Senate Favors LWSC Privatization

first_imgThe Senate yesterday voted 10 for, four against, and one abstention in favor of carrying on stringent reforms in the water supply and sanitation services sector controlled by the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC). The vote taken during that body’s 36th day sitting specifically called for the creation of an enabling environment through, inter alia, making of policies and enactment of legislations to attract private investment to the sector. The Senate’s decision was prompted by a report prepared by the Committees on Lands, Mines Energy, Natural Resources and Environment, and Public Corporations, in which they recommended to plenary requesting President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to consider fast tracking the privatization of key operational areas, such as the commercialization of the LWSC. The Chairmen of the two Committees, Senators Albert Chie and J. Gbleh-bo Brown, informed their colleagues that during the performance of their oversight responsibilities, they held meetings with the management of LWSC at the Capitol Building on May 9, and observed that the corporation needed serious attention. In their conclusion, the Committees reported that “the LWSC has been run inefficiently for many years and is in bad financial state; that it is unable to deliver about 60 percent of the bills to customers it claims to serve, while full collection of debt from bills is far-fetched.” The seven-page report also discussed that the LWSC has been operating mainly on bilateral and multilateral grants, and that even so, it has been able to meet only 25 percent of the water demands of the Monrovia area, let alone the other counties. “The LWSC spoke about plans for the government to obtain a loan of US$10 million to support the work of the corporation; with an inefficiently-run corporation, this loan and future loans and grants may be wasted efforts.”In the debate that followed the vote, four Senators voted against privatization, among them Cllrs. Varney Sherman and Joseph Nagbe. The two Senators, who are also lawyers, argued that communities like West Point and New Kru Town and other less fortunate communities will be victims of such a decision. But pro-privatization Senators, such as Bomi County Senator Morris G. Saytumah, opted for a quasi privatization of the corporation, and admonished his colleagues not to look at privatization as a monster, saying privatization comes with efficiency. For his part, Sinoe County Senator J. Milton Teahjay was critical of the lack of attention paid to counties outside Monrovia such as his county, which he boasted is one of the original three counties. The Sinoe lawmaker warned that he will adopt the method to filibuster whenever a loan for ratification lands at the Senate, which limits benefit to only Monrovia. Meanwhile, Senator Nagbe yesterday informed his colleagues that he was going to make use of the rules of the Senate that allow him to file a motion for reconsideration if so desired, not later than three sitting days.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Thousands of Engineers in Kuwait Could Face Deportation After New Rules

first_imgThousands of Indian engineers in Kuwait could face deportation following a new regulation that seeks to enforce protectionism indirectly was announced in the Gulf nation. The move will affect 15,000 to 40,000 Indian engineers, according to reports.The Kuwait Public Authority for Manpower announced on March 11 that a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the Kuwait Society of Engineers (KSOE) is needed to attain residency and work permits in the country.Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor, who heads the Parliamentary Standing Committee of External Affairs, has told the Indian embassy in Kuwait to have a dialogue with authorities in the country, the Times of India reported.The NOC will be given only to those engineers who have graduated from colleges recognized by the National Board of Accreditation (NBA), the KSOE said, further deepening the problem since many colleges in India have accreditation from the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) or University Grants Commission (UGC), instead of the NBA.The engineers are worried now that the KSOE, a non-governmental public benefit association, is responsible for their livelihoods in Kuwait.“Most engineers are aged between 30-45 and graduated long before NBA got into the act,” Jyothidas Narayan, a member of the Kuwait Engineers Forum, which represents 1,400 engineers in the construction and oil & gas industry, told TOI. “Even for the few who have degrees from NAB-accredited college — the accreditation being recent — will be of no use to them as their certificate would not reflect the same.”People have been lining up outside the KSOE premises in Bnaid El Gar, which doesn’t have enough manpower to handle applications that are being filed in hundreds every day, the report added. Many of the Indians have been living in Kuwait for decades and have school-going children and well-settled families in the country.The changes affect only expat engineers in the private sector. Even if an engineer is from an accredited college they have to appear for an exam in the KSOE before acquiring the no-objection certificate, according to the Kuwait Times. The same process may be put in place for other professions in the future. Related ItemsEmploymentGulfKuwaitlast_img read more

Canberra ready to ACT this spring

first_imgCanberra: ‘Australia’s best kept secret’ Louise, Kathy, Jonathan, Donna, Ian – Australian Capital Tourism Canberra has promised visitors to the nation’s capital a ‘feast for the senses’ this spring with the ACT offering an array of new adventures, as well as classic cultural experiences. From new exhibitions at the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery of Australia to new shopping experiences and fine dining at some of the territory’s best award-winning restaurants, visitors to Canberra this spring have been told to expect a lot more from the capital than just a famous flower show, which itself is promising even more. “The Floriade is not only a flower festival, but a springtime festival,” Australian Capital Tourism director of marketing Ian Hill said.With its ‘feast for the senses’ theme, Floriade 2011 will feature a Latino banquet of sounds, colours and flavours at ‘Carnival in the Park’, engaging activities at the ‘From the Pantry’ marquee, the ‘Lindeman’s Open Garden’, and the Floriade NightFest, which guarantees to ‘heat up those crisp Canberra evenings’. Speaking to guests at a lunch honouring ACT’s forthcoming springtime attractions, Mr Hill highlighted an Australian-first exhibition at the National Library featuring 1,000 years of handwritten manuscripts by historical luminaries such as Dante, Mozart, Napoleon and Albert Einstein and the opportunity for visitors to “run off some of that winter girth” with an Australian Institute of Sport Olympic athlete.Calling Canberra “Australia’s best kept secret”, Mr Hill said the expanded Canberra Airport would be “hopefully operating by early 2013” – in time for the capital’s centenary.Guests of the event, held at Sydney’s Signorelli Gastronomia, had a chance to sample some of the ACT region’s premium cool-climate wines as well as participate in a ‘name the ingredients’ culinary challenge. center_img Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.Hlast_img read more