Opinion: US-China relations sours even more…

It is like the United States own failures is used as an option to hurt Chinese Business interests. This is not only the sanctions and stopping of Huawei trading in the United States. The US has sanctioned 24 entities yesterday for their connections to the Chinese Military. Also on the same day, the US Commerce did also put sanctions on 9 companies connected to the oppression of Uighur in Xinjiang province.

That means the US has put their mission and blocks certain companies. Also ensures that these corporations or entities less traction in International trading. Just as the US Department of Commerce put it: “The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced it will add 24 governmental and commercial organizations to the Entity List for engaging in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States. The entities, based in China, Hong Kong, and the Cayman Islands, represent a significant risk of supporting procurement of items for military end-use in China” (Commerce.gov, 22.05.2020).

Also, the other piece from them state this: “These nine parties are complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR). This action will supplement BIS’s first tranche of Entity List designations in October 2019 involving 28 parties engaged in the XUAR repression campaign in Xinjiang” (Commerce.gov, 22.05.2020).

Yes, the actions of China and Chinese government in concern to the Uighur people is outrageous and morally wrong. No question in my mind. The activity and the destruction of them as a minority is wrong. However, in my mind, this is using them as en excuse for US selfish reasons. This is insincere. Because, its not like the US will open the arms for immigrants fleeing similar situations elsewhere. The US is building walls and closing its borders for asylum seekers fleeing situations like the Uighurs. So, the US is using this an argument, but not a legit one from this administration.

This administration cannot even make good lies. They are so open on their motives. This is direct trade-war and efforts as a scapegoat in the midst of the tragic COVID-19 Pandemic. The US needs a scapegoat and righteously so is it fitting to blame Beijing and China. Instead of looking at own inaction and lack of concern to what happen.

The US has also already put tariffs on Chinese production and products already. Therefore, this is a continuation. However, by every step and every action. The US is losing leverage and they are also paying the price. They need to go elsewhere for trading similar things. If not pay more, as they are stopping certain parts of imports from there.

The Chinese are doing their wrongs too. Nevertheless, the Foreign Affairs wrote this yesterday, which state it perfectly: We urge the US side to abandon its Cold War mentality and ideological bias, follow the trend of the times, view China and China-US relations in an objective and rational way, immediately stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, harming China’s interests or undermining China-US relations, and work with China to bring bilateral relations back onto the right track” (Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on May 22, 2020).

This here says it all. Yes, the relations is based on both parties gives and takes. However, right now, the reality is that the one aiming and hitting one party. Is the US whose shooting down and tracing their targeted companies or entities. Just like last years tariffs and such, which has also slowed things down. The US is doing this and the Chinese has retaliated. This will continue. Just like the Chinese banned certain journalists and media houses within the Republic. That is all natural in the sense of the relations between them.

This is all hostile. There is not function or care. The US President says everything is China’s fault. While he hasn’t carried water for happen within his own borders. Therefore, that isn’t a fair assessment. It is an easy victimhood in this pandemic. Yes, the origin was from China. They didn’t do enough and do it correctly. Still, the US didn’t care about the warning signs either or did what they should have done. That is the 20/20 hindsight, which deems both parties wrong in the sense of acting in accordingly to the danger of COVID-19.

However, this is about the trade war. Where for every step the US is attacking and targeting companies of Chinese origin. They have to release proof of these allegations now. Especially, the list of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Where the Commerce Secretary says these companies are connected with this. If so, I would like to see proof and leaked documentation of sensitive intelligence. To actually prove the allegations. If not, the US is just using their power and means to kick the Chinese. Because, it is useful to have an enemy in this troubling time.

The Chinese is far from perfect and their reign within the One-Party state isn’t peaceful nor democratically anything to aspire too. Nevertheless, the US isn’t that great on this either. Especially, the way Trump Administration is just another epitome of baroque king-pin from the Big-Apple and Trump tower in New York. That is why these measures has to be explained to be believable.

The US cannot con the world anymore. They could in the past, but not now. This US-China Trade-War is only proving what sort of hostile force it is. Instead of finding diplomatic measures or even doing the hard work of talks between the parties. It is easier to sanction and block someone, than actually do the work. That is how it seems. They are using excuses and arguments of legit reasons to do something. But, a very important but, they are not proving the reasons for doing so.

If these companies are what they claim. Prove it and show it. Unless, they hare having a smokescreen and another visionary moment similar to the Iraqi WMDs in the early 2000s. Well, I’m looking forward to see that.

Until then, this is a propaganda victory for the Trump Administration with no hold in reality. Since, they are just blocking someone without any proof. They could say whatever and argue for it. Still, a man like me wants reasons for it.

Unless, they are just finding fitting measures to pressure Beijing, but that is not something they can do too long. Because, Washington D.C. doesn’t have that much leverage. Since, for every step they do. There is less of a reason for the Chinese to serve or even work in association with the US anyway. Peace.

Opinion: Mzee wants it to BOP his way

You want another rap? Nah, didn’t think so. Even if President Museveni wants a BOP. Not a DaBaby track or anything. His just approved the US$500 million dollars to the Republic. This was reported earlier this month and he approved it on the 6th of May 2020, but stamped by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) on the 11th of May 2020.

What is unique here is that this loan is given on the idea of “Balance of Payments”. Economist would know that this to cover the deficit and the balance the budgets. This is to ensure the state has enough revenue to already cover the deficit it has. That is why grants and loans comes to ensure the levels of revenue covers the spending. This means that the state has spend a hundred dollars, but only had 50 dollars in liquidity. So, to ensure the accounts are balanced, the BOP comes in and fix the shortfall.

Museveni writes this in the letter:

The money that goes to the Bank of Uganda is for “balance of payments support”. “Balance of Payments supports” does not only mean helping the country to “import more” but must also mean helping the country to “import less” by manufacturing these products here. With this undertaking, I approve the loan” (Museveni, 06.05.2020).

Because what the support does in the instance of the hundred dollars budget with a shortfall of 50 dollars revenue. The BOP support is the missing 50 dollars and makes it zero. Meaning, the accounts and financial flows should turn into zero. That means with the budget with its expenditure and its revenue its should be a nil or zero sum game. Therefore, when the President claims this helps local industry and less imports. I don’t see it.

Especially, if this is a BOP. Because, a BOP is a fixated way of balancing the budgets, not secure more trade. Its to cover deficits between expenditure and revenue. This isn’t a magical sphere of happiness and joy. This is budgetary measure to cover the shortfalls and lack of domestic revenue. To cover expenses that appeared or was already budgeted. Therefore, the need of Balance of Payments from the IMF to cover those.

This can be seen as a Financial Inflow to cover the deficit.

Like this:

-100 dollars budget/Import

+50 dollars revenue/Export

+50 dollars Financial inflow (BOP Support)

= 0

That is why, when the man says like this. Its a game of balancing the budget. Not putting a wand on the thing and swiftly changing things. This is just a financial measure to cover a deficit. A short-term solution to a shortfall. That will not solve anything, but by time. Not cover debt, not create a market nor make a big difference. Its just covering expenditure. Nothing else.

The President can make it seem so, but that wouldn’t be a BOP. That would be another instrument and another measure. Where the funds was actually meant for investment. This is covering the basics.

Let me end with DaBaby: “I needed some shit with some bop in it (Let’s go)” (DaBaby – ‘BOP’ of KIRK, 2019). Peace.

Opinion: New Zim Dollar Notes, should we be worried now?

The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists” Ernest Hemingway

Well, why do I say this? Well, the Reserve Bank and Ministry of Finance haven’t really been trustworthy nor transparent. Neither has the policies been pushed forward with trust and sincere objectives. Its like everything is a smokescreen and one day they hope it sticks. However, that is not how you build an economy.

Ever since the last hyper-inflation and total devaluation of the currency. The authorities and the Monetary Agencies has struggled to get their act together. This being with the Bond-Notes, and the RTGS Dollar. They tried to sign-off foreign currencies like the US Dollar and the Rand, but to no luck.

Now in May 2020 the same guys are relaunching the Zimbabwe Dollar Notes of 10 and 20 dollars denominations. We can really wonder if this will go well. The economy and currency value is built on trust, fate in it and in the possible strength of total economy. That’s why you need a hectic mess of measures from both the Reserves, the Ministry of Finance and hopefully some foreign support to recapitalise the currency.

Because, its not like back-in-the-day with the gold standard. Where the currency was as strong as the Reserves of Gold and the value of the gold. Now its so many measures into question, the liquidity of the state, loan interests and Forex values itself. They are co-existing and either adding or taking away value.

That is why the release of this currency is interesting. As the banknotes are supposed to signify a new beginning. A fresh start since the ceasing to exist over a decade ago. That’s why the devalued buddy of Bond-Notes haven’t been cracking and neither has the RTGS Dollar, which is a dumb name for a currency if there ever was one. At least the ZWL makes sense and the return might bring some hope.

However, this state who has mismanaged every single other policy in regards to economy. Why would they succeed with this one? Why wouldn’t they print it like crazy and pay-off debts and whatnot with it?

So, that we within a scope of time see there being shortages, lack of currency afloat and also hyper-inflation. In a sense where suddenly the need for more digits comes quickly. Just like it did last time. When the numbers skyrocketed and still the currency was worthless.

We can hope that this doesn’t happen, but these guys has screwed so expectationally with this before- ZANU-PF rather wants to rule by the gun, than by trust. That’s why you cannot trust their policies nor their intentions. This is maybe just another smoking gun. We don’t know, but the release of two new notes. Only begs to question.

How long will this last? Before inflations spiral out like crazy. We’re soon here shivers from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the stories of Albatross returns like hungry hippo. So, let’s be honest here. This here is futile. You need to have trust, mechanisms and balance to build a currency, as there is gold as securities. There is only hope and trust. Two things ZANU-PF and their institutions are lacking.

The only thing they have is looting and impunity, that is not measures to build a functioning state. Nor a strong and beloved currency for people to use for buying and selling. Peace.

Getafix of Madagascar Part II: A look into Rajolina’s magical tea!

There is now two weeks or so, maybe even three since the headlines and the breaking news of a miracle cure from Madagascar. Proudly presented by the President of Republic. However, as time has moved on and the Republic is now selling it abroad too. It is time to look into it.

I don’t think any product, any sort of edible or drinkable product should be sold without being verified. Especially, when they say that it has the ability to beat COVID-19 or the Coronavirus. That is why I am looking into it. I wish and hope we can find a cure, but to state that without any significant study or research is a bit hesitant and make you wonder, if the President of Madagascar is a snake-oil salesmen. If the former DJ and Mayor, Adry Rajolina is out of water.

The COVID – Organics, the CVO – Tambvy has two main components. These are Artemesia Annua and Stevia. In a 1l bottle it has 5 gram of Artemesia and 2,5 grams of Stevia rebaudiana. There been several of studies of Artemesia Annua toward Bilharzia and Malaria. Therefore, it has medicinal effects, but as tea there been some mixed messages or conclusions.

In 2006: “As the above statements make clear, further research is needed on Artemisia annua teas, to try to improve on the results obtained thus far. Important questions to address include: can the efficacy of A. annua tea be increased so that it becomes an acceptable complement to ACTs? How can we ensure that patients receive an adequate dose? Can A. annua tea be safely used without accelerating the appearance of resistant strains of Plasmodium? It is not possible to answer these questions with a single experiment on a single preparation of A. annua tea” (African Traditional Herbal Medicine Supporters Initiative, 2007).

Annua study in 2011 in Uganda concludes like this: “A. annua has great potential for use in mass prevention of malaria in resource limited settings such as Uganda. The malaria and fever prophylactic effects are possibly due to A. annua flavonoids other than artemisinin A.annua variety or product thereof rich in flavonoids but devoid of artemisinin should be developed and tried for mass prevention of malaria as a beverage or food supplement taken regularly” Ogwang et. al., 2011).

Another study from 2014: “Artemisinin, extracted from the plant Artemisia annua (A. annua) L., and artemisinin derivatives are the current best antimalarial therapeutics and are delivered as artemisinin combination therapy (ACT). Availability and cost are problematic for the developing world where malaria is endemic. Oral consumption of A. annua dried leaves is more effective than the pure drug. A tea infusion of the leaves has prophylactic effects. Cost of producing and delivering the tea and A. annua dried leaf tablets is much more affordable than ACT” (Weathers et. Al, 2014).

So, this proves the annua has effects as a tea, but that’s for malaria. However, all studies I have seen says it has to be certain factors and amounts to secure it. Therefore, it is not easy to see how this will fit another disease. Another study from 2018 that annua and another kind of Artemesia can have effect also against bilharzia. This proves, the medical usage of annua towards other diseases. However, this haven’t been done in consideration with COVID-19 or the Coronavirus. Just like hydroxychloroquine, which was said to work against it too. Now, that has been dismissed in scientific studies. This is why, the ones proclaiming the effects before saying Artemisia Annua tea is a remedy.

While Stevia has this effect: “They found the consumption of Stevia extract reduces the levels of cholesterol, triglyceride and low-density lipoproteincholesterol significantly while an increase in high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol was noted, which is desirable. They concluded that Stevia extract had a hypolipidaemic effect used to reduce the resistance of cardiovascular disease” (S.K. Goyal, 2010).

We can see there is many significant attributes to the Stevia plant. However, there is nothing in that specifically points towards the COVID-19. That is why it’s hard to say anything.

This is why its bugging for me, that the President of Madagascar has such bold claims. Yes, both plants has medical benefits. However, none is scientifically proven in combat towards COVID-19. So, selling it for it is claiming effects on something not proven. For all we know. This could have the placebo affect. Gods know why the President wants to do that trade.

By all means, I don’t care who and where the medicine for COVID-19 comes from. Neither what plant, plants or if it is sea-weed or algae. As long as it heals this disease. If Madagascar has found it. It’s awesome and congrats. However, at this very moment there is no scientific proof. That is why selling it as a cure and such is very brazen. Especially, when there is no study proving it. We need a medicine and remedy to COVID-19. That needs to be proven and studied.

Yes, the two things in the CVO – Tambvy has some favourable attributes. However, that is studied for other diseases. Not this one. Just like hydroxychloroquine, this could a be total blast in the wind. Yes, there is no deaths of COVID in Madagascar and a huge result in recovered cases. But, this is not saying anything yet. It can be coincidence and luck. We cannot state it at this mere point. Neither can the President of Madagascar. However, he got a bridge to sell. Peace.

Reference:

African Traditional Herbal Medicine Supporters Initiative – ‘Artemisia Annua as a Herbal Tea for Malaria’ – Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2007; 4(1): 121–123. (Published online 2006).

Ogwang et. al – Use of Artemisia annua L. Infusion for Malaria Prevention: Mode of Action and Benefits in a Ugandan Community’ – Patrick E. Ogwang, Jasper O. Ogwal, Simon Kasasa, Francis Ejobi, David Kabasa and Celestino Obua, 07.05.2011 – British Journal of Pharmaceutical Research

S.K. Goyal – ‘Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) a bio-sweetener: a review’ – International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, February 2010; 61(1): 1–10

Pamela J Weathers, Melissa Towler, Ahmed Hassanali, Pierre Lutgen, and Patrick Ogwang Engeu – ‘Dried-leaf Artemisia annua: A practical malaria therapeutic for developing countries?’ – World J Pharmacol. 2014 Dec 9; 3(4): 39–55. Published online 2014 Dec 9 (2014).

EFF Statement on the Financial Sector’s Deliberate Sabotage of the Lockdown (02.04.2020)

Bank of Uganda: Measures to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 (20.03.2020)

Zimbabwe: ZERA – Public Notice – All Fuel Sector Companies – Selection of Sites for Direct Fuel Imports (DFI) and Trading in Foreign Currency (02.03.2020)

Brexit: EU’s mandate on negotiations shatters some Brexiteers dreams…

Today the European Commission (EC) of the European Union (EU) gave Michael Barnier a mandate to negotiate with the United Kingdom. As they are in the temporary state until the final break with the European Union, the transition period last until 31st December 2020. This means, this will last until 1st January 2021. That is the time table for this and the mandate giving today from the European Commission, which sets the standards for what to come.

The key things for me was these highlights, which really shows that the United Kingdom is really losing. There is nothing in the mandate, which gives the UK any edge. Only shows what the EU is considering important. While the UK will have to negotiate hard to get things better out of this. Especially considering they only have a taskforce within Downing Street Number 10. They don’t even have a unit fixing this anymore.

Just take a look!

ANNEX to COUNCIL DECISION authorising the opening of negotiations with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for a new partnership agreement” (25.02.2020)

reflect the United Kingdom’s status as a non-Schengen third country, and that a nonmember of the Union, that is not subject to the same obligations as a member, cannot have the same rights and enjoy the same benefits as a member” (EU, 25.02.2020).

Free Trade Area:

The envisaged partnership should include appropriate rules of origin based on the standard preferential rules of origin of the Union and taking into account the Union’s interest” (EU, 25.02.2020).

Road transport:

As third country operators, United Kingdom road haulage operators should not be granted the same level of rights and benefits as those enjoyed by Union road haulage operators in respect of road freight transport operations from one Union Member State to another (“grand cabotage”) and road freight transport operations within the territory of one Union Member State (“cabotage”)” (EU, 25.02.2020).

Fisheries:

Besides the cooperation on conservation, management and regulation, the objective of the provisions on fisheries should be to uphold Union fishing activities. In particular, it should aim to avoid economic dislocation for Union fishermen that have been engaged in fishing activities in the United Kingdom waters” (EU, 25.02.2020).

Gibraltar:

Any agreement between the Union and the United Kingdom negotiated on the basis of these negotiating directives will not include Gibraltar” (EU, 25.02.2020).

First things first. The EU shows a sign, which the UK haven’t understood or neglect to understand. It is that it will not have the benefits of the EU nor the previous membership as a nonmember, even if the politicians and Tories have acted like that since day one.

Secondly, the EU will work in its own interest, even with their paradigm Free-Trading Area, also making the cargo trade on the roads harder for British exporters from United Kingdom into the European Union. While also, trying to ensure the EU fishing boats access to UK seas. This is all clearly hitting the demands, but also the promises made from the Tories in the UK. They are not shielding the fisheries, they are making it harder for the exporters. Because, they cannot get the access and the mobility, which it has today.

Third, the EU has no concern about Gibraltar. That is really stuffing the faces of London, as they have promised Gibraltar safety and a secure future. However, this is the EU showing a shift in focus on this and putting a hard stance. As this has to be negotiated separately, by this mandates concern. This is surely done to please the Spanish in the EU.

However, what we are seeing, that the mandate isn’t that friendly, the direct approach sets the stakes and also doesn’t give way. As the EU needs to set the foot down and show there is a difference being on the outside, then being inside. Which is the wish of the UK. That is why it got to cost to become a nonmember. Peace.

Mobile Money Tax shortfall: People change behaviour after levying an unfair tax

Levy on mobile money contributed a deficit of UGX 30.48 billion which can be explained by the fact that high value clients withdraw their funds from agency banking e.g MTN has had a drop of 36 percent in MM transaction values since the introduction of the levy on mobile money” (Uganda Revenue Authority, 06.02.2020).

There is also reported that it has been a 36% drop in Mobile Money Transactions since the enaction of the Exercise Duty in 2018. That means, the added tax on the MM transactions are backfiring. The State isn’t adding revenue, but ensuring that people are finding other ways of moving their money.

This is not shocking, that people change behaviour, when the state makes it more expensive. As the people used these services to send each other money by convenience. Now, one third of the transactions are gone. Meaning, the ones that can change their ways has done that.

The losers are not only the Telecoms, but also the state. As the shortfall of taxes got to be covered elsewhere. As the state had put this into the budgets to cover other state works. This means the targets for domestic revenue wasn’t considering the implications of doing it. As, there wouldn’t be an natural reaction to the consequences to the new taxes.

Instead of increasing the tax base, they are making it smaller and not able to find measures that makes sense. The state has clearly done this without due diligence, neither also configured the stats and the possible behaviour of the public. As their ways gotten more taxed and not considering that they would stop, if they found it to expensive or unreasonable.

The MM tax and the OTT taxes was measures made to tax the digital market-space in the Republic. However, they have both been flawed and also not met their targets, because the public found other ways of doing things.

The ironies about the MM saga is that before the tax, the business of MM was growing. A natural growth and having more transactions every year. Now, that they levied the tax its has a big fall. That is a result of the MM Tax and the public is not having it. Peace.

Brexit: The negotiations that Boris doesn’t seem prepared for…

The Tories think they can easily access the European Common Market without being a member of the European Union. However, today’s revelation in the draft negotiations paper from Michael Barnier proves that hassle the Boris Johnson government have to deal with. The Brexiteers will struggle with it.

Just like one key sentiment, which the UK have to understand:

reflect the United Kingdom’s status as a non-Schengen third country, and that a non-member of the Union, that is not subject to the same obligations as a member, cannot have the same rights and enjoy the same benefits as a member” (Barnier, 03.02.2020).

This here is very revealing and sets the tone. This puts the United Kingdom on the outside, as entity on its own, but still will not have the same rights the members of Union. Neither the same obligations and therefore, will be treated differently. That is key aspect, which the UK doesn’t seem to understand.

Boris Johnson statement in return:

The Government wishes to see a future relationship based on friendly cooperation between sovereign equals for the benefit of all our peoples. There is complete certainty that at the end of 2020 the process of transition to that relationship will be complete and that the UK will have recovered in full its economic and political independence. The Government remains committed in all circumstances to securing all those benefits for the whole of the UK and to strengthening our Union” (Boris Johnson, 03.02.2020).

This here negotiations will not be easy. The documents from Barnier in his drafts proves the technicalities, even as the British has appointed a Task Force instead of Department working inside the Office of the Prime Minister. Because, that will run so well. Not like all the Secretaries of the Exiting the EU did a good job, but they would have civil servants dwelling on and configuring the fine details. Which the answer of PM Johnson is a kids story compared to the paperwork of Barnier.

Like Barnier said:

The envisaged partnership should establish open market access for bilateral road freight transport, including unladen journeys, made in conjunction with these operations:

by Union road haulage operators from the territory of the Union to the territory of the United Kingdom, and vice versa;

by United Kingdom road haulage operators to the territory of the Union, and vice versa.

As third country operators, United Kingdom road haulage operators should not be granted the same rights and benefits as those enjoyed by Union road haulage operators in respect of road freight transport operations from one Union Member State to another (“grand cabotage”) and road freight transport operations within the territory of one Union Member State (“cabotage”)” (Barnier, 03.02.2020)

Then Johnson said:

Road Transport

There should be reciprocal commitments to allow EU and UK road transport operators to provide services to, from and through each other’s territories, with associated rights, underpinned by relevant international agreements and commitments, and ensuring the necessary cooperation on monitoring and enforcement” (Boris Johnson, 03.02.2020).

Here is a typical statement towards each other. They have sort of the same pattern, but the leafy British statement, compared to the detailed EU ones. Show the work behind it and the details are expressing the needs of the EU to show difference between members and nots. The UK is a not and therefore, cannot do the same as they have done now. They got to follow more strict rules, even as they are allowed to cross the borders, but more rigorous than in the past.

These negotiations will be interesting to follow, as the UK and EU is in a stalemate, in a limbo, which is supposed to last a year. Before the final ending of the marriage is over. The Bride and Groom leaves each other and become Exes. Who knows how this will go, but the EU seems more prepared, than the UK is at the moment. Because, the statement from Boris wasn’t reassuring. When you looking into the work of EU at the moment. Peace.