Posts tagged as: year

Political Parties Challenged to Embrace Gender Equality

By Janeth Mesomapya

Dar es Salaam — Women participation in politics is said to remain low because it isn’t a priority within political parties. Political Science Professor Ruth Meena voiced this during a panel discussion at this year’s Mwalimu Nyerere Professorial Chair on Wednesday.

She said that the gender gap in politics is fueled by the fact that gender equality is not a priority, even in nominating candidates during the elections. “The constitution should compel political parties to align with international policies in order to enhance gender equality and bridge the gap,” she said.

Former Parliament Speaker Ms Anna Makinda said young girls should be taught to be bold from the family level to be able to stand against any sort of gender discrimination. “Let’s build a society where women are confident of who they are and participate all socio-economic activities,” she added.

Tanzania

Magufuli Orders Seizure of Undeveloped Farms

Tanzanian President John Magufuli has directed the confiscation of all undeveloped farms in the country and ordered that… Read more »

MPs Question State House Shs 23 Billion Supplementary Request

Parliament’s budget committee has raised concern over the Shs 23.1 billion supplementary budget request from State House – less than two months to the end of 2016/2017.

The latest request is an addendum to an earlier request of the Shs 2.9 billion supplementary budget request from State House that was approved by parliament retrospectively.

State House received Shs 257.29 billion for the 2016/2017 financial year under Vote 002. According to the new supplementary budget request, Shs 200 million was spent as capital donation to Isingiro fruit factory and Shs 1.08 billion was given to the Federation of Uganda Football Association (Fufa) for the African Cup of Nationals football tournament preparations.

State House comptroller, Lucy Nakyobe appeared together with the Presidency minister, Esther Mbayo before the budget committee to defend the supplementary budget request.

Nakyobe told the committee chaired by Ntenjeru North MP, Amos Lugoloobi that State House exhausted its annual budget allocation on several recurrent items hence the need for additional funding to settle outstanding obligations as well as facilitate their operations through the remaining period of the financial year.

They include among others utilities such as telecommunications, electricity and water that require Shs 1.2 billion, classified expenditure of Shs 5.028 billion and insurance for the presidential helicopter and jet at Shs 1.4 billion among others.

The others include Shs 2.4 billion spent on Makerere University visitation, Shs 9.55 billion for inland travel and another Shs 3.5 billion for travel abroad.

“We have a helicopter and we have a jet but we only got money for the jet. We did not have the money for insuring the helicopter. We requested for additional funding from the beginning but they did not give us, so it remained an unfunded priority at the beginning of the financial year. But we had to insure the helicopter because it is mandatory.

Then the other issues, it is because of over activity. We did plan, for example, when you look at travel abroad, we planned for 25 visits outside the country, but as I speak we have already done 30 visits so we have consumed five extra visits. So we have already gone overboard… and also got some services on credit. When you look at the state visits we had planned for only 15 and as we speak we have already done 17″, Nakyobe said.

She defended the Shs 9.55 billion additional funding required for the president’s in land travel, saying the money will be used to facilitate local programs and settle fuel bills.

However, the committee members led by the chairperson Lugoloobi questioned whether the items for which State House requires that additional funding were of emergence nature.

Patrick Nsamba, the Kasanda North MP wondered how State House will spend such a huge sums of money in the remaining days of the financial year.

“The law clearly state the circumstances under which we should ask for supplementary, but what am seeing is additional, additional every where. The circumstances under which we should be asking for supplementary are clearly stated; under situations of emergencies, things that cannot wait for the next financial year. Look at item no.5, Mr chair, there is travel inland worth Shs 9.5 billion. So Mr chairman am just looking at the time period vs what is required”, Nsamba said.

Lugoloobi questioned why State House continues to request supplementary budgets even when it receives sufficient allocations. Nakyobe attributed the problem on emerging issues as well as under funding for some items. She explained that as the year closes, they need liquid cash to run State House as they wait for releases for the new financial year.

“The year closes on the 30th of June, but when the year closes, the other one doesn’t open automatically although theoretically is it supposed to, but it doesn’t. By the time you get to receive money for the other financial year, you still have to run because State House doesn’t close.

We’re supposed to facilitate the president at all times, come rain, come shine. So we still have to have some money to see us through that period when books have closed as we wait for new books of the other financial year to open. So it is things like travel inland that where we keep some money because the programs continue”, Nakyobe added.

The officials are expected to return back to the committee on Friday morning to discuss the classified expenditure funding.

Rwanda’s Coffee Export Revenue Rises to Over Rwf2 Billion in March

By Peterson Tumwebaze

Rwanda’s coffee export revenues rose marginally in March to $2.4 million (about Rwf2.02 billion), up from $2.1 million (about Rwf1.77 billion) recorded during the same period in 2016, the National Agricultural Export Board (NAEB) monthly report indicates. This was despite a drop in coffee prices on international market to $2.36 per kilo, down from $2.40 per kilo in March 2016.

The March coffee export earnings represent a 9 per cent increase in value that NAEB attributed to high volumes of coffee sold during the month or a growth of 11 per cent compared to what was exported in March 2016.

The country sold 1,008,501 kilogrammes of coffee over the month under review, up from 906,251 kilogrammes sold in March last year, the report indicates.

Rwanda’s coffee buyers include Switzerland, United Kingdom, the United States, South Africa, Germany and South Korea.

However, coffee production decreased on annual basis by 12.7 per cent, a situation NAEB attributed to the prolonged dry spell the country experienced last year.

The government in March this year set the farmgate coffee price at Rwf246 per kilogramme, up from Rwf150 previously.

Overall, Rwanda produced more than 22 million kilogrammes of coffee in 2016 compared to 21.8 million kilos in 2015. The agro-export body attributed the increase to a conducive weather and adoption of modern farming skills by farmers, which helped improve coffee handling and quality along the value chain.

NAEB has been emphasising value addition and encouraging farmers and co-operatives to take advantage of coffee washing stations to enhance quality.

The board is implementing a five-year strategic plan aimed at achieving an annual average export growth rate of 29 per cent, translating to $104.3 million by 2018, from $60.9 million in 2013.

The plan also promotes value addition and seeks to enhance productivity to make the country’s coffee industry more competitive and beneficial to more than 400,000 farmers whose livelihood depends on coffee.

NAEB said the objective is to increase productivity from 2.4kg per coffee tree in 2013 to 3.1kg per tree by 2018. The board also seeks to increase fully-washed coffee to 71 per cent by 2018.

Rwanda

Govt Expects Over 12000 Returnees By July 2018

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Ugandan Para-Rowers Optimistic After International Debut

By Abdul-Nasser Ssemugabi

Kampala — None of the Ugandan para-rowers won a single event in last week’s Para-rowing International regatta but the three debutants returned from Gavirate, Italy in chest thumping mood.

Coach William Mwanga said his athletes Vaster Kyalimpa, Amir Kapere and Tadeo Kintu, all in Arms and Shoulders (AS) category, were timid in the earlier races but soon adjusted to the competition environment and improved steadily in the subsequent events. Particularly, Kapere was Uganda’s best performer, finishing most of the 2000 metres fifth, fourth and third in the ultimate race. His personal best was 12:48:02 minutes in men’s single sculls Heat 2. But it was his fourth position finish that he relishes most.

He retells the experience: “No one believed that I had beaten a Mzungu, and all his teammates made fun of him,” Kapere said in reference to his finish two seconds above Poland’s Leszek Niewiarowski in the men’s single sculls.

“I feel stronger and motivated because most of our opponents came with superior boats, but we train with old-fashioned boats. They train more but we had more power than them. With better training, I believe we can do even better.”

Coach Mwanga said their opponents were only better because they train more and are better facilitated; “otherwise my team impressed me; we have potential.” He added that the organisers were equally impressed by Team Uganda’s performance and FISA, the international rowing body, promised to send them some boats and facilitate a regional regatta later this year.

Uganda

Are Police Harbouring Criminal Syndicate Within the Force?

Some weeks ago, President Museveni made a candid statement about the police, which I believe most Ugandans applauded.… Read more »

CRDB Bullish On Growth Despite Challenges

By Abduel Elinaza

CRDB Bank remains optimistic of posting strong results this year despite policy changes that increased challenges in operations, its Managing Director, Charles Kimei has said.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam yesterday ahead of the bank’s Annual General Meeting scheduled for this week, Dr Kimei said the ongoing policy orientation, including macroeconomic and structural policies, as well as changes in regulatory framework were likely to result in increasing loan repayment default rate among borrowers.

The bank, with a subsidiary in Burundi, reported a Group pretax profit slow down to 118.2bn/- from 187.7bn/- attained in the previous year. The Tanzania operation alone posted a pre-tax profit of 111.9bn/- compared to 178.2bn/- recorded last year.

“It is against this context that we will exercise a cautious approach in implementing the bank’s strategy for 2017,” Dr Kimei said.

The Bank would focus on consolidation and effective cost management–implying taking a low gear in network expansion and improving asset utilization to generate quality income andimprove returns to shareholders.

The bank would also continue to focus on risk and regulatory compliance to optimize the business and improve beyond financial performance, he said.

“The challenges faced in 2016 are not expected to ease in 2017; however, most of the required adjustments to cope with new macroeconomic conditions have been made.

Tanzania

States Split On Funding Mechanisms to Bail Out EAC

East African Community (EAC) partner states are divided on the proposed financing mechanisms to bail out the… Read more »

Namibia: Safe Motherhood Campaign On

Photo: Twitter / FLON_Namibia

Namibian First Lady Monica Geingos

ONGWEDIVA Medipark has joined hands with the Office of the First Lady to undertake an annual initiative called the Safe Motherhood Campaign.

The project will be launched tomorrow at the Outapi Regional Council hall.

Ongwediva Medipark managing director Tshali Iithete said the campaign will focus on the health of expectant mothers and their unborn babies.

“In order to improve pregnancy outcomes, Namibia continues to experience a large number of newborns with low birth weights, which contributes to high infant mortality rates. This campaign was first launched in 2016 at the Ongwediva Medipark by First Lady Monica Geingos,” Iithete explained.

He said the aim of the campaign is to sensitise expectant mothers and their spouses on health issues during pregnancy, as well as to provide screening for common pregnancy-related health issues.

Dr Fatma Suleiman, a specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist, added that during the inaugural campaign in 2016, more than 250 women received free antenatal screening. Anaemia – low blood haemoglobin levels – was detected in most of the mothers who were screened.

“This phenomenon of low haemoglobin can be attributed to poor nutrition during pregnancy, and can subsequently result in multiple problems during pregnancy as well as causing babies to be born with low birth weight.

“The mothers with significant health problems detected during screening, such as infections or anaemia, were provided with initial treatment, and if necessary referred for further follow-ups,” Suleiman stated.

This year’s event will be graced by Geingos as the main speaker. There will also be various speakers to focus on contraception, nutrition, danger signs during pregnancy, and other pregnancy-related topics.

The aim is to reach as many mothers and their spouses as possible with the message on the importance of safe motherhood.

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Zimbabwe: CBZ Targets U.S.$20 Million Growth in Loans

CBZ Holdings Limited is targeting to grow its loan book by $20 million this year, amid expectations that its huge stock of sovereign paper will give it access to more lines of credit.

Group chief executive Never Nyemudzo said this translated to over 5 percent jump in loans from just over $1 billion.

This comes as the bank said it will make use of its nearly $1 billion stock of Treasury Bills to attract on and offshore funding. Zimbabwe’s biggest banking group has stocked up nearly half of the $2,1 billion TBs in the market.

CBZ said amid an investor stampede for the sovereign paper, it has latitude to rack up more lines of credit. “Sovereign paper, fortunately, appeals to local and international investors. Interestingly, in some of the discussions we are having, those investors are accepting the Treasury Bills as security, which reinforces the point I made last year that with the size of TBs we have, we can borrow locally and offshore,” he said.

RBZ governor Dr John Mangudya said recently that the $2 billion Treasury Bills issued by Government, including for debt clearance, will help boost economic recovery and improve liquidity for holders of the securities. As a sovereign or State-issued security, TBs are considered one of the safest forms of investment across the globe.

Mr Nyemudzo said that CBZ remained attractive to foreign lines, which it has accessed and disbursed to productive sectors of the economy, of credit due to its reputation and extensive footprint within Zimbabwe.

Mr Nyemudzo also recently said that CBZ, Zimbabwe’s biggest financial services employer with 6 percent share of the employment figures, processes roughly 35 percent of the country’s transactions annually.

Total advances grew by 1,4 percent, year to date, to $1, 021 billion while deposits surged 1,8 percent to 1,8 billion. “Our loan book should be growing by 5 percent this year, but certainly this is net, we could disburse more,” Mr Nyemudzo said.

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 »

Rwanda’s Trade Deficit Drops By Over 10.5 Percent in March

Photo: The New Times

Staff sorting vegetables before packaging for export.

By Peterson Tumwebaze

Rwanda’s trade deficit for formal goods decreased by over 10.5 per cent year-on-year in March, but was up on a monthly basis, the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) Formal External Trade in Goods report for March 2017 indicates.

According to the report released on Monday, the country’s formal trade in goods deficit narrowed by 10.51 per cent in March compared to the same period last year. However, it was recorded at $102.22 million (about Rwf856.86 billion) in value over the reporting period, an increase of 34.61 per cent compared to the month of February. Trade deficit is the difference in value between the imports and exports and are often used as a measure of a country’s external trade performance.

The country’s export value rose by 39.56 per cent in March, but was up by a lower margin of 23.40 per cent on a yearly basis, NISR indicates. The import bill increased at lower percentage of 29.68 per cent compared to February 2017, and dropped 1.08 per cent compared to March 2016, according to the report.

Experts attribute the mismatch between imports and exports to continued reliance on low-value export products that are also vulnerable to international market dynamics and commodity price fluctuations. The demand for foreign goods is also growing, especially for capital and intermediate goods to sustain the ongoing economic development and help the country to achieve a 11.5 per cent growth rate envisaged under the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II). It is this expenditure that has ballooned the country’s import bill.

However, the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning Amb Claver Gatete said initiatives like the Made-in-Rwanda campaign and industrial parks could soon help increase domestic production and export volumes and value and hence improve trade balance receipts.

Speaking to The New Times, Gatete cited increased local production of rice, wheat and sugar that contribute highly to the import bill, adding that this will help improve the country’s trade books. The country’s total trade amounted to $570.11 million during the last quarter of 2016, a decrease of almost 7.40 per cent year-on-year. Exports during this period totaled to $109.50 million, with import bill increasing to $400.31 million.

Robust growth

Experts are confident the country’s economy will rebound this year. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has already projected that Rwanda’s economy will expand by 6.2 per cent in 2017, recovering from a slight dip in growth of 5.9 per cent last year.

The Fund, in its second review of Rwanda’s Policy Support Instrument, said growth would be largely driven by recovery of the agricultural sector, growth in exports and reduction in the trade deficit this year.

“We are already seeing positive results and are optimistic on commodity prices which will drive economic growth this year,” John Rwangombwa the Central Bank governor added on Monday.

Last week, Ed Kostenski, the founder and president of Nationwide Group, urged government to inject more resources into sectors that were affected by the fall of international commodity prices last year, arguing that the prices were expected to recover this year.

Re-exports

Meanwhile, Rwanda’s re-exports values decreased by 5.73 per cent in March compared to February 2017, but were up by over 13.5 per cent on a yearly basis.

IMF Growth Projections for Rwanda a Vote of Confidence in Economy

editorial

Rwanda’seconomy is projected to rebound and expand by 6.2 per cent this year, driven by recovery of the agriculture sector, as well as growth in exports, and reduction in the trade deficit.

Government’s efforts to promote domestic production and value addition as well as consumption of local products are tipped to spur exports and keep the economy resilient.

The National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda’s (NISR) formal external trade in goods report for March already indicates that the country’s trade deficit narrowed by over 10.5 per cent in March, year-on-year.

This development underlines the positive outcome of the country’s domestic market recapturing strategy. The import substitution strategy seeks to encourage production of products like furniture, roofing materials and steel products to help bring down the country’s import bill, widen the export base and increase volumes and value.

The initiative has already paid dividends as Rwanda’s trade deficit dropped to $1,519.97 million in the first 11 months of 2016 from $1,602.21 million the previous year.

These declines are projected to continue on the back of strong local consumption of Made-in-Rwanda goods and value addition that will enable the country’s products to be more competitive locally and in regional and global markets.

That Fitch Ratings, a global leader in credit ratings and research, has affirmed Rwanda’s economic outlook as stable should also be good reason to support the optimism about the country growth prospects this year.

However, it is important to continue improving the business environment to ensure sustainable economic growth in all sectors of the economy.

These challenges, especially in agriculture and industrial sectors should be addressed if the country is to achieve its targeted 11.5 per cent growth rate by end of 2018.

The latest growth projections by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) should be a motivation for a every Rwandan to play their part as the country sails on a clear growth path.

Rwanda

Continent Calls for Funding to Restore Degraded Forests, Land

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PM to Grace Fete for People With Albinism

By Jimmy Lwangili

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa is expected to grace the national day of of people with albinism that will be celebrated in Dodoma Region next month.

Chairman of Tanzania Albinism Society (TAS), Mr Nemes Temba told journalists in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the celebrations will climax on June 13, riding on a slogan, Statistics and Research on the Welfare of People With Albinism.

He said the celebrations will this year “discuss and meditate” on sustainable data collection, analysis and its timely availability to stakeholders.

Temba also says that the year’s slogan taken into account the reality that there was a serious lack of data on people with albinism within the country, especially at a time when the nation was implementing global sustainable development goals on a slogan ‘no one will left behind’.

“Without orderly access to data availability the government cannot plan better for the welfare of special groups in the society including people with albinism,” he argued.

He insisted that availability of such data was challenged by two laws, namely, the Statistic Act number 9 of 2015 which doesn’t allow journalists or researchers to publish any data without approval of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS); the other, he says, is the Cybercrime Act of 2015.

“These are good laws especially in controlling crimes and false information in the society … but still pose challenges to the whole system of data availability,” he stressed.

However, he applauded government moves in recognizing the importance of data on the people with albinism in the national census of 2012, which put their figure at 16,376– 7,620 men and 8,756 women.

Yet, the challenge is still “on how to solve various problems facing people with albinism … such as access to education, employment, economic situations and access to better social services.” The celebration is organized by TAS, Prime Minister’s office, NGOs and various stakeholders.

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 »

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