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Ethiopia: Five International Companies Vying to Print Standardised Cheques


AllAfrica.com

By ELLENI ARAYA, 14 JULY 2013

Five companies are in contention to print the National Bank of Ethiopia‘s (NBE) first ever batch of standardised cheques. This was revealed on Tuesday, last week, when the NBE opened bids from cheque printing companies for the supply of 419,261 chequebooks.

In a bid to avoid forgery and expedite cheque clearing and settlement, the NBE, along with the Ethiopian Bankers’ Association (EBA), made a decision to standardise all cheques from banks across the country. This will include the inclusion of security features that are hard to replicate and a technology solution, called Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR).

Following this, the NBE floated a selective tender in May 2013.This procurement tender aimed to select and approve authorised MICR cheque printing companies, which Ethiopian banks could use. In addition, it also targeted selecting a company for the initial standardised printing of cheques to supply Ethiopian banks.

All of the cheques to be printed will have the same features, except for the logos of different banks, which will be printed on them, according to sources within the NBE.

By the extended bid closing date of July 9, 2013, seven companies had participated in the tender. Participants included – Ethiopian Trade-Contract (ET-CON) PLC, Sudan Currency Printing Press (SCCP), Tall printing, Shree Nidhi Secure printing, De La Rue, Madras Secure Printing and Manipal group, according to sources at the NBE.

In the presence of bidders, the procurement team at the National Bank and an advisor from the Commercial Bank ofEthiopia, technical proposals were opened for initial review during bid opening. Two of the companies – the local based, ET-CON, known in the financial sector for providing note and coin counting machines fromSwedenand SCCP – the only MCIR printing company inSudan, were disqualified for not complying with the bidding requirements.

Proposals from the rest of the companies will be evaluated by a bid committee. This includes the property & services management, and clearing and settlement department heads of the NBE, along with advisors from commercial banks, starting this week.

“The Ethiopian Conformity Assessmet Enterprise is also on board to lend its expertise on the quality of cheques to be printed and approve of the committee’s final pick,” an official who works closely on the issue at the NBE told Fortune anonymously

South Sudan: Warrior Security ready to employ all independent contractors


Sudan Tribune

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 29, 2013

Warrior Security (South Sudan) today re-affirmed its commitment to absorb all UNMISS guards that choose to apply for employment with the company and encouraged the former guards to utilize ongoing recruitment process.

“We have close to 1000 positions at different sites that we need to fill over the next one year,’ said Tony Sugden, CEO Warrior Security (South Sudan). “This opportunity is open to all existing UNMISS guards.”

The security company currently employs 2100 guards and projects that there will be up to 4000 South Sudanese citizens employed by July 2014.

“Warrior has been working with UNMISS, to circulate letters of invitation and application forms however, very few have chosen to come across so far,” said Glenn Corey, Communications Manager at Warrior Security (South Sudan).

“This is an ongoing, open, process. We encourage guards that are interested to fill in the application forms so files can be opened for them to secure employment,” added Mr. Sugden.

“There are additional advantages in working for Warrior Security (South Sudan) as opposed to being an independent contractor, such as medical coverage and permanent employment, neither of which were included in the contracts for independent contractors under previous arrangements.” said Mr. Corey.

The recruitment drive currently under way is in line with the Warrior Security (South Sudan) company policy requiring all guards and supervisors to be South Sudanese to secure employment with Warrior Security (South Sudan).

“In every country that we work in, local residents come first in line whenever a job opportunity arises,” said Mr. Sugden.

“We understand that this may be a worrying time for former independent contractors, but we want to assure them that the vast majority of them will still have jobs, and that in moving to Warrior Security (South Sudan) they will always be respected and well looked after,” said Mr. Corey.

Warrior Security (South Sudan), is a legally registered company in South Sudan and has been operating in all ten states of South Sudan since 2007, when it was known as Southern Sudan. As a private company, Warrior Security (South Sudan) is subject to South Sudan’s current labour laws and legislation. Warrior Security (South Sudan) is proud of its ongoing commitment to offer employment to South Sudanese citizens under the current labour legislation.

For more information:

Glenn Corey

Warrior Security (South Sudan) Communications Manager

glenncorey@warrior-security.com

+211 (0) 954 783 168

World Bank Bars Two Oxford University Press Subsidiaries From Contracts


Ventures

By Busayo

July 4th, 2012

VENTURES AFRICA – In order to enforce corporate integrity, two wholly-owned subsidiaries of Oxford University Press (OUP), Oxford University Press East Africa Limited (OUPEA) and Oxford University Press Tanzania Limited (OUPT), have been blacklisted from participating in World Bank projects and other agency projects which have an agreement with the World Bank like the African Development Bank.

In their place, Oxford’s archrivals Kenya Literature Bureau (KLB), Longhorn Kenya and state owned Jomo Kenyatta Foundation (JKF) are expected to be the major beneficiaries of the three-year ban.

According to the World Bank, the Kenyan and Tanzanian subsidiaries were blacklisted for irregular payments to government officials for two contracts to supply text books under programmes funded by the Bretton Woods institution.

Oxford East Africa was penalised and delisted by the World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) from the World Bank’s multi-billion shilling project for three years after it was linked in a bribery scandal with top government officials.

The publishing house parent company, Oxford University Press (OUP), was billed Sh292 million ($3.5 million) as part of the settlement.

Oxford’s debarment comes one year after donors pulled out of the $80 million (Sh6.7 billion) Kenya Education Sector Support Programme (KESSP) citing rampant fraud involving senior officials at the Ministry of Education.

The bribery scandal investigation that culminated in a penalties and sanctions started in May last year and closed early this year after establishing that the subsidiaries bribed government officials directly and through agents to win tenders and publishing contracts for textbooks.

Investigators found that Oxford East Africa was involved in widespread bribery that spanned five countries including Burundi, Malawi, Rwanda, Sudan and Uganda.

“This debarment is testimony to the bank’s continued commitment to protecting the integrity of its projects,” said Leonard McCarthy, the World Bank Integrity vice-president.

“OUP’s acknowledgment of misconduct and the thoroughness of its investigation is evidence of how companies can address issues of fraud and corruption and change their corporate practices to foster integrity in the development business,” he added.

The World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) is responsible for preventing, deterring and investigating allegations of fraud, collusion and corruption in World Bank projects, capitalizing on the experience of a multilingual and highly specialized team of investigators and forensic accountants.

The Oxford University Press is to pay the World Bank $500,000 (Sh42 million) for flouting agreed procurement rules and additional £1.9 million (Sh250 million) to the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) for the same offences.
Oxford University Press voluntarily reported the bribery scandal to the World Bank and SFO on suspicion of the underhand dealings at its regional subsidiaries.

“We do not tolerate such behaviour,” said Nigel Portwood, Oxford’s chief executive adding that the company was committed to maintaining the highest ethical standards.

Oxford’s debarment follows a similar one on its rival Macmillan which was banned from bidding for world-bank funded contract till 2014 for bribery linked to an education project in Sudan. Macmillan was asked to pay Sh1.5 billion penalty to SFO after investigations revealed that it had bribed government officials in pursuit of public and World Bank-funded contracts in Africa.

In July last year, Macmillan paid a Sh1.5 billion ($18 million) penalty to SFO after investigations revealed that it had bribed government officials in pursuit of public and World Bank-funded contracts in Africa.

The publishing house was found to irregularly won tenders for the supply of text books to public schools in Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia between 2002 and 2009.

The publisher remains banned from bidding for World Bank–funded contracts up to mid-2014. After the scandal, Macmillan sold its Kenyan and Ugandan subsidiaries to veteran publisher David Muita for Sh300 million ($3.6 million).

Since 1970, foreign publishers like Thomas Nelson, Heinemann, and Longman have exited the Kenyan publishing market thereby creating more room for local publishers.

Africa land deals lead to water giveaway


guardian.co.uk

By Mark Tran

June 12, 2012

Africa heads for ‘hydrological suicide’ as land deals hand water resources to foreign firms, threatening environmental disaster.

Millions of people will lose access to traditional sources of water because of “land grabs” in Africa, according to a report on Monday that looks behind the scramble for farmland in Africa.

The report: Squeezing Africa dry: behind every land grab is a water grab, shows how land deals, covering millions of acres of fertile lands, also pose a threat to Africa’s fresh water systems.

“If these land grabs are allowed to continue, Africa is heading for a hydrological suicide,” said Henk Hobbelink, co-ordinator of Grain, a group that backs small farmers.

The report – the latest to raise the alarm over competition for scarce water resources – said all land deals in Africa involve large-scale industrial agriculture operations that will consume massive amounts of water, could rob millions of people of their access to water and risk the depletion of the continent’s most precious water sources.

Grain cites the Nile and Niger river basins as two examples of the “giveaway” of land and water rights. Three of the bigger countries in the Nile basis – Ethiopia, South Sudan and Egypt – have already leased out millions of hectares in the basin. Citing figures from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Grain said these made clear that recent land deals vastly outstrip water availability in Nile basis.

According to Grain, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan and Egypt already have irrigation infrastructures in place for 5.4 million hectares (13 million acres) of land and have now leased out a further 8.6 million hectares of land.

“This would require much more water than what is available now in the entire Nile basin and would amount to no less than hydrological suicide,” said the report.

In the Niger river basin, independent experts believe Mali has the water capacity to irrigate only 250,000 hectares. Yet, said Grain, the Malian government has already signed over 470,000 hectares to foreign companies from Libya, China, the UK, Saudi Arabia and other countries in recent years, virtually all of it in the Niger basin.

Grain said the secrecy around land deals makes it hard to know exactly what is being handed over to foreign companies, but from those contracts leaked or made public, it is clear they tend not to contain any specific mention of water rights, leaving the companies free to build dams and irrigation canals at their discretion…Read more.

Launch of Sh1.5tn project sets stage for lucrative bids


Business Daily

By George Omondi

March 4th, 2012

Investors are waiting for details on how the Sh1.5 trillion infrastructure project linking Lamu to South Sudan and Ethiopia will be financed following the launch of the first phase last week.

Presidents Mwai Kibaki and Salva Kiir of South Sudan and Ethiopia PM Meles Zenawi led the ground breaking for the Lamu port, which is being financed by the government.

The port is part of the Lamu-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) corridor project, which also include a railway line, an oil pipeline, a refinery, airports, resort cities and a highway.

For a project of this magnitude, it is only when the public knows what the governments have promised in the contracts that they can judge the official seriousness and its viability,” said Mr John Mutua, a public policy analyst at the Institute of Economic Affairs.

In the build-up to the Friday ceremony, the government had indicated that it could only raise up to Sh6.9 billion of the project’s Sh1.5 trillion bill from its current budget. “Otherwise, involvement of top government officials is a good indicator that they want to see this capital intensive project off the ground and possibly, through to conclusion,” he said.

On Friday, Kenya and Ethiopia had signed an agreement in order to meet the power needs of the transport corridor.

“This day will go down in history as one of the defining moments, when we made a major stride to connect our people to the many socio-economic opportunities that lie ahead,” President Kibaki said.

How Kenya intends to finance its part of the transport corridor project, though under official wrap, has generated a lot of interest in the past four years.

The government initially signed a deal with Qatari government in 2008 to build the seaport but slowly backed out after part of the agreement was leaked to public. The contentious aspect of the deal involved allowing the Arab state to grow food crops in the Tana Delta.

In between, the government appeared to be warming up to Chinese firms for a build-operate-and transfer (BOT) arrangement to fund its part of the project. This was after their government funded the feasibility study on the project. However, intense pressure from multi-lateral lenders has pushed government officials to indicate its willingness to subject the multi-billion project to competitive bidding.

On Friday, Chinese Embassy officials declined to discuss involvement in the Lamu project saying the government was yet to give them full feedback.

“Right now, I can say we don’t want to make any comment about LAPSSET project,” said Mr Shifan Wu, chief public relations officer at China’s embassy.

Last December, the cabinet approved the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Bill, indicating that such capital intensive infrastructure projects would in future be handed to private firms on terms such as BOTs.

Analysts believe that the legal framework (PPP) will act as a magnet for private capital, allowing local and international firms with financial muscle to initially own and run such high profile assets.

While it was also not immediately clear how Ethiopia intended to finance its side of the corridor, South Sudan, which signed an agreement with Kenya to build an oil pipeline connecting the two states is believed to be scouting for multinationals to engage under BOT terms.

Tanzania plans a railway line to reach South Sudan


The East Africa

By Leonard Magomba

February 18, 2012

Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda have reached a formal agreement to construct a multi-billion dollar railway network, which would also serve South Sudan and tap into the bloc’s growing trade.

The project, to commence in 2014, is expected to take three years and cost $4.7 billion.

This will run alonsgside the $3 billion Tanga-Arusha-Musoma-Kampala railway line that is expected to be completed by 2015.

Tanzania and Uganda signed an agreement with China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation to undertake a feasibility study and implementation of the project, which will be the main gateway of Mwambani Port in Tanga, Musoma dock and Port Bell in Uganda.

“We are expecting to handover the feasibility study by April while construction of the 880km railway line is expected to be completed by 2015.” the Chinese engineering firm managing director Wang Xiangdong said,

Mr Xiangdong said the railway line will be constructed to the 1,435mm, which is the standard gauge used in other countries and directed by both states.

The project will see Tanga and Musoma ports dedicated to handle cargo, traffic destined to Uganda and South Sudan. Beyond that the project will help to ease congestion at Tanzania’s principal’s port, Dar es Salaam.

Freight would be conveyed from Musoma by ferry to the Port Bell pier — about 350km of transportation in the lake. A rail connection already runs via Tororo to Gulu – nearly 600km – on the Pakwach branch.

A new line of roughly 250km would be constructed to Juba, and a further 550km to the Wao railhead in South Sudan.

Cash-strapped Sudan open for oil bidding


AFP

December 20, 2011

KHARTOUM — Cash-strapped Sudan on Monday said it will open six exploration blocks for bidding by international oil companies, after losing 75 percent of its oil production when the south separated in July.

“Everyone is invited to invest in this country,” Minister of Petroleum Awad Ahmed Aljaz told reporters, through a translator.

He said investors will be treated well “as long as they come without any strings or baggage.”

South Sudan, which gained independence in July following a two-decade civil war, produces three quarters of the now divided country’s 470,000 barrels per day of oil.

The vast majority of Khartoum’s export earnings came from petroleum, leaving the government now scrambling for ways to bolster its finances.

The bidding process for the six blocks will start on January 15 and the government aims to announce winners by May, said Azhari Abdalla, director general of the oil ministry’s Oil Exploration and Production Authority…Read more.

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