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United States extends supporting hand to Somaliland

Business East African Business Week

'The United States will continue supporting growth in Somaliland as part of its initiative to work closely with countries in the Horn of Africa.A delegation from the United States led by Ambassador Donald Yamamoto visited Somaliland president Muse Bihi on Thursday in Hargeisa where key among the discussions was the socio-economic growth of Somaliland and peace initiatives in the region., and the continued co-operation between Somaliland and the United States of America in terms of development, trade and good governance.President Bihi and the US delegation discussed areas of mutual interest, including security and democracy in the region “We look forward to working even more closely with the United States and other international partners,” Bihi said.The meeting is seen as another milestone in Somaliland’s quest for international recognition.Since 1991, Somaliland has made steady democratic gains and is attracting foreign investment, given its strategic location along the Gulf of Aden.Its democratic stability and its economic interest allow for some optimism regarding a potential international recognition of Somaliland’s sovereignty.While the international community has widely acknowledged its separation from Somalia, no State has yet formally recognised Somaliland as a State.The United States has been piling pressure on the African Union to deliberate on Somaliland’s case for sovereignty.A previous statement from the US department of state said: “While we continue to engage with the Somaliland administration, we do believe that the African Union is the most appropriate forum to address the question of recognition of Somaliland as an independent state.We understand that Somaliland is pursuing bilateral dialogue with the African Union and its member-states in this regard.” The US delegation to Bihi’s office also included the head of the Trade and Economy Office, Shella A.Billas and USAID regional director are in Somaliland as part of a new initiative from Washington DC to engage all the regional countries in the Horn of Africa.This is the first official United States delegation visit to Somaliland, since Under-Secretary for Africa, Jendayi Frazer during the Rayaale administration.The meeting was also attended by the Somaliland Foreign minister, Prof.Yasin Haji Mohamud Hir “Faraton”, and the Finance and Investment, Sa’ad Ali Shire.Somaliland continues to attract interest from the West.Recently, President Bihi held talks with UK Ambassador David Concar as well as ambassadors and representatives of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, the UK and the European Union.By Odindo Ayieko . The post United States extends supporting hand to Somaliland appeared first on East African Business Week .'

20 million doses of Measles and Rubella vaccine arrive in Uganda for September vaccination campaign

Business East African Business Week

Over 20 million doses of Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccine have arrived in Uganda.
'Over 20 million doses of Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccine have arrived in Uganda.The vaccines, procured by UNICEF with financial support from Gavi, will protect more than 18 million children aged 9 months to 14 years against Measles and Rubella during a national vaccination campaign that will take place on 25-29, September 2019.The last batch of the vaccines was received by Dr Charles Olaro, Ministry of Health’s Director of Clinical Services at Entebbe International Airport.The doses have been received in five batches.Measles is highly contagious.The virus can be contracted by someone up to two hours after an infected person has left a room.It spreads through the air and infects the respiratory tract, potentially killing malnourished children or babies too young to be vaccinated.Infection with measles is followed by high fever, a rash that spreads over the body, cough, running nose and red watery eyes, with the disease weakening the body’s immune system.It also often leads to serious complications that include blindness, encephalitis, severe diarrhoea and severe respiratory tract infections, such as pneumonia.Rubella is an infection caused by a virus and is particularly dangerous for adolescents and pregnant women.When a woman is infected with the rubella virus early in pregnancy, she has a 90% chance of passing the virus to her unborn child.This can cause the death of the fetus or serious birth defects, such as deafness, blindness, and heart defects, known as Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS). Children who contract rubella experience rashes and low fever, with the disease sometimes associated with joint pains and swelling of the lymph nodes.An increasing number of unvaccinated children in Uganda has led to measles outbreaks in several districts across the country. 62 districts are currently experiencing a Measles outbreak while 25 have been affected by Rubella.Globally, over 400 children die every day due to measles and about 280 babies are born every day with congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). “Procurement of vaccines and other immunization supplies is one of several approaches UNICEF is taking to support the Government of Uganda to contain the measles and rubella outbreaks across the country,” said Dr Doreen Mulenga, UNICEF’s Representative in Uganda. “By vaccinating every child in Uganda on time, we will avert the spread of these dangerous diseases and many preventable child deaths and birth defects.” UNICEF in partnership with the Ministry of Health, WHO, Gavi and The Vaccine Alliance, is undertaking the following to help improve routine immunization coverage, eliminate measles outbreaks and prevent rubella.They are negotiating vaccine prices globally, helping Uganda identify unreached children and improve immunization coverage in underserved areas, procuring vaccines and other immunization supplies, supporting supplementary vaccination campaigns to address gaps in routine immunization coverage and introducing innovations like the use of solar power to maintain vaccines at the right temperature.The vaccines cost USD 14,351,000 (over 53 million Uganda shillings). . The post 20 million doses of Measles and Rubella vaccine arrive in Uganda for September vaccination campaign appeared first on East African Business Week .'

Ramaphosa: In defence of Gordhan – “a person of commitment and integrity”

Business BizNews.com

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa came to the defence of his Public Enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan in Parliament today.
'South African President Cyril Ramaphosa came to the defence of his Public Enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan in Parliament today. Using his response in the debate on the Presidency budget, Ramaphosa rounded on EFF leader Julius Malema , describing his personalised attack on Gordhan as “extraordinary”. Malema and his colleagues have been on Gordhan’s case for some months and are promising those who believe Gordhan’s version “will be shocked soon.”  In a tweet today (see below), EFF secretary general Godrich Gardee also said the Biznews reading of an important judgement was wrong. – Alec Hogg  @alechogg You are wrong in law….the facts of PP are not similar to this matter…You will be shocked soon…. https://t.co/ubvTj5gvRy — Godrich Gardee (@GardeeGodrich) July 18, 2019 By Cyril Ramaphosa: The extraordinary attack by the Honourable Malema on Minister Gordhan requires a response. It is a fundamental tenet of our democratic constitutional order that no person – no matter what position they hold – is above the law. No person is above scrutiny. Every person must answer for their actions. That includes the President, that includes Honourable Gordhan and that includes even Honourable Malema. By the same measure, every person is equal before the law and must have recourse to the law. Every person must be able to enforce their rights, whether that means approaching the courts or any other competent authority. I am in no position to express a view on the findings that the Public Protector has made against Minister Gordhan. That is a matter that is now before the courts. But I can express a view on the character of Minister Gordhan and the contribution he has made to the liberation of our country. I have appointed him to a critical and demanding position in Cabinet because I know him to be a person of commitment and integrity. He has endured and withstood extreme pressure – both under apartheid and in the democratic era. He has been under pressure to abandon principle and to forsake his responsibility to this nation. If Minister Gordhan – or any member of this administration – has anything to answer for, they must be held to account, without exception. They must be held before any court and they must go and answer. But allow that determination to be made by the appropriate judicial institution after due process. Let the law take its course. That is what our Constitution demands.'

SARS ‘rogue unit’ narrative fizzles further – new judgement

Business BizNews.com

The longer Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane keeps firing her legal pump-action shotgun, the less convincing and damaging it seems to get.
'The longer Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane keeps firing her legal pump-action shotgun, the less convincing and damaging it seems to get. The latest legal jamming of her rapid-fire scattergun comes in the form of a far-reaching judgement on a ‘vexatious’ application by a known tax-dodger and tobacco manufacturer who used the by-now thoroughly discredited ‘rogue tax unit’ narrative to try and render a supplementary SARS claims against him invalid. He was spectacularly unsuccessful, even though he managed to drag matters out for a long time. Where Mkhwebane’s guns may well be spiked is that the court’s findings are binding on impending cases and under-gird the Nugent Commission conclusions which she so doggedly tries to discredit in her pursuit of former SARS boss, Pravin Gordhan. Judge Meyer dismissed outright businessman Martin Wingate-Pearse’s evidence-starved contention that he was a victim of the SARS covert intelligence unit and that it infringed on his constitutionally protected rights, Instead Judge Meyer asserts, the litigation was undertaken to assert the financial interest of Mr Wingate-Pearse and that the “proceedings are vexatious in effect.” This story gives some clues as to where this leaves Mkhwebane. Where would we be without her? Story courtesy of Daily Maverick . – Chris Bateman High Court judgment bolsters Pravin Gordhan’s case against Public Protector By Pauli van Wyk The Nugent Commission into tax administration and governance at SARS has been affirmed as the authority on the revenue service – as well as longstanding allegations of a “rogue unit” in its midst – when Judge Pieter Meyer on Wednesday in the Gauteng High Court ruled against local businessman and tax dodger Martin Wingate-Pearse in a more than decade-old tax squabble. Judge Meyer relied entirely on the Nugent Commission, saying it “made findings in its final report that support SARS’ stance that Mr Wingate-Pearse’s allegations about the existence of a rogue unit within the ranks of SARS are without a sound factual basis”. (Read the Nugent Commission report  here ) The Nugent Commission conducted a four-month investigation in 2018 and published its findings in December of that year. Judge Meyer repeated that the commission’s wide-ranging findings, in a section of its report labelled “ The So-called ‘Rogue Unit’  ”, included that: The establishment of a SARS unit named the High Risk Investigation Unit (HRIU) was lawful; The National Strategic Intelligence Act had no bearing on SARS; SARS, and therefore the historical HRIU unit members, have far-reaching and covert investigative powers; and Allegations of a “rogue unit” within SARS are without a sound factual basis. (Nugent did not investigate the conduct of the unit. Charges against one former member of the unit, Andries Janse van Rensburg, as well as two former managers Johann van Loggerenberg and Ivan Pillay, are being reviewed by the National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi in the contentious  “Sunday Evenings” case . Judge Meyer’s ruling is reportable and will be taken into consideration by all other courts considering any similar matter before it. This includes review proceedings against Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane which challenges the rationality of her findings against Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan. (Read Mkhwebane’s report  here ) Wingate-Pearse’s case before court Judge Meyer presided over a case brought to court by Wingate-Pearse with its roots in 2002, when SARS started investigating the businessman for income tax evasion. Wingate-Pearse is a shareholder in Carnilinx, a tobacco manufacturing business managed and partly owned by Johannesburg businessman Adriano Mazzotti. Both Mazzotti and Carnilinx were found to be on the wrong side of local tax laws before. Wingate-Pearse and Mazzotti are business partners and family. Another Carnilinx business associate and director, Kyle Phillips, was EFF President Julius Malema’s benefactor when he paid R1m towards Malema’s tax debt. The R1m was later classified as a “loan”. Back then, SARS had estimated that Wingate-Pearse “grossly” under-declared taxable income and raised assessments of eventually R9m, revised down from R41.7m. Wingate-Pearse had kept SARS busy in court for the better part of a decade when he again launched an application in August 2015, this time complaining that SARS’ “rogue unit” was behind his tax woes. He asked the court for a declaratory order finding that the establishment by SARS of the investigating unit, described as “rogue” by its detractors, was without statutory authority, unlawful, inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid, and that the unit abused its power and resources by illegally spying on taxpayers, that he was a victim of this covert intelligence unit and that it infringed on his constitutionally protected rights. Wingate-Pearse struggled to provide any evidence. Judge Meyer said his allegations cannot be true, because the HRIU unit was only established in 2007 – long after SARS investigated and raised additional tax assessments. Some of Wingate-Pearse’s allegations are also “absurdly wide”, “too generalised” and “vague”. The judge further found Wingate-Pearse “strongly relies” on an affidavit by triple spy and attorney Belinda Walter to support his allegations that SARS “employed illegal intelligence-gathering measures” against him. Walter’s affidavit is, however, high on conspiracy and low on proof. Judge Meyer dismissed the case, as well as an interlocutory application relating to SARS’s additional estimated tax assessments – with costs, while berating Wingate-Pearse for giving SARS the runaround for over a decade. Judge Meyer came to the stinging conclusion that he is “unable to hold that the litigation was undertaken to assert constitutional rights. It was undertaken rather to assert the financial interest of Mr Wingate-Pearse” and that the “proceedings are vexatious in effect”. Judge Meyer vs Mkhwebane Wingate-Pearse’s allegations contain some of the same allegations  Mkhwebane considered  in a complaint lodged at her office by EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu and an anonymous complainant. These complaints, however, inject Pravin Gordhan into the rogue unit question, accusing him of being instrumental in the illegal establishment of the HRIU unit, as well as the recruitment of its members. Judge Meyer’s judgment and the findings of Mkhwebane are diametrically opposed. Meyer ratified the Nugent report, establishing the commission as the leading authority on SARS and the HRIU unit’s existence. Mkhwebane, in contradiction, found the establishment of the HRIU unit was unlawful, that the unit contravened national intelligence provisions, that the unit went “rogue” and that Gordhan was involved in the thick of things. Judge Meyer’s judgment does not make any mention of Mkhwebane’s findings on the SARS investigative unit, which was delivered on 5 July 2019. Judge Meyer’s judgment can only be reconsidered by the Supreme Court of Appeal; Mkhwebane’s findings may only be reviewed by the High Court. Wingate-Pearse has not yet indicated whether he will apply for leave to appeal against Judge Meyer’s judgment; Gordhan and Pillay have already filed papers in review proceedings against Mkhwebane’s report. Gordhan and Pillay’s case will most probably be greatly aided by Judge Meyer’s ratification of the Nugent Commission as the authority on SARS. Judge Meyer said the Nugent Commission “found that there was an onslaught upon those who managed SARS founded upon allegations once peddled by the  Sunday Times  to a beguiled public for a year or more, about a ‘rogue’ unit that was alleged to have existed within SARS; the  Sunday Times  itself withdrew its allegations and apologised some two years later; although the establishment of HRIU was termed unlawful by a panel chaired by advocate Sikhakhane SC, there was nothing in the report to persuade the commission why that was so; and ‘the SARS Advisory Board chaired by Judge Kroon, reported to the Minister, and issued a media statement, saying the unit was unlawful, but in evidence he told the Commission that was not a conclusion reached independently by the Board, but had been adopted from the Sikhakhane panel, and he had come to realise it was wrong. Indeed, he supported the re-establishment of capacity to investigate the illicit trades, which he recommends’. In his testimony before the commission, Judge Kroon said: ‘Yes, as I have said in my report, my first comment was that the statement relating to the unlawfulness of the establishment of the unit were (sic) not thought through properly and were (sic) in fact incorrect’.” Kroon, in the end, confirmed to the Nugent Commission that he would support the re-establishment of an investigative unit such as the HRIU.  DM'

Minister Tasks Mining Companies To Do More

Business DailyGuide Network

'Kwabena Darko-Mensah (middle) interacting with officials of the mining company  The Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, has bemoaned the fact that after decades of mining, the level of development in the affected communities do not commensurate with the volumes of resources siphoned from such places.He said roads and other infrastructure in communities in the extractive enclaves of the region were in deplorable states and that was an eyesore.The minister, therefore, charged mining companies to support the communities in which they were operating and make them prosperous.He made the statement when he visited Golden Star Wassa Limited as part of his work visit to the Wassa East District of the region.He commended Golden Star, a gold mining company in the area, for initiating various corporate social responsibility projects geared towards improving the livelihood of the people.He, however, urged them to stop what he called ‘menial projects’ like boreholes and make sure their catchment communities benefit immensely from their activities. “This is why the reconstruction of the Tarkwa-Damang road in the Western Region by the Gold Fields Ghana Limited at a cost of about $27 million is commendable,” he added.The minister was happy that Ghanaians were beginning to voice their concerns about the state of neglect by these multinational companies who make so much profit at the expense of the poor people.The minister and his entourage also visited Daboase where he inspected some classroom blocks constructed by Plantation SOCFNAF Ghana Limited, a palm oil processing factory in the district.From Emmanuel Opoku, Daboase . The post Minister Tasks Mining Companies To Do More appeared first on DailyGuide Network .'

AMABHUNGANE: Malema buddy’s mine leaves community reeling

Business News South Africa

A mine linked to Adriano Mazzotti, the controversial businessman and associate of Julius Malema, has left a rural Limpopo community reeling from infighting and violent protests. The traditional leadership is accused of hijacking the community trust
'A mine linked to Adriano Mazzotti, the controversial businessman and associate of Julius Malema, has left a rural Limpopo community reeling from infighting and violent protests. The traditional leadership is accused of hijacking the community trust and striking a deal with the mining company. It’s an all too common case of how permissive mining laws, disputes over customary law and the arrival of mining capital can create a toxic mix.'

Uganda Shilling ends day unchanged against greenback

Business East African Business Week

'The home unit seesawed between gains and losses in the previous trading session, ending the day unchanged versus its American counterpart.Early trading saw the shilling advance marginally against the dollar on the back of augmented inflows.As the session progressed foreign currency buyers retreated from the sidelines to take advantage of the low levels to the detriment of the local unit.Market chatter alludes to range bound trading for the USD/UGX pair, with a bias towards a weaker shilling if the liquidity in the money market space perseveres.Dollar dips slightly The U.S. dollar dipped slightly on Wednesday but still remained near one-week highs in step with lower U.S. bond yields and expectations of a rate cut by the Fed later this month.Furthermore, the International Monetary Fund said in a report that the dollar exchange rates is overvalued by 6% to 12%, while the euro, Japanese yen and Chinese Yuan were seen as broadly in line with fundamentals.The euro traded towards the lower end of this year’s trading range, weighed down by expectations of easing from European Central Bank and investor’s preference of the higher-yielding U.S. currency.The single currency fell to 1.1200 levels before clawing back up to 1.1230 levels.Fears of a no-deal brexit continued exerting downward pressure on the GBP/USD pair pushing it to an intraday low of 1.2382.The pair capitalized on dollar weakness later in the session, managing to hold its neck above the 1.2400 handle. . The post Uganda Shilling ends day unchanged against greenback appeared first on East African Business Week .'

Museveni tell farmers to embrace govt programs to end poverty

Business East African Business Week

'President Yoweri Museveni has encouraged farmers to utilize government programs being implemented in the agriculture sector to fight hunger and grow financially.In the speech read on his behalf by the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda during the official opening of the 27 th Agricultural show at the Source of the Nile in Jinja early in the week, the President said there are many programs if well embraced can make Uganda poverty and hunger-free state. “How come some families are experiencing food insecurity?This is because many of the famers have not embraced government programs despite the fact that government has created conducive environment for the farmers by providing agricultural inputs under the various programs being implemented in the sector,” the President said in the Speech.He advised farmers to embrace good practices if they are to grow financially.The president observed that majority farmers practice subsistence farming, a practice which has kept many into poverty because they grow only for domestic consumption.To ensure that the Agriculture sector develops at high rate, the government developed various programs that seek to help farmers to improve on both quality and quantity in Agricultural production.Some programs such as Operation Wealth Creation look at supporting farmers with agricultural inputs and value addition in produce.Other programs like the Agricultural Credit facility look at supporting farmers with cheap agricultural loans.The Minister for Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempija  said during the opening of the show that government need to support more small scale farmers  because majority still do not  access cheap loans under the Agricultural Credit facility because they lacks bankable  securities. “We need special programs that target the largest group of farmers if the sector is to move on, the facility ends up benefiting only the commercial farmers,” he said.The Jinja show offers a platform to farmers to learn best farming practices and to share experience on how some of the challenges in the agriculture sector can be mitigated.The 2019 Agricultural show attracted both local and International exhibitors dealing in the sector.During the show, the President awarded best model farmers in the country.The Jinja show is organized by the Uganda National Farmers Federation in partisanship with the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries.This year’s theme for the Show is “Agricultural Technologies and Innovations for farmers –led Agro- Industrialization.BY SAMUEL NABWIISO . The post Museveni tell farmers to embrace govt programs to end poverty appeared first on East African Business Week .'