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South Africa: Mbeki, Manuel to give evidence in arms probe


The Citizen

July 16th, SAPA

Former president Thabo Mbeki will testify as a witness in the first phase of the Arms Procurement Commission, it was announced.

The commission, which is probing the R70 billion arms procurement deal, will hold public hearings from August 5 until January 31, subject to President Jacob Zuma granting an extension beyond November, spokesman William Baloyi said in a statement on Monday.

Mbeki and Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel were set to testify in the second half of January.

Baloyi said the first phase of the commission would “deal with the rationale for the Strategic Defence Procurement Package”, and whether the arms and equipment acquired were under-utilised or not utilised at all.

The first witnesses would be navy and air force officials. Armscor witnesses would be named later.

Former Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils and Congress of the People president Mosiuoa Lekota would be called as witnesses between September 30 and October 4, followed by department of trade and industry officials until November 11.

Former Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin was expected to testify for three days in November, followed by National Treasury officials until the end of that month.

“It is also important to note that the programme is not cast in stone and circumstances prevailing at the hearings may require that it be adapted or altered, and this may also effect the sequence of witnesses,” Baloyi said.

“Some of the witnesses may be recalled at a later stage, when the commission deals with the terms of reference relating to allegations of impropriety, fraud and corruption in the acquisition process, a phase in which the ‘whistleblowers’ and those who are implicated will feature.”

The commission would be held in the council chambers of the Sammy Marks Conference Centre in Pretoria.

The deal, which was initially estimated to cost R43 million, has dogged South Africa’s politics since it was signed in 1999, after then Pan Africanist Congress MP Patricia de Lille raised allegations of corruption in Parliament.

Zuma himself was once charged with corruption after his financial adviser Schabir Shaik, who had a tender to supply part of the requirements, was found to have facilitated a bribe for him from a French arms company.

The charges against Zuma were later dropped.

Nigeria Validates Manitoba’s Power-Mangement Contract


Bloomberg

By Elisha Bala-Gbogbo

Nov 21, 2012

Nigeria validated a power-management contract signed by Canada’s Manitoba Hydro Electric Board in July to run the state-owned power utility Transmission Co. of Nigeria after regulatory approval, the Bureau of Public Enterprises, the privatization agency, said.

“We have received ratification from the Bureau of Public Procurement and the contract has been certified,” Chukwuma Nwokoh, a spokesman for the Abuja-based privatization agency said by phone today. Under Nigerian laws, all contracts entered into by the government needs to be certified by the Bureau of Public Procurement.

Reuben Abati, a spokesman for President Goodluck Jonathan, on Nov. 14 announced the cancellation of the contract saying the correct procedure wasn’t followed. Manitoba “did not follow the law strictly” and initial report of the termination was a “misunderstanding,” Jonathan said on Nov. 18 in an interview broadcast on state-rub television NTA

Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, is selling majority stakes in power plants and letting private investors buy as much as 60 percent of 11 distribution companies spun out of the former state-owned utility as it seeks private investment to curb power shortages. Blackouts are a daily occurrence in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with more than 160 million people. Demand for electricity in Nigeria is almost double the supply of about 4,000 megawatts and the government plans to boost output to 14,019 megawatts by 2013.

Bids worth more than $2 billion by companies including Siemens AG (SIE) and Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEP) were approved by the government for the sale of the companies on Oct. 30.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elisha Bala-Gbogbo in Abuja atebalagbogbo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dulue Mbachu at dmbachu@bloomberg.net

 

South Africa: Infrastructure inputs to be designated for local procurement – Davies


September 22, 2011
The initial products to be “designated” by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as ones that should be procured locally by all spheres of government and State-owned enterprises in line with the amended Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act regulations would be products used in infrastructure programmes, as well as those regularly purchased by government departments, Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies revealed on Thursday.

Speaking to the business community in Cape Town about the second iteration of the Industrial Policy Action Plan (Ipap2) at an event hosted by Wesgro and Webber Wentzel, Davies stressed that the designation of products was part of a government plan to leverage procurement in order to raise domestic production and employment.

The main vehicle would be the new preferential procurement regulations, which become effective on December 7. These amended regulations allow the DTI to designate particular parts and products that will have to be procured locally by all organs of State and Davies intends that the effect will be felt immediately.

“The 7th of December is actually when the first group of designations takes effect, not the date that we start the work,” he said.

The idea behind the designation was also to stimulate South Africa’s struggling manufacturing sector, the economic importance of which should not be “underestimated” in a developing country such as South Africa. Manufacturing, Davies averred, should not be considered to be dispensable simply if other sectors in the economy are flourishing.

“The lessons of economic history tell us that there is no case anywhere in the world, at any time, of any country that has taken itself out of being an underdeveloped economy to become a developed economy without this being led by manufacturing,” said Davies.

Acknowledging the challenges present in the manufacturing sector as a result of factors such as the 2008/9 global economic crisis, the rand’s overvaluation (which was now rebalancing) and industrial action, Davies said that Ipap2 was attempting to address some of the structural issues around manufacturing, though in an economic climate that is itself not ideal…Read more.

Stop sitting on the sidelines (South Africa)


Information
Image by heathbrandon via Flickr

Moneyweb

August 2011

Kim Cloete

CAPE TOWN – Gareth Ackerman comes across as something of a lone ranger in the business world.

Well, at least as far as putting his views on the line about controversial legislation and problems within government.

He raised concerns about the Protection of Information Bill a few months ago when he said it had the potential to scare off foreign investors and blunt the rights of consumers.

Now he’s come out strongly again about the legislation – as well as a range of other issues which he has warned could potentially scupper investment in South Africa, amongst them labour inflexibility, corruption and fading democratic principles.

In a speech to the Cape Town Press Club, he called on other business leaders to take more of a stand on key policy debates and issues they feel strongly about.

I’m very concerned that business people who are very dependent on government contracts, are scared of retribution from government. Government is a very large spender with very large tenders. You don’t want to fall foul of government. That’s why business falls quiet.” Read more.

Piracy’s Emerging Market: The Gulf of Guinea


The Gulf of Guinea without labels. Map modifie...
Image via Wikipedia

August 8th, 2011

By David Rider, Neptune Maritime Security

Despite the best efforts of the world’s navies and EU NAVFOR in particular, piracy in the Indian Ocean/Gulf of Aden and Red Sea areas shows no sign of abating. Quite the contrary, according to a report released by the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre in July this year. Of the incidents reported, over sixty per cent were conducted by pirate gangs operating off the coast of Somalia and Arabian Sea. Indeed, the attacks were becoming more violent and pirates were taking much greater risks, the IMB stated.

The success of Somali pirates has not gone unnoticed by criminals in other parts of the African continent.

Since May this year, there have been increasing reports of pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) and off the coast of West Africa. The incidents prompted the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre to issue a specific warning in June, citing eight attacks off Cotonou, Benin. Since then, the number of attacks has increased significantly, although it’s virtually impossible to accurately gauge the amount of pirate activity due to insufficient reporting from the region. One security analyst told Reuters that, “In Nigeria it is estimated that approximately 60 percent of pirate attacks go unreported”*…Read more.

Africa’s Flourishing Niger Delta Threatened by Libya Water Plan


The Niger at Koulikoro, Mali.
Image via Wikipedia

Global Policy Forum

February 3,  2011

By Fred Pearce

Yale Environment 360

The Niger delta is Africa’s second largest floodplains. It sustains millions of farmers, fisher people and herders and is home of a rich diversity of wildlife. But, Libya supports a project to divert the Niger River for extensive irrigation upstream and make Libya self-sufficient in food. This plan is the result of a backdoor deal between Libyan leader, Moammar Gaddafi, and Mali’s President, Amadou Toumani Toure. Mali, one of the poorest countries in the world, has agreed to hand over land to a Libyan-controlled organization and “undisclosed rights” to the Niger delta in exchange for aid and investment. Yet, this will prove detrimental to Malian food security. The Niger delta will run dry, diminishing the seasonal floods and damaging the livelihood of millions of poor citizens.

Daouda Sanankoua is an aquatic mayor, and proud of it. The elected boss of the district of Deboye arrived for our meeting in the West African state of Mali last month by overnight ferry. At this time of year, the majority of his district is flooded. Thank goodness. “More water is good,” he said, peering at his foreign inquisitor over his glasses. “Everything here depends on the water, but the government is taking our water.”While we spoke, in the tiny schoolyard of Akka village, a few meters from the lapping waters of Lake Deboye, the headlines around the world brought news of flood disasters in Australia, Brazil, and Sri Lanka. But Daouda was grateful for the annual swelling of the River Niger, which left most of his 24 villages marooned. For without the water, they would be desert.The floods in what geographers call the inner Niger delta nurture abundant fish for the Bozo people, who lay their nets in every waterway and across the lakes. As the waters recede, they leave wet soils in which the Bambara people plant millet and rice, and they expose vast aquatic pastures of bourgou (or hippo grass) that sustain cattle and goats brought by nomadic Fulani herders from as far away as Mauritania and Burkina Faso. This inland delta is Africa’s second-largest floodplain and one of its most unique wetlands. Seen from space, it is an immense smudge of green and blue on the edge of the Sahara.But this rare and magnificently productive ecosystem is now facing an unprecedented threat, as a Libyan-backed enterprise has begun construction of a project inside Mali that will divert large amounts of Niger River water for extensive irrigation upstream…Read more.

Somalia: Armed guards to be allowed on ships


US Navy 071202-N-3764J-003 Merchant vessel Al ...
Image via Wikipedia

Thursday 21st July 2011

By Keith Hamilton

Shipping & Heritage Reporter

THE threat from pirates to British shipping is so great that UK-flagged vessels – including many that visit Southampton – will soon be able to employ armed guards as they navigate dangerous waters.

Shipping minister Mike Penning has indicated the Government is about to introduce new legislation which will change the present law and give the legal go-ahead for ships flying the red ensign to recruit armed guards…“Legislation will have to be changed to protect our seafarers around the world,’’ said the minister. “At present it is illegal to use armed guards on British ships, but we are where we are and I cannot ignore the situation.’’ The government believes the new regulations will regulate and control the recruitment of armed guards, and will stop any “cowboys’’ being allowed on board British ships.

Despite a naval task force patrolling near the Horn of Africa, Somali pirates have taken 361 sailors captive in the first six months of this year…Read more.

Swaziland: Business must exploit regional public procurement


COMESA
Image via Wikipedia

July 8th, 2011

by  Nomthandazo Nkambule

COMMON Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) Procurement Expert Isaac Ndahiro has urged the business community in the country to exploit the opportunity availed by the harmonisation of public procurement in the region.

He said this was to enable them to participate in the expanded market of COMESA through supplying various government requirements needed amongst member states.

He said COMESA member states, including Swaziland had made a significant contribution to formulating their laws and regulations which govern public procurement to foster harmonisation of procedures and also make it user friendly for the business community in the regionNdahiro said such laws and regulations would promote predictability of the regulatory regime.

He said most COMESA member states had developed more or less uniform procedures and corresponding practices in conducting public procurement.
Ndahiro was speaking during a business opportunity seminar held at Esibayeni Lodge organised by COMESA in partnership with government and the Federation of Swaziland Employers and Chamber of Commerce (FSE&CC).
approach…Read more.

Middle East: Turkey’s arms exports not affected by unrest, report says


FOUR ARMS!!!
Image by ÐIÐËO via Flickr

March7, 2011, Los Angeles Times

by Meris Lutz

Is Turkey’s role in the Middle East centrist, or just plain cynical?

Ankara’s arms trade with Middle Eastern and North African countries is thriving, according to local reports, despite popular uprisings across the region against governments described by the protest movement and others as repressive and corrupt.

One senior procurement official with knowledge of defense contracts described the current industry climate as “business as usual” to the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News. Read more

 

Eye-Witness to the Egyptian Revolution

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