South African food producer Tiger Brands said on Monday it is looking at “significant” job cuts and won’t pay an interim dividend as its business is hit by supply disruptions and margin pressures due to the impact of the coronavirus.
The owner of Jungle Oats and Tastic rice said first-half headline earnings fell 35% and it expects coronavirus-related costs of about 500 million rand ($28 million) to hit profit in the second half due to rand weakness, global supply chain disruptions and additional costs incurred during a lockdown in South Africa to curb the spread of the virus.
As a result the company has started looking at cost-cutting measures, including possibly “significant” job cuts, Chief executive Noel Doyle told reporters in a media call.
“Not just in headcount but right across our whole offering and of course we have to look at a couple of the categories where we have been incurring significant losses,” he said.
Tiger Brands employs more than 11,200 people in South Africa, excluding seasonal staff, a company spokesperson said.
Tiger Brands said it had decided not to declare an interim dividend in order to preserve cash, adding that it would re-consider an annual dividend at the end of the year depending on the group’s trading performance.
Headline earnings per share from continuing operations fell to 501 cents in the six months ended March 31, the company said, from 773 cents in the same period last year. Pretax profit from continuing operations fell 65% to 673 million rand.
“The group’s overall performance reflects the difficult trading environment and the challenges faced, particularly within grains, groceries, Value Added Meat Products (VAMP) and exports,” Tiger Brands said in a statement.
Group revenue from continuing operations increased by 2% to 15.7 billion rand. However, group operating income dropped by 29%, with operating profit margins declining to 7%, impacted by lower volumes, raw material and conversion costs rising ahead of inflation and increased marketing investment, it said.
“These costs, together with the effect of government regulations on pricing during the national disaster period, may have an impact in excess of 500 million rand on profitability (in the second half),” the company said.
President Mnangagwa has challenged Africa to pursue the vision of the founding fathers and promote economic integration and sustainable development for the continent.
In his address to the nation today to mark the 57th anniversary of the founding of the Organisation for African Unity, now the African Union, on May 25 1963, the President commended Africans for defending the continent's independence.
"As we celebrate Africa Day, we are jubilant that the vision of our founding fathers has been by and large realised, kept and is jealously defended," he said.
"Above all, that vision continues to be elaborated upon, notably through Agenda 2063 which envisions an economically integrated continent of Africa which will be a global powerhouse by 2063.
"Our continent's desire is to achieve sustainable development, through concrete manifestations of the Pan-African drive for unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity."
President Mnangagwa said the African Continental Free Trade Area that seeks to create a prosperous future was now in force and called for the scaling up of integration and cooperation at all levels. He said cooperation was imperative in the continent's quest to achieve food security and to mitigate the impact of climate change and threats posed by disease outbreaks.
"Conscious of Agenda 2063, we must continue to explore and exploit our vast natural resources. The value addition and beneficiation of our various resource endowments must be harnessed to modernise and industrialise Africa's economies.
"In this 'Decade of Action', let us give impetus to innovation. We must drive all facets of socio-economic development, leveraging on science, technologies as well as our rich heritage, history and cultures," said the President.
The promotion of human development and the economic empowerment of youth and women must result in an Africa that produces goods and services for itself through its own innovations and initiatives.
"The realisation of sustainable development and the great vision of an improved standard of living for our people must remain a top priority."
President Mnangagwa called on Africans to deepen the culture of democracy and good governance as taught by the continent's founding fathers. Former colonial powers had no authority to lecture Africa on democracy as the continent had fought to achieve the democracy being enjoyed to this day. Africans should not be shy to express the rich cultural heritage, languages and identities.
"Zimbabwe continues to pursue robust cooperation with our neighbours and the continent as a whole; subscribing to a fully integrated continent of Africa. We must now urgently consolidate the implementation of cross-border projects, to improve our road networks, water, energy and ICT infrastructure, among others. This will inevitably accelerate multi-faceted sustainable development in the region and on the continent," he said.
The continent continued to face various challenges despite development made in other areas with civil wars and terrorism being experienced in some areas. He said the Extraordinary SADC Organ Troika Summit recently met to address the terrorism scourge experienced in some parts of Mozambique.
"Let me reiterate our unequivocal rejection of terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, and our strong condemnation of all terrorist acts, which will never be justified.
"Zimbabwe remains committed to play its part in all regional and continental initiatives as our modest contribution towards a prosperous and peaceful world order," he said.
President Mnangagwa condemned some Western nations for meddling in the internal affairs of countries on the continent. Zimbabwe continued to suffer from unwarranted interference and endure illegal sanctions imposed as punishment for reclaiming land.
"However, we are buoyed by the fact that we have re-united with our land, which is now irreversibly reposed into our hands, we its true owners," he said.
"As we commemorate and celebrate the unity of our continent, we in Zimbabwe deeply thank our Sadc region and the whole continent of Africa for standing with us. Africa has rejected and denounced the sanctions against Zimbabwe and the Sudan, urging those responsible for these illegal, heinous measures to immediately lift them without conditionalities.
"They are illegal, unjust, spiteful and undeserved. Above all, they go against the grain and spirit of civilised international relations as espoused in the United Nations Charter. We reiterate that sanctions have no place in modern international relations."
President Mnangagwa also urged Africans to remain alert to the threats of Covid-19 pandemic despite the continent recording low infection and mortality figures as compared to other continents.
"We must therefore, continue with the concerted efforts towards a continental response, and a united global response under the World Health Organisation. Covid-19 knows no borders; hence our response both on the continent and beyond must reflect this undeniable reality," he said.
The President urged Africans to re-dedicate themselves to defend the continent's liberty and unity and commit to fight for lasting justice and sustainable development, which leaves no one behind.
Source - The Herald Zimbabwe
The traditional leadership and redeemer posture of Nigeria in Africa has, in recent years, been put into question.
Issues like corruption and infrastructural decay have held the country down from playing a leadership role in Africa. As have transitions from one poor leadership to another. A visionary leadership is lacking while public institutions are weak, inept and compromised. Decades of political patronage and nepotism have seen a corrosion of quality and performance in the public service.
In addition, the intractable problem of Boko Haram and Islamic State, coupled with kidnappings, have created a security crisis. All continue to shatter the myth of military invincibility and the might of the Nigerian state.
In the beginning, it was not so. From independence in 1960, Nigeria took upon itself the role of uniting Africa against western recolonisation. The continent, from then on in, became the centre-piece of its foreign policy. The fact that nations were living under foreign rule made it possible to galvanise them around a common cause. This led to the creation of the Organisation of African Unity – now the African Union – in 1963 and Economic Community of West African States in 1975.
Nigeria assumed a leading role in these events as it forged a foreign policy with a strong Afrocentric posture. In fact, so frenetic was its involvement in this role that it sometimes paid little attention to the home front.
Nigeria’s leadership role on the continent was a product of the vision, dreams and, sometimes, whims of the founding fathers. They were nevertheless premised on real national capacity. Jaja Wachukwu, Nigeria’s first external affairs minister noted in 1960 that:
Our country is the largest single unit in Africa… we are not going to abdicate the position in which God Almighty has placed us. The whole black continent is looking up to this country to liberate it from thraldom.
This defined the country’s behaviour and continental outlook and has continued to influence successive administrations – weak or effective.
Assuming a leadership role
The sheer size of Nigeria’s population – the largest on the continent which rose from 48.3 million in 1963 to over 200 million in 2020 — gave the country the idea that Africa was its natural preoccupation.
In addition, its colonial experience and the abundance of its oil resources and wealth have empowered Nigeria economically. This made it possible for the country to pursue an ambitious foreign policy. It also permitted Nigeria to finance its Civil War, strengthening its international independence. And oil made possible an unparalleled post-war recovery.
Nigeria has used its influence to good effect and to good ends. For example, it worked with other countries in the West African sub-region to establish the Economic Community of West African States in 1975. It went on to push for the prevention and resolution of devastating conflicts that engulfed Liberia in 1992. The conflict spilled over into Sierra Leone and other countries in the region. Nigeria spearheaded the cessation of hostilities and created the cease-fire monitoring group to bring a total end to the civil strife and restore democracy in both countries.
Many observers agree that the sterling performance of the monitoring group is unparalleled in the history of regional organisations the world over. It has now become a model to emulate for its operational efficiency and for giving regional actors pride of place in the resolution of regional conflicts.
It spent over US$10 billion in these peace campaigns and also lost soldiers in the process.
Nigeria has not limited its peacekeeping role to West Africa. It has also been engaged in Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia-Eritrea.
The country also played the most important role in fighting apartheid in Southern Africa and supporting liberation movements on the continent.
But Nigeria has not been immune to challenges facing countries on the continent. Corruption, misappropriation of public funds, electoral malpractices, insurgency and terrorism have devastated its capacity and weakened its moral fortitude to lead the continent.
Amidst enormous wealth, poverty in Nigeria is endemic . It could even become the poverty capital of the world, according to The World Poverty Clock. Nigerians have been reduced to the behest of the politicians that tie them to gridlock of “stomach infrastructure”. This is a new trend which reflects institutionalised and structural poverty. Deprivation puts people in a vulnerable and compromised position where the desperation for survival makes them sell their votes and conscience.
The slow movement of the current administration is also killing the Nigerian spirit and leadership posture. South Africa, Ghana and even Madagascar have acted faster in continental and global politics, including during times of emergency such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. But Nigeria seems content with a spectator position.
Nigeria has been relegated to the background of international affairs. To turn this around requires a revisit to the roots – and mowing the lawns afterwards. Nigeria must take stock of its own performance and capacities and re-position itself – first from within.
If Nigerian leaders are increasingly determined to proffer African solutions to their problems, then political structures and institutions must be reformed to reflect conditions suitable for sustainable development. Without a formidable political base, the economy will remain weak and fragile. The political base is crucial, because, the state is the repository of all ramifications and dimensions of power – political, economic, technological and military. And the purpose of the state is to authoritatively allocate these resources.
There is also a need to empower people to mobilise their local resources and to use them for development. And, of course, public funds should not be concentrated in the hands of few individuals, who may be tempted to steal them. An accountable system is one in which money management has several checks.
Oil wealth has been the country’s nemesis, a curse that has promoted corruption and blatant bleeding of the economy. But it is declining in value and as source of national revenue. Now is the time for Nigeria to make good its repeated and well-advertised intentions to diversify the economy.
A de-emphasis on oil would open the door to smarter ideas about how to create wealth. It would also herald in getting rid of a great deal of the phlegm of corruption which has played such a central role in Nigeria’s infrastructural decay, eroded its influence and given it such a negative image.
Added to this is the succession of weak rulers since 2007.
African leaders do not look towards Nigeria anymore for counsel, inspiration and help. They think Nigeria has a lot on its plate already and needs help. The potential is still there for Nigeria to return to power; but it takes leadership to (re)build the auspicious atmosphere and to activate the country’s potential – the two steps required to regain that enviable frontliner spot on the continent.
Big Brother Africa winner, Idris Sultan is facing cyberbullying charges for laughing at an old picture of President John Magufuli.
His lawyer Benedict Ishabakaki told BBC that the 2014 Big Brother Africa winner is accused of contravening the Cybercrimes Act 2015 against cyberbullying.
The law states: “A person shall not initiate or send any electronic communication using a computer system to another person with intent to coerce, intimidate, harass or cause emotional damage.”
If convicted of the charges levelled against him, Idris faces paying a fine of not less than Tsh5 million($2,161.21) or imprisonment for a term of not less than three years or both.
According to Ishabaki, the charges facing Idris stem from a video he recently shared laughing at an old photo of Magufuli.
“In short, the police claim Idris used the internet to harass the president,” he said.
Idris who also doubles as a comedian was arrested on May 19 after heeding summons from the police but is yet to be arraigned in court.
According to Idris’ lawyer, their request for bail was denied as police said they needed him in custody while they follow up on leads.
Zimbabwe welcomed the U.S. decision Thursday to remove two of its banks from the sanctions list, saying the move will allow them to easily obtain credit to address the country's moribund economy.
However, the ruling ZANU-PF party is calling for more from the U.S. and other Western countries that imposed the sanctions in 2002.
The U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control gave Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe and Agricultural Development Bank of Zimbabwe a clean bill of health. Mthuli Ncube, the country's finance and economic development minister, could not hide his joy over the news to reporters in Harare.
"Of course, any removal of any institution, especially a financial one, is very positive indeed," he said. "This will help the bank access credit lines and remove any restrictions that pertain to KYC — know-your-customer — challenges, which is really what happens when a bank is on the spotlight, the way they were. Now that they [sanctions] have been lifted, the banks will find it easier to do business going forward. So this is a very welcome development indeed."
Tafadzwa Mugwadi, the director of information in the ruling ZANU-PF party, said the party is not satisfied, though President Emmerson Mnangagwa's efforts to reengage the West are bearing fruit.
"We are not happy as long as part of these sanctions, the major parts of these sanctions are still in place," Mugwadi said. "Our position as ZANU-PF is that the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe from the United States of America have no place in this civilized world, so that the people of Zimbabwe can fully realize their full potential without any hinderances, so that the government can be measured on the basis of its capacity without these hinderances, without sanctions in place."
The U.S. and several Western countries and institutions, like the European Union, imposed sanctions on some state institutions and some senior party officials in 2002 following reports of election rigging and human rights abuses. Harare blames the sanctions for the country's moribund economy, while critics blame bad government policies for causing the economy to catch a cold.
People queue for cash at an ATM which dispensed the new Zimbabwean ten-dollar notes, in Harare, May 20, 2020. The higher denomination bank note was introduced to help ease perennial shortages of cash in the country.
Rejoice Ngwenya, an independent political commentator, said the U.S. may have lifted sanctions on the two banks to help the country fight the COVID-19 pandemic but ruled out giving in to ZANU-PF demands.
"The present government has not shown any appetite for reforms. Given their response to the abductions of the [opposition] MDC Alliance youth leaders, it would be really unlikely that the local American embassy recommend removal of any political leaders, unless those political leaders are targets of possible liberal reform," Ngwenya said.
The U.S. Embassy in Harare was not immediately available for a comment.
Earlier this month, three members of Zimbabwe's main opposition party were allegedly abducted and tortured after taking part in a protest demanding that the government pay those affected by the ongoing coronavirus lockdown. The government has said it is investigating the matter.
The HMS ecosystem is also integrated with Huawei’s EMUI10 operating system which runs on Android 10. It’s described as Huawei’s best interface to date, complete with an intuitive and easy-to-use layout.
What sets the Huawei P40 lite apart from other Android devices is the inclusion of the Huawei Mobile Service (HMS) ecosystem, which replaced the Google Mobile Service (GMS).
While many smartphone users may feel hesitant to invest in a phone that doesn’t support GMS, the truth of the matter is that the P40 series is engineered to deliver a superb and unrivalled entertainment experience. And, Google services will still be accessible via the web browser.
Huawei also made improvements to the AppGallery; it will be easier than ever to set up the P40 lite and download the apps that you love. The App Gallery has exclusive content, region-specific activities and special offers.