Archive for April 29th, 2009

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

The annual inflation rate is likely fall within the Bank of Botswana (BoB) medium to long-term target of between 3-6 percent by the third quarter of the year, economist Keith Jefferis has said.

In the first quarter economic review of BIFM, Jefferis who is chairman of the financial institution’s investment committee said that the annual inflation rate will go down because the consumer price index is expected to continue falling steadily throughout the year. He said the inflation level will fall below six percent – the upper end of central bank’s target – by August.

He predicted that the figure will remain around the 5-6 percent level for the remainder of the year.When oil prices were spiralling last year and driving up inflationary pressure, the central bank abandoned short term inflation targeting and adopted a medium to long-term objective of 3-6 percent. Last month the annual inflation rate stagnated after a five-month decrease. The annual inflation rate remained [continue reading]

source: allAfrica (Washington, DC)
Cheryl Pellerin
27 April 2009

Outbreaks of a new strain of influenza virus that began in north-central Mexico March 22 and have spread to the United States, Canada and Spain so far have prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare the event a public health emergency of international concern.

Mexican authorities have reported up to 1,600 influenza cases and more than 100 influenza deaths. Twenty six of the deaths have been confirmed as caused by the new H1N1 swine flu virus, WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said in an April 27 briefing.

The number of U.S. cases has risen to 40, and on April 26 the United States declared a public health emergency, which “allows us to free up federal, state and local agencies and their resources for prevention and mitigation,” Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said. Flu cases in the United States so far have been mild.

“We do not yet have a complete picture of the epidemiology or the risks,” WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said at an April 25 briefing, including possible spread beyond the [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

Driven mainly by a conducive environment and infrastructure set up by government, Botswana’s Information, Technology and Communications (ICT) sector continues to develop although at a slower pace than expected, an economist said yesterday.

Dr Phumzile Thobokwe of the Botswana National Productivity Centre (BNPC) told an ICT seminar in Gaborone that the private sector is not doing enough to help the country to develop into a knowledge-based society with an industry that thrives on ICT advancement.

Presenting a paper on the Global Information Technology (GIT) report, Thobokwe said that this year, Botswana has moved one place up to position 77 out of 134 countries on Networked Readiness Index.

She said that although Botswana had a slight improvement, there is still [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa
By Violet Gonda
28 April 2009

Finance Minister Tendai Biti was expected to leave the US on Tuesday evening, following a fundraising trip to try and get immediate financial rescue packages from the US government, the International Monetary fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

It is understood that although there was no sign of an immediate bail out by the institutions, the IMF has agreed to set up a multi donor trust fund to be run by itself, the United Nations Development Program, the World Bank and the African Development Bank. It’s reported the money will be used ‘for budgetary support until the inclusive government has a track record’.

Massive corruption and the bad financial policies of the Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono have meant that the Zimbabwean government has no economic credibility. It is understood that this trust fund will be used as a stop gap measure, until such a time as the government can be trusted by the international funding institutions. The funds will be sent direct to Tendai Biti’s Ministry of Finance and will completely bypass the Reserve Bank.

The news comes after the IMF’s Africa Department Director, Antoinette Sayeh, said that the actions taken [continue reading]

source: IOL
April 29 2009 at 09:40AM
By Ntokozo Mfusi

The KwaZulu-Natal Health Department on Tuesday moved to allay fears of a possible outbreak of swine flu in the province, saying no cases had been reported and that authorities had taken adequate measures to ensure they were ready to respond should a case be identified in the country.

Sapa-AP reported that the flu had spread to the Middle East and the South Pacific yesterday, as New Zealand confirmed 11 cases and Israel one. World health officials raced to contain the outbreak, raising the global alert level as more deaths were reported in Mexico.

Swine flu has already spread to seven countries and appears to be jumping borders via flights.

Those infected in New Zealand are a [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

In the midst of the biting economic crisis, it has emerged that the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) has approved an increment of P57 million in consultancy fees for various government projects. The reasons advanced for the hike range from increase in material costs to changes in the cost of projects.

In the last year, engineering consultants have increased their fees in various government projects leading to cost over-runs of millions. In some projects, cost over-runs have passed the hundred percent mark with others costing nearly twice the original figures.

The work for the pre and post-contract electrical engineering phase of the Maximum Security Prison in Francistown was awarded to M & K Associates at a cost P2,061,570.

But this has shot up to P5,049 381, an increase of 144 percent. Another phase of the same project by the same company was originally [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Inter Press Service (Johannesburg)
Ignatius Banda
28 April 2009

Bulawayo — Cash-strapped residents of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second city are digging in their heels and refusing to pay utility bills despite the municipality teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. At the heart of the dispute are dismal service delivery and the conundrum of using multiple currencies in an economy that boasts world record inflation.

The parallel use of multiple currencies announced in January by Tendai Biti, the newly appointed minister of finance in the unity government, effectively rendered the local currency extinct in everyday transactions. According to economists more stable currencies are being preferred as a hedge against hyper inflation and the local currency’s volatility after years of economic recession. But the policy barons appear to have underplayed the local reality of ratepayers who do not have [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

FRANCISTOWN: The industrial court that sat in Francistown yesterday has awarded an ex-employee who claims that his ex-boss cheated him out of his money P20,000.

Industrial Court Judge, Anna Mathiba, said that even though there was never a written agreement between the two, it is clear that he was employed under the terms that he told the court.

Mathiba ruled that since the respondent who was not in court was notified several times of the court date, the court would only take the applicant’s case into record.

Telling his story to the court, Mogomotsi Seleko, aged 23, told the court that he had not been paid in the three years that Lebopo Job hired him. Seleko told the court that he started working for the respondent in January 2002.

“My salary was P500 per month but [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
BuaNews (Tshwane)
27 April 2009

Pretoria — South Africa’s fourth democratically elected President will be inaugurated during a ceremony at the Union Buildings on 9 May 2009.

Tens of thousands of people are also expected to crowd into the grounds of the Union Buildings lawns to witness the ceremony, organisers have also placed 100 big television screens with live up-links across the country for those who cannot attend.

The ceremony is expected to be attended by the Heads of State from all corners of the world, premiers and royalty and representatives from international organisations such as the United Nations, the African Union, the Southern Africa Development Community and others.

The theme for the event is: ‘”Together, celebrating a vibrant democracy and building a better life for all”.

Ahead of the inauguration, the National Assembly will have its first sitting on [continue reading]

Professor Ndawonde
28 April 2009

President Kgalema Motlanthe has thanked South Africans for turning out in huge numbers last week to vote peacefully in the country’s fourth general elections.

Speaking at an event to celebrate the country’s Freedom Day in Durban on Monday, Motlanthe said South Africa’s political maturity was reflected in a free and fair election marked by very few incidents of violence.

According to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), 77.3% of South Africa’s 23.18-million registered voters cast their ballots in last Wednesday’s poll – one of the highest voter turnouts in the world.

Motlanthe also thanked the IEC for an outstanding performance, saying: “The fact that we had a demanding but successful election day, which was followed by a normal working day without any interruption to our daily life, shows that our electoral system is intact and improving.”

The election also showed that [continue reading]