Archive for August 13th, 2007

source: Times of Zambia

By Times Reporter

THE Southern African Development Community (SADC) is poised to launch the Free Trade Area (FTA) by January next year to accelerate the regional agenda of the grouping.
SADC deputy executive Secretary, Joao Samuel Caholo said this in Lusaka yesterday during a media briefing to highlight the status of the regional integration.
Mr Caholo said most member countries had met the targets except for a few countries that were yet to agree on the SADC trade protocols as well as in the gazetting of tariff phase down.

The countries that had not yet acceded to SADC protocols and gazetting the tariff phase down were Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

He was, however, optimistic that Malawi would during the summit be able to inform the member countries on the advances it had made so far.

“We are on target except for a few countries and efforts by other countries are in place,” Mr Caholo said.

Most member countries, except for Malawi were implementing the protocol on trade and had already gazetted the 2007 tariff reductions.

Mr Caholo said Angola had already embarked on an [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

EDITORIAL
10 August 2007
Posted to the web 13 August 2007

Gaborone

The Bank of Baroda has been making bad news lately – bad news bordering on barefaced racism as its training and localisation policy came under the spotlight in Parliament. Infact, it has emerged that at some stage, the bank deliberately misled the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri, who in turn misled Parliament about the its training and localisation plan, saying that it was going well.

But the poor minister has had to go back to Parliament to say he lied about Baroda’s so-called progressive training and localisation plan.

The minister was misled into believing that two Batswana were holding management positions at the bank, and that differences in benefits for citizens and non-citizens were under active discussion between the bank management and the Botswana Bank Employees Union (BOBEU).

But Matlhabaphiri last week faced a furious House as he narrated how he was misled about the Baroda’s training and localisation policy and other labour related issues there.

As it turns out, the two citizens flaunted as managers are mere supervisors. It has also been found that the issue of benefits was never amicably discussed and has infact had to be referred to an external body, BOBEU.

That expatriate management of a financial institution can lie – with such confidence – to none other than a minister raises a lot of far-reaching questions about its integrity, some of which relate to the veracity and reliability of its financial statements, as well its promptitude in reporting suspected money laundering.

Baroda is an international bank that [continue reading]

source: BOPA
13 August, 2007

GABORONE – President Festus Mogae says Botswana is ready to share experiences with Guinea Bissau on issues of economic and political development.

President Mogae told Martinho Dafa Cabi, Prime Minister of Guinea Bissau during the official talks yesterday that Botswana will always be ready to assist the country to advance its aims of development.

We as a multiparty democracy appreciate the latest development in your country, he said. They give way to peace which is important. In a peaceful atmosphere we are able to pursue aims of development in order to fight poverty.

He said as Botswana and Guinea Bissau had common challenges of fighting poverty, employment creation and developments, it was important for them to establish relations. Mr Cabi is on a two day official visit to benchmark on issues of governance, democracy and management of mineral resources.

The benchmarking seeks to forge a way forward towards the development of Guinea Bissau following long periods of political instability.

Prime Minister Cabi is leading a new government that came into power in April this year with commitment to multiparty system and economic stability.

Guinea Bissau operated as a one-party state before. But after war the country settled for multi party democracy.

The country went into civil war in 1998 and this dented its economic development, thereby impacting negatively on the level of poverty.

The country is now trying to recover from those problems. In his response, Mr Cabi applauded Botswana for [continue reading]

SADC wants single currency

source: Times of Zambia

By BRIAN HATYOKA

SOUTHERN Africa Development Community (SADC) member states are working on modalities for the establishment of a single currency unit for the region by 2018, deputy executive secretary, Joao Caholo, has said.
Mr Caholo said that SADC had already created a Macroeconomic Surveillance and Performance Unit at the secretariat in Botswana to facilitate for among other things, the creation of a monetary union.

Speaking in an interview in Lusaka over the weekend, Mr Caholo said that SADC member states were also working on reducing the inflation levels for the SADC region to single digit.

He said the committee of central banks was monitoring the region’s direction towards single digit inflation.

Meanwhile, SADC director of infrastructure development, Remmy Makumbe, has said that the provision of quality infrastructure is key to sustaining growth in trade and business in the Southern African region.

Mr Makumbe who is based at the SADC secretariat in Botswana said that improved infrastructure was important to facilitate the handling of imports and exports among member states.

Speaking in Lusaka when he featured on ZNBC TV’s SADC special program earlier in the week, Mr Makumbe said that the challenge that SADC member states faced was to attract additional investments to support infrastructure development.

“Infrastructure development is one of the key challenges that we have in the region and we [continue reading]

source: SouthAfrica.info

13 August 2007

Marketers and communicators from across Africa will gather in Johannesburg this week to discuss the best ways to harness the 2010 Fifa World Cup to project a new image of Africa to the world.

The second annual National Communication Partnership Conference, hosted by the International Marketing Council of South Africa (IMC) and the 2010 National Communication Partnership task team, takes place in Sandton on Wednesday.

The IMC is responsible for branding South Africa across the world, while the task team includes representatives of the government, organised business and the 2010 Local Organising Committee (LOC).

This year’s conference, themed “Africa’s time has come”, will bring together marketers and communicators from across Africa to discuss how to create a global mind change about the continent.

Ben Egbuna, president of the African Union of Broadcasters, will address delegates on [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)

13 August 2007
Posted to the web 13 August 2007

Sanchia Temkin
Johannesburg

Rate of tax to be reduced, and “a tax on the shareholder” is set to replace it.

THE expected change from secondary tax on companies (STC) to a final withholding tax has created some speculation including when the change will be implemented, what the transition provisions will be, if any, and how financing structures will be affected, say tax analysts.

There are also uncertainties as to how financing structures of black economic empowerment transactions will take place.

The tax has been the subject of much criticism since its introduction. It was largely condemned by foreign investors as a disincentive who found the tax confusing.

A great deal of the criticism has been leveled at SA’s effective corporate tax rate of 36,9% which far exceeds the global average of 27,76%. When the country’s additional secondary tax on companies is added, at the rate of 12,5% on net dividends declared by a company, the total tax reaches 36,9%.

Government has argued that the tax was an incentive for growing companies and to stimulate job creation.

However, tax analysts have argued that STC has been an awkward and minimal tax for the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

The phasing out of the tax is [continue reading]

source: BOPA
13 August, 2007

PARLIAMENT – The Judges Pensions Bill went through third reading on Thursday after it was adopted at committe stage with some amendments The bill calls for provision for pensions of judges of the Court of Appeal, the High Court and the Industrial Court.

When it was first tabled in the last meeting, it evoked a heated debate with most MPs calling for some amendments before it could be passed.

The Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Mr Phandu Skelemani, had to go back to the drawing board.

On Thursday, when debate resumed, he called for a substitution of a sub-clause in Clause 10 to include the words or on resignation.

The clause now reads :Where a judge entitled to payment of a pension on retirement or on resignation dies and is survived by a spouse, the spouse shall, subject to subsection (2), be entitled to a pension for life at the rate of 50 percent of such judges pension, Though the MP for Palapye, Mr Boyce Sebetela, had proposed 13 amendments, he withdrew most of them after further consultations with Mr Skelemani.

Some of the amendments that Mr Sebetela withdrew include Clause 4 of the bill which states that a person appointed a judge in the judicial service on permanent and pensionable terms under the Constitution or enactment under which he or she is or was appointed shall, on attaining the age of retirement, after having served as a judge for a continuous period of 15 years, be eligible for payment of full pension.

The legislator had wanted 15 to be replaced with 20. In Clause 5 of the bill he had wanted 5 (1) to be deleted.

The Clause reads: Where a judge resigns after [continue reading]

source: The Standard (Zimbabwe)

BY WALTER MARWIZI

SOUTH AFRICAN President Thabo Mbeki has agreed to meet Zimbabwean civil society leaders ahead of this week’s Sadc summit in Lusaka, Zambia, it has been confirmed.

This represents a major breakthrough for civil society organisations, who for long lobbied to be included in Mbeki’s mediation efforts.

The talks have been confined to Zimbabwe’s two major parties, the ruling Zanu PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Civil society organisations have argued for a “multi-sectoral approach” to the mediation process, saying other players, besides Zanu PF and MDC, must be involved if a meaningful solution to the economic and political crisis was to be found.

Among groups invited will be non-governmental organisations (NGOs) dealing with governance and human rights, labour, churches, youth and women organisations. These groups have been formally invited to Pretoria to meet Mbeki either on Monday or Tuesday, sources said yesterday.

They said the timing of the meeting was particularly important considering that Mbeki has to report back on the progress of the talks to other regional leaders at the SADC summit where the Zimbabwean issue is expected to feature prominently on the agenda.

A South African embassy official said yesterday: “I would not like to comment on that issue at the moment but you should know where there is smoke, there is a fire.”

Jacob Mafume, one of the co-ordinators of the civil society organisations, confirmed they would present their position to the mediators in Pretoria.

“We have just got a response from the embassy, saying [continue reading]

source: SouthAfrica.info
Thapelo Sakoana

13 August 2007

South Africa aims to discourage smoking among its youth by passing the Tobacco Product Amendment Bill, which increases the age restriction for selling of tobacco from 16 to 18 years of age.

“This means that all minors will no longer be allowed in a designated smoking area,” said Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang.

The Bill is currently in the National Council of Provinces, and once approved, will be submitted to President Thabo Mbeki for endorsement before it becomes law.

According to Tshabalala-Msimang, the abuse of tobacco, alcohol and drugs disrupts families, is a cause of human suffering and also negatively impacts on the country’s economy.

“Ill health affects the productivity of every sector of the industry, and about 2.5-million working days are lost annually in this country from diseases related to tobacco products of any form being used,” she said.

“Furthermore, low-income households spend about 4% of their total expenditure on cigarettes.”

Harsh penalites
“The Bill also increases the penalties for the owner of a public place or employer who [continue reading]

source: The Standard (Zimbabwe)

THE recent introduction of the $200 000 bearer cheque by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe was an indirect admission by the governor Gideon Gono, that he had lost the war against inflation, his Number One Enemy, economists said last week.

Responnding to questions on the issue, RBZ said in a statement: “Please note that the introduction of the $200 000 bearer cheque note is not in anyway equivalent to the slashing of zeros by any imagination, as this does not have a bearing on the market prices of goods and services in the economy.

“It was simply an introduction, in due response to the genuine submissions from the business community, the financial sector and the transacting public, on the need for added convenience on cash transactions.”

But in separate interviews, economists said the new bearer cheque was introduced because of high inflationary pressures.

“The move is just a cosmetic way of making things look better,” said John Robertson, a Harare based independent economist. “It is a wish by the government to save paper. They are only trying to avoid printing more money.

“The currency’s decreasing value now required that they print more of the lower denominations.”

Although it managed to heighten shoppers’ buying “ability”, the slashing of prices failed to control the inflation scourge as people hoarded goods for resale at inflated prices on the black market, an economist who preferred anonymity said.

He said the move resembled the [continue reading]

source: BOPA
13 August, 2007

GABORONE – Botswana subscribes to the idea of a food reserve facility for the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Mr Baledzi Gaolathe, said.

Botswana, as a net importer of food stuff, is in supportive of any plans geared towards boosting food security in the region, he said.

SADC member countries in 2004 agreed in principle to establish the regional food reserve facility which was intended to ensure either physical stocks or financial reserve for use in times of food crisis.

The move was meant to buttress the threat of hunger that was forever hovering over the heads of many southern Africans.

Already in Botswana, the president has declared draught year and moved to put in place drought relief programmes.

Mr Gaolathe said the SADC summit getting underway in Lusaka was highly likely to get a progress report on the issue if not to discuss it.

Immediate objectives of the SADC facility were to mobilise enough resources for emergency situations and [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
BuaNews (Tshwane)

13 August 2007
Posted to the web 13 August 2007

Pretoria

South Africans have been invited to join the discussion and make submissions regarding how various powers and functions can be spread across all three spheres of government.

The Department of Provincial and Local Government (dplg) has launched a wide ranging policy review that will result in a set of recommendations about the allocation of powers and functions across local, provincial and national government.

“The first phase in the process was the publication of 65 questions in the Government Gazette, to elicit the views of the public, civil society, policy makers and councilors, officials and practitioners working in the government system,” said the department.

“The questions are not meant to be exhaustive, but are rather a guide to facilitate participation. Submissions can go beyond them.”

Members of the public have been invited to make their contributions to this process until the closing date on 31 October 2007.

Following this, a green paper on the provinces will be drafted (the first national policy document for the provincial sphere) and a [continue reading]

source: BOPA
13 August, 2007

SEROWE – The Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) in Serowe has expressed gratitude about a positive response from the public towards the newly established body.

The branch manager, Mr Ramasia Ramasia, said he was convinced that people now have a better understanding of his organisations role as well as what it had to offer.

We just need to keep on interacting with them to reinforce what they already know, he said in an interview.

So far, close to 400 people have approached LEA for assistance most of which regard business plans for enterprises and help on how to get finance under government schemes.

He said the organisation, which was established to empower local enterprises with [continue reading]

source: BOPA
13 August, 2007

GABORONE-Government is in the process of establishing new unit called Botswana Government Communications and Information Systems (BGCIS), within the Office of the President.

According to a press release from Office of the President, the purpose of the unit will be to network with existing communications structures in ministries and departments to ensure that the government as a whole is able to more effectively communicate to both the domestic and international audiences.

The release states that Dr Jeff Ramsay has been appointed as the coordinator. However, he will also continue to serve as the Press Secretary the president for the time being.

Mrs Monica Mphusu has been appointed Director, Media Relations.

Mrs Mphusu has held the positions of [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)

ANALYSIS
13 August 2007
Posted to the web 13 August 2007

Mariam Isa
Johannesburg

THE outcome of the Reserve Bank’s monetary policy meeting this week looks like a foregone conclusion, but the widely expected hike in interest rates is likely to be the last in this business cycle.

Governor Tito Mboweni signalled repeatedly in the past month that lending rates were set to rise again as underlying inflation became “more generalised”, while stricter lending rules had so far failed to dent robust consumer spending and credit demand.

That means the Bank is likely to raise its key repo rate by another half-percentage point to 10% when its two-day meeting ends on Thursday.

But domestic money markets are also pricing in the likelihood of a further hike at the next monetary policy consultation in October, with forward rate agreements putting those odds at 60-40 last week.

“Hawkish comments by Mboweni have pretty much sealed the case for a half percentage point rate hike on August 16,” says Citigroup economist Jean-Francois Mercier.

“However, the Bank will probably pause afterwards to assess the impact of past hikes on the economy and the outlook for 2008 inflation … we still do not see an October rate hike as the most likely scenario.”

Since June last year, the Bank has raised interest rates by a cumulative 2,5 percentage points, with the most recent hike two months ago. Although consumers tend to notice right away, it takes up to two years for the effect of changes in interest rates to be felt fully in an economy.

Retail sales figures for June, due on Wednesday, may provide further food for thought at the two-day monetary policy meeting, after jumping by an annual rate of 9% in May, up from 5,9% in April.

Economists predict the pace will slow in June, but not [continue reading]