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

Messi scores in EU court battle to trademark name

first_img0Shares0000A court rules that Lionel Messi is too famous to be confused with a company with a similar name © AFP / Josep LAGOLUuxembourg, Luxembourg, Apr 26 – Barcelona footballer Lionel Messi won a legal battle Thursday to register his name as a trademark to sell sports goods after an EU court ruled that he is too famous to be confused with other businesses.The Argentine star, the world’s highest earning footballer, rode out a challenge by a Spanish cycling gear manufacturer called Massi, which had challenged his trademark on the grounds that it was too similar to its own. “Lionel Messi may register his trade mark ‘MESSI’ for sports equipment and clothing,” said a ruling by the General Court of the European Union, the bloc’s second-highest court.“The football player’s fame counteracts the visual and phonetic similarities between his trade mark and the trade mark ‘MASSI’ belonging to a Spanish company,” the Luxembourg-based court said.The ruling caps a seven-year legal fight since the footballer first tried in 2011 to trademark his name with the EU’s intellectual property office.The boss of the Massi cycling goods company filed an appeal the same year, saying there was a “likelihood of confusion” with its own trademark, and the trademark office agreed.Judges admitted that the trademarks “are very similar phonetically” but said the IPO was wrong to assume that Messi was only known by people who were interested in football or sport.“Mr Messi is, in fact, a well-known public figure who can be seen on television and who is regularly discussed on television or on the radio,” the court said.The ruling comes days after it emerged that Messi has overtaken Cristiano Ronaldo as the highest earner in world football, according to France Football magazine.The Barcelona attacker is making 126 million euros ($154mn) in salary, bonuses and commercial revenue for the current season while his great Real Madrid rival is making 94mn euros.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

BMW to skip Paris Motor Show; might produce new electric cars

first_imgBMW’s management board is skipping the Paris Motor Show to hold talks aimed at breaking a deadlock over whether to produce new electric cars, including a battery-powered Mini, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.Spurred on by the success of US rival Tesla, which has received almost 400,000 pre-orders for its Model 3 car, German carmakers Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen have accelerated their own electric car program.ALSO READ:BMW to recall over 156K X3, X4 models over defects in child seatsVW, for example, has said it plans to launch more than 30 electric vehicles over the next decade, forecasting they would account for about a quarter of group deliveries by 2025.Executives across the industry predict electric cars will increasingly gain mainstream acceptance among customers thanks to advances that make batteries get cheaper and more powerful and the VW emissions scandal, which has sparked a regulatory backlash against diesel-engine vehicles.But BMW has been torn about whether to accelerate development of new electric cars, given its expensive early investments into the area which resulted in only lacklustre sales of its i3, which saw only 25,000 deliveries last year.ALSO READ:BMW i3 sales rise after government’s push to subsidize electric carsNorbert Reithofer championed the i3 project while chief executive of the Munich-based carmaker and, in his new role as chairman, is keeping up pressure on new CEO Harald Krueger and BMW management to expand the company’s electric program.But some other senior executives are unwilling to plough more resources into electric cars until i3 sales improve and there is a clearer business case for such investment, according to one of the four sources, who declined to be named because of the confidential nature of the discussions.advertisementMost of BMW’s eight-strong management board – including the CEO and chief financial officer – traditionally attend the closed-door press and executive days of the biennial Paris Motor Show for one of the biggest industry gatherings of the calendar.ALSO READ:BMW to build electric car battery factory in ThailandBut this year only Ian Robertson, board member for sales and marketing, will be at the show, while the rest will instead attend a company strategy meeting at the end of September, according to the sources.Board members will attempt to reach agreement on the carmaker’s electric car strategy, including whether to build an electric Mini, said the sources.BMW declined to comment.ALSO READ:BMW launches 520d M Sport in India; priced at Rs 54 lakhBMW’s car division has delivered a return on sales above 8 per cent for 25 quarters in a row, a track record that the new management does not want to blemish, even as heavy investments into ride-hailing services loom.”How does the company expand into the loss-making segment of electric cars and retain its industry-leading profitability. That’s essentially the question facing management now,” said another of the sources.The carmaker recently revamped the i3 by giving it a new battery with greater range, a step which has given a boost to sales.ALSO READ: BMW Motorrad commence G310R motorcycle production in Indialast_img read more