defence and Internal Affairs committee, Judith Nabakooba (Mubende Woman), said Parliament will have the final say on whether the Shs 43.595 billion should be included in the next financial year’s budget.

TOO LOW?

Minister Mwesige let the cat out of the bag at Parliament after Ntoroko MP Ibanda Rwemulikya raised a concern over the low salaries hitherto paid to the soldiers.

Later, when The Observer took Rwemulikya aside and offered details about the proposed increments from its own sources, the MP was not impressed.

Focusing his discussion on the lower ranking soldiers, Rwemulikya said the government must work to raise the salaries of privates to at least Shs 700,000.

“The Shs 400,000 they are proposing is too meager,” Rwemulikya pointed out. “These people have families and need to save. While we welcome the small increment, it should be further enhanced over the next financial years.”

Shadow Defence Minister Gilbert Olanya (Kilak South) was alarmed at the discrepancies in the salary increments, noting that the percentage increment for top ranking army officers was disproportionate to those of the low cadres, which creates a large salary gap.

“While it is commendable to enhance their salaries, this is still too low,” Olanya said. “If you look at the soldiers at the rank of a private, most of them engage in battles in Garamba and South Sudan, risking their lives while the Generals sit in air conditioned offices. But look at their miserable pay!”

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