Dear your Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit the president of the republic of South Sudan (RSS),

Dear Dr Riek Machal leader of rebels,

          I hope you are fine, and now you can sleep peacefully after signing a peace agreement in Ngurdoto Tanzania. I salute you. True, the whole region welcomes this breakthrough. May God add grandeur and blessings.  Reaching such a juncture after fighting for a long time is recommendable and welcome, especially, for the people of South Sudan. I understand. You both, hand-in-hand, fought for the emancipation of your esteemed nation referred to as the youngest nation of the world which it is. Again, you country is young but you are not.  This being the case, your maturity is an asset for the young nation shall you respect those signatures you appended on the agreement recently. Please, live up to your words.

          Ngurdoto accord is the third. Prior you signed two accords you ended up breaking. I implore you.  Please, no failure of the accord should be repeated. Africans have it that strong evidence stands three times. Three times becomes a good number in order to give a person the atmosphere of learning from his mistakes. I hope this applies to you. Therefore, this last or third time you appended your signatures, shall be violated, it means, you will be sending your noble and young nation to purgatory wantonly and pointlessly. It should nary happen. The blood you shed during fighting for your nation wasn’t in vain. But the blood shed due to your difference, if bloodletting isn’t stopped, will haunt all of you so much so that whatever any of you aspires for in power won’t become meaningful or successful. Human blood is different from the blood of animal’s. It is sacred and blessed. It is not supposed to be spilled without any necessity or reason.

          Gentlemen, when you gained your independence through separation after fighting for decades, we, your brothers and sisters were happy. We knew the lengthier and tougher thoroughfare you journeyed to reach at the point of breaking away. We evidenced your torments, ire, angst and predicaments. We were thrilled when you fulfilled your dream of becoming a nation. Again, when you turned noble guns you used to fight for the nation against one another, those who tortured you and despised us for celebrating your rebirth, were happy some telling , “You see, these guys can`t do anything for themselves.”   They kept singing the same song of calling others slaves and many more bad names. Please, stay put in the vision of making a peaceful nation by avoiding warring pointlessly.

          Gentlemen, I full understand the responsibility you have on your shoulders for both sides. Please don’t allow trivial and tribal sentimentalities drift you away for the peril of the nation. Those brothers and sisters, who, for three times, offered to mediate, have a lot of things to do. They won’t get time every time you fight. Don’t make them become tired of you. Use them to forge ahead instead of wasting time fighting and causing mayhem pointlessly. The world will laugh at you when your people starve and face stagnation economically, politically and socially. Please sit together and devise how to utilize the gifts of resources God gave you. Please show your patriotism and the lesson you got from past mistakes. Reinvent your image as people and a nation by shunning tribalism, regionalism, cynicism and other trivial things. Time will nary wait for you especially at this time the world is running while you butchering one another. Wars have nary built any empire save to bring it to its knees. This is not the way to go for wise and courageous people like you.

          Gentlemen, the women of South Sudan are tired of burying their children and husbands. Children are tired of burying their fathers. People are tired of burying their kinships. Even birds and other wild animals are tired of hearing gun shots. South Sudan is crying wanting you to heal her from megalomania of in-fighting and greed for power. South Sudan is whining and shrieking for her children. She is bleeding to death due to the injuries inflicted by her own children. Who bewitched you brothers? God created one South Sudan for all of you equally. Therefore there won’t be any South Sudan for some of you by excluding others. God doesn’t apply  Exclusionary edict or apartheid. South Sudan is for all Shuluk, Kakwa, Dinka, Didinga, Nuer, Luo, Toposa, Lotuho and all other communities equally regardless the size of the  population of one community compared to another or others. You fought for the nation as one people. You will always live as one people.  Your motto should be:  South Sudan, One people instead of South Sudan, Many People or Divided Communities. It doesn’t work and it can’t work.  The leitmotif of war doesn’t help anything except dressing you down.

Gentlemen

          Allow me to end up here saying, enough is enough. This time prove your detractors wrong as you make your people happy and safe in a peaceful country.

Long Live South Sudan

South Sudan, One People

South Sudan, One Spirit

South Sudan, One Body

South Sudan, One Mission

South Sudan, One Destiny

That is my contribution.

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When news broke that Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was chosen a head of African Unity (AU), tongue wagged especially in the west. Mugabe has no good rapport in the west. Western media started to ‘remind’ the world how dangerous Mugabe is. They forgot that the same Mugabe once stole the thunders especially during the liberation campaigns when he well and skilfully articulated the vision of Zimbabwe better than Ian Smith.

           For those who support African renaissance, the election of Mugabe was blow to the west especially after it branded Mugabe all bad names just because he wanted to redistribute land in Zimbabwe. Now that AU seems to have started deviating from their former colonial masters, maybe, this will end the message to western countries whose grand narrative has tried consistently to define everything even if their definitions are always wrong. When he took a podium to talk Mugabe didn’t mince his words and his vengeance against west. For he was quoted as saying that Africa wanted relationship with friends but not with colonialists and imperialists he said have no place in Africa. To show how unputdownable Mugabe is, he took a swipe on Morocco saying, “As long as our brothers in Western Sahara are under Moroccan occupation we are not totally free.”

        Is AU starting a new phase of rebellion against her nexus with colonial masters? Does it know the consequence of its actions?

          It is obvious that Africa is trying to show western countries that she has her way of doing things especially after China proved another fresh air to African economies. The west used to use economic clout to bully Africa. Again, after the world prediction of the economies of the world prove that Africa will do better than many western countries, maybe, just maybe, African leaders have gotten a hunch of trying to reorganize their alliance with the outside world,

          By electing Mugabe AU chair, African countries apart from sending the message, are trying to  warn western countries that the status quo doesn’t hold water anymore especially at the time there is a new kid on the block. After Africa being ‘maltreated’ by the International Criminal Court (ICC) methinks it is time for Africa to hit back hard especially where it hurts, under the belt. Appointing Mugabe the chair of AU is a sacrilege before western countries which we are waiting to see what they will do.

          Electing Mugabe head of AU is obviously a tactical move of testing water. AU leaders are not only dismayed by western clientele economic relationship but also they are annoyed by way it robbed them some of their dear ones such as Muamar Gaddafi who used to financially support AU. They can feel the gap that China is trying to fill in. remember, Mugabe, a good friend of China was elected Chair of AU in the hall China that built and gifted to AU. By electing Mugabe AU Chair, African leaders are trying to dispel the myth that if one doesn’t agree with what western countries want he will be in trouble. Mugabe has weathered all storms from west and he is still going from strength to strength in the politics of the continent.

          Now that Africa has clearly and loudly made her statement, what will west do to show its interpretation of the statement? Will it put up and give in and start to lick the wounds or reciprocate by reducing the aid it extends to African countries? Again, shall west try to punish Africa for electing Mugabe; will China stay side and look or come even more forcefully? By the look of things, shall west act unwisely in this zero-sum game, two winners are easy to predict, Africa and China will carry the day. It is obvious that Mugabe has no financial muscle like Gaddafi.  He’s the gift of the gab on top of strong and sound friendship with China which has become the life line of Mugabe’s government. Remember. Zimbabwe and Tanzania have a lot of ivory in their store as they agitate that they should be allowed to sell them. Another factor that helps Mugabe to triumph is the fact that many African countries are facing land issue thanks to surging the landless population. Maybe, they will take a leaf from him. The neighbouring South Africa even Namibia still faces the same. Who knows? Will this new awakening Africa is making awaken western countries to stop treating her like a baby that has no brain?    On the flip side, does AU expect anything new from Mugabe? Does AU want to use Mugabe to voice its anger against west? Is Mugabe using AU to intimidate his enemies? Who is using whom in this game of treacherous nature?

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The recently concluded Sino-Africa Summit aka Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in South Africa offers one major lesson: the need and significance for the reunification of Africa. Circumstantially, The cobbling together of African states whenever sponsors need them shows how the idea of reunifying Africa to the tune of pre-Berlin Conference is still relevant and important. China is not the first or the last power to call upon African rulers and deal with them in unison. The US, France and Turkey, among others, have already done the same.

What a shame for African countries with immense resources under their disposal to be summoned just like school prefects before the headmaster? It doesn’t cross mind for a country like Turkey –for instance –to summon African countries and promise them cheap aid?

In the 2009 Sino-summit in the Sham el Sheik Egypt, China promised a $10bn financial aid in concessional loans. Chinese premier Wen Jiabao was quoted as saying, “We will help Africa build up financing capacity.” Jiabao however didn’t disclose how such help would work. Six years down the line, African economies have not rolled out plans that would enable them to build financial capacity. African rulers, however, are financially enabled, but they are not making any meaningful development thanks to their extravagance and poor policies of servicing a cabal of venal and corrupt politicians. Most African rulers deal with China and other donors just for their political interests as opposed to the interests of Africa.

In the just ended Summit, China didn’t fall short of promising the Shangri-Las. The BBC (4 December, 2015) reported that China announced $60bn (£40bn) of assistance and loans for Africa to help with the development of the continent. The BBC also quoted South African president Jacob Zuma saying, “China has become Africa’s largest trade partner, and Africa is now one of China’s major import sources and fourth largest investment destination. This partnership can only yield further positive results for Africa’s development.”

How much does Africa export to China in comparison to what Africa imports from China? Doing business with China will be good shall it benefit Africa. But looking at the floods of the Chinese in Africa, I doubt if there are some headways to be made from FOCAC. Is Africa prepared? I’d comfortably argue that when it comes to promising financial aid like this, Africa is treated as one entity. When it comes to paying back, every country goes solo with its politics of the tummy which is detrimental for Africa. How do you develop a divided Africa with a host of different priorities and policies? Again, this is not important for China that is interested in extracting resources and finding jobs for its jobless army.

On his side, the Chinese president was quoted as saying, “I couldn’t agree more with this statement and I am convinced that African countries and people are embracing a new era that is truly theirs.” Is this era Africa’s or China’s? How can it be Africa’s while Africa is entering such a relationship without unity of purpose or agenda? You can take this to the bank. Nothing was heard African as far as sound strategies are concerned so far. African countries were but recipients of promises without having any notable inputs into this new drive of developing Africa.

There are things African countries need to do. First, they need to stop complaining about colonialism and put in place structures of productivity and self-reliance. Secondly, African countries must blame themselves for not unifying Africa and degrading themselves. For example, economically, Turkey is at par or infancy stage just like many African countries. The UN report on GDP per capita based on Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) shows that Turkey had a purchasing power of 19,226.1 as of 2011-2015 compared to Gabon with 19,038.1.

Does Gabon need to be summoned by Turkey to receive lectures about development really? Equatorial Guinea with 30,583.4 is even better than turkey as far as purchasing power is concerned and so are Seychelles and Mauritius (Sources: World Development Indicators 2015). Does Africa really need to dress herself down by being sent for by even poor countries like Turkey? How powerful would Africa be if it were reunited to the tune of the pre-Berlin destruction? When will African leaders reunite Africa so that the continent can be at par with others? African leaders must stop their selfish interests and reunify Africa.

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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.

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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].

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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.

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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

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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.

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KAMPALA – Members of the business community engaged in cross-border trade within the East African Community countries of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania are well-positioned to start enjoying smooth trade flows in earnest when the concept of a Single Customs Territory (SCT) becomes operational. Under that arrangement, the EAC member states will adopt a destination model of clearance of imports whereby the assessment and collection of tax revenues on such consignments will be done at the first point of entry. This allows free circulation of goods within the single EAC market, with variations here and there to accommodate exports from one partner state to another. In that regard, Customs administrations in destination states retain control over the assessment of taxes. Senior EAC officials say this will crystallize the gains of regional integration characterized by minimal internal border controls and more efficient institutional mechanisms for clearing goods out of Customs control. According to Stephen Magera, the Acting Commissioner of Customs with the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), the Single Customs Territory arrangements will lead to the removal of Customs checkpoints and weigh-bridges. For instance, “there will only be one checkpoint, at Maryakani, between Mombasa and Malaba; the others will be removed,” Magera told participants at a consultative meeting in Kampala recently. Stakeholders say that the Single Customs Territory initiative is a positive move, as it will help reduce transit time, as well as the cost of doing business. Commenting upon the matter, the secretary-general of the Uganda Freight Forwarders Association (UFFA), Jeniffer Mwijukye, said the business community would benefit immensely from the removal of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs). “I think it (SCT) is a good initiative. It is a positive step; it is what we in the business community have been longing for because other initiatives have failed! “In this initiative, we are looking at two very important elements as far as logistics are concerned: reduced time and, of course, reduced costs. We are looking at time because we know that if we pay taxes – especially for the compliant clients who go through ‘green’ their consignments will ultimately spend less than five days at the port; that is a positive,” Mwijukye enthused. Considering that the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) gives importers a nine-day grace storage period, then they should be able to clear their goods out of the port within that period – and without having to pay any storage charges. This, she explained, is bound to lead to reduced costs. Mwijukye added that “the cost normally associated with Customs bonds will also b reduced, as insurance charges will not be applied. Also, those bringing in goods to be warehoused will only need one insurance bond cover… This is different from the multiple covers we’ve been having. And, of course each bond you execute for the transit cargo has got an implication on the price!” The national chairman of the Uganda Clearing Industry & Forwarding Association (UCIFA), Kassim Omar, also heaps praises on the benefits expected from the Single Customs Territory arrangements. But he adds that success of the requisite processes dependent on active participation and cooperation of all stakeholders. “The Single Customs Territory is a noble initiative,” Omar says, adding that “it will help in the reduction of NTBs. However, government needs to put in place the necessary infrastructure; ICT systems need to be put in place to enable the different systems interface so that there is facilitation of trade. “The governments have to ensure that there is compatibility of the monetary processes as well. An aligned currency factor should also be considered so that there is total harmony,” he cautioned, adding that “the SCT is in one way forward on the regional integration agenda. I know there will be some job losses here and there; but change has to take place for the better.” Sarah Mwesigye, the Assistant Commissioner for Field Services at URA, revealed that the tax body was looking to commencing a pilot study on goods for warehousing then roll out the requisite process later. “Because we are trying to remove Customs verification at the border, we shall start with those very goods that have been causing congestion at the borders. The pilot study is only for warehousing purposes, and (duties on) imports not for warehousing will be paid for at the Malaba and Busia borders,” she clarified. IN A RELATED DEVELOPMENT, THE COMMISSIONERS-GENERAL OF UGANDA, RWANDA AND KENYA REVENUE AUTHORITIES MET IN KAMPALA EARLY THIS MONTHTO DRAW UP A ROAD MAP FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SINGLE CUSTOMS TERRITORY. During the deliberations, the Technical Committee said the Uganda and Rwanda Revenue Authorities will have to establish offices at the port of Mombasa by the end of August, while the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) will use its local offices in Uganda and Rwanda to receive payment for port charges. During the Council of Ministers meeting that was attended by the Finance ministers of Rwanda and Uganda, the commissioners-general were tasked to remodel the report and rectify issues especially on cargo tracking and IT. Kenya Revenue Authority’s commissioner-general was, however, not able to attend the meetings following the fire that gutted the Jommo Kenyatta International Airport’s Arrivals section. According to Sarah Banage, the URA Assistant Commissioner, Public & Corporate Affairs, the meeting – which was the third leg of the commissioners-general meeting on the Single Customs Territory programme, provided a report that was presented to the Council of Ministers for action. Summing up on the Single Customs Territory concept, Banage said “this means that, for the purposes of customs clearance of goods, we become one region. We clear goods at the port of entry (say, Mombasa) where the taxes are paid and thereafter there are no road blocks all through to the country of destination…”

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Dar es Salaam: Stakeholders in Oil and Gas are expected to convene next week in Dar es Salaam for the Tanzania Oil and Gas Law Market Briefing 2016 at the Hyatt Kilimanjaro Hotel.

The briefing among other things will give a chance for stakeholders to gain insight in the state of the Tanzania’s oil and gas legislations.

This follow as a result of recent offshore successes in Tanzania, the entire East Africa margin currently has the attention of the world’s new ventures teams, explorers and gas (LNG) buyers.

According to the ministry of Energy and Minerals, natural gas reserves discovered in the country has increased by 18 per cent to 57trillion cubic feet by end of last year, from 46.5trillion cubic feet in June 2014.

With Gas reserves proven and additional acreage expected to come online in 2016, the Tanzanian Government has taken some very swift steps in providing the legal and fiscal framework for the industry in the form of The Tanzania Extractive Industries (Transparency and Accountability) Bill 2015, The Oil and Gas Revenue Management Bill 2015 and The Petroleum Bill 2015. 

However, the three legislations have faced a myriad of criticism from the opposition members and the public in general who have insisted that should the Acts be assented by the President, the country’s natural resources would benefit foreign investors rather than the locals.

According to Breakthrough Attorneys there are some remarkably clear and unambiguous requirements for transparency in the newly assented Acts. Most obviously, this includes the publication of all existing and new Mineral Development Agreements and Production Sharing Agreements.

Breakthrough Attorneys is an ultramodern legal practice based in Tanzania having a spectrum of cross-borders practices that cater for local and multinational corporations, financial institutions, government entities as well as business private individuals concerning their legal needs around the globe

However, the legal firm asserted that; “despite the shortcoming on the new Acts, it is right to say that the same are a big step forward to transparency on the overall management of the country’s resources.”

Additional opportunities and the relation to the new laws will also be discussed; farming-in into the existing exploration and production licences  and Investment in the downstream projects (cement, fertiliser, petrochemicals, power, gas distribution in the cities).

Others will include emerging services associated with Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) as well as establishing JV with local companies for participation into servicing the oil and gas industry.

The briefing is targeting participants from Oil and Gas companies, Financiers, Development Funds, Commercial Banks, Deal Brokers, Private Equity Firms and the Law Firms.

According to organizers, the briefing will revising the three bills as well as the local content policy draftand non-Citizens Employment Regulation Bill.

The opening presentation titled “Opportunities and investment in Tanzanian oil and gas exploration and development” will provide participant with an encapsulating overview of the market presently and the parameters around future oil and gas developments and subsequent business.

Other presentation will include “Key regulatory developments in oil and gas – Tanzania” by Charles Rwechungura, Founder and Managing Partner, CRB Africa Legal.

Peter Kasanda, Partner, Clyde & Co Tanzania will present the petroleum Act 2015 which will give insight on how to conduct Oil & Gas activities in Tanzania, the Government participation and local content, Domestic supply obligations, Fiscal obligations.

Kassanda will also highlight the dynamic contract negotiation over a project lifecycle, infrastructure investment and local content, Preferential Procurement obligations and Local content priorities – “Tanzania Kwanza”

The 2015 Petroleum Bill stipulates a 12.5 percent royalty for oil and gas production onshore and 7.5 percent offshore.

 

According to the bill, the government’s profit share from future oil production which will be tagged to daily production levels will range from a minimum of 50  to 70 percent while the share of profit on natural gas production will range from a minimum of 60 to 85 percent.

 

The Bill also ring-fences the recoverable costs of exploration and development licenses, establishes a Regulatory Authority and Advisory Bureaus to manage the oil and gas sector and seeks to transform the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) into the National Oil Company (NOC)

In-depth session will cover Model Production Sharing Agreement 2013, Tanzania Petroleum Act 2015 and the Tanzania Extractive Industries Transparency and accountability Act 2015, Tanzania Oil and Gas Revenues Management Act 2015 as well as Contracts Management and Negotiations.

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