O’Rourke Closing Gap on Incumbent Ted Cruz

Beto O’Rourke, despite a lack of name recognition, is catching up to Ted Cruz in the polls. Cruz was leading with a 15-18 percent majority in the beginning of this year, depending on the source. Polls currently stand at Cruz with 47 percent and O’Rourke with 35, a much thinner margin in a short period of time. The polled voters show that Cruz is seen lately in an unfavorable light, and to have a self-seeking agenda; however, many Texans claim to not know enough about O’Rourke to have an opinion of him so far. Those who do have an opinion cite his charisma and down to earth platform as reasons for his rising numbers.

Affiliation with End Citizens United

End Citizens United is a grassroots campaign originally based to overturn Citizens United and reduce the amount of influence money has on election and politics in general. O’Rourke’s campaign involves only his own strategies, in a utilitarian and no-frills approach to gaining ground for this year’s election. Also relying primarily on himself and the needs of the voters, O’Rourke has not only decided against utilizing political and campaign consultants, and pollsters, he has also rejected any money from Political Acton Committees. Currently, where 96% of voters see the use of money as a way to corrupt a campaign or politician, O’Rourke’s refusal of any money towards his campaign is seen as a positive step towards putting the needs of the voters above those of companies and businesses.

Endorsement by League of Conservative Voters

While the voice of environmental concerns has grown over the years, politicians of the GOP have still found ways to set many of these issues aside in favor of what they depict as more pressing ones. Voters all over are pushing to have these concerns centralized in law making, thus the beginning of the League of Conservative Voters. The LCV pushes to ensure that matters concerning the environment become priorities at every level of government, and that politicians are held accountable for their decisions in this capacity.

The League of Conservative Voters Action Fund has endorsed Beto O’Rourke for his stances on conservation and climate change issues. As these topics become more centralized, endorsements of groups such as the LCV become more important to campaigning politics. This does not bode well for incumbent Cruz, as the LCV has shown disdain for his lack of concern over environmental issues in the past.

A Platform Texans can Relate to

Speaking in general of O’Rourke’s stances on the issues, voters seem to identify with his ideas and priorities. Some describe his campaigning methods as “old school,” particularly in regards to the amount of time he spends traveling. He has now visited every single county in Texas, all 254 of them, even ones such as Cooke County that hasn’t voted a Democrat into office in decades.

When it comes to the issues that the average voter looks at, Beto O’Rourke speaks to them on jobs, healthcare, and immigration as chief areas of concentration. Speaking to every county in Texas, O’Rourke assures them that every citizen who wants a job will be able to get that job, along with the necessary education needed to succeed. He displays his beliefs on the importance of healthcare, citing the need for every citizen to have healthcare in order to become and stay healthy. His stance on immigration displays his belief that every issue should reflect the country’s values, welcoming immigrants and thanking them for what they have done for our country, along with calling to end walls, raids, and overall hostility.

O’Rourke’s plans, if making it to overturn Cruz’s seat in the typically red state, simply highlight his goals to end divisive and contentious actions in politics, calling to simply bring voters together and better the nation by bettering their lives.

Workplace Efficiency Tips for SMEs

If you thought managing SMEs was going to be an easy task, then you might be experiencing some challenges! Small and Medium-sized businesses are always caught between acquiring new customers and delivering quality services to the existing customers. Obviously, this is one of the trickiest balances to strike. Most of these businesses find themselves caught on one side of the game; which implies losing on the other.

Remember, as an entrepreneur, you also have employees under you who need to keep your business’ vision alive and running. This means that you have to work hard to make them see your vision; which of course goes hand in hand with some sort of motivation to ensure that they deliver as expected. Quite a daunting task?

No worries. Here are a few tips to ensure efficiency at the workplace with a bias to SMEs:

Empower Your Workforce

When you lead a team of employees, you probably want the best of them. Offering them incentives or rewards for their hard work would work best to ensure that they remain motivated and focused on achieving the set goals.

No employee likes to be constantly told what to do—they need the space to make independent decisions (of course you’ll still make the final decision as the top management) and exercise their creativity. Empowering your workforce by acknowledging their potential not only leads to high-efficiency levels (with regard to work output) but also greatly contributes to the overall growth of your business.

Engage Your Employees

Employee engagement is one of the most effective ways to ensure high productivity levels. This entails listening to and addressing their concerns, discussing the business’ progress as a team (after all they contribute to your business’ success), and most importantly engaging them in the decision-making process. By doing all these, you make them feel part of the business which is crucial in ensuring an efficient work environment.

Having an open communication system will also aid a one on one interaction with your team thus enhancing their overall productivity.  

Consider Using Web Forms

With the advanced technology systems, most businesses are going online. It’s now a necessity to have an online platform even if you’re operating a physical store. Why? Most users seek for products online which also means that they prefer online assistance (when it comes to the use of these products) as it’s the fastest and most reliable way to get more information on the products in question.

Web forms will not only save you time but also boost your users’ confidence because they will receive prompt services from you. In addition, it will make your employees more efficient and on the task of providing excellent customer service and alleviate them from answering repetitive phone calls from customers.

The best thing about web forms? You can get started with free templates from EmailMeForm right away and embed them in your website in just a few mere minutes.

Offer Refreshments as a Reward

It may seem weird. But it’s probably one of the most effective ways to get your employees on toes and motivated to tackle the day’s work. Ensure you offer them healthy snacks, foods, and drinks as this will leave them feeling rejuvenated all the time and most importantly, it will greatly enhance time management which is usually a challenge with regard to outside feeding.

Create an efficient work environment (for your employees) by offering them easy access to refreshment products.

Conclusion

Ensuring an efficient workplace isn’t an easy task, but with the right measures in place—it’s achievable. Implementation of the above tips will motivate your employees; thus, it will aid the creation of an efficient work environment. However, you should bear in mind that it’s a gradual process and hence requires patience.

Author Bio: Deborah Tayloe is a freelance copywriter and frequent contributor to EmailMeForm. She has over 25 years of experience in marketing and sales management. She’s a Pennsylvania native who currently lives in North Carolina. When she’s not blogging, she’s probably relaxing in her garden.

Top 3 Reasons to Hire Angular Developers

Angular is one of the most popular frontend JavaScript development frameworks and with good reason. When you make the decision to hire Angular developers, you are selecting one of the best solutions for how to make a website or app. You will find that the technology itself is well-suited to the development of large-scale apps, while developers that use it are some of the most skilled.

As a business owner, you will want to hire these developers mainly due to their ability to create apps that combine good website design with advanced functionality and speed.  

Reason 1: Angular JS Developers Create Highly Interactive Applications  

Angular has already been used successfully at some of the most technically-accomplished businesses in the world. It boasts a great pedigree and track record.

Google created the framework in 2010, then released a major revision in 2016. Since then, the following companies have used Angular in their projects, in the process availing the services of many teams of expert Angular programmers:

  • PayPal
  • NetFlix
  • AT&T
  • Cisco
  • JPMorgan Chase and Co.
  • Apple
  • HP
  • VMWare
  • Solar City
  • IBM

The ability of AngularJS developers at these companies to create highly interactive applications is largely due to the capabilities of the framework itself.

Reason 2: Faster Apps with Front-End Technologies like the Shadow DOM

Due to the many optimizations in the framework, AngularJS developers can create some of the fastest JavaScript applications possible. In numerous head to head performance tests, Angular has proven to be comparable to React and Vue.js. This means it is among the very best in these categories, ahead of other frameworks like EmberJS, MarionetteJS, and jQuery.  

Angular 2 and 4 make use of the shadow DOM which results in very fast applications, faster than was possible in Version 1 of AngularJS. Working with developers who use the framework, therefore, results in snappy applications that work well on both mobile and desktop computing devices.

Reason 3: Angular Developers Use Typescript for Type-Safe Web Development

Angular developers can easily create apps for a small business or mid-sized business, but their stack is particularly suitable for the unique needs of large enterprise companies. This is the reason why so many Fortune 500 companies and other enterprises have quickly adopted the technology.

Users of the framework are masters at the large-scale development you will need if you have high traffic requirements for your apps. The process of large-scale development is improved, in a lot of cases, by the usage of Typescript, a type-safe programming language from Microsoft that enables your development team to catch errors at compile time. Angular is a showcase for how to improve your business or grow a business through defect-free JavaScript apps.

An Even Better Way to Hire Angular Tech Talent

To help address the challenges of costly Angular developer salary for highly skilled teams, many organizations, large and small, have turned to remote outstaffing services. With outstaffing, you can create remote teams composed of Angular experts just like you would if recruiting locally. Often, outstaffing agencies in tech centers like Kiev and Warsaw can greatly improve your results with outstaffing.

Build a Website with Angular Devs

There are substantial advantages that come with hiring Angular programmers for your next project. Most importantly, your application development will be in the hands of JavaScript app experts with a winning frontend technology.

The performance of Angular teams is often better than with competing stacks. You will get faster apps that scale and can handle very high levels of traffic. The improvements that Google continues to make with its open-source framework will benefit your business for years to come.

What Influences the Economy

If you’ve ever turned on a cable news channel, you’ve heard anchors talk about how the stock market up means that the economy is good, or how a lot of people filing for unemployment means the economy is bad. The truth is, the American economy is a complicated beast that shouldn’t be reduced to just a single number. A lot of factors are at play. Yes, the stock market matters, as do job reports. But that’s not all that matters.

Growth rates matter

If you read that the American economy experienced modest growth at the beginning of 2018, that’s because even though things like a low unemployment rate are helping, consumer spending could be better. If people aren’t increasing their spending, that means there’s some financial uncertainty at play. People tend to spend more when they’re feeling confident about their financial status, and they tend to scrimp and save when that status seems threatened. Consumer spending is still increasing, but barely.

What about the stock market, though? If it doesn’t matter, why are news outlets so eager to report every increase or decrease? Well, they probably do that because it’s their job to report the news, and the stock market is a piece of the news puzzle. Most normal people, however, only need to pay attention to the stock market in certain circumstances. In general, day-to-day fluctuations aren’t nearly as important as long-term trends. Only about half of all Americans own any stock at all, which means the number of people directly affected isn’t as big as it may seem. If you’re interested in investing in the stock market, it’s probably because you’re at a point where it makes financial sense to do so. People who don’t have a lot of disposable income generally aren’t rushing to put what little they have into stocks, after all. Before you invest, educate yourself. Researching what stocks to buy is always going to be more helpful than just closing your eyes and pointing to a stock. Once you invest, you’ll no doubt be more interested in what’s happening on Wall Street, because you’ll have a personal stake in it.

The tax cut question

Unless you were in a cave with no Internet access at the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018, you no doubt heard something about the tax cut bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump. Do tax cuts really boost the economy, though? That depends on who you ask.

A few years ago, the Congressional Research Service published a report that found no connection between top tax rates and economic growth. In other words, the service found no evidence that cutting taxes for the rich helps the economy in general. That wasn’t the end of the story, though, because Republicans in Congress said the report contained errors. Politico studied the issue and declared there to be no “predictable effect” on economic growth. In early 2018, Reuters took a poll of economists, the majority of whom said the tax bill would provide a short-term boost for the economy. One economist interviewed compared it to a “sugar rush.” We can make educated guesses, but, like many things, we’re ultimately going to have to wait and see. If it spurs long-term growth, then it will be hailed as a genius move. If it leads to negative growth, then Republican members of Congress could be at risk of losing their jobs, as could the president.

The Smart Investor

The stock market can seem like an amorphous cloud. With so many options, how will you know where to put your money? Maybe you’re thinking it might be easier to simply tuck that money away for a rainy day. But don’t worry, and don’t hide your money! The stock market can yield great dividends for risky and cautious investors alike. If you’re wondering where to begin, here are a few tips to get you started as an investor.

Find What You Stand For

An investment is essentially your financial support of an individual, company, or cause. Some investments that yield great dividends might not be the best for the world. That may or may not matter to you as an investor, but it is nevertheless important to consider before you can take the next steps. Depending on how risky you are willing to get, startups can be a good investment to reflect your beliefs–if you have done your homework. Knowing why a company will grow is imperative to making a smart investment. If your beliefs align with the company’s, you can feel even better about giving them your money.

Do Your Research

Whether you’re investing a little or a lot, it’s important to do your research. There are many ways online to learn about the investments that interest you. For example, with a risky investment like medical marijuana, you could spend some time reading up on marijuana stocks to track how the stock is doing. Sites like this will give you the scoop on your investment as it stands in politics, and more. For a less straightforward stock like Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, you may want to read blockchain news articles to become informed on the basics of the market. It’s also a great place to go if you have no idea what the cryptocurrency hype is about but want to get in on the investment. An informed investment decision can make all the difference between huge dividends and a huge bust.

Ask for Help

There is nothing wrong with seeking the advice of a financial planner. These professionals are trained to have a keen eye on the economy, and can help you plan your financial future based on your risk-level preferences. In a way, hiring a CFP is like an investment in itself. Their advice will lead you to the best fit for you. This will make your life as an investor less stressful, and hopefully more prosperous–with more dollars going into your bank than going out.

Take the Leap

Plenty of people wait around for the economy to “get better” in order to invest.The fact is we live in a society where the economy will always be in flux. No matter how it looks today, it will look much different in ten and even twenty years. As an investor, you can feel confident walking in with a long-term mindset. You know your dividends will be on their way, as investing is a game of longevity. There is no such thing as quick money, but with these tools you could make big money in the long run.

 

Turmoil at the World Bank

The World Bank’s central mission, when it was established in 1944, was to reduce global poverty and ensure that global development was environmentally-sound and socially-inclusive. However, since then, the Bank has only served as an extension of US foreign policy and commercial interests!

NEW YORK – The world is at a crossroads. Either the global community will join together to fight poverty, resource depletion, and climate change, or it will face a generation of resource wars, political instability, and environmental ruin.

The World Bank, if properly led, can play a key role in averting these threats and the risks that they imply. The global stakes are thus very high this spring as the Bank’s 187 member countries choose a new president to succeed Robert Zoellick, whose term ends in July 2012.

The World Bank was established in 1944 to promote economic development, and virtually every country is now a member. Its central mission is to reduce global poverty and ensure that global development is environmentally sound and socially inclusive. Achieving these goals would not only improve the lives of billions of people, but would also forestall violent conflicts that are stoked by poverty, famine, and struggles over scarce resources.

American officials have traditionally viewed the World Bank as an extension of United States foreign policy and commercial interests. With the Bank just two blocks away from the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, it has been all too easy for the US to dominate the institution. Now many members, including Brazil, China, India, and several African countries, are raising their voices in support of more collegial leadership and an improved strategy that works for all.

From the Bank’s establishment until today, the unwritten rule has been that the US Government simply designates each new president. All 11 have been Americans… And not a single one has been an expert in economic development, the Bank’s core responsibility, or had a career in fighting poverty or promoting environmental sustainability!

Instead, the US has selected Wall Street bankers and politicians, presumably to ensure that the Bank’s policies are suitably friendly to US commercial and political interests.

Yet, the policy is backfiring on the US and badly hurting the world. Because of a long-standing lack of strategic expertise at the top, the Bank has lacked a clear direction. Many projects have catered to US corporate interests rather than to sustainable development. The Bank has cut a lot of ribbons on development projects, but has solved far too few global problems.

For too long, the Bank’s leadership has imposed US concepts that are often utterly inappropriate for the poorest countries and their poorest people. For example, the Bank completely fumbled the exploding pandemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria during the 1990s, failing to get help to where it was needed to curb these outbreaks and save millions of lives.

Even worse, the Bank advocated user fees and “cost recovery” for health services, thereby putting life-saving health care beyond the reach of the poorest of the poor – precisely those most in need of it. In 2000, at the Durban AIDS Summit, I recommended a new “Global Fund” to fight these diseases, precisely on the grounds that the World Bank was not doing its job. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria emerged, and has since saved millions of lives, with malaria deaths in Africa alone falling by at least 30 per cent.

The Bank similarly missed crucial opportunities to support smallholder subsistence farmers and to promote integrated rural development more generally in impoverished rural communities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

For around 20 years — roughly from 1985 to 2005 — the Bank resisted the well-proven use of targeted support for small landholders to enable impoverished subsistence farmers to improve yields and break out of poverty. More recently, the Bank has increased its support for smallholders, but there is still far more that it can and should do.

The Bank’s staff is highly professional, and would accomplish much more if freed from the dominance of narrow US interests and viewpoints. The Bank has the potential to be a catalyst of progress in key areas that will shape the world’s future.

Its priorities should include agricultural productivity; mobilization of information technologies for sustainable development; deployment of low-carbon energy systems; and quality education for all, with greater reliance on new forms of communication to reach hundreds of millions of under-served students.

The Bank’s activities currently touch on all of these areas, but it fails to lead effectively on any of them. Despite the excellence of its staff, the Bank has not been strategic or agile enough to be an effective agent of change. Getting the Bank’s role right will be hard work, requiring expertise at the top.

Most importantly, the Bank’s new president should have first-hand professional experience regarding the range of pressing development challenges. The world should not accept the status quo.

A World Bank leader who once again comes from Wall Street or from US politics would be a heavy blow for a planet in need of creative solutions to complex development challenges. The Bank needs an accomplished professional who is ready to tackle the great challenges of sustainable development from day one. [Project-Syndicate-2012].

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jeffrey D. Sachs is a Professor of Economics and the Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. He is also a Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals, and the founder and co-President of the Millennium Promise Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending extreme poverty and hunger.

Common Market Protocol Goes Into Effect in East Africa

ARUSHA – Implementation of the East African Community (EAC) Common Market Protocol has been made easier with the launching of the third version of the Microsoft 2010 Kiswahili local language package, an official of the EAC has said.

“Although the Common Market Protocol provides for the free movement of capital, goods, services, and has led to increased regional trade but our small and medium scale traders still experience the problem of communicating in Swahili,” said the EAC Secretary-General, Dr. Richard Sezibera.

“Swahili is now the minimum medium of communication and, currently, the lingua franca of the Community. Therefore, the launching of the updated version of the Microsoft 2010 ki-Swahili local language package which can be downloaded on <www.microsoft.com/language> is timely at the time when our traders needed most in order to effectively communicate on a regional basis,” Sezibera said at the launching of the product at Arusha in Tanzania in February.

The version, with over 300,000 words translated into Swahili, is part of the project that has so far cost the company $2m over the last five years. It has been developed as ‘Windows’ and ‘Office’ products in 15 written and spoken languages in Africa: Afrikaans, Amharic, Arabic, English, French, Hausa, Igbo, ki-Swahili, and Portuguese among others.

Sezibera said use of information ICT in the EAC has contributed 40 per cent of the region’s economic growth.

“But ICT is not working in a abstract, and can only be useful to people if it is translated into local languages,” he said at the launching ceremony.

The translated versions in ki-Swahili would lead to improvement in public service delivery, development of the private sector, promote good governance and help in the fight against poverty.

The next phase of the regional economic development will have to depend on the small and medium scale firms (SMEs).

The Microsoft regional education manager, Dr. Mark Matunga, said the technology will play a major role in the maintenance of linguistic diversity in the region.

“All too often, small traders are excluded from information technology skills and the accompanying job and trading opportunities for lack of technology in their local languages, providing a native language is critical to helping people access the tools needed to create better economic opportunities,” he explained. [EABW].

Fish Sausage is the Latest Culinary Trend

KAMPALA – Having nursed the dream of making a breakthrough in the business world by bringing onto the market a new product, Ms. Lovin Kobusingye finally had her prayers answered when she introduced fish sausages onto the Ugandan market!

For five years, Kobusingye thought of introducing a fresher product that would get instant attention on the Ugandan market. But financial power always stood in the way.

Starting the business required about Ush58 million ($25,000), an amount that was not readily available and just like any other Small or Medium Enterprise (SME), access to credit was difficult.

Kobusingye, who started off by marketing fish and fish fillets and roast fish sold her idea to the Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) who supported her to kick start her business and on February 1, 2012, fish sausages, the first of their kind in the country were produced in Uganda.
UIRI provided free consultancy services and despite her having Ushs20 million, the organization provided additional funds to start off the business.

Speaking in an exclusive interview, Kobusingye said many Ugandans had come to appreciate the fish sausages.

“This being a new product on the market, many customers are inquisitive and this has made me give out many packs as samples. Otherwise, business is good and those who have tasted it have appreciated it”, Kobusingye says.

She needs half a tonne of fish per week to make one tonne of fish sausages. As a result of this, Kobusingye has an arrangement with various fish farmers who supply on a weekly basis.

She is in the process of identifying large fish farmers with whom she hopes to sign contracts to sustain supply.

Beef and pork sausages are already available on the Ugandan market, and cost approximately Ush8,000 ($3.5) a kilo. The fish sausages sell for Ush12,000 ($5.2). According to Kobusingye, this is because of the high cost of the fish.

“A kilogramme of the fish freshly harvested from the ponds cost Ush5,000 ($2.2) and these have the bones and all the parts that will later on be chopped off. To make the sausages, we need bone free fish and by the time we make the sausages, so many fish have been used,” she said.

Kobusingye is not in a hurry to explore the regional markets as there is ready demand from South Sudan, Kenya among other countries.

“At present, my aim is to satisfy the local market and when we have fully exploited the potential here (Uganda), then we shall think of tapping into the region,” she added.

Her company will provide fish farmers with ready market for their produce because of the demand.

The Uganda fish industry is currently facing uncertainty following the dwindling of fish catches.

The National Investment Policy on Aquaculture Parks in Uganda, though still in its draft form, seeks to increase the value of aquaculture production from the current 90,000 tonnes valued at $180 million annually to at least 300,000 tonnes by 2016.

It is innovations like Kobusingye’s which will go a long way in encouraging the development of fish farming as fish in Uganda has of late become a delicacy rather than a cheaper option to meat because the price of fish is higher than the price of meat.

Will South Africa Nationalize its Mining Industry?

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN – A study submitted to South Africa’s ruling ANC to reform its vital mining sector proposes a 50 per cent tax on profits and rejects nationalisation as an “unmitigated disaster” for Africa’s largest economy.

Although it delivers a hammer blow to calls for nationalisation by radical elements in the African National Congress (ANC), mining houses will be wary of the tax proposals as they grapple with steeply rising labour, power and safety costs in the world’s largest platinum producer.

South Africa has a poor track record of translating its vast mineral wealth into broader prosperity and the government is under pressure to create badly-needed jobs in the industry without scaring off the investment it needs.

“Under the current fiscal regime our nation is clearly not getting a fair share of the resource rents generated from its mineral assets,” an official summary of the 600-page study obtained by Reuters said.

“A Resource Rent Tax (RRT) of 50 per cent must be imposed on all mining. It will trigger after a normal return on investments has been achieved, thus not impacting on marginal or low grade deposits.”

The study defines a resource rent as “the difference between the price at which a resource can be sold and its extraction costs” – in other words, profit.

As expected, the study, which was compiled after research trips to 13 countries ranging from Chile to Australia to Venezuela, flatly rejects nationalisation, mainly on cost grounds.

It put a R1-trillion price tag – almost as much as South Africa’s annual budget – on acquiring all listed and non-listed mining companies in the country.

An asset grab without compensation against an industry that accounts for 6-8 percent of South African GDP would be even worse, the report concludes.

“Nationalisation without compensation … would result in a near collapse of foreign investment and access to finance. This route would clearly be an unmitigated economic disaster for our country and our people,” it says.

The document says new taxes raised, which it estimated at R40-billion at current prices, should be ploughed into a sovereign wealth fund that could be used to temper appreciation of the rand during commodity booms.

Once the resource rent tax is imposed, mineral royalty rates should be cut to one percent from the current sliding scale system, which caps royalties at seven per cent.

Tax havens
The study also proposes a clampdown on the use of tax havens by foreign mining investors – a practice that activists say bleeds capital from poor countries, especially those that rely heavily on mining.

“Many international mining companies invest in Africa via a subsidiary registered in a ‘tax haven’,” it says.

“To encourage direct investment from their primary listing country, we should introduce a mineral foreign shareholding withholding tax: if the foreign mining company is held in a ‘tax haven’, then rate should be 30 per cent and if not, the normal rate of ten per cent should apply,” it says.

The study deals a potentially fatal blow on the push for mine nationalisation, which had already lost political momentum due to ANC disciplinary charges against its biggest advocate, Youth League leader Julius Malema.

Malema was found guilty of sowing discord in the party by an internal tribunal in November and was sentenced to a five-year suspension

How Should Data be Paid For?

THE state-run fixed line telecommunications company Tanzania Telecommunication Company Limited (TTCL) has announced reductions in data tariffs. The once privatized company made the commercial decision in a bid to widen the chance for Tanzania to become an ICT hub in the region, accompanying the country’s socio-economic development. The announcement has been received differently by stakeholders, coming as it does at a time when the sector involves many operators, including Vodacom, tiGO, Airtel and Zantel. TTCL sources affirm that the cost per megabit per second would be halved, falling from US$900 to $450! “Should this be implemented, it would favour lower income earners failing to latch on to data use on account of high telecommunication charges. MEANWHILE, INTERNATIONAL REPORTS HAVE IT THAT IRREVOCABLE PAYMENT ORDERS THROUGH AN ATM CARD ARE TAKING A NEW SHAPE AT THE GLOBAL LEVEL. A REPORT BY THE UK DIRECTOR FOR ATM PAYMENTS, DAVID LEWIS, COVERS A SERIES OF PETITIONS RECEIVED FROM VARIOUS ORGANIZATIONS SUCH AS COOPERATE BODIES AND NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION (NGO) ON THE INABILITY OF SOME GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, COMMERCIAL BANKS AND THE WORLD LOTTERY ORGANIZATION TO SETTLE THEIR CLIENTS’ CONTRACT DEBT, INHERITANCE AND WINNING PRIZES. As such there is authorized by the Debt Reconciliation Unit of WLO to investigate unnecessary delay on payment approved by the right authorities. FURTHER DETAILS HAVE IT THAT DURING THE COURSE OF INVESTIGATION, IT HAS BEEN DISCOVERED WITH DISMAY THAT THE PAYMENT WAS UNNECESSARILY DELAYED BY CORRUPT OFFICIALS AT THE BANK, TRYING TO DIVERT THE FUNDS INTO THEIR PERSONAL ACCOUNTS. AFTER AN EXTENSIVE CLOSE DOOR MEETING RECENTLY, IT WAS RESOLVED AND AGREED UPON THAT CLYDESDALE BANK PLC OF LONDON WOULD WORK EXTENSIVELY TO ENSURE THAT ALL CONTRACT PAYMENT, INHERITANCE AND LOTTERY WINNING PRIZES ARE SETTLED WITHOUT ANY HASSLE. FOR SECURITY REASONS, THE FUNDS WOULD BE PACKAGED IN FORM OF THE PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER (PIN) ATM CARD THAT WOULD ENABLE ONLY THE OWNER TO HAVE DIRECT CONTROL OVER THE FUNDS. THE PURPOSE IS TO MONITOR THIS PAYMENT ONESELF TO AVOID THE HOPELESS SITUATION CREATED BY PREVIOUS BANK OFFICIALS. THE BANK REPORT SAYS AN IRREVOCABLE PAYMENT GUARANTEE HAS BEEN ISSUED BY THE WORLD BANK GROUP AND THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF) ON ATM PAYMENT. “HOWEVER, WE ARE HAPPY TO INFORM YOU THAT BASED ON OUR RECOMMENDATIONS AND INSTRUCTIONS, COMPLETE INHERITANCE FUNDS HAVE BEEN CREDITED IN A CLIENT’S FAVOR THROUGH ATM CARD. SERVICE CHARGE ACCORDING TO OFFICIALS DEPENDS ON RESPECTIVE COUNTRIES. FOR EXAMPLE INDIA THE FEE IS 90 POUNDS TO THE EQUIVALENT OF 7,900.00 INDIA RUPEES. IN ACCORDANCE WITH EXISTING REGULATIONS NO DEDUCTION OR OTHER FEE WOULD BE DEMANDED. “THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA WOULD NOT HAVE ANY RIGHT TO STOP INTERNATIONAL ATM CARD USE,” THE REPORTS INDICATED.