Posts tagged as: officer

Digital Money Accounts Boost Diaspora Remittances

Photo: Daily News

Worldremit mobile money platform.

By Masembe Tambwe

Tanzanians living in the Diaspora have hit a milestone of 10,000 unique monthly transactions using WorldRemit, a digital money transfer service.

In an exclusive communication via email, the WorldRemit founder and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ismail Ahmed said that there has been a 150 per cent year on year growth in Tanzania last year, driven primarily by the rapid expansion of mobile money accounts as the preferred receive method.

“Our Mobile Money partnerships combined with existing services for bank deposits and cash pick-up will give more choice to Tanzanians, further supporting the transition from costly offline remittances via high street agents to faster, cheaper and safer online transfer methods,” Mr Ahmed said.

Remittances play an important role in the economy of Tanzania where in 2015 the country received a total of 390 million US dollars according to the World Bank, almost ten times the amount received in 2010.

WorldRemit customers can send money to Tanzania via Mobile Money to TigoPesa, Vodacom M-Pesa and Zantel EzyPesa Mobile Money accounts, as well as bank deposit and cash pick up.

The money transfer service early this week added Android Pay to its service, offering a new way for WorldRemit’s Android Pay users to send money internationally and reach millions using mobile money accounts.

Pioneering a mobile-first approach to the $600bn a year remittance industry, the move sees WorldRemit bringing together the leading players in mobile payments from Silicon Valley and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Launching the global rollout of the service at MoneyConf 2017, WorldRemit will enable Android Pay users to safely and securely send money to +112 million mobile money accounts accessible via its network.

The integration will make WorldRemit the only remittance provider offering international payments through Android Pay around the globe. By connecting directly with Android Pay, WorldRemit customers can transfer money instantly across continents in just five taps – without entering credit card or 3DS details.

Tanzania

335 Tax Defaulters’ Properties to be Auctioned

Tanesco is among the 335 companies and individuals, whose properties will be auctioned in July at the Dar es Salaam… Read more »

Rukwa Residents Cautioned On Ebola

By Mussa Mwangoka

Sumbawanga — The Rukwa Regional Government leadership has cautioned its residents, particularly those living in border areas, about the Ebola disease outbreak.

The move comes after some people in the neighboring country of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were discovered recently to be suffering from the deadly disease.

The Rukwa Regional Commissioner, Mr Zelothe Steven Zelothe, gave the precaution to the residents shortly after opening a meeting with councilors.

The meeting, which took place in the region, aimed at improving revenue collections through the councilors’ inspiration.

He said the disease outbreak had been announced to have occurred in the DRC, calling on the residents of Rukwa Region to take highly precautionary measures, especially when receiving foreigners from the DRC and other neighboring countries.

The region’s Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Emmanuel Mtika, said the information they had indicated that out nine persons suspected of contracting Ebola, three were diagnosed with the deadly disease.

He elaborated that Ebola was spread through the contamination of fluid from a patient and carcasses, whereby, he said, its symptoms would be felt after two days since the patient contracted the disease.

According to Dr Mtika, the symptoms will include bleeding through the body’s openings like the nose, ear and suffering from severe fever.

However, he said already health committees in all the districts of the region had been tasked to provide education to the residents, especially in the border areas, where there were massive interactions of people, especially from the DRC.

Dr Mtika added that the residents were supposed to give information to health experts once they discovered that a foreigner had entered the country and suspected that such a person had the symptoms of the disease.

He also advised the residents not to take part in the funeral of a person died of the disease.

Tanzania

Increased Budget Allocation to Push Govt Industrial Drive

The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has doubled development budget in the 2017/18 financial year, pushing the… Read more »

Rwanda: How Rwanda Can Leverage Financial Technology to Drive Inclusion

By Julius Bizimungu

A two-day conference dubbed, “Dot Finance Africa,” opened in Kigali yesterday with experts in finance and information technology sectors calling for leveraging of financial technology (FinTech) to drive financial inclusion.

The second edition of the Dot Finance Africa (DFA) conference is one of the largest gatherings of financial technology professionals.

It brings together more than 500 financial industry leaders from 60 countries. It is being held under the theme, “Transforming Africa for the FinTech Age.”

Speaking during the opening ceremony at the Kigali Convention Centre, Dr Diane Karusisi, the chief executive of Bank of Kigali, said digital services are raising the competitive bar in every sector of the economy, one of which is the banking field.

Karusisi added that FinTech has unprecedented role in driving financial services.

“Financial services field is among sectors set to be disrupted by digital innovations in Africa and worldwide. FinTech is not disrupting traditional financial services providers but complementing them to meet needs of unbanked population. It is playing a significant role as facilitator of economic growth to transform Africa,” she said.

“As a banker, I see huge opportunities in FinTech solutions, which will harness new technologies to lower transaction costs. With digital innovations, we can also deal with inefficiencies in several value chains especially in agriculture. Banks also have a chance to tap into big data to improve product offering and access to credit for SMEs, consumers.”

While advances in digital financial services are promoting inclusion and creating new opportunities for many people in Africa who are still excluded from access to formal financial services, experts underscored the need for financial services operators to develop customer-centric innovations.

Lucy Mbabazi, the country manager of Visa, said it is critical for financial services operators to innovate around the customer needs as financial services sector continues to be disrupted.

“Every technology innovation can be promising, but those that are interoperable, consumer-centric, secure, and tap into the power of mobile phones, are more promising. As FinTech is driving financial services, operators need to innovate around the needs of the people,” she said during a panel discussion.

Benjamin Nyakeriga, the chief development officer at the Development Bank of Rwanda, said that while banks are currently undergoing massive shifts as technology advances, more services and products are being created.

Yves Eonnet, the chief executive of TagPay, a mobile financial service platform helping mobile money providers reach millions, said FinTech is creating challenges as it disrupts traditional value-chain and business models, and new mechanisms should be devised to ensure consumer-protection in a rapidly-changing technology environment.

He urged banks to play an important role to facilitate digital payments and transactions in their local economies in order to drive financial inclusion.

Experts indicated that having such big conferences gives them a platform to share experiences and learn from other players to really step up digital capabilities, as well as create more partnerships with different countries.

Cape Town Gives Me Valuable Lessons On Life

Photo: The Observer

Sea Point as seen from my room at night.

analysisBy Samson Baranga

I have always been proud of my ability to fit in anywhere in the world.

And this ability to blend in was recently tested during my two- week stay in Cape Town, South Africa. It was my first time in the land of Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Hugh Masekela, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and other big names.

How would it go? Truth is, I did not know what to expect. So, I went in with an open mind and a plan to make the most of my stay, and make the most of it I did.

Not even the early morning setoff with Ethiopian Airlines and that three-hour transit at Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport could dampen my mood. At around 2pm the following day, we touched down in Cape Town.

I was there for the Cape Town International Jazz festival. The immigration officer started to crack a few jokes about “the land of Museveni”, but I quickly assured him I was an arts journalist; so, politics and poli-tricks were not my thing.

Soon I was out of the airport, breathing the fresh air of the Mother City, as Cape Town is fondly known. First things first, I needed to get to my hotel. While hustling with a last-minute application, I had landed on a cheap Airbnb place and it was not until I talked to a cab driver at the airport that it dawned on me that Western Cape was a province, and not some nearby suburb of Cape Town.

A quick call confirmed my fears. I was going to stay approximately 50km from the airport. The cabbie said the minimum he could charge me was R500, equivalent to approximately Shs 130,000!

Traveling on a tight backpacker budget made me disregard advice to find another place within the central business district – I had already deposited on the Airbnb – and that decision laid foundation for my entire trip.

My plan was to arrive at my booked place of aboard and plan the next step from there. We set off for Kommetjie, a predominantly white neighbourhood overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Yes, words such as white, black and coloured are still used in South Africa. I think it is their way of facing their rainbow reality. I found it shocking in the beginning but I came around eventually.

The village is a perfect blend of beach, mountains, sea and nature, ideal for vacation but not for someone like me who had to commute to the CBD everyday, for two weeks.

On arrival, my host and his Zimbabwean helper welcomed me. Staying at Maxi’s place taught me to appreciate life as it is.

See, Maxi is paralysed from the neck down. He fell off a tree and broke his spine. He has been bedridden for 10 years. At 28, when he would be enjoying life, he cannot even move his fingers.

His laptop sits on some kind of rig close to his face so he can use his chin and a specialized device to type and play games. He seemed to have made peace with his situation and my chats with him as he sipped his beer through a straw from a glass held by Jimmy the helper, left me laughing hysterically.

Maxi’s great sense of humour and knowledge of current affairs are thanks to his spending 16 or so hours online everyday. I soon discovered that connecting to Cape Town was going to be tricky.

Jimmy was supposed to drop me at Ocean View from where I could board a taxi for R8 to Fish Hoek train station, where I would then take a one-hour train ride to Cape Town for R9.

The return trip was the same: by train to Fish Hoek, taxi to Ocean View and then pickup by Jimmy back to Kommitjie three kilometres away. It was such a village that in my Cape Town photojournalism class, even those that had come from Johannesburg had never heard of it; the Capetonians had never set foot there.

The commute provided challenges like having to be up early to catch the 8am train and making Jimmy pick and drop me off daily. But the biggest challenge came from people who kept assuring me of how Ocean View was dangerous.

“That’s a coloured people’s neighbourhood. It is very unsafe. Keep your phone away at all times,” I was told severally.

But my backpack had my camera and laptop totaling about $2,000 (Shs 7m). How would hiding my $300 Samsung help?

I disregarded the warning as mere stereotype and resorted to my trick of always walking like I belonged here and knew where I was going. At the end of my stay, I confirmed we are all good people; maybe circumstances and stereotypes paint us in a different way.

Then the train stories of how passengers get mugged and why some prefer the first-class carriage, started. My budget could not allow me first-class luxury.

After doing the daily trip for a couple of days, I became a pro. What I did not attempt was sitting close to the taxi driver. Most taxis had no conductor; so, the passengers in the front seats bore the burden of making sure all the other 15 passengers paid and got their change.

In case you are thinking 16 passengers is on the high side for a normal-size kamunye like our 14-seaters, in Cape Town they pay for the ride, not the seat.

Whether that ride is made with you on kameeme or a proper seat, you pay the full fare. And remember to say “thank you, driver” as you close the door upon alighting.

SIPIWE IS BORN

The transport system in Cape Town is like no other city’s that I have been to. I walked, used the train, matatus, metered taxis, MyCiti bus, and the mobile-based Uber and Taxify. Getting around is easy.

That transport experience was amazing as opposed to being bussed around by the host; I got to meet and live with people, and hear real people stories.

I decided not to plug my ears with earphones in order to hear the click of Xhosa or the odd Kiswahili from Congolese immigrants. I even got a name – Sipiwe Makeleni!

All this would not have happened if I had stayed in an uptown hotel and allowed to be chauffeured to Artscape theatre daily. The days leading up to the jazz festival, I booked into another Airbnb place in Sea Point, because I had to leave the city late.

Sea Point is a beautiful area on the beach. There, I met a Ugandan woman and we used to chat till the wee hours of the morning. She taught me the importance of family with tears in her eyes. Something happened to her and she ended up overstaying her visa. But she is in the final process of rectifying her papers and after 11 years, she may finally come back home.

While I spent a lot of time in class and at festival gigs, I also got to do some touristy stuff. Top on my bucket list was Table Mountain and as luck would have it, I met Evelyn Mahlaba at Cape Sun.

Evy, as many call her, is the regional director, Africa, at South African Tourism. I knew I was sorted. The following day I was on my way to Table Mountain with the NBS TV crew.

They had a prior arrangement with Wahida Parker, the managing director of Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, and that is how we managed to beat the queues of hundreds of tourists to ascend one of the ‘new world seven wonders of nature’.

If you are afraid of heights, there is an option of hiking; otherwise, it is not easy to know you are hanging on a man-made car hanging by cable 3,563 feet above sea level.

The cable rotates as you ascend, giving those inside a 360-degree view. Once at the top, I could not wait to jump out and explore. It is a whole different world up there.

Not even the biting cold could stop me from soaking it all in. There are shops selling souvenirs, a restaurant and a live band playing!

As a family man, I could not help thinking about those I had left back home and wishing they were with me to enjoy God’s creation from this point. Tourists teetered on cliff edges to take selfies. One couple requested me to take a picture of them and I agreed on condition that they stepped away from the cliff.

I did not want to be the one to record their final moments on earth. As we descended from Table Mountain, I reflected on the awesome time I had had in Cape Town.

The wonderful people always ready to give directions, the amazing food at the Eastern Food Bazaar, the Cape Town International Jazz festival and to crown it all, Ethiopian Airlines upgraded me to their business class called Cloud 9 on my return leg. Thank you, guys!

Mzansi, I will be back someday with my family for another Cloud 9 experience. And this time I will have saved and not be on a backpacker’s budget.

Zimbabwe: Govt Commissions U.S.$1,2 Million Electronic Cargo Tracking System

Business Reporter Government has commissioned a $1,2 million Electronic Cargo Tracking System which was availed under a capacity building for public and economic management project being financed by the African Development Bank (AFDB).

The ECTS is expected to go a long way in reducing the cases of transit fraud and the dumping of illegal imports on the domestic market which is estimated at $1 billion annually.

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony on Monday, Finance and Economic Planning Minister Patrick Chinamasa said there is need for concerted efforts in tackling corruption but expressed confidence the introduction of the system would result in an increase in contributions to the fiscus.

“This is a special project that Zimra has been working on since last year. I gave them the mandate that they should expand the tax base by bringing in more economic players into the tax net. “I am fully aware that those who are enegaged in corrupt activities would not want this system because it will minimise their (unlawful) gains. So as we implement, we expect resistance from within and must be on guard at all times,” said Minister Chinamasa.

Zimra board chairperson Mrs Willia Bonyongwe said the fight against corruption remains a key priority area for the tax collector.

ADB principal country manager and programme officer Ms Eyerusalem Fasika is confident the cargo tracking system will go a long way in reducing the cost of doing business and promoting trade. “ADB allocated $5.6 million to Zimra under the capacity building for public and economic management project and to date $2.4 million has been utilised for equipment while $1 million has supported the training of Zimra staff,” said Ms Fasika.

The Ministry of Finance availed $1 million which went towards the procurement of additional cargo tracking seals.

Zimbabwe

Work on Robert Mugabe University Begins

The government has begun the process of setting up the Robert Mugabe University with the University of Zimbabwe expected… Read more »

Names of 32 Deceased in Karatu Accident for Inscription On Water Well

World Islamic Propagation and Humanitarian Services (WIPAHS) intends to inscribe on a water well the names of 32 Lucky Vincent School pupils who died in the road accident in Karatu recently.

The organisation, which will donate the facility to the community that endure water scarcity, said the residents will fetch water free of charge, believing that the souls of the young learners will be blessed by God through the services.

“Water is a crucial commodity for living, we think that through granting the water well on behalf of the deceased little angels, we will have played our part in praying for them to go to heaven,” WIPAHS Spokesperson Amina Mbaraka told the ‘Daily News’ in Dar es Salaam during the special prayers for the fallen children whose demise shocked the nation.

During the prayers in Dar es Salaam and Coast Region, thousands of mourners gathered. Ms Mbaraka noted that they expect to construct the water well within the three months, but they are still contemplating on the location.

“We will drill the well and donate it to people with serious shortage, we believe that the well will exist for a longtime, making a good memory of the lost children,” she said, explaining that the prayers were organized because WIPAHS, as the organisation that advocates education to children, was touched by the children’s deaths.

Acting Education Officer in Kibaha, Mr Ramadhani Lawoga, called on the school owners to observe traffic laws when transporting students to avoid unnecessary accidents.

One of the mourners who participated in the prayers, Ms Atwiya Adam Ahmed, said “We join our fellow parents who lost their beloved ones in the accident, as parents we feel the same pain.”

Tanzania

Zanzibar President Pledges Relief to Ease Ravages of Rain

Zanzibar President Dr Ali Mohamed Shein has pledged his government’s resolve to repair infrastructure damaged by… Read more »

Zambia: Israeli Firm to Partner Govt in Cyber Crimes Fight

By Chila Namaiko

CYGOV, an Israeli company, with world-class experts in cyber-security, has expressed interest in partnering Government to set up a Cyber-Security Institute in Zambia.

Through the institute, CyGov wants to assist Zambia in curbing the growing cyber crimes such as the use of malicious software to hack into computer systems.

CyGov also provides assessments of cyber capabilities in comparison with global benchmarks such as security in the short, medium, and long-term with system solutions to protect governments from threats.

Meanwhile, the Government intends to pass Bills in Parliament to regulate the use of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Zambia.

A few days ago, computers in 150 countries were hit by hackers exploiting malicious software stolen from the National Security Agency and executed damaging cyber attacks, forcing Britain’s public health system to send patients away, freezing computers in Russia’s Interior Ministry and wreaking havoc on tens of thousands of computers elsewhere.

The attacks amounted to an audacious global blackmail attempt spread over the Internet, and underscored the vulnerabilities of the digital age.

CyGov chief strategy officer Eli Ben-Meir said in Lusaka yesterday that if left unchecked, cyber crimes had potential to reverse economic gains of many countries.

General Meir said when he called on Transport and Communications Minister Brian Mushimba that there was need to enforce measures to curb cyber crime.

“We are here to share our expertise and partner with you (Government) by setting up a cyber-security institute to help curb threats arising from cyber crimes and cyber security,” Gen Meir said.

He said the use of ICTs had brought some challenges and as such, CyGov, had set out to assist governments globally in improving their cyber protection.

Mr Mushimba said the establishment of a cyber-security institute would notably help to curb ICTs abuse.

The minister was confident that the collaboration with CyGov would enhance monitoring mechanisms on both cyber crime and cyber-security.

He said the coming of CyGov was timely as it followed President Edgar Lungu’s recent visit to Israel where he met investors wanting to invest in Zambia.

Mr Mushimba will also take to Parliament four Bills, namely, Cyber crime, Cyber-security, Data Protection, Electronic Transactions and Communications Bills to address abuse of the Internet.

The Cyber crime Bill would, among other matters, criminalise computer-based offences and network-related crime.

The Bill on Cyber security would govern steps that potential cyber crime victims would take to protect themselves, and speak into Child Online Protection.

The Data Protection Bill would provide for the protection of personal information and communications.

The Bill on Electronic Transactions and Communications would focus on providing for the use, security, facilitation and regulation of electronic communications and transactions.

Lucky Vincent School Reopens As Sorrow Mood Remains

Photo: Daily News

Lucky Vincent Nursery and Primary School.

By Zephania Ubwani

Arusha — Lucky Vincent Nursery and Primary School re-opened on Monday after losing its 32 pupils and 3 staff during the May 6 tragic accident in Karatu with the sorrow mood evident in the faces of its pupils and employees.

Pupils were attending classes from early in the morning but for those in Standard Seven were missing 32 of their colleagues who perished when the mini bus they were travelling in swerved off the road and plunged into a gorge.

Ephraim Jackson, the head teacher said 106 pupils travelled in three mini buses on the fateful trip to Karatu where they were to sit for a joint mock examination with Tumaini School.

Death claimed the lives of 32 pupils, two teachers and a driver. Three pupils – the only survivors in the tragedy – were on Sunday airlifted to the United States for specialized treatment. They have already arrived.

Mr. Jackson said teaching at the English-Medium school, which topped the National Standard Seven National Examinations in Arusha region last year, was back to normal in the academy.

“It is still a difficult time for us but our commitment to serve the society remains. We continue to pray God for what happened”, he told The Citizen.

He said he could not give statistics but noted that a big percentage of the pupils were already back to the school which was closed on May 7th, one day after the disaster which sent the nation mourning.

Several pupils were still arriving at the academy around noon accompanied by their parents. There were no confirmed reports that some of the parents intended to seek transfer of their kids to other schools because of the calamity.

Mr. Jackson said they were still waiting for counselors promised by the regional authorities and who are expected to offer their services to the traumatized pupils and staff members of the academy.

Arusha regional medical officer Dr. Timothy Wonanji said last week that a team of health officials and psychologists from the government would soon embark on a comprehensive programme to support grieving families and offer counselling to the pupils.

“We are still discussing with them the modalities on which counseling will be carried out”, the head teacher said, noting that matters pertaining to payment of consolation money to the bereaved families were being handled by the government.

Survivors of the tragic crash – Doreen Elibariki, Saida Awadh and Wilson Tarimo – arrived in Iowa on Sunday for specialized treatment.

The flight of the injured kids to the US has been organized by the Singida North MP Lazaro Nyalandu as a co-chair of Siouxland Tanzania Education Medical Ministries (STEMM).

Tanzania

Zanzibar President Pledges Relief to Ease Ravages of Rain

Zanzibar President Dr Ali Mohamed Shein has pledged his government’s resolve to repair infrastructure damaged by… Read more »

Mercenaries Killing the Quality of Graduates

opinionBy Clare Muhindo

You will barely walk for more than 100 metres in Makerere University without finding a poster advertising mercenary services.

Mercenaries, for purposes of this article, are students or people who make money out of sitting exams, doing research or coursework undercover for their colleagues.

The act is illegal, perhaps the reason most posters advertising the services do not reveal location of the ‘service providers’.

“For assistance with project proposals, dissertations, course works, and other academic assignments, call or WhatsApp 0777—,” most posters pinned around the university read.

I called one of the numbers on a poster pinned at the College of Engineering of Makerere University noticeboard and a man who identified himself only as Gilbert asked me what kind of project I wanted help with, even before I could identify myself. Gilbert then asked me to send a message to his WhatsApp number so that he sends me a list of project titles.

A list of 15 topics, mainly engineering-related, were sent to me in a short period for me to make a pick and present it to my lecturer for approval.

Since I was not doing this for academic purposes, I got back to him four hours later and told him my topic had been approved.

And then we had to agree on the charges. Gilbert said he charges Shs450,000 for research without a report and an extra charge of Shs300, 000 for both.

Means of survival

Gilbert is an electrical engineer, who after failing to get a job two years ago, decided to take on the mantle of ‘helping’ students with coursework and final year research projects, among others at a fee.

On average, he says, he works on three projects a semester. On how he gets clients, he says: “I place placards on trees, noticeboards and any other place that students frequent in the university.”

When he has no research projects at his desk, Gilbert does coursework assignments, which he charges between Shs20,000 and Shs30,000, depending on the amount of time required to execute the assignment.

Unlike Gilbert, Morris (not real name), a Civil Engineering student at Makerere University, says he, too, is currently working on final projects for two of his classmates.

Although Morris asked them to buy all the equipment required to execute the project, he expects Shs400,000 from each of them.

And the students do not have to worry about interfacing with their supervisors because Morris says he meets them weekly on the work’s progress.

“Our supervisors are very strict, and normally want to analyse progress on a weekly basis. For my clients to be on the safe side, they have to come to me for an explanation any day of their choice,” he says.

Why they come in handy

Second semester at majority of the universities is a time when final year students submit their projects, but that does not cut out normal semester activities such as lectures, tests, course works, and exams.

Moses and Martha (not real names) are final year students of Mechanical Engineering, working together on a project as required by their department, but could not withstand the pressure. “My teammate has a heavy workload as a result of retakes. I did not want to have the burden of doing the project alone, since she would be so busy, so I decided to outsource help,” Moses says.

According to the regulations at Makerere University, a student only has three chances to retake a paper, meaning if they fail at the third attempt they are expelled from the university. Perhaps this partly explains why some students hire mercenaries to do for them coursework while others are desperate to cheat.

This could be the same case for Joy (not real name), a final year Bachelors of Social Sciences student at Kyambogo University who after failing the research project last year, says she cannot let the same happen again.

“I did not graduate this year, because I failed to complete the research project. This time round, I paid someone to do it for me,” she says.

Punitive action

Wilson Akiiki Kaija, a lecturer of Journalism and Communication at Makerere University, says research supervision is a process, whereby a supervisor provides help, support, guidance and mentorship to a student, right from conception of the idea until the project is submitted. “I have caught some students in this act; either by hiring ‘mercenaries’ or plagiarism. And in such cases, I tear the work and ask the student to start afresh.”

In a bid to ensure students present their original work, Adolf Mbaine, a lecturer at the same department, says students make class presentations or do tests.

“You can then match the class tests with the work that students carry home. If one passes courses carried home and fails class tests, then definitely that student’s work has to be investigated,” Mbaine asserts.

Once you are found presenting work that is not originally yours at Uganda Christian University, Mukono, the penalties include being handed a dead year as Frank Isabirye, a lecturer of Journalism at Uganda Christian University, Mukono, says.

“I know my students, I know how most of them think, and can easily get them when I suspect that the work they have submitted may not be their own input.”

Do the good grades match with the output at work?

Once one leaves the university, as society expects, they begin to look for a job. Definitely, when one has cheated their way through undergraduate studies, they will possess a transcript with good grades, something that excites employers.

As a senior human resource officer at Educate! Uganda, Janat Namukose does not dispute this.

“When an employer looks at CV and someone has got good grades, it catches the recruiter’s eye, especially for graduate trainees, since they do not have much experience,” she says.

Namukose, however, adds that it goes beyond just grades. “We are in a world where soft skills are important. We are looking at how good a person is, how confident and confidential, how they interact with other people in the work place, and when you realise that one does not match up, we put them under performance improvement plans.”

What the students say

“My teammate has a heavy workload as a result of retakes carried forward from the previous academic years. I did not want to have the burden of doing the project alone, since she would be so busy, so I decided to outsource help.”

moses, makerere university

“I did not graduate this year, because I failed to complete the research project. This time round, I paid someone in Wandegeya to do it for me. I check on him at least twice a week, to ensure we are on the right track. I am positive I will pass and graduate this time.”

joy, kyambogo university

Policies

As is the case for UCU, Mukono Makerere University, too runs the academic integrity policy, which is founded upon the values of honesty, trust, customer responsiveness and responsibility.

The policy singles out cheating, plagiarism, falsification, and misuse of academic resources as some of the academic sins.

“Plagiarism may occur on any paper, report, or other work submitted to fulfil course requirements,” it states in part.

The policy, however, puts the mandate of verification into the hands of the colleges.

Nip vice in the bud

“I cannot stand such behaviour, because that is how corruption is nurtured. If you can do something like that on a personal basis, it means you are capable of stealing public funds.”

Frank Isabirye, lecturer, Uganda Christian University, Mukono

“I can only move to step two during supervision after I am convinced that the student has done step one satisfactorily. Supervisors ought to involve themselves in this work at every stage.”

Wilson Akiiki Kaija, lecturer Makerere University.

Dependence On Rain, Poor Planning Cause of High Food Prices

By Gerald Andae

Poor policies, dithering in decision making and dependence on rain-fed agriculture are behind the current high cost of living, which has seen Kenyans dig deeper into their pockets to put food on the table.

An agriculture think-tank, Tegemeo Institute of Policy and Research, says the country would not be facing the current challenges if the government acted fast to put in place measures that would have tamed the maize shortage, which had been anticipated.

“We warned the government in November (last year) that there would be a serious shortage of maize and advised them to make the necessary arrangements for import by February,” Mr James Githuku, a senior research associate at Tegemeo, says.

MAIZE DISEASE

Mr Githuku said the government failed to act on the information and waited until matters ran out of hand.

The Egerton-based research wing informed the government of an early consideration of potential sources of such imports, given the drought in the region that had affected Kenya’s source markets for white non-GMO maize.

An outbreak of maize disease in the country’s grain basket made matters even worse.

“There is a need to prepare early for a possible maize shortage, taking into account the lag-time in procurement and duration that the imports will take to land,” Tegemeo said in its recommendation last year.

IMPORTS FROM MEXICO

Kenya normally relies on imports from Tanzania and Uganda to bridge a deficit of about 20 million bags of maize every year.

Millers have already said the price of maize flour, which is currently retailing at Sh144 for a two-kilogramme packet, will only come down in the next two months after they receive consignments from Mexico.

“In the initial weeks of the import programme, some millers will have access to imported maize and others will not, so we do not expect maize flour prices to stabilise until adequate imported grain stocks are distributed across all the mills,” the millers said last week.

“This is expected to be in late June or early July. When this happens, prices are expected to settle at the Sh125-Sh135 per 2kg packet,” they added.

FLOUR PRICES

However, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett said on Friday that the price of flour is expected to come down this week, contradicting the millers.

Last week, Mr Joshua Chepkwony, the proprietor of Jamii Unga, broke ranks with other millers saying that the current prices of flour are exorbitant and that his counterparts are making unjustified profit.

Mr Chepkwony said that the price of a 2-kilo packet ought to have dropped to Sh118 factoring in the Sh3,000 that the government was selling maize to millers from the Strategic Food Reserves (SFR), and this is after factoring in production costs.

“If we factor in the cost of transporting that same packet of unga from Eldoret (where the Jamii factory is located) to Nairobi at about Sh2, for instance, plus a 10 per cent margin, it all comes to about Sh118 a packet,” Mr Chepkwony said, adding that anybody selling the same for more than Sh120 is dishonest and robbing Kenyans.

DROUGHT AND RAINFALL

But the Cereal Millers Association (CMA) argues that the price at which a miller decides to sell their maize depends on the cost at which it was acquired.

“Our business is based in Nairobi and we have to transport maize from Eldoret to the city, there is an additional cost in bringing this maize here,” CMA says, adding that transporting a bag to Nairobi costs Sh200 more.

Mr Githuku said the government should utilise the current rains to harvest runoff water, which will come in handy when the dry spell kicks in.

After going through the drought, the rains are causing destruction, with scores of people killed by the floods.

The cyclic events can be avoided if proper mechanisms are put in place to harvest the runoff.

Harvested runoff has the potential to meet Kenya’s water requirements by four times if stored for future use. But this has taken long to be implemented.

COST OF LIVING

Kenya has just come from one of the worst droughts in recent years, which saw people and livestock die of starvation and thousands in need of food relief.

The perennial maize shortage has been attributed to lack of proper policies, with Kenya dependent on rain-fed agriculture for food production as opposed to the use of large scale irrigation systems.

Prices of sugar, maize flour, beans and sukuma wiki have increased by 21.6 per cent, 31.2 per cent, 21.3 per cent and 63.2 per cent, respectively, over the past year.

A severe sugar shortage has also hit the country with two kilogrammes of the commodity now retailing at Sh400.

This is the highest price to have been recorded in the last five years.

Households’ breakfast table has not been spared either with the price of milk having hit a record high in recent days with a half litre packet of fresh milk retailing at Sh65 on average while long life is retailing at Sh75 for the same quantity.

POOR HARVEST

The high cost of food saw inflation jump 11.48 per cent in April from 10.28 per cent the previous month, taking it beyond the Treasury’s preferred upper limit of 7.5 per cent.

The cost of living measure is at a 57-month high.

President Kenyatta – who is seeking a final five-year term – acknowledged the problem of high food prices last weekend.

The price jumps are partly caused by drought that has left around 2.7 million people in need of food aid.

The short rains harvest in the South Rift, which is expected in the next two months, is however, expected to come as a relief to millions of Kenyans who are grappling with the current high cost of maize flour.

The high prices are due to poor harvest last year during the short-term crop that was affected by erratic rain.

STABILISE MARKET

The drought caused near total crop failure in the short rains dependent areas.

This led to an overall reduced production of 34.5 million bags, creating a shortfall of about 7.5 million bags of maize nationally.

Maize forms 80 per cent of the raw material used in manufacturing flour.

The Cereal Growers Association (CGA) says the crop has performed well and they expect two million bags to be injected into the market in July.

“We are expecting a good crop unlike last year. This harvest is going to create a huge impact on the market as we expect the prices to come down from the current highs,” CGA chief executive officer Anthony Kioko said.

Normally, this early crop plays a major role in stabilising the market in the second quarter of the year as it supplements stocks from the October main harvest.

MORE IMPORTS

Mr Kioko notes that the short-term crop from eastern Kenya will also be harvested at the same time.

But the eastern crop is mainly for subsistence use as just a fraction of it finds its way into the market.

Millers are also banking on the short rain crop, which is poised to increase supply of the produce in the market.

They argue that the current maize shortage and high prices of flour will ease in the next two months.

This harvest will supplement 2.8 million bags of maize that is being imported from Mexico, with the first batch of 30,000 tonnes having arrived in the country this past week.

The government says a similar shipment is expected in a fortnight.

Millers are purchasing the Mexican maize at between Sh3,500 and Sh5,000 a bag, which is cheaper in comparison to local prices.

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