Posts tagged as: government

Nigeria: Govt Resorting to Tax Relief to Fund Road Construction – Fashola

By Chineme Okafor and Nnenna Akuma

Abuja — Following its claims of huge reduction in its revenues from the oil industry, and the resultant paucity of funds to conveniently carry on with its infrastructure development plans, the federal government tuesday said it would now begin to look towards tax recovery funding schemes to build and reconstruct roads in the country.

The Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, disclosed this during a progress report meeting in Abuja with contractors handling major road projects for the government.

Fashola said the government would as a new push to revive Nigeria’s infrastructure, offer companies operating within tax reliefs to allow them undertake key road projects in the country.

He explained that companies with the capacity and willingness to reconstruct existing or build new roads in the country would be encouraged by the government to go ahead, and subsequently claim tax relief as recompense for their investments.

Fashola also disclosed that the N100 billion Sukuk bond which the government recently launched would be channeled to fund works on 25 major road networks which fall within the A1 to A4 arteries.

By definition, a sovereign Sukuk is an ethical-based investment in which rent is based on the investment bi-annually and the principal sum paid at the end of a tenor.

However, in his response to a question on details of the government’s recent agreement with Dangote Group for the rehabilitation of the Oshodi to Toll Gate highway in Lagos, Fashola said shortly after presentations from the contractors: “Our discussions with the Dangote, yes, we have an offer now beyond what they have done as voluntary which is two kilometres of the Wharf Road, it is an offer to take up the entire length from Creek Road, Liverpool Road, through Apapa, Tin Can, Oshodi, Mile 2, all the way to the Toll Gate.

“This is going to be done under a tax recovery order that exists under the Companies Income Tax (CIT) Act. It is not something that is new, but it is something we are going to use more of. Another company Lafarge, is also using that in Cross River State to build a road.”

The minister explained that the government was well at home with using tax reliefs to get companies to rebuild the country’s road infrastructure, saying: “We welcome other like minded individuals and companies who have that kind of money to intervene in certain roads, and claim tax relief back.”

“What it really means technically is that government is spending in advance the taxes that it should collect to quickly respond to places where there is pain because some of these companies, if they make profit should pay tax at the end but the government is saying if they spend some of the tax on public infrastructure, they will get some relief. We commend and welcome this initiative.

“That is the long term solution to the lock down in Apapa. There will be some discomfort, but as we begin work on that area, people should expect some relief,” he added.

On the Sukuk bond, Fashola equally stated: “Sukuk is coming and if it is fully utilised, at least 25 major roads will have some interventions. The truth is that this country is now earning less from what it earned some four years ago, the major revenue source is oil, we are just diversifying to earn money from other sources like agriculture but we are trying to do the best we can with the limited resources that we have.

“The Sukuk addresses in part our strategy for providing finance. This is the first ever Sukuk that the federal government is issuing. All we are targeting is to see if we can raise N100 billion, that won’t cover all of Nigeria’s roads but we can target certain roads and if you look at the 25 roads, they are the integral part of the A1 to A4 roads – Lagos to Sokoto highway, Warri to Katsina, Port Harcourt to Potiskum, and Calabar to Maiduguri-they all originate from our ports and end at the boundaries.”

The minister noted that the government was also undertaking repair works on 41 roads across the country that had gone bad from the heavy rains and other weather related issues.

He said the meeting was to keep in touch with contractors on the progress of their jobs, especially with considerations to the next couple of months when most of the roads in the southern parts of the country would be heavily engaged.

“We are looking at a 10-week window starting from around the end of September to the middle of December when your workers would go on annual leave and what kind of contingency arrangements you would be making so that the operational staff will be on ground to deal with emergencies.

“In addition to the major construction works that are going on, we also have rehabilitation works using specific contractors to improve motorability, and we have been working on 41 roads across the country covering each zones and trying to make remediation to them as a result of what has happened during the rainy season. We are getting ready to conclude procurement on that,” Fashola stated.

Similarly, he asked shipping firms in the country whose operations at the Lagos Port could be disadvantaged by the repair works on the road leading into the port to consider using other ports in the country.

According to him, “This morning, I read that the Association of Licenced Custom Agents is complaining about the Lagos Port, we hear you loud and clear, we have responded and started work but bear with us because the construction will cause some discomfort but we will have a better experience by this time next year when we finish what we are doing.

“But what we can also do is to for now move our cargoes through other ports because if cargoes are not destined for Lagos, and are headed up north or to the east, then the Warri and Onne ports are there. The Calabar Port is also there so the inconvenience will be reduced.

“We have all of these assets, let’s also be flexible about using them. I have spoken to the MD of NPA about this. We appeal to shippers to also bear in mind that we are constructing in built up areas, and so their flexibility will help us improve service delivery.”

Nigeria: Nurses to Join Other Health Workers in Shutting Down Hospitals Thursday

By Senator Iroegbu

Abuja — The nurses and midwives in federal health institutions across the country are set to abide by the decision of the Joint Health Workers Union (JOHESU) to embark on industrial action tomorrow if the federal government fails to accede to its demands at the expiration of the ultimatum given to the government by midnight today.

Rising from a stakeholders’ meeting in Abuja tuesday, the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), as a bonafide collaborator with JOHESU, called on its members in federal health institutions which include teaching hospitals, research centres and federal medical centres to down tools and stay away from hospitals and other health facilities nationwide on the order of the umbrella body.

The National President of NANNM, Abdulrafiu Adeniji, while briefing journalists on the development said: “By yesterday’s expiration of our ultimatum, all federal health institutions will remain closed.”

By extension, he said: “All states and local government health institutions are hereby put on red alert. If nothing is done after one week that the strike might have commenced, they should also go on strike”, adding that the only language that the Nigerian government understands is the strike.”

According to him, the meeting, which had in attendance members of the national executive council of the association, representatives of the chairmen’s forum, executives of NANNM in federal institutions as well as state executive officers, was “occasioned by the looming crisis in the nation’s health sector with a view to review the situation and come up with resolutions.”

Stressing that the federal government has taken the association for a ride, the president vehemently said NANNM was not satisfied with the condition of healthcare infrastructure in the country and as a result, asked the government to implement the report of the December 2016 Inter-Ministerial Committee in which contains the solution to industrial crisis in the health sector.

The association, therefore, called on the government to expedite action of the proposed gazetting of a well-deserved scheme of service for nurses and midwives who have to bear the pains and brunt of remaining on the same salary scale for long, while it also asked for the commencement of the scheme of Internship for nurses and midwives. “If this is not done, it will demotivate nurses and other health workers.”

Other resolutions reached at the meeting he said, the association condemned in entirety the non-inclusion of nurses in the position of decision-making by the Federal Ministry of Health and federal health institutions, saying such position of Directorate cadre should be created for nurses and such be filled with qualified candidates.

Adeniji blamed the festering of quackery in the health sector especially the nursing profession on the inability of the government to recruit more nurses to fill existing vacancies and to fill the job deficit gap.

He said out of about 170,000 licensed nurses and midwives turned out by training institutions across the country, only about 22,000 are gainfully employed in federal institutions, while a majority of Nigerian trained nurses and midwives work outside the shores of the country.

While charging non-governmental organisations and faith-based organisations to desist from engaging non-qualified nurses for health related campaigns and programmes, he said, “there must be a red alert on the issue of quackery. We must join hands together to ensure that quackery is reduced to the barest minimum.”

Nigeria: 90% Deaths in Hospitals Caused By Health Workers’ Attitude – Teaching Hospital Chief

Photo: Muthoni Njoki/Capital FM

Over 90 per cent of deaths recorded in Nigerian hospitals are due to poor attitude of health workers.

Thomas Agan, the Chief Medical Director (CMD), University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH), said this during an interaction with journalists on Tuesday in Calabar.

He said some health workers were not taking the lives of patients seriously, in spite of their professional training and work ethics.

“Over 90 per cent of deaths in our hospitals are due to our attitude,” Mr. Agan, who doubles as the Chairman, Committee of Chief Medical Directors of Federal Tertiary Hospitals in Nigeria, said.

“Until the healthcare givers in our hospitals begin to realise that the health of the patient he/she is handling could be his own, his wife or siblings and all that, things will not go well.

“Until we realise that we would be held accountable to every challenge we create, things will not go down well,” he said.

While decrying the frequent crises in the health sector, the CMD said that the health sector was supposed to be a place of succour, not only to the rich, but to ordinary Nigerians.

He attributed incessant strikes in the health sector to disagreements and professional rivalry among the various unions, adding that at the end, it is the Nigerian people that are suffering and dying.

“It is unfortunate that the health sector has been characterised with strike actions over the years. For me, welfare issues are necessary in life, but incessant welfare requests from the healthcare providers tend to undermine the sector itself.

“I feel really pained that the situation has not been adequately taken care of by both staff and the government. And each time any union declares industrial dispute, you cannot quantify the number of people that usually lost their lives.

“Our oath, for instance, says we should preserve life from conception to death. This means that the life that is entrusted into your hands must be preserved.

“I am happy that the strike by resident doctors has been suspended. I have never believed in using strike to solve problems and I will never subscribe to strike in its entirety,” Mr. Agan said.

Nigeria

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South Africa: Road Safety Education Must Be Part of School Curriculum – Mpumalanga Pupils

Pupils competing in the Mpumalanga Provincial Participatory Education Techniques Competition have called for road safety education to be included in the schools’ curriculum.

They argued that instilling knowledge of road safety and regulations in citizens from a young age and on regular basis would reduce road crashes.

Four secondary schools represented by five pupils from the Ehlanzeni, Nkangala, Gert Sibande and Bohlabela regions competed for a place in the national finals that will be held in the North West next month.

This year, Mpumalanga will be represented by Nkangala region’s DM Motsaosele Secondary School and Lugebhuta Secondary School from the Ehlanzeni region.

The programme is aimed at changing pupils’ attitudes towards road safety and encourage them to identify road safety challenges in their communities and find solutions through research.

In their presentations, the students suggested that government needs to improve road maintenance, visible policing and law enforcement.

Road users must meet government ‘halfway’

Sandile Sibeko a learner from the DM Motsaosele Secondary School team added that the government needed to increase its investment in educating road users as individual behaviour played a significant role in road safety.

“Traffic officers cannot control people’s behaviour and we as road users need to meet government halfway in this fight against road carnage by obeying the rules of the road and reporting those who disobey,” said Sibeko.

Speaking on behalf of the Mpumalanga department of community safety, security and liaison, Mzamani Vuma said the department was concerned about the prevalence of road crashes, especially those involving young people who drive without licences and those who drink and drive.

“This is a very good platform to warn young people who steal or take their parents’ vehicles and drive them without licences and also to instil responsibility so that when they buy cars, they know what is expected,” he said.

Source: News24

South Africa

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Malawi: Community Told to Be Responsible

By Wallen Kanyenda

Lilongwe — A non-governmental organisation (NGO) Chisomo Idea Community has advised people residing around Chinsapo clinic that it is high time that members of the community take responsibility of government built infrastructures that are given to them as their own.

Speaking during a cleaning exercise at Chinsapo clinic in Lilongwe, Community Coordinator for the organisation, Vanwick Maseko said it is the responsibility of every citizen residing around the clinic to see that sanitation at the health centre is achieved in order to reduce water and air borne diseases which can be spread around the area.

“As a charity organisation, the message that we brought to this community was to encourage the people to be responsible citizens who can take action when things are going wrong and that is why we set an example by cleaning the whole health centre,” he said.

One of the workers at the clinic, Lorent Chalesi hailed Chisomo Idea Community for work performed at the hospital and called upon other organisations to emulate the good gesture portrayed by Chisomo Idea Community as part of their social responsibility.

Doreen Kasiya a resident of Chinsapo area commended Chisomo Idea Community for the cleaning exercise saying this will encourage the community not to litter around the health centre.

Chisapo clinic serves a population of about 6,000 people with the services of Under 5 clinic, antenatal, HIV testing and other first treatment exercises.

Chisomo Idea Community is a charity based organisation works in Lilongwe, Mzuzu, Blantyre and Thyolo districts with emphasis on education, health, women empowerment, mobile clinics just to mention but a few.

Malawi

Presidents Call for Accelerated Action to End Child Marriage

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Uganda: Uganda Sets Tougher Rules for Oil, Gas PSAs

By Halima Abdallah

Uganda has set tougher terms for new entrants in its oil and gas sector, where profits and losses will be shared in line with prevailing oil prices.

The new terms also restrict investors from recouping more than 65 per cent of their production costs in a year.

In the latest Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) signed last week, between Uganda and Armour Energy Ltd, the government will also be approving the company’s annual budget and expenditure.

The Australian Securities Exchange-listed company has been given an exploration licence for the Kanywataba block.

Nigeria’s Oranto Petroleum International Ltd will also get an exploration licence and PSA for the shallow and deep plays in the Ngassa area.

The two companies met the financial, technical health, safety and environment management requirements for the licences.

Uganda does not have capital to invest in its oil and gas industry, so it enters into PSAs with companies. These firms inject money for exploration, field development plans and oil production.

However, their expenditure is recoverable at the start of actual oil production for an agreed ratio.

“We have agreed that when production begins, the companies can recover 65 per cent of its production costs every year instead of full expenditure incurred for that year and the balance will be shared as profits.

But, if expenditures are high and revenues low, then we shall have zero consumption,” Permanent Secretary at the energy ministry, Robert Kassande told The EastAfrican.

Fundamental shift

This is a fundamental shift from the previously signed PSAs, where the companies’ recoverable costs took precedence while high ratios and profits were based on daily crude oil produced. The old practice also saw companies first spend money and then the Auditor-General came in later.

“The model we are using means that when oil prices are high we get good money. The previous agreements did not provide for this,” said Mr Kassande.

The issuance of the exploration rights signals that the country is on a steady path to increase its oil and gas resource base and attract additional investments in the sector. This is expected to plug petroleum products supply gap in the medium and long-term.

While the 26-month long bidding process has seen the government get $2.4 million for data development, successful companies are paying additional fees, which will be kept at the petroleum fund held at Bank of Uganda.

For example, Armour Energy paid $316,000 annual rent in addition to $990,000 for performance guarantee. Royalties agreed on will range between 8.5 per cent and 21 per cent.

Armour Energy intends to immediately start its operations to keep pace with the two-year timeline the company has been given to sink at least one well.

For the first 12 months, Armour group CEO, Roger Cressey, said the firm will be involved in research and in the second 12 months the company will carry out seismic studies.

“Our budget aligns with our commitments and we have secured $1.98 billion to carry out the work,” said Mr Cressey.

Armour energy was until recently, an exploration company. It has however included oil and gas production in its operations.

South Africa: Crowds Outside Court Where Mother Appears for Alleged Killing of Newborn

“No one knows what’s in her heart,” a woman in the Mitchells Plain Magistrate’s Court told curious bystanders as they waited for a mother to appear on Tuesday morning for allegedly killing her newborn son.

Other women at the court door nodded, adding, “nobody’s perfect” and “only God can judge”, just minutes before 32-year-old Dalene Petersen appeared in the dock.

She was arrested on Sunday after her baby was found under a mattress at a home in Juksei Street, Beacon Valley.

Residents at court, who did not want to be identified, claimed Petersen had choked or strangled the baby. Another alleged that the baby was a love child.

Wearing a pink hooded top and grey pants, Petersen stood before Magistrate Alvira Bezuidenhout for the first time on a charge of murder.

She was asked whether she would like to hire an attorney, use legal aid or represent herself.

“I will represent myself,” she replied softly.

Bezuidenhout warned her that the charge was serious. She then decided to choose legal aid.

Prosecutor Farieda Jacobs said they were following up on bail information.

Escaping the crowds

Petersen would, thus, remain in custody for a week. Her family rushed out of court to escape the crowds.

Her four kids had been placed with a family friend, said Sihle Ngobese, spokesperson for Social Development MEC Albert Fritz.

He said they had become aware of the case after community members approached Fritz to see if he would intervene.

The Mitchells Plain Crisis Forum’s Faizel Brown told News24 outside court that they condemned the killing in the strongest terms.

“That said, obviously we still need to understand the events of this case.”

Brown said the government needed to intervene to put an end to innocent lives being lost.

“We are calling on the Premier of the Western Cape [Helen Zille] to put up a commission of inquiry into child killings. A child commissioner needs to be appointed to deal with their safety.”

Citizens could report abandoned, abused, neglected or missing children to the police or to the social development department hotline on 0800 220 250.

Source: News24

South Africa

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Burundians to Fight UN Police Officers, Says CNDD-FDD Boss

By Lorraine Josiane Manishatse

“I advise the UN not to validate this biased report presented by its experts, otherwise it will be the end of this great organization because we will firmly resist,” said Evariste

Ndayishimiye, Secretary General of the ruling party CNDD -FDD, on 16 September during a demonstration staged by members and supporters of the party. The aim was to challenge the report recently released by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Burundi.

According to Ndayishimiye, the report of the UN experts aims at facilitating great powers which are enemies of Burundi or the UN to deploy troops in order to invade Burundi.

The CNDD-FDD boss accuses the UN of using double standards. “Despicable crimes have been committed in Burundi since its independence, but the UN has never reacted. Why do they want to conduct investigations in Burundi today? “he said.

“They have tried to send the African Mission of Prevention and Protection to Burundi (MAPROBU) without success. If they dare, we are ready to fight them and we will win,” he also said.

“They are trying to deploy 228 police officers to arrest us and bring us to the International Criminal Court (ICC), we will fight and annihilate them in two hours,” said the Secretary General of the ruling party.

On 4 September, the UN Commission of Inquiry issued a report in which investigators accuse Burundi government of committing crimes against humanity. It called on ICC to initiate investigations in Burundi as soon as possible.

Burundians should not be confused with CNDD-FDD members

Tatien Siboma, a political opponent, finds that the Government of Burundi and the ruling party are finding scapegoats.

For him, since Burundi has plunged into the crisis in 2015, the UN institutions have adopted resolutions and produced reports on human rights situation which the government and the ruling party have always rejected. They accuse authorities and organizations responsible for these resolutions and reports of being biased.

“The best way to protest the reports is to allow international observers to come on the ground to dissect their content,” he said.

As long as the government and the ruling party do not accept that the UN investigators come on the ground in order to corroborate those reports, they will have no argument, he said. “Otherwise, anyone will conclude that they are accusing themselves of something,” said Sibomana.

For him, by saying that the Burundian people will protest against the UN if it implements the 2303 resolution, the CNDD-FDD Secretary General alluded to the youth affiliated to the ruling party ‘Imbonerakure’. “CNDD-FDD members cannot be confused with the Burundian people. We are not ready to fight against the experts sent by the UN, “he said.

Sibomana calls on the UN to investigate crimes committed since 2015.

Burundi

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Tanzania: State Injects U.S.$38 Million into Rural Communication

Photo: Mohamed Mambo/Daily News

Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Prof Makame Mbarawa, peruses a document at a base station as a Tanzania Telecommunications Limited official, Thomas Damian (holding microphone) makes clarifications. Looking on is Universal Communications Service Access Fund Chief Executive Officer Eng Peter Ulanga and financiers of the countrywide telecom towers project. Right is District Commissioner Elizabeth Kitundu.

By Katare Mbashiru in Dodoma

About three million Tanzanians in rural areas have accessed communication services under the Universal Communication Service Access Fund (UCSAF).

According to Works, Transport and Communication Minister, Professor Makame Mbarawa, the government has so far spent over 85bn/- to provide rural dwellers in 3,000 villages with communication services.

The minister was speaking here after a two-day working tour of Dodoma and Morogoro regions to launch the rural telecommunication projects under the joint execution by UCSAF and Viettel Tanzania Limited. Viettel Tanzania, trading as Halotel, is a mobile communications company that provides voice, messaging, data and converged services in the country.

Viettel Global, the state-owned investment firm from Vietnam owns Halotel, which has invested in Telecommunications market in several countries. During the tour, the minister was accompanied by UCSAF Chief Executive Officer, Engineer Peter Ulanga and UCSAF Board Chairman, Dr Joseph Kilongola, among others.

The team launched telecom towers in Bahi, Chamwino, Kondoa and Gairo districts at the launching ceremonies attended by area residents and District Commissioners (DCs).

Engineer Ulanga said the government in 2014 sealed a deal with Halotel on the supply of communication services to 4,000 villages, expressing optimism that all the underserved parts of the country will have reliable communication services, including speedy internet services by 2020.

“Our main goal as the government is to ensure that we provide communication services to all … we are glad that we have so far covered many villages,” he said.

Addressing Letungunya villagers in Gairo District’s Kibede ward, few minutes before launching Halotel’s communication tower, the minister said the government is determined to connect all villages in the country to uninterrupted communications.

“Communication sector is key for the national economy and all people, including those living in rural areas … that is why we want you to access the same services as Dar es Salaam residents or any other big city in this country,” he said.

At Nondwa ward in Bahi District, the minister launched Tanzania Telecommunication Company Limited (TTCL) communication tower, warning residents against vandalising the communication infrastructure.

He asked Tanzanians to ensure that they use the communication networks for development, instead of disseminating seditious or abusive materials.

Dodoma’s TTCL Regional Manager Humphrey Ngowi said apart from availing communications to rural dwellers, the communication infrastructure also creates jobs

Tanzania

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Mbeya Opt for DSE Listing

By Merali Chawe in Mbeya

MBEYA City Council has formed a company entrusting its football team, Mbeya City to a company. The move enables Mbeya City Council to own 50 per cent of shares while the remaining 50 per cent will be owned by the shareholders.

Mbeya City team’s General Secretary, Emmanuel Kimbe, unveiled yesterday in a meeting to discuss the team’s development strategies and challenges, where it was reached a decision to entrust it to the public who will own the club by buying shares.

He said currently the club faces financial constraints in daily operations due to the decline in sources of revenues in Mbeya City Council. He said they were obliged to find new approaches which will enable stakeholders to invest in the club.

Kimbe said since the government cannot list in the stock market, the City Council has decided to create a company known as Mbeya City Football Club Limited Company eligible to market the team’s shares to the public.

“We are in the final stages of listing the club into the stock market and soon our shares will be in the market, with the aim to sell over 50 per cent of shares to the public,” he said. Mbeya City become the second Premier League club to sell its shares to the public after Simba, though in a slight different approach.

However, Kimbe said they are yet to decide the kind of investment, but the plan is to sell over 50 per cent of shares.

Tanzania

State Injects U.S.$38 Million into Rural Communication

About three million Tanzanians in rural areas have accessed communication services under the Universal Communication… Read more »

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