Thursday, December 14, 2017

Ivory Coast to Reduce Size of Army by Paying Off Soldiers
12 DECEMBER 2017
10:30AM / REUTERS

INTERNATIONAL - Ivory Coast will pay thousands of soldiers 15million CFA francs (R351550) each as part of buy-outs aimed at reducing the size of its unruly and mutiny-prone military, documents showed yesterday.

Africa’s fastest-growing economy last year, Ivory Coast was hit earlier this year by successive uprisings by low-ranking troops. The costly bonuses paid to end the unrest helped to balloon the budget deficit this year, and the episode tarnished its image as one of the continent’s rising economic stars.

The government said last week that it would retire about 1000 soldiers by the end of the year as part of efforts to bring the force - estimated at about 25000 troops - in line with “accepted standards”.

A spokesperson did not say last week how much the soldiers would receive under the voluntary scheme. However, a document obtained by Reuters outlining the plan stated that each retired soldier would receive a payment of 15m CFA francs.

Neither the spokesperson nor Ivory Coast’s defence minister were available to comment yesterday.

Diplomats said the move signalled that the government was beginning to implement a military reform law. According to a copy of the law seen by Reuters, 4400 troops are to leave the army over four years. It was not immediately clear if the figure includes soldiers already scheduled to retire during the period.

Ivory Coast’s army was thrown together from rival loyalist and rebel factions at the end of a 2011 civil war that brought President Alassane Ouattara to power after his predecessor, Laurent Gbagbo, rejected his defeat in a 2010 run-off election.

Diplomats and analysts say the force is bloated with unqualified personnel.

An adviser to Parliament Speaker Guillaume Soro, considered a leading candidate to replace term-limited Ouattara in 2020, was arrested in October after a secret arms cache at his home helped mutinying soldiers to halt a loyalist advance.

Soro and his supporters say the charges were politically motivated.

- REUTERS 
Sit Up! We Are Losing Our Next Generation- Muntaka Tells Health Ministry
Ghana |Myjoyonline.com
Nathan Gadugah
13-12-2017 Time: 07:12:08:pm

Member of Parliament for Asawase is angry at what he says is the snail's pace strategy adopted by the Health Ministry and the Ghana Health Service in vaccinating students of Senior High Schools contaminated either by meningitis or swine flu.

Muntaka Mubarak cannot understand what is preventing the two institutions from providing the necessary vaccinations to the schools especially the affected ones.

It is exactly a week since the health ministry diagnosed swine flu as the cause of death of some four students of Kumasi Academy. A dozen others were treated with the same symptoms and discharged.

Since then there have been reported cases of deaths in Koforidua Secondary Technical, Bawku Senior Technical and Damongo Secondary all of which are confirmed cases of meningitis.

The Head of Disease and Surveillance Unit at the Ghana Health Service Dr Franklin Asiedu Bekoe told Joy News they are working with the WHO to import the necessary vaccines to stop the spread of the diseases.

He said the initiative to import the vaccines is being championed by the ministry and WHO. According to him, once the virus has been detected a process has to be followed to ensure the virus is compatible with the vaccines. But that process has been concluded and it will take some days to import at least 10,000 doses of the vaccines into Ghana, he stated.

But the Asawase MP believes the process is too slow adding Ghana’s emergency health system appears to be broken down.

Kumasi Academy students

Muntaka Mubarak is afraid the situation will worsen if the contaminated students go on vacation.

"We all know how the spread of virus is and how devastating it can be. You tell me which part of the world that you cannot get to Ghana in 72 hours?" he asked.

"The Health Minister should sit up. They should concentrate on prevention,” he said adding, “we are losing the next generation of this country.”

“They were able to know the cause of death on Wednesday. It’s now one full week,” he said, adding it shouldn’t take more than 72 hours to get vaccination imported into the country.

NAGRAT

The Vice President of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) Angel Karbonu told Joy News they are worried about the situation.

When he was asked if the deaths and the outbreak of meningitis have something to do with the introduction of the Free SHS, Mr Angel Karbonu said the issue of congestion has always been part of the Senior High School System and cannot say whether or not the situation has been aggravated by the free SHS policy.
H1N1 Outbreak: Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana Calls for Measures to Curb Spread
Dec 13, 2017 at 9:09pm
Ghana Broadcasting Corporation

The Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana is worried about the recent outbreak of the H1N1 virus in some parts of the country particularly, in education institutions.

It said, the occurrence has the tendency to derail gains made in the health sector if effective methods are not employed.

Speaking to GBC’s Radio Ghana, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Society, Kwame Peprah Boaitey, said the organisation has alerted its members to be on the lookout for symptoms of H1N1 and Cerebro Spinal Meningitis.

Mr. Boaitey said members have been alerted and are on the look out to detect and take necessary action to prevent further spread.

Mr. Peprah used the opportunity to highlight symptoms of the two viral diseases and what the public can do by way of prevention.

GBCONLINE
Project Set to Reduce Maternal, Child Deaths in Nigeria
By Chukwuma Muanya and Adaku Onyenucheya
Nigeria Guardian
14 December 2017   |   4:30 am

GAMSU, GE Healthcare train nurses at LUTH on mother, infant care
Several studies including the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nation International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) have shown that critical strategy for reducing maternal and child morbidity and mortality is ensuring that every baby is delivered with the assistance of a skilled birth attendant which generally includes a medical doctor, nurse or midwife.

According to the WHO and UNICEF, every single day, Nigeria loses about 2,300 under-five year olds and 145 women of childbearing age. This makes the country the second largest contributor to the under–five and maternal mortality rate in the world.

However, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, earlier this year, described the high mortality rate of under-five in Nigeria as unacceptable, and said the country has made significant progress in reducing the rate of newborn deaths from 201/1000 live births to 128/1000 live births in 2013.

Several studies by the WHO and UNICEF in developing countries, including India, have demonstrated that that ending preventable child deaths can be achieved by improving access to skilled healthcare professionals during pregnancy and at time of birth, life saving interventions among others.

To address Nigeria’s very poor record regarding maternal and child health outcomes, the Federal Government had through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) established the Midwives Service Scheme (MSS), a public sector collaborative initiative, designed to mobilize midwives, including newly qualified, unemployed and retired midwives, for deployment to selected primary health care facilities in rural communities. The aim is to facilitate an increase in the coverage of Skilled Birth Attendance (SBA) to reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality.

Also, in a bid to reduce maternal and infant mortality in in Nigeria, a Public Private Partnership (PPP) has emerged. The Gamaliel and Susan Onosode Foundation (GAMSU) has partnered with General Electric (GE) Healthcare to train no fewer than 45 nurses at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) on maternal and infant care.

To this end, the partnership saw nurses at the School of Nursing, LUTH, Idi Araba, Lagos, trained on capacity building as well as the use of state-of-the-art equipment to cater for pregnant women and newborn to reduce the burden of deaths in Nigeria.

Chief Operations Officer, GAMSU, Toyin Olanrewaju, said, as a not for profit organisation, particular about the well being of the Nigerian child, there was need for partnership with GE healthcare to prevent maternal and child deaths.

“We thought about the fact that a lot of mothers come into the hospital to have their babies, with some of them coming out with their babies in their arms while some don’t survive child birth. On an average, a lot of mothers die for reason that could be avoided both in the public and private hospitals, that alone will trigger anyone to sat something must be done.

“Out of 10 pregnant women who walk into the hospital, three come out with healthy babies, so we felt what was the need of improving a child’s education when we don’t help bring them out of the hospital alive, hence, the opportunity for us to partner with GE healthcare, which is worthwhile to train nurses in both the theoretical and practical aspect of getting into the hospital,” she said.

She said nurses play critical role in giving care to patients, which necessitated the need for their capacity building to have them get used to the latest technology, as most of the equipment used in the country’s tertiary health institutions are obsolete.

“The partnership allows these nurses see all of the equipment, work with them, and we hope it will impact them, the hospital, state and the Nigeria as at large,” Olanrewaju added.

On his part, the General Manager, GE Healthcare West Central Africa, Eyong Ebai, said that the organisation is focused on capacity building within the health sector, as the partnership would bring both institutions with similar goals to improve capacity building within the healthcare space in Nigeria.

He stressed that the major gaps in the country is clinical effectiveness and skills of workers in the healthcare system

“In improving the healthcare system, you do not only focus on improving technology, but also the workers with clinical skills, which is why we have picked 45 nurses to train and develop then or the course of mother and child care so that they would help cave lives,” he said.

Ebai added that GE healthcare has also partnered with Northern States Governor’s Forum, private investors and others state governments, signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to focus on rural care, secondary care and specialist care to increase the education capacity of healthcare professionals.

He noted that the only way to measure improved outcome was to see changes in the indices, less complications during child birth among others factors, adding that the institutions have trained five nurses out of the 45 nurses as tutors to continue the re- training of other upcoming nurses.

“It is not all about training and walking away, we have to equip the nurses to be able to tutor other nurses, which is the important factor of this initiative,” he maintained.

Ebai further stated that GE healthcare is focused on ensuring that primary healthcare centres are improved on with technology and capacity education at every ward as it affects every Nigerian at the grass root.

Olanrewaju added: “On an average, you will find out that a lot of mothers die for reasons that could be avoided, both in the public and private hospitals. That alone, is enough to ginger anyone to say, ‘something needs to be done about it.’ What is the essence of putting so much effort in improving the education of a Nigerian child, when we are not even sure the Nigerian child would come out of the hospital in the first place? That is really the reason why this partnership is in place.

“Let us say we have an average 10 mothers walk into a general hospital which should actually serve its purpose and then just two or three of the mothers come out with healthy babies; what is the point? Having said that, we would want to believe that we would have 45 nurses in different parts of the country, doing something different from what their colleagues are doing now, we want to believe we would have made a positive difference. We are looking forward to having success stories from this particular training.”

Ebai added: “The main way you measure success is improved outcomes in healthcare. So for this particular program, we are focused specifically on maternal and infant care. We would expect to see some change in the indices, fewer complications in childbirth, and fewer children dying during childbirth and a reduction in maternal mortality. It is important that when you are running these kinds of initiatives, after the program is finished, that you monitor and measure from base line pre-training to going forward over the next two years, whether you can see a tangible change.

“If you look at some of the initiatives that we have run in Nigeria and the rest of the continent, you will clearly see that there is a change in outcomes for patients when you run these types of programmes. One thing that I have not mentioned is that of the 45 trained, five were tutors. So there is an element of training the trainer as well. It’s not just after the training, you walk away; we also equipped five of the nurses, so they will be able to tutor other nurses as they come through. That’s an important factor to ensure that you continue to see the benefits of a programme like this.”

“From a future point of view, GE is focused in a number of key areas. So we have our rural care; what we call a “Primary referral care program,” which entails looking at your primary healthcare facilities and ensuring that technology plus capacity and education is delivered at that point. This is extremely important because in the primary healthcare sector, it touches the most number of Nigerians.

“So essentially, every local government area and every ward have a primary healthcare facility, so we have a big focus on ensuring that the primary healthcare facility is improved, with technology, capacity and education. But if you look into the more complicated space, which is secondary care and specialty hospitals, GE are very much at the forefront and working with the private and public sectors in developing that specialist healthcare with a big focus in radiology, oncology and cardiology. In the oncology space, as a separate stand-alone entity, we have such a long way to go in Nigeria in oncology and you’ll see a lot of focus from GE specifically around oncology and learning what other nations have done in regards to developing a very strong oncology network. That is what we will be focusing on in the next year or so.”
Nigerian Northern Leaders List Terms for Restructuring, Want Marshall Plan
By Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi (Jos), Danjuma Michael (Katsina) and Kehinde Olatunji (Lagos)
Nigeria Guardian
14 December 2017   |   4:30 am

(FILE PHOTO) The Sultan urged politicians to improve the lives of Nigerians, berating those who merely use the electorate to win votes. He also called on government at all levels to implement programmes that could move the country forward. PHOTO: BellaNaija

The North is not intimidated by calls for restructuring of the nation and is ready to discuss the issue if the right cards are put on the table.

This was part of submissions following a two-day retreat by the Northern Senators Forum (NSF) in Katsina State yesterday.

According to the Forum, the region was not afraid of any “sensible and meaningful arrangement, provided it guarantees justice, equity, fairness and the unity of all Nigerians”.

It described the matter as ambiguous, even to “proponents, without clear terms and directions on how to go about it”, adding, the North would, at a later date, take a “well articulated, firm and common position” on restructuring, in collaboration with other northern members of the National Assembly.

The Forum also resolved to map out a Marshall Plan for development of the region, saying the proposition would be carried out in partnership with critical stakeholders, its House of Representatives counterpart and the Northern Governors Forum.

A communiqué signed by NSF chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, said the Plan would be all embracing.

The retreat discussed “the huge infrastructural deficit” in the North, noting that this challenge has weigh down socio-economic advancement, hence “the need to design an all embracing Marshall Plan for the development of the region”.

The NSF said: “The insecurity of lives and property and the lack of capacity of the state to adequately guarantee the most fundamental of rights are the most critical challenges facing the region in particular and the country in general.

“The prevalent ethno-religious crises in the region are politically motivated and have little or nothing to do with religion. The alarming statistics of out-of-school children and the number of learning institutions in the region explains why it is educationally and economically backward, in addition to poor budgetary funding and bad governance.”

Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki had declared the retreat open on Tuesday, with the governors of Katsina, Kebbi, Borno and Sokoto in attendance, alongside Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, former Inspector-General of Police Ibrahim Coomasie, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, Dr. Usman Bugaje and others.

Speaking earlier, the Sultan urged politicians to improve the lives of Nigerians, berating those who merely use the electorate to win votes. He also called on government at all levels to implement programmes that could move the country forward.

Afenifere, a pan-Yoruba social-cultural organisation, however insisted Nigeria needs a devolved structure and return to a parliamentary system of government.

The group’s national treasurer, Chief Supo Shonibare, warned that the country could not survive as a united entity amid monumental infrastructural challenge.

In a phone call with The Guardian, he said: “Afenifere welcomes urgent actual actions on our prescription that we need to not only conceptualise. We have been doing that for years, but also engage in practical actions on the discourse on the necessary structure able to resolve the agitation for devolution, and the need to increase our ability to reduce the costs of running government.

“It is good to want to increase the country’s agricultural produce and explore the idle mineral deposits in the North, one however needs a structure able to allow those in the North make the necessary economic decisions without a ‘quango’ at the centre determining issues of licensing and legal framework (but) able to assure investors of speedy resolution of contact disagreements within the region where these activities will be carried out.”

He described the Federal Government as an unwieldy wasteful entity, absorbing 70 per cent of the country’s expenditure with very little to meet infrastructural deficit requirements and education.

Also, Second Republic politician, Chief Guy Ikokwu, said each state or zone should be given responsibility as it was during independence so that each state would take up the responsibility of its children, workers, education, agriculture, industry and infrastructure.

“If the country is restructured, the economy will rise. At the moment, the economy in the Northern and Southern states are only growing by one percent. That is why there is a lot of criminality in the country and lots of hunger such that people are now selling their children for a bag of rice. It is something that has never happened in before. With a restructured Nigeria, there will not be a do-or-die affair of who wants to become president.”

The Middle Belt Youth Council meanwhile has said, “After extensive consultations among the youth and with our elders, (we) have come to the conclusion that it will be a disservice and disaster for Nigeria to elect either of these tired old men,” referring to President Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

“We, the determined youth of the Middle Belt, hereby reject both Buhari and Atiku in the 2019 presidential elections. We shall identify and promote a more competent, compassionate and cosmopolitan leader who would rise above tribe and religion to foster unity, justice and equity across the country. Nigeria needs a new leadership free from the pride, prejudice and baggage of the past to take the nation to the next level,” said president of the group, Comrade Emma Zopmal, in statement yesterday.

He added: “Both of them have nothing new to offer Nigeria to turn around our situation. Their desperation for power is a result of past personal frustrations and desires to settle scores. These men can only worsen the ethnic and religious conflicts bedeviling the North and the rest of Nigeria. We need to look beyond these two. The two men are experts in unkept promises. Atiku’s false support for restructuring is just a vote catching bait. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived again.”

The statement called on Nigerians, particularly the youth, to join hands with the Middle Belt body to rescue the nation.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Nigeria Still Investors Destination - IMF
Dec 13 2017 9:32PM
Daily Trust

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday said that Nigeria still remained a destination for investors.

The Senior Financial Sector Expert, Debt and Capital Market Instruments Division, Monetary and Capital Markets Department, IMF, Miriam Tamene, said this in a statement issued by Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) management in Abuja.

Tamene said when she led a team on a visit to the SEC office in Abuja.

Tamene noted that the Fund was pleasantly surprised to receive numerous indication of interest by investors eager to invest in Nigeria.

She, however, stated that many of them still nursed the fear that they may not be able to retrieve their funds anytime they decide to exit.

She urged monetary and regulatory authorities in Nigeria to roll out policies that would bring down the inflation rate in the country as well as increase access to domestic funds.

This, Tamene noted would ensure that the economy attained further growth in 2018.

“At the annual meetings of IMF, we were pleasantly surprised when we saw many investors interested in the Securities Market in Nigeria.

“A lot of people thought that Nigeria is still investors destination, the main concerns most of them had was the fear that they may not be able to take out their money anytime they want to hence they are being very watchful.

“Investors are interested in Nigeria, but with difficulties they had in getting their money out recently, that confidence is not there yet.

“It has improved though, but they are still watching. It is still so much fragile and not what they can take for granted just yet,” she added.

The statement also quoted the Acting Director-General of SEC, Dr Abdul Zubair as saying “the future outlook appeared good as several initiatives had been rolled out by the SEC to help grow the capital market’’.

Zubair said the initiatives would increase investors’ confidence and more initiatives would be rolled out subsequently to ensure the Nigerian capital market remained one of the best in the world.

The IMF team was in Nigeria for consultations to get update on developments covering all financial transactions as well as key sectors of the Nigerian economy.

The report of their consultations is expected to be presented to the IMF Board in Feb. 2018. (NAN)
Nigeria: Aggrieved PDP Aspirants Threaten to Form Parallel NWC
By Saawua Terzungwe
Nigeria Daily Trust
Dec 14 2017 2:00AM

Some aggrieved aspirants under the aegis of PDP Candidates and Stakeholders Forum, yesterday, rejected the results of last Saturday’s national convention of the party which produced Prince Uche Secondus as national chairman.

They also called on the Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT), Senator Walid Jibrin, to call an emergency meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC).

‎Comrade Franklyne Edede, who contested for the office of PDP National Youth Leader and Chief Godwin Chinedu Duru, who contested for the office of National Organising
Secretary, said the meeting was necessary to address contentious issues.

Prince Obi-Nwosu Emmanuel, Hassan Adamu and Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar also appended their signatures on the document as stakeholders.

‎”We the concerned candidates and stakeholders hereby reject in totality the result released at the 9th December, 2017 National Elective Convention instead of the true result.

“We, therefore, demand the immediate ‎recall of the purported result of the actual votes cast by delegates at the convention.

“We call on the Chairman of ‎BoT to ensure the immediate execution of this demand by convening an emergency NEC meeting within 7 days from the date of this notice.

“Failure to address the items‎ above, we would have no option but to announce the correct results and inaugurate the authentic National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP,” they said.

However, the BoT Chairman, Senator Walid Jibrin couldn’t respond to a phone call and a text message sent to him at the time of filing this report. 
Boko Haram Supremacy Battle: Shekau Loses Grounds to Albarnawi Faction
By Hamza Idris (Abuja) & Uthman Abubakar (Maiduguri)
Nigeria Daily Trust
Dec 14 2017 2:00AM

Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, has reportedly lost grounds to Abu Mus’ab Albarnawi after days of clashes between the two terrorists factions in remote areas of Borno State, Daily Trust reliably gathered.

Some locals who have already fled the areas described the new development as “battle of supremacy between Shekau and Albarnawi.”

Both factions have holed up in remote areas from where they occasionally emerge to launch attacks on military formations.

Albarnawi is the son of Boko Haram founder Muhammed Yusuf, who parted ways with Shekau, his father’s successor, about a year ago.

Several insurgents lost their lives in the reported clashes, with sources saying Albarnawi’s faction ultimately had an upper hand.

How clashes started

A dependable vigilante source told Daily Trust that the two factions clashed in the vicinity of Dikwa over reported encroachment by a member of one faction into the territory of the other.

“The two factions operate in different areas in Borno state, with the understanding that  no one encroaches into the other’s territory.

Accordingly, Shekau’s men roam parts of southern Borno while Albarnawi’s fighters operate in the northern part of the state.

It was reported that lately some of the members of Albarnawi faction strayed into Shekau’s territory around Dikwa, as a result of which they were reportedly accosted and killed by the Shekau fighters.

The Albarnawi faction immediately organised a reprisal, summoning its men from the surrounding enclaves; the result was a heavy clash of the two factions, leaving many dead.

“Nobody can tell who lost how many lives and how many if whose men got injured because, as you know, nobody dared go near there,” the source said.

Multiple sources told Daily Trust that the clashes took place in areas that included Gwarimiri, Mulgwailawanti, Golofori, Gaggau, Taye, as well as Charma I and Charma II with Albarnawi taking over the locations from Shekau.

Other locations allegedly taken over by Albarnawi’s fighters were Umdarari, Jubul, Shuwari, Fulatar, Shunkori, and many others.

The locations, mostly hamlets were sand-witched in the axis of Gamboru-Ngala, Dikwa, Mafa, Konduga, Bama, and Gwoza local government areas of Borno State.

During the latest confrontation, Albarnawi’s fighters armed with high calibre weapons, launched a daring attack on Shekau’s fighters beginning from last Friday, killing many and taking over their weapons, and their locations.

“The Albarnawi faction were the ones who launched a deadly attack on Shekau’s people beginning from Gwarimiri, Mulgwailawanti, Golofori, Gaggau and Taye,” a villager, who is now in Maiduguri, said.

“The Albarnawi’s fighters then consolidated their ‘territorial conquest’ to other places…They have taken over many places where Shekau’s men either wooed or forcefully converted the villagers to become their sympathizers or simply held them hostage,” he said.

Another source said, “The Albarnawi fighters had some Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and many Hilux trucks while some of them rode on motorcycles as they moved on.”

Albarnawi asks locals to leave

Our correspondent learnt that shortly after Albarnawi’s fighters had the upper hand after the encounter with Shekau’s faction, locals in the affected communities should decide for themselves on whether they wanted to stay in the houses or move on.

“The invaders said those who want to go to nearby Konduga should go and those who want to even proceed to Maiduguri or Bama are free to go,” a source said.

Konduga and Bama are two of the many areas where locals have gone back and continued with their normal life.

A source, who is from Konduga said it was true some people from neighbouring hamlets have been coming in “piecemeal.”

“It is not mass exodus per se and their arrival is not official; most of them relocating from the affected villages simply check-in with their extended families and acquaintances,” he said.

Albarnawi broke away from Shekau

Albarnawi, alongside Mamman Nur, a key Boko Haram leader on US terrorist list parted ways with Shekau in 2016.

This came to the fore in the first week of August 2016, when the ISIS put an end to the seven years of Shekau’s reign, and in his place, anointed Albarnawi.

On August 4, Shekau personally described the breakaway Albarnawi and his cohorts as “heretics” and soon after the new development, sporadic ideological and practical fighting broke out between the two factions.

A security source who confirmed the development yesterday said he was not in a position to speak on the record.

“I would not say any of the Boko Haram factions have absolute control of anywhere but as usual, combating terrorism is not a one- day thing. What is clear is that the Boko Haram, whatever faction you are referring to, are on the defence and on the run,” he said.

The story of the renewed fight between the two factions broke amidst claims by the Nigerian military and civilian authorities that the Boko Haram does not control any territory anywhere in the northeast and Nigeria at large.

Despite the claim, thousands of people in Borno State for instance still live at various Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps in Maiduguri; and lately in major towns like Bama, among others.

Fight over territories

Shortly after they parted ways in 2016, Albarnawi made strenuous efforts and established his bases in northern fringes of Borno that shares borders with Niger, Chad, and parts of Cameroon.

Shekau, on the other hand, consolidated his bases mostly in southern parts of Borno, including Sambisa forest and the Mandara Mountains that leads to Cameroon.

Locations in the edges of Central Borno remain “contentious” between the two groups until recently when both leaders began to launch sporadic attacks on each other, all in an effort to have more presence amidst efforts by the Nigerian military authorities to contain them.

Most IDPs said they could not return to their homes because even if Boko Haram had been chased away as claimed by the Nigerian authorities, the same authorities have failed to establish civil and municipal control in these liberated areas.

The inability of the IDPs to go back home is more severe in northern Borno, sources, including some humanitarian agencies, said.

“For now, many humanitarian agencies have been denied access to northern Borno.  I don’t personally know why but we strongly believe that there are locals there who need urgent help,” a volunteer, who works with one of the international donor agencies in Maiduguri, told the Daily Trust last night.

Boko Haram attacks Mainok

In another development, the insurgents are reported to have been converging at Mainok, bordering Borno and Yobe states along the Maiduguri- Kano highway yesterday evening.

The spokesperson of the Borno State Police Command, CSP Victor Isuku said he wasn’t aware of the clash.

“We have not received any information on the clash of the two factions in Dikwa, but on the Mainok incidence, I am gathering more to compile a report for you newsmen, which I will post on the wall of the chatroom,” the police spox said last night.
Foreign Investors Eye Nigeria But Fear FX Scarcity – IMF
By Hamisu Muhammad
Nigeria Daily Trust
Dec 14 2017 2:00AM

Many investors want to come to Nigeria but how to retrieve their investments is still their main concern, an IMF official has said.

The Senior Financial Sector Expert, Debt and Capital Market Instruments Division, Monetary and Capital Markets Department, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Miriam Tamene, said this during a visit by fund’s team to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Abuja yesterday.

According to her, “At the Annual meetings of IMF, we were pleasantly surprised when we saw many investors interested in the securities market in Nigeria. 

“A lot of people think that Nigeria is still an investors’ destination, the main concerns most of them had was the fear that they might not be able to take out their money anytime they want to hence they are being very watchful.”

“Investors are interested in Nigeria, but with difficulties they had in getting their money out recently, that confidence is not there yet. It has improved though, but they are still watching. It is still so much fragile and not what they can take for granted just yet,” she added.

She called on the monetary and regulatory authorities in Nigeria to roll out policies that would bring down the inflation rate in the country as well as increase access to domestic funds to ensure that the economy attains further growth in 2018.

In his remarks, Acting Director General of SEC, Dr. Abdul Zubair, said the future outlook appeared good as several initiatives had already been rolled out by the SEC which will help to grow the capital market and increase investors’ confidence.

He  added that in the long term, more initiatives will be rolled out to ensure that the Nigerian capital market remained one of the best in the world.

The IMF Team was in Nigeria for consultations and to get update on developments concerning all the financial and other key sectors of the Nigerian economy.

The report of their consultations is expected to be presented to the IMF Board in February.
OPEC Reviews 2018 Oil Demand Forecast Upwards
By Hamisu Muhammad
Nigeria Daily Trust
Dec 13 2017 3:24PM

The world oil demand is expected to grow by 1.51 million barrel per day (mb/d) above the 1.26mb/d earlier forecasted for year 2018, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has said.
The forecast was based on the strong optimism that the world economy will grow very fast within the period. 

The OPEC said in its Monthly Oil Market Report released on Wednesday that the countries under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD will contribute positively to oil demand growth, adding some 0.28 mb/d, whereas the bulk of the growth will come from the non-OECD with 1.23 mb/d of potential growth.

The report said World Oil Supply Non-OPEC oil supply growth for 2017 now stands at 0.81 mb/d, representing an upward revision of 0.15 mb/d from the previous report. For 2018, the forecast for non-OPEC supply growth has been revised up by 0.12 mb/d to now stand at 0.99 mb/d.

“The 2018 forecast for non-OPEC supply is associated with considerable uncertainties, particularly regarding US tight oil developments. US oil supply is now expected to grow by 1.05 mb/d next year, representing an upward revision of 0.18 mb/d and following growth of 0.61 mb/d in 2017. OPEC NGLs and non-conventional liquids are expected to increase by 0.18 mb/d in 2018, compared to 0.17 mb/d this year. In November, OPEC crude production decreased by 133 tb/d, according to secondary sources, to average 32.45 mb/d.”

“World economic growth in 2017 has been supported by strong momentum across all major economies and sectors. Growth now stands at 3.7%, up from an initial forecast of 3.2%. The healthy momentum is expected to continue in 2018, with growth forecast at 3.7%. The OECD, supported by the US and the Euro-zone and to some extent Japan, is considered a vital element of this dynamic, with growth of 2.2% in 2018, only slightly below this year’s 2.3%.

“In the non-OECD, the growth momentum in China is forecast to slightly decelerate in 2018 to 6.5%, compared to 6.8% in 2017. India is likely to rebound from sluggish growth of 6.5% in 2017 to show growth of 7.4% in 2018. Brazil and Russia are   Graph 1: Real GDP growth for selected countries in 2018  forecast to continue their recovery at growth of 1.5% and 1.8% in 2018, after 2017 growth of 0.8% and 1.9%, respectively. As many economies now expand at or even above growth potential, the upside may be limited.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

ANC Statement on the US' Recognition of Jerusalem As the Capital of the State of Israel
8 December 2017

The African National Congress (ANC) condemns in the strongest possible terms the decision by the US Administration to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

This blatantly provocative move severely undermines the spirit of multilateralism and is a significant setback to a fragile and already stalled peace process.

The announcement that the US will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has been roundly condemned by nearly every world leader except the Prime Minister of Israel.

The ANC concurs with sentiment expressed by many world leaders that the US' position is a violation of a number of UN Security Council (UNSC) and UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolutions regarding the status of Jerusalem in any final settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

The US President Donald Trump made the announcement on social media - a further indication of the recklessness with which the Trump administration has chosen to both pursue and communicate its foreign policy objectives in a highly volatile region.

The ANC notes that a number of protests against the move have broken out in Jerusalem itself, as well as in Ramallah and Bethlehem following the announcement; and several armed groups in the region have labelled Trump's announcement as 'a declaration of war'.

A very real possibility exists that this announcement could reignite the tinderbox of violence and cause the region to once again descend into bloodshed.

The ANC wholly agrees with the position of the South African government, that reinforces the supremacy of multilateralism as the only way to secure a sustainable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as a rules-based international order.

The ANC remains committed to the two state solution: and this unilateral pronouncement by the US does harm to Palestinian aspirations for an independent, peaceful state coexisting side by side with Israel, based on the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The ANC is concerned that instead of positioning itself as a credible advocate for a just and lasting solution to the Israel/Palestine issue, the US is showing itself to be wholly partisan and favouring Israel.

The ANC calls on both Israelis and Palestinians to take steps to urgently resume talks to restart the peace process. The organization further calls on the US Administration to reconsider its decision in the light of the negative ramifications for the cause of a just and lasting peace.

Issued by:

Jessie Duarte
Deputy Secretary General
African National Congress

Enquiries:
Zizi Kodwa -
082 330 4910
Khusela Sangoni -
072 854 5707
SACP Statement on USA President Recognizing Jerusalem as the Capital of Apartheid Israel
11 December 2017

THE SACP VEHEMENTLY CONDEMNS THE US PRESIDENT DECISION ATTEMPTING A UNILATERAL CHANGE ON THE STATUS OF JERUSALEM

The SACP condemns the decision by the President of the United States of America Donald Trump, recognising Jerusalem as the capital of apartheid Israel. President Trump also ordered the US embassy to be moved to Jerusalem.

This irresponsible decision goes against international law and UN Security Council resolutions. The holy city of Jerusalem is under the protection of the United Nations and therefore no single country can unilaterally impose on the Palestinians, a new status for Jerusalem. The decision is a sign of Trump`s crypto-Zionism and his impervious attitude against resolutions of the UN. His decision is a continuation of American policy on the Palestinian issue, on a worse trajectory than his predecessors. It signals that Trump suffers serious dementia on the Palestinian reality and that decisions of such a nature will inevitably reignite with impunity, the atrociously criminal killings of Palestinian women and children by Israel.

Trump decision also unmasks the fallacy and shows that in earnest this is not about Judaism as a religion and that not only is Zionism not equal to Judaism but that the two are poles apart. Zionism is apartheid and is a certain pseudo-religious variant of colonialism and imperialism of the big bourgeoisie.

The decision only serves to appease Israel, a junior partner of Western imperialism, but is in reality a continuation of the "New Middle East" project, the imperialist grand plan to pursue total control of the riches of Middle Eastern resources.

The SACP denounces this decision, which equals provocation and aggression and will only create inflame further tensions leading to loss of lives.

The USA, EU and Israel, must shoulder the burden of responsibility for the disaster that this decision will manifest.

We reiterate our position of a two-state solution, with an independent sovereign Palestine on the contiguous borders of 1969, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

We call on the South African government to cut diplomatic ties with Israel and upon millions of peace and justice loving South Africans, both Jewish and non-Jews to massively protest against this decision.

ISSUED BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN COMMUNIST PARTY | SACP

FOR GENERAL ENQUIRIES ON SACP STATEMENTS CONTACT:

Mhlekwa Nxumalo
Acting National Spokesperson
Mobile: +27 76 316 9816
Skype: MashiloAM

CIRCULATION & MEDIA LIAISON SERVICES

Hlengiwe Nkonyane
Communications Officer: Media Liaison Services, Digital and Social Media Co-ordinator
Mobile: +27 79 384 6550

OFFICE, WEBSITE, TWITTER, FACEBOOK, USTREAM TV CHANNEL

Office: +2711 339 3621/2
Twitter: SACP1921
Website: www.sacp.org.za
Facebook Page: South African Communist Party
SACP Ustream TV Channel: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/sacp-tv
COSATU Strongly Condemns US President Donald Trump for Formally Recognizing the City of Jerusalem as Israel's Capital
7 December 2017

The Congress of South African Trade Unions strongly condemns the reckless and provocative decision by USA President Donald Trump to formally recognise the city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. This outrageous decision is further proof of the level of deterioration of the Trump Administration and the American political system as a whole.

Donald Trump’s decision also violates International Law and should be opposed by all peace loving people. In 1980 Israel passed the “Jerusalem Law” stating that Jerusalem complete and united , is the capital of Israel, thereby formalising its annexation of East Jerusalem. The same year the UN agreed that the annexation of territory by force is inadmissible. In terms of Resolution 478 (1980) the UN ordered that all Member States accept this decision ; and that those states that have established diplomatic missions in Jerusalem withdraw such missions from the Holy City as they constituted a threat to peace and security.

This decision represents a nail in the coffin to any prospects of a peaceful settlement of the Israeli –Palestine situation and will also act to inflame religious tensions because Jerusalem is a sacred place for Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The Americans have lost the little that was left of its moral standing because this decision will embolden the apartheid state of Israel to continue with its backward and barbaric policies against Palestinians. Palestinians are still subjected to merciless blockades by the Israeli army and still suffer from widespread land and property dispossessions.

We offer our unwavering solidarity and support to the people of Palestine, who were first betrayed by the British colonisers hundreds years ago, when they signed over their land to the Zionists to create the apartheid state of Israel, through the so called Balfour Declaration.

COSATU calls on all right thinking people, countries and organizations to denounce this reckless decision and support the struggle for the people of Palestine. It is also troubling to note that this decision by the Americans happens at a time when there are question marks about the South African government’s commitment to the struggle for Free Palestine. The recent questionable and regrettable decisions by the ANC in relation to the Israel government should be clarified and rectified by the 54th Conference of the ANC.

They are not in line with bold and unequivocal statement in support of the Palestinians adopted by the 53rd National Conference. In its last conference, the ANC reiterated its commitment to its founding values of a struggle for a humane, just, equitable, democratic, and free world. It resolved to support the Palestinians in their quest for freedom and self-determination.

This is also a betrayal of the commitment made by the Minister of International Relations, Cde Maite Nkoana-Mashabne when addressing the International Relations Committee (IRC) meeting of COSATU, where she said that: "Ministers of South Africa do not visit Israel currently...our Palestinian friends have asked us in formal meetings to not engage with the [Israeli] regime. We have agreed to slow down and curtail senior leadership contact with that regime until things begin to look better".

COSATU reaffirms its solidarity with the people of Palestine and we are calling for an end to the evictions of the Palestinians. We are fully behind the call for all political prisoners and detainees to be released immediately. We support the formation of an independent Palestinian state with East-Jerusalem as its capital and also the Israelis must affirm the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland.

People of all stripes or political affiliation have a moral responsibility to condemn the apartheid practices and policies of the Israeli government and join efforts to force it to uphold the international law that condemns racial oppression.

Issued by COSATU

Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)

Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794
LIMUSA Strikes in Agni Steel
11 December 2017

Liberated Metalworkers Union of South Africa (LIMUSA) enters a fourth day of a protected industrial action at Agni Steel South Africa in Port Elizabeth. The strike is due to protracted wage negotiations that stated in 2016 with the company. The union was demanding R48 per hour at the time and the company was paying workers R24 per hour. Several attempts were made by the employer to delay engagements or negotiations on the demands by raising frivolous jurisdiction points but all those attempts failed.

In 2017 company attempted to address the demands while we were engaging on the offer and making counter proposals the company went on to sign an agreement with a minority trade union (NUMSA) which never submiited any demands or part of the dispute. The action by the company led to a deadlock and LIMUSA issued a strike notice to the company on 27 September 2017.

The company approached the Labour Court to for an interim interdict on the 01 October 2017and the interim order was granted. On the 7th December the matter was heard by the Labour Court and LIMUSA won the case and the interim order was discharged meaning the Labour Court confirmed that LIMUSA strike was protected.

On the 8th December 2017 the company and the union met in an attempt to resolve the dispute but the company failed to address the demand of R40.37 and backpay. That has resulted in collapse of negotiations and commencement of strike action on the 8th December 2017.

The strike is set proceed indefinitely as workers are firm behind their demand of R40.37. If addressed by the employer the demand is set to bring workers at par with their colleagues in the Metal and Engineering Industry.

We calling on our members to be united behind their demands and conduct themselves peaceful manner. We note the acts provocation on part of management and we are calling on our members to remain discipline throughout the strike.

LIMUSA remains committed to engage the employer to resolve the dispute.

Issued by Secretariats

For further information contact :-

Mawonga Madolo - 083 613 8610
Declaration of the SACP Moses Kotane 08th Provincial Congress Held on17-19 November 2017 at Ngwenya Hotel, Stilfontein (Matlosana)
It is not the consciousness of humankind that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness - Karl Marx

We, the 598 revolutionary and militant communist delegates drawn from our four SACP Districts, the Young Communist League of South Africa (YCLSA), the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA), the Revolutionary Alliance and our international fraternal allies wish to declare that we have convened under the theme: Defend, Advance, Deepen the National Democratic Revolution; The Vanguard Role of the SACP.

Our Provincial Congress takes place in the context of the global commemoration of the centenary of the Great October Socialist Revolution which gave birth to the first ever Workers` State. We remain inspired by this Socialist Revolution and the continued relevance of the clarion call by Karl Marx - Workers of the World Unite!

Our Provincial Congress takes place just over three months after the historic 14th National Congress of our Party and we are cognisant of our huge responsibility to take forward the key tasks emanating from our national congress. Our Congress was also attended by the SACP Central Committee. We received the keynote address from our General Secretary on behalf of the Central Committee, an address which coincided squarely with the theme of the congress.

We are deeply encouraged by tremendous growth in SACP membership in the province, from 16 000 to 21 965. In line with our programme, the South African Road to Socialism, we seek to build a large, but vanguard Party. A large party is not necessarily a mass party, as the size of the Party is not a fixed number of members, but is determined by the tasks at hand. This clearly imposes obligations to step up our ideological development program to ensure the readiness of SACP membership to increasingly propel state and popular power.

International balance of forces

We are proud of the revolutionary role played by the icons of our revolutionary movement namely, Chris Hani, Moses Kotane, J.B Marks, O.R Tambo, Joe Slovo, Dora Tamana, to mention but a few, who waged relentless struggles to emancipate our people from national oppression and class exploitation.

The congress was graced by the delegation from the Palestinian Embassy, Communist Party of Swaziland, Botswana National Front (BNF) and other progressive formations.

We note the current spate of activities taking place in neighbouring Zimbabwe where the soldiers have embarked on a politico-military intervention. In seeking to resolve the current impasse, we strongly believe that the interests of the toiling masses should never be compromised. We fully support the initiative by our Central Committee to broadly engage progressive forces in pursuit of finding an amicable solution to the political quagmire in Zimbabwe.

We note the situation confronting the people of Swaziland under the viciously oppressive Mswati regime. The congress further notes and condemns the ongoing blatant abuse of young women by the Swazi king as demonstrated by amongst others the recent forced- marriage of a young school girl. We further recommit to strengthen our Revolutionary relations with progressive forces in that country in particular the Communist Party of Swaziland.

We have noted with utter dismay, and condemn, the acts of brutality perpetrated by the Zionist state of Israel against the people of Palestine and the material support they are receiving from the United States and its allies. The congress remains opposed to the sanctions imposed on Palestine and its people.

We resolved to further intensify our historical ties and solidarity with the People of Cuba, Venezuela, China as well as other progressive organisations notably the Botswana National Front and the Communist Party of Lesotho amongst others.

Organised workers

Congress is inspired by progress made in solidifying our strategic and working relations with organised workers in the province in particular Cosatu, its affiliates as well as other trade unions outside Cosatu.

We, however, note the current challenges facing unions, in particular the retrenchments in the various sectors of our economy. Such retrenchments when carried through will not only affect the workers but also many of their dependents.

Congress calls on State Institutions and communities to work together to find a lasting solution to the incessant attacks on the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) by rival reactionary unions. We reaffirm our commitment to defend the NUM as well as other progressive unions that are victims of similar attacks.

Unity of the Alliance

Congress noted the appalling state of the Alliance in the province and expressed discontent with this state of affairs. We reaffirm the centrality of the Alliance in pursuing the National Democratic Revolution. Attempts to undermine the Alliance are in fact efforts to disregard the Revolution. We condemn attempts by the leader of the Alliance to treat the rest of the members of the Alliance as junior partners. This was demonstrated by the manner in which the Provincial Secretary of the SACP was released from the Provincial Executive, an act which was mainly aimed at embarrassing and undermining the Party. We will not tolerate any further unilateral taking of decisions. In most cases these decisions are being made by an individual or a faction whilst reducing other partners to side-line political observers.

We remain committed to build the Revolutionary Alliance. However, it is evident that the Alliance in its current form has been reduced to electoral machinery of the ANC. The significantly marginalised consensus-seeking consultation on major policy and deployment decisions further impacts on the Alliance. Congress reaffirms the 14th National Congress decision on an urgent reconfiguration of the Alliance.

State and popular power

We noted with great appreciation our 14th National Congress resolutions to actively contest elections and an organisational commitment to a process to develop a Road Map in this regard. We note with concern and condemn in the strongest possible terms the deliberate efforts by some within our movement in the province to distort and misrepresent our national congress resolution on this matter. We regard such efforts as uninvited pure meddling in the internal affairs of the SACP as an independent organisation. We call upon all those who have an interest in understanding our resolutions to read the resolutions as they are already available on the website of the SACP and also engage the Party`s leadership rather than engage in a counter-revolutionary misinformation campaign.

Our Congress has resolved that the current arrangement of contesting elections through the ANC-led Alliance electoral platform is outdated and needs to be reviewed urgently. We have therefore resolved that in preparation for the SACP Special National Congress in 2018, we will submit that the only practical way of engaging in the elections is through a reconfigured Alliance. The Alliance must be a strategic political centre. In the absence of an Alliance agreement on this matter, we will be left with no option but to contest the elections independent of the ANC - this the SACP should engage directly and through building a strong and properly co-ordinated popular left front. We call upon the SACP Central Committee to study the Botswana Opposition Parties` electoral Alliance through the Umbrella for Democratic Change.

We shall also intensify our work to build both a broad patriotic front to protect our country and democratic sovereignty, as well as a popular left front to defend, deepen and advance the National Democratic Revolution towards Socialism.

Congress draws inspiration from the decision of the Central Committee to give approval for the SACP to contest the 29 November 2017 by-elections in Metsimaholo, Free State Province. We will be making our own contribution as a province to ensure successful contest in Metsimaholo.

Fight against gender-based violence

The delegates to Congress noted the glaring violence against women and children across all levels of society.

We will initiate formidable campaigns to name and shame perpetrators of such shameful acts. In our endeavour to invigorate our campaigns, we will empower women to fight side-by-side with progressive revolutionary forces in order to find programmatic solutions to this scourge. We re-affirm our commitment to take forward this work in the coming months within the context of our 2017-18 Red October Campaign.

Our Campaign to confront the scourge of violence against women and children coincides with Comrade Julius Nyerere`s assertion that "when the people stand-up, imperialism trembles". Indeed there will be no successful revolution without the masses.

We will further continue to lobby government support for our campaign through amongst others the Ministry for Women based in the Presidency.

Provision of equitable health care

Congress is emboldened by the progress made at the pilot site for the rollout of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHI) to ensure people gain access to affordable health care. Whilst we appreciate the intentions and benefits of the NHI, we are aware of the neo-liberal offensive that stands opposed to NHI and wants to continue with the further privatisation of health services. We will defend the comprehensive implementation of NHI by our democratic government.

Congress remains resolute in defending and advancing the interests of the working class. We have generated resolutions to inform programs on the SACP and the workplace, the economy, the battle of ideas, gender & social transformation as well as Party Building and Organisational Renewal. We will further intensify ideological development through regular Party classes and other political education programmes.

We emerge from our 8th Provincial Congress much stronger, united and focussed on building a powerful Vanguard Party geared towards tackling the challenges facing the working class and poor across the length and breadth of our province. Congress has positioned the Party in the Province to be at the forefront of major class battles in the current conjuncture.

We therefore declare that we will: Defend, Advance and Deepen the National Democratic Revolution!

Socialism is the Future; Build it Now!

The SACP Moses Kotane 08th Provincial Congress unanimously elected the following members to serve as the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC);

PEC Officials:

Provincial Secretary: Madoda Sambatha
Provincial Chairperson: Smuts Matshe
Provincial Treasurer: Washington Ntozini
Deputy Provincial Chairperson: Tebogo Modise
01st Deputy Provincial Secretary: Nick Maphelle
02nd Deputy Provincial Secretary: Thabo Mashomo

Members of the PEC:

Seitebaleng Dikole
Francis Ratlhaga
Khaya Ndincede
Masello Senne
Shadrak Mvula
Motlalepula Lekoma
Deliwe Zethi
Mpho Motlhabane
Pabatso Ntsoti
Lesego Lejaka
Louis Diremelo
Letticia Basson
Puleng Mohoase
Mmoloki Cwaile
Magome Masike
ANCYL Notes the Unfortunate Comments of an ANC Deputy President
08 December 2017

The ANCYL notes the unfortunate comments of an ANC Deputy President, Cde. Cyril Ramaphosa on Radio 702 where he directly attacks a seating President of the ANC.

The direct attack in our view stems from his response where he said "Yes I believe Khwezi", in reference to the rape trial where President Jacob Zuma wa acquitted.

The ANC Youth League strongly feels of a need to respond categorically to this bile spewed by Cde Cyril Ramaphosa.

This is bile because this is an act of a desperation at a full demonstration and prove that his conscious has long left him and not under any circumstance does he show that he can lead the ANC.

The ANCYL is shocked that a dead person would be used to advance a selfish personal agenda despite the fact that an independent judicial organ of the state have made a judgement on the matter. Thus, we feel strongly that this is not only a direct attack on the President of the ANC and his integrity but a reckless and unfortunate remark to be made by this American puppet.

We call upon this fellow to publicly respond for this recklessness or face the full might of the ANC rule book.

We wish to caution Cde Cyril Ramaphosa to refrain from this inanity and behave and get it clear in his mind that it will not change the fact that he will never be a President of the ANC in this lifetime and attacking an outgoing ANC President will never increase his chances to even come close to his self serving ambitions.

ISSUED BY

Mlondi Mkhize
National Spokesperson
African National Congress Youth
Statement of ANC NEC Subcommittee on Legislature and Governance Ahead of 54th Conference
12 December 2017

The ANC goes to conference having reviewed its policies and to determine a new path that will ensure we live up to the hopes and aspirations of our people. The 5th National Policy Conference of the ANC was held from the 30thJune to 5th July 2017, at which detailed policy proposals relating to legislatures, governance and the macro-configuration of the state were discussed.

The South African State and its institutions over the past five years under review have been confronted with numerous challenges and competing interests. Of major significance has been persistent high unemployment, rising poverty, widening income in-equalities and unresolved land redistribution. These challenges have applied pressure on state institutions and called for a review of the manner in which we govern our state.

The mandate and scope of the Legislature & Governance Sub-committee is transformation of the State and the overall governance arrangements. This includes issues relating to cooperative governance, provinces and local government, public service & administration, institutions supporting democracy, basic service delivery, traditional leadership, legislatures, employment and economic development within the Public Sector; governance of state owned enterprises and the electoral systems and related matters. The work of the Sub-committee is informed by National Conference resolutions, the National General Council resolutions, Policy Conference proposals and the Annual NEC Makgotla.

The L&G Sub-committee is crucially concerned with the implementation of ANC policy and decisions, and notes that whilst many past conferences have adopted extremely progressive policies, some of these have not been fully implemented. We are determined to ensure that ANC has the requisite capacity to oversee and monitor implementation by our deployed cadres within the state.

Policy issues and proposals

1. Macro-configuration of the state: The ANC government established a constitutional framework within the architecture and configuration of a unitary state within a decentralized form of governance arrangement in three spheres of government. The constitution provides for principles of cooperative governance across the spheres of government that are distinctive, interrelated and interdependent, which binds and defines their interface.

2. Previous ANC policy conferences, NEC Makgotla, NGC's, National Conferences, and the NDP have emphasized the need for strengthening alignment in intergovernmental coordination and collaboration. We need a more predictable and coordinated system of how macro policies and priorities are set, and translated into integrated planning instruments and how budgets are developed, deployed and implemented, within and across spheres of government.

3. The overall configuration of the executive should be dictated by policy outcomes and the principles of good governance and efficiency in the configuration of departments.

4. Strategic center of governance: The Conference will give momentum to the strategic centre of governance deliberation. The President is the head of state and the strategic centre of government, and has the requisite powers and functions, including coordinating functions of state departments and administrations. The intention is to re-configure and build capacity to drive strategic coordination, resource planning and prioritization in line with the objectives of the developmental state and the National Development Plan. This will include alignment of the public service, administration, IGR, provinces, municipalities and state owned enterprises.

5. State planning: The centrality of integrated macro policy planning and coordinated implementation is affirmed and supported. Meeting these challenges requires a developmental state with modelling capability, planning and an ability to anticipate the future and thus plan for it.

The macro analysis of the state suggests that there is an uneasy intersection and confluence of socio-economic, demographic, biological and economic forces which portend a country at the crossroads. This calls for endeavours to shed light and assist in providing a line of sight into the future for those who are preoccupied with planning.

The planning and enforcement capability of the state needs to be streamlined. A strategic center in this regard has become urgent.

6. Provincial review: The Presidential Commission to review the powers, functions and number of provinces must be urgently established.

7. State Implementation capability: The ANC has observed and raised serious concerns about the implementation and enforcement of government policies and laws. There is growing evidence of weaknesses on the part of government to execute policy and legislation.

This challenge is due to numerous factors, among others, the absence of accountability and consequences for non-delivery, lack of political will, weak or poor administration capacity, rather than lack of financial resources.

Unfortunately this compromises the ability of the ANC government to deliver and denies our people better and quality services.

The 54th National Conference will examine the effectiveness of governance and accountability mechanisms, including the role of Parliament in providing oversight.

8. Cadre development policy: The several challenges of weak execution, accountability and effective governance points to the lack of and in-adequacies in our cadre development policy.

The ANC must review its policy on cadre development, and ensure that our deployed cadres have the requisite capacity to fulfill their mandates. This policy will apply to all ANC elected public representatives including members of cabinet, members of parliaments, and local government councilors.

The thrust of the policy will be to emphasize accountability, effectiveness, support and development. ANC elected representatives and deployees must be appointed with a clear mandate to execute specific ANC policies and tasks, and as such must be held accountable. This policy must be coupled with a clear accountability framework, which applies to all cadres deployed to lead the state at its various levels.

The overall resolution on supporting the development of an Accountability Framework, with effective monitoring and consequence management was supported. Through this we must reaffirm and where needed restore our values.

9. Relationship between party and the state: The conference will also examine the relationship between the party and the state. This examination should be able to mitigate and minimize the impacts of party challenges spilling into government and thus comprising the capacity of the state.

10. Oversight role of Parliament: The oversight role of parliament will be re-examined so as to ensure an ANC progressive consistent agenda is implemented in parliament. We want to ensure consistency and robustness of parliament's oversight role. In addition to exercising oversight over the Executive, Parliament must also turn its attention to matters affecting broader society.

11. The state of SOEs: The state of some of the SOEs calls for serious intervention to restore governance and prudential management. The conference will emphasize the governance and oversight protocols for SOEs. This will include how we empower the public to hold SOEs accountable, how legislatures play their role in tightening oversight and the executive taking full control in managing their portfolio of SOEs.

12. Traditional leadership system: Issues regarding the traditional leadership system in South Africa have not been fully resolved since the 1994 democratic dispensation. Various engagements and consultations have ensued with Traditional leaders represented by CONTRALESA in an effort to address this gap. The National Conference will make a specific concrete policy determination on the traditional leadership system, and the role of traditional leaders in land governance and administration.

13. Local economic development and unemployment: Unemployment levels in South Africa have remained chronically and exceedingly high, especially amongst the youth. South Africa's Multidimensional Poverty Index (SAMPI) Report has pointed to the contribution of unemployment as a driver of poverty. This has an impact on delivery and affordability of services. Public sector employment programmes must be improved to ameliorate these conditions.

The Local Economic development initiatives of municipalities become key in mitigating this challenge. Cities can play a vital role in building the local economy. Key to this is the provision of utility services for growing business needs. Reliability and supply of electricity remains a constraint. All cities have mechanisms to ensure municipal spending results in maximum economic impact.

14. Urbanization and spatial planning: Various studies estimate that nearly 80% of the total population will be living in urban areas by 2050. One of the biggest challenges of urbanization is the 'urbanisation of poverty', which is increasing, especially in townships, informal settlements and inner cities.

There is a large part of the population that lives in dispersed and impoverished rural settlements, many in the former apartheid homelands. In these areas poverty and unemployment are high and millions of people effectively rely on the state to meet their basic needs.

15. Governance in Cities: In cities we will focus on energizing our base and ANC strongholds. This is particularly the case in Joburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay which are under coalition governments.

The National Conference will examine strategies to respond to the reversal of transformation and racist delivery strategies implemented by the coalitions.

16. Outcomes of High Level Panel: The ANC has noted and appreciate the report of the High Level Panel, which the ANC mandated the 4th Parliament to establish. The challenges raised by the report and their implications on our society are taken very seriously. The High Level Panel has confirmed the core issues that confront our country, namely Poverty, Land, In-Equalities, Implementation and Governance. These issues will be discussed in detail at National Conference, and strategies to resolve the problems identified in the report must be articulated.

Conclusion

The main challenges of poverty, in-equality and land dispossession persist. The capacity and capability of the state is the most critical factor to the solution of this challenge.

The central focus of our commission will be on our ability to plan, implement, enforce, monitor and achieve the desired objectives. The core issues are governance, configuration of the state, the public service, efficiency and effectiveness of the administration, the framework for state owned entities and the cadre development policy, supported by a clear accountability framework.

ISSUED BY

Ayanda Dlodlo
Chairperson: ANC NEC SUBCOMMITTEE ON LEGISLATURE AND GOVERNANCE

Enquiries

Zizi Kodwa
0823304910

Khusela Sangoni
0728545707
Zimbabwe: Does Chinamasa’s Budget Pass the Test?
December 12, 2017
Clive Mphambela
Zimbabwe Herald

Well, it has come and gone. Finance and Economic Development Minister Chinamasa delivered an interesting budget which, as was expected, had its own fair share of highs and lows.

The much anticipated budget dealt some good measure as it highlighted issues needing attention in order to put Zimbabwe’s economic train back on the rails. However, his efforts still missed some critical elements, required to actually power the economy forward.

To his credit, Minister Chinamasa’s delivery was brilliantly honest in terms of its underlying assumptions. He demonstrated Government’s acute understanding of the critical state of the economy. He acknowledged at length the failure of government over recent years to adhere to fiscal order and discipline. He agreed with the common view that excessive indiscipline by the Government right across its breadth and depth has bled the economy and led us to where we are. This level of candour inspires some confidence. In order to start resolving a problem, the very first step is to first identify the problem and then honestly accept the realities engendered by the problem. Hats off to him!

Secondly, Minister Chinamasa did a good job in aligning the Budget statement to the new vision outlined by President Emmerson Mnangagwa. The constant reference to the President’s speech right through his statement showed that there is already a high level of buy-in, not just by his own ministry, but right across the entire Government. Minister Chinamasa touched on critical elements of the New Economic Order’, articulating how various sectors of the economy will be impacted. He clearly understands that the Ministry of Finance and Economic development will play a key coordinative function in this new dispensation. That is the reason his budget touched on the need to review the indigenisation act through amendments to be pushed through as soon as possible. This will be quite reassuring to foreign investors.

Minister Chinamsasa cemented the need to tell the world that “Zimbabwe is now open for business” highlighting strongly that Government is seized with putting in place supportive measures that seek to rebuild confidence and compete for investment. Hence, re-engagement with the global community takes centre stage in his address, as does the need to establish new relationships and strengthen existing relationships with international funders. Minister Chinamasa also recognizes the critical role of the Zimbabwean diaspora in the economic recovery agenda of the country, stating that “the diaspora plays an active role in the broader economy, particularly through investments in the domestic economy, as well as knowledge and technology transfer”, further calling for the creation of conditions for an investment-led economic recovery that is underpinned by the active participation of the diaspora in the “broad economic calculus”. This position of the government is certain to enthuse the diaspora and rekindle strong feelings of loyalty to their country. Fortunately, Hon Chinamasa is the custodian of the diaspora policy, and pledges that Government will, therefore, be strengthening platforms for engaging the Zimbabwean diaspora with a view to coming up with a policy framework that provides incentives and guaranteed security for diaspora investments. In view of the mega deals such as the NRZ-DIDG-Transnet transaction, Government must urgently follow through on this commitment.

To his further credit, Minister Chinamasa dealt at length with measures meant to address the problems in Agriculture, outlined plausible solutions to the problems.

The lengths to which he went to address Issues to do with tenure security for farmers, unlocking the capital value of agricultural land, working on weaknesses in the current financing mechanisms under the special agriculture programmes, marketing challenges and the need to improve the sustainability of small holder farming through special schemes such as the strategic partnerships with Anchor Farmers.

The Anchor Farmer concept integrates commercial farming and smallholder farmer outreach, providing farmers with access to inputs, agronomic advice, and markets. He proposed a massive 150 percent allowable deduction on expenditure related to technical and support services availed to smallholder farmers by anchor farmers which in my view is a substantial incentive for established farmers to want to work with and assist in integrating upcoming farmers into mainstream agriculture.

The budget was also very solid on civil service reform proposals; the need to revamp and revitalise state owned enterprises; transform the public finance management system; addressing inefficiencies caused by rent seeking by government officials and accelerating the ease and cost of doing business reforms.

There are indeed many other positives in the budget but this column notes some glaring shortcomings.

On employment creation, the budget seems to make only sweeping references to the need for jobs but lacks comprehensive strategies specifically aimed at creating new jobs.

Whilst the minister acknowledges the negative consequences of excessive money supply growth caused by excessive government borrowing, which has caused dislocations in the monetary system, he does not seem to provide any solutions to the problem. Indeed he spoke of the need to curb the fiscal deficits, reduce the need for government to rely on inflationary Treasury bills and RBZ overdraft financing, improve foreign currency inflows, but he did not attend to the need to re-look at the additional instability and damage that has been inflicted on the economy by Bond Notes. It is as clear as daylight that this monetary based export incentive is inflationary and is inflaming key variables such as the exchange rate.

This is impacting the cost structures in the economy. Minister Chinamasa only proposes cosmetic solutions to the problem, namely prioritising foreign currency allocations to producers of essential goods and services; exercising flexibility in the issuance of import licences to those with “free funds”, in order to avert shortages of essential goods not produced locally. These solutions ignore an obvious critical fact, that the “free funds” that the Minister refers to are being sourced from the informal market, and this is what is making the problems worse. Minister Chimasasa in this respect completely misses the point that we need to remove bond notes from the system so that the foreign exchange starts to return to the banking system, otherwise we remain doomed. The parallel market will continue to thrive unless we return to the system where some 30 percent or so of transactions in the economy were in US Dollar notes, which were in continuous circulation. There are no concrete proposals aimed at restoring and maintaining the integrity of the multicurrency system by revising the export incentive scheme. This I identify as a major weakness.

The Minister of Finance was however, quite correct to observe that his policy prescriptions merely address the symptoms, and require to be buttressed by additional efforts aimed at fundamental issues related to fiscal imbalances and low production.

As things stand the economy is facing unprecedented challenges from many fronts, with inflation and monetary instability posing as major risk factors. I saw very little by way concrete proposals to deal with these risks. The economy is facing acute foreign currency position, despite significant projected growth in export receipts. The import bill is still projected to rise further from $6,4 billion last year to $6,8 billion this year. The country’s external position will therefore remain precarious and the dislocations in the financial system, the foreign exchange markets and the real goods market (multiple tier pricing ) are likely to continue.

Did Minister Chinamasa deliver a JOBS BUDGET?

Finally perhaps more importantly I need to state that Ministers Chinamasa budget was only going to be relevant to the ordinary man if all his policy measures were keenly focused on CREATING NEW AND SUSTAINABLE JOBS IN THE ECONOMY. If truth be told, he did not do too well on this front. Perhaps he assumed that employment creation is an implicit objective. My view however, is that the citizens are desperate for JOBS and therefore employment creation must necessarily have been an explicit objective in the budget. Minister Chinamasa’s effort therefore falls short of heeding the loud calls by His Excellency that “we need JOBS!, JOBS!, JOBS!!!!” Let us now wait and see how he follows through on this ambitious but very interesting plan.

The writer is an economist. The views expressed in this article are his personal opinions and should in no way be interpreted to represent the views of any organizations that the he is associated or connected with.
TIGHT RACE AS ANC PREPARES TO ELECT ZUMA SUCCESSOR
In a race seen as too close to call, seven candidates are seeking to succeed President Zuma, who has been at the helm of the party for a decade.

Reuters

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s ruling African National Congress holds an election this weekend to replace Jacob Zuma as party leader in a closely fought contest whose winner is likely to emerge as the nation’s next president.

The front-runners are Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, a former trade union leader and one of South Africa’s richest people, and Zuma’s preferred candidate, his ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a former minister and chairwoman of the African Union Commission.

In a race seen as too close to call, seven candidates are seeking to succeed Zuma, who has been at the helm of the party for a decade.

The stakes are high because the ANC’s electoral dominance means whoever wins the party’s top job is likely to become the next president of South Africa after a national election in 2019.

The party holds its conference in Johannesburg between 16-20 December.

All seven ANC leadership hopefuls pledged to Zuma at a meeting last month that they would accept the outcome of the leadership vote in the interests of keeping the 105-year-old organisation intact and avoid splits that could weaken its strength at the national elections in 2019.

Ramaphosa edged Dlamini-Zuma by getting the majority of nominations to become a leader of the party, but the complexity of the leadership race means it is far from certain he will become the next party leader and therefore the likely next president.

Adding another level of complexity, delegates are not bound to vote for the candidate their ANC branch nominated.

Zuma said last week he was “very happy” to be stepping down as ANC president. He can remain as head of state until 2019.

Political uncertainty over the ANC race is a major threat to the country’s credit rating. S&P Global Ratings and Fitch rate South Africa’s debt as “junk”.

Analysts have said South Africa’s business and consumer confidence has been dented in recent years by allegations of corruption in Zuma’s government and influence-peddling by the Gupta family - businessmen who are close friends of the president. Zuma and the Guptas have denied the allegations.

Ramaphosa is viewed as more investor-friendly and has pledged to fight the corruption that has plagued Zuma’s tenure.

Dlamini-Zuma has said she is not tainted by graft and it is fine if the country’s white business community will not endorse her. She has said her priority is to improve the prospects for the black majority.