Posts tagged as: government

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

Gambia’s Barrow Meets Sirleaf

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South Africa: Energy Notes Judgement By Cape Town High Court in the Earthlife and Safcei Litigation

press release

The Minister of Energy, Ms Mmamoloko Kubayi, notes the judgement by the Cape Town High court in the Earthlife and South African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI) case against the Minister of Energy and other respondents. The Minister has now directed the Department to study the judgment, and will pronounce on the matter in due course.

The Minister will also engage all other relevant parties on the outcome of the matter.

The Department reiterates that the South African Government has not entered into any deal or signed any contract for the procurement of nuclear power. However, there are Inter-governmental Agreements (IGA’s) signed between South Africa and the following countries: United States of America, South Korea, China, Russia, and France.

The Minister will engage Parliament on this matter going forward.

Issued by: Department of Energy

South Africa

Dam Levels Decline in Most Provinces

The national storage of 211 dams has decreased slightly by 0.3% to 72.9% compared to 73.2 last week, according to the… Read more »

Rwandan Refugees Resist Repatriation

Photo: UNICEF

Rwandan refugees (file photo).

More than 500 Rwandan refugees residing at Tongogara Refugee Camp are resisting repatriation despite assurances from the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that it was now safe for them to return home, the Financial Gazette can report.

Efforts to repatriate the refugees follow a UNHCR meeting held in Geneva last year where a secession clause was adopted whereby all Rwandan refugees and asylum seekers across the globe are to be repatriated from December 31 this year.

Under the secession clause, United Nations member States hosting Rwandan refugees have to comply with the declaration.

The repatriation exercise mainly targets refugees from Rwanda who fled their home country at the height of the 1994 genocide, a mass slaughter of Tutsi minorities by the Hutu ethnic majority. The ensuing bloodbath claimed more than 800 000 lives within 100 days.

Following the 1994 Hutu-led genocide, the then Hutu government was toppled from power leading to many Hutus fleeing the country fearing retaliation from the Tutsi-led government.

Rwanda’s current President Paul Kagame is a Tutsi.

Tongogara Refugees Camp administrator, Meshack Zengeya, said Hutus form the majority of the 564 Rwandese at the camp.

In her maiden tour of the refugee camp last week, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services, Prisca Mupfumira, said Zimbabwe was bound by the secession clause and is therefore entrusted to repatriate all Rwandan refugees residing within the country’s borders.

“It’s not the Government of Zimbabwe coming up with a position that Rwandans have to go back. It’s a position which was taken last year in Geneva affecting all Rwandans wherever they may be,” she said.

More on This

Go Home, Zimbabwe Tells Rwandan Refugees


Return Home, Zimbabwe Tells Rwandan RefugeesUNHCR Gives Refugees $4m to Go Back HomeUN Extends Deadline for Repatriation Support of RefugeesUNHCR Denies Deterring Rwandan Refugee’s Repatriation

“The idea of being a refugee is not a permanent status. I was a refugee in the United Kingdom myself before independence, together with my permanent secretary (Ngoni Masoka). When independence came, UNHCR had to repatriate us back to Zimbabwe, to come and contribute to the development of our country. You can’t be a refugee forever.”In as much as we would want to help, it should be known that this is the position of the UN and not Zimbabwe, that come 31 December all Rwandans have to go (back home) unless there are individuals with special reasons that we might have to look at. But generally, our hands as a country are tied. We have to comply,” she added.However, the Rwandan community at Tongogara Refugee Camp are not happy to go back home.Rwandans who spoke to the Financial Gazette indicated that they were aware of the UN position, but were not yet prepared to return home.The Rwandan community leader, Philip Sindayigaya, argued that nothing had changed in their home country that warrants their return, alleging that the Kagame-led government was still involved in atrocities against the Hutus.”… our position is clear: No one here wants to return home. We want to stay in Zimbabwe because what we ran from (retribution) is still there,” said Sindayigaya, adding that they had written to Mupfumira and President Robert Mugabe on the issue.”We have been appealing for Zimbabwean citizenships, we have noted that other nationals have benefited or resettled and we want similar treatment. You should know that every Rwandan here ran from different problems back home, but the UN is generalising our problems. So we are very worried and heartbroken about this issue.”There are still problems in our home country and as I speak more people are still seeking refugee elsewhere,” he added.Records from Tongogara Refugee Camp indicate that Zimbabwe, which is home to more than 10 000 refugees from across the continent, is still receiving applications from more Rwandan refugees despite the impending repatriation deadline.Another Rwandan, Sameri Kaimba, said when he fled to Zimbabwe, he came alone and sired seven children who have Zimbabwean birth certificates.This, Kaimba argued, would cause more problems for him when he is repatriated back home with his Zimbabwean born children.Jean Damacene Nkurikiyimana raised similar concerns.”Many have been here for more than 20 years. Children were born here so what should we do? I came here in 2003 with three of my children and I now have three more children. Their birth certificates are from Zimbabwe. And our position is that we don’t want to go back home, never! As long as the (current) government is still there, we will never go back there,” said Nkurikiyimana.The resistance against the secession clause came after another failed attempt to repatriate the Rwandans in 2013.The refugees have initiated a “go-and-see first” exercise where they send people to their home country to assess the political atmosphere there.This would then be used to inform their next move regarding their return home.

Legislators Call for Clarification On Standard Gauge Railway Funds

Photo: Daily News

President John Magufuli inspects a section of the Standard Gauge Railway project after laying the foundation stone at Pugu Station on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam.

By Athuman Mtulya

The government’s decision to allocate Sh900 billion from domestic revenue for the construction of the standard gauge railway (SGR) in the 2017/18 fiscal year has prompted the Opposition to demand an explanation over the fate of loan agreements that the country entered with foreign banks.

Tabling his docket’s 2017/18 budget proposals yesterday, the Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Prof Makame Mbarawa, said the government has allocated Sh900 billion for the SGR project.

According to the Prof Mbarawa, all the funds will come from the government and there is no single cent that will come from foreign donors. “To continue with the SGR construction project from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma, a sum of Sh900 billion has been allocated for the next financial year,” he said.

In the 2016/17 financial year the government allocated Sh1 trillion to fund the first phase of the project starting from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro (300km) the total cost of which is put at Sh2.5 trillion.

However, the opposition camp charged that the government was sending mixed signals over the funding of the SGR for the central railways line and wanted the government to clarify.

Opposition Spokesperson David Silinde (Momba-Chadema) noted that officials in the former President Jakaya Kikwete’s administration had said that SGR would be constructed with financial assistance from China.

And in fact, President Magufuli went ahead and entered into a long-term loan agreement with the Exim Bank of China worth Sh17.5 trillion.

“President (John) Magufuli has said in the past that the Sh2.5 trillion for the Dar es Salaam-Morogoro phase would be locally funded. But he has also been quoted saying that there would be financial assistance from Turkey. We would like to know who is paying what for that phase one,” he said adding, “We would also like to know what happened to the Exim Bank deal, and what happened to the Chinese companies who had shown interest in the first place.”

The Opposition also raised concern on how the project is currently financed, saying it will take too long, rendering it economically non-viable.

“The Minister of Finance, Dr Philip Mpango, told this august House last year that for the project to become viable, then its sections should be built simultaneously. We share the same view, and we would like to see how the government is poised to execute that,” said Mr Silinde.

Earlier, Prof Mbarawa tabled a Sh4.5 trillion budget out of which Sh2.5 trillion will go to the Transport sector, Sh1.9 trillion to Works and Sh18 billion to Communications.

In the Transport sector, Sh2.4 trillion is allocated for development projects. The government is going to inject Sh2.2 trillion for various projects the largest being the SGR. Prof Mbarawa also said the government has allocated Sh500 billion for buying new planes for Air Tanzania Company Ltd (see story on page 10).

The government will also embark on two new feasibility studies for SGR line for Mtwara-Mbambabay (Sh2 billion) and Arusha-Musoma (Sh1 billion).

Donors will contribute Sh250 billion, out of which Sh200 billion by World Bank to rehabilitate the existing meter gauge central railway line.

In the construction sector, Sh1.8 trillion has been allocated for development projects. Sh1.3 trillion will come from local sources while donors will inject Sh545 billion.

Some of the major projects earmarked in this sector are, Sh917 billion for the roads fund, construction of Msalato Airport in Dodoma (Sh5.5 billion), rehabilitation of Kilimanjaro International Airport (Sh32 billion), rehabilitation of Mtwara Airport (Sh4.5 billion) and construction of Terminal III Building of the Julius Nyerere International Airport (Sh35 billion).

In the communications sector, Sh14 billion has been earmarked for development projects, all coming from the local sources.

“In the next fiscal year, we have tried to allocate more local funds for the development projects. It is upon us to propel the development wheel on our very own blood and sweat,” said Prof Mbarawa.

Compared to the fiscal year 2016/17 budget, the proposed 2017/18 estimates for the ministry has raised by Sh326 billion.

President Magufuli flagged off the first phase of the SGR project on April 12 this year. He urged the contractor to finish the project within 30 months. The project is being undertaken by contractors from Turkey and Portugal.

Yesterday, Prof Mbarawa said the tenders for construction of Morogoro-Makutupora section (336km), Makutupora-Tabora (294km),Tabora-Isaka (133km) and Isaka-Mwanza(249km) were advertised in November 2016, and opened Wednesday last Week (April,2017).

The SGR which is to use electricity full-time is designed for a maximum speed of 160km/h for passenger trains and 120km/h for freight.

It links the Dar es Salaam Port with DR Congo and the land-locked countries of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia and Malawi.

Nigeria: How Maritime Fared in First Quarter

By Eromosele Abiodun

Eromosele Abiodun writes that the first quarter of this year was quite challenging for stakeholders in the maritime sector

A top global accounting and audit firm, Deloitte, recently published a report on the maritime sector highlighting several problems bedeviling the sector.

The report amongst others revealed that Terminal Handling Charges (THC), which is the main revenue stream of terminal operators, declined by 22.4 per cent between 2006 and 2016 as a result of depreciation of the naira and inflation.

The report revealed that at the beginning of port concession in 2006, THC collected by the operators stood at $232 per TEU but declined to $180 per TEU by 2016.

According to Deloitte, “The THC is the main source of revenue for the Terminal Operators. This is the payment received from transferring cargo from ship/quay side to the yard for release to clearing agents/customers.”

According to the report titled: “Public Private Partnership (PPP) as an anchor for diversifying the Nigeria economy: Lagos Container Terminals Concession as a Case Study,” during the same period between 2006 and 2016, the terminal operators business was adversely impacted by the rise in Consumer Price Index (CPI)/inflation, with the CPI Nigeria rising to over 177 per cent since 2006. It said foreign exchange (FX) fluctuation also impacted the value of the THC with over 224 per cent FX depreciation between 2006 and 2016.”

The report, which was released by Deloitte Nigeria’s Director of Strategy and Operations, Bola Asiru; Senior Manager, Oladotun Bamigbetan and two others, stated that if the terminal operators were to adjust the THC yearly in line with changes in foreign exchange and Nigerian CPI , the rate should have increased to N185,112 per TEU.

“In real economic terms, the operators are losing revenue by not adjusting their THC in line with market realities,” Deloitte stated.

The firm said the foreign exchange challenges that Nigeria faces as a result of the fall in global oil prices is further pronounced for terminal operators as a large part of their capex (capital expenditure) and operational costs are in United States Dollars. It said the operators’ dollar denominated costs includes equipment acquisition and maintenance costs and payment of lease fees to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). That has been the story of the sector since the beginning of the year.

Apart from the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) who has managed to record some achievements in terms of revenue collections, other players in the industry have had one or two negative stories to tell. From terminal operators, customs agents and government agencies and regulators, it’s been lamentations and cry for government to review some of the policies that has driven cargo away from the Nigeria ports.

Controversy Galore

While operators were wailing, the NCS was swimming in controversy. It started the year with the ban on the importation of vehicles via the land borders and ended the first quarter with the controversial directive by the Comptroller General of the NCS, Col Hameed Ali (rtd) that all vehicles in the country whose customs duties have not been paid, to do so.

The service had advised all motor dealers and private owners of such vehicles to visit the nearest Customs zonal office to pay the appropriate duty on them.

The NCS in a statement signed by its acting Public Relations Officer, Mr. Joseph Attah, said the four zonal offices of the Nigeria Customs Service are: Zone A Headquarters, , Yaba, Lagos; Zone B Headquarters, Kabala Doki, Kaduna; Zone C Headquarters, Nigeria Ports Authority, Port Harcourt; and Zone D Headquarters, Yelwa Tudu Road, Bauchi State.

“The CGC therefore calls on all persons in possession of such vehicles to take advantage of the grace period to pay appropriate duties on them, as there will be an aggressive anti-smuggling operation to seize, as well as prosecute owners of such smuggled vehicles after the deadline of Wednesday 12th April, 2017.

“For the avoidance of doubt, all private car owners who are not sure of the authenticity of their vehicles’ customs documents can also approach the zonal offices to verify their status with a view to complying with the provision of the law,” the statement concluded.

But in a swift reaction, the Senate ordered the NCS to, henceforth, halt the order directing all vehicle owners to verify the payment of their vehicles’ customs duties within one month.

The upper legislative chamber therefore ordered the agency to suspend the directive until it has duly appeared before the Senate to brief it on the rationale behind the move.

Raising under Order 42 of the Senate Standing Rules, Deputy Majority Leader, Bala Ibn Na’Allah, who described the NCS circular as ridiculous, said the agency failed to present a clear-cut guidelines on which category of vehicles would be affected by the directive.

According to Na’Allah, the implementation of such ambiguous circular will create a huge discomfort for innocent Nigerians, bearing in mind that it has already caused significant anxiety among citizens.

Against this background, the Senate ordered the NCS to suspend all moves towards implementing the directive and also resolved to engage the Service with a view to ensuring that it comes up with acceptable policies to Nigerians in a typical democratic setting.

“Mr. president, the basis for being here as parliamentarians is to define the rule of engagement between us and those who elected us into this very, very coveted office, to the effect that we would all swear to uphold, protect and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law. We already have an existing law called the NCS,” he said.

While describing the directive as ridiculous, Na’Allah challenged his colleagues to uphold the oath they swore to by resisting any obnoxious policy meant to further complicate life for the already troubled Nigerians.

Supporting the motion, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu highlighted the excesses and outrageous policies of NCS as he recalled how the Senate had adopted a motion decrying the harassment of traders in Sango-Otta, Ogun State, by men of the Customs who violently took away purchased items from the market under the guise of non-payment of appropriate customs duties.

He said it was unfortunate that the Senate was yet considering another outrageous move of the agency which he said was attempting to foist illegality on the citizenry in its drive to generate more revenues.

He also said the NCS lacked the power to impose punishment on Nigerians over deeds committed in the past, arguing that even though the constitution vests the National Assembly with the power to make laws for the federation, the legislative institution does not possess the power to impose penalty on anyone over perceived wrongs of the past and much less a mere agency like the NCS.

Cheering News?

Perhaps the most cheering news for stakeholders in the maritime sector was the report that the federal government had indicated its readiness to lift the forex ban it placed on some 41 items in 2015. Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun, had in the 2017 Fiscal Policy Roadmap, said Federal Government “will replace administrative measures on list of 41 items with fiscal measures to reduce demand pressure in the parallel market.

Reacting to the news, the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) lauded the federal government’s plans to lift foreign exchange restriction on 41 imported items. Mr. Stanley Ezenga, the National Publicity Secretary of the association, gave the commendation in an interview with newsmen in Lagos.

Ezenga said that the plan would boost importation activities at the nation’s ports. He said that lifting of ban on the items would not solve the declining value of the naira, urging government to come up with a more result-oriented forex policy.

“The plan by the government to lift foreign exchange restriction on some 41 imported items is good news for import. “We can now have more import activities at the ports and the various jobs lost to the restriction can now come back. However, the unbanning alone will not solve the problem of the naira. Government should come with a more workable policy to boost value of the naira,” Ezenga said. He said that freight forwarders had lost 50 per cent jobs to the restriction, hoping that the lifting would address the situation.

NIMASA ISPS Code Implementation

Another major development in the industry in the first quarter of the year was the move by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to enforce the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) code. As part of the measures to get operators to comply, it shut three jetties and port facilities for non-compliance with the provisions of the ISPS code. NIMASA in a statement said the decision is pursuant to its mandate as the Designated Authority (DA) for the implementation Code in Nigeria.

The facilities are: Heyden Petroleum Jetty Ijora Lagos; Waziri Jetty, Dockyard Road Apapa Lagos and Starz Marine Shipyard Limited Onne in Rivers State. These facilities, the agency stated, have persistently failed to comply with the ISPS code necessitating their closure in order to forestall a situation where security breaches in such facilities will negatively impact the compliant ones.

These closures, it added, are in exercise of the agency’s powers in line with provisions of Part VIII of the ISPS Code Implementation Regulations 2014 under which the facilities were adjudged to be non-compliant despite repeated warnings to remedy the deficiencies.

NIMASA has consistently stated its commitment to the enforcement of full compliance with the ISPS Code especially in the face of growing terrorists’ activities globally.

While hosting a pre-assessment team from the United States Coast Guard (USCG) recently, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside expressed the determination of the agency to enforce the code saying that, “ultimately all of us are working for a common purpose, a safer world through safety and security of the maritime sub sector. If we fix our different corners of the earth, the whole world will be safer for everybody. And so no effort should be spared in trying to guarantee safety and security.”

“All shut facilities are to remain closed until the managers of such facilities correct the identified deficiencies in line with the dictates of the Code as the Agency aims to achieve 100 per cent compliance with the cooperation of all stakeholders. This exercise is a continuous one, “it stated.

Sudan: Memorandum of Understanding On Producing Biofuel in Sudan Signed

Khartoum — A memorandum of understanding was signed , Thursday, between the Higher Council for Environment and Urban Development in Khartoum State, the Africa City of Technology and the Malaysian Bionas Group during a workshop organized by the National Assembly’s Agriculture Committee.

The projects set to produce two million tons of Jatropha plant oil.

Representative of the Parliament Agriculture Committee aims to fight poverty and raise standard of living , increase capacity building for small producers at rural areas by targeting five million and 600 thousand people.

Director of Africa City of Technology, Dr Osama Al-Reis said the production of biofuel was a national project set to bridge the gap in production of electricity especially at rural areas.

The Minister at the Higher Council for Environment in Khartoum State, Maj.Gen. Omer Nimir indicated to importance of Parliament role in enactment of laws and legislations for environmental field, stressing importance of partnership to make use of Malaysian experiment in domain of production of biofuel.

Sudan

Sudan to Announce National Accord Government Next Week

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West Pokot Not a Kanu Zone, Jubilee Leaders Tell Lonyangapuo

By Oscar Kakai

Leaders from West Pokot County have declared the area a Jubilee zone, promising to support the ruling party in the August 8 l elections.

The leaders slammed their rivals over claims that the county is a Kanu zone, asking them to stop misleading residents.

They lauded residents for participating in the nominations peacefully.

Speaking on Thursday during a public rally in Kapenguria Town, West Pokot Governor Simon Kachapin, Pokot South MP David Pkosing and former Kapenguria MP Julius Murgor, who is eyeing the county’s senate seat, and other leaders nominated to vie on the Jubilee ticket vowed to rally locals in supporting the party.

“During the Kanu regime we did not benefit from anything as a community. I am now telling my rival and our senator Prof John Lonyangapuo to prepare for a bruising battle,” said Mr Kachapin.

Governor Kachapin said that his government will continue initiating projects in the region to spur development and uplift the economy of the locals.

PEACEFUL CAMPAIGNS

“We are going to complete parking site and improve drainage systems. As a party, we will conduct peaceful campaigns in the area, moving from one sub-county to the other preaching peace among our people,” he added.

Pkosing cautioned other leaders from the county against spreading propaganda and insults.

“Resident should listen to us and ignore leaders who tell them lies,” said Pkosing.

Rev Murgor said he is optimistic that the Jubilee Party will win all seats in the August elections.

Other leaders present in the meeting included West Pokot Deputy Governor Titus Lotee, Sigor Jubilee parliamentary aspirant Peter Lochakapong, Kacheliba Jubilee parliamentary aspirant John Lodinyo and county woman representative, Ms Lilian Tomi Tom.

Kenya

Millions Needed to Battle Armyworms

The Agriculture ministry requires an additional Sh320 million emergency funding to combat crop-eating caterpillars known… Read more »

Sudan: Haemorrhagic Fever Outbreak Feared in Sudan’s Red Sea State

Tokar / El Gedaref / White Nile — Tokar hospital in Sudan’s Red Sea state has received dozens of people complaining of symptoms which some suspect might be haemorrhagic fever, a diagnosis denied by authorities.

A medical source told Radio Dabanga that the hospital received more than 60 patients on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Mekki Abdullah Mohammed, the locality’s Commissioner, has acknowledged the emergence of fevers in the area over the past week, but strongly denies it being haemorrhagic fever.

He told Radio Dabanga that a medical team has arrived in the locality and confirmed that “these fevers are normal in the summer, including malaria”.

The Commissioner confirmed that 82 people were infected with these fevers: between seven and 10 infected people are hospitalised every day and discharged after 48 hours.

Cholera

In separate reports, two people died and 10 others were infected with cholera at Shuaib area of El Greisha locality in El Gedaref earlier this week.

A medical source told Radio Dabanga from El Gedaref that the medical isolation centre at Shuaib area has received 16 cases from Friday until Wednesday, two of them died including a woman and a man in front of the grand mosque of the area.

The source pointed out to the discharge of 10 cases who have recovered health from the isolation centre, while four other cases are remaining at Centre 2, which were received on Wednesday

In the White Nile state the death toll due to cholera has risen to five, one woman, one man and three children, this along with the infection of more than 400 people.

A medical source from the health centre of Andalus village said that on Wednesday morning the centre has received 10 new cases all from Jogo and Arafa villages. The source pointed out that eight patients have been hospitalised since Tuesday.

Sudan

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Uganda: Govt Issues New Rules to Govern Taxi, Bus Parks

Photo: The Observer

Old taxi park.

By Ali Twaha

Government has issued a fresh set of guidelines for the management and levying of parking fees in bus and taxi parks across the country.

The new guidelines, which take effect on July 1, replace the old ones set in July 2013 but expired on June 30, 2016. They are contained in a February 13, 2017 internal memo issued by Local Government minister Tom Butime, which is titled, “Revised policy guidelines on management and levying of parking fees in local government’s public service.”

In the new guidelines, which Butime dispatched to all district chairpersons and mayors, the government directs that no vehicles shall pay a daily parking fee in the public service vehicle parking areas.

Instead, the government directs that all vehicle owners and drivers shall pay a monthly parking fee to a local government or urban authority’s bank account, where the vehicle picks and drops passengers routinely.

“Each local government shall levy not more than Shs 80,000 per vehicle for each calendar month,” says the memo. “This rate may be reviewed and revised by the minister in consultation with key stakeholders every financial year.”

The memo also set guidelines on development of parks, the organizational structures in parks, procuring the services of park operators, as well as a number of temporary provisions to manage the transition to the new guidelines.

Regarding the development of parks, Butime states in the memo that the sale of a park must be approved by the local government ministry, as well as adhere to the laws government the disposal of public assets (PPDA Act 2003).

“The sitting park operators shall be free to jointly re-develop the parks on condition that they can mobilise funds, have the capacity to construct modern parks which meet universally acceptable standards and should have the necessary approvals from their respective local governments,” the memo adds.

In the event that park operators are unable to raise the required funds to reconstruct and modernize the parks, the governments are free to identify a partner with whom they can pool resources and jointly reconstruct the park based on the Public Private Partnership Act or PPDA Act. This arrangement, however, has to receive the ministry’s approval.

The government also requires park operators to register a cooperative society with the ministry responsible for cooperatives. The members will pay membership and subscription fees as set in the Cooperative Societies’ Act. The coop will be their vehicle to develop the parks.

“No private companies and individual persons, other than the park operators’ cooperative society, shall be allowed to develop or manage public vehicle parks,” says the memo, which is also copied to the prime minister, ministers for the presidency and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), the inspector general of police, all RDCs, all CAOs and all town clerks..

According to the memo, procurement for the management services in all local governments will be reserved for park operators, who will use either the direct procurement method or the selective bidding method.

The memo also sets terms for payment of management contract services, and sharing of revenues from parking fees between local governments and administrative units, among others. The central government, however, does not set penalties and fines for non-compliance and abuse of collections, leaving that responsibility to the local governments who will enact ordinances and by-laws.

IMPLICATIONS OF NEW GUIDELINES

The new guidelines have several implications for different local governments. In Kampala, for instance, city authorities currently charge taxi operators working within the city a monthly road fee of Shs 120,000. When the vehicles go to gazetted public parks outside Kampala, they are charged an additional levy estimated at about Shs 10,000 daily.

The assistant acting commissioner for urban inspection at the ministry of local government, Yasin Sendaula, told The Observer that the new guidelines will help to streamline the payment of park fees for city taxi operators.

“Currently, they pay more than Shs 10,000 [daily fees], excluding the illegal welfare fee which has been stopped. The rate in the guidelines is less and cheaper than what they are paying now,” he said.

According to Sendaula, the issuance of the new monthly fees means that a taxi driver or owner with a car in Kampala will pay at least Shs 200,000 to government monthly.

In 2013, when KCCA increased the road fee from about Shs 70,000 to Shs 120,000, operators protested the move. Government reacted by prematurely allowing the services of Pioneer Easy Buses to ease passenger movements, a move that quelled the strike but created long-term challenges.

Butime wrote that the new directive is intended to ease the management and development of taxi parks at the local government level.

LOCAL GOVT BOSSES REACT

Meanwhile, some government officials who spoke to The Observer said the new policy guidelines are not fair to government employees and the local government councils. They claim some of the clauses will drive down local government revenues.

The town clerk of Iganga, James Luyimbazi, said the new guidelines are not favourable to his administration. “Some of the clauses are not good. I cannot tell how much they were collecting [per vehicle but] for us we could just get money from the tenders,” he said.

The town clerk of Hoima, Peter Matsiko, however, held a more favourable view, even though he conceded that the guidelines could reduce revenues slightly.

“It is going to be easy to manage the taxi operators,” he said. “Some of these taxis used to just leave in the morning without paying these daily fees to the local government.”

Early this year, at least 300 taxi drivers in Mbale municipality went on a sit-down strike, protesting the manner in which the tender to manage the taxi park was awarded to the Bugisu Taxi Operators and Owners Sacco. These are some of the concerns the government says the new guidelines will address.

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