Posts tagged as: year

Tanzania: Govt Unaware of Kenya’s Border Wheat Import Fee Hike

By Alex Malanga

The government has said it is not aware of Kenya’s decision to raise inspection fee on Tanzania’s wheat exports by 13 times.

Kenya reportedly increased the wheat inspection fee at the border from Ksh600 (about Sh13,000) per truck to Ksh8,000 (Sh176,000), a move that will technically lock out the commodity, threatening to escalate a trade war between the two neighbouring countries, according to the Business Daily of Kenya.

“I am not aware of the decision,” Industry, Trade and Investment Minister Charles Mwijage told The Citizen by telephone.

“Yes, we have issues pertaining to trade with our neighbours, which prompted the government through my Permanent Secretary to hold a meeting with them on September 8 in Dar es Salaam, but not the wheat inspection fee.”

Mr Mwijage called on traders to inform him about any issues related to trade barriers so that they could be addressed. Unless the issue is solved, Kenya’s decision will increase the cost of doing business for Tanzanian traders, who export their wheat products to the neighbouring nation, making Tanzania’s wheat uncompetitive in Kenya’s market.

The two East African countries have been in a head-on dispute over wheat trade with Tanzania citing Kenya at the East African Secretariat early this year for blocking it from exporting the commodity to the local market.

In April, the Council of Ministers from EAC said Kenya had ignored guidelines issued by the secretariat allowing wheat products from Tanzania to enter the country duty-free under the EAC common tariff.

Kenya and Tanzania do not produce sufficient wheat and rely on imports to meet demand.

Kenya is a net importer of wheat, bringing in two-thirds of the annual consumption of 900,000 tonnes against local production of 350,000 tonnes.

Tanzania has been Kenya’s second largest market in the region after Uganda, providing a range of products, including palm oil, soap, medicine, cooking fats, iron sheets, sugar confectionery and margarine.

In April this year, Kenya’s Ministry of Energy banned imports of cooking gas through the Kenya-Tanzania border, a move which, according to Kenya, meant to eliminate illegal cooking gas filling plants, which have cropped up in various parts of the country posing safety and security risks.

But in July this year, the two countries through their Heads of State President John Magufuli and Kenyan Uhuru Kenyatta held successful talks expected to see the lifting of restrictions on imports from either country.

Kenya’s total exports to Tanzania went down by 34 per cent in the first five months of the year to Sh4.35 billion, raising concern over the impact of the trade standoff.

Zimbabwe: Platinum Miner Embarks On Employee Wellness Programmes

By John Kachembere

Zimbabwe’s largest platinum miner, Zimplats, is turning to health programmes to keep its employees well and reduce compensation and medical costs.

The group’s chief executive officer, Alex Mhembere, said the company had engaged specialists to carry out an assessment of the mental health status of employees, with a view to supporting those requiring assistance.

Mhembere noted that occupational health monitoring for the full year to June 30, 2017 focused on occupational lung diseases — mainly pneumoconiosis — noise induced hearing loss and backaches.

“An ergonomic 9 and vibration survey was instituted in response to a rise in cases of backache mainly among mining employees and recommended remedial action plans are under implementation,” he said an annual report released last week.

The Financial Gazette was reliably informed that close to 40 people at Zimplats’ mines in Ngezi had retired in the past year on medical grounds, mainly due to low back pain.

Low back pain is particularly common among miners as their work requires repeated lifting of heavy burdens, vibrations, bending, twisting of the spine and prolonged standing.

They also carry heavy loads such as emergency oxygen devices and batteries suspended at waist height.

Low back pain results in enormous costs to industry, but data on this issue is sparse among miners and the general population in Zimbabwe.

Mhembere said Zimplats, which recorded zero fatalities and covered over six million fatality free shifts during the year, considers employee wellness and behaviour as key to safe production in the workplace and achievement of the group’s ‘zero harm’ objective.

“We operate an inherently risky business, mining; there’s nothing that matters to us most than the safety and wellbeing of our employees. We really won’t mind closing our business for a week or months if that ensures our workers are safe,” he told analysts last week.

Meanwhile, the Australia Stock Exchange-listed miner’s revenue for the year increased by nine percent from $471,8 million in 2016 to $512,5 million during the year to June 30, 2017, despite a five percent decrease in 4E volumes from 582 833 ounces to 555 892 ounces.

“Revenue was supported by an increase in average metal prices as gross revenue per platinum ounce improved from $1 638 to $1 868,” Mhembere said, adding that cost of sales decreased by six percent from $390,7 million last year to $367,1 million largely due to the five percent decrease in sales volumes.

Gross profit margins improved from 17 percent in 2016 to 28 percent in the reporting year mainly due to the improvement in average metal prices.

The Zimplats boss noted that operating cash cost per platinum ounce increased by two percent to $1 225 this year, from $1 197 in the previous corresponding period due to a nine percent decline in platinum production and an increase in prices of consumables.

Zimplats, which is 87 percent owned by South Africa’s Impala Platinum Holdings, was awarded a 2,5 percent export incentive amounting to $14 million on the export proceeds received in Zimbabwe during the year compared to $1,1 million the company received last year.

In addition, the group also received Treasury bills with a total nominal value of $34 million from the government in settlement of the principal amount owed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

The platinum miner, however, disposed the Treasury bills during the period under review for $20,8 million.

“As a result of these factors, profit before income tax for the year increased from $29,4 million in the full year to June 30, 2016 to $101,3 million,” Mhembere said, adding that income tax expense for the year increased to $55,8 million in line with improved profitability from $22million the previous year.

Net cash generated from operating activities increased from $36 million in 2016 to $56,1 million, while at year-end, Zimplats had bank borrowings amounting to $109million and a cash balance of $70,3 million.

Nigeria: Leukemia Patients Celebrate 10th World CML Day

As patients of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) worldwide celebrate the 10th World CML Day today to raise awareness on a rare haematological disease that represents 15 to 20 per cent of all leukemia in adults and the needs of patients, a non-governmental organisation, Together Maxcare Foundation Nigeria, is pushing for more sensitivity to the plight of patients who have this rare type of leukemia.

This year´s campaign motto is: ‘Today, Together, Today, together we are treated. Tomorrow, we need cure!’

To mark the day, simultaneous events, publications, and meetings are taking place on all continents and activities are being coordinated by the CML Advocates Network, a patient-run network comprised of 115 patients advocacy groups in 86 countries.

According to a statement obtained by THISDAY, advances in treatment and care have transformed CML into a disease where patients, if treated effectively, have the chance to live a normal and long life.

“However, there are still huge challenges for patients with CML, which also vary from region to region. These challenges, such as access to high quality therapies and diagnostics, treatment according to expert recommendations, adherence to therapy, effective side effect management, and development of a cure can only be tackled in partnership between patients, healthcare providers and researchers.

“Especially here in Nigeria, our key concern today is for Government intervention in the timely release of donated drugs by Novartis for the treatment of CML which were seized by Custom officials, says Eunice Orekha, President, Maxcare Foundation Nigeria.”

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Nigeria

IMF Borrowed From Nigeria in 1974 – Former Finance Minister

Minister of Finance in the Second Republic, Alhaji Abubakar Alhaji, said yesterday the International Monetary Fund, IMF,… Read more »

JKT Mbweni New Netball Queens

THIS year’s First Division netball league turned solely a JKT Mbweni- Uhamiaji dominion as the two won the top titles after posting voluminous wins.

The two teams could end unbeaten, before Jeshi Stars disrupted the show by beating Uhamiaji 52-49 in the tense encounter, the loss that automatically placed the declared JKT Mbweni the new champions.

Uhamiaji went there as the defending champions and were going fine until the Jeshi Stars shattered their dream. Prior to the yesterday last games, it looked clear that who deserves the title between JKT Mbweni and Uhamiaji could be decided on superior goal average.

Since it looked goals will determine the winners, the two giants fought gallantly in all matches to ensure they win by a bigger margin. As it was recorded early yesterday, Uhamiaji mercilessly clobbered Korogwe 149-8 in a one-sided match.

Uhamiaji played with vigour right from the start in an endeavour to ensure they defeat their closest challengers JKT Mbweni by better goal average after both ended with 13 points.

In another match Police Arusha lost 27-39 to Madini Arusha, while at Tuesday match JKT Mbweni demolished Arusha Queen 112-15 and also recorded 29-16 victory over Police Arusha.

While Uhamiaji lost, the closest challengers, JKT Mbweni confirmed the throne after defeating Police Morogoro. CHANETA chairperson Ana Kibira said that tournament that expected to wind up yesterday went well.

She said: “It was nice tournament, competition between teams was fantastic, and it was nice as until final matches no one could predict the champion to make it more exciting.”

Tanzania

UK Lawyers Write to President Over Shooting of MP

The Law Society, the Bar Human Rights Committee (BHRC) and Bar Council of England and Wales (BHRC) have written a letter… Read more »

Nigeria: NCC Remits N133.4bn to Federation Account in 2 Years’

Nigeria’s telecoms regulatory body, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Thursday said it has, in the last two years, remitted N133,426,062,786 to the consolidated revenue fund of the Federal Government.

The commission’s Director of Public Affairs, Tony Ojobo, said in a statement, “Although NCC’s primary role is not to generate revenue for the government, but to nurture and regulate the industry, figures obtained from the commission show impressive remittance of funds to the coffers of the consolidated revenue of the Federal Government, especially in the last two years.

“For instance, the Commission’s last remittance to the consolidated revenue fund, which was on June 30, 2017 was N12,705,154,120 and it came just less than 10 days after the NCC remitted the sum of N1,282,453,138 to the account.

“In the same vein, the NCC last year, transferred N20,000,598,873 and another N15,000,000,000 in March before remitting N29,475,867,407 and N16,500,000,000 in December of the 2016.

“In 2015, however, the commission remitted N23,512,316,450 in October after paying N6,856,182,132 in September of the same year.

“It is noteworthy also that the quarterly contribution of telecom sector to the GDP has been consistently impressive in the last two years.”

Mr. Ojobo also quoted the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the commission, Prof Umar Danbatta, as recently saying the sector contributed N1.549 trillion to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2017, representing 6.68 per cent increase from the first quarter of the year (N1.452 trillion).

The National Bureau of Statistics report, Mr. Ojobo said, also confirmed that the telecommunications sector, during the second quarter of 2017, contributed 9.5 per cent to the GDP in contrast to 9.1 per cent contribution in the first quarter of the year.

“We are very proud of the remarkable contribution the sector is making. Even at the recent times when the whole economy was facing challenges, the sector had remained resilient and stable,” the NCC spokesperson quoted Mr. Dambatta as saying.

He added, “Similarly, the nation’s quest for attainment of 30 per cent broadband penetration by 2018, has received a major boost as ITU-UNESCO Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development confirmed last year announced that Nigeria had achieved 21 per cent level of penetration from less than 10 per cent 2 years earlier.”

First Lady Backs Women-Owned Businesses

By Athan Tashobya

Women continue to face substantial barriers hindering their success in doing business, which when removed, it would not only help women thrive but also bring about inclusive economic growth for communities, the First Lady Jeannette Kagame has said.

Mrs Kagame was speaking at the International Trade Centre’s discussion on “SheTrades,” a session held under the theme, “Empowering Women in World Trade,” in New York, on Tuesday.

The First Lady said the role of women in trade remains “largely undefined and marginalised,” hence the need to promote any initiatives that are women-owned “because they hold the potential to positively impact lives of not just women, but entire communities as research has proven time and again.”

“It is well known that empowering women leads to empowered families, communities and countries, since women invest in the health and education of their loved ones which in turn improves public health, eradicates malnutrition and poverty over the short and medium run. In short, their success is everybody’s success,” Mrs Kagame noted.

In March this year, Rwanda launched SheTrades initiative, bringing together representatives from government, academia and the private sector to commit to actions that support women entrepreneurs and help them overcome barriers, including growing their businesses and accessing global markets.

The ‘SheTrades’ initiative, launched in 2015, aims to connect one million women entrepreneurs to markets by 2020.

The First Lady observed that though women make up 52 per cent of the general population in Rwanda, they only own around 30 per cent of businesses; yet they still manage to contribute up to 30 per cent of the country’s GDP.

“Imagine what their contribution could be once the barriers they are confronted with are removed,” she said. “As a matter of fact, it is now common knowledge that the substantial barriers faced by women in doing business, which include social bias about their abilities, lack of entrepreneurial skills, and support networks, can be resolved with the right will, focus and a range of enabling tools.”

The battle to empower and increase the role of women in trade, according to Mrs Kagame, can be addressed by creating better mechanisms to loans and saving schemes; educating and empowering them to gain much-needed entrepreneurial skills to fairly compete with men; and to help women create solid and reliable networks which would lead them forge working relationships with potential buyers.

Rwanda

Govt Lifts Ban on Foreign Adoption of Rwandan Kids

Foreigners or persons outside Rwandan can now adopt children in the country, seven years after the Ministry of Gender… Read more »

Zimbabwe: Gold Deliveries Soar

Gold deliveries soared to almost 14,7 tonnes in the first eight months of the year, driven by a strong performance by small-scale miners, statistics reveal. Small-scale miners, who largely use rudimentary equipment to haul the precious metal, have been playing second fiddle to large-scale gold producers but have since turned on the style, and have delivered 7,2 tonnes since January.

Large-scale miners have so far delivered just over 7,4 tonnes to Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR) in the period under review. This means gold deliveries have risen by 4,8 tonnes between June and August this year. In the half year, 9,9 tonnes of gold had been delivered to FPR, with large-scale miners accounting for 53 percent of the deliveries while the small-scale miners contributed 47 percent. The performance thrusts the country on a firm footing to achieve its ambitious target of 26 tonnes.

Deliveries in the first half of the year were stifled by incessant rains which hit the country in the first quarter, resulting in 54 percent of the 9,9 tonnes being delivered in Q2. FPR has already predicted increased output from small-scale miners in the second half of the year. Small-scale miners benefited from the $40 million Gold Development Initiative Fund.

Said FPR general manager Mr Fradreck Kunaka in a recent interview: “Despite low production levels in the first half of 2017, the deficit will be significantly reduced in the second half of the year to end the year at the set target or marginally lower than target.”

From a peak output of 27,1 tonnes in 1999, Zimbabwe’s official gold deliveries progressively fell to 3,6 tonnes in 2008, and are rising again, reaching 23 tonnes last year.

Zimbabwe

Opposition Parties Call For Mugabe Family Lifestyle Audit

The proposed government life style audit should start with the First Family as its money-not-an-object expenditures do… Read more »

Over 80 School Girls Impregnated in Bunda District

By Geofrey Kimani

Rorya — About 88 girls from secondary and primary schools have been impregnated since October last year.

Some 25 girls were impregnated during the last quarter of last year, while 63 of the girls became pregnant this year.

This was said on Tuesday September 19 by the special seats councilor, Edina Charles when speaking in a committee.

She noted that Ikoma ward tops in reported cases of impregnated school girls this year where seven cases have been reported in the last three months.

The councilor for Ikoma ward, Nyakriga Andrew, noted that efforts to track down immoral men who have been impregnating the girls is undermined by corruption.

He noted also that some parents and guardians of the impregnated girls do accept money from the culprits and end the cases amicably, something which amounts to collusion.

He noted that there is collusion between teachers, parents, village leaders, police and those who have made the girls pregnant, to secretly cover up the matter.

She called upon female ward councilors to launch campaigns and create awareness among school girls to curb the problem.

The Rorya District Council Executive Director, Mr Charles Chacha, noted that the councilors should come up with strategies that will help address the problem effectively.

“We should not expect support from the government to end this vice… we need to work out a solution ourselves,” he noted

Tanzania

Nairobi Doctors to Decide if Shot MP Can Fly to US

Doctors at the Nairobi Hospital will determine whether Singida East Member of Parliament Tundu Lissu is stable enough to… Read more »

New Kisumu Port to Operate Under Lease

By Allan Olingo

Construction of the modern Kisumu port under the standard gauge railway will take 18 months.

Documents from Kenya Railways seen by The EastAfrican show that the port will be in Usare, Kisian, 16km from Kisumu town, and will include two multi-purpose berths of 3,000 tonnes and one work boar berth.

When complete, the port will be leased to sub-operators under an agreement with the Kenya Ports Authority.

“There will also be the construction of a roll on/roll off (ro-ro) terminal that will facilitate loading and offloading from ships designed to carry wheeled cargo like cars,” the design document reads in part.

The port will be linked by rail, access roads, electricity connections and satellite buildings. It will require 20square km of land to accommodate its amenities.

Employment opportunities

“The operational port workforce would initially require hundreds of full-time employees, gradually increasing to thousands,” the document says.

As a justification for construction of the port, standard gauge railway planners say they aim to transport cement, coal and petroleum products through the port to the regional countries.

Early this year, Kenya’s Ministry of Transport proposed construction of the new port once the SGR reaches Kisumu. The ministry has already finalised a financial agreement with China Exim Bank for a $140 million loan to finance its construction.

“We aim to increase business with neighbouring countries. We have chosen this new location as it gives us the flexibility for expansion and also allows us to build a logistics and an industrial park,” Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia told The EastAfrican.

Kenya

Duale to Seek MPs Approval of Sh11.5 Billion for Poll

Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale says he will be requesting MPs to approve the release of Sh11.5… Read more »

CBK Optimistic About Economy Despite Repeat Election Jitters

By Brian Ngugi

Favourable weather for agriculture and sustained public investment in infrastructure development will help cushion the economy against knocks of prolonged electioneering, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has projected.

CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge said the economy will grow at 4.7 per cent as recorded in the first quarter of the year.

“We don’t see any factors that would combine to shave growth projections for 2017… let’s say upwards of 0.5 per cent,” he told a press briefing in Nairobi.

The Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) has projected good rains in the main food basket areas for the rest of the year.

“Enhanced rainfall is expected over most agricultural areas of the country. It is also expected that the rainfall will be well distributed making it favourable for agricultural activities in most of the areas.

“Farmers are, therefore, advised to take advantage and make use of the good rains to maximise crop production, ” the weatherman said in a forecast for the October-December short-rains season.

A prolonged drought early this year affected food production leading to a sharp rise in inflation. The country’s overall inflation peaked at 11.7 per cent in May but dropped in June and July as the return of rain improved food supplies.

Inflows from the peak tourism season between June and October and the projected expenditure on the repeat presidential election tentatively scheduled for October 17 are further expected to boost growth.

“This is additional stimulus that was completely unexpected. That will stimulate growth,” he said. The election will cost more than Sh15 billion, according to Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has presented a Sh12.2 billion budget to the Treasury for review. Mr Rotich last week however said the total budget for the repeat poll could cross Sh15 billion when related activities – largely security measures – are factored in.

Dr Njoroge however warned that extended low activity in the post-election season would affect the economy.

“Consumers will delay their decisions if there is too much uncertainty,” he said. “That has ripple effects if you think of trade. If there is more noise there will also be delay in terms of government execution of products.”

The economy takes a dip every five years as businesses hold back investments awaiting elections outcome.

The violence witnessed following the disputed 2007/08 presidential election results has caused uncertainty in successive general elections in 2013 and 2017.

Kenya

Duale to Seek MPs Approval of Sh11.5 Billion for Poll

Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale says he will be requesting MPs to approve the release of Sh11.5… Read more »

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