Items filtered by date: Monday, 09 October 2017

Nigeria's Much hyped Telcomm Satellite Television (TStv) said on Saturday its newly inaugurated pay TV, TStv Africa, would begin commercial operation on November 1.

Mr. Bright Echefu, managing director, who stated this during chat with journalists in Abuja, said that TStv would launch its services with about 1 million decoders nationwide. He said at least 5,000 decoders of TStv would be released to the public next week for free, adding that it would use the first set of decoders with one month free subscription to test run its services.

He said: “Commercialization of our decoders will resume officially on November 1 and by that time, every part of Nigeria would have TStv decoders for people to buy. “We are releasing about one million which can go round and our target for the first quarter is one million units.

“In every quarter we will bring one million units and we are targeting four million units within the next one year. “I can tell you categorically that some decoders will be released next week for Nigerians to test and we are going to cover the 36 states of the federation. “These decoders are going to be free and it close to 5,000 units to test and that will last for two weeks.”

Echefu said the delay in releasing the decoders to the public was to ensure that dealers were properly scrutinized so that the decoders do not fall into wrong hands. He explained that the decoder would be sold to Nigerians at a subsidized rate.

According to him, the landing cost of the decoder is $78.

“We don’t want a situation where someone would pick our decoders and dump them somewhere. “That is why we are very careful because of competition. “We have received well over 6,000 applications and it has been overwhelming processing these people. But so far, we have been able to accredit more than 748 dealers and we have received applications from more than 3,000 of them. “That is why we have not commercialized our services even though we are the ones losing because we have enough decoders to cover the whole of Nigeria.

“But it will be unfair with all the money put in for us to give decoders out and those decoders don’t get to the end users,’’ Echefu added.

Published in Business

LafargeHolcim on Monday named Geraldine Picaud from French optics maker Essilor International to replace Chief Financial Officer Ron Wirahadiraksa next year, the latest executive shakeup at the world's biggest cement maker.

Picaud will take over on Feb. 1, 2018. Wirahadiraksa, who joined LafargeHolcim from Philips in December 2015, is leaving to pursue opportunities outside the group, LafargeHolcim said, adding his exit is not linked to recent complaints over his disclosures to investors.

In April, LafargeHolcim Chief Executive Eric Olsen stepped down after the cement maker admitted it paid armed groups in Syria to keep a plant operating. His replacement, former Sika CEO Jan Jenisch, said Picaud's hiring will install a restructuring expert with experience in complex global businesses.

"She is the ideal person to join our executive team and drive the next phase of growth in the company," Jenisch said in a statement.

In late September, Wirahadiraksa made a financial presentation that prompted some analysts to raise concerns about his "bearish" tone as well as the lack of visibility on any potential change to strategic goals. A LafargeHolcim spokesman in Zurich said Wirahadiraksa's exit was not linked to the sell-side conference or analyst criticism of the company's disclosures to investors.

Wirahadiraksa will help present third-quarter results on Oct. 27, LafargeHolcim said, declining to give a reason for his departure from the French-Swiss company created by a 2015 merger. Picaud, 47, is leaving Essilor as the French company grapples with EU antitrust regulators' concerns over its planned merger with Italy's Luxottica.

She has been Essilor's group CFO and member of the executive committee since 2011. She also sits on the board of French trainmaker Alstom, which is merging its operations with Siemens' (>> Siemens) rail unit. Trained as an auditor, Picaud is familiar with Switzerland, having worked at the Winterthur offices of commodity trading house ED&F Man.

 

Published in World

October 9 marks 55 years since Uganda’s independence in 1962. The country’s economy has seen many changes during this time, affected by periods of political instability, civil war, fluctuating global commodity prices, and various economic reforms. Trends in recent years are positive, although some key challenges remain.

Economic data for the early years after Uganda’s independence is scarce. But economic growth appears to have been impressive for the first eight years. Agriculture dominated the economy, with cotton and coffee comprising 76% of exports. Five years after Uganda’s independence it joined forces with Kenya and Tanzania to form the East African Community, with the intention of creating a common market.

In 1971 Idi Amin overthrew President Milton Obote in a military coup and Uganda went into rapid political and economic decline. “Foreign” economic interests were eliminated and some 70,000 residents of Asian and European descent were expelled from the country. Firms and factories that had been the backbone of Uganda’s economy were expropriated. This, combined with Amin’s massive military spending, sent the economy into free fall. External debt climbed and Uganda’s investor confidence was shot. Regional relations deteriorated and the East Africa Community was disbanded in 1977.

Amin was finally overthrown in 1979 and Obote took over the presidency again. Uganda’s economy had been devastated and significant economic reforms were needed. This involved removing price controls, floating the exchange rate, and tightening government spending. Owners of expropriated firms and properties were encouraged to return.

After five years of civil war, Yoweri Museveni and the National Resistance Movement (NRM) took power in 1986. The economy was in deep recession. With International Monetary Fund support, the NRM undertook major economic reforms aimed at encouraging private sector growth and diversifying Uganda’s agricultural exports. Uganda’s over-reliance on a small number of agricultural exports, notably coffee, had left the economy vulnerable to fluctuations in production and swings in global commodity markets.

Under these early reforms, the Ugandan shilling was devalued and budgetary constraints were adopted. Inflation, which had peaked at 190% in 1987, was brought down to 26% by 1991. Additional reforms further limited government spending and borrowing and significantly reduced the size of the civil service and the army.

Over the past two decades, Uganda’s economy has developed in important ways - dependence on agricultural exports has eased, the services sector has grown, and regional trade and integration has strengthened. But there are still major weak spots, including a weak manufacturing sector and constraints on small and medium sized enterprises.

Breaking away from agriculture

Some progress has been made in diversifying Uganda’s agricultural exports and, although still dominated by food exports, the share of non-food merchandise exports has been increasing in recent years (see Figure 1 below). Exports of agricultural raw materials and ores and metals exports have declined, indicating that greater domestic value addition is taking place.

FIGURE ONE

Uganda’s composition of merchandise exports. World Development Indicators

The composition of Uganda’s economy has changed quite significantly over the past few decades (see Figure 2 below). Agriculture’s contribution to GDP has shrunk, although it continues to employ some 70% of Uganda’s labour, and the share from services has increased from 19% in 1977 up to over 55% today. Industry’s share has also grown since the sector’s collapse in the early 1970s, but its growth has been more muted.

FIGURE TWO

Composition of Uganda’s GDP. World Development Indicators

Within industry, manufacturing’s contribution to GDP has remained stagnant at around 8% for the last 15 years. Uganda’s manufacturing sector is small and dominated by micro, small and medium enterprises, which make up some 93.5% of the sector, with agro-processing being a particularly important activity in the sector. These small firms are limited by a number of constraints including lack of access to high quality inputs, reliable and cost effective electricity, and affordable credit. As a result, they struggle to achieve the economies of scale needed to grow and increase their productivity.

Remaining challenges

Under the NRM, Uganda has experienced positive, albeit fluctuating, economic growth (see Figure 3 below). Growth of the services and industry sectors shows important progress towards structural transformation, shifting labour out of less productive agriculture and into more productive sectors.

Population growth, however, has remained high, averaging 3.4% since 2010. This has lowered net growth rates (economic growth less population growth) and eroded potential improvements in living standards.

Indeed, Uganda’s population growth has meant that GDP per capita growth has been on the decline in recent years. In contrast, Kenya and Tanzania have had lower population growth averages since 2010. In Kenya it’s been 2.7% and in Tanzania 3.1%. Both countries remain on positive and higher GDP per capita growth trajectories.

Looking forward

The East African Community was revived in 2000 and regional integration has made significant strides since then. A customs union and common market have been introduced. Among other benefits, regional trade has been shown to promote regional peace and bring economic development to border areas. Further integration, such as greater transport connectivity, could offer important advantages.

Continued growth of the services sector should be promoted. Attention should also be given to supporting manufacturing sector growth as it has the potential to create many low-skilled jobs. Easing the constraints faced by small and medium sized enterprises would facilitate firm growth, increase productivity, and raise manufacturing’s contribution to GDP and exports.

To increase Ugandan firms’ competitiveness it’s critical that production capacity is raised through training programmes and by matchmaking domestic suppliers with foreign firms. And firms need unrestricted access to high quality inputs if they’re going to be able to move into the export market.

The Ugandan government has an important role to play in supporting these efforts and, with government commitment, considerable economic gains could be achieved.

 

Sarah Logan, Economist, International Growth Centre

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Published in Economy

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