Wednesday, November 25, 2015

(LUSAKA TIMES) Western corporations carve up Africa -the New Scramble for Africa

COMMENT - This is the new trend in land theft, facilitated by the IMF, which has never seen a corporate takeover that it didn't support. And called 'development'. If you want to know more about the IMF's land title reform, vs real land redistribution, check out Ambreena Manji's The Politics Of Land Reform In Africa.

(LUSAKATIMES) Western corporations carve up Africa -the New Scramble for Africa
November 22, 2015

Huge tracts of land in African countries with access to the sea and high economic growth are being targeted by corporations such as Monsanto and Unilever with help from the British and American governments –including millions of dollars that are intended for helping the poor, says a report published today by UK campaigning group World Development Movement.

The document, titled Carving up a continent: How the UK government is facilitating the corporate takeover of African food systems, explains that a G8 initiative called the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition is using money intended for poverty reduction to instead ease access to key African locations for some of the world’s biggest companies, which already control much of the global food market.

Doublespeak and the new “scramble for Africa”

What’s more, the New Alliance agreements signed with ten key African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal and Tanzania) are conditional, and many of them require the country in question to bring legislation – for example, revising seed laws to force small farmers to buy seeds and fertilisers from the corporates rather than seed sharing, which has been practised for generations and ensures biodiversity.

Under the new paradigm, multinationals gain access to fertile land and agricultural corridors on the pretext of tackling food poverty and helping Africa’s starving and needy. In reality this is doublespeak. If the New Alliance continues unchecked, it’s likely that problems are stored up for the future, as small scale and family farmers are forced off their land to make way for industrial scale crop production. WDM also identifies issues such as insecure and poorly paid jobs and a focus on producing for export markets rather than to feed local populations.

The report’s introduction, by WDM director Nick Dearden, says: “This is an old story given new impetus. More than a century ago the ‘scramble for Africa’ was instituted under the pretence of civilising the continent. Barbaric crimes were committed and the continent systematically de-developed because it profited Europe. Since that time, Africa’s problem has never been a lack of integration into the international economy – the problem is how it is integrated and in whose interests.”

Using money intended for poverty reduction to ease access to key African locations
Oblivious citizens

This isn’t the first time the New Alliance has come under fire – the Guardian newspaper published a critical piece last year. But the general populations of the countries whose taxpayers are supporting this power grab are woefully unaware that it is even happening, and so too are the citizens in whose countries these events are unfolding. This despite the fact that a whopping £600 million of UK aid money, for example, via the Department for International Development (DFID), is being channelled into this between 2012 and 2016.

Ironically this comes at a time when alternatives to the industrialisation of agriculture are being explored worldwide, and as the realities of climate change are being better understood. Africa is a place where new models of permaculture could meet old models of sustainable farming and cooperation to leapfrog the West – finding sustainable and locally owned solutions to nutritious food production.

The ‘scramble for Africa’ was instituted under the pretence of civilising the continent

The wheels are already turning
But this hangs in the balance. Many New Alliance partnership countries, such as Malawi, have already instituted many of the changes demanded as part of their agreement, and it has become much easier for foreign corporations to buy great tracts of land. Ghana recently saw the Plant Breeders’ Bill being pushed through its Parliament by politicians that Food Sovereignty Ghana implied might be on the take.

The corporations involved in the New Alliance are huge – Monsanto, Unilever, Syngenta, DuPont, Cargill, Diageo, SABMiller, Coca Cola, Yara. The last company – Yara – may not be a name you recognise, but is the largest global manufacturer of fertiliser. According to the WDM report, these agrochemicals “already cause serious levels of food poisoning in sub-Saharan Africa, with the UN estimating that health problems linked to pesticides could cost the region $90 billon between 2005 and 2020. Fertilisers also damage soil, leading farmers to rely on them even more in order to maintain production, which increases their risk of getting into debt.”

“The tragic consequences of small-scale farmers’ reliance on fertilisers in India have been much reported. An estimated 250,000 farmers committed suicide between 1995 and 2010 after getting into debt through buying agrochemicals.”

Under the guise of charity

Remember that old development chestnut “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Show him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”? The New Alliance seems to be about snapping his fishing rod in half, throwing it into the sea and telling him that you now own the sea and he must buy his fish from you, at wildly fluctuating prices. And it’s under the guise of charity.

The ‘scramble for Africa’ was instituted under the pretence of civilising the continent
Yet look at the personnel. Unilever’s external affairs director was previously at DFID and DFID’s director of policy used to work for Unilever. Meanwhile, for all the talk of wanting to solve African hunger, the chosen countries are almost all coastal, and tend to have high economic growth. Of the countries in Africa that have the worst hunger index scores, only one – Ethiopia – is a New Alliance country.

While all the players talk about poverty reduction and food security, the reality is that the path that will have the most positive effect for African farmers and populations long term is food sovereignty. That means ownership and control of land and non-reliance on imported seeds and foods, as well as being able to adjust crops to need. It might be tempting to apply the machine logic of industrialisation to agriculture and scale it up, on the basis that more food grown equals more people fed. But in reality the problem of hunger is not one to do with volume of food produced worldwide – rather it’s to do with existing unjust systems of food production and distribution. These are the very systems that the New Alliance is desperate to bring to Africa.

Other players are the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa, set up by the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Gates Foundation; the New Vision for Agriculture, launched by the World Economic Forum and led by 33 multinationals from Monsanto to Walmart; and Grow Africa, a collaboration between the World Economic Forum and the African Union.

Of course, the New Alliance does have its defenders. Namely, international pop gimp Bono’s ONE Foundation, which hit the headlines a few years ago for giving a whopping 1% of its funds to actual charity…

In its 2013 report Growing Africa: Unlocking the potential of agribusiness the World Bank said: “Africa represents the ‘last frontier’ in global food and agricultural markets.” Once Africa’s greatest commodity to line the pockets of its pillagers was its human capital. Now they’re coming for the land, and the sustenance it offers. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

By Grace Kiwanga

Source: This is Africa

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

EFF Marches on Reserve Bank, Chamber of Mines And Johannesburg Stock Exchange

COMMENT - This is a momentous day. The EFF in South Africa organized a huge march of an estimated 50,000 people, painting seas of Chavez red berets and clothes, at South Africa's most powerful financial institutions, the Reserve Bank, the Chamber of the Mines, and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange or JSE. They met with the CEO of the JSE, and made the following demands:

To the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, we demand the following:

1. All companies in the JSE should move towards socialization of their ownership, meaning that they should give real and meaningful shares to their employees, who will in turn receive dividends at the end of each financial year. A minimum of 51% of all JSE companies should be owned and controlled by workers. This is different from the BEE schemes which empower fewer individuals.

2. All companies represented in the JSE must introduce a minimum wage of R4500 for all their workers, and taking into consideration the sectoral minimum wages contained in the EFF Elections Manifesto, which are: Mineworkers: R12 500 per month, Farm workers: R5000 per month, Manufacturing workers: R6500, Retail Workers (Cashiers and Retail Store Assistants): R5000, Builders: R7000, Petrol Attendants: R5000, Cleaners: R4500, Domestic Workers: R4500, Private Security Guards: R7500, Full time Waiters and Waitresses: R4500

3. All companies in the JSE should ban labour brokers, and permanently employ their workers with proper medical aid and retirement benefits.

4. All JSE companies and all companies in South Africa should implement the principle of equal work for equal pay for all workers irrespective of race, class and background.

5. All companies and corporations that have majority of its businesses in South Africa should have the primary listing in the JSE and their Head Offices in South Africa.

6. All companies in the JSE must procure the upstream and downstream goods and services from township and rural based economic role players owned by historically disadvantaged individuals.

7. All the retail stores in the JSE should source a minimum of 70% of their goods and services from South African producers, particularly food, confectionery, beverages, textile, leather, furniture, plastic, and many other basic products that are traded in South Africa.

8. Urgent action plans and programmes from all companies and corporations in the JSE on how to increase and sustain the labour-absorptive capacity of their companies. Thoroughly drafted human resources, skills transfer, and training and education provision with sustainable care programmes should accompany this.

9. Each and every company in the JSE should adopt a minimum of 5 schools in townships and rural areas and make that each adopted school has access to quality services, including computer labs, laboratories, libraries and access to high speed internet.

10. Each and every listed company with the total turnover of R1 billion and above should adopt one of the Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges and assist with all the basic necessities of a TVET college.

11. Each and every company in the JSE should adopt a minimum of 100 students and assist with their higher education and training programmes and bursaries from registration, tuition, residence, food, books, and transport money for their adopted students.

12. All companies in the JSE should make massive investments in all parts of South Africa with the aim of decentralizing economic activities and industrial programmes to all parts of the country.

13. Urgent action plans on how to decentralize South Africa’s economic development from the existing centers of economic development to other parts of the country.

14. Urgent development and implementation of Corporate Social Investment Plans, which will bring real value and benefits to communities where business operations happen.

15. All JSE companies should have all their trading bank accounts with South African banks and should be willing to be subjected to scrutiny on illicit financial flows, transfer pricing and profit shifting.

16. End to expatriation of profits to developed countries, and mandate all companies and corporations to declare publicly transactions between subsidiaries in details for the tax authorities to access necessary information to collect maximum tax due to public purse.

17. All JSE companies should commit to usage of South African based professional services, such as those for auditing, accounting, legal, marketing and all other basic services.

Today's march:

(NEWS24 SA) The Great EFF Mass Protest March
Chris Kanyane
By Chris Kanyane
Tuesday, October 27, 2015

We have seen the jihad launched by university students across the country last week. And today, this Tuesday, with EFF mass protest action across Gauteng we witnessed something that is even staggering in terms of sheer appeal, high level organizing that made the mass protest march very peaceful.

The City of Johannesburg was swimming under the blockbuster red sea of EFF juggernaut supernova protest march. The protest march in terms of its reach, depth, creativity and scope was unprecedented. The atmosphere was livid.

It was a 16 kilometres long walk of raw passion.

One lady who participated in the march expressed her personal exuberance as follows:

“I was just out there in the red sea of thousands and thousands of people, holding hands with strangers. What a sensation I felt! I felt like I belonged. I was so excited – so inspired. A young guy whispered in my ears “this is history, this is history”. I smiled and wiped my face with a comfort cloth. I just wanted to become part of something beautiful”.

photo eff

EFF is an explosive big tent protest movement that has surely energised people on the grassroots. It encapsulates the raw passions of grassroots communities from all age groups but on the main it is powered by youthful energy and dynamism. Members and supporters are passionate, emotive in their participation. But there are not from Mars – these are simple ordinary folks, Jabulani, Sipho, Themba, Mpho, Tebogo, embracing a cause that they believe in.

There has been a false theory that has clouded our view and the surging of the EFF. We base the premise of our analysis of the EFF on the charisma of Julius Malema as the leader. But it seems every person involved with EFF brings some spark of charisma. The charisma seems to be evenly spread across the members and the supporters. And when they gather there is a national sensation.

The movement has no baggage and no cronyism. That makes it exciting for every person to participate freely. Passion and exuberance defines participations. Within those passions are aspirations and hopes.

The grand meeting place for the EFF protest march was central Johannesburg – the Mary Fitzgerald Square , the cosmopolitan cultural mecca of South Africa. The Square is thus named after Mary Fitzgerald. A woman considered to be the first trade unionist in the country.

Just a brief overview bio of Mary Fitzgerald so as to contextualise the great EFF march. In 1912 and 1913 with a burst of enthusiasm Mary Fitzgerald led arguably the first major protest march in South Africa – leading the miners in front.

With the miners increasingly organised through her efforts there was a need for a communication. Mary Fitzgerald founded and edited the radical publication known as The Voice of Labour. She used the publication as a vehicle for confronting capitalism as expressed through financial institutions.

Mary Fitzgerald further organised burial societies for the Black miners who were dying in large numbers due to poor working conditions underground. The workers were working under appalling conditions, with mine accidents and deaths ever accumulating.

The EFF mass protest march included in its key demands freed education from crèche to university. That is the currency of the time that has caught the national conversation since last week.

Early in the morning people across Gauteng, from townships such as Soshanguve, Mamelodi, Soweto and so on started self organising – sporadic small groups coalescing on street corners waiting for the transport that they organised and paid from their pockets. This notwithstanding that majority are poor and live in conditions that should not exist in the 21st century.

By about time going to noon tens of thousands of people were on the move, flooding the streets in central Johannesburg- self organising themselves.

Today some people tend to consider mass marches, sit-ins, demonstrations as scary, unruly and out of fashion, so mass protests on the scale of EFF should be denounced. I invite those who suffer this fixation to realise that genuine change is made from bottom up – people feeling the pain expressing it in its raw form.

We can consider what was achieved last week by #FeesMustFall movement. If there was no such protest march to Parliament and the Union Buildings students could not have forced the hands of the authorities for 0% increase in university fees in 2016. Through sheer swarm intelligence the students outfought and outbeat the authorities and emerged victorious.

Who can forget what happened in Cape Town? The swarm intelligence that went into the conception, planning and execution and ultimate storming of Parliament; the thoughtful, meticulous reading of the police movements by students and then launching a push: outsmarting, outflanking the armoured police and soon within a few minutes they were knocking on the doors of the National Assembly. It was a victory for them.

Today’s bad economic conditions (with the growing ranks of the poor) are undermining the very idea of progress and prosperity.

A sense of history demands us moving away from being fiction makers and start addressing in a sober – sobering practical reality, the worsening conditions of people on the ground – the masses are steeped in grim lives, trapped by poverty and depression.

As a nation we tend to equate countless promises with achievement. After piles of promises made we go into a spree of premature celebration, as if just by making those promises achievement is made. And that is where we are with persistent waves of uprisings, at the ward level, community level, and national level.

A country, like a person, cannot leave on luck perpetually. Luck and chance can only carry a person or a nation so far. As of now we have exhausted our stock of luck.

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

(THE POST ZM) Policy analyst calls on govt to establish metals reserve bureau

COMMENT - Just reducing dollar dependency is not exactly what I had in mind when using metals reserve as the basis for Local Currencies, however the idea is applicable. What it should not become, is a plaything for the same individuals who dully maintained that debt at 40% of GDP is of 'internationally acceptable standards' and other such nonsense. If you have the choice between a Windfall Tax that is free of interest, and a Europbond of very high interest... the Finance Minister chooses the high interest rate option? What is going on?

Policy analyst calls on govt to establish metals reserve bureau
By Stuart Lisulo |
Updated: 24 Oct,2015 ,10:00:00

THE government should consult the IMF and World Bank to develop a metals reserve bureau that would help reduce dollar dependency and insulate Zambia against external shocks, says Humphrey Mulemba.

And the Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research says the government needs to act swiftly to manage the country’s public debt, which has doubled to over 40 per cent of GDP in five years.

Commenting on Zambia’s risk of falling into debt distress owing to the increasing public debt position as pointed out by the IMF, Mulemba, an independent policy analyst, stated that the government needs to take an innovative approach in seeking external financing that would help reduce US dollar dependency, currently hinged on copper exports, to repay the country’s mounting debt stock.

The government’s issuance of a US$1.25 billion Eurobond in July pushed the country’s external debt stock to over US$6 billion, shifting Zambia’s position closer to the suggested threshold of 40 per cent for developing countries.

“An innovative idea is to seek the Bretton Woods institutions’ help to develop a metals reserve bureau alongside the sinking fund proposed in the 2016 budget; this is to help Zambia reduce dollar dependency. The idea of the metals bureau is to ring fence the forex denominated debt only against the basket of metals as opposed to it being extended to the performance of the kwacha,” he stated in response to a press query. “The reason being that metals are dollar-based and hold more currency equivalent stability than the Zambian kwacha.

Mulemba said the metals bureau could be developed through the IDC and ZCCM-IH, which would help in debt repayments and insulate against external shocks.

“The pool of metals chosen will be based on the comparative advantage of Zambia and can be achieved through the IDC in collaboration with ZCCM-IH. This will help cushion the current situation and further develop a rigorous system that will be able to sustain future shocks as experienced in the recent past,” he added.

And Mulemba, formerly a policy analyst for the Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR), warned that the consequences of continued external borrowing amid a devalued kwacha would make repayments more expensive.

“With a depreciating kwacha, the payment rates in forex for international loans will become more and more expensive, potentially eroding the financial base of the country to fund development projects,” said Mulemba.

And ZIPAR executive director, Dr Pamela Nakamba-Kabaso, stated in a press statement that the government needed to urgently act to manage the country’s mounting public debt stock.

“The last 5 years have seen the debt-to-GDP ratio grow from 20 per cent to 41 per cent of GDP in 2015, which is just about the sustainable threshold of 40 per cent of the GDP,” stated Dr Nakamba-Kabaso in the local think-tank’s reaction to the 2016 national budget.

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

MrK - Odious Debt Fuels Currency Depreciation

COMMENT - One of the consequences of loading the government up with debt, courtesy of the WB/IMF's Eurobonds, is that it devalues the currency. Which means that ordinary people are already paying for it. This is odious debt, and it has to be scrapped.

Kwacha fall frustrates shoppers in Lusaka
By Chambwa Moonga |
Updated: 15 Oct,2015 ,11:55:41

THE buying power of the kwacha has left most Lusaka residents frustrated. And the number of people, mostly women, who used to ‘overwhelm’ Pick n Pay outlet at Levy Shopping Mall in Lusaka to order bread, has severely dropped, owing to an increase in order prices of the commodity. Just this year alone, the troubled kwacha has tumbled by over 40 per cent against the US dollar, a trend that has triggered worrying price increments on several goods, especially imported products.

A check at Shoprite Manda Hill on Sunday showed that prices had been adjusted upwards on basic household commodities.

Five litres of Sun Soya cooking oil was found pegged at K114.99 while a 2.5 litres of the same commodity and brand was at K59. 99 from around K65 and K30 on average respectively a month ago.

A sack of onion cost K39. 99, a kilogramme of white refined sugar was fetching K11, 99 from K8, while two kilogrammes of sugar is now K18.29 from around K15. In the same store, baby cereal was pegged at K21. 99, with a 200 grammes of Johnson baby powder going at K29.99.

A loaf of white bread costs K4.99; two litres of Zambeef milk was going at K17. 99 from around K12, while a tray of 30 eggs was pegged at K29.99 from an average of K21. A 10kg bag of Mealile breakfast mealie meal was at K37.49 with roller meal of the same quantity pegged at K29.49. A 25kg bag of breakfast mealie meal from National Milling Company was going at K71.99.

Inside sources at the uptown store hinted that there has been a price increment of between K2 and K20 in recent months on most commodities, in response to the kwacha fall.

Most shoppers were seen pushing their quarter or half parked trolleys as others walked about with ‘lightly’ parked shopping paper bags.

Another check at Melissa Supermarket in Northmead area revealed that prices of essential goods are equally rising.

An anonymous source, when approached within Pick n Pay, said “Mitengo yama order banalundila; that’s why mwaona ati bo order lelo bachepa. Nima loss yekayeka apa manje (the order price for bread has been increased and that’s why you are only seeing a few people ordering today; selling bread is now a loss-making venture.”

The price of bread in most of Lusaka’s highly populated areas is now costing between K8 and K8.50.

Recently, PF secretary general Davies Chama said if Zambians buy expensive and luxurious bread and mealie-meal, they would think Zambia’s economy is bad when, in fact, such a phenomenon is only in their pocket.

“A lot of people have been speculating that bread is K8, K9, but go to Shoprite, you will find the price of bread at K4! But if you want to eat luxurious bread, it means you want to eat expensive bread; then it will be expensive. I was looking at the price of mealie-meal in a shop; it’s K70 per 50 kilogramme bag. I was looking at the price of Boom (washing paste), it’s K4.50. So, when people are saying the economy, the economy, some of the people it is the economy in their pockets. It’s not about the price index,” said Chama.

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Sunday, October 04, 2015

(NEWZIMBABWE) Zim debt clearance talks, EU adds land compensation to agenda

COMMENT - So the EU demands compensation be paid by the Zimbabwean government for improvements made to the land by the colonial landowners. However, the same agreement stipulated that the British government would pay these same colonial landowners compensation for the value of the land itself which they have steadfastly refused to do, since Clare Short's 1997 letter to them minister Kumbirai Kangai. This was the Blair government's attitude towards compensation:

I should make it clear that we do not accept that Britain has a special responsibility to meet the costs of land purchase in Zimbabwe. We are a new Government from diverse backgrounds without links to former colonial interests.

In the words of President Mugabe, at Harlem Mount Olivet Baptist Church:

President Mugabe: And here you still had the democrats in power under president carter. Then they undid the promise that America had also made, that they would alongside Britain would also fund the land reform. Carter was defeated, and in came President Reagan. President Reagan reneged on the undertaking by President carter, and said no, he was not going to continue the aid program which the Democrats had started. Then in Britain they also reneged and said they no longer had any money. And this at the time of Thatcher, but later we negotiated with the conservative government. A new deal in 1996. But before that new deal saw the light of day, the Conservative Party was defeated. And in came Blair, and his lot. And these said to us, very clearly, very blatantly, they were not in a position to inherit colonial responsibility. What the Conservatives had promised was a matter for the Conservatives, we are a Labour party with it's own policies. We said to them, we tried to reason with them. And said but at international law, surely, if you are a successor to a legitimate government of Britain, you don't only succeed to assets, you also succeed to liabilities. That is international law. And what were the promises and undertakings to us by the conservative party and conservative government, should certainly be respected by you. In broad daylight they said that they would not do that. They would therefore not fund the land reform program and pay compensation, or help us to pay compensation for land to be acquired by our government, for purposes of resettling our people.

They said to us, we were deadlocked on this matter at Lancaster House for ten days. The negotiations altogether took three months, from October to December 1979. If the principle we stood by and we affirmed in 1979 that when your ancestors seized our land, they did not pay compensation, and so, we did not have any duty or moral principle on the strength of which we could pay you compensation.

On to the sanctimonious attitude of the EU:

(NEWZIMBABWE) Zim debt clearance talks, EU adds land compensation to agenda
03/10/2015 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

Land compensation on the agenda ... EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, Philippe Van Damme

THE European Union has put Zimbabwe's controversial land issue on the agenda of the 2015 annual meeting of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) taking place in Lima, Peru, next week.

The development creates a new headache for finance minister Patrick Chinamasa who is already under attack from hawks in government and the ruling Zanu PF party over his pro-IMF policies.

Zimbabwe owes foreign creditors about $7 billion and is in desperate need for new funding to revive its faltering economy.

Creditors have told the country to clear first clear $1.8 billion in arrears to the IMF, World Bank and African Development Bank before financiers can resume lending to the country.

Chinamasa will present a strategy for clearing the arrears at the Lima meetings.

Although details of his plans have not been made public, the IMF’s Zimbabwe representative described what the minister would present was a “sensible strategy”.

But EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, Philippe Van Damme, has said Zimbabwe should go to Lima with a comprehensive plan to compensate white farmers ousted under the government’s often violent and chaotic land reforms in the past 15 years.

The envoy said this in a speech read on his behalf last Friday Thomas Opperer, Head of the Agriculture and Food Security Section at the EU Delegation in Harare. He was speaking at the unveiling of an agriculture support fund by the EU.

“The Constitution is also very clear, stipulating in its section 72(3)(a) that all improvements effected have to be compensated, as also detailed as per the Land Acquisition Act and acknowledged in the ‘Strategies for Clearing External Debt Arrears and the Supportive Economic Reform Agenda’ that the government will present to the international community in Lima on 8 October ,”said the EU ambassador.

“In this regard, it is important to achieve a consensus based compensation mechanism that is workable and acceptable to all concerned, in line with the existing guidelines and procedures.

“Again, the EU does strongly emphasize the importance of carrying out this exercise in an inclusive manner, where all parties concerned (including the various farmers unions) are not only consulted but can contribute to reach a consensus about the key criteria and mechanism established.”

Chinamasa recently told the international community that Harare is committed to compensating the dispossessed farmers but “we have no money”.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

(LUSAKATIMES) Zambia’s Inconsistent mining taxation policy is costing us

COMMENT - Of course it is the absence of the profits from the Windfall Tax, combined with debt from the Eurobonds, that is costing the nation. The corruption starts at the top, right from the IMF/World Bank and their conditionalities like Privatisation down. No governments with the backbone to stand up against them, or the imagination to get together with SADC and the AU and make common cause to sidestep this system.

(LUSAKATIMES) Zambia’s Inconsistent mining taxation policy is costing us
September 16, 2015

File:NCHANGA Mine rescure Team B Captain Jonathan Kolala inspects air underground during the Zambia
Mine Rescure Association competetion at Namundwe Mine

The mining industry is a sore topic for many Zambians; a source of pride and pain depending on where you seat on the fence. Copper is the nation’s main export and the mines are the largest formal employer after the civil service. Those employed in the mining sector are among the most well paid workers in the country. Mining activities have contributed to the growth of mining towns on the Copperbelt, Solwezi being the most recent development.

However, Zambia is still struggling to capture tangible benefits from this mineral wealth endowment for the wider population. Despite being the second largest copper producer in Africa, copper is still exported in its raw form, and the general feeling among the population is that most of the profits are expropriated. In september 2014, Zambia experienced a lot of turmoil in the mining sector, with both Glencore and Barrick Gold threatening to stop operations if differences between the companies and the government were not resolved by January 2015.The major cause of this standoff was a lack of transparency on revenues and profits from the mining companies and a lack of consistent and effective mining taxation policy from the government. This standoff is back, and taxation policy is still a key issue of contention.

Every change of government has seen an adjustment for better or worse, with the claim of serving the countries best interests.

To try and capture benefits for the local economy from copper, the Zambian government has had many changes the mining taxation policy. Every change of government has seen an adjustment for better or worse, with the claim of serving the countries best interests.

Windfall Tax

One of the best changes enacted to the tax regime was during Levy Mwanawasa’s government, which saw mineral royalties increase from 0.6% to 3%, corporate tax from 25% to 30% and a 5 cent windfall tax per pound on any copper sold above a designated market price. However, the windfall tax was over turned by Rupiah Banda’s government due to pressure from mining companies to scrape the new reforms. They claimed that the tax was creating an ‘unattractive’ business environment for the country, despite favourable copper prices on the international market at the time. The mining companies succeeded by using contractual obligations and the financial crisis. On the other hand, the government conceded to this pressure arguing that Zambia was the only country in the region that had a windfall tax at the time. The government did not see this as an opportunity to be a leader in effecting a positive trend for regional mining taxation.

Mineral Royalties

In 2012, Michael Sata’s government again made changes to the tax system with mineral royalties increased from 3% to 6%. However, the windfall tax was not reintroduced. While the Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR) admits that tax revenues in the country have increased considerably since Mwanawasa’s government, they have made it clear that it is hard to pin this growth on tax regime changes as copper prices and production have also increased consistently during the same period. Further, the Zambia Revenue Authorities (ZRA) has also improved its tax monitoring and administration capacity.


In September 2014, the impasse between mining companies and the government involved two main issues, both closely related to taxation. Firstly, the mining companies were claiming a $600m refund on VAT from the government, and secondly, the government had more than tripled the mineral royalty tax beginning January 2015 from 6% to 20%, a move that the companies found highly unacceptable. According to VAT Rule 18, companies can claim VAT on inputs for exported goods produced in the country. However, companies find it very hard to claim these tax refunds due to the administrative requirements of the act. This led to the suspension of operations by Glencore at the beginning October 2014 based on unclaimed VAT refunds. Currently, Mopani is threatening to lay off 4 000 workers and is citing non VAT refunds as one of the key reasons for this.

ZRA requires that companies produce a number of documents in order to claim VAT refunds; a shipment certificate provided by the ZRA, a certificate provided by the customs authority in the importing country, invoices for the goods exported, proof of payment into the exporter’s bank account in Zambia and such other documentary evidence “as the authorized officer may reasonably require”. While companies complain that the administrative requirements are too much, this is documentation that is readily available to them as they carry out their transactions. Therefore, the lack of transparency among mining companies has also contributed to delayed payments of VAT refunds from government.

Zambians are not very clear about how much revenues we should be earning from the mining sector Currently Zambians are not very clear about how much revenues we should be earning from the mining sector. These documents required when claiming VAT refunds can provide this information, and help combat the high suspicions of tax evasion in the mining sector.

Mining companies must not be allowed to dictate policy terms for the country. On the other hand, government needs to develop a consistent, effective and sustainable taxation policy. While government cannot solely be blamed for the electricity deficit, the depreciating kwacha and the fall in commodity prices, they take full blame when it comes to inconsistencies in taxation policy. The lack of a long-term outlook when setting mining taxation negatively impacts on investor confidence in the sector, and reduces the value of the countries copper.

With regards VAT refunds, government needs to keep strict documentation requirements and not give the mining companies tax breaks that are too generous. On mineral royalties, government needs to be realistic about how much distortion they impose on production incentives. The highest mineral royalty tax imposed globally on copper mining is 15%. Of course Zambia can set its own tax rate, but there is a need to assess the performance of mining companies in the country to develop a mining policy that actually works and will be sustainable over the long term.

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Sunday, September 06, 2015

Edith Nawakwi On The Kwacha, Minister Chikwanda And The PF

COMMENT - The problem is deeper than incompetence or a failure to listen. It goes right to the corruption that flows from the World Bank and IMF system like a tsunami. The former Finance Minister Caleb Fundanga's MEMFI institute now works with the World Bank, IMF, Bank of International Settlements, and the National Treasury of South Africa. He is presently located in Zimbabwe, a country he disparaged for it's economic policies.

See: (LUSAKATIMES) Fundanga opposed to suggestions to adopt the US dollar as national currency
September 4, 2015

The simple fact is this: as long as the mines are in private hands, the politicians will be bought off by the De Beers/IMF/World Bank cartel.

(THE POST ZM) Government officials now have kwacha diarrhoea - Nawakwi
By Mukosha Funga |
Updated: 06 Sep,2015 ,07:00:18

GOVERNMENT officials now have diarrhoea over the fast depreciating kwacha because of failure to heed to advice early on, says FDD leader Edith Nawakwi. And Nawakwi has charged that Zambia has a sleeping government. Meanwhile, Nawakwi has warned that Zambians will sit on the runway to prevent President Edgar Lungu from landing if he misuses public funds for party functions while in New York.

Nawakwi has over the last four years been calling for the dismissal of finance minister Alexander Chikwanda, saying he is ‘incompetent’. On March 18, Nawakwi attributed the continued depreciation of the kwacha to lack of economic understanding by President Lungu and his ministers and warned that the local currency would one day reach K15 to a dollar.

But government officials dismissed her statement as mere politicking.

However, six months on, the kwacha has breached the K10 psychological barrier,
trading at an average rate of K9.90 and K10.05 for buying and selling on Friday.

In an interview yesterday, Nawakwi said the kwacha has depreciated rapidly because of the government’s failure to listen to advice.

“When I said the dollar will reach K15, they were telling me that I was sick. Now I want to know who has diarrhea. Is it me or them? They were saying ‘Nawakwi is sick, she is politicking’; now let them talk. Instead of discussing the problem, they are playing golf. We told them [that] this Minister of Finance is going to take this country to the knife edge bridge. I haven’t even closed my mouth, where is the Minister of Finance? Where is he hiding?” she asked.

“They have been accusing me of politicking, so now I will start politicking. When I am advising them professionally, they don’t want to listen, someone is snoring and sleeping. Mwebantu ba mu Zambia, twapapata fumeni mubebe aba bantu ati beme bambe ukwenda! (You people of Zambia, I plead with you to come out and tell these people to stand up and start walking).”

Nawakwi said it as said that Zambia had a sleeping government.

“The kwacha has gone over K10 and the Central Bank and the Minister of Finance are sleeping. When a currency has slid this much, normally, speculators tend to go in and purchase the kwacha by bringing in dollars, praying that in the next one week, it can change and they can make profits. This is the best time that anyone who has dollars would have wanted to bring the dollars into the banking system. Those who have dollars in the mattresses, in the market, this is the best time because they can see that from one dollar, they will get more than K10 because we have a sleeping government,” she said.

“They are just snoring and not thinking about what is going on. They are still maintaining this archaic law which we put up in the 1980s which said that because there was a shortage of dollars - in fact this was a Katele (Kalumba) law - that there should be a restriction on how much dollars you can take out and how much dollars you can deposit. That was the reason for that. There was a shortage of dollars, there was no money, now this man has gone and borrowed Eurobonds which we can’t even see. Can they stop sleeping and take out the blankets from their heads and start to think! Stop playing golf! This is not time for golfing, sleeping and fundraising. This is the time for serious economic reflection.”

Nawakwi said not even diverting the US$120 million of borrowed money into the market could save the kwacha.

“I am asking [Bank of Zambia Governor] Dr Denny Kalyalya to lift this administrative hindrance where there is a restriction on deposit of dollars because that’s the only way we can mop up the dollars which are in mattresses and help the kwacha. It is not just by him releasing the few [dollars] which the minister borrowed a couple of months ago,” she said.

“I want them to answer me. I want those people who were saying ‘Nawakwi shut up’ to start talking now. I am urging them to open their mouths now. Talk baba, talk! Talk time yaoneka, talk! What is happening to the kwacha? We told them, even if it is a global phenomenon, it can be mitigated if you don’t have a deficit, the one that they have. This phenomenon of the sliding kwacha is being accelerated by the excessive expenditure, over borrowing and lack of alternative sources of income.”

Nawakwi said the argument that what was happening to the kwacha was a global phenomenon could not hold as the depreciation of other currencies was not as bad.

“Don’t tell me that because my neighbour is walking naked, I should also walk naked. That is wrong thinking! Because Tanzania has the same problem but they are not as hard hit as we are in this country. I wish I could be given a chance to talk to this Cabinet because it appears that the whole Cabinet is asleep,” she charged.

Nawakwi said the current massive load-shedding was worsening the economic situation.

“These people shock me; they are telling us we had a drought, isn’t this the same government which was telling us that we could not take ballot papers because of the heavy rains and the results could not come on time? They had to airlift the ballot boxes. Even the Minister of Agriculture said we have a bumper harvest because we had good rains. Now all of a sudden, in six months, they want to tell us there was a drought?” she wondered.

“How can you tell me, a Zambian who comes from Luapula, that we have a drought in this country? Does Egypt have dams? Does it have rainfall? In Egypt, does the Nile have waterfalls like we have here? The Nile is shared by so many states, fighting for the little water. Have you ever seen in Egypt where they cannot pick ballot boxes because there is too much rainfall? The answer is a simple no. They have a desert, one river and they have more power than this country where we have too much water.”

Nawakwi said the country lacked leaders with functioning brains.

“Ukutuka Lesa tuleke. Lesa alitulambula, alitupela fyonse efyo tufwayika. Efyo ta twakwata fye ni abantu abakwete ama tompwe ayaleshinguluka bwino muma office abo twapele inchito ati bane twafwilisheni. Pantu apa nafishupa. Ifilechitika lelo, Kwacha epo yafika, ninshi malilo, elo wingalaya namukutamfya aka bola wemukulu ne chinkonto, takwaba iyo (We should stop insulting God. God has blessed us with everything we need. What we lack are people with functioning brains in public offices who we have empowered to govern on our behalf. Because things are dire, what is happening today, how the kwacha has depreciated, amounts to a funeral. Is this the time a grown man should go and have the pleasure of playing golf, it is unacceptable),” she said.

Nawakwi also wondered why President Lungu could spend so much public money on campaigns but fail to pay the debt owed to the University of Zambia.

“There are 105 districts in this country; I am shocked that when we have no medicine, we have no books, the university can’t be paid but the President can buy 150 Land Cruisers purportedly for DCs when in fact, he is positioning district commissioners to be shadow MPs. He is sending them to start campaigning on public expenditure. You know, this kind of looting, I don’t understand it. This problem at the University of Zambia, we owe University of Zambia as a country K320 million. Now in dollar terms today, it is just $32 million. I am ordering minister Chikwanda to release $32 million dollars at the current rate of K10 to a dollar because that will resolve the problem at UNZA. That money doesn’t even have value to those who are owed,” she said.

Meanwhile, Nawakwi warned that Zambians would sit on the runway to prevent President Lungu from landing if he misuses public funds for party functions while in New York, where he will attend the UN General Assembly.

“We are seeing adverts that there will be a ‘Meet the President’ dinner in New York. Is it a PF trip? Or is it a government of the Republic of Zambia trip? How is he going to get to New York? Is he using an ox-cart or what? If it is a PF trip, I don’t want the policemen from Zambia to go with him. I don’t want the security team to go with him. Let him use PF security and use a chartered plane paid for by Patriotic Front. Honestly, if he goes on government expense, tell him he will have consequences which will be too dire to even contemplate,” she said.

“There will be no runway to land here. We are going to sit on the runway, he has to find his own runway. They should say that this is a private trip which he is paying for from his pocket since he has so much money now. But if he is going to New York just for fundraising for his political party, I don’t think I am going to accept it.”

Nawakwi said Zambians were the PF’s opposition in the 2016 elections.

“Anyway, he (President Lungu) has made our work very easy because in this country, this government of Patriotic Front doesn’t even need opposition. The people themselves are the opposition. They are feeling the heat, the people are angry; just walk into any shop, the problem is that this President can’t even go where we go. I am just walking downtown here in Cairo Road and he can come to Cairo Road and listen...he doesn’t even want to go on Cairo Road because he has created the dirtiest city in Southern Africa, but he is breathing fresh air there [at State House], playing golf,” said Nawakwi.
Related Stories
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Thursday, September 03, 2015

(LUSAKATIMES) Current Economic Challenges facing Zambia are not unusual-Chikwanda

COMMENT - This is how they're softening up the economy for HIPC II. They should be in jail for fraud. And then there are the eurobonds, and the SI89 tax rebate to the mines. External factors - only if the Minister is talking about the IMF/World Bank. Fluctuation in copper prices can be protected against. However this is a government that is trying to paper over state mishandling of resources and corruption, with Eurobond debt loans. This is onerous debt and must not be repaid. Without massive legal and government reform, especially financially, Eurobonds are just more sources for corruption. - MrK

(LUSAKATIMES) Current Economic Challenges facing Zambia are not unusual-Chikwanda
September 3, 2015

Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda says the current economic challenges facing Zambia are not unusual. Mr Chikwanda said this is not the first time that Zambia is undergoing economic challenges caused purely by external forces. Mr Chikwanda said the dip in the economy is a normal cycle in any economic which should not be over dramatised.

He said the slowdown in the Chinese economy is mainly responsible for the weakening of the Kwacha as copper receipts have drastically reduced.

The Finance Minister was speaking in Lusaka on Thursday when he delivered a key note address at the 2015 Zambia Finance and Investment Conference organised by Euromoney Conferences at the Taj Pamodzi Hotel.

Mr Chikwanda said although some people want to portray a picture as if the government is solely to blame for the current economic woes, every genuine economist knew that there will come a time when the Chinese economy will begin to slowdown.

“Surely nobody expected China to continue growing at the same level, there was going to be a time when they would finish constructing their roads, office buildings and any other infrastructure and reduce their appetite for our copper and maybe that time has now come,” Mr Chikwanda said.

He said the Zambian economy is resilient enough to withstand the current economic storm.

Mr Chikwanda said government has taken a raft of measures to stabilise the macroeconomic environment which is necessary for sustainable growth.

He said government is focused on reducing the budget deficit to manageable levels as a free of freeing up capital for private sector lending.

“We are going to rein in on public expenditure this year and going forward as a way of managing our cash flow position, but most of these measures have to be taken before cabinet first, i normally do not like to pre-empt these tins before we debate them as cabinet but we are formulating something,” he said.

On the foreign exchange position, Mr Chikwanda said the Kwacha depreciation has been compounded by the speculators who are trying to cash in on the situation.

“The Bank of Zambia has been carrying out open market operations which have somewhat helped but they can only do so much and their activities have been restricted because of dwindling foreign exchange reserves, we are probably sitting around two and half months of import cover which is not a desirable situation.”

Related News:

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Monday, August 31, 2015

(SF Bay View) South Sudan: African Union commission says oil resources must benefit the people for lasting peace

COMMENT - The problem is the private ownership of the oil companies and the biggest banks, who are now so powerful that they can tell governments what to do. The entire breakup of Sudan was to benefit the neocolonial elite that owns these corporations. There has to be international agreement with real consequences for violation of the law, that puts the ownership of natural resources permanently into the hands of the people of the country collectively, so they cannot be sold for cents on the dollar by a neoliberal politician looking for a bribe, by a finance minister who is eyeing a job at the World Bank, IMF or similar institutions, and by transnational corporations which will even overthrow governments to get a better deal, and have. Public resources must permanently, right to the point of sale, rest in the hands of the people of country. Which would also eliminate 99% of all 'wars' on the continent.

(SF Bay View) South Sudan: African Union commission says oil resources must benefit the people for lasting peace
August 30, 2015
by Ann Garrison

KPFA Weekend News broadcast Aug. 22, 2015
Audio Player

Professor Horace Campbell says the recommendations of the African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan, which include using the country’s oil wealth to benefit its people, must be implemented if there is to be any hope of lasting peace.
South Sudan children, web

KPFA Evening News Anchor Sharon Sobotta: The warring parties in South Sudan’s 20-month civil war signed a peace agreement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, earlier this week. The civil war which began in December of 2013 has cost more lives than anyone can precisely estimate now and uprooted over 2 million South Sudanese people.

However, seven previous ceasefire agreements have already failed. Dr. Horace Campbell is a Syracuse University Professor of African American Studies who spoke with KPFA’s Ann Garrison.

South Sudan mapKPFA/Ann Garrison: When President Obama sat down to talk about bringing peace to South Sudan with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Ugandan President Yoweri Museven, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour and … Nkosazana …

Horace Campbell: Dlamini-Zuma.

KPFA: OK, thank you. … chairwoman of the African Union, you said, on Democracy Now, that everyone at the table, except Mrs. Zuma, was compromised. Can you elaborate on what you meant by that?

Horace Campbell: What I meant by that is that the looting of South Sudan has gone on since independence, in the past four years. When the economy of South Sudan was part of the Sudan, the oil revenues were about $50-100 billion per year.

The reporting we have from South Sudan is that the economy is now based on $5 billion. That $5 billion from the oil – and 90 percent of the economy is based on petroleum resources – is not being used in South Sudan for the health, welfare, water supply and education of the people.

It is being looted in collaboration with the regional leaders of Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and members of the Sudanese elite. Ethiopia is heavily invested in hotels, Uganda in food, Kenya in banking and telecommunications.

And so the situation in South Sudan is one where the leaders have no accountability to the people of the South Sudan and they have money and property in Uganda, in Nairobi and in Addis Ababa. And the resources for the South Sudan should be used for the people of South Sudan so that they can have a better quality of life.
The African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan says that oil resources must benefit the people.

The African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan says that oil resources must benefit the people.

KPFA: This is what I’ve noticed from the very beginning. When I first started reporting on this in December 2013, I tried to figure out what was going on and I spoke to Mabior Garang de Mabior, the son of John Garang, and he said that the conflict had turned attention to the suffering of South Sudanese, but that they had been suffering like refugees before the conflict, because the oil revenues were not reaching them.

Horace Campbell: And it will not reach them now, because the institutions in the South Sudan are not organized for the well-being of the people. South Sudan is run by the military; it is run by international NGOs and a Parliament that does not have real power.

And that is why I am in agreement with the recommendations of the African Union, which recommended a transitional period with three distinctive features:

a high level oversight panel to guide the period of transition,
a transitional government that excludes those politically accountable for the crisis, and
a transitional government that addresses the questions of justice in different forms.

And one of the key areas they spoke about in terms of justice in different forms was that oversight of the resources from the African Development Bank, so that the infrastructure, the health and the well-being of the people of South Sudan is taken care of.

KPFA: That was Syracuse University Professor Horace Campbell, the author of many books and articles on Africa, most recently “Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya: Lessons for Africa in the Forging of African Unity.”

With regard to the international NGOs running South Sudan in a way that deprives the South Sudanese people, Campbell cited, in particular, the ENOUGH Project to “End Mass Atrocities and Crimes Against Humanity” founded by security state professional John Prendergast and USAID chair nominee Gayle Smith.

In Berkeley, for Pacifica, KPFA and AfrobeatRadio, I’m Ann Garrison.

Oakland writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Black Agenda Report, Black Star News, Counterpunch and her own website, Ann Garrison, and produces for AfrobeatRadio on WBAI-NYC, KPFA Evening News, KPFA Flashpoints and for her own YouTube Channel, AnnieGetYourGang. She can be reached at In March 2014 she was awarded the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for promoting peace in the Great Lakes Region of Africa through her reporting.

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

(GUARDIAN UK) Blair urges Labour not to wrap itself in a Jeremy Corbyn comfort blanket

COMMENT - The real elitist face of New Labour, the face of The City.

(GUARDIAN UK) Blair urges Labour not to wrap itself in a Jeremy Corbyn comfort blanket
Patrick Wintour and Frances Perraudin
Wednesday 22 July 2015 12.11 BST
Last modified on Wednesday 12 August 2015 18.55 BST

Former party leader and prime minister says there is no logic in party moving back to tax-and-spend policies of 1980s

Tony Blair has issued his most impassioned appeal for Labour not to repeat the mistakes of the 1980s by adopting a traditional leftist platform, saying the party could suffer four successive election defeats if it does so.

In his first intervention in the Labour leadership election, the former prime minister said a shift to the left after the party’s crushing general election defeat would be to treat voters as if they were stupid.

Blair urged Labour members not to wrap themselves in a Jeremy Corbyn comfort blanket, saying that people whose heart was with the leftwing candidate should “get a transplant”.

He added: “We lost in 2010 because we stepped somewhat from that modernising platform. We lost in 2015 with an election out of the playback from the 1980s, from the period of Star Trek, when we stepped even further away from it and lost even worse. I don’t understand the logic of stepping entirely away from it.”

His comments, to the centre-left Progress thinktank, came as the first public opinion poll in the Labour leadership contest suggested Corbyn was on course for a shock victory. Polls of political party electorates are known to be hard to gather a reliable sample size.

Blair described the veteran backbencher as the “Tory preference” and said the party could not regain power if it was simply a “platform for protest” against cuts.

Corbyn dismissed claims that he would split the party and hit back at Blair’s suggestion that he was the Tory preference.

“I would have thought he could manage something more serious than those very silly remarks,” he said. “Surely we should be talking about the situation facing Britain today, the situation facing many of the poorest people in this country today, and maybe think if our policies are relevant.”

He added Blair had a problem until the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war is published. Corbyn believes the war was illegal.

In a keynote speech setting out his economic policy, Corbyn said austerity was a “political choice not an economic necessity”. He said he wanted to see quantitive easing – a form of printing money to create bonds to fund infrastructure projects. He also called or a return to progressive taxation and a clampdown on business tax evasion.

Blair warned the party could not win on an “old- fashioned leftist platform”. He compared the situation Labour found itself in following its 7 May election defeat with the position it faced in the 1980s, when the party swung to the left under Michael Foot, paving the way for 18 years of Conservative rule.

“After the 1979 election the Labour party persuaded itself of something absolutely extraordinary,” Blair said. “Jim Callaghan had been prime minister and the Labour party was put out of power by Margaret Thatcher and the Labour party persuaded itself that the reason why the country had voted for Margaret Thatcher was because they wanted a really leftwing Labour party.

“This is what I call the theory that the electorate is stupid, that somehow they haven’t noticed that Margaret Thatcher was somewhat to the right of Jim Callaghan.”

Blair said he would not be endorsing any candidate in the race as he had not done so in 2010. He also said he doubted if his endorsement would help.

Tony Blair leaves the Institute of Chartered Accountants in the City of London, where he spoke at a Progress event about the Labour leadership contest.

A poll by YouGov for The Times found Corbyn was the first preference for 43% of party supporters – way ahead of bookies’ favourite Andy Burnham on 26%. The shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, was on 20% and Liz Kendall on 11%.

The poll said that when Kendall and Cooper were eliminated and their second preferences redistributed under the preferential vote system, Corbyn would beat Burnham by 53% to 47% in the final round.

Corbyn’s success led Margaret Beckett, one of the senior MPs that put Corbyn on the ballot paper, to admit she had made a mistake.

“I was concerned that people would feel that they had been deprived of the opportunity for that point of view to be aired,” she said. “I am beginning to wish that I hadn’t.”

The shadow education secretary, Tristram Hunt, warned that Labour could be reduced to a “pressure group” that would not have “broad reach into all parts of the United Kingdom”.

Lord Hattersley, the former Labour deputy leader, dismissed the poll as a 24-hour sensation and said Corbyn had no chance of winning the leadership.

John McTernan, a former special adviser to Blair in Downing Street, said those Labour MPs who had “lent” their nominations to Corbyn to broaden the debate, had behaved like “morons”.

Blair also called for the party to take up a tougher stance combating Scottish nationalism. “You have to take the ideology of nationalism head on,” he said. “Nationalism is not a phenomenon when they talk about a new politics, it is the oldest politics in the world. It is the politics of the first caveman council where the caveman came out from the council where there had been difficult decisions and pointed with his club across the forest and said: ‘There, over there. they are the problem.’ It’s blame someone else. However you dress it up it is a reactionary political philosophy.”

He added: “I personally don’t think we will win by saying we are more Scottish or by engaging in this ridiculous thing where a lot of power in Brussels is fine but power in London is absolutely terrible.”

He continued: “The SNP have achieved this remarkable feat, they are a government that is allowed to behave like an opposition.”

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Saturday, August 15, 2015

Bernie Sanders vs The Soros Funded Clinton Enabling Activist Industry

This is a response to the #BLM controversy, before it was removed from one of their activists, Imani Gandy's site:

This isn't about Hillary and that you are here angrily sputtering about Clinton, and George Soros, says a lot about your "progressive values." You care more about Black votes than Black lives. Well good like trying to get Sanders elected without Black voters.
Is that the deal, alienating Bernie Sanders from Black Voters?

As usual, you have your opinion ready made, and KNOW NOTHING about me. If you want to know about me, read my blog. And learn something about Africa, and the newstories behind the headlines. I have been blogging about Southern Africa, economics, for more than 8 years now. And you label me a 'white progressive' before you even know my name or have read anything I wrote?

Are you saying that this is how you blundered into the Bernie Sanders rally, knowing nothing about Bernie Sanders, his track record on Civil Rights, or his voting record? Please tell me that's not so.

You'd rather believe some absurd conspiracies about BLM being Clinton shills that believe that these Black women are sincere in their protesting the deaths of Black people in our community.
I'll leave the invention of the term 'Conspiracy Theory' by the CIA alone for now. It is not a 'conspiracy theory' to point out that the leadership of BLM is part of the leadership of the NDWA, and that the NDWA took part in the Clinton Global Initiative America 2015. And lo and behold, you don't go after Hillary Clinton. Hillary gets to meet behind closed doors, without any photo ops. What a coincidence. What exactly was discussed with the Clintons? (And no, that's not a 'conspiracy theory', that is a question.)

Now to call that 'a conspiracy theory', how about calling it 'a hint'? 'A clue'?

Black people are demanding respect for our humanity and all you can retort with his "Sanders is your best friend?"

As a good friend of mine pointed out, we're talking about life and death matters and all you can talk about is political rivalries as if that is all that matters.

Clearly, you have no clue, as to who Bernie Sanders IS.

Bernie Sanders is going to be the best President since FDR, in fact he is going to better than FDR, if he gets a Congress he can work with and does something about the Supreme Court.

He might even become as good as HUEY LONG, who I'm sure you have never heard of either.

It is because of Huey Long, that FDR only even considered many of the programs that eventually built the American middle class. The fact that African Americans were specifically excluded from those programs in the South doesn't change that. It is a disgrace that must never be repeated. However, I trust Bernie Sanders more than any politician not to make such a deal in the future.

Well it doesn't. Trickle-down justice will not work this time. And Sanders cannot win without us. Clinton cannot win without us.
Oh yes they can.

And you talk about Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton as if they are the same.

They are not. Clinton is a Republican in disguise. She was a Goldwater Republican in the 1960s. Bernie Sanders calls himself a Democratic Socialist. He marched with Martin Luther King. If you can't tell the difference, it is time to hit the books again (which is a good thing and a hint, not a putdown - I hit the books every day, I love knowledge and information and the information age).

You don't get to tell Black voters that Sanders is our best friend. That's just not how this works. But continue angrily spewing nonsense if it makes you feel better.

Here are some threads I wrote on the realpolitik of politics, 'trade', and America's empire in Africa, and the role of the Clintons in it.

Rape In The Eastern DRC

Bill Clinton was kept informed about what happened in Rwanda on a daily basis.

F*** The EU - Neocons And The Neonazi Ukrainian Coup

Hillary Clinton's subordinate Victoria Nuland's handiwork in the Ukraine. She put nazis (Svoboda) in government in Europe for the first time since WWII (of course Spain and Portugal remained fascist until the 1970s).

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Sunday, August 02, 2015

(MRK) Mahatir Mohamad Expresses Doubts About MH-17 Investigation, Ukrainian Gvt Innocence

The former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahatir Mohamad, isn't buying the 'Russia did it' scenario.

(YOUTUBE) Interview

Mahathir bin Mohamad: I cannot understand why the Malaysian government did not ask for the black box or the wreckage found in the Ukraine. It is quite unusual. The involvement of Malaysia is limited. They never send a team to take pictures there or investigate. The local media, the mainstream media is very much under the control of the government. Almost immediately after the plane was put down, America accused Russia. And then applied sanctions against Russia. We don't accept news like that.

Q: So you don't accept accusations against Russia?

Mahathir bin Mohamad: No, I don't think even the government accept. We are very neutral, because there is no real evidence. One of the suspects of shooting down the aircraft could be Ukraine. Because they were fighting, and we don't know who actually fired the missile. If it was a missile.

Q: Do you think this investigation is carried out objectively?

Mahathir bin Mohamad: I don't think so, I don't think so.

If it was a missile, means if it wasn't a Ukrainian airforce SU-25 or SU-27.

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(GUARDIAN UK) Zambian villagers take mining giant Vedanta to court in UK over toxic leaks

(GUARDIAN UK) Zambian villagers take mining giant Vedanta to court in UK over toxic leaks
Fears of environmental catastrophe as report finds ‘constant contamination’ of streams around copper mine while locals report health problems and failed crops
Shimulala village borehole

Saturday 1 August 2015 22.35 BST
Last modified on Sunday 2 August 2015 00.30 BST

A London-listed mining giant has been polluting the drinking water of villages in Zambia and threatening a wider health disaster, the Observer has found.

Leaked documents and a confidential internal report commissioned from Canadian pollution control experts show that Vedanta Resources’ giant mine in Zambia’s Copperbelt region has been spilling sulphuric acid and other toxic chemicals into rivers, streams and underground aquifers used for drinking water near the mining town of Chingola.

‘I drank the water and ate the fish. We all did. The acid has damaged me permanently’
Read more

The result, say people in four villages living near the giant 12 sq mile mine owned by Vedanta subsidiary KCM, is stomach pains and illnesses, devastated crops, loss of earnings and permanent injuries. The claims of villagers living near one of the largest copper mines in Africa are backed by a leaked letter from a KCM doctor stating that water collected for testing from Shimulala village in 2011 was unfit for human consumption. “The water is acidic and the copper and iron levels exceed permitted levels,” the doctor wrote. “The impurities … can cause cancer in the bloodstream and unhealthy conditions in internal organs. The people in that village should be advised to stop using the same water.”

London law firm Leigh Day has issued proceedings in the high court in London on behalf of 1,800 people who claim to have been affected by the company’s pollution. “The case could take three years to resolve,” said Leigh Day senior partner Martyn Day, recently returned from Zambia, where lawyers and paralegals have been taking witness statements from people living near the rivers and the company’s operations.
Lawyers Leigh Day: troublemakers who are a thorn in the side of multinationals
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A Vedanta spokesman said: “All Vedanta’s operating subsidiaries take the health of their employees, the wellbeing of surrounding communities and the environment very seriously. Our subsidiaries are committed to ensuring they operate in a safe and sustainable way.”

But a scientist who worked for more than 15 years with KCM said there has been little maintenance of critical equipment since Vedanta bought the mine, despite production of some 10,000 tonnes of copper and 300 tonnes of cobalt a year. He accused Vedanta of releasing more acid than it has authority for. “There have been heavy spillages and massive leakages. Acid has been leaking all over the place. The pollution control pond is handling too much material. No effort has been made to correct this scenario. Only one of four [waste] pipelines is running – the rest are in disrepair.

“Degraded equipment, leaking pumps, pipes, thickeners and settling ponds have [resulted in] excessive spillages. Water overflowing into the Mushushima river and subsequently the Kafue river poses a possible environmental catastrophe downstream,” he said.

“The company has very good plans on paper that have not materialised on the ground for the last 10 years. It is absolutely clear that there is a massive problem. Because the river Kafue feeds into the Zambezi river, which provides drinking water for much of Zambia, the pollution could affect hundreds of thousands of people downstream, he said. “A disaster is very likely. It has the potential of affecting people hundreds of miles away. Water supplies could be damaged and aquatic life would die.”

A leaked report by the Canadian engineering company SNC-Lavalin, which in 2010 was employed to advise Vedanta/ KCM on how to control continuing pollution, says that solids, dissolved copper and acids are being spilled. It refers to “constant contamination” of streams, and says the main pollution control dam is often full to capacity. It adds that reservoirs overflow and there are leakages from pipes and a lack of spare parts. The engineers’ report calls for 17 major and minor actions to stop the spillage of polluted water into the environment.

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Friday, July 31, 2015

(HAITIAN TIMES) The Haiti-Greece Connection

Under the Radar
The Haiti-Greece Connection
July 29, 2015
By Max A. Joseph

Debt is an instrument of control and other insidious motives that have been in use since ancient times. Its potency painfully felt when the debtor becomes insolvent.

European Union member and bankrupt Greece may be thousands of miles away from United Nations-occupied and destitute Haiti, but the distance doesn’t preclude these two countries from experiencing similar issues inherent to the brutal nature of the global order.

Under a narrative that exculpates perpetrators and vilifies victims, these two countries are portrayed as unsuitable to their neighborhood and, by extension, unworthy of sympathy from their more affluent and powerful neighbors. Succeeding generations of Greeks, like their Haitians counterpart, will have to deal with the nasty consequences associated with being an insolvent nation. It certainly does not help that the institutions equally responsible for the Greek debt crisis – Europe Central Bank, the giant international banks and the IMF– are the ones formulating the solution.

Let’s start with Greece, a country of 10 million inhabitants and a national debt of $380 billion. As a member of the world’s largest economic bloc, the country certainly possesses many advantages that may be appealing to lenders. However, were these “advantages” sufficient enough to warrant such vote of confidence in its ability to repay this massive debt? Absolutely not; despite a highly-educated workforce, Greece is essentially a developing economy that relies mostly on tourism and agricultural exports.

It will never be able to pay off this enormous debt.

Because the global economy is interwoven, the Greek debt crisis remains a threat to global prosperity seeing that it could usher a domino effect, engulfing other heavily indebted and much larger EU economies. That being said, shouldn’t the international lenders shoulder part of the blame and absorb some of the losses that come with Greece’s inability to fulfill its contractual obligations?

In a normal situation that would be the reasonable thing to do but in the arcane world of international finance, such mundane solution is anathema because portion of the debt are essentially investments made by states and private pension funds on behalf of retirees. Though most of the debt is nominally owed to EU governments and banks, their true ownership might be retirees from Cleveland, Ohio; Marseille, France, Manchester, England, or Munich, Germany. These retirees no doubt will not be asked to take smaller retirement checks because of bad decisions by mutual or hedge funds and banks or the Greeks’ inability to pay.

Predictably Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, was fighting a losing battle despite the popular support expressed in the July 5 referendum in which almost 62 percent of his countrymen convincingly rejected the burdensome conditions of the EU lenders and the IMF. As recently as the beginning of the twentieth century, Greece would have been invaded and occupied by national armies seeking to collect on behalf of their respective banks. Fortunately for the Greeks, that primal approach to collecting debts has been in hibernation, meaning not completely abandoned, under the 1944 Bretton Woods Accords, which created the ultimate mechanism (IMF and World Bank) for a collective and more effective control of international finance by the western powers.

Likewise Haiti, a perennial outcast in the international arena and current holder of the unenviable title of “poorest country in the western hemisphere,” was not so lucky. Its path to poverty — perpetual political turmoil and insolvency, though wholly different than that of Greece– is consistent with the characteristics of international relations. July 28 marked the hundredth anniversary of Haiti’s first occupation by U.S. Marines on behalf of U.S. corporations, which lasted nineteen years (1915-34.)

Whereas Greece’s monstrous debt originated with bad decisions by that country’s leaders and greedy international lenders, that of 1915 Haiti in contrast was the end result of bullying and robbery by France.

To sum it up, the sacrifices made by the more than one hundred thousand slaves that perished during Haiti’s war of independence (1791-1803) were nullified when France, with the backing of England, Germany, Spain and the U.S. navies, imposed a huge indemnity on the young republic in exchange for a formal recognition of its self-liberation. Apparently NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) informally existed prior to its founding in 1949.

Adding insult to injury, Haiti was forced to borrow the money from French banks at an exorbitant rate, which inevitably bankrupted the country. The National City Bank of New York, aka Citibank, would later acquire the deed to that loan from under the U.S. occupation whose premise (the Monroe Doctrine) could not tolerate the presence of a European competitor.

When a comprehensive account of the April 1825 naval blockade of Haiti and subsequent U.S. occupation of that country on July 28, 1915 is finally written, preferably by non-western historians, these two episodes will rank among the most severe punishments ever meted out on a defenseless little nation by predatory powers.

Ever since ancient Greece was yanked from the Ottoman Empire by the British and resurrected in 1830, it has been unable to find it’s footing in a neighborhood infested with predatory powers. Haiti, which came into existence in the course of a hard fought struggle against slavery and colonialism, has been in a corresponding situation since its inception in 1804. Until small countries like Greece and Haiti find a way to extricate themselves from the grid, they can expect more of the same.

About Latest Posts

Max A. Joseph Jr.
Max A. Joseph Jr. is a small business owner and consultant who writes about politics.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

(BUSINESS INSIDER) Uganda's farmers battle palm oil Goliaths for land

COMMENT - Globalisation and land theft. This is the IMF's version of land reform, land title reform instead of land redistribution. Land title reform strenghtens the ownership of land in the hands of transnational corporations, and the banks that own their debt.

(BUSINESS INSIDER) Uganda's farmers battle palm oil Goliaths for land
Amy Fallon, AFP
Jul. 25, 2015, 2:10 AM 826

Even before the bulldozers arrived life was tough for John Muyiisa, scratching a living from a rented farm on Lake Victoria's Kalangala island© AFP Isaac KasamaniEven before the bulldozers arrived life was tough for John Muyiisa, scratching a living from a rented farm on Lake Victoria's Kalangala island

Now he has almost nothing and is seeking compensation in Ugandan courts from the palm oil plantations he blames for seizing the land and destroying his livelihood.

As land grabs by local firms linked to multinationals drive small-holder farmers out of business, a rights group behind a February bid for compensation by 100 farmers says rights violations and environmental degradation are also at stake.

Muylisa, a 53-year old father of nine, had leased a 17 hectare (40 acre) plot farming coffee, bananas, cassava and potatoes on Kalangala island. But in 2011 that land was taken and cleared for a palm oil estate.

"It's like I'm starting all over again now," Muyiisa said, adding he once could earn over 1,400 dollars a year (1,300 euros) but is now struggling to survive.

"With that land, some of my children even completed university, but now I've taken some out of school, some of my daughters are doing housework to earn money."

It is a story repeated elsewhere in Africa, where large internationally-backed companies are snapping up agricultural land, and activists claim their actions deprive local farmers of basic needs.

But Muyiisa did not legally own the land he farms -- the title deeds are held by the local Sempa family.

Horatius Sempa said the 14 farmers were "illegal squatters," but acknowledged some had received payments of between $35 and $200 while others had been allowed to continue farming smaller parcels of land. Muyiisa was left with three hectares (7.5 acres).

The palm oil project is being carried out by Oil Palm Uganda, a subsidiary of local food producer Bidco Uganda. Bidco in turn is a joint venture between global palm oil giant Wilmar International -- backed by several European banks and financiers -- and other international partners.

It is also supported by the UN's International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), which offers government loans at subsidised interest rates to set up plantations.

- 'Total robbery' -

Campaigners say the Kalangala case highlights a growing conflict over land rights and ownership in Africa between those who hold the legal deeds and the generations of smallholders who occupy and invest in farmland, potentially earning themselves squatters' rights to remain.

"It is happening in Liberia, Nigeria, Tanzania," said environmental campaigner David Kureeba from Friends of the Earth in Uganda, which is supporting the farmers' legal challenge.

"Expansion of palm oil will lead to food insecurity, human rights violations, environmental degradation and climate change," he argued.

Friends of the Earth this month called for Wilmar to immediately halt its palm oil development plans in Nigeria, which they describe as a "key frontier country" for palm oil expansion leading to "conflict".

Muyiisa, one of over 100 farmers in Uganda who lost their farms, are hoping the court will order the land to be handed back, along with "fair compensation" for damages.

They claim they were kicked off the land without warning and the compensation they got was derisory.

Muyiisa's mother-in-law, Magdalena Nakamya, a 64-year-old widow with eight children, depended on a three-hectare (seven acre) plot growing cassava and potatoes, earning over 250 dollars (180 euros) a month.

"Then they came and measured up, and the next I heard there was digging," said Nakamya, describing the day the bulldozers arrived. "Now I'm making very little money."

Kalangala island in the vast freshwater Lake Victoria appears idyllic, but Bidco -- which launched the ambitious Oil Palm Uganda Limited (OPUL) development in 2004, and by the end of 2012 had been given 7,700 hectares of land (17 acres) by the government -- says it was once at the bottom of the pile for economic development.

The food producer dismisses claims it has caused harm, saying the palm oil farm has instead boosted development on the island.

Bidco boasts Kalangala now is among the top 10 developed districts in the east African country, after "working harmoniously and closely with the community" on the joint public-private partnership.

Wilmar said in a statement that the court had ordered mediation, pointing out the company had played no role in buying the land.

"We are disappointed that our efforts to engage with the stakeholders concerned, that is the alleged affected communities and NGO involved, were not reciprocated," the company said.

But for Muyiisa, the case is clear.

"In the end some were scared and took anything offered," said Muyiisa, claiming some farmers were paid as little as $16, others just $33. "It wasn't much. Some were offered really poor money and refused it because they thought 'this is total robbery'."

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Al-Qaeda Sues Zambian Government, Goldman Sachs

COMMENT - No one apparently anticipated this, however by selling assets owned by the Zambian state to the Libyan state under the guise of Privatisation, because the private sector can run businesses sooo much better than the state can, the Libyan state ended up in the hands of islamist coup plotters. And now the Zambian government has to honor agreements made with the illegal and atrocious government of Libya, or what's left of Libya? Privatisation = Corruption. You cannot get rid of corruption, without ending these intransparant trade deals and eurobond loans.

(ZAMBIAN POST, FT) Libya firm sues Zambia over Lap GreenN assets By Financial Times | Updated: 28 Jul,2015 ,08:22:25 | 699 Views

The Libyan Investment Authority has launched legal action against four African states, including Zambia, alleging that they took advantage of Libya’s political turmoil to nationalise assets belonging to the $66bn sovereign wealth fund.

Hassan Bouhadi, the LIA’s chairman who was appointed by the internationally recognised Tobruk government in October, said the legal action related to technology assets in Rwanda, Zambia, Chad and Niger.

“There are some individuals every day that are trying to apply false claims against the assets of the LIA and we have a few incidents where some countries have nationalised some of our assets,” Bouhadi alleged.

The $66bn fund was created in 2006 by Colonel Muammer Gaddafi to invest the proceeds of Libya’s vast oil wealth, but since 2011, its assets have been frozen under international law.

In 2014, it launched two separate lawsuits against Goldman Sachs and Société Générale in London’s High Court over controversial trades.

Both banks deny any wrongdoing.

Bouhadi, a former GE and Bechtel executive, who grew up in Libya but was educated at London’s University College, said the LIA was “determined” to “regain what was squandered from the Libyan people”.

He also hopes that the lawsuits may “shed some light into some practices” within the wider banking industry.

However, the success of its high stakes litigation was thrown into serious doubt this year because of the rival factions in Libya’s bitter civil war.

Four years after the fall of Muammer Gaddafi, the country has two rival governments battling for control and is split between Islamists in Tripoli with the internationally recognised government based in Tobruk.

Each government has appointed officials at state agencies including the National Oil Corporation and the LIA itself. Bouhadi was appointed by the Tobruk government, but Tripoli-based Abdulmagid Breish also claims to be LIA chairman - which Bouhadi’s team fiercely dispute.

Breish says he was appointed as chairman of the LIA in June 2013 when the country had one government, but agreed to step aside a year later when a political isolation law was passed prohibiting Gaddafi-era officials from taking part in politics. He appealed on the grounds that the isolation law did not apply to him, and in April was reinstated by the Libyan Court of Appeal.

That month Libya’s deepening political turmoil led to the disbanding of the LIA’s litigation committee, and its longstanding law firm Enyo which had been working on the lawsuits against Goldman Sachs and SocGen, stepped down.

The confusion surrounding the LIA led one High Court judge to declare that the litigation was in a “state of chaos”. Even Mr Justice Flaux, the High Court judge, noted drily that there is “what might be colloquially described as a dog’s breakfast on the claimant’s side of the fence” and “no doubt that suits the defendants extremely well”.

Now, the litigation is firmly back on track after the lawyers of both Bouhadi and Breish jointly asked the High Court this month to appoint BDO, the professional services firm, as a receiver and litigation manager by the High Court. In future, BDO will handle the litigation, with Enyo acting as lawyers.

“These are assets of the Libyan people and we are entrusted with safeguarding these assets. It’s not a wish. It’s a duty that we need to continue,” says Mr Bouhadi.

His resolve is shared by Breish, who says the receiver’s appointment was the “best option” available. “We reached a point where the two pieces of litigation were hanging in limbo and at great risk,” Breish said.

Yet whoever is in charge at the LIA is not able to touch the assets directly until the sanctions are lifted. In 2012, the LIA had the opportunity to unfreeze the assets but decided against it until there was a more stable political process.

However, Bouhadi would like to apply to the UN and EU to be allowed to manage more efficiently the cash generated from dividends and matured bonds.

When sanctions are lifted, Bouhadi wants the LIA to play a greater role in liberalising the Libyan economy and in helping business start-ups. Another objective is to demystify the LIA for ordinary Libyans who, Bouhadi says, viewed the wealth fund as opaque and “a mystery” during the Gaddafi era.

He says: “The Libyan people are all the time asking: ‘What is it? What is it for the Libyans? What is the LIA doing for the Libyans? What are the tangible benefits for the Libyans?’”.

But the LIA knows that if it is successful in clawing back more than $2bn from Goldman Sachs and SocGen and through other lawsuits, ordinary Libyans should not need to ask that question for much longer.
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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Zambia’s future bleak due to incessant govt borrowing

COMMENT - There would be no debt at all if the government simply collected stiff Windfall Taxes from the mines. The debt is doubling, the currency is under pressure instead of increasing because of all the value flowing into the Zambian economy out of the mining sector. Who is the lunatic now, Finance Minister Chikwanda?

Zambia’s future bleak due to incessant govt borrowing - Haabazoka By Misheck Wangwe and Stuart Lisulo | Updated: 26 Jul,2015 ,11:22:25

THE future of Zambia is bleak looking at the incessant borrowing being made by the PF government, says Copperbelt-based economist Dr Lubinda Haabazoka.

The Zambian government on Thursday issued a US$1.25 billion Eurobond, the highest ever, to be repaid in 10 years.

The facility, which was over-subscribed by US$500 million, is the third that Zambia has issued under the PF regime, at 9.37 per cent interest annually.

But Dr Haabazoka, who is also a senior lecturer of business studies at the Copperbelt University, said looking at the expenditure by allocation, much of the borrowed money might even go to consumption.

“No country in the history of economic development has ever developed on borrowed funds. One might argue that governments issue treasury bonds to develop their economies but the type of borrowing that we have seen is unprecedented. In 2011, Zambia only owed US$1.2 billion in foreign debt and now it owes more than US$7 billion. The rate at which we are acquiring debt is very high,” he said.

Dr Haabazoka said what was more worrying was that the sources of income were narrowing and the country’s economy was being run on borrowed funds.

He said the government could have cut down unnecessary expenditure such as scaling down the size of government and doing away with projects of low priority.

Dr Haabazoka said thinking that borrowed money was the only source of the national budget or running government was a misplaced ideology.

“This year is going to be the worst economically, after 15 years, because of the huge budget deficit due to lack of proper planning on the way government is supposed to be run. Look at the energy crisis! It will cost businesses because Zesco and government have recorded huge losses in terms of missed revenues and opportunities. Look at the fuel sector! There are huge losses; Indeni has shut and businesses that depend on generators to backup their energy sources have huge challenges to operate. Economically, our performance is dismal as a nation,” Dr Haazoka said.

He said the state of the economy was making it extremely difficult to operate smaller businesses.

“My advice to finance minister Alexander Chikwanda is that he must make this loan his final for the next two years. Those working in government must help in coming up with a strategy on how revenue collection could be improved without burdening the already overburdened labour force and formal sector,” Dr Haabazoka said.

He said the proceeds from the Eurobond were not likely to benefit Zambia’s economy owing to the massive externalisation of financial resources in the construction sector among foreign contractors.

“I see a lot of externalisation of resources because most contractors that are going to work on these infrastructure developments are Chinese and other foreign nationals so we are basically borrowing for foreign economic participants,” Dr Haabazoka added.

He also said the government’s intention to address the widening budget deficit, which is projected to soar to around K20 billion from K8.5 billion by accumulating new debt, will actually widen it even further next year.

“In trying to solve a budget deficit by borrowing, we are actually creating a wider deficit for the next year so basically, we are not solving anything! The easiest way to solve a budget deficit is to reduce unnecessary expenditure. You have to prioritise which sectors need money most and which ones can wait for the future,” said Dr Haabazoka.
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