14 Inside BUSINESS Tuesday, July 18 2017 | NEW ERA Buthelezi has five days to hand over SAA forensic reports – DA Photo: Nampa/AFP Under scrutiny… Former chief executive of Barclays wealth and investment management Thomas Kalaris (centre) leaves Southwark Crown Court in south London yesterday (July 17) after Britain’s Serious Fraud Office charged Barclays bank and four former managers with “conspiracy to commit fraud” linked to emergency fundraising from Qatar during the global financial crisis. CAPE TOWN Deputy Finance Minister Sfiso Buthelezi has five days to fulfil his promise to hand over the South African Airways (SAA) forensic reports, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday. Revelations in the media on Sunday that SAA renewed R4.5 billion in tenders without following proper procedure were only the tip of the iceberg, DA spokesman Alf Lees said. “That is why, for the last eight months, the DA has pursued almost all avenues to ensure that the raft of forensic investigation reports into SAA are released to the public,” he said. The DA had submitted a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to the National Treasury which was rejected. The DA had also written to both the finance minister and his deputy minister to no avail. “Clearly there is much to hide. In May this year, Deputy Finance Minister Sfiso Buthelezi committed to provide copies to the portfolio committee on finance; yet he has not been a man of his word and has failed to fulfil his commitment. The DA would now give Buthelezi until the close of business on Friday, July 21, to make good on his commitment and release the reports. “It is only when we know the full extent of the rot at the airline that we can get to work and fix it. The release of these reports is therefore vital and must be done, as promised,” Lees said. – Nampa/ANA Brown can and must stop bonuses to ineffective Eskom executives CAPE TOWN The Democratic Alliance on Sunday urged Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown to stop bonus payments to “ineffective” Eskom executives. Brown had the power to stop “the handover of millions of public money to Eskom executives who have utterly failed, and in some cases, are the cause of the dire financial situation at the power utility”, DA spokeswoman Natasha Mazzone said. The DA publicly called on Brown to reject the request to approve short-term bonuses of R5.5 million for three former and current executives, which formed part of a R13 million payment for top executives – R2.1 million for former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe, R1.5 million for suspended acting CEO Matshela Koko, and R1.9 million for CFO Anoj Singh. “The fact is that Eskom may not be able to pay salaries to its 49,000 employees come November. According to reports, its income decreased from R5.3 billion last year to R900 million in June, while the interest it accrued on its debt jumped to R38 billion from R31 billion,” Mazzone said. “Clearly, Eskom finances are in a shambles. The true state of Eskom’s financial situation is markedly different from the picture of excellence painted by Mr Ben Ngubane [former Eskom board chairman] when he and the board appeared before the portfolio committee on public enterprises less than two months ago. “It is utterly unacceptable for executive bonuses to be paid while ordinary employees may not be paid. Only good performance should be rewarded. Yet Eskom is clearly intent on doing the opposite. The DA will not allow public money to be squandered on ineffective executives while the livelihoods of ordinary employees are put at risk,” Mazzone said. – Nampa/ANA US firms face hiring difficulties, business survey shows WASHINGTON A growing share of US employers are struggling to hire new workers and some have raised wages as a result, according to a survey released Monday. The National Association of Business Economists said its quarterly survey showed members were a little less sanguine about the prospects for strong economic expansion over the next year, although most still expect sustained quarterly growth of better than two percent. With unemployment already very low, anecdotal reports indicate employers around the country are struggling to fill open positions and have been obliged to boost compensation to lure in new candidates. But official figures show only sluggish wage growth and weak inflation – with IMF hails ‘ambitious’ French reforms under Macron PARIS The IMF on Monday hailed French President Emmanuel Macron’s “ambitious” reform programme, saying his spending cuts and tax overhaul could “go a long way in addressing... longstanding economic challenges”. The International Monetary Fund raised its 2017 growth prediction for France by 0.1 points to 1.5 percent and said it could “further accelerate” next year. “The new government is pushing ahead with an ambitious economic programme to make France’s economy more dynamic and its public finances sustainable,” the IMF said after its annual analysis of the French economy. “The envisaged labour and tax reforms are aimed at boosting growth, employment, and competitiveness,” it added. It also said the centrist government under 39-yearold former banker Macron “has rightly emphasized” the need to decrease public average hourly earnings disappointingly up less than 0.2 percent in June – something that has puzzled policymakers at the Federal Reserve, although it has not yet prompted them to alter their course of gradual interest rate increases. “Slightly over one third of panelists reports that their firms have experienced some difficulty in hiring,” NABE survey chair Emily Kolinski said in a statement. The survey of 101 NABE members showed rising sales, profits, hiring and capital spending. However, “Pricing power – or lack of it – and labour costs are generating some headwinds for a significant number of firms,” she said. The share of firms reporting increased wages rose eight points from April to 47 percent. But expectations that wages will keep rising over the next three months rose spending. The IMF said such a move “would help gradually reduce the budget deficit and debt”. The government has pledged to meet the EU deficit limit of 3.0 percent of GDP in 2017, a target France has missed for the past decade. only three points, also to 47 percent. Half of firms reported gains in sales, up from 45 percent in April. About 60 percent of respondents said they expected GDP to expand by more than two percent over the next four quarters, but the share foreseeing growth under two percent rose eight points to 38 percent. Kolinski, chief economist at Ford Motor Company, said firms have not changed course on hiring and investment decisions based on any hope of stimulus from the Trump administration, which has vowed to slash taxes and regulation. And just 12 percent said it was likely they would revisit long-term strategies in light of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Climate accord, while 50 percent said this was unlikely. – Nampa/AFP New broom… French President Emmanuel Macron (centre) is greeted by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe (right) and Senate President Gerard Larcher (left) during the ‘Conference Nationale des Territoires’ (National Conference of Territories) at the Senate in Paris yesterday. The government said last week it had identified 4.5 billion euros (.1 billion) in savings in order to meet the goal. Macron took power in May after beating far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the presidential election. – Nampa/AFP
Tuesday, July 18 2017 | NEW ERA 15 Dairy industry awards players Staff Reporter Windhoek The Namibian dairy industry – which was teetering on the brink of collapse at the end of 2015 – battled through another tough year in 2016 when drought conditions caused large-scale losses and resulted in tremendous increases in feeding costs. T h e b a t t e r e d a n d bruised industry survived and tomorrow the Dairy Producers Association (DPA) will host the annual gala dinner and members’ meeting at Xain Quaz Rest Camp outside Gobabis where the current status of the industry will be revealed. Various awards will be handed to members who produced excellent quality milk. The members’ meeting takes place on Thursday morning with the theme, “Bio-security as measure for good quality in the dairy industry.” The main speaker is Jompie Burger of Dairy Standards SA. Anton Faul from the Agricultural Trade Forum (ATF) will address members on the dairy industry in a global context. Feeding costs remain the biggest factor in the total production costs of dairy producers. According to the NAU’s dairy producers cost index, feeding costs increased by nearly 50 percent in 2015 and total production costs increased 28 percent over the same period. S o u t h A f r i c a n competition is a big risk for the local industry and thus the protection needed by the industry is still being enforced by the authority and the industry. Internationally there is still a surplus of milk produced, especially in Europe, which uses the African market as an outlet. This causes additional competition and increases the pressure on local producers and processors even further. Namibia Dairies (ND) and the DPA agreed that if the sector collapses it would have dire consequences for about 1,000 people directly employed in the industry, as well as for those involved in the sector indirectly, such as transporters and suppliers, besides farmers and their employees. The industry is not able to compete with cheap imports flooding the market and the fact that these imports are often sold in Namibia at the same prices or lower than in their market of origin. Photo: Contributed Let it flow… Katrina Augustinus from Windhoek says milk supply in her household is always monitored because of price increases but her family consumes only Namibian milk to support the local industry. Bush encroachment robs Namibia of billions each year Staff Reporter Windhoek After the first above average rainy season in more than three dry years bush encroachment now affects about 26 to 30 million hectares of farmland in eight of the country’s 13 regions. This amounts to roughly 30 percent of Namibia’s land area. Bush encroachment severely reduces biodiversity and the formation of groundwater. It lowers the productivity and livestock capacity of pastureland by up to two thirds. This in turn causes economic losses of some N billion every Staff Reporter Windhoek The work of Side by Side Early Intervention Centre, a Namibian non-profit organisation for children with special needs, will be much easier thanks to N,000 donated by Agra last Friday. The centre, which is located in the Goreangab township in Katutura, provides day care and early intervention services, consultations and a variety of other social service programmes to support children with special needs. It gives guidance to parents and caregivers, addresses developmental and health issues and improves all areas year due to reduced meat production. This issue will come under close scrutiny at the 21st Rangeland Forum from July 17 – 19 at the Out of Africa Lodge, Otjiwarongo. The theme is ‘Rangelands in a changing world – the management and understanding of Namibian savanna rangelands.” The event is sponsored by the German-Namibian research project OPTIMASS. Matters which, inter alia, will be discussed are bush encroachment, effects of fire, rotational herd management, access to markets and more. Meanwhile, the bush encroachment process of the development of children between the age of 0 to 7. It also offers support to children with autism, cerebral palsy, learning difficulties and global development delays. The donation is from proceeds of the sale of wine tasting coupons hosted recently during a late night shopping event at Auas Valley shopping mall and the Agra Staff Initiative Fund (ASIF). The ASIF is sustained by donations from compassionate Agra employees who feel strongly about making a difference in the community. Agra’s general manager of properties, Henning Tiemann, also responsible for the management of Auas Valley, emphasises the importance of community has developed into a huge biomass resource, estimated at about 200 million tonnes. Measures to repel bush encroachment, known as de-bushing, are creating new opportunities for the Namibian economy through the use of this resource for electricity generation and value chain development in other sectors. The debushing process therefore offers the potential to increase agricultural productivity, e c o n o m i c g r o w t h , employment and energy supply, without competing with food production. Namibia has established a national de-bushing engagement, creating prosperity and improving the quality of life. “Agra is greatly aligned to community support. We have identified an organization that fits into this profile to benefit from our charity initiative. Children are the future, and the little contribution we made will assist them to integrate into the community, positively contributing to the Namibian economy in future and possibly creating awareness of their existence nationwide,” he says. Agra Limited’s CEO Arnold Klein says: “As we are rooted in our people, Agra will continue directing community oriented efforts to further help develop and uplift the people of Namibia.” programme that supports the large-scale expansion of effective activities to fight bush encroachment. The programme is supported by public and private sector stakeholders. To use the bush biomass in an economically viable and environmentally sustainable ways, it is important to identify and develop opportunities adding value to the biomass. Programme activities will focus on support measures and on efforts creating an enabling environment. Key approaches at the programme level include: • Developing strategies for the profitable use of biomass for electricity generation as well as in agricultural and industrial value chains; and, • Enhancing know-how and institutional capacities for the successful development of the national de-bushing programme and improving the legal and institutional framework for large-scale bush clearance programmes. The scale of bush encroachment in Namibia calls for extensive and expandable exploitation strategies. There is extensive and diverse demand for biomass on both domestic and international markets, with interest shown by, among others: – the agricultural sector, which can use biomass as feed for cattle or wild animals, or as fertiliser for crop production; – the construction industry, where biomass is used to produce sustainable building materials, such as chipboard or wood panels; and, – the energy sector, whose especially large demand is sufficient to trigger large-scale bush clearance programmes. Bush material can be used to substitute firewood in private households and fossil fuels such as coal or oil in industrial boilers and power plants. Agra donates N,000 to early intervention centre Charitable… Henning Tiemann, general manager Agra Properties (right), Michael Hongonekua, chairperson Agra Staff Initiative Fund (ASIF) (middle), Tiaan Nel, Auas Valley shopping mall manager, Anuschka Pinsenschaum, Agra marketing (seated left), Sandra Hollweg, director of the Side by Side Early Intervention Centre (standing right) and kids who will benefit from a N,000 donation to the centre.