Posts tagged as: council

Zambia:Lusaka City Council Bans Fresh Foods On Streets

By Evans Mulenga

The Lusaka City Council has banned the sale of ready to eat food stuffs on the streets in a bid to curb the cholera outbreak which has so far claimed one life.

Lusaka City Council Assistant Public Relations Manager Brenda Katongola has said that the ban is with immediate effect and will remain in force until health authorities declare Lusaka Cholera free.

She has since advised vendors to comply with the ban as it is aimed at saving people’s lives.

Katongola has further advised street vendors to find alternative trading places for them to survive.

Katongola has also appealed to all Lusaka residents and all those visiting Lusaka to observe basic hygiene practices such as keeping environments clean, washing hands with soap and clean water after using the toilet, boiling and chlorinating water for drinking among others.

Zambia

Tackling Child Labour in the Agriculture Sector

Agriculture in Zambia is growing, but the sector also continues to have the largest share of child labourers estimated… Read more »

Ministry Defends Rollout Pace of New Curriculum

By Philip Muyanga

The government has defended the new curriculum, saying it was validated at a national conference in January.

Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang, in an affidavit opposing a petition by a university lecturer, told a Mombasa court the conference on curriculum reforms was attended by various stakeholders.

Mr Eric Mugambi wants the Education ministry ordered to establish a national committee to lead the implementation of the new curriculum and manage transition from the current system.

POLICY

The PS said the implementation of the planned changes began in 2011 and that the Constitution and Vision 2030 blueprint necessitated the re-alignment of the education sector.

“In 2014, the government embarked on a consultative process of preparing a policy framework for curriculum review that culminated in the national curriculum policy,” he said.

He added that a national steering committee on curriculum reforms, which was appointed by the cabinet secretary in April last year, exists.

“The national steering committee on curriculum reforms consists of 36 members and a list is available on the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) website,” he said.

IMPLEMENTATION

On Monday, Mr Mugambi agreed to have his application, which seeks temporary orders restraining the ministry and KICD from implementing the planned changes, abandoned for the petition to be heard.

Through lawyer Augustine Wafula, KICD was directed to file and serve its response to the petition Wednesday.

Mr Mugambi, a lecturer at Technical University of Mombasa, argued that the six-year implementation period proposed is long as this can be achieved in four years.

EXAMS

The petitioner contended that the decision to eliminate individual student assessment using a national examination at the end of upper primary by Kenya National Examination Council should be withdrawn.

The petition will be heard on November 23.

Kenya

Producers Earn Top Dollar From Specialty Tea Exports

Specialty tea from the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) earned the company as high as Sh29,973 ($291) a kilogramme at… Read more »

NEC to Allow Voters to Use Alternative IDs During Re-Run Polls

By Louis Kolumbia

Dar es Salaam — The National Electoral Commission (NEC) will allow voters who have lost their cards to use alternative cards in the by-elections in 43 wards.

A press statement issued by NEC on Monday, October 16, says director of elections Mr Ramadhani Kailima told election supervisors and assistant supervisors during a training in Dodoma that voters will be allowed to use National IDs, passports and driving licenses.

“Though NEC is directed by section 62 (a) of the local government elections act to get satisfaction of voters through registration cards before voting, the commission is allowed to recommend other means of identification in the absence of voter’s identification cards,” he said.

Mr Kailima said voters were allowed under condition that names appearing in the IDs should correlate with those in the voters register, insisting that any difference will deny voters with voting opportunity.

He said NEC was planning to communicate with political parties on the new development, brought by challenges facing voters register that was last updated in 2015.

“The law directs that voters should be given new registration cards if the previous one is lost, therefore denying them with voting opportunity. Since voters register isn’t yet updated, our decision aims at providing voters to participate in the 43 wards rerun election,” reads part of a statement.

Commenting on the decision, returning officers from Tunduru District in Ruvuma Region Mr Abdul Kasembe, Urambo District Council in Tabora Region Ms Margareth Nakainga and Lushoto District in Tanga Region Mr Kazimbaya Makwega hailed the commission for the decision.

“A lot have happened since 2015 which can deny voters with voting opportunities. But, the decision has given citizens with opportunities which they could have missed unless they undergo afresh registration,” said Mr Kasembe.

Ms Nakainga said citizens with lost or damaged registration cards have been given opportunities, promising that they will mobilize citizens to appear in majority in Election Day to cast their ballots.

“The directives have come at the right time considering that under the country’s environment voter’s identifications cards are easily lost and damaged,” said Mr Makwega.

Tanzania

Gender-Based Violence ‘On the Decline’

The rate of gender-based violence has decreased compared to a few years ago, it has been said. Read more »

Africa:Africa’s Largest Wind Power Plant Could Relocate From Kenya to Tanzania

By Kylie Kiunguyu

Kenya’s failure to approve the development of a 600MW offshore wind farm in Malindi, south-east of the country, has resulted in the developers considering moving the project to Tanzania.

Swedish firm, VR holding AB, which was set to construct Africa’s largest wind power plant in Malindi, southeastern Kenya at a staggering Kshs. 253 Billion ($2.4 B);making it the most expensive private funded project in east Africa; has since changed it’s plans.

According to Kenya’s Business Daily the firm is moving the project to Tanzania, which shares the coastline with Kenya citing frustration to their efforts by Kenyan authorities. An executive at the company, Victoria Rikede said “We have opted to look for offshore solutions for Tanzania, Kenya is proving to be a very difficult place and besides the grid is too weak to absorb all the power produced and therefore mini-grids is the solution right now.”

Kenyan officials are reported to have seen issues with the plants viability. The officials argued that the power plant would leave the country with excess power thus forcing consumers to pay billions annually for under utilized electricity. According to the official, it would defeat the purpose of clean cheap energy.

“The company was to give us a proposal for a smaller capacity plant of 50MW. They are yet to do so,” said Isaac Kiva, the director of renewable energy at the ministry.

Kenya’s renewable energy framework only provides for small and medium sized projects under the feed-in-tarrif (FiT) system which fixes prizes for wind and solar energy of up to a capacity of 50 megawatts. Therefore at a cost of 3.2 Million Euros or Kshs. 423 Million per megawatt the 600 megawatt offshore project would be too expensive.

In rejecting the mega power plant, the ministry considered a phased implementation that brings power on stream gradually, in tandem with growth in consumer demand. Kiva added: “Wind is an intermittent power source and, therefore, we cannot approve such a big plant in one location since it will come with huge costs tied to power supply reliability and transmission.”

The only other renewable energy project above 50 megawatt in the country is the 310 megawatt project in Lake Turkana built at a cost of Kshs. 70 Billion. Although completed, the plant unfortunately is yet to be utilized due to a lack of a transmission line costing consumers approximately Kshs. 5.7 Billion in fines.

However, once operational the project is set to provide the 310 megawatts (MW) of renewable power to the Kenyan national grid. “It is the largest wind farm in Africa (and) it has 365 turbines,” Carlo Van Wageningen, director and board member at Lake Turkana Wind Power, told CNBC’s Sustainable Energy. “We are hoping to soon see the transmission line completed so that Kenya will be able to benefit from this cheap source of power,” he added.

Tanzania’s acting commissioner for Energy and Petroleum Affairs, Innocent Luoga, told The Citizen that the investors had yet to officially communicate with his office. Luoga said: “When it happens, I am sure they will most definitely approach Tanesco [Tanzania Electric Supply Company], who will in turn inform us [the government] to plan a meeting.”

The potential of wind power in terms of reducing carbon emissions is significant. According to the Global Wind Energy Council, in 2016 wind power helped the planet avoid more than 637 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. Although Kenya may lose out on this project the country is still in the race towards cleaner sources of energy ranking third globally in geothermal energy capacity and number one in Africa by the Renewables Global Status report, 2017.

Meaning whichever of the two countries gets to house the project, the goal is ultimately to reduce carbon emissions even further, which is a win win for all parties involved.

Tanzania:Fears Mount Over Hospital Waste Disposal Near Human Settlements

By Bernard James

Mkuranga — A hospital waste incinerator is the centre of a scandal with far-reaching environmental and public health consequences facing some 4, 000 residents of Dundani Village in Mkuranga District, Coast Region.

The incinerator, which The Citizen learnt was installed before an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was conducted, has exposed the residents to extreme health and environmental hazards caused by heavy smoke and a chocking smell produced by the plant.

The facility – known as ‘Safe Waste Incinerator’ – has been used in burning hundreds of tonnes of medical waste.

This state of affairs is enough to instill fear in the wellbeing of the local community.

Earlier on, not many locals sensed the possible danger of toxic emissions being spewed out of the incinerator. But that sense of safety vanished when the facility – which is located in a relatively densely-populated residential area, public places and natural environs – started incinerating massive medical waste.

Apparently, the place on which the incinerator was built between 2013 and 2014 was unpopulated when its owner acquired the land for the project.

But, the situation changed over time, and the facility is today slap-bang in the midst of residential houses, whose residents are now up in arms in protest against the adverse effects of the incinerator’s operations.

The current situation has put political leaders and public health officials in Mkuranga District under pressure to act in efforts to minimize possible damage to the environment, and harm to the health of the surrounding communities.

“The heavy, smelly smoke produced by the burning of hospital waste in this area is putting us all in a very difficult situation. It is very irritating; it smells like burning (human) bodies, or noxious toxins… It is really difficult to exactly describe thetype of smell which we inhale,” complained a Dundani villager, Mbarka Salumu.

Mr Salumu claimed his family almost incessantly suffers from bouts of flu, coughs and severe fever, strongly believing that the contagions are the effects of the smoke billowing out of the incinerator’s chimney.

The National Environment Management Council (NEMC) says it has not received official or formal complaints about the alleged toxic emissions.

“We received the information only a few days ago – and we are now preparing to visit and inspect the facility. We can only draw conclusions after visiting the site and inspecting the facility,” said senior NEMC official Alfred Msokwa.

Hinting that the Mkuranga District authorities had actually cleared construction of the incinerator at its current location, Mr Msoka said that they did this without first conducting an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the project.

“District councils permit such sensitive facilities to be installed and operated in their efforts to boost revenues – but they sometimes overlook safety and other issues concerning the environment and public health. They approve environmentally-sensitive projects at the local level – and, thereafter, fail to effectively monitor them,” Mr Msokwa explains.

A top official of the company operating the incinerator, who asked not to be named for not being the official spokesperson, said the concerns raised by Dundani residents and local leaders were ‘normal challenges facing businesses.’

“We have received calls from several people in Mkuranga who want us to surrender our documents. We have written to them to seek an appropriate time to sit with all responsible authorities to respond to their concerns,” said the official.

The Mkuranga incinerator does not operate daily, but when it does, the huge choking smoke produced by its operation does indeed spread far and wide into houses and open spaces.

Another resident of Dundani Village, Saidi Mnage, a petty trader has also complained that the choking smoke from the incinerator cannot be a good thing for humans and the environment.

“The emission is chocking and smells like toxic chemicals. When we ask them about it, they tell us that they are burning expired medicines! However, we don’t really know what exactly is being burnt,” Mr Mnage laments. He claims to have seen lorries coming to the incinerator under the escort of uniformed police officers to offload what could very well be expired medicines which are then burnt at night.

Dundani residents want the facility to be relocated soonest – or the chimney be elongated well into the sky.

“We are still in the dark about when this misery will end as the pollution continues relentlessly to adversely affect us as days go by,” says Mr Mnage.

Worries of health complications

The nuisance and possible health effects that could be caused by the Mkuranga incinerator were also raised by women living close to the incinerator.

“Our frustration is that the facility emits highly irritating smell. It affects pregnant women badly. Sometimes my husband buys fresh fish that we prepare for consumption. But, when it comes to eating the meal, we sometimes are unable to do so because of loss of appetite as a result of the smoke,” says one pregnant woman whose identity is withheld.

Her view was echoed by another woman, Najma Saidi. “The irritation caused by this installation is unbearable. You may prepare your food but fail to eat it because the smell that comes from that incinerator is too irritating. Now that you have come here, please go back and report about the misery we are subjected to – that the situation here is not good; it is intolerable,” Ms Saidi stated.

Students also affected

Students of Dundani Secondary School routinely complain of breathing difficulties and other irritating inconveniences caused by fumes from the incinerator.

“This situation causes us difficulties in breathing. Sometimes we fail to study in class. Once the smoke comes our way, the classrooms become inhabitable because of the swirling smoke,” says Form IV student Saidi Sadi.

Another Sudent Zuwena Salim adds: “When the smoke comes in all of us, teachers and students, are forced to exit our classrooms. It is like they are burning rotten stuff out there… “

Authorities speak out

The Assistant Health Officer for Mkuranga Ward, MrJuma Shari, said the residents became aware of the situation after a Dundani Secondary School teacher, Mr Saidi Hemedi, called to notify the ward authorities of the choking smoke from the incinerator that was adversely affecting teachers and students.

“In light of that information, we visited the area and personally witnessed how the ugly smoke was affecting the school community and residents in the area,” Mr Shari said.

The Citizen also witnessed a huge quantity of burnt hospital waste being taken from the incinerator and dumped at unauthorized sites in Mkuranga.

Lack of an ash pit for the burned waste has also been cited as a serious shortcoming at the plant.

The councilor for Mkuranga Ward, Mr Hamisi Abdallah, admitted that Dundani residents had complained to him about the irritation they were subjected to when the incinerator was operating.

“Initially, I sent my officers there to assess the situation – and the feedback was that the situation was indeed adversely affecting people in the area.

“My fear is that these people are dumping remains of burnt hospital waste in unauthorized areas within Mkuranga,” the councilor stated.

Why the proper authorities have not acted on the issue despite the endless complaints remains a difficult question whose answer Dundani residents are begging for.

The acting Mkuranga Ward Executive Officer, Mr Juma Difa, said they have requested the environment department of the Mkuranga District Council to inspect the facility and establish if it indeed meets the statutorily laid-down standards. “It is a serious problem. The incineration area is in the lowlands while the school and residential houses are on higher ground. So, when the incinerator is switched on, plumes of smoke easily spread around,” says the local leader.

He accuses the owner of the facility and his supervisor of not cooperating with the authorities. The Headteacher of Dundani Secondary School, Mr Saidi Hemed, says the school is one of the areas that are adversely affected by the choking, smelly fumes caused by the incinerator.

“It is true that this factory is causing us all problems. Students are not comfortable in class when the incinerator is in operation – and they try to cover their noses with pieces of cloth; but it doesn’t help,” he says. He revealed that his school was already in the area and was operating long before the incineration facility was constructed.

Zimbabwe:Mbare Musika Faces Temporary Closure

By Nyemudzai Kakore

Harare City Council will today and tomorrow temporarily shut down part of Mbare Musika Bus Terminus to allow for the upgrading of the station to ease congestion as well as restore order in the CBD, a council official said.

Harare corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme said Coventry Holding Bay has now been turned into a bus terminus to pick-up and drop-off passengers from Western suburbs. Mr Chideme said the programme code named “Operation Sunshine City” will witness three new bus terminuses being established. The terminuses will be put in place opposite Rhodesville Police Station and at Coca-Cola Corner where ablution facilities were being put in place since yesterday.

“Mbare Musika Bus Terminus will be under- going renovations beginning tomorrow (today) .The renovations include resurfacing, putting new sheds and fencing of the terminus to make sure that council is able to collect its revenue and to get rid of touts. In the meantime, buses will be using only sections of the areas where we would have completed renovations to pick-up and drop-off passengers. It will be a parallel process. However, we are still looking for more convenient bus terminuses to ease congestion. Rhodesville bus terminus will be ferrying people to places such as Mutare and Marondera while Coca-Cola corner will ferry people to places such as Murehwa and Mutoko,” he said.

The move by council to remove vendors from undesignated sites as well as establish new bus terminuses comes after President Mugabe last week bemoaned the vendor menace and lack of order in the CBD, saying Harare should be the smartest city in the country as it is the capital.

Mr Chideme said council had banned all illegal taxis and commuter omnibuses operating at undesignated places around the city. He said shuttle bus services will be providing passengers with relief transport by dropping them closer to bus terminuses. Questioned on how council will incorporate vendors, Mr Chideme said: “Most vendors will now be relocated to the newly-established bus terminuses so that they will be able to sell their wares to customers boarding buses to different destinations.”

Namibia:Electricity Distributor Introduces Special Tariffs

By Obrein Simasiku

Omuthiya — The Northern Regions Electricity Distributor (Nored) has introduced special tariffs for pensioners and people living with disabilities.

The discounted rates are only available to those whose metre number is registered under their name. All eligible pensioners and people living with disabilities have to do is visit the nearest Nored office to be registered for the special provision, Nored informed a stakeholder meeting yesterday at Okashana.

However, Nored says the special tariffs might not save money if the beneficiaries plug in energy-consuming appliances.

Nored’s executive manager for corporation, Toivo Shovaleka, said Nored has vowed to make electricity accessible to the people and has committed N$10 million each financial year to the programme.

“As part of our corporate citizenship, we have made donations to the tune of N$880 000 during the 2016/17 financial year, and we have also resolved to subsidize new domestic connections as well as absorb the cost of maintaining and energy of street lights below 125kw,” added Shovaleka.

The investment started during the 2015/16 financial year.

Shovaleka, however, noted that they do have a connection backlog but they are working towards addressing the issue very soon and this will be done through contracting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for new connections projects. They have also decentralised the quotation services to the regions as opposed to the past where all quotations were forwarded to the head office.

Nevertheless, Nored says its efforts to roll out electricity are being hampered by communal landowners who deny Nored access to the fenced off land to connect neighbours to the electricity grid.

“We want to approach the traditional authorities in this regard so that they can inform the communities. Other challenges include vandalism and theft as well as non-payment by some institutions. How can we pay Nampower if some entities are not paying their accounts? You are encouraged to settle your accounts so that we can provide services efficiently,” he stressed. Meanwhile, Nored says it recorded an increase in profit of 8 percent this year over the last financial year, with an annual turnover of N$846.4 million. Nored’s asset base is now at N$1.3 billion. The customer base is at 79 781 clients, 76 705 of whom are prepaid. The large chunk of Nored’s income is derived from post-paid users who on a monthly basis put in an average of N$54 million in Nored’s coffers, while prepaid generates N$38 million.

Namibia

Elect Top Four On Merit – Ruling Party Elders’ Council

The Swapo Party Elders’ Council (SPEC) says the top four senior positions in the ruling party’s congress next month… Read more »

Nigeria:National Committee On Export Promotion Meets, Targets Cocoa, Sesame Seeds

By Olawale Ajimotokan and Cynthia Offor

Abuja — The federal government’s effort at diversifying the economy took a giant leap after the National Committee on Export Promotion Council (NCEP) at its inaugural meeting, identified mainly six potential commodity products as alternative to oil.

The 13-man NCEP was instituted last week by the National Economic Council (NEC) Chaired by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, on export promotion.

It has a Zero Oil Plan (ZOP) initiative to replace oil as the major source of foreign exchange earner by growing non-oil exports from the present $5 billion approximately to $30 billion by 2025.

It is expected to submit an interim report to government by November 16

The Governor of Jigawa State, who is the Chairman of the committee, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar, said after its first meeting that it had identified cocoa, arabic gum, sesame seeds, hides and skin, cashews, apricot and banana.

He said that NCEP had identified potential export market for the sesame seeds in Japan, Turkey and China.

He also stressed that Jigawa State was already collaborating with Walcott Group of Companies on the production of Sesame Seeds.

“We discussed very well and have hope that eventually we will develop products and solid minerals that will have very high export value. Exportation is a very big chain and we are committed to providing solution for the Nigerian export,” Abubakar said.

He said NCEP would review the entire value chain process, including quality control, market, logistics and sales to ensure that the produce find buyers when eventually exported.

Under ZOP, the committee is to further add an extra $150 billion minimum to Nigeria’s foreign reserves cumulatively from non-oil exports over the next 10 years, create at least 500,000 additional jobs annually as well as lift 10 million Nigerians out of poverty.

The Minister of Agriculture and rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who is also a member of the committee, attributed the recent rejection of some Nigerian yam export in the United States to mistakes by exporter.

He said the container was in Nigeria for two months, before it left the country’s shores in a very hot environment.

He added that Ghanaian yam exports were also affected, adding that exporters should not warehouse perishable goods in bad conditions before shipping.

The members of NCEP include Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, Ogbeh, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, Minister of Power, Works and Housing and counterparts from Finance, Mines and Steel Development.

Others are CEO of Nigeria Export Promotion Council, Olusegun Awolowo, DG of NEPZA, Emmanuel Jime, MD of NEXIM, Mr Abba Bello and Permanent Secretary of MBNP, Leon Aliboh.

Nigeria:Busari – We’re Targeting Increased Sugar Production

interviewBy Jonathan Eze

Dr. Latif Demola Busari is the Executive Secretary of the National Sugar Development Council, a body responsible for the regulation of all activities in the sugar industry. He spoke to Jonathan Eze on the industry and expressed optimism that Nigeria can achieve self-sufficiency in sugar production in the near future

Recently, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, said he is impressed with your activities in the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC). Please tell us some of the brilliant policies you have introduced that is capable of turning the fortunes of the nation’s sugar industries around?

I don’t think we have done too fantastic a job. I think it is just that the minister saw the commitment to achieve our mandate. So even if you haven’t gotten there, your boss or the people looking at you want to see that even though there are challenges being faced by you, but the attitude towards resolving those challenges is what impresses them and they know that if you can keep at it like that, eventually you will succeed. It is different from somebody who has similar challenges but has a nonchalant attitude towards it. Just like we are doing in Nigeria, we have challenges but our leaders are trying to find solutions and that keeps the people happy.

I have read about the Nigeria Sugar Master Plan(NSMP). What does it intend to achieve? Please shed more light on it.

The Master Plan was the road map that was adopted by the federal government in 2012 as what would lead us to the achievement of self-sufficiency in sugar.

It has four objectives: To improve the level of sugar production locally until we are able to achieve self-sufficiency in sugar production; To reduce our over dependence on sugar importation; To create job for Nigerians; To generate electricity and also produce ethanol. So, through the sugar master plan, we want to target increasing sugar production. Today, Nigeria is depending on imported ethanol for all our needs. These are the four basic objectives and it is a 10 year journey. We started in 2013 and we hope that by 2023 we would reach the target of increasing sugar production.

What are the things we hope to achieve by 2023?

By then, we should be able to produce about 1.8million metric tonnes of sugar annually which is estimated to be our demand by 2020. The master plan was developed in 2010 and it took us two years to get stakeholders buying into the implementation. Without those stakeholders buying in, we wouldn’t have gotten far at all. It took us two years so that all our stakeholders would join us in the journey.

By 2023, we would have been able to produce 1.7 and 1.8million metric tonnes of sugar annually. We will be able to generate ethanol, generate about 400megawatts of electricity, create 117,000 jobs for both skilled and unskilled labour and save Nigeria about 600 million that we spend annually on sugar importation. Also, if we are able to enact a blending mandate, where you mix ethanol with gasoline to use as automotive fuel(Obasanjo started the ETM mandate) that is we mix 10 per cent of ethanol with gasoline and if you are able to do that, since we depend on imported gasoline right now, we would also save that 10 per cent. We estimated it to be about 50 million dollars. To be able to achieve all these, we would need about 250hectares of land under cultivation. We need to employ people. These are the basic key ingredients, and how do we get this done especially when government is not going to put a kobo and that’s actually the main challenge for us. We are going to depend on private sector to put their money down. So the only way we could do it is to provide some incentives that would get them to come.

Don’t forget we are dealing with a sector where if you have all your fund and technical expertise ready, they are not going to start looking for you. And if you have your land ready, it will still take about five to six years from day one that you start.

What are the challenges confronting the Council and the sugar sub-sector?

There are many challenges. For example, when you already have funds, you have the technical expertise and you have the land, it will take you five to six years that you would keep on spending money before you can see a grain of sugar come out and then you begin to sell and probably your money is most likely going to be a loan. So, you start paying back the loan so before you say this is your own money, it will be about ten years. How many investors are willing to go into that kind of sector? When you can buy federal government bonds and go to bed or you can even trade. Buy something, sell and make money so few investors want to go into that kind of sector. It is capital intensive. It has long gestation period and is fraught with agricultural risks. Because if you plant your sugarcane and flood clears it, that is the end of it for the year.

You mentioned something very fascinating about sugar being used to generate electricity. How does this work? Can you expatiate on it?

When the juice is extracted out of sugarcane, what is left is the fibre. In the industry, we call it bagas. All industries have boilers for production process. In the sugar industry, we use bagas to fire the boilers for steam generation. You need steam in most industries for most industrial processes. The difference is that in the sugar industry, that steam can be channelled or piped into steam turbines to generate electricity. They use this electricity first for their own use in the factory and on the field, whatever that’s left is now given to the people as part of the benefit that accrue to the community. They may even sell it to national grid if it is much more than they need. Every sugar industry all over the world generate electricity and depending on the quantity they produce, it is for their own use and then their communities.

The federal government has recently signed some executive bills on the Ease of Doing Business. Before now, do you think it was difficult to do business in Nigeria?

The first executive bill is about the ease of doing business and because fortunately, we are not in the business of granting approvals or licenses so people are not queuing up waiting for license. The only thing we give is quota and it is not even in our hands. It is in Mr. President’s hands. We don’t have problems like Customs or Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) would have. We are one of the revenue generating agencies and are captured under the fiscal responsibility act so executive order no four affects us in terms of government needs money and you have to bring money into the coffers. I believe that we are doing well, delivering the little services to the public. We deal with people .

Can Nigerians really produce the sugar they consume without relying on imports?

That is our major mandate. Our mandate is not with the consuming public as such. It is more with the investors that would be able to do that production and fulfill that mandate. It’s for them to tell us the projects they would be investing in. They gave us a list of projects before that we are following through. It contains some of the earlier ones too but it is just that they are recommitting them. Dangote is now going to do the expansion of savannah. He is going to have two new field projects, one in Lay and one in Tunga. They just rounded off the one in Sunti and they asked us to look for land for them because they are proposing another one. BUA too has its own in Lafiagi. So we have a total of eight projects now. So it is a mixture of the old and new and we are re-implementing them.

People are being advised to reduce sugar consumption because of the attendant health risks. Has this affected the level of sugar demand and production?

There is a lot of de-marketing for sugar. All of us are feeling it. Sugar doesn’t cause diabetes. You can confirm from medical people. It is a failure of your metabolism and when you take sugar in excess, it will aggravate it. If you have insulin that works, it will metabolise the sugar. If you don’t have sugar for a minute, you die. It is the basic unit of energy that powers our metabolism. If your brain lacks sugar for a second, you are brain dead. But of course, everything you take in excess is wrong. Basically everything you eat is sugar. For example, pounded yam, rice. All these food, the body stores it in form of sugar. They say one can of coke contains 10 cubes of sugar. There are a lot of sugars out there but we have to be moderate. However, over 82 per cent of the sugar goes to industries. Just 18 per cent is consumed by people. The industries are the major users of sugar e g the chocolate and beverage industries. If you follow everything the doctors say, you won’t eat.

The country just came out of recession, what do you think can be done to sustain the present economic progress?

Something led us into it and something must bring us out of it. If our luck stays and crude oil goes up a bit, it will be good. Our Minister of State for Trade was able to get OPEC to come down on daily production. All of us Nigerians need to ensure that the little we have is spent judiciously. When government keeps doing what it does, we will consolidate on the growth already recorded. But even when we were not in recession, we have had billionaires and other people on the lower rung of the ladder. So how do we bridge the gap to bring this people up to let them feel the impact?

Lastly, who is Latif Busari?

I am just a poor civil servant trying to do the little I can do.

Sudan: Development Projects ‘Have Little Impact On Eastern Sudan’

Eastern Sudan — A prominent leader in Eastern Sudan, Abdallah Musa, has fiercely criticised the East Reconstruction Fund, saying that its projects have had little impact on the lives of people in Eastern states during the past ten years.

He told Radio Dabanga that “the eastern states have abandoned the implementation of their own development projects and entrusted them to the East Reconstruction Fund which has donated huge amounts of money to the implementation of the Aatbra Sitiet Dam.

He said this was considered an explicit violation of the East Agreement which stipulated that the Fund should not be involved in major development projects such as dams, electricity, and state development projects.

Musa downplayed the importance of the projects implemented by the Fund during the past years, and explained that they have not succeeded in the drilling of wells, the restoration of public facilities and the maintenance of schools and pointed out to the failure to implement serious projects in the education and health fields.

Schools and health facilities closed

He criticised the fund for the implementation of educational and health projects without ensuring the provision of their operational budget from the state government.

Musa pointed out that a number of schools and health facilities have been closed for lack of operational funding.

Also he explained that the government has not fulfilled its financial obligations to the Fund.

He asked about the fate of the funding of the $4 billion pledged during donor’s conference in Kuwait in 2010.

Last Monday the director of the East Fund, Abu Obeida Duj, reported to the Council of States that the total of 1,000 projects implemented and are being implemented in the states of the East since 2008.

He pointed out that it included the axes of water, health, education, promotion of the economy, roads and electricity.

Sudan

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