Posts tagged as: economic

TFDA’s Clients Charter Out, Offers Free Phone Service

By Katare Mbashiru

The Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) has launched its Clients’ Service Charter, 2016 (Third edition) which, among other things, has reduced the number of days for registration of imported medicinal products from 360 in 2006 to 240.

As part of initiatives for improving the standard of service delivery, the charter has also reduced the number of days for registration of low risk food products to 40 from 240 in 2006, and, the registration of high risk food products will now take 50 days.

Under the new charter, the process of issuing import and export permits for registered food, medicines, cosmetics and medical devices, will take a single day, while it took between two and five days previously.

Speaking during the official launching of the charter in Dar es Salaam yesterday, TFDA Director General (DG) Hiiti Sillo said the timeframe for service delivery would be reduced depending on the availability of resources.

“It should be noted that nowadays, much emphasis is placed on efficiency, and so, the number of days may drop to fewer than the ones outlined in the charter,” he said.

According to the DG, the purpose of the charter is to openly show the responsibilities of TFDA to comply with the required quality standards in serving clients.

This, he pointed out, was in line with the National Development Vision 2025, the National Strategy for Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction 2015 and the National Trade Policy 2003 on promotion of the private sector as the engine of the economy as well as being flexible to address the new changes.

According to Mr Sillo, the charter further aims at providing information to clients about TFDA services and strengthens the relationship between the authority and clients in various areas.

Among other benefits, the new charter will help people to know the types of services TFDA offered, and the quality of specific services. The minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elders and Children, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, commended TFDA for reviewing the charter in its quest for enhancing services.

In the speech read on her behalf by the Acting Director of Curative Services in the ministry, Dr Doroth Gwajima, the minister said the clients’ charter was a common thing in many countries around the world, as a tool for improving services in various government institutions.

She remarked: “As a country, we need to cherish this as part of the government’s quest to provide services for all in a professional, responsible and transparent manner.” The charter’s launch coincided the Public Service Week which kicked off yesterday.

In another development, TFDA launched the Toll Free Service number where clients can now call to the food and drugs watchdog free of charge to raise their concerns and get feedback by dialling 0800110084.

Public Debt Crosses Sh4 Trillion Mark As State Eyes More Loans

By Brian Ngugi

Kenya’s public debt crossed the Sh4 trillion mark at the end of March this year, reflecting the Jubilee government’s sharp appetite for loans.

This has raised fears of the country’s future ability to repay the mounting credit.

The latest Quarterly Economic and Budgetary Review report released Wednesday by the Treasury shows that total public debt has now risen to an equivalent of more than half (52.6 per cent) of the gross domestic product (GDP), on the back of massive increase in borrowing since the Jubilee administration took power four years ago.

The public debt comprises 51.9 per cent foreign and 48.1 per cent domestic loans.

“The gross public debt increased by Sh782.3 billion from Sh3.26 billion as at the end of March 2016 to Sh4.04 trillion, equivalent to 52.6 per cent of GDP by March 31, 2017,” says Treasury in the report tabled in Parliament.

“The overall increase is attributed to increased external debt due to exchange rate fluctuations, disbursements from external loans and more uptake of domestic debt during the period.” The rate of increase in the debt load, however, does not correspond with growth in revenue generation, indicating the widening gap and mounting pressure on government’s capacity to repay loans.

The ability to generate and grow tax revenue is a strong indicator of future ability to repay debt.

The Treasury report shows that the government’s cumulative revenue collection for the period July last year to March this year amounted to Sh984.6 billion against a target of Sh1.05 trillion.

“This represented an under-performance of Sh65.9 billion mainly due to shortfalls in income tax, (fees, charges and court fines) collection, Investment Income and Imports Declaration Fee (IDF),” says Treasury in its documents.

The total external debt stock including the international sovereign bond stood at Sh2.1 trillion at the period ending March 2017.

The debt stock comprised multilateral debt at 38.4 per cent, bilateral debt at 32.8 per cent, commercial banks debt at 28.3 per cent including international sovereign bond and suppliers’ credit debt at 0.5 per cent.

Corresponding to the rising debt load, foreign interest payments rose to Sh38.2 billion in the period compared to Sh26 billion in the same period of the 2015/16 financial year. On the other hand interest payments on domestic debt totaled Sh145.8 billion, which was higher than the Sh122.6 billion paid in the corresponding period of the previous financial year.

According to the budgetary review, Kenya’s loan repayment to China stood at Sh18 billion over the period representing over half of the total bilateral loans (Sh32.8 billion) highlighting the country’s growing appetite for Chinese loans.

Kenya this week committed to borrowing additional billions of shillings to finance the ongoing construction of the standard gauge railway (SGR) line indicating that the borrowings could soon take the debt load past 60 per cent of GDP level.

On Monday the government announced it is seeking an additional Sh370 billion ($3.59 billion) Chinese loan to extend the SGR from Naivasha to Kisumu, pushing the construction cost to Sh847 billion.

The country has in the past four years borrowed billions of shillings to finance power generation and road construction projects.

In addition to Sh327 billion spent on the first phase between Mombasa and Nairobi and Sh150 billion that the emerging Asian economy extended recently for the Nairobi-Naivasha section, the Chinese will have pumped a total of Sh847 billion in the venture.

This excludes interest on the loans that would push the overall cost beyond Sh1 trillion.

Nigeria: NPA Halts Monopoly in Cargo Handling At Ports

By Sulaimon Salau and Benjamin Alade

To reduce monopoly and enhance operational efficiency at the ports, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Hadiza Bala Usman, has inaugurated the cargo handling speciality by terminal operators at the ports.

Usman directed that every terminal in the port is free to receive any cargo in so far as they have the technical competence to handle such. Before now, terminal operators were given area of speciality in cargo handling, thereby given some operators monopoly to handle certain type of cargoes.

The Managing Director added that “the Authority would ensure a level playing field for all the operators and that no investor is above the law and that all must comply with laid down rules and regulations.”

Speaking when she received visiting members of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering, in her office in Marina, Usman requested for greater collaboration and support from the Academy in the area of new engineering projects.

She also affirmed that NPA has a large pool of competent engineers who are versatile, and are contributing immensely to the organisation, while assuring of NPA’s support to the Academy.

She also said the Authority would look at the possibility of supporting relevant technical institutions in line with its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) especially in the area of capacity building.

The President, Nigerian Academy of Engineering, Mrs Joanna Maduka, commended Usman on her achievements within such a short period, adding that NPA was noted to have produced very competent engineers in the past.

She solicited NPA’s support in the efforts of the Academy to resuscitate engineering institutions and colleges in Lagos, decrying that government has not given enough recognition to the profession.

In another development NAE and Arco Group, have stressed that engineering education and profession are not given the pride of place it deserves in national planning and development.

The Academy led by its President, Mrs Joanna Maduka in a courtesy visit to Arco’s head office to brief Arco on its expanding role in promoting engineering education and profession as well as discuss ways and means of broadening its collaboration with the group in different spheres of its activities.

Maduka observed that the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan recently put in place by the Federal Government did not have sufficient technical input, a situation, she said did not reflect the crucial role of engineers in economic planning in Nigeria.

She bemoaned the pervasive scarcity of modern teaching instruments and equipment in the engineering and technical departments of tertiary institutions in the country and called on all concerned to improve the situation in order to enhance the technical competence of graduates of the institutions.

A member of the delegation, Prof Augustine Esogbue, who is the coordinator of the Academy’s activities among Nigerian engineers in diaspora informed that Nigerian engineering talents abound in different countries around the world.

5 Less Obvious Reasons Why People Vie for Political Seats

By Margaret Njugunah

Nairobi — What would make a millionaire who seems to have everything want to vie for a political seat? Why would someone who already has extensive influence in society want to gamble by getting their hands involved with the dirt that is politics? Even the poor are now doing it, but why?

US President Donald Trump had built a business empire in America and is considered one of the richest men in America, and still vied for a political seat.

Despite making a name for himself in sports and having massive influence in the sport, boxing legend Manny Pacquiao vied for a political seat and is currently serving as a senator in Philippines.

There are also the unlikely ones, like Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar who is considered to be one of the wealthiest criminals in history. Escobar vied and was elected as an alternate member of the Chamber of Representatives of Colombia.

We’ve seen them locally too, men and women who had wealth and influence before getting into politics. So why would such people choose to seek elective positions?

Power

“Power is one of the biggest reasons why people get into politics. It’s the first and foremost reason. This is especially so for rich people who may have attained everything that money can buy but still do not have the amount of power that comes with an elective position,” Professor Macharia Munene a political analyst from the United States International University-Africa (USIU) says.

Protection of wealth

People, especially the rich, seek elective positions to protect their wealth. For them, being friendly with the authorities is no longer enough to protect their hard earned wealth. “When you are in power, you are able to protect your riches in a way that you cannot if you were not in an elective seat,” he adds.

To make a name for themselves

There are people who also seek elective positions for fame and to make a name for themselves. They are not necessarily interested in winning. “There are people who just want to hear that they were in the ballot box. They knew very well they could not win but being among the candidates and the amount of fame they get is satisfying for them.”

Widen their network

The Political analyst also exposes a side of elections that not many people know about, the network that a person may be able to create. “Elections will expose you with the high and mighty in the society. There are people will, therefore, vie to be close to others in the race.”

Money

Elective positions, especially in Kenya, come with a lot of money, be it high salaries and the accompanying allowances. There is a lot the money that is left under your care and also the opportunities to make money that come with the seats.

Kenya

EU Trade Deal, Funding Mechanism Top Agenda of Region’s Summit

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Time to Wipe Out Kalonzo Party for Lacking Agenda – Mutua

By Correspondent

Machakos — Maendeleo Chap Chap party leader and Machakos Governor Dr Alfred Mutua has hit out at the Wiper party and its top leadership saying it had nothing to offer the Kamba Nation.

He urged the electorate to vote for his party candidates saying they were committed to offering transformative and people-driven leadership.

Mutua said his four years in Wiper party were tormenting as he was being fought by the party top brass.

“The party even supported its MCAs to impeach me. Their mission was to slow me down in my development agenda,” he said.

Mutua said he quit Wiper to form his own party after he realised that the Kalonzo Musyoka outfit was engaged in retrogressive politics.

“Wiper leaders did not at any time when we had meetings discuss about development. Their agenda was always how to undermine other leaders,” said Mutua.

He said his Chap Chap party was committed to offering transformative leadership that will improve the lives of the people.

Mutua said that his party had attracted many aspirants and supporters and will play a key role in the country’s politics.

He said Musyoka had failed to transform the region politically and economically during the many year’s he has been in positions of power.

Mutua said he supported President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election.

“We agreed with Uhuru that our people be considered for senior State positions in his next government. As a community we cannot allow ourselves to be sidelined in the dishing out of top posts,” said Mutua.

The Chap Chap party leader was speaking at Nguluni, Tala, Kinyui, Katheka and Donyo Sabuk towns in Matungulu constituency in Machakos County.

“I am so glad to have met and spoken with residents and traders of Matungulu today. I have also listened to their needs,” said Mutua.

He said his government has upgraded the road network, essentially opening up rural Machakos for business and communication.

“We have lit up the streets and market places to enable people do business even at night, “said Mutua.

He was accompanied by the party aspirants eyeing the various elective seats.

Kenya

EU Trade Deal, Funding Mechanism Top Agenda of Region’s Summit

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Audit of Voter Register to End This Month Despite Delays

By Jeremiah Wakaya

Nairobi — The audit of the voter register is on course despite delays in acquisition of third party data for verification purposes.

Independent and Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) ICT Manager Chris Msando said on Tuesday despite 30 days having lapsed since audit firm KPMG signed a contract with the electoral body, it took more time than expected for the auditor to obtain information from the Directorate of Immigration and Registration of Persons intended for the purposes of cleaning up the 19.7 million voter register.

According to Msando, KPMG encountered challenges getting the data of deceased persons intended to be used to weed out persons in the voters roll who may have since passed away.

“I agree that it is more than 30 days since the audit commenced on March 31. But KPMG requires data for births and deaths in order for them to compare with what is in our (IEBC) register.”

“That data has delayed and that is why the process has taken this long,” Msando said during a forum organised by the African Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG) in collaboration with Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice (KPTJ) to discuss findings of a report on the country’s preparedness for the General Election.

He however said that the audit will be concluded by the end of the May paving way for the General Election on August 8.

Msando added that the Commission had recruited two voter educators per ward to sensitise the public on the electoral process as the nation gears for the polls.

“We have two voter educators per County Assembly Ward and they are moving around with materials provided by the commission to educate voters based on the ongoing voter verification exercise and the upcoming election,” he said.

According to the report compiled by AfriCOG and KPTJ titled “An Assessment of Kenya’s Preparedness for the 8 August 2017 General Election”, the National Assembly through amendments to the Elections Act in 2012 diluted The Leadership and Integrity Act which gave life to Chapter Six of the Constitution by excluding a stricter vetting system and extension of nomination timelines.

The report recommends that the Chapter Six Working Group comprising the IEBC, the Attorney General and other stakeholders to look at the existing law and provide clarity on its jurisdiction and authority.

Kenya

EU Trade Deal, Funding Mechanism Top Agenda of Region’s Summit

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Teachers Demand Meeting With Employer Over Pay

By Ouma Wanzala

Teachers have demanded for a meeting with their employer over their collective bargaining agreement (CBA) signed last year.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary-General Wilson Sossion said anxiety among teachers was high and the union was under pressure to conclude and agree on an acceptable implementation schedule for the CBA.

“We hereby write to remind you that the two weeks’ timeline agreed upon while in Naivasha expires on Friday, May 19,” said Mr Sossion in a letter dated May 15 to the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) chief executive officer Nancy Macharia.

“Please urgently schedule a meeting before Friday as was agreed in Naivasha so that our members can understand their individual benefits from the CBA come July 1,” he added.

On Sunday, TSC head of communications Kamotho Kihumba assured teachers that salary increase will be implemented starting July but did not disclose when the meetings will take place.

“TSC will in due course issue a detailed circular on how individual teachers in different grades and administrative positions will benefit,” said Mr Kihumba.

The Sh54 billion deal is supposed to benefit 305, 000 teachers.

The CBA was signed in October last year and later registered with the Labour Relations and Employment Court on November 30 in readiness for implementation.

The CBAs will be implemented between July 1 and June 30, 2021.

Kenya

EU Trade Deal, Funding Mechanism Top Agenda of Region’s Summit

The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between East African Community (EAC) partner states and the European Union,… Read more »

South Africa: Energy Security a Game Changer for Western Cape

Pretoria — As African Utility Week gets underway in Cape Town, the Western Cape government will exhibit at the conference in efforts to grow the green economy.

On Tuesday, Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde said GreenCape, which was established by the Western Cape provincial government to grow the green economy, will exhibit at the three-day conference, which kicked off today.

“This year’s African Utility Week comes at an exciting time for the Western Cape’s green economy. In the year ahead, we anticipate the designation of the proposed Atlantis Special Economic Zone (SEZ), which will be used for infrastructure development, skills development for residents and the promotion of the SEZ to potential investors. The SEZ will promote the location of green technology companies in the Cape,” said MEC Winde.

Around 7 000 delegates are attending 17th annual conference.

MEC Winde said the province has selected energy security as a provincial government game changer.

“[This is] because we know that a sustainable and affordable energy supply is essential to attracting even more job creating local and foreign investment. We are making good progress.

“South Africa is the world’s fastest growing green economy. And in partnership with GreenCape, we are establishing the province as the hub of this growth, with two thirds of South Africa’s green manufacturing taking place in the Western Cape,” said MEC Winde.

Renewable energy sector expert at GreenCape, Maloba G Tshehla, said African Utility Week is a key opportunity for businesses and investors in the water and electricity space to stay abreast of developments and to network with key players.

“The event is not only for people who work for utilities but also for businesses, investors and other players active within these value chains. GreenCape, a key source of knowledge and market intelligence in the sector, will have a stand again, and businesses and government can chat with the team about work they have been doing to create demand in the embedded generation space,” Tshehla said.

The team at the GreenCape stand will also offer market insight and advice on the water development nexus as well as advice on overall sustainability for retailers.

The 17th annual African Utility Week that is taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre will conclude on Thursday, 18 May.

South Africa

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Capital Market University Challenge Kicks Off Tomorrow

The Capital Market University Challenge 2017 kicks off tomorrow, the Capital Market Authority (CMA) has said. The challenge that is in its third edition will be conducted from May 17 to June 9 and is open to students in universities and other higher learning institutions in the country, Robert Mathu (pictured above), the CMA executive director, said.

“The challenge will be conducted as part of public education and awareness aimed at inculcating the culture of saving and investment particularly through capital market among students,” he added. The competition started in 2012 targeting undergraduate students in all universities and other higher learning institutions.

This year’s competition will include two categories; a quiz to test students’ knowledge of the capital market industry, and essay writing on the theme, “Growing the youth through capital market”. The Capital Market Authority will launch this year’s edition of the contest at Adventist University of Central Africa, Mathu said yesterday in a statement.

The competition will be carried out by CMA in collaboration with the Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE), Economic Policy Research Network) and the International Association of Students in Economic and Commercial Science (AISSEC).

He said: “The Capital Market University Challenge aims at introducing the youth to the capital market and the culture of saving while they are still in universities. We also aim to interest them to the industry as future professionals.”

He added that the event will be an occasion for students to showcase their knowledge on the capital market industry through the interactive competition.

Moses Asiimwe, a winner of the previous challenge, encouraged students in colleges across the country to participate in the contest, and also start saving and investing through the capital market.

Preliminary stage

The challenge’s preliminaries will take place in provinces. The University of Rwanda’s College of Agriculture, Animal sciences and Veterinary Medicine will host the Northern Province preliminary contest on May 20, while the College of Arts and Social Sciences will host contestants from the Southern Province on the same day. Students from Eastern Province will tussle it out at University of Rwanda’s Nyagatare campus on May 24 and those in the Western Province will be hosted at ULK Gisenyi Campus on the same day. The preliminary for the City of Kigali is scheduled for May 26 at the College of Science and Technology.

The finals will take place at Kigali Serena Hotel on June 9 and the quiz winner will get 10,000 shares of a company listed on the bourse, while the essay category’s top prize is 5,000 shares of a listed company.

Rwanda

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How Open Airspace Will Bring Over 46,000 Jobs and U.S.$202 Million

Photo: The New Times

A RwandAir plane takes to the skies. Restrictions have affected the growth of the aviation sector in the region.

By Peterson Tumwebaze

More than 46,000 jobs and $202 million could be added to the region’s growth domestic product (GDP) per annum if East African Community (EAC) member countries embrace the open sky policy, a new study indicates.

The study by the East African Business council (EABC) estimates that liberalisation of the airspace between the six EAC countries could result in an additional 46,320 jobs and $202.1 million per annum in GDP.

According to the study, there is compelling evidence that full liberalisation of restricted routes will lead to about 9 per cent lower average fares and a 41 per cent increase in frequencies, which in turn will stimulate passenger demand across the region.

“This study demonstrates that increased air service and traffic resulted in positive benefits for the total EAC economy,” said Lilian Awinja, the EABC chief executive officer. Sector players say one of the factors contributing to the slow implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision principles is a lack of clear and specific information regarding the impacts of enacting air transport liberalisation. “The East African Business Council (EABC) and the EAC secretariat, therefore, commissioned the study on the costs and benefits of open skies in the EAC bloc to understand the impact of implementing the Yamoussoukro Decision in East Africa,” she noted .

She added that liberalisation of air transport contributes to “greater trade and tourism, inward investment, productivity growth, increased employment and economic development” besides being supported by regional stakeholders.

According to aviation experts, liberalisation offers a means to restructure national carriers and increase profitability by expanding into new markets, accessing a wider pool of investment and through consolidation. “The EAC should therefore harmonise air transport regulations specifically taxes across the region and finalise the EAC Liberalization of air transport regulations while moving to fully implement the Yamoussoukro Decision,” Awinja noted.

According to experts lack of a fully liberalised air space, high taxes and poor infrastructure continue to hurt the industry despite its potential.

Rwanda is currently leading the project to integrate and liberalise airspace within the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)

According to Adefunke Adeyemi, the regional director in charge of external relations at the International Air Transport Association (IATA), establishing a more interconnected air transport system is key to Africa’s economic development.

Eric Ntagengerwa, the EAC senior transport manager, said though EAC partner states have committed to fully implement the Yamoussoukro Decision as part of the Common Market Protocol there was still need to harmonise many of air transport regulations across the region.

Dr Kato Kimbugwe, the team leader at Economic Growth Department for International Development, urged regional governments to put in place a conducive business environment that will help make aviation more profitable in East Africa.

“Governments need to understand that aviation is a fragile industry and avoid introducing a lot of taxes. They should know that if you reduced charges there will be more trade and prosperity which compensates for the taxes,” he added.

More about Yamoussoukro Decision

The Yamoussoukro Decision calls for full removal all restrictions on access, price, frequency and capacity in intra-African air transport market; free exercise of the first five freedom rights in the air transport and promote fair competition. Experts say this is essential to make aviation sector in the region more competitive and profitable.

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