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Archive for the category “Tax”

Burundi: Avis Aux Createurs d’Entreprises (23.05.2017)

South Africa: Committee Concerned about State of Governance at Eskom (24.05.2017)

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, May 24, 2017 – The Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises held an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday to discuss the issue of the reappointment of Eskom’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Brian Molefe.

Acting Chairperson Ms Zukiswa Rantho said last week the Committee agreed unanimously to call a meeting where the Board and the Minister are to appear before the Committee and explain what is happening at the power utility. Ms Rantho said: “The meeting today wants to know why is Mr Molefe back at Eskom, has Mr Molefe retired, was he retrenched, did he take early retirement or the new one that has been reported was that he was on unpaid leave, these are some of the answers that we need today.”

The Committee was of the view that legal advice that has been received will not be used to shield Eskom from being accountable before the Committee. The comments from the Committee came after Eskom’s Board Chairperson, Dr Ben Ngubane, said he had received legal advice from his counsel after he had filed an affidavit on Monday, 22 May 2017. Dr Ngubane said he was advised that the matter cannot be debated other than in a court of law. “I have to listen to counsel as they are representing us in a court of law,” said Dr Ngubane.

Members indicated that the Committee had also received legal advice regarding today’s meeting and the Committee had been advised that it should not get into the merits and demerits of the case. Members of the Committee stated that Eskom and the Executive are accountable to Parliament.

According to the legal advice from Parliament’s Legal Office, it states that “there is a constitutional duty to perform oversight and the intention of calling the Minister and Board is not to influence the court. Whilst the matter is sub judice (meaning it is before the court), this does not mean that Parliament cannot perform its oversight function, as long as the deliberations are not on “the merits of the case”.

In response to the presentation by Eskom and the Minister of Public Enterprises, the Committee questioned what pressurised such a strategic institution to hire someone where a question mark has not been cleared based on the Public Protector’s State of Capture Report. The Committee indicated that Eskom needs to state the basis of employment of Mr Molefe as the issue is still in the public domain.

The Committee said Mr Molefe, in his resignation letter, said he was stepping down from the power utility based on good governance following the release of the State of Capture report by the former Public Protector.

The Committee wanted to know if the papers filed in court by the Minister that Mr Molefe was on unpaid leave whilst being a Member of Parliament are true. Furthermore, the Committee queried why the post of the chief executive would be advertised and interviews conducted if Mr Molefe was on unpaid leave. The Committee said it will not accept the explanation provided before the Committee that he (Mr Molefe) was on unpaid leave as Section 47 of the Constitution would not allow this.

A response from a Board member indicated that Mr Molefe had resigned last year. Regarding the reappointment of Mr Molefe as CEO, the Board supported his reappointment based on the legal advice that the power utility received and on Mr Molefe’s performance whilst in the employ of Eskom.

The Committee made a recommendation that the Eskom Board and the Minister should be subjected to an inquiry to check if they (the Board) exercised its fiduciary responsibilities and duties. A parliamentary inquiry needs to be instituted against the Board and forensic investigation needs to be conducted to reach a determination of what must happen. The Committee agreed that further engagements need to be conducted amongst the members to discuss a way forward on the possible inquiry.

Following its deliberation, the Committee supported the decision for a parliamentary inquiry in line with National Assembly rules to look into the Board of Eskom.

On Eskom’s legal argument that Mr Molefe was appointed under the terms of the 2014 Memorandum of Incorporation (MoI), the Minister stated that the early retirement agreement didn’t have to be shown to her. The 2014 MoI does not enlist the Minister as party to the contract of employment of a Group CEO, whist the 2016 MoI explicitly enlists the Minister as a party to the contract of employment of Group CEO.

The Committee is of the view that the Minister failed to exercise her oversight duties as the 2016 MoI gave the Minister powers to appoint and dismiss the Group CEO of Eskom.

Ms Rantho said: “The Committee is concerned with the state of governance at Eskom. There seems to a breakdown in communication between the shareholder and the state-owned company.”

“The Committee is concerned with the breakdown of corporate governance principles at Eskom. In this regard, the Committee views the reappointment of Mr Molefe with serious concern,” said Ms Rantho.

She added that “we will further seek advice on how to deal with the decision of the reappointment of the Chief Executive”.

In its deliberation the Committee requested the power utility to provide the Committee with documents such as minutes correspondence and decisions taken on the reappointment of Mr Molefe.

Ethiopia: Food insecurity intensifies despite late Gu and Belg season rainfall (24.05.2017)

Key Messages

  • Despite enhanced rainfall at the end of April into early May over many areas of Ethiopia, food security outcomes are still expected to deteriorate, particularly in southern and southeastern pastoral areas due to the late start, erratic, and below-average Gu/Genna rains. In portions of Somali Region, the accelerated loss of livestock has significantly expanded food consumption gaps, and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are likely in the absence of sustained assistance during June to September. In lowland areas of SNNPR along the Rift Valley and in East and West Hararghe, southern Tigray, and portions of northern Amhara, projected outcomes are expected to move from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) to Crisis (IPC Phase 3), beginning in June, due to low household purchasing power and a lack of confirmed humanitarian assistance.
  • Late Gu/Genna season rainfall has partially rejuvenated water points for both livestock and human consumption across some woredas of Somali Region, and improved water availability has been reported in Borena and Guji zones of Oromia and South Omo in southern SNNPR. However, the rainfall has not continued into mid-May, and the short-term forecast indicates only moderate rainfall as the season concludes. The current marginal improvements in pasture and water are likely to be depleted by early June, which will mean rangeland resources will rapidly decline, and subsequently livestock body conditions and productivity, until the Deyr/Hageya season in October.
  • Over most Belg-producing areas of the country, extended dry spells through much of April suppressed the growth of Belg crops as well as Meher long-cycle crops. As a result, even if the Belg rains continue through the end of May, lower yields are likely for maize crops in particular, especially in lowland areas of SNNPR along the Rift Valley. Due to late planting, the green and dry Belg maize harvest in SNNPR is likely to be delayed by more than two months. Poor households are already experiencing constrained food access as they are highly market dependent during the peak of the lean season. Staple food prices, especially for maize, remain atypically higher.
  • The 2017 HRD initially estimated that 5.6 million people needed humanitarian assistance through June 2017, but the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC) has revised higher the number to 7.81 million. In addition, the NDRMC has projected that in Belg-dependent areas, additional PSNP beneficiaries past the traditional six-month period of transfers will need extended support. The NDRMC, JEOP, and WFP completed the first two distribution rounds, and the third round is underway. However, there are logistical constraints that might impede timely distributions.

SPLM-IO: On the One-Sided National Dialogue and Ceasefire of President Salva Kiir and his allies (22.05.2017)

Third time the Charm? President Museveni postpone Sim-Card Registration to August 2017!

The time line is already is insane, but to put it in perspective. The first deadline for the Sim-Card registration was on 21st April 2017. Also, on the 18th May 2017 the Parliament passed a motion where the Registration we’re possible to postpone it for year after the date of passing. The second deadline, that Minister of ICT Frank Tumwebaze was adamant who said it was the final date and show continue. This was the 19th May, when the state and agencies really authorized it.

After that many has gotten their phones silent and lost their lines, as they even we’re registered, the Uganda Communications Committee (UCC), National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) and the Telecommunication Companies as well. The exercise of the weekend has been problematic, as the costumers has flooded the offices and shops because the registration haven’t worked well. The State Authorities and the Companies was not ready.

Therefore, while the President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is in Juba, South Sudan on the 22nd May 2017. The comes a message on Twitter: “I’ve agreed to this proposal on condition that the new deadline will be respected. SIM card registration will therefore run until 30/8/2017”. Therefore, for the Sim-Card Registration have been postpone again. The citizens and the authorities can continue to work and fix the problems. The companies and the authorities clearly has a vast mission on their hands. They have clearly not succeeding. Therefore, later this one come as well: “Ministry of ICT and other concerned govt agencies are authorized to allow this new window. I ask Ugandans to take this exercise seriously” (Museveni, 22.05.2017). 

Therefore, third time is the charm for the exercise, in the meanwhile you can wonder if the ones who has lost connection. The ones that are disconnected because of the issues with the last deadline on the 19th May 2017. That is why many others lost connection on the 20th May. So now 3 days after deadline, the President shows a leading hand and because of the result. He is overturning the orders of the Minister of ICT Tumwebaze. They are getting another month to the 30th August 2017.

Certainly going from 21st April to 19th May, and today again postponed to 30th August 2017. So the people and citizens are given yet more time, but who needs it more is the Companies and State to figure out how to really do it. Since it seems to be not working now. The are blame-game by the Minister, Parliament, UCC, NIRA and the Telecom Companies.

We can just wonder how this will unfold, the story of the Sim-Card Registration is certainly not over. Not until the President and his minions says so. Peace.

Michael Flynn’s Councel’s Letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee – “Re: Subpoena to Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn (Ret.)” – (22.05.2017)

South Sudan: Deputy Governor of Lol State Lual Dau Marach letter – “A Pundered Resignation Owing to Inexscusable National & State Failures” (19.05.2017)

RDC: Ituri – Declaration Politique – Non a la Balkanisation de la Republique du Congo a Partir de l’Invasion de la Province de l’Ituri par des Hutu-Rwandais (22.05.2017)

South Africa: National Assembly Question 996 on Public Spending at Nkandla estate w/reply of Min. Nhleko (22.05.2017)

“BREAKING: In a reply to my Parliamentary question, Minister of Public Works Nathi ‘firepool’ Nhleko, has said that there are no upgrades planned for Zuma’s Nkandla residence. Meanwhile, The chief director of Public Works, Barnie Ntlou told the Sunday Times that work will go ahead at the Presidents residence. Who’s fooling who?” (Mmusi Maimane, 22.05.2017).

Opinion: President Duterte shows strength towards the EU!

Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”George Orwell (1984).

Another former sore point in the Republic of Philippines. This being the critic and the internal squabble of internal affairs by foreigners in the Republic of President Rodrigo Duterte. These has been the United States of America, Spain, European Union and others. Now the President stands up to them, also as the power-shifts to other alliances and diplomatic partnerships. This is certainly knew to a few, but since the first days in office, even President Obama got a mouthful for the interference in the internal issues and military operations in the Philippines.

The United States and European Union have been critical of the President Duterte and his administration. Therefore, that the Duterte Administration acts now upon the European Union warnings on the Extra Judicial Killings in the Drug War is expected. That is because the European Union want their donations and their grants to have more power. This is what worries Duterte and his administration, as they want to continue their popular work in Philippines. That is the reality, even if it is controversial and the methods seems rough. The Philippines and the public are understanding why President Duterte uses those sort of Police tactics to undo the controlling drug-lords and cartels in the Republic. But take look at the reporting!

Preemptive strike by Duterte:

A government source privy to the meetings said administration officials agreed to preempt any move by the EU to cut off aid “by refusing to receive it.” Malacañang on Thursday said Duterte had already approved the recommendation of the Department of Finance to reject grants from the European Union that “may allow it to interfere” in the country’s internal affairs” (Bencito & Ramos-Araneta, 2017).

Abella explain the cutting of Grants:

The Duterte administration announced yesterday it will reject new grants from the European Union (EU), possibly forgoing some 250 million euros or roughly $278.7 million in funds for development projects in the country, particularly in Muslim Mindanao” (…) “The President has approved the recommendation of the Department of Finance not to accept grants from the EU that may allow it to interfere with internal policies of the Philippines,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella told reporters at Malacañang” (…) “The Philippines reserves the right to accept loans and grants that help attain its objectives of promoting economic development, inclusiveness, and reducing poverty, attaining peace within its borders and with its neighbors, and fostering a law-abiding society,” Abella said” (…) “It also reserves the right to respectfully decline offers that do not achieve these goals and offers that allow foreigners to interfere with the conduct of its internal affairs,” he added” (Lee-Brago & Mendez, 2017).

Text Message from Jesus Dureza Dominguez:

In a text message forwarded by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza, Dominguez said Duterte “approved the recommendation not to accept the EU’s offer of a grant (of) about $280 million which would involve review of our adherence to the rule of law. That specific grant is considered interference in our internal affairs.” (CNN Philippines Staff, 2017)

So the Philippines authorities was thinking instead of being slapped and humiliated by Europeans donors and their grants. They would cut it off and not accept the donations to the projects. As the possible condemnation of the Police Brutality and Drug-War would assault the works done to create more peaceful atmosphere for the citizens. This is how it can seen, as the Philippines and their President Duterte, also has a closer relationship with ASEAN and China than before. They are also more key allies than the Europeans. They are also not putting to much strains in the relationship and saying how the government of Manila are supposed to work.

The preempt strike is because the Duterte administration want space and wants to make sure their respected. Maybe, the European Union are not used, neither is the United States. But they are not someones to toy around with and show-off. The Philippines and their government deserves credit for pulling their strings and stopping from being muffled with. Many doesn’t have the courage and the pride of the Republic.

No-one would expected this as the Philippines has usual just accepted the donation and the grants with the decided perks it had, since they had too. But now the Chinese and other friends are helping the Republic out with infrastructure grants and other development projects. They are certainly not questioning the will of internal security or stopping the strong administration of Duterte. They are accepting it and also being cordial about it. One thing no-one should do, is to underestimate the President and his will. It might seem rough and might seem strange. But not all is humble subjects of other nations, and that is refreshing, as Duterte administration actually stands-up to the ones no-one anticipated.

This isn’t a new morning, but still time to smell the coffee. Peace.

Reference:

Bencito, John Paolo & Ramos-Araneta, Macon – ‘Duterte rejects EU aid’ link: http://manilastandard.net/news/top-stories/237044/duterte-rejects-eu-aid.html

Lee-Brago, Pia & Mendez, Christina – ‘Rody junks EU aid for Philippines’ (19.05.2017) link: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/05/19/1701437/rody-junks-eu-aid-philippines

CNN Philippines Staff – ‘Cayetano: PH will decline any foreign aid with conditions’ (20.05.2017) link: http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2017/05/20/cayetano-ph-decline-aid-with-conditions.html

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