Posts tagged as: rwanda

Nigeria:’We Shall Soon Introduce Palliatives to Ease Business At Ports’

interview

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), as the ports economic regulator, is in the forefront of enthroning efficiency at the nation’s ports. In a chat with newsmen, the Executive Secretary/CEO, Hassan Bello, speaks on a number of palliatives measures lined up to achieve this, including interconnectivity of modern infrastructures that will facilitate trade. The Guardian was there.

Your council is involved in promoting trade facilitation at the ports, how far have you gone on this?

SO much has been achieved and more will continue to follow. Shippers’ Council is providing a lot of support for all, and I know very soon, we will, at least, have the palliatives on ground. NSC, as a think-tank, has provided permanent solution or will suggest such, chief of which is the rail connections to the ports. Every port should be connected to the modern mode of transport. We are also talking about the whole traffic management in Apapa and other ports to be established where we have the stage, the call system electronically controlled, so that we don’t have unwanted trucks on the road.

It is a macro-economic thing; we have no business to import petroleum products. Yes, we should concentrate on our refineries; the pipeline is a means of transportation. This should be enhanced, if we have the pipelines, the 2,000 to 3,000 petroleum trucks coming to Apapa will just disappear. We should enhance the means of transportation. If a port is connected with pipelines, a port is connected with rail, road, and inland waterways, then you will not have traffic situation as we have and that will go to the efficiency of transport infrastructure. Not only the presence of infrastructure, they have to be modern, sustainable and they have to have connections with the economy. And that is why we are talking about linkages. No infrastructure should stay alone. What we are trying to do in the council is to establish the Truck Transit Part (TTP), which will also have connections with the ports, and we could have a holding bay attached to that.

The Ogun State government has agreed and is going to allocate land to NSC for that purpose. We are also looking at other places. Whatever we do the connectivity is very important. Now, if we have modern infrastructure, you will see improvement will have reflection on the economy. The port is not supposed to retain a container more than a minute necessary. The port is a transit point holds for cargo, not storage and you see there have been investments by the terminal operators. Some of them have modified and have provided necessary technology, which is commendable. But the infrastructure coming out has failed and this the Federal Government is addressing massively and deliberately to provide rail links to the ports, to do the roads, provide modern traffic management. Shippers Council supported a study by the African Finance Corporation (AFC), which shows a lot of things within the Apapa logistics ring, including the presence of unwanted trucks. Now, if these things are electronically controlled, which means a truck is only within the vicinity of the port if it has business to be there, and the business is to load and off-load cargo within a second, it has done its business and it is on its way. This is what is done in other climes and this is what the shippers’ council is doing.

What is the current level of equipment profile by the terminal operators?

We have seen with some of the terminal operators. You can see the result. The turnaround time reception of vessels and cargo has improved. We can see that in terms of the amount of cargo we have been able to gain from our competitors. Actually, if not for the recession and banning of some commodities, Nigeria would have been ahead in tonnage. It is actually because you could see efficiency entrenched. We call on the government to actually supplement the efforts of the private sector in making sure these go along, but we still need competition. That is why the ports were concessioned. Competition is the key. We need the intra-port competition, also competition between ports, and our competitors in neighbouring countries.

Talking about Executive Order, are some of these efforts by the council part of implementation of the Order by government?

Yes, we are central to executing the Executive Order. And we are from next week starting a stakeholders’ engagement so that we are in tune. I tell you it needs a lot of hands to tie it.

How has the council been able to handle the issue of tariff imposed on shippers by shipping companies?

The issue of tariff is very important. We need to have a modern tariff system and we are working towards that, at least with the shipping companies. Now, tariff must be scientifically decided. We have to look at many factors. NSC has competence, well trained staff on tariff structure of the ports and we are looking at that. We are getting cooperation from the shipping companies who are actually desirous of establishing machinery for future tariff setting. We are looking at competitive tariffs. It can’t be all the same. But we have the minimum; we have the maximum within which to give them leverage. So this will emphasize the competition. We need to see that the shipper has option. The shipper has the choice to take his goods where he has economic advantage. So, it is a question of efficiency. It is an economic decision by the shipper to say, let my goods come to terminal A rather than Terminal B because I get the goods faster, I pay less, I have efficiency, I have many other advantages.

How far has the Council gone in terms of getting refund from the shipping companies who were based on Appeal Court judgment ordered to refund illegal charges they had collected over the years on shipping lines agency charges (SLAC)?

It is a court case in which the shipping companies have appealed to the Supreme Court. The case is now at the Supreme Court and that is the situation for now. But we are engaging stakeholders, the Ministry of Transportation is aware of this and also the Attorney General of the Federation. We in NSC are more interested in establishing machinery for objective tariff structure rather than some punitive issues actually. It is important that our tariffs are considerably competitive with tariffs in other neighbouring ports especially those ports we are competing with.

All NSC is saying is not averse to raising tariffs or lowering them for that matter, but there are procedures. And these procedures are entrenched in the Nigerian laws, so we urge everybody to obey the law. The truckers are here; we are negotiating their tariffs. So, people should come and say, we want to raise tariff or we want to lower them as the case may be. Because there are times when you need to do that. All we are saying is that you are operating in a clime of laws. Nigeria is country of laws, so please, come and abide with the laws of this country.

In effect, have the shipping companies stopped collecting those charges the Appeal Court ruled against?

Not effectively, because it is a complicated case in the sense that there is no stoppage of these things.

Can you talk about the progress made on the Inland Dry Ports (IDP) projects?

We have the activities of the IDPs rising. One in Isiala Ngwa, they have just signed an agreement to commence construction, which should be done immediately, and they have 18 months to do that. If they construct a port and we examine it together with international organizations, they will be accorded a Port of Origin and Destination status which means you can consign your goods to the port from anywhere in the world. And it will be a port just like Apapa or Tin Can Island. For the Jos IDP also, a lot of progress has been made and the only thing we are having problem with is the rail line or its rehabilitation. In Funtua, a lot of activities are taking place towards construction. So, we are seeing some progress but we want that progress to even be more and next few weeks, we shall take a holistic approach, we shall hold a meeting with the concessionaires. Don’t forget theses IDPs have already been concessioned and some state governments such as, Plateau, Kaduna and Abia have supported these projects and we have to be very thankful to them. We also have one in Benin City. We are looking at it and very soon, we will take the issue to ICRC because it is a Greenfield investment, so that we know the procedure and processes.

What about the launch of the Kaduna IDP?

The Kaduna State is constructing another road to the terminal. The state government is really a partner in that project.

So does it mean that until the road construction is completed, the launch will not take place?

We will do that, but goods are coming to Kaduna by rail now. Kaduna is our showcase and many people have visited. We are working with the Nigerian Railway Corporation to see the amount of goods they are bringing.

Can you also talk about the latest development on the Truck Transit Park projects?

That is another important transport infrastructure that will add a lot of value to the economy. As I have said, Ogun State government has given us land; we have two land in Enugu and Kogi. And we are now doing the exchange of titles to the NSC. But we have also advertised for Expression of Interest to people who want to run the TTPs. We are also talking with the ICRC as usual. And on November 9, we are having a breakfast meeting with lending institutions and investors so that we will have a solid roadmap on how to go about this investment.

South Africa:Cope Welcomes the Removal of Myeni, but What About the Patient?

press releaseBy Glacier Nkhwashu

Whilst COPE welcomes the long overdue removal of Dudu Myeni as chairperson of SAA, her removal talks less to positive action by Zuma, but rather to continual pressure exerted by opposition parties, civil society groupings, and financiers.

As a consequence of Myeni’s corrupt leadership and bad governance of SAA, Zuma’s government was ultimately forced to Act. Bear in mind that Myeni was adamant that she would only leave when ‘ubaba goes’.

The real issue here is why it took so long to Act, and at what cost? The answer to this points to cronyism, deployment, corruption, looting and state capture, and at possibly fatal cost to South Africa, its fiscus and its people.

Whether this belated move will be sufficient to turn SAA around and whether government should retain the failing SOE are questions yet to be answered.

The removal of Myeni is bitter-sweet, because it’s clear that she should (like uBaba) never have been appointed to the position in the first place.

SAA remains in ICU on life support in a critical condition. Whether the SAA’s ‘organs’ should be sold off, or the feeding tube should be removed, or the patient resuscitated (and at what cost) are questions open for debate.

South Africa

12 Men Arrested for ‘Promoting Homosexuality’

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Cameroon:Computer Algebra – Academics Build Capacity

By Christopher Jator

It has become imperative to get a big number of young creative people to the state where they are able to develop powerful and higher quality software.

Young academics from across Africa have been updated on the great potential of the modern tool, computer algebra, in learning, teaching and researching of mathematical sciences.

120 mathematicians from 25 African and European countries (Cameroon inclusive) were introduced to the technology during a workshop in Douala opened by the German Ambassador in Cameroon, Dr. Hans-Dieter Stell. The participants were young African PhD students, postdoctoral students and junior lecturers who listened to renowned world experts in computer algebra with the goal of making use of the importance of higher level mathematical thinking in the process of software development.

Co-organised by the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences Cameroon (AIMS Cameroon) and the University of Kassel in Germany with funds from the Volkswagen Foundation in Germany, the workshop sought to build the capacity of junior scientists to take over and popularise and continue to train their colleagues in their home universities. The importance of the Douala workshop is found in the fact that countries and companies which have better educated people in this direction will lead the economy’s development. Furthermore, computer mathematics plays a central and essential role in that it is the basis for everything that is happening today for the development of the most advanced layer of software which is penetrating economy.

Centre President of AIMS Cameroon, Mama Foupouagnigni, noted that for Africa to develop, the African youth should master mathematical sciences well enough to be able to develop solutions to relevant development problems in society and industry. It has become imperative, he went on, to get as quickly as possible a big number of young creative people to the state where they are able to develop powerful and higher quality software for the local, national and international markets and needs.

Cameroon

Catalyst for Socio-Economic Development

Government and the business community may need redoubled efforts to solve the funding equation that haunts the sector. Read more »

State Says It Requested Vehicles for Election Security

By Ibrahim Oruko

The government has said it requested additional vehicles from ministries to help in security operations during the repeat presidential poll set for October 26.

The Ministry of Interior Affairs, which is coordinating the exercise, said the four-wheel cars were not meant for use in the Jubilee presidential campaigns.

The ministry confirmed that the government was in the process of mobilising vehicles, but noted that the purpose is to have a fleet of vehicles available for use in security operations during the repeat presidential election on Thursday next week.

“As you are aware, there are close to 50,000 polling stations and each polling station requires security coverage.”

MOBILISED

“The National Police Service does not have enough vehicles to mobilise and transport security officers to all the polling stations in the country,” the ministry said in a statement signed by its spokesman Mwenda Njoka.

On Wednesday, the Nation reported that the government has mobilised official four-wheel vehicles from all ministries to be used in the final days of President Uhuru Kenyatta campaigns and on election day.

Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua in the memo to all the principal secretaries ordered every ministry to release one vehicle each — preferably Prado — to the Jubilee campaign to mobilise voters to various rallies across the country.

Mr Kinyua, in the confidential memo marked “urgent”, directs all PSs to hand over the vehicles to the Interior PS Karanja Kibicho for deployment.

MEMO

However, Mr Njoka said there was a memo from the Head of Public Service, directing ministries to release one vehicle each to the Ministry of Interior, but clarified there was absolutely no mention of the vehicles being delivered to the Jubilee campaign as the story claimed.

The ministry further notes that when need arises, the government mobilises resources from other departments to meet the shortfall and cited events that forces the State to mobilise vehicles, for instance, during the August 8 general elections.

“The Head of Public Service is aware of the law governing use of state resources and he would be the last person to direct that government vehicles be used for political campaigns.”

Kenya

Election Boss Reads Riot Act to President and Opposition Leader

Electoral commission chief Wafula Chebukati on Wednesday cast doubts on the possibility of holding credible elections… Read more »

South Africa:Communications Authority Ready to Receive Data Theft Complaints

Newly-appointed Communications Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi says the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) is ready to receive complaints related to the theft of mobile phone data.

Responding to oral questions, the Minister made her maiden appearance in the National Council of Provinces on Wednesday in her new Communications Portfolio.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Member of Parliament Nkagisang Mokgotsi had asked whether the department has conducted an investigation into the alleged theft of customer data.

The Minister, who had chaired hearings on the cost of data under the banner #DataMustFall, said ICASA was yet to receive complaints.

“The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa has established a complaints and compliance committee, in terms of section 17(a) of the ICASA Act number 13 of 2000, to investigate and hear if appropriate, make a finding on all matters referred to the authority and complaints received by it.

“To date, the authority has not received any information regarding the theft of data. However, upon receipt of such information, a detailed investigation will be conducted and a report can be available,” she said.

SIU commences work at SABC

Meanwhile, Minister Kubayi said the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has commenced its probe into the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

Last month, the Presidency announced that President Jacob Zuma had signed a proclamation to give the SIU a mandate to investigate matters related to procurement.

The investigation will look at contracting for goods, work or services by or on behalf of the SABC from various companies or service providers and payments made in respect thereof in a manner that was not fair, transparent, competitive and equitable or cost effective.

The investigation will also look at whether there was any undisclosed or unauthorised interest that certain members of the personnel of the SABC may have had with regard to contractors, suppliers or service providers, who submitted bids for work or did business with the SABC; or contractors awarded by or on behalf of the SABC.

The proclamation further authorised the SIU to investigate allegations of:

– Serious maladministration in connection with the affairs of the SABC;

– Improper or unlawful conduct by board members, officials or employees of the SABC;

– Unlawful appropriation or expenditure of public money or property;

– Unlawful, irregular or unapproved acquisitive act, transaction, measure or practice having a bearing upon State property;

– Intentional or negligent loss of public money or damage to public property; and

– Unlawful or improper conduct by any person, which has caused or may cause serious harm to the interests of the public or any category thereof.

Minister Kubayi said: “The SIU has already commenced its work and in fact, I am informed that they have been allocated an office at the SABC.

“Once the investigation is complete, it is only then that the truth will be known. It must be noted that government has sufficient institutions in the country, such as the Hawks and Assets Forfeiture Unit, to deal with all alleged misconduct and it is not up to the Minister to predetermine the outcome of the investigation.”

Kakamega Senator Malala Charged Over Poll Boycott Call

By Shaban Makokha

Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala was on Wednesday charged with incitement.

The Senator was accused of inciting his supporters on October 13 to boycott the October 26 repeat presidential election during a political rally in Kakamega town.

He is alleged to have dared anyone to take ballot boxes to Muliro Gardens.

The charge read that the words were meant to disrupt the October 26 repeat polls in Kakamega.

Mr Malala, who was represented by Lawyer David Masake denied the charges and was released on cash bail of Sh300,000.

Mr Masake accused police of ignoring orders issued by the High Court, prohibiting his arrest.

“My client was enjoying miscellaneous application from the superior court and showed goodwill by presenting himself to police in the morning, but the police detained him for hours irrespective of the orders,” said Mr Masaka.

Present in court during the case was Lurambi MP Titus Khamala and Vihiga Woman Representative Beatrice Adagala.

The case will be heard on January 16 next year.

Kenya

Election Boss Reads Riot Act to President and Opposition Leader

Electoral commission chief Wafula Chebukati on Wednesday cast doubts on the possibility of holding credible elections… Read more »

Kenyatta – I Won’t Hold Negotiations With Odinga

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday said he will not hold negotiations with the opposition, saying Kenyans should be allowed to vote in peace on October 26.

Speaking on the campaign trail at Saboti in Trans Nzoia County, President Kenyatta warned the opposition against intimidating the electoral agency IEBC.

“There will be no sitting in boardrooms to negotiate and share government. It is Kenyans who have the right to decide who will be president,” President Kenyatta said.

The President said those who do not want to participate in the October 26 fresh election were free to do so but should not curtail the rights of those who want to vote on that day.

COALITION GOVERNMENT

“The same way nobody is being forced to participate in the October 26 election, similarly no one has the right to stop those who want to participate,” President Kenyatta said.

On Wednesday, Nasa leader Raila Odinga said he was ready for dialogue with President Kenyatta, but maintained that the agenda for such a meeting would be about free, fair and credible election and not a coalition government.

Mr Odinga told the media on Tuesday afternoon that his team was ready for such dialogue “as soon as yesterday” and vowed never to attend if it was about forming a coalition government.

“The impression has been created that it is me who is wants nusu mkate (coalition government),” he said in reference to claims by Jubilee Party leaders that he has called for mass protests to demand for a coalition government having lost in the August 8 presidential election.

Kenya

Election Boss Reads Riot Act to President and Opposition Leader

Electoral commission chief Wafula Chebukati on Wednesday cast doubts on the possibility of holding credible elections… Read more »

Kenyatta Warns Nasa on Poll Disruption

By Grace Gitau, Pscu

President Uhuru Kenyatta has issued a stern warning against individuals who will attempt to undermine the repeat presidential elections.

The President cited recent incidents where Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) officials were attacked while preparing for the coming polls.

“Whoever will try to stop the elections, by attacking IEBC officials, firm action will be taken against them. We cannot allow a few individuals to destroy our country,” said the President at a Jubilee rally in Nanyuki on Wednesday.

INTIMIDATION

He insisted that the security of IEBC staff will not compromised and they should be allowed to do their work without intimidation.

“Anyone who will attempt to disrupt the election or beating election officials will be dealt with regardless of your position. You cannot stop a democratic process,” he said.

President Kenyatta urged Kenyans to come out in large numbers and exercise their democratic right to vote on October 26.

The President told opposition leader Raila Odinga to stop inciting Kenyans not to participate in the election saying such utterances amounted to denying Kenyans their right to vote.

“We are telling Raila you have a right to boycott the election but Kenyans have a right to vote.

“Why do you think you have a right to stop Kenyans from exercising their democratic right?” posed the President, who was accompanied by his Deputy William Ruto.

COALITION

The President said Kenyans will not allow the opposition leader to undermine the elections so that he can force the country to have a coalition government.

The President was speaking in Nanyuki hours after mobs attacked venues in Kisumu and Vihiga where IEBC officials were holding training workshops ahead of the repeat presidential poll.

In Kisumu, a training session at the county’s Huduma Centre was disrupted after youth stormed in and vandalised chairs and tents that had been erected for the programme.

Speaking at the same rally in Nanyuki, Deputy William Ruto said the Repeat elections will go on as scheduled.

“Kenyan must move to the election on October 26. They can call for press conferences as they want and resign as they desire but we must go to the polls,” he said.

He wondered why Nasa leaders are calling for anti-IEBC protests yet their candidate had withdrawn from the race.

AKOMBE

“To our competitors and their sponsors we will not accept any more games. We cannot continue to play around with future our country and our children” he said.

The Deputy President maintained that they will not have a sit down with Mr Odinga to discuss the political impasse.

MPs who spoke at the rally accused IEBC Commissioner Roselyn Akombe, who resigned, of working with the opposition.

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua castigated her for fleeing the country and abandoning the commission.

“You can run but you cannot hide,” said.

Laikipia Woman Rep Catherine Waruguru said Dr Akombe is lucky that she had a second home to run to, unlike many Kenyans.

“Majority of Kenyans do not have the privilege of a second home. You were sent to check on the progress of printing of ballot papers but you have deceived Kenyans,” she said.

Additional reporting by Mwangi Ndirangu.

Drama as Blogger Withdraws Appeal Against Ekuru Aukot

By Sam Kiplagat

Abraham Kiplagat Mutai, a blogger who had challenged the inclusion of Ekuru Aukot in the repeat presidential poll, has withdrawn his case.

But before the withdrawal on Thursday, there was controversy after two law firms fought over his representation at the Court of Appeal in Nairobi.

SHOT UP

Lawyer Nelson Havi, who filed the appeal, had told judges Alnashir Visram, Wanjiru Karanja and Martha Koome that he was still acting on behalf of Mr Mutai and was ready to proceed.

But lawyers Anthony Gitonga and Evans Lagat shot up and claimed they had instructions to represent Mr Mutai and withdraw the appeal.

This saw Mr Havi sensationally claim that the Jubilee Party, which benefited from Mr Aukot’s case after Nasa leader Raila Odinga’s pulled out of the election, had coerced him to withdraw the case.

Mr Havi alleged that Jubilee had promised Mr Mutai Sh7 million if he withdrew the case.

RULING

But President Kenyatta’s party, through lawyer Tom Macharia, termed Mr Havi’s allegations as “buffoonery and playing to the gallery”.

The judges later ruled that Mr Gitonga and Mr Lagat were on record for Mr Mutai.

Immediately the court made the ruling, Mr Gitonga said he had been instructed to withdraw the case.

All other parties, save for Nasa through Jackson Awele, were not opposed to the withdrawal.

Kenya

Election Boss Reads Riot Act to President and Opposition Leader

Electoral commission chief Wafula Chebukati on Wednesday cast doubts on the possibility of holding credible elections… Read more »

Namibia:Appetite for Local Potatoes Hits Rooftop

By Albertina Nakale

Windhoek — Namibians have a huge appetite for potatoes, but they seem to prefer buying pre-washed potatoes, so much so that the local irrigation schemes and farms are unable to produce even half of the 26,706 tons of potatoes consumed on an annual basis.

According to the latest figures by the Namibian Agronomic Board, during the 2015/16 financial year Namibia only produced 7,055 tons of potatoes of the 26,706 tons the country consumes on an annual basis. The rest, or 74 percent of local consumption, was imported into the country. The figures refer to potatoes sold in the formal markets.

Interestingly though the country did well when comes to the production of onions, producing nearly 70 percent of total consumption, and exporting a significant tonnage of the edible bulb.

However, the report notes that for a country where the horticultural market value is at N$678 million, the industry must work harder to reduce its reliance on imported horticultural products.

In 2015/16 Namibia produced horticultural produce worth N$174 million, while importing horticultural produce worth N$504 million. On the production of potatoes the agronomic board notes there is a demand for washed potatoes “which constitutes a large percentage” of local consumption.

For instance in the year under review, an additional 3,213 tons of brushed potatoes were exported between June and September, as there was an oversupply of brushed potatoes in the local market, while the demand for washed potatoes was not satisfied.

To satisfy Namibians’ hunger for washed potatoes, the report suggests that “to stimulate additional demand for local produce, the industry needs to invest in washing equipment, so that more washed potatoes are available during the year, instead of unwashed or brushed potatoes only”.

Namibia produces potatoes in the season that begins after the last frost, which is typically from August. This is because potatoes are sensitive to frost and excessive heat.

According to the agronomic board it had to close Namibian borders in the months between June and December 2015, to protect locally produced onions. As a result, the country only imported 39 percent, or 2,939 tons, of the country’s annual total consumption of 10,000 tons of onions.

These restrictions resulted in an increase of 140 percent in local marketing of 7,567 tons of onions, compared to 3,149 tons in the 2010/11 financial year.

It also meant that the country was able to export 9,288 tons of onions in the period between June and November 2015 when the local market was oversupplied with onions.

Meanwhile, the agronomic board says that the drought has affected the horticulture sector as well, with a reported decrease of 8 percent in the actual, local tonnage marketed to the formal trade.

In the 2015/16 financial year the country imported 49,859 tons of horticultural produce, which is 7 percent more than what it did the previous year. The locally produced horticulture produce decreased by 8 percent to 23,579 tons.

“These figures show the negative effect of the drought and heat experienced in Namibia,” states the report.

The reduction is due to the fact that some producers reduced production as a result of a lack of water resources, while seed germination and pollution challenges were experienced due to high air temperatures, and low humidity caused decreases in yield and poor quality fruit.

All horticulture products are controlled products as gazetted in accordance with section 2 of the Agronomic Industry Act of 1992.

The agronomic board regulates the horticulture industry through the market share promotion scheme, which is implemented by Agro Marketing and Trading Agency.

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