Items filtered by date: Wednesday, 06 June 2018
Wednesday, 06 June 2018 18:17

Kenya: First beneficiaries of Kenya's crude

An offshore company is among the first to reap hundreds of millions of shillings from the Kenyan oil that was discovered six years ago.
 
Primefuels Holdings Ltd, based in the highly-secretive Guernsey Channel Islands, has leased the equipment for trucking of crude from the Turkana oil fields. Its local subsidiary, Primefuels Kenya Ltd, will grab the biggest chunk of the Sh1.5 billion budgeted to pay transporters who include smaller local firms.
 
Company records indicate the offshore firm owns all except one of the 750,000 shares in Primefuels Kenya. The single share is held by Hanif Amirali Somji.
 
Flagged off
 
President flagged off four of the 110 insulated containers to be supplied by the company for the journey to the coastal city of Mombasa for storage.
 
Nairobi-based logistics firm Multiple Hauliers, owned by billionaire Rajinder Singh Baryan, and Oilfield Movers associated with former National Oil boss Nyaga Mwendia, are the hauliers. Efforts to reach Mr Nyaga were fruitless as his phone went unanswered.
 
Founded as a Kenyan firm by Asif Abdulla in 1996, the firm now has its operations in five countries in the region and possibly got new directors before its ownership was taken offshore. Registering firms in secretive jurisdictions including Guernsey Channel Islands provides a layer of protection for the real owners, since company records are not readily available.
 
Sunil Edupuganti, the operations manager, told The Standard of his excitement about the actual start of the crude oil transportation. The contract was awarded a year ago.
 
“It is lucrative for us as a firm and we are excited to be part of the deal,” he said in a telephone interview yesterday.
 
He added that the contract runs for three years, translating to assured business as Kenya spares no cent in its push to join the exclusive club of petroleum-producing countries. The President admitted in Turkana that crude oil trucking under the Early Oil Pilot Scheme would be a money-burning venture.
 
Except suppliers to the oil exploration firm Tullow, the three logistics companies are drawing profits from the actual crude ahead of the country, which would receive the first shilling some time in 2018 at the earliest. This is because moving the oil by road would take at least eight months before there are sufficient stockpiles in Mombasa for export.
 
The Ministry of Energy has however defended the programme, saying it is a worthy experiment to gauge how the market will price Kenyan oil. Each of the insulated containers has the capacity to carry 150 barrels, which is equivalent to about 24,000 litres.
 
Storage tanks
 
Initial projections indicate 2,000 barrels will be trucked from the oil fields to the storage tanks daily, before doubling to full capacity over time. Mr Edupuganti said he was awaiting approving from Tullow and the Government before making orders for 50 additional transtainers – bringing the total to 110.
 
But with just as many trucks on the road, each taking at least three days to cover the 1,100km, achieving the 2,000 barrels a day is already a tall order. Struggling parastatal Kenya Railways Corporation had hoped to land a portion of the lucrative business by transporting the oil from Eldoret to Mombasa on the old railway line but failed to convince the State.
 
Economist David Ndii claimed in a social media post yesterday that the Early Oil Pilot Scheme could have offered a lifeline for the old railway to survive (competition from) the SGR
 
Credit: StandardMedia.co.ke
Published in Economy
Ethiopia said on Tuesday it would open its state-run telecoms monopoly and state-owned Ethiopian Airlines to private domestic and foreign investment, a major policy shift that will loosen the state’s grip on the economy.
 
The East African nation of 100 million people has one of the most closed and controlled economies in Africa. The ruling EPRDF coalition, in power since 1991, has long supported deep state involvement in the economy.
 
But the EPRDF said on Tuesday that Ethiopia needed economic reforms to sustain rapid growth and boost its exports
 
“While majority stakes will be held by the state, shares in Ethio Telecom, Ethiopian Airlines, Ethiopian Power, and the Maritime Transport and Logistics Corporation will be sold to both domestic and foreign investors,” it said in a statement.
 
It was referring to the state monopolies in the electricity, telecoms and logistics sectors, as well as the highly profitable national flag carrier.
 
The announcement was the first clear signal that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who came to power in April promising a “new political beginning”, would implement real economic reforms.
 
The 41-year-old former army officer was appointed by the EPRDF after his predecessor, Hailemariam Desalegn, resigned in February after three years of unrest in which hundreds of people were killed by security forces.
 
Observers say Abiy is under pressure to meet high public expectations. In the past two months he has traveled around Ethiopia, promising to address grievances and to strengthen a range of political and civil rights.
 
Earlier on Tuesday parliament approved the government’s decision to lift a six-month state of emergency two months earlier than planned.
 
Source: StandardMedia.co.ke
Published in News Economy
The new Country Director for Great Place To Work Nigeria, an affiliate of Peoples Productivity Solutions (PPS) Africa, the parent company of Great Place to Work UK, Dr. Gonzalo Shoobridge, has pledged the company’s commitment to partnering with Nigerian companies on global best practices.
 
Great Place to Work is a global research, consulting and training firm, which helps organisations identify, create and sustain great workplaces through the development of high trust workplace cultures.
 
Shoobridge, who replaced Michael Thomas as Country Director for Great Place To Work Nigeria, said Great Place to Work UK will bring to bear on Nigerian organisations best global practices that conform to the UK and other European companies where the firm has operations.
 
Speaking at the fifth award ceremony of Great Place to Work Nigeria, recently in Lagos, Shoobridge said: “We are bringing best practices here so we can share them with Nigerian organisations that want to become best work places.”
 
According to him, the objective was to have best workplaces in Nigeria, “because if we improve the workplace, we are going to improve the society as a whole.”
 
Shoobridge, who brings over 20 years experience in diverse international business development and human resource consulting roles, however, pointed out that great work places don’t happen by chance. Rather, organisations work hard to become great work places.
 
“It doesn’t happen in one or two years; it is a continuous improvement process, because the bar is very high. That is why we are going to partner with Nigerian organisations in that journey to becoming best work place,” he said.
 
Forty five companies across Africa were recognised as great places to work in various categories at this year’s award by Great Place to Work Nigeria. It was the fifth in the series.
 
The Group Managing Director (GMD), PPS Africa, Kunle Malomo, said the companies were recognised for demonstrating the main attributes of a great workplace.
 
“These companies have the courage and confidence to build the kind of workplace where you achieve organisational objectives with employees who give their personal best and work together as a team or family-all in an environment of trust,” he said, in his welcome address.
 
Credit: The Guardian
 
Published in News Economy
Equity transactions on the trading floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange rebounded from 12-day downtrend yesterday, as most blue-chip stocks appreciated in price, causing market capitalisation to increase by N47 billion.
 
Specifically, at the close of trading yesterday, the All-Share Index (ASI) gained 130.81 points, representing a growth of 0.36 per cent to close at 36,947.10 points.
 
Similarly, market capitalisation gained N47 billion to close at N13.383 trillion.
The growth was impacted by gains recorded in medium and large capitalised stocks, amongst which are; Nigerian Breweries, Guaranty Trust Bank, Mobil Nigeria, Zenith Bank and FBN Holdings.
 
Analysts attributed the equity reversal to the successive weeks of losses. While analysts at United Capital expressed optimism that investors would hunt for bargains this week. Afrinvest Securities Limited said: “Whilst we are cautiously optimistic on the sustainability of today’s market rebound, we expect bargain hunting in large cap value stocks to continue driving positive performance in the near term.”
 
The market breadth closed the same, recorded 21 gainers and losers. Japaul Oil recorded the highest price gain of 9.09 per cent, to close at 21 kobo per share. Custodian and Allied Insurance gained 4.92 per cent to close at N5.12, while Eterna appreciated by 4.90 per cent to close at N6.64 per share.
 
Guaranty Trust Bank appreciated by 4.53 per cent to close at N40.40, while Aiico Insurance went up by 3.45 per cent to close at 60 kobo per share.
 
On the other hand, Oando led the losers’ chart by 8.96 per cent, to close at N6.10 per share. Cadbury Nigeria followed with a decline of eight per cent, to close at N11.50, while Presco depreciated by five per cent to close at N71.25 per share.
 
PZ Industries was down by 4.81 per cent to close at N20.80, while Sterling Bank shed 4.69 per cent to close at N1.22 per share.
 
However, the total volume traded declined by 39.16 per cent to 314.43 million shares, worth N7.03 billion, and traded in 6,016 deals. Transactions in the shares of Guaranty Trust Bank topped the activity chart with 67.16 million shares valued at N2.68 billion. Sovereign Trust Insurance followed with 33.01 million shares worth N8.89 million, while FBN Holdings traded 19.6 million shares valued at N202.21 million.
 
Diamond Bank traded 17.31 million shares valued at N23.7 million, while Zenith Bank transacted 15.13 million shares worth N385.7 million.
 
Credit: The Guardian
Published in Business
Energy Ministers and other stakeholders in the West African region yesterday in Abuja called for necessary actions that would address inherent challenges in gas supply across the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to facilitate sustainable development in the sub-region.
The experts, who discussed the need for ECOWAS, especially the countries that are served by the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) to address gas related issue, noted that sustainability of gas infrastructure remained crucial to the future of energy in the sub-region.
 
WAGP, a natural gas pipeline that supplies gas from Nigeria’s Escravos region of Niger Delta area to Benin, Togo and Ghana, is the first regional natural gas transmission system in sub-Saharan Africa with a total distance of 678 km, with 569 km offshore.
 
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, said stability in the Niger Delta region has aided prompt supply of gas through the pipelines, noting that the group must work harder to ensure that challenges related to interconnection, operation, tariff and regulation were addressed.
 
ECOWAS is currently looking at boosting economic integration among the West African states, with plans to expand WAGP pipeline.
 
A contract had already been signed with an energy service firm, Penspen to examine WAGP system performance and possibility of future network extension to the community states
 
Kachikuw insisted that it was important for the region to strengthen relationship and work together to mitigate challenges affecting energy security in the region.
 
“It is important that we do whatever we can to sustain this relationship. Something we have had issues of gas sufficiency, sometimes issues of payment. We must remain very committed to ensure that whatever we are doing boost our relationship.
 
“We need to be futuristic. I look forward to a day when we will have adequate gas supply all over the West Africa region so that power can become available for citizen.
 
Providing power for the West Africa people is one of the most important issues and all of us must work together and try our best to achieve this objective,” he said.
 
Managing Director of WAGP, Walter Perez, said recent upgrade of the company’s compressor station in Nigeria boosted the organisation’s capacity to transport over 85, 000MMBt units of gas per day.
 
He said the company is making progress on a Western Interconnection Project that would be used to enable gas to flow from Western offshore Ghana to the primary load center for power generation.
 
Parez said: “We have progressed engineering works and related procurement activities. We have also executed a construction management agreement with Eni. We are now eager for the construction to commence at Tema and Takoradi (Ghana) imminently.”
 
He said all the partners in the WAGP project must work together and play key roles otherwise unlocking and maximizing value across regional enterprise would remain elusive.
 
Perez added that the completion of critical infrastructure projects in Nigeria would remove necessary barriers that will enable the company to operate effectively.
 
Credit: The Guardian
Published in Economy

The Middle East and Africa (MEA) personal computing devices (PCD) market, which is made up of desktops, notebooks, workstations, and tablets, declined 5.3% year on year in Q1 2018, according to the latest insights from International Data Corporation (IDC).

The global technology research and consulting firm's Quarterly PCD Tracker shows that shipments fell to around 5.7 million units for the three-month period, which represents the lowest quarterly volume recorded for more than six years.

While the overall PCD market experienced a slowdown in Q1 2018, PC shipments recorded healthy year-on-year growth, with both desktops and notebooks gaining traction across the region. "The overall market decline stemmed from falling demand for tablets," says Fouad Charakla, IDC's senior research manager for client devices across the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa. "These devices are falling out of favor across the region, with the biggest year-on-year decline seen in Kenya, where a massive delivery for the education section sector that took place in Q1 2017 was not repeated."

There was a considerable year-on-year decline in PCD shipments to the UAE in Q1 2018, where a significant slowdown in consumer demand was witnessed, in line with IDC’s expectations. "The country had a slow start to the year owing to the introduction of 5% VAT, while April’s edition of the renowned IT and consumer electronics sales event, GITEX Shopper, was cancelled," says Charakla. "However, this decision was well received by the PCD vendor and channel community as it enables them to focus their efforts on the October edition of this event."

On the flip side, South Africa’s overall PCD market performed better than expected, with shipments into the country growing year on year. "This was spurred by the country’s improved economic situation and the strengthening of the local currency against the U.S. dollar, making it cheaper for PCs to be imported into the country," says Charakla. "Meanwhile, February’s announcement of a 1% increase in VAT encouraged market players to ramp up their shipments into the country ahead of its implementation from the start of April."

Another area of positivity is gaming PCs, which continue to act as a driver for the MEA region’s overall PCD market. “The higher-than-average price points and profit margins associated with gaming PCs is maintaining strong interest among market players in these devices, " says Charakla.

Looking at the PC market in isolation, all the top five vendors maintained their respective positions in terms of market share when compared to the corresponding quarter of 2017. HP Inc. achieved significant growth in terms of market share to maintain its lead by a significant margin.

Middle East & Africa PC Market Vendor Shares – Q1 2017 vs. Q1 2018

Company

Q1 2017

Q1 2018

HP Inc.

26.9%

31.5%

Lenovo

18.8%

19.3%

Dell

16.4%

14.9%

ASUS

8.6%

8.2%

Acer Group

4.8%

5.1%

Others

24.6%

21.0%

In the tablet market, Samsung remained the clear leader and gained market share as well during the quarter. Lenovo climbed to second position in the market, overtaking both Apple and Huawei, which came in third and fourth place respectively.

Middle East & Africa Tablet Market Vendor Shares – Q1 2017 vs. Q1 2018

Company

Q1 2017

Q1 2018

Samsung

19.0%

21.2%

Lenovo

8.8%

10.6%

Apple

9.6%

10.3%

Huawei

9.0%

10.2%

i-life

6.6%

7.4%

Others

47.1%

40.3%

"The sharpest decline in consumer demand in Q2 2018 is expected in the ‘Rest of Middle East’ sub-region, where recently re-imposed U.S. sanctions against Iran have weakened the country's exchange rate. Consumer demand in Turkey, the region’s largest single market, will also decline considerably due to the uncertainty and instability surrounding the upcoming elections in June. Turkey's currency has also weakened to new lows against the U.S. dollar, making personal computing devices costlier for home users." 

In more positive news, a number of large education deals, primarily for notebooks, are expected to be delivered in Pakistan, the UAE, and Qatar over the course of the year. However, in the longer term, IDC expects the MEA PCD market to continue shrinking in shipment terms, with slate tablets declining the most rapidly of all the various PCD products.

IDC's Shipment Forecast for Middle East & Africa PCD Market

Product Category

2017

2018

2022

CAGR 2017–2022

PC

12,310,198

12,902,095

12,950,311

1.02%

Tablet

11,354,777

9,646,870

8,508,807

-5.61%

Total

23,534,986

22,428,025

21,307,495

-1.97%

Published in Telecoms

It is common when municipal workers go on strike in South Africa to resort to upturning garbage cans and strewing litter around city centres. Their message is clear: we may be at the bottom of the social heap, and you may think we are human trash, but by God, society needs us, and if you don’t listen to us and give us a living wage, we’ll make you pay for it.

Trashing a city is more than a demand for a better wage. Often, it’s also an expression of rage against employer arrogance or unaccountability, and a demand for basic respect. Such tactics are manifestly expressions of class struggle and class power, workers resorting to their most effective weapon. While they are unlikely, in extremis, to be able to confront the armed might of the state, they may well be able to make city managers and the general population wilt in the face of the stink and mess of uncollected garbage.

Yet such actions are indicative of a discordant society, and a culture of littering can tell us a lot about a society’s ethos.

Littering is an act of individual or group disposal of waste at the public expense in terms, not only of the cost of public collection, but also at worst, of public health, and always in terms of public enjoyment of the environment. It prioritises the private interest over the public, and places the burden of collection or consequences of litter on the collective.

Doubtless too, it is expressive of class, income, status and power. It is no accident that in most – if not all countries – better-off residential areas are likely to be freer of litter than worse off localities. They have more public clout and more private resources.

Littering tells us a great deal about community spirit. It is surely no accident that the Scandinavian countries, which regularly top the World Happiness Index, are relatively litter free. Their governments have long prioritised the collective interest and there is less social inequality than in similarly industrialised nations.

Industrialised countries such as Britain and the US are rich, but they’ve embraced austerity and encouraged rampant consumerism, making them sadly notorious for being far more publicly dirty, as captured by Kenneth Galbraith’s (1958) critique of “Private Affluence and Public Squalor”. South Africa has similarly developed a culture of externalising private costs onto the public, a culture of not caring about the environment which has been emblematic of the country’s mining industry for more than a century.

Public interest

South Africa is a country still deeply divided along lines of race, class, and geography in which there may be a public, but a limited sense of “public interest”. It’s a country where the needs of the better off were historically always prioritised over those of the poor.

For example, the expansion of the road system was accompanied by the massive expansion of white suburbia from the 1960s, where tellingly, pedestrians – many of them black domestic workers going to and from work – were denied pavements and left to walk in the road. Because the white inhabitants of suburbia were ratepayers, and because they employed domestic labour to tend to their verges, they enjoyed a generally litter free environment. The scholarship is not available to tell us about the state of litter and waste in the townships at that time, but we may guess it was distressingly different.

Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba, second from left, joins the city’s Are Sebetseng (Let’s work) cleaning campaign. Enoch Lehung

Today, the South African environment is pockmarked by the detritus of mass consumption. The culture of takeaway culture is also the culture of throwaway, and if there is no litter bin available, or if it’s full, too bad. It’s just easier to dump. So, what if it adds to the mess? Does anyone really care about the one more bottle or can lying on the ground?

There are worries, as there should be, that the appalling littering along South Africa’s highways and the litter to be found even in many of South Africa’s beauty spots, is a threat to our tourist industry, and that in turn, means fewer jobs (let alone less general enjoyment). Yet the problems resulting from poor disposal of waste run far deeper.

Yes, the fast food industry and the supermarket chains, which have a fetish for unnecessary packaging, have much to answer for. But the externalisation of production costs onto to the public is hard-wired into South African industry.

South Africa is a country whose industrial origins lie in mining, and mining systematically produces massive waste and pollution which often has hugely detrimental effects on the environment and public health. This culture continues today, sadly encouraged by lax governmental environmental supervision and excessive concern for profits, investment and private gain.

“Littering” by individuals is merely the expression of a far wider selfish – and publicly, costly - culture.

Addressing the issue

There are no great mysteries about how to address the issue of litter. What is needed first is the political will. This in turn requires the recognition of the importance of the problem.

There is more at stake than what many people might consider to be merely a middle class distaste for littering and general physical untidiness. Indeed, any presumption that middle class people have a greater dislike of litter than working class people or the poor needs itself to be questioned. After all, poor people bear the brunt of the problem. Where there is litter, there is filth, and where there is filth, there is disease.

Political will must be backed up by public resources, and all the paraphernalia of waste collection – from collection lorries, appropriate waste sites and disposal mechanisms, and litter bins. So much is obvious. Yet what is also required is far greater effort by government and ordinary citizens to curb the waste encouraged by excess packaging.

South Africa’s recycling industries – providers of thousands of jobs in the informal sector – need to be backed up by greater requirements imposed on retailers to provide collection points for plastic, cans, bottles and so on. The lack of effort by municipalities to encourage recycling by requiring householders to sort their waste into categories is scandalous, especially in middle class, high consumption areas where this would be easy to implement.

Legislation to curb use of plastic is spreading around the world, and South Africa should not want to be left behind.

A cleaner environment, cleaner air, cleaner towns and cities, needs to be placed firmly on the public agenda.

 

Roger Southall, Professor of Sociology, University of the Witwatersrand

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

Published in Opinion & Analysis

  1. Opinions and Analysis

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