The 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)
Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said between 2009 and 2013 the government had supported 700 000 smallholder producers through various initiatives, including access to finance and mentoring.Between December 2009 and December 2013 a total of 1 740 555 hectares of land had been acquired and redistributed or restituted. (Image: Brand South Africa)Brand South Africa reporterSouth Africa’s agriculture sector created 65 000 new jobs between December 2009 and December 2013, reversing a trend of farming job losses in the country that stretched back to the 1970s, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said on Tuesday.Speaking at a post-State of the Nation Address media briefing in Cape Town, Patel said that the government had spent about R20-billion on land restitution and redistribution between 2009 and 2013, during which period a total of 1 740 555 hectares of land had been acquired and redistributed or restituted.To ensure sustainable production on productive land, he said, 700 000 smallholder producers had been supported through various initiatives, including access to finance and mentoring.Fetsa Tlala (end hunger) programmeRegarding the Fetsa Tlala programme, which was launched by President Jacob Zuma in October last year, Patel said that planting was taking place on 230 000 hectares of land in six provinces, with half of this land set aside for smallholders.“A total of 10 271 resource-poor, historically disadvantaged producers were supported to access water for agricultural purposes, and over 18 000 hectares were irrigated during this period. From 1 April 2009 until 31 December 2013, a total 2 400 000 hectares of land has been added to the area of land under rehabilitation and restoration.”According to the minister, a total of 3 486 000 hectares was cleared as part of follow-up treatment.“A further 33 341 smallholder producers were assisted to access markets, and 1 284 producer cooperatives and marketing depots were established in order to increase their competitiveness and take advantage of market opportunities.”Patel said an additional 22 cooperatives had been linked to the Department of Social Development’s Food for All programmes as the government moved to procure produce for its social programmes from the smallholders it was supporting.Primary animal healthcare“Furthermore, we have committed to extending the primary animal healthcare programme to smallholders in all provinces,” Patel said. “In the past year, 23 mobile animal clinics were procured and delivered to remote rural areas.”The scientific committee of the World Animal Health Organization has confirmed the restoration of South Africa’s foot and mouth disease (FMD) free status, enabling the country to negotiate with its trade partners to lift their ban on its red meat exports.Patel said the confirmation of South Africa’s restored FMD free-status was a positive step for trade and markets access for the industry.Work opportunities in rural areasRegarding work opportunities in rural areas, Patel said a total of 3 384 small rural enterprises had been established in different sectors between 2010 and 2013.“We were also able to link 170 196 poor and vulnerable South Africans, including recipients of social grants, to economic opportunities,” he said.In rural areas, a total of 3 422 110 work opportunities had created through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), including the Community Work Programme, since 2010.Most of these jobs were created under the infrastructure sector of the EPWP. An additional 798 586 full-time equivalent jobs had been created in different sectors from 2010 to date.Source: South African Government News AgencyWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
Ever missed a #PostChat Twitter conversation and wished you could go back and read it in full?#PostChat meetup at NAB 2014 (from Avid)The weekly #postchat event hosted by Gordon Burkell (@AOTGNetwork), Tej Babra (@tejbabra) and Jesse Averna (@Dr0id), is a brilliant opportunity to ask post production professionals from around the world, any question you like on that week’s topic (there’s a new topic each week). PostChat is a twitter based chat for post-production professionals that occurs every Wednesday at 6 PM PST (9PM EST).Previous topics have included editing feature films (led by the editor of Sharknado 2), cutting award winning documentaries, handling audio, motion graphics, women in post, visual effects and many, many more. #PostChat is also a fantastic way for the gathered post production community to share it’s collective wisdom, experience and advice with the rest of the world.But if you missed the live question and answer session, fear not! Thanks to editor Liam Johnson, (@editorliam) you can quickly catch up on that week’s #postchat and explore an extensive Storify archive of previous weeks. Check out Liam’s complete archive here.One of the most popular #postchat collections in Liam’s archive was the week spent discussing the best practices for starting a project which you can check out here. If you want to get involved in #postchat session then the best way is to make use of this Twitter ‘chat room’.