Items filtered by date: Thursday, 13 September 2018

Illegal fishing is a global challenge. By ignoring legislation, using illegal gear or selling undersized fish, 26 million tons of seafood, estimated at USD$23 billion, is extracted from the oceans each year. While huge international attention is given to illegal fishing in the marine sector, illegal fishing inland, by small-scale fisheries, is often forgotten.

Lake Victoria is the second largest freshwater body in the world, bordered by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Around one million tons of fish are caught from the lake each year, by around 200,000 fishers working from locally-made boats.

It’s widely believed that there are high levels of illegal fishing activity on and around the lake. This includes the use of nets with small mesh and illegal fishing gear to catch immature fish. Such fishing gear include monofilament nets, which are highly destructive if lost as they continue “fishing”, and beach seines, which are small mesh size nets and therefore are indiscriminate in what they catch. In addition, illegal methods, like tycoon fishing to beat fish into the net, may be carried out near breeding areas.

These methods threaten the sustainability of Lake Victoria’s fisheries. Of particular concern is the Nile perch industry, the most valuable of the three commercial fisheries in the lake. The majority of the catch is exported, contributing greatly to government revenue and local economies. Stocks and catches of perch have reduced, from 340,000 tons in 1990 to about 251,000 in 2014.

To address illegal fishing, a comanagement approach was introduced in the late 1990s. Many inland fisheries use this arrangement whereby local resource users, including fishers, traders and processors, work with government, and other actors, like NGOs, to manage fisheries. It’s implemented in the hope that by involving the users of the resource, it will encourage more sustainable practices. It is also used when the state doesn’t have the capacity to manage fisheries, including enforcing regulations, on its own.

However, there’s little evidence that the introduction of comanagement has led to a reduction in illegalities – and one of the reasons for this is corruption.

We did research to find out how corruption affects the comanagement system of Lake Victoria fisheries. We were concerned that comanagement was said to be failing, as illegalities were still widespread, yet there was no link made between corruption and illegal fishing in lake management plans. We believed corruption to be systemic and strongly linked to illegal fishing practices.

Our fears were confirmed. We found that it is a major enabler of illegalities; from paying a bribe to prevent gear from being seized, to receiving advance information on patrols from government officers to avoid arrest. By encouraging illegal fishing to continue, corruption is undermining the comanagement system.

Corruption and Lake Victoria fisheries

The lake’s comanagement system is centred around 1,000 community-based beach management units, made up of all those that work in fisheries at a landing site – where fish is brought to shore. There are almost 1,500 landing sites, some are villages, others more temporary settlements. Beach management unit committees of between nine and 15 people are elected to work with government officers in registering fishers, gear, keeping landing sites clean and participating in patrols.

For our research, we conducted 133 interviews with leaders from the beach management units, boat owners, boat crew, fish processors and traders and fisheries officers. These were done at six landing sites in each country bordering the lake – Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Respondents were not asked directly about corruption. Instead they were asked about their knowledge, and experience, of illegal fishing and many volunteered information about corruption.

Our research confirmed that corruption exists and perpetuates illegal activity. It’s part of the system and involves all stakeholder groups: fishers, fisheries officers, police and the judiciary. About half the boat owners and boat crew, though fewer fish processors and traders, referred to bribery and corruption when talking about their knowledge and experience of illegal fishing. They explained how enforcement officers demand bribes, rather than take offenders to court, or may arrange for regular payments in exchange for allowing the continued use of illegal gear.

Given the prevalence of corruption within Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, it would be ambitious to expect the fisheries sector to be immune from corruption. But recognising that corruption exists, that it encourages illegal behaviour and affects the management of the lake is imperative to putting an end to illegal fishing.

How corruption affects co-management

Corruption affects co-management in at least three ways.

  • Committee members become discouraged from enforcing regulations when enforcement officers, such as government fisheries staff and police officers, actively seek bribes and return seized gear.

  • Cases were reported of government fisheries staff interfering in the election of committee members.

  • Corruption among committee members made enforcement impossible and discouraged compliance amongst other fishers.

There are also other incidents. For instance, politicians will intervene to stop enforcement during election periods. An example of this is when the Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, suspended the work of fisheries officers and beach management units during the last presidential election campaign. He claimed that corruption was rife. But no action was taken against anyone or measures adopted to prevent corruption linked to illegal activity and enforcement.

Way forward

Multiple measures would be needed to stop corruption within fisheries.

These could be relatively simple, for instance ensuring fisheries departments do their job in a timely way –- licensing boats can take years whereas it should be done quickly and regularly. The issue of how fisheries staff are monitored and supervised could also be discussed. For example, staff shouldn’t necessarily be in post at one location for a long time.

Ultimately, the use of land and water patrols, fines and arrests to enforce regulations are futile unless corruption is recognised, openly discussed and measures taken to address it.The Conversation

 

Fiona Nunan, Professor of Environment and Development, University of Birmingham

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Published in Agriculture

Deep and liquid local debt capital markets have reduced the need for South African companies to borrow abroad, making them less vulnerable to a financial crisis than peers in Turkey and other emerging markets, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

Large external financing needs and a plunging currency are proving a toxic mix for Turkey’s corporate sector. But in South Africa, companies have enough access to local funding, and those that have turned to foreign debt used hedging strategies to cushion the effects of short-term currency fluctuations or buy time to adjust to long-term rand weakness, Moody’s said in a report dated 12 September.

 

In addition, most foreign borrowing by South African companies has been driven by offshore expansion and the debt is serviced with cash flows generated in the same currency, creating a natural hedge to currency weakness, the report said.

“Currency volatility in emerging markets has been one of the key focus areas for investors this year, particularly in terms of how it affects credit risk for companies,” Moody’s analysts lead by Dion Bate said in the report. “Despite continued rand volatility, we expect the credit quality of most South African companies we rate to remain broadly stable during the next 12 to 18 months.”

 
 

Foreign exposure

About 38% of South African non-financial corporate debt is denominated in foreign currencies, according to Moody’s. That compares with 56% for Turkey, or an amount of $336bn, almost triple the borrowers’ assets, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The lira’s 40% slump this year will make servicing those loans more burdensome, lowering capital spending and GDP growth.

Moody’s expects the rand to remain volatile over the next year, driven by how successful the government is in implementing economic reforms, as well as global factors including the US policy path, trade tensions and emerging-market turmoil. That will complicate the operating environment and investment decisions for South African companies, Moody’s said.

News24

Published in Business
The poor are carrying the burden of State Capture through the VAT increase, a Parliamentary committee has heard.
 
This is just one of the criticisms raised by several organisations and industry representatives before Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance at a hearing on the VAT panel report on Wednesday.
 
The report, published in August, is the work of an independent panel that reviewed the current list of items exempted from VAT and proposed new items to be zero-rated. The panel was constituted after then Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba announced in February that the VAT rate was to increase by one percentage point from 14% to 15% to raise an additional R22.9bn. 
 
1. The poor are paying for State Capture
 
Neil Coleman, who represented the Institute for Economic Justice, said that SA has to try to find ways to plug revenue shortfalls as tax collection has lagged. This problem has further been exacerbated by State Capture, which has reduced revenue to the fiscus.
 
“It should not result in punishment of the poor. We had nothing to do with that failure,” he said. The SA Revenue Service has experienced two successive years of tax shortfalls: R30bn in 2016/17 and R49bn in 2017/2018. 
 
Similarly, trade union federation Cosatu believes the one percentage point VAT hike punishes the poor for the “sins of the rich”. The federation insisted that government has other options to address revenue shortfalls. It wants the state to “stamp out corruption” and set out how it will recover stolen funds.
 
2. Unlikely VAT hike will be rescinded during the mini-budget
 
The Budget Justice Coalition was among the organisations calling for the VAT hike to be rescinded. But committee chair Yunus Carrim pointed out that the mini budget, set to be delivered on October 24, has already been set and it is unlikely that any decisions would be implemented then.
 
Cosatu proposed that government purchase and distribute sanitary pads to clinics, hospitals, no-fees schools and tertiary institutions.
 
“Government has done it with feeding schemes and condoms. Girls should not be disadvantaged because of a normal cycle of life,” said Cosatu’s Parliamentary coordinator Matthew Parks.
 
The Budget Justice Coalition also proposed that government invest in providing sanitary products to poor women and girls – as this will ensure that they will directly benefit from the zero-VAT status, while richer households can continue to buy the sanitary pads. Sanitary pads were one of the items that the VAT panel proposed be zero-rated. 
 
4. More protein needed on the zero-VAT list
 
The Budget Justice Coalition, which represents several other organisations, raised concerns over the lack of protein on the zero-VAT list, a concern as malnutrition and protein deficiency leads to stunting and anemia. It suggested peanut butter and soya mince be included on the list.
 
The South African Poultry Association pointed out that chicken accounts for 13% of food expenditure for lower-income households, and supported the inclusion of whole fresh or frozen chicken products and portions. 
 
5. VAT hike simply unaffordable for the poor
 
The Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group collected data on the impact of the VAT hike by tracking a basket of 38 foods, 20 of which are subject to 15% VAT, the committee heard.
 
In August 2018, the total cost of the basket was R3 009. Foods subject to VAT accounted for 55% of the basket - or R1 654. The VAT on the foods amounted to R215, or 7.2% of the entire basket, said the group's Mervyn Abrahams. This equal to the price of a 35kg of maize meal which poor and working-class households buy each month.
 
Taking into account the recommendations of the VAT panel, the savings on the food basket for August 2018 would equal R40.81, bringing the total cost of the basket to R2 968. Abrahams said this was roughly equivalent to the median wage of a black South African worker, which is R3 000.
 
“That is just food alone - therein lies the problem,” he said. SA households are not getting sufficient income, and that the problem is not just simply a question of zero-rated items, he said. 
 
6. Food choices must be expanded
 
Geoff Penny of the Baking Association of South Africa weighed in on making white bread zero-rated. He said this decision would enable poor consumers to choose the product they prefer.
 
Poor consumers should be given the opportunity to shop with dignity, the baking association’s submission read.
 
Similarly, Dr Ziyanda Majokweni of the Broiler Organisation argued that whole chickens should not be subject to VAT - as opposed to just having portions like chicken feet and gizzards zero-rated. This would give consumers more choice, she told the committee. 
 
7. Double take on current list
 
Lionel Adendorf of FairPlay criticised the fact that the current list 19 zero-rated items was not reviewed. If there were a thorough review of the list the panel would have taken some items off the list, and would have included new household items which are being used by these poorer households, he argued.
 
The PwC’s VAT Partner Lesley O’Conell also echoed views that the current list should be reconsidered to include ones that are consumed by the poor.
 
The committee's chairperson Yunus Carrim called for Treasury to interrogate the submissions more seriously than they had previously.
 
 
Business Insider.
Published in Opinion & Analysis
The Federal Government has approved the immediate deportation of 36 Indians and two Democratic People’s Republic of Korea nationals with immediate effect.
 
The Minister of Interior, retired Lt.- Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, disclosed this in a statement issued by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Mohammed Umar, on Tuesday in Abuja.
 
Umar said the minister who signed the deportation order on Tuesday, in his Office in Abuja said it was pursuant to section 45(2, 3 and 4) of the Nigeria Immigration Act 2015.
 
Dambazau in the statement explained that the Indian nationals gained entry into the country with fake visas and counterfeit Immigration stamps, while the Korean nationals failed to regularise their stay upon the expiration of their contract with Zamfara Government.
 
Dambazau gave the names of the affected nationals as:Mr AN CHUN SIK and Mr JON SU GYONG of the Democratic People’s Republic Of Korea.
 
The statement listed the names of the 36 Indian nationals as: -Mr Sajji, Mrs Sajji Arvini, Mrs Sunil Babujumma, Mrs Meemi, Mr Papachi, Mr Deva, Mr Rajani, Mrs Kiran Shivachadra, Mr Shivachadra and Mr Shakthi.
 
Others the statement said are : Mr Prabhukumar, Mr Rajan, Mr Shree Kumar, Mr Jagandeesh, Mrs Mamathaja, Mrs Sheela, Mr Prasad, Mr Pappa and Ms Nirveni
 
Also named are: Mr Shambhu Kumar, Mrs Reshma, Mr Ravi Kumar, Mr Iraji, Mrs Jinotha, Mr Kishore, Mr Nageena, Mrs Sheelavathi and Mr. Nentaraju/Santhosh Kumar.
 
The minister in the statement named other India nationals as Mrs Sumati, Mr Krishna Lokesh, Mr Santhil, Mr Vasantha, Mr Seebu, Mr Vishwanath, Mr Vishwanth Ramya and Mr Rajeshwari.
 
He reiterated President Muhammadu Buhari’s determination to empower the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to enhance enforcement of the nation’s Immigration Laws.
 
The minister in the statement further stated that all foreign nationals should operate within the provisions of the law as the nation would not compromise its immigration laws.
 
 
NAN
Published in World

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