Posts tagged as: major

IMF Warns Govt’s Revenue Targets Projections Too Optimistic

Dar es Salaam — The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned Tanzania over what it termed over-optimistic revenue projections, which may force the country to delay the construction of some of its major infrastructural projects.

IMF deputy managing director Tao Zhang said Tanzania’s budget execution in 2016/17 faced challenges, mainly due to external financing shortfalls that led to low execution of capital spending and a tight liquidity situation.

He said the 2017/18 budget reaffirmed the authorities’ objective of scaling up public investment, while preserving fiscal sustainability.

“However, potentially over-optimistic revenue projections call for its prudent implementation, including delaying some large projects until availability of revenue is confirmed during the mid-year budget review,” Mr Tao says in a statement issued by IMF.

Mr Tao was speaking after the executive board of the IMF completed the sixth review of Tanzania’s economic performance under a programme supported by the Policy Support Instrument (PSI) on June 23.

The board approved the authorities’ request for a six-month extension of the current PSI arrangement and granted a waiver for the nonobservance of the end-December 2016 assessment criterion on tax revenue because the slippage was minor.

Tanzania plans to increase spending in its budget for the fiscal year ending June 2018 by 7.3 per cent to Sh31.7 trillion with a key focus on infrastructure.

Like neighbouring Kenya, Tanzania wants to take advantage of its long coastline and upgrade outdated railways, ports and roads to serve growing economies in land-locked parts of Africa, according to Reuters.

In the coming fiscal year, Tanzania plans to borrow Sh6.17 trillion from domestic sources and expects Sh3.97 trillion from external concessional loans and grants. It is also seeking an additional Sh1.59 trillion shillings from external sources.

Tanzania

Two Local Leaders Shot in Kibiti Confirmed Dead

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Increased Budget Allocation to Push Govt Industrial Drive

By Bernard Lugongo

Dodoma — The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has doubled development budget in the 2017/18 financial year, pushing the country’s industrialisation drive further.

The ministry, yesterday, asked Parliament to endorse a proposed budget of 122 billion/- for the next financial year, out of which 80bn/- will be set for development projects and the remaining 42bn/- for recurrent budget. In the current financial year, the development budget stands at 40bn/- and 41.8bn/- was for recurrent budget.

Comparatively, the recurrent budget for 2016/17 and that of 2017/18 has remained almost the same with a slight increase of 0.2bn/- , but there was a significant increase of 40bn/- in development funding.

When tabling the budget, the Minister for the docket, Mr Charles Mwijage, pointed out that the budget allocation indicates the government’s commitment to realise industrialisation vision come 2025.

Some of the development projects to be undertaken during the coming year as endeavours to build an industrial-economy base, establishment of special economic zones, developing the industrial area in Kibaha (TAMCO), developing researches for the development of industries, and to increase capital in the National Entrepreneurship Development Fund (NEDF).

He said that 200m/- from the development budget will be spent for developing flagship projects, such as in coordinating and monitoring works for the Liganga and Mchuchuma coal projects in Njombe Region.

Furthermore, about 2bn/-, equivalent to 2.8 per cent, of the development budget, will be used for financing building of a base of industrial economy, including Soda Ash project at Engaruka Valley and revival of General Tyres industry in Arusha.

Giving statistics of the industries established so far, Mr Mwijage said the country has 49,243 factories whereby 85 per cent of them are very small industries, small industries account for 14 per cent, middle industries (0.35 per cent) and big factories (0.5 percent).

“These figures give a picture that industrial development in Tanzania, like it is the case in other countries, comes as a result of putting more strength on small and very small industries as well as middle -level factories,” he argued.

Since the Fifth Phase Government took power, over 390 big industries worth 5tri/- were registered by last March and are expected to provide at least 38,862 job opportunities to Tanzanians.

These industries are at different stages of implementation, while some of them are at the final stages, ready for production. The Parliamentary Committee on Industries, Trade and Environment asked for timely disbursement of funds to the ministry so that it could undertake development projects within the planned timeframe.

Meanwhile, the Committee appealed to the government to lift the ban on coal importation into the country.

The Committee Chairperson, Mr Stanslaus Nyongo (Maswa East-CCM), told Parliament that the current local production of coal does not meet the required demand, especially that of cement manufacturers.

According to Mr Nyongo, as the government gears up to boost local production of coal by attracting major investments in the area, it should allow manufacturers to import the commodity. “Apart from low production of coal, manufacturers are facing a major challenge in transporting the commodity from Ruvuma to their plants.

The roads around the coal mine areas are in bad state and are impassable during rainy season. The nearby railway line can’t handle heavy load. Currently, coal amounts to 70 per cent of entire production cost of cement,” he said.

When contributing to the proposed budget, some MPs expressed anger over privatised industries whose owners have failed to develop them and as a result they collapsed.

The Mtama lawmaker, Mr Nape Nnauye (CCM), and Special Seats MP Mwanne Mchemba (CCM) unanimously proposed that the government should immediately repossess those collapsed industries from investors and give them to others.

Are Police Harbouring Criminal Syndicate Within the Force?

Photo: The Observer

IGP Kale Kayihura chats with some police officers at Lubaga cathedral recently.

opinionBy William G Naggaga

Some weeks ago, President Museveni made a candid statement about the police, which I believe most Ugandans applauded. The Force, he said, was “full of mafias”. Present on the occasion was Gen Kale Kayihura, the man who has been at the helm for the police for more than a decade. Many must have hoped that the axe was about to fall on the man at the top of the force, now that the big chief himself had declared that he was heading a force full of wrong elements, whom Kayihura should have known if he was on top of things.

By implication, the President was saying the police have in its ranks, a collection of evil characters, including thieves, con men, fraudsters and other scum of the earth. Mario Puzo’s best seller novel, The Godfather, and its sequels Godfather II and Godfather III brought out the character of the mafia better than anyone else. It was a fictionalised version of the mafia in America and their origin in Sicily, Italy. Starting from the late 19th century and for the better part of 20th century, it was a deadly scourge in at least 26 major American cities and ironically, the mafia even infiltrated the police at the highest levels. It controlled drug-trafficking, loan sharking, fraud, gambling and routinely carried out murders on orders from the heads of the mafia families. New York alone had five such families namely, the Gambino family, Lucchese, Genovese, Bonanno and Colombo family.

Any police clogged with mafias surely needed cleaning it up right from the top. President Museveni in his wisdom, however, chose to ask the IGP to do the cleaning and, as a sign of his confidence in the man in the ‘eye of the storm’, the President awarded Kayihura the unprecedented third contract to head the police; stretching his reign to 2022.

The Uganda Police has consistently over the years been ranked as the most corrupt institution in Uganda. It has also had an appalling human rights record, putting it at the top not only in Uganda but in the entire region. The police has been so militarised that it is more ‘military’ than the military itself. While in previous regimes one run away from ‘army types’, today people find the UPDF more approachable and more ‘civilized’ than the police.

The police have imposed illegal curfews on people’s homes and done it with unprecedented impunity. It has tear- gassed and beaten up so called suspected wrong doers in the full glare of cameras and has hired spokespersons who are trained to lie with a straight face.

The most recent case of the police torture of the mayor of Kamwenge Town council, Mr Geoffrey Byamukama, accused of “masterminding AIGP Kaweesi’s killing”, showed the police descend into the unsayable. From the pictures we have seen in the press and on television of the gruesome injuries inflicted on Byamukama one is forced to wonder what kind of ‘animals’ are capable of such horrific acts! The whole world has now seen and it definitely does not make one proud of being a Ugandan.

The torture is alleged to have taken place in the infamous Nalufenya detention facility where he was held incommunicado for four weeks before being transferred to Nakasero Hospital when his condition, became critical. In his statement at his hospital bed, Byamukama said: ” I think this is the right time for God to take me. I am tired and angry. I deserve to rest forever”. This is a powerful indictment of the police.

Ugandans have a right to know what is happening behind closed doors to suspects under police custody. Telling us Byamukama had “prior medical conditions” which “aggravated his situation” is absurd. It can’t justify the torture he went through and the pain he suffered. This is the 21st century for Heaven’s sake and not the 16th century. Statements that the public should hold on until “you get the right information” or that “the culprits will be brought to book” are empty and insulting to all decent people.

Mr Kasingye, the police spokesman, and colleagues should put themselves in Byamukama’s shoes and those of his family. They should realise that what happened to Byamukama and others before them, can also happen to them, members of their families or friends. Brutality like history, has a way of repeating itself and its perpetuators today should know that they may be the victims tomorrow.

Mr Naggaga is an economist, administrator and retired ambassador.

Waiswa Completes Transition From 16 to Number ‘One’

By Ismail Dhakaba Kigongo

Kampala — When Charles Waiswa hits the deck first for the ICC World Cricket League Division Three opener next Tuesday against Canada at Lugogo, it will feel new.

The left-arm medium fast bowler has undergone major transformation since his first class debut for Uganda in 2005 against Kenya.

Waiswa, then 17, must have have had a longer run-up like most young bowlers and hair that was hardly longer than one inch as many schools have always demanded.

Today, it’s impossible not to notice the short spiky hairstyle.

Now, his shirt number, something that most sportsmen feel an attachment to, has changed significantly over the past 12 years.

“I admired Makhaya Ntini so I chose to wear shirt No. 16 at the time,” Waiswa said in reference the South Africa bowler.

When Ntini retired in 2009, Waiswa wasn’t static. “After Ntini left, I chose Scott Styris’ 56,” Waiswa added at the Cricket Cranes’ kit unveiling on Tuesday.

Perhaps, Waiswa had designs on emulating the New Zealander’s all-round skills. Styris retired into television punditry in 2011.

Soon after, Wasiwa took a break until two years. Upon his return, his admiration had now shifted to Australian left-armer Mitchell Johnson.

“I dropped my previous shirt number for Johnson’s 25,” Waiswa explained. You could immediately draw symmetry.

Both Waiswa and Johnson are left-armers, swing the ball either side of the wicket and opened the bowling for their countries.

This has enticed Waiswa into changing his shirt number to 1, thereby finding his own voice. “Since I open the bowling, I picked ‘One’,” he concluded.

At the time of the debut, Kenneth Kamyuka opened the bowling for Uganda. Barring a tweak Waiswa will take that role against Canada next Tuesday.

This should probably spur him into his first five wicket haul.

In 28 matches, he has taken 35 wickets at an average of 27.22 runs with a strike rate of a wicket every 35.2 balls. His economy stands at an impressive 4.66 runs per over.

The former Jinja SSS and Makerere College student will effectively lead Uganda’s hunt for promotion into Division Two by ensuring Uganda reaches the final of the six-team tournament.

Uganda

Are Police Harbouring Criminal Syndicate Within the Force?

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Tullow Oil Reports Oil Discovery in Lokichar

Photo: Jared Nyataya/The Nation

Lokichar trading centre in Turkana.

By Jeremiah Kiplang’at And Sammy Lutta

More oil has been discovered in South Lokichar basin in Turkana, boosting efforts to spread exploration of the commodity.

Tullow Oil on Wednesday announced that it had found oil in the Emekuya-1 well in the basin after a similar discovery early in the year in two other wells drilled last year.

The firm said it had drilled through 75 vertical metres of rock that holds oil.

“Downhole pressure measurements and fluid samples suggest that the main oil reservoir is on the same static pressure gradient as the Etom-2 well which demonstrates that a major part of the Greater Etom structure is oil-filled,” said the company.

Tullow’s Country Manager Martin Mbogo said the discovery had boosted their efforts of exploring for more oil in the basin.

“This is a good result. The well was drilled close to the Etom-2 well which was a very successful well drilled in late 2016. Finding more oil here in the northern part of South Lokichar basin is good news and will add more oil to the overall resources that we have in the basin. We found oil at Etom-2 and at Erut (in early 2017) and we are now trying to find out if there’s more oil in between these two oil discoveries,” he said, adding that they would drill more wells in the area in order to ascertain the amount of oil that could be harvested from the basin.

“This is a very good start to this process. It shows us that the Greater Etom area (the part of the basin that goes beyond just the Etom discovery itself) does indeed have oil. We’ll have to drill more appraisal wells in the area to find out how much oil there is,” he added.

Exploration Director Angus McCoss said that they now look forward to the remainder of the Kenya exploration and “appraisal campaign in support of the ongoing work to prepare this important asset for full field development.”

The new discovery comes two months after Tullow signed a production agreement with the government which paved the way for the transportation of the first consignment of crude oil from Turkana fields to Mombasa for export.

Kenya

Former President Kibaki’s Bodyguard Sues For 2002 Accident

A bodyguard involved in a road accident with former President Mwai Kibaki has alleged in a court case he was mistreated… Read more »

A Scratching of Heads As EAC Heads of State Meet

Photo: The Citizen

East African Community headquarters in Arusha.

Dar es Salaam — Tanzania will this Saturday host East African Community (EAC) leaders for the much-awaited regional bloc’s Heads of State Summit. So much is at stake ahead of the high-profile meeting that was thrice postponed over the past few months at the request of the hosts, Burundi and Kenya.

Apparently, as the leaders finally meet in Dar es Salaam, the main issue of interest will be what direction to take for the Community that has of late been dogged by fresh cracks, and a financial crisis, which derailed the implementation of key projects.

Granted, it has been a rough year for the EAC.

Member states are still entangled in the confusion that was brought by the tricky trade deal with the European Union – with Kenya and Rwanda on one side pushing for the ratifying of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and Tanzania leading a splinter group that is against the pact.

Last September, the EAC presidents met in the wake of Tanzania’s stiff opposition to the deal. It was during the meeting that the leaders decided to give technocrats more room for consultations on EPAs and to review their position in January.

But there is no sign yet that member states will reach common ground. Kenya has, since 2007 been pushing for the deal to be concluded with speed. Being the only developing state in EAC (the rest are classified as Least Developed Countries that enjoy duty-free trade with EU without reciprocating), Kenya has had to lobby its partners to endorse EPA because of the shared customs territory.

Earlier in the year, Tanzania opted to pull out of a joint deal hammered by the bloc’s ministers to have the region sign EPAs collectively.

Parliament, which has the power to ratify such trade deals, voted to block the country from signing the EPA.

And recently, there was disgruntlement from some quarters in Kenya, which somehow felt “betrayed” by her siblings in the Community after losing the African Union Commission chairperson’s post.

Writing for the Daily Nation after the election in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Mr Magaga Alot, a former EAC staffer, said the regional bloc was at a major crossroads.

He seemed to be pointing an accusing finger at other member states when he described the loss of Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed as “the latest salvo in a furious wave of discordance in the East African Community”.

“The EAC partners are doggedly putting their differences and national interests first instead of embracing the cause of regional integration… The betrayal in Addis could well be Kenya’s Ides of March; even more, it’s the EAC’s wake-up call to engage in a major conversation and re-strategising to put regional integration back on track.”

But it is the fallout over the EPA deal that sparked speculation that the regional leaders are unwilling to meet at a time there is so much disagreement.

Tanzania requested the summit to be pushed back to allow for time to consult on whether the EAC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement was viable.

However, Kenya’s Principal Secretary for East African Affairs Betty Maina was recently quoted in The East African as saying there was no cause for alarm in the summit delay. “Although decisions on key matters are pending, it can only be a big issue if the presidents go for a year without meeting,” said Ms Maina.

No more postponing

“We are hoping that there will be no more postponing from the current date. Burundi has confirmed availability for that day and we are waiting for the other partner states to do so.”

Another sticking issue is funding.

The East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) recently raised concern over the delays by partner states in remitting their budgetary contributions to the EAC Secretariat.

A meeting of the regional bloc’s legislative body in Kigali, Rwanda, last month, MPs passed a resolution urging the Council of Ministers to find a common stance on partner states funding deficit by having it on the agenda of the Saturday summit.

In a heated debate, the lawmakers partly heaped blame on the Council, including the chairperson of the Council of Ministers, Dr Susan Kolimba (Tanzania) for not doing enough to ensure member states meet their financial obligations – which “has completely disrupted activities of the Community.”

“You cannot even be able to say that you have commitment for integration when you look at these figures. Are we really serious about integration? All partner states have arrears,” said MP Nancy Abisai (Kenya), the mover of the motion.

By the beginning of the year, Burundi (whose man is currently in charge of the Secretariat) had not paid anything for the 2016/2017 budget. Of the $101,374,589 2016/17 budget, each of the five member countries was expected to contribute $47.5 million while the development partners raise $46.7 million compared with $58.5 million they disbursed to EAC for 2015/2016 financial year. The rest of the funds will come from other sources.

No respite in sight

Yet, there is no respite in sight for the funding crisis considering the economic situations in most of the member states. And the 2017/18 EAC budget will be relatively smaller compared to that for the current financial year.

The Secretariat got about $12 million less for its expenditure during the 2016/2017 financial year compared to what it received for the 2015/2016 fiscal year as the Community embarked on cost-cutting due to dwindling support from donors.

Interestingly, a recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) report revealed that member states of the East African Community are now greatly outperforming the economies of most countries in the sub-Saharan region.

According to the IMF, the economic expansion rate for the region as a whole dropped to 1.4 per cent last year, but that was the slowest rate in more than 20 years and below the level needed to keep pace with a burgeoning population growth.

The IMF regional survey presents a generally bleak appraisal that runs counter to the “Africa Rising” narrative that has taken hold in recent year.

Cotton Sector Revival Seen On Contract Farming

The government is determined to revive the cotton sub-sector and increase production in a bid to boost the agricultural sector and the textile industry which at one time was the country’s biggest source of export revenue.

The Tanzania Cotton Board (TCB) Director General, Marco Mtunga said in Mwanza over the weekend that some of the strategies being adopted towards that end include adoption of contract farming and multiplication of UKM08, a new certified cotton seed which is expected to improve the quality of cotton lint while boosting cotton yields in Tanzania.

“Application of Good Agricultural Practices supported by adequate supply of quality inputs (seeds, insecticides, sprayers, fertilisers) will raise cotton output by over 60 per cent in the next three years,” he told eight Regional Commissioners from the Western Cotton Growing Areas (WCGAs) who visited the Mwabusalu seed multiplication Ward in Meatu District, Simiyu Region.

Proper processing of seed by delinting which is the removal of lint from it is critical in ensuring high germination rates and limiting disease spread. Mtunga said the government and donors have supported research at the Ukiriguru Agricultural Research Institute (UARI) to come up with the best seeds that could be used by cotton farmers. It has developed a number of new seed varieties – one of which – UKM08 is currently being multiplied.

The UKM08 has a ginning outturn (GOT – lint as a share of seed cotton) of 42% compared to 34 per cent for UK91, the current major variety, and a 25% higher yield. “As a sector, quality seed forms the basis of quality and high yields in cotton farming. In order to ensure a sustainable revival process of quality cotton seed, the government has created an enabling environment for the private sector to invest in seed multiplication, processing and marketing of cotton seed for planting to farmers,” he said.

The revival process will involve all stages of seed production from breeder seed, pre-basic seed, and basic seed to certified seed. Ukriguru Research Institute will produce both breeder and pre-basic seeds at Ukiriguru and Nkanziga farm in Misungwi respectively then the private sector will collect the seeds for further multiplication at Mwabusalu Ward in Meatu District.

The basic seeds produced in Meatu will be taken to Igunga District to be multiplied to get certified seed ready for distribution to farmers.

Due to fusarium wilt infestation in many cotton producing areas, which is a disease that can last in the soil for over 30 years, suitable areas for seed multiplication include the whole of Tabora region, Singida region, Meatu district and some parts of Itilima district only.

Tanzania Cotton Board has been instructed by the government to ensure that all cotton farmers plant certified seeds come 2019.

In implementation of the government directive, during 2016/17 farming season, a total of 4,108 acres have been planted to cotton at Mwabusalu Ward with a target of producing 500 tons of delinted seeds which will be adequate to plant 55,000 acres in Igunga during 2017/18 farming season with an expected output of 7,000 tons of certified delinted seeds.

Using the seed rate of 6 kilogrammes per acre, the quantity of seeds to be produced will be enough to plant one million acres which the national acreage. Igunga District this farming season planted 46,100 acres of UKM08 standard seed which is expected to produce 4,000 tons of seeds.

Nzega District planted 4,500 acres to cotton with an expected output of 700 tons. This quantity if delinted will cover more than 10 districts during 2017/18 farming. In order to sustain seed multiplication programme, Tsh. 377 million has been budgeted by the Cotton Development Trust Fund to be spent on construction of irrigation infrastructure at Nkanziga farm in Misungwi to boost production of prebasic seeds.

“In order to successfully rollout the UKM08, avoid contamination, and maintain purity of the seed we have put a system in place that allows the Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute to identify, register, inspect and certify cotton farms that are planting UKM08. Deliberate adulteration of the seed crop will not be tolerated.

TCB is calling upon cotton farmers and buying agents to resist the urge to adulterate cotton otherwise they will face the full force of law through the mobile courts which helped to curb adulteration the previous season leading to over 95 per cent germination of the current crop.

Other efforts being undertaken as part of the revival process include sensitisation and training of key stakeholders”.

Nigeria: Senators, Ohanaeze Decry South East’s Exclusion From Rail Projects

Photo: Kevin Odit/Nation Media group

(file photo).

By Segun Olaniyi, Seye Olumide and Lawrence Njoku

Abuja, Lagos and Enugu — The $5.851 billion China Exim Bank loan request submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Senate may be stalled, as senators from the South East protest alleged exclusion of their geopolitical zone from the rail modernisation project nationwide.

Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia South) in a motion titled, “Outright Omission of Eastern Corridor Rail Line in the request for approval of Federal Government 2016-2015 External Borrowing (Rolling Plan),” said the exclusion is “inexplicable.”

Also, the Apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has protested the exclusion of the zone from the multi-billion naira railway projects, describing it as an injustice.

President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo in a statement said there was no justification in excluding the region from the plan. But, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun while appearing before the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, headed by Senator Shehu Sani defended the loan request, saying the $5.815 billion loan was a comprehensive railway project for the entire nation.

Adeosun added that any loan request from China is tied to a condition and the condition is that the Chinese firm would execute the contracts involving the loan request, adding that the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri rail projects would be captured in the next loan request.

However, Chairman of the committee, Senator Shehu Sani expressed concern that a Chinese firm approved a loan for Nigeria and would execute the project.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, assured the protesting lawmakers that the leadership of the Senate, had already taken a position of the non-inclusion of some parts of the country in the proposed modernisation.

He said the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts was already working on the loan request. Senator Gbenga Ashafa (APC, Lagos East) who heads the Senate Committee on Land Transport, urged them to pass the loan request.

According to him, “the Calabar to Lagos coastal rail would pass through Obudu Cattle Ranch-Calabar-Uyo-Aba-PH-Yenagoa-Otuoke-Yenagoa-Ughelli-Sapele-Benin-Agbor-Asaba-Onitsha-Benin-Ijebu Ode- Ore-Sagamu-Lagos Seaports; and the Lagos-Kano: Lagos-Ibadan-Ilorin-Minna-Kaduna-Kano.”

“Hence it can be seen that the project touches at least two major states in the South East being Anambra (Onitsha) and Abia State (Aba).” The Senate resolved to summon the Minister of Transport, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, to appear and explain the reasons for the exclusion of the Eastern corridor from the proposed loan from China Exim bank.

Nigeria

126 Suspects Arrested As Boko Haram Infiltrate Borno IDP Camp – Army

The Nigeria Army on Wednesday said it had arrested about 126 suspected Boko Haram members at the Internally Displaced… Read more »

Nigeria: ‘Ports Concession Spurs U.S.$2 Billion Investment By Terminal Operators’

By Sulaimon Salau

A whooping $2 billion investment by the terminal operators has massively turned around operations at Nigerian seaports since the commencement of the concessioning programme about 11 years ago.

The Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Vicky Haastrup, who disclosed this recently, commended the Federal Government for its foresight in instituting the programme.

Before terminal operations were concessioned in 2006, Nigerian ports faced major challenges, which placed them among the most inefficient in the world. Before concession, the average waiting time for ships before berthing was 21 days, vessel turnaround time was seven days while dwell time for cargo was as high as 45 days.

Virtually all the major seaports across the country were heavily congested leading to insecurity and pilferage, delays in cargo clearance and inefficiencies in cargo handling largely due to manual processes.

According to Haatrup, the $2 billion invested by private terminal operators were deployed in modernising and upgrading their various terminals as well as in manpower development.

She said the success of the ports concession programme, which was implemented in 2006, has made it a model for consideration by other governments across the world to concession public infrastructure, and also for Nigeria to extend the model to other sectors of the economy.

Haastrup said: “What concessioning does is free government resources for the provision of other social services to the people. Government remains the ultimate owner of the concessioned facilities but the private sector is mandated to develop and operate those facilities under agreed terms over a certain period.

“This is a worthy model, which has not only improved operations at our ports, but has also attracted commendation from within and outside the country. “After Nigeria’s port concession, we now have countries like Ivory Coast, Liberia, Ghana, and even Greece adopting our model. The Liberians and Ghanaians sent delegations to understudy our port concession model to develop theirs.

“Also recently, the Greek Government concessioned the Thessaloniki Port, which is one of its most important public infrastructure. This is a clear indication of our success as a nation in building models worthy of emulation by others,” Haastrup said.

She also said the Federal Government’s consideration for adopting the concession model for the railway and aviation sectors derive from the success of the port programme.

“I have implicit confidence in the present government’s ability and commitment to the improvement of public infrastructure in the country and one is delighted to note that concessioning has become the model being adopted for both the railway and aviation sector reforms,” she said,

The STOAN chairman also commended the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for launching a Safety, Information, Operation and Communication Centre to enhance 24-hours operation at the port.

“The commissioning of this centre and the recent launch of four new tugboats by NPA will deepen reforms at the port. It will complement the efforts of terminal operators to make our ports competitive,” she said.

As a result of the challenges, the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2006, concessioned cargo handling operations at the ports to 25 terminals operators under various lease agreements raging from 15 to 25 years.

Slight Relief for Sugar Users As Imports Hit the Shelves

By Gerald Andae

An increase in imports meant to tame the high cost of sugar has led to a decline in wholesale prices by 21 per cent. Retail charges have, however, only fallen marginally.

A 50 kilogramme bag of the sweetener now retails at Sh7,000 in Nairobi and Mombasa from a high of Sh8,900 last week, the sugar directorate says. Shelf prices have declined only slightly with a two kilogramme packet in some of the major supermarkets now retailing at Sh375 from Sh390 last week.

The Sugar Directorate says 9,000 tonnes of sugar have landed since last week as it moves to plug the deficit following a huge decline in local production.

“Distributors received 3,000 tonnes on Saturday and an additional 6,000 tonnes has been cleared at the Port of Mombasa,” said head of the directorate Solomon Odera.

Mr Odera said the directorate expects 100,000 tonnes of sugar between now and the end of July, saying this will drive down consumer prices. “These imports are meant to push down the price of sugar,” he said. Sugar production at the local mills has dropped to less than 3,000 tonnes in the last one month contributing to the current crisis.

Last week, supermarkets were hit by a severe shortage that left only one of the Tuskys outlets with the commodity. The directorate accused traders of hoarding the commodity of better prices.

Kenya produces 600,000 tonnes of sugar yearly and relies on Comesa imports to meet the growing demand that is at 900,000 tonnes. The country is, however, allowed to bring in 300,000 tonnes duty-free sugar every year from the trade bloc. The directorate is projecting a shortage of 1.9 million tonnes of sugarcane by the end of this financial year, which will further hurt supply in the market.

The regulator has blamed low production on a prolonged drought, which affected sugar growing zones.

Sugar production dropped by 16 per cent in February this year compared with the same period last year as raw material shortage took a toll on the quantities.

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 »

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