Main Menu

Friday, December 13th, 2019

 

UN emergency fund injects $125 million to scale up aid in 11 countries with underfunded crises

(New York, 13 December 2019): UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock has released US$125 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to urgently boost humanitarian response to people in need in 11 countries across the world in 2020.

This allocation is one of the highest in the fund’s history and will support cross-border crises in and around Syria, the Sahel region and Central America, among others.

The CERF provides time-critical funding to sudden-onset or rapidly deteriorating crises and aims to grow into a $1 billion-a-year emergency relief mechanism.

Allocation decisions for underfunded emergencies are based on detailed analysis of more than 70 humanitarian indicators and consultations with stakeholders.

Mark Lowcock, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said “the CERF is a safety net that saves millions of innocent lives in armed conflicts, natural disasters and other crises. This year brought unprecedented demand for humanitarian response as several crises have taken a turn for the worse and other funding streams haven’t caught up.

“This injection of money will help front-line responders provide more treatments for children suffering from malnutrition, primary health care, emergency education, protection, and shelter, water, food and livelihood assistance. I sincerely thank our donors for making this happen.”

The new $125 million allocation is distributed among relief organizations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo ($30 million); Syria ($25 million); Lebanon ($13 million); Chad ($12 million); Niger ($11 million); Haiti ($7 million); Jordan ($6 million); Mauritania ($6 million); Democratic People’s Republic of Korea ($5 million); Guatemala ($5 million) and Honduras ($5 million).

Established by the UN General Assembly in 2005 as a global fund ‘for all, by all’, CERF enables timely, effective and life-saving humanitarian action supporting UN agencies and others to kick-start or reinforce emergency response across the world. With generous contributions from 127 Member States and Observers, as well as other donors, the fund has assisted hundreds of millions of people by providing $6 billion since its inception to over 100 countries and territories, including over $2 billion to underfunded crises.

For further information, please contact:
In New York, Zoe Paxton, zoe.paxton@un.org, + 1 917 297 1542
In Geneva, Jens Laerke, laerke@un.org, +41 79 472 9750


Dette intérieure: 171 milliards FCFA payés au secteur privé ivoirien en 2019

Publié le 14.12.2019 à 00h18 par APA

Un montant de 171 milliards FCFA a été payé au secteur privé ivoirien en terme de dette intérieure depuis le début de l’année jusqu’à ce jour, a annoncé vendredi à Abidjan, le ministre ivoirien de l’économie et des finances, Adama Coulibaly.Le ministre s’exprimait dans un discours d’ouverture d’une réunion du Comité technique de concertation État-secteur privé qui a réuni des membres du gouvernement et des organisations patronales.

«Le premier sujet portait sur les questions de dettes. Le secteur privé a émis le vœu de voir la question de la dette intérieure traitée avec beaucoup de diligence. Nous leur avons indiqué que beaucoup d’efforts ont été fait en rappelant que depuis le début de l’année jusqu’à maintenant il y a un montant de 171 milliards FCFA qui a été payé au secteur privé en terme de dette intérieure», a expliqué M. Coulibaly à la presse au terme de cette rencontre.

Dans le même élan, le gouvernement s’est engagé à renforcer les bases de son partenariat avec le secteur privé par la relance du dialogue au niveau du cadre de concertation État-secteur privé.  

« Il importe de créer les conditions les plus optimales en vue de permettre à notre secteur privé national de jouer pleinement sa partition en tant que créateur de richesses et grand pourvoyeur d’emplois. A ce titre, le gouvernement entend renforcer les bases du partenariat État-secteur privé», a dit Adama Coulibaly.

 «Nous leur avons dit également que conformément aux engagements que nous avons pris pour ce qu’on appelle la dette flottante, des efforts seront faits pour que cette dette flottante soit aussi traitée dans les délais. Nous avons évoqué aussi la question de la fiscalité. Ce que nous avons retenu c’est que ce dialogue puisse se poursuivre», a-t-il ajouté.

Soulignant le rôle déterminant du secteur privé dans la croissance économique du pays, M. Coulibaly a assuré que le gouvernement ne peut qu’être attentif aux préoccupations de ce secteur. 

Auparavant Faman Touré, le président de la Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de Côte d’Ivoire a salué l’appui du gouvernement ivoirien aux Petites et moyennes entreprises (PME) estimant que beaucoup d’efforts ont été faits.

Cependant, M. Touré a fait remarquer qu’il y a  beaucoup de préoccupations encore pendantes du secteur privé. Au nombre de ces préoccupations, il a cité entre autres, la fiscalité des PME au niveau de l’impôt synthétique et l’impôt foncier au niveau du secteur touristique.

« Nous sommes venus pour débattre, mais nous pouvons dire qu’il y a eu une avancée au niveau des préoccupations du secteur privé. Concrètement des efforts sont faits par le gouvernement, mais nous souhaitons que les choses s’améliorent », a soutenu M. Touré.

Le Comité de concertation État-Secteur privé est une tribune d’échanges entre le gouvernement ivoirien et les différents secteurs d’activités du privé en Côte d’Ivoire.


Lassina Sermé élu président du Repprelci, la faîtière de la presse numérique en Côte d’Ivoire

Publié le 14.12.2019 à 00h18 par APA

Le chef du Bureau de APA Côte d’Ivoire, Lassina Sermé, a été élu vendredi président du Réseau des professionnels de la presse en ligne de Côte d’Ivoire (Repprelci), à l’issue d’une d’Assemblée générale élective à Jacqueville, cité balnéaire à l’Ouest d’Abidjan.« Nous allons essayer très rapidement de nous mettre à la tâche  (…) pour relever le défi de la formalisation et de la régularisation des entreprises de presse numérique,  déjà entamée », a déclaré M. Sermé à l’issue de son élection au terme de deux jours de travaux.

Elu avec plus de 95% des suffrages exprimés,  M. Lassina Sermé, numéro deux de l’organisation était face à M. Adama Bakayoko du site local woroba.net qui  s’est finalement désisté peu avant le scrutin en faveur de M. Sermé.

Le nouveau président du Repprelci a lancé un « appel à l’unité et à l’union » du réseau, la première faîtière des entreprises de presse numériques en Côte d’Ivoire, créée en 2006, avec pour premier président Barthélemy Kouamé, PDG de Acturoutes.

M. Sermé envisage d’ « assainir le secteur afin de sortir de l’informel » des organes de presse en ligne avec l’appui des entités institutionnelles dont l’Autorité nationale de la presse (ANP), le régulateur de la presse écrite et la presse numérique en Côte d’Ivoire.

Selon son programme, il compte « labelliser les médias numériques avec une phase pilote à partir du mois de mars 2020 », créer en outre une cellule d’étude et de développement des médias numériques,  et mettre en place un fonds de soutien des médias numériques.

M. Sermé succède à Dr David Youant, directeur général de l’agence de presse privée Alerte Info,  auprès de qui il a travaillé pendant plus de six ans. Il compte mettre cette richesse expérience au profit de l’organisation.


Daouda Coulibaly élu président des banquiers de Côte d’Ivoire

Publié le 13.12.2019 à 23h18 par APA

Le directeur général de la Société ivoirienne de banque (SIB), Daouda Coulibaly, a été élu président de l’Association professionnelle des banques et établissements financiers de Côte d’Ivoire (APBEF-CI) à l’unanimité des membres, a rapporté vendredi à APA une source bancaire.M. Daouda Coulibaly, directeur général de la SIB, filiale du Groupe marocain Attijariwafa Bank, a été élu pour un mandat de deux ans. Il remplace l’ex-directeur général de Versus Bank (publique), Guy Koizan, par ailleurs frère cadet de Henriette Konan Bédié. 

L’ex-président de l’APBEF-CI, M. Koizan avait été réélu en avril 2019 à l’issue d’une Assemblée générale. En 2017, ce banquier a succédé à Souleymane Diarrassouba, l’actuel ministre du Commerce et de l’industrie, qui avait été appelé au gouvernement.   


Uhuru wants court fees for SMEs waived

IBRAHIM ORUKOBy IBRAHIM ORUKO
More by this Author

President Kenyatta has told the National Treasury, the Attorney-General’s office and the Judiciary to develop a legal regime to waive fees for commercial disputes below Sh1 million.

The President further urged the National Treasury and the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to review the tax structures, especially in relation to small businesses, in order to reduce the tax burden while fostering tax compliance.

CONSUMER PROTECTION

Speaking on Thursday during the 55th Jamhuri Day celebrations, President Kenyatta said these are some of the measures that his government has put in place to accelerate economic growth.

“The three agencies should formulate a framework that will anchor the waiver of court fees for commercial disputes of less than one million shillings, effective 1st March 2020,” the President said in his address to the nation.

He noted that his administration is focused on factors that are holding back the potential of both private and public enterprises.

Advertisement

In particular, the President said he will focus on taxes and their administration, reduction or where possible elimination of fees or charges levied by government agencies and the private sector, reduction of bureaucracy and the simplification of processes in trade, access to credit and streamlining consumer protection.

FINANCIAL PRODUCTS

He said he had decided to push for a waiver for court fees out of recognition that up to 40 per cent of the value of commercial disputes for claims under Sh1 million are taken up by court fees and advocates charges, thereby making the cost of recovery prohibitively high. He also wants the Advocates Remuneration Order amended to make advocates’ charges in such court cases more accessible to Kenyans. The order provides minimum fees in all legal matters including sale of land, mortgages, agreements and leases.

As a way of reducing the compliance burden on employers, the President ordered all employer contributions to the National Social Security Fund, National Hospital Insurance Fund, Pay-As-You-Earn and National Industrial Training Authority be made through a unified payroll return submitted to KRA.

He noted that the repeal of the law capping bank lending interest rates, and the introduction of financial products such as STAWI have already had a positive impact on hundreds of business by making low-cost financing available.

80 POSITIONS

“In the coming months, my administration will introduce other products such as Stawisha SME Mashinani and other administrative measures geared towards SMEs to enable them to play their rightful role in our economic transformation agenda,” said the President, adding that Kenya’s ranking in the World Bank’s Ease-of-Doing-Business Index had improved to 56 among 190 economies.

Since he assumed office, Kenya has improved by 80 positions globally and remains on course to join the top 50 countries next year.

“We should be proud of our achievements. This positive change has been most felt by our Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, who have benefited from our culture of being an open and listening government that is attuned to the needs of enterprises,” the President said.

ENERGY SECTOR

He cited reforms in creating businesses for the “remarkable progress” in Kenya’s ranking.

 The President mentioned issuing of building permits, acquiring electricity, accessing credit, paying taxes and trading across the board, adding, they had increased investment in the energy sector, embraced ICT, and stepped up war on corruption.


To raise confidence in courts, give Judiciary full autonomy

Article 146 of the Building Bridges Initiative report addresses the need to increase public confidence in the Judiciary.

One of the recommendations it makes on how to achieve that is by creating positions of special magistrates and judges to deal with the most grave cases like drug trafficking, corruption, terrorism, and other serious criminal offences.

Security for the foregoing magistrates and judges, according to the task force, should be provided by the State, as is the case presently.

The Constitution envisions a state that is responsible enough and respects rule of law.

A State that is anchored on constitutionalism, not the Kenya we’re currently living in.

This one, or rather the people who run it, do not regard the law nor people’s rights. Which is why we need to relook at this specific article.

INTRUSIVE RELATIONSHIP

First and foremost, some of these crimes, as the report correctly describes them, are sanctioned, sponsored or preceded over by the political elites who occupy positions of power.

They use their legal authority to perpetrate them. They can influence court verdicts in more ways than one.

When the accused is the one to provide security for the judge or has unchecked capacity to influence the process of assigning and recalling security details of the said persons, we don’t expect justice to be dispensed.

Kenya has an almost unparalleled history of an intrusive relationship between the State and the courts.

An easy example is during the Moi era when the law meant what the President and his blokes thought it meant.

You remember the incident of October 25, 2017 when a bodyguard of the deputy chief justice Philomena Mwilu was shot in Nairobi shortly before a petition that sort to stop the repeat elections was heard?

This incident was not a coincidence, there is every reason to believe so. It was, so it seems, a well-orchestrated ploy to intimidate Judiciary as a whole.

Only a few technicalities were required to deny the court requisite quorum. It couldn’t, therefore, determine whether the elections, scheduled for the following day, were legitimate or not.

We ended up with a ritual in the name of an election – a heavily militarised coronation exercise that served to throw sand in the gears of electoral justice than to secure negative peace that we desperately needed. The rest is history.

In short, merchants of impunity can’t allow the course of justice to prevail if it stands to threaten their illegitimate hegemony.

Instead, they will intimidate, bribe and malign judges and magistrates in an attempt to influence court verdicts.

To reliably protect judges from such mischief, the Judiciary ought to acquire full autonomy.

It ought to morph from being an appendage of State to an independent institution worth its salt.

That way, public confidence in the Judiciary is bound to grow. To assign our bureaucratic state the responsibility of providing security to magistrates and judges is an undeclared war on justice.

The Kenyan government, past and present, is known for its disposition for departure from the accepted principles of legality and constitutionalism.

POLICE SERVICE

An independent Judiciary fulfils its constitutional mandate in a manner that outlines its independence.

This can be achieved by making the police service an independent institution capable of executing its core functions.

A police force is different from a police service. The Constitution is clear on the establishment of a police service under Article 246.

Although we know that on the ground, what we have is a police force; a reprehensible enterprise comprising trigger-happy police officers who follow orders from “above” like the 10 commandments.

There is an urgent need to restore the police service to an independent, professional and incorruptible body if we’re to build meaningful bridges.

Such an institution is the one to provide security to judges and magistrates without the State dipping its hand in the process.

The term State here, ladies and gentlemen, is limited to oligarchical elites who are the face of power.

We need to come up with special means of addressing serious crimes like corruption, drug trafficking and electoral fraud, which hold us back from achieving our potential as a country.

As we put our heads together on how to arrive there, we have to be careful not to end up with a weak corollary.

Gervas John is a journalism student at Multimedia University of Kenya and author of The Trouble with Kenya; [email protected]


Uganda, Rwanda officials meet in Kampala over tensions

DAILY MONITORBy DAILY MONITOR
More by this Author

Rwandan and Ugandan officials will on Friday meet in Kampala to discuss the implementation of a pact aimed at ending tensions between the two countries.

Uganda government spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo, on Thursday said the meeting will be attended by Angola and DR Congo who are the facilitators to the Luanda agreement.

“Uganda and Rwanda will tomorrow [Friday] hold a follow-up meeting at Speke Resort Munyonyo to the one held in Kigali in September to concretize the issues in the Memorandum of Understanding signed in Luanda, Angola in Aug 2019,” Opondo tweeted.

Rwanda State Minister in charge of East Africa Community Oliver Nduhungirehe told Rwanda Broadcasting Agency that Rwanda would send a delegation of high ranking officials to the meeting.

A follow up meeting scheduled for October 17 in Kampala was postponed at the request of Kigali.

Following mediation in August by Angolan President Joao Lourenco and a follow up meeting in Kigali to chart a path to normal diplomatic relations, Uganda agreed to organise the second meeting by October 17.

Advertisement

The meetings are meant to fast-track the implementation of an agreement signed by both President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda to end two-year long hostilities between the neighbours.

Key on the agenda for the Kampala meeting is reopening of the two nations’ common border for goods and people.

The border has been closed since late February when Rwanda stopped its citizens from crossing into Uganda and restricted the entry of Ugandan goods into the country.
Business community and communities in both countries have suffered from the border closure.

Ugandan exporters are desperate to access Rwanda and Burundi markets.

Rwandan has run out of stock of popular Ugandan products especially beverages and foodstuffs, cement and consumables, with no adequate or in certain cases expensive alternatives.

Regional security issues are also expected to be on the agenda after Mr Nduhungirehe liked a tweet by Communication Advisor to President Kagame Yolande Makolo saying the dispute “has never been about ‘border tension.’

“Its always about Rwandans harassed, abducted, detained and tortured in Uganda. Its about Ugandan officials plotting with dissidents and terrorists to destabilise Rwanda,” Ms Makolo tweeted on Friday.

Kampala has denied these allegations.


Wambora tells Embu MCAs to back off county affairs

GEORGE MUNENEBy GEORGE MUNENE
More by this Author

Embu Governor Martin Wambora has hit out at ward representatives accusing them of meddling in the running of his government.

Speaking at Runyenjes Stadium during Jamhuri Day celebrations, Mr Wambora told Embu MCAs to keep off the devolved government’s affairs and stick to their own mandates.

Citing various cases of intimidation of senior county officers by MCAs, Mr Wambora told the MCA’s to stick to their mandate of representation, oversight and legislation, and give him ample time to deliver on his campaign pledges.

“For the last 8 years, I have only had one year of peace to perform my duties. The rest of the time has been spent in courts as the ward representatives pushed their selfish agenda to destabilize the executive. This should end. The law is very clear on the roles of the two arms of the devolved government. We cannot continue with wrangles at the expense of development” he said.

In November, Embu ward representatives took to the streets calling on the governor to sack chief officers and directors who they claimed were involved in corruption.

Advertisement

Reinforced by their supporters, the MCAs barricaded streets and set several revenue collection offices on fire, further ordering the business community to cease paying revenue to the county government on allegations that the money collected was lining the pockets of some county officials.

Mr Wambora moved to court and obtained orders restraining the MCAs from inciting the public and interfering with revenue collection.

“We cannot have elected representatives paralyzing the operations of the county and misleading the same public they purport to represent,” Wambora noted.

He continued: “I went to court to bar the MCAS from taking over duties that have nothing to do with them constitutionally. If the County is to be run on the whims of the Assembly, it will easily fall on its knees.”

The county boss vowed to continue building roads, equipping hospitals and seeking markets for coffee, tea and avocado farmers despite opposition by the MCAs.


Brexit's next battle: the trade deal

AFPBy AFP
More by this Author

After the decisive victory of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives, Brussels now expects Britain to exit the EU on January 31 as he has promised.

Just hours after his win, EU leaders meeting in Brussels were to discuss their priorities in trade talks after the divorce.

Will Johnson keep his promise to reach a very quick comprehensive deal to preserve cross-Channel trade — or will he be forced to ask for an extension to the post-Brexit transition period?

Johnson maintains he will strike a new trade deal with the EU by the end of a planned transition period at the end of 2020, and will not take the option of asking Brussels for extra time.

Experts widely agree that it will take far longer to achieve a comprehensive trade deal worthy of a country destined to be one of the EU’s closest partners.

Advertisement

Despite Johnson’s assurances, trade deals do not just come off the shelf “oven-ready”, especially if Britain is looking for a vastly different relationship.

A fast agreement would be “a very big ask” that would limit the ambition of the deal tremendously, Fabian Zuleeg, chief economist at the European Policy Centre, told AFP.

The British government will have to decide by July 1 if it wants to postpone the December 31 2020 deadline.

On that date, it could make a one time only request for either one or two years of extra time.

Without an extension, “maybe they can achieve something very basic that would give the UK very limited leverage on the tricky subjects like services, fisheries or Gibraltar for Spain,” Zuleeg said.

As a matter of reference, other EU trade talks have dragged on much longer from the launch of talks to implementation:

Canada deal: 8.5 years

Japan: 6.5 years

Singapore: 9 years

Vietnam: 7 years so far

Mercosur: 20 years so far

“Striking a trade deal by the end 2020 is enormously ambitious. but we won’t achieve it if we don’t try,” said Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.

To reach the tough deadline, negotiators will have to shown convincing progress by July 1 and leave enough time for translation, legal rewrites — known as “scrubbing” — and ratification.

Zuleeg says the UK would have to accept major concessions on the key issues to win the fast deal.

Slashing tariffs will probably be achievable, but that would leave no time for the UK to negotiate on other topics, and Britain would find itself cornered with no choice but to accept EU terms on those.

If Johnson refuses to extend the negotiation period, a no-deal Brexit will loom once again, with Britain in danger of an abrupt cut in trade ties with Europe, rocking its economy.

“The default position once talks start is no-deal and third country status,” said Zuleeg, and that is much more dangerous for the UK, he added.

As a third country, Britain would immediately have trade terms set by the World Trade Organization.

Tariffs on key products would be high, ruining for example the business arithmetic for the UK production of cars and other industrial goods that depend on parts from overseas.

Entry points into the UK would be choked up with border guards forced to implement checks and fill out paperwork.

In the draft conclusions of Friday’s summit, EU leaders tasked EU negotiator Michel Barnier to draw up a trade deal mandate as soon as possible.

This is necessary because trade policy in the European Union is unified across the soon-to-be 27 member states with deals negotiated by the European Commission, which must first secure a mandate from the capitals.

This will set the EU’s vision for the deal as well as delineate red lines for the negotiations.

Opinions and priorities can diverge widely among the member states, with France and Ireland reluctant to give Brussels power to concede ground on farming, for example.


Drivers to sit written test in NTSA changes

EDWIN OKOTHBy EDWIN OKOTH
More by this Author

Trainee drivers will from next month begin sitting a written test under the recently revised National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) testing guidelines.

The strict syllabus will see drivers only get licences after passing the elaborate test comprising theory and practical exams complete with periodic continuous assessment tests.

“The theoretical test shall consist of a continuous assessment test administered after every 40 hours of training and a final test at the end of all the units in a module. The test shall comprise a minimum of 50 multiple-choice questions,” read the NTSA guidelines.

“A performance report is prepared for each learner driver. He or she must demonstrate skills in both theory and practical lessons by attaining a pass mark of 80 percent.”

Under the current mode of testing, new drivers are tried on the theory part on a model town roads board, which checks for proficiency in road rules.

It remains unclear how the written tests will be taken by illiterate drivers but the deep curriculum may prove difficult for aspiring drivers with limited ability to read and write especially for the theory lessons

Advertisement

Under the practical test the learner driver is tested in a training yard to evaluate his ability to manoeuvre under different set conditions and then taken to the road to negotiate most traffic situations in a skilled and safe manner.

A learner driver must pass the manoeuvre yard test before proceeding to take the road test, according to the guidelines which subject the learners to a retake like those given in colleges.

One will not be allowed to take another test before 21 days after failing exams with those who fail theory exams required to retake the entire examination while one who fails a practical exam is required to re-sit the practical within a period not exceeding six months or register afresh and redo the course.

Unlike the previous training the drivers will now delve deep into topics like traffic safety as well as explore the impact of traffic crashes and acceptable alcohol limits.

For those aiming to drive Public Service Vehicles, the bar is even higher, since they will be required to master vehicle construction and controls, self-inspection of vehicles, communication on the road, speed management, emergency manoeuvres, skid control and customer care among other skills.

They will also need to be trained on anti-carjacking techniques.