Sunday, 22 September 2019

Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) has said it has arrested about eight top Government officials over misuse of public funds.

Jérôme Gasana, the former Director-General of the Workforce Development Agency (WDA) tops the list along with others from different institutions.

Three more officials from WDA were arrested alongside Gasana, RIB said. This includes the former Project Coordinator, the officer in charge of Human Resources Management, and the former Director in Charge of Administration and Finance.

The Administration and Finance Units mainly are tasked with coordination of the development, execution and monitoring of budgets.

According to the investigation bureau, the head of the Investment Department and the Human Resource Officer at Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) were also arrested

This is in addition to two officials from the Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC) - the former Director of Administration and Finance as well as the head of Logistics and Administration.

"Investigations continue in other public institutions where public funds were misused/embezzled as mentioned in the AG report to establish criminal responsibilities for suspects to face justice and embezzled public funds be recovered in accordance with the law," RIB said in a tweet on Saturday.

For many years, the Auditor General's (AG) report has pointed out the misuse of public funds as one of the dominant issues faced by public institutions.

According to the latest audits released by the Auditor General, earlier this year, public institutions were characterised by irregular expenditure in form of unsupported expenditure, partially supported expenditure, wasteful expenditure, unauthorised expenditure and funds diverted or fraudulently utilised.

All that amounted to $6.2million.

Such audits have in the past identified cross-cutting issues such as cases of delayed and abandoned contracts, stalled projects, continuing cases of idle assets, failure to recover advance payment and performance securities, as well as non-compliance with taxation laws.

WASAC, RSSB and the Energy, Development Corporation Limited (EDCL), are some of the institutions that have been faulted in these annual reports several times.

Despite this, little efforts have been directed towards bringing such officials to account for such cases. This ostensibly shows renewed efforts to bring public officials to face accountability.

President Paul Kagame has personally been a strong advocate of accountability and the efficient use of public resources.

Earlier this year in the Southern Province, he alluded to the need for accountability for leaders to deliver on their responsibilities.

The Head of State at the time expressed concern on accountability and proper use of state resources meant for citizen welfare.

"When you know you have the necessary, in this case, a budget of $132million, that money cannot just disappear, and year after year nothing has changed or improved. How can you explain this? We need to be showing the impact and change that amount has created. We cannot be like the ones who use a sieve to carry water. We have the ability to think, to do the work," he said.


Source: New Times

Published in Economy

Ten years ago, Verve, a leading payments technology and card scheme business in Africa, was launched by Interswitch Group to reduce, if not eliminate, the burden of cash payment settlement in Nigeria.

Today, Verve classic card is accepted in Nigeria and 21 African countries, while recently launched Verve Global Card is accepted in 185 countries, including Nigeria, Africa and favorite travel destinations such as US, UK & Dubai.

Verve card scheme has thus concluded plans to host a press launch on Friday 27th September 2019. The press launch event is a formal announcement of the brand’s 10th anniversary to industry stakeholders, and heralds all activities marking the 10th anniversary celebration, including exciting discounts and offers to customers and card users.

This milestone event will host stakeholders from the press, Verve’s banking partners, Verve Business team, Interswitch Group family, etc. The 10th anniversary press launch has been themed with a bit of experiential slant that both disseminates information to Verve’s stakeholders and heralds the brand’s iconicity.

Speaking on the 10th anniversary, Cherry Eromosele, Group Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Interswitch, said: “Great brands are great stories; we are proud of the story and proposition we have created. Our story is one of resilience, Verve card has helped to solve the inefficiencies of cash handling in a very big way. At its inception in 2009, our intention was to use technology to drive the financial service industry in Nigeria.

“We wanted to provide safer, easier, faster and more cost-effective ways of payment exchange. In ten years the brand has survived, grown and blossomed into this formidable stature, and we cannot but share our story with Nigerians. That is what we want to do with our 10th year anniversary celebrations”.

Mike Ogbalu III, Verve International Divisional CEO, expressed his excitement about this milestone occasion, noting that Verve Card scheme was launched to re-define the face of payment landscape in Nigeria, Africa and beyond.

He said: “Mission accomplished! Over the past 10 years, Verve has been reinventing the payment industry landscape and providing Nigerians with more seamless payment exchange options such as e-cash, paycode, USSD, and Chip+pin cards”.

Today Verve Card scheme is The African Key to Exchange, moving beyond Africa to the rest of the world, building footprints in US, U.K, Dubai & many more international locations.

Published in Bank & Finance
No fewer than 90 big companies in sectors from food to cement to telecommunications have pledged to slash their greenhouse gas emissions in a new campaign to steer multi-nationals towards a low-carbon future, Reuters reports.
“We Mean Business”, a coalition of advocacy groups, said on Sunday that dozens of companies had joined the initiative in the two months leading up to a United Nations climate summit.
The summit is taking place on Monday, which aimed to spur faster action on climate change.
“Now we need many more companies to join the movement, sending a clear signal that markets are shifting,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement.
The coalition was launched in June with a call to action by the United Nations, business and civil society leaders.
We Mean Business said 87 companies are now involved, with total market capitalisation of more than 2.3 trillion dollars.
Some companies in the coalition have agreed to slash their carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.
They include Swiss food company Nestle, French building materials company Saint-Gobain, and French cosmetics maker L’Oreal.
Others have stopped short of committing to go carbon neutral but say they would align their operations with a goal of limiting the increase in average global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius as enshrined in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
This group included Finnish telecoms company Nokia, French food group Danone and British drug maker AstraZeneca Plc, We Mean Business said.
As accelerating climate impacts from melting ice caps to sea-level rise and extreme weather outpace climate models, scientists say the world needs to halve its greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade to avoid catastrophic warming.
With fossil fuel companies still developing new oil and gas fields and many developing countries expanding coal-fired power, the coalition’s pledges are minuscule relative to rising global emissions.
Some experts have questioned whether publicly traded companies committed to maximising shareholder returns would be able to make the sweeping investments required to fight climate change.
Yet many investors have been pressuring companies to act on climate risks, and chief executives also faced pressure from an upsurge in youth-led activism, which mobilised millions around the world to protest on Friday.
We Mean Business believe pledges by a core of mostly European, and some North American and Asian companies, to commit to independently-verified emissions targets would prompt others to follow suit.
“These bold companies are leading the way towards a positive tipping point where 1.5°C-aligned corporate strategies are the new normal for businesses and their supply chains around the world,” said Lise Kingo, chief executive of the U.N. Global Compact, which promotes responsible business practices.
U.N. chief Guterres sees the private sector as crucial to securing more ambitious pledges at Monday’s Climate Action Summit in New York, which aimed to boost the Paris deal before it enters a crucial implementation phase next year.
Companies such as Danish power group Orsted, Spanish energy company Iberdrola and German insurer Allianz are due to speak alongside governments at the one-day gathering, according to a draft agenda.
Published in World

Tanzania expects to raise cashew nuts production by 33.5% in the year to September 2020, helped by favourable weather conditions and increased plantings, its agriculture minister said on Saturday.

Output in 2019/2020(October-September) is seen reaching 300,000 tonnes, up from the 225,000 tonnes produced in the 2018/2019 season.

"We expect to get a bigger harvest in the coming season, with our cashew nut production likely to rise to more than 300,000 tonnes," the minister, Japhet Hasunga, told Reuters.

"This forecast of increased output is attributed to good weather, widespread availability of farming inputs and increased plantings."

Last year, the government blocked traders from buying the crop from farmers after they could not meet the minimum indicative prices set by the president, and bought the entire crop itself.

President John Magufuli had ordered a 94 percent hike in prices, arguing that farmers were receiving too little for the most valuable of Tanzania's crop exports.

He then deployed the army to collect the entire crop of over 200,000 tonnes of cashew nuts from farmers.

But in November he sacked two ministers, saying they had failed to secure buyers.

Hasunga told Reuters that the government had eventually sold the 2018/2019 crop to a Vietnamese firm, but would allow private traders to resume buying in 2019/2020.


Published in Agriculture
According to the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison after holding  talks with U.S. President Donald Trump, the country was not getting involved with the United States in its pursuit of aims in relation to Iran, saying they were only collaborating on freedom of navigation in the region.
“There was no discussion about anything else,” Morrison, who made a state visit to the White House on Friday, told journalists, according to a transcript.
“There was an appreciation of our involvement in that particular operation which was about freedom of navigation in the Straits of Hormuz. That’s what that is about. The other matters that are being pursued by the United States are matters that they’re pursuing.”
Trump last week approved sending U.S. troops to bolster Saudi Arabia’s air and missile defenses after the largest-ever attack on the kingdom’s oil facilities, which the United States has squarely blamed on Iran.
Tension between the United States and Iran has been rising since Trump abandoned the Iranian nuclear agreement last year and the attack on the oil facilities has spurred concerns of an escalation into a new war.
The U.S. president had signaled he would raise with Morrison a possible military contribution in Iran, although later he said the topic had not been discussed.
In August, Australia joined the U.S-led International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC) in support of freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz.
“I made it very clear when we announced our involvement in that arrangement that it was very much about that freedom of navigation issue and that’s what it is about and that’s appreciated,” Morrison said.
He also praised Trump for what he said was a “restraint” in relation to Iran.
“And it was good to have the opportunity to confirm that again in the course of our discussions,” Morrison said.
“So I think that should provide some assurance. I mean Australia will make its decisions in our national interest.” Reuters reported.
Published in World

In an unmistakable move to send message to America, the Iranian Armed Forces unveiled for the first time various types of missiles, fighter jets, equipment and air defense systems developed by the country’s experts, in nationwide military parades on Sunday.

Different units of the Islamic Republic Army, Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Law Enforcement Police and Basij (volunteer) forces held parades in Tehran and other cities across the country, the News reported.

The parades mark the start of the Sacred Defense Week, commemorating Iranians’ sacrifices during the eight years of the Iraqi imposed war on Iran in 1980s.

In Tehran, the ceremony took place at the mausoleum of the Founder of the Islamic Republic, the Late Imam Khomeini, South of the capital.

Different units of Iran’s military forces marched in uniform before top Army and IRGC commanders in a show of military might and defensive power.

Senior military and government officials, including Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri and President Hassan Rouhani, as well as foreign diplomats, military attaches and reporters participated in the ceremony in Tehran.

During the parades in Tehran, the home-made version of the sophisticated Russian S-300 missile defense system, dubbed as Bavar (Belief) 373 with the capability to confront threats in high-altitude, distant areas, ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and drones was displayed.

Also, the Iranian Armed Forces showcased the home-made state-of-the-art missile defense system named ‘Khordad 15’ which is equipped with passive phased array radar system for detecting fighter jets, stealth targets and cruise missiles.

The system can trace targets, including fighter jets and enemy drones, 150km away and intercept them at a range of 120km.It can also trace stealth targets in areas 85km in distance, and destroy them at a distance of 45km.

The missile defense system can trace, engage, and destroy 6 targets simultaneously, enjoys high mobility and can be prepared for operation in less than 5 minutes.

During the parades in Tehran, the home-made version of the sophisticated Russian S-300 missile defense system, dubbed as Bavar (Belief) 373 with the capability to confront threats in high-altitude, distant areas, ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and drones was displayed. Also, the Iranian Armed Forces showcased the home-made state-of-the-art missile defense system named ‘Khordad 15’ which is equipped with passive phased array radar system for detecting fighter jets, stealth targets and cruise missiles.

The latest version of the warhead used in the long-range ballistic missile of Khordad 15 defense system was displayed in the parades. The missile can carry several warheads up to 1,800kg and has a range of 2,000km.

Also, the IRGC Aerospace Force displayed 18 home-made ballistic missiles, including Qadr, Emad, Sejjil, Khorramshahr and Qiam during the parades.

The Iranian Armed Forces also unveiled a newly-developed home-made mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicle for the first time in the nationwide parades.

Also, a new artillery system named ‘Ha’el (Barrier)’ was for the first unveiled during the Sunday parades which is equipped with a passive radar system and can intercept the targets in a stealth mode.

The artillery system is mobile and has been designed to confront low-altitude targets, including cruise missiles, aggressor drones or little flying objects.

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani and other commanders of the IRGC, Army and Basij forces participated in a similar ceremony in the Southern province of Hormozgan and the territorial waters in the Persian Gulf.

Foreign delegates as well as military and civilian officials were present in the ceremony.

Different surface and subsurface vessels, air force and naval units of the Army and the IRGC participated in the parades in the Persian Gulf.

The Iranian Army and the IRGC also held joint aerial parades in Hormozgan province on Sunday.

The joint parades were staged with participation of the Air Force’s F-4 and Mirage fighter jets and helicopters, the IRGC’s Sukhoi-22 fighters, the Navy’s Tucano, Yak 12 fighter jets and S.H. and 212 helicopters as well as the Navy’s various surface and subsurface units.

Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Army’s Air Force Brigadier General Hamid Vahedi had said on Thursday that different heavy bomber fighters, light cargo planes, helicopters and patrolling and reconnaissance aircraft of the Air Force, the Navy and the IRGC Aerospace Force would participate in the parade.

General Vahedi said that the parades would send a message of peace and friendship to the friendly and neighbouring states.

He underlined the necessity for the establishment of security in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz by the regional states, and said, “The presence of foreigners in the region will inflict unrepairable damage on the security structure of this international waterway.”

Published in World

Dangote Group CEO, Alhaji Aliko Dangote said Dangote Cement Plc alone provides jobs to over 25,000 people across the nation.

He said the firm has operations not only in Nigeria but in 14 other African countries, adding that it has 29 million tons installed capacity for cement production and expected to increase to 35 million by 2020 in the country.

Speaking at the official commissioning of the N85 million Chemical and Non-Metallic Employers Federation House (CANMPEF House), built by CANMPEF, Dangote said the Group has contributed to the nation's successful transition from being world's largest importer of cement to self-sufficiency in cement and indeed net exporters of cement.

He said: ''I am aware that CANMPEF is Nigeria's largest employer's federation, with your members spread in various locations across Nigeria, and fully engaged in various value-added activities that are creating wealth and employment for millions of Nigerians.

Dangote and the Group Managing Director, Access Bank, Dr Herbert Wigwe, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for contituting the Economic Advisory Council (EAC).

''Under the present administration, our operations have continued to thrive and we are investing in capacity expansion because of the enabling environment created by the government's economic polices.

''We welcome the recent constitution of an economic management team which will further strengthen the confidence of investors and other players in the economy.

'The team will redefine Nigeria's economy and restore its vibrancy,' he said.

Wigwe said the EAC will redefine Nigeria's economy and restore its vibrancy.

He spoke on Thursday during the opening of new branch of Access Bank in Ipetu-Ijesha, Oriade Local Government Area of Osun State.


Published in Business

Tanzania has signed a contract with Airbus for the European planemaker to supply two passenger jets for the country’s national airline to help expand its small fleet and extend its network of destinations, a government official said on Friday.

Benjamin Ndimila, the Chief Executive Officer of Tanzania Government Flight Agency (TGFA), told Reuters that under the contract Airbus would supply two A220-300 aircraft.

President John Magufuli has been personally championing the revival of Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL), joining other regional governments that are launching or revamping national carriers to share in Africa’s growing aviation business.

Last month, neighbouring Uganda also relaunched its national carrier.

TGFA, under the president’s office, leases aircraft to Air Tanzania. Air Tanzania’s existing fleet includes one Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, two Airbus A220-300 jets and three DHC Dash 8-400 aircraft, formerly known as the Bombardier Q400 turboprop.

Ndimila said the new Airbus planes would have a more luxurious interior than in the existing aircraft.

“The new planes will have an improved entertainment system including screens in each seat,” he said.

Airbus, he said, had told Tanzania the planes would be ready in about a year. He declined to say how much they would cost. Magufuli’s government reckons a more efficient national airline will help tourism, a mainstay of Tanzania’s economy.

On Monday, he said the airline carried 75% of domestic air traffic, up from 3% three years ago.

“So far the business is doing very well. We are overwhelmed by the demand ... we wish these planes could be delivered even tomorrow,” Ndimila said.

Published in Travel & Tourism

The Nigerian Union South Africa (NUSA) has lauded the Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, for his benevolence towards evacuation of Nigerans from South Africa.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the management of Air Peace, in collaboration with the Federal Government, evacuated 187 Nigerians from South Africa on Sept. 11.

They also evacuated another set of 320 that arrived Nigeria last Wednesday.

NUSA President, Adetola Olubajo, said in a statement that the gesture was an act of absolute humanity to nationhood displayed by Air Peace.

According to NUSA, the umbrella organisation of Nigerians in South Africa, the gesture came at a point when all hope seemed to have been lost in a far-away nation.

“It was great and humbling to hear Allen Onyema say he would do whatever it took to rescue the situation.

“He emphasized his disposition to make a difference in the society for national interest and for this, we say he is a rare breed in our generation,”

Olubajo also added that Onyema had constantly been a source of inspiration to people who appreciate philanthropic gestures.



Published in Travel & Tourism
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