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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

older | 1 | .... | 1108 | 1109 | (Page 1110) | 1111 | 1112 | .... | 1152 | newer

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    GIPF's Steinhoff suit still pendingGIPF's Steinhoff suit still pending The Government Institutions Pension Fund of Namibia is not backing down from a bid to sue Steinhoff for losses stemming from investments made in the company.

    The pension fund administrator reportedly lost N$700 million in investments in the retail holding company, which owns shares in Pep, Tekkie Town, Hifi Corporation and Incredible Connection, among others.

    GIPF CEO David Nuyoma had earlier indicated intent to participate in a class action suit against Steinhoff.

    Asked about the progress of this action, Nuyoma said the GIPF was still assessing its losses. Once that process had been completed, it would institute a civil suit against Steinhoff to recover the losses.

    “At this stage we do not have a timeline on when this legal case will be completed. Even though the GIPF has already provided for the full exposure of the Steinhoff loss in its 2017/18 annual financial year, the full extent of the loss will only be determined once the legal process against Steinhoff has been completed,” he said when approached for comment.

    Nuyoma previously said GIPF was teaming up with other affected companies to sue Steinhoff to recover a portion of their losses.

    “GIPF is participating in the class action (which implies collectively suing Steinhoff for any losses that may be realised) known as the BarentsKrans by various creditors. Any recovery will only be determined once the process has run its course,” he said.

    Nuyoma has also been previously quoted as saying that Steinhoff's impact on GIPF would be minimal, constituting less than 1% of its total assets under management. He added that Steinhoff had shares in many retail companies that still held value and once the information had been crystallised, there would be value to be realised.

    Steinhoff posted a loss of €1.19 billion (N$20 billion) for the year ended September 2018, FIN24 reported in June this year.

    The €1.19bn loss compares to a restated loss of €3.99 billion (roughly N$65 billion at current exchange rates) for the 12 months ended September 2017.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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  • 08/14/19--16:00: TransNamib moves manganese
  • TransNamib moves manganeseTransNamib moves manganeseSpinoff businesses anticipated The national rail company says 150 jobs have been created through its deal with South Africa's TradePort. TransNamib has announced that it moved the first shipment of manganese ore for the South African company, TradePort Namibia, from Ariamsvlei to the port of Lüderitz on 2 August.

    The 520-tonne consignment was loaded at Ariamsvlei on 1 August and arrived at Lüderitz on 3 August.

    TransNamib's commercial and marketing executive, Hippy Tjivikua, said this is the first major movement of cargo on this route, especially after the rehabilitation of the railway line between Aus and Lüderitz, which had not been operational since 1998.

    TradePort in December last year drove truckloads of manganese ore to Lüderitz without the requisite environmental clearance certificate from the ministry of environment and tourism.

    It was then forced to reload the ore and was allowed by NamPort to store the 620 tonnes in a warehouse inside the port facilities.

    Although the environment ministry did not take any steps against TradePort in December, it did issue an ECC to the company on 7 February, reportedly after it had done a “thorough assessment” of manganese transhipment via the Lüderitz harbour.

    Tjivikua said one of the conditions of the ECC issued to TradePort was that the company must make use of enclosed storage warehouses at both Ariamsvlei and Lüderitz.

    Tjivikua said after the issuance of the ECC, TransNamib prepared to transport TradePort's manganese with two locomotives pulling 20 wagons loaded with 26 tonnes each due to the current railway infrastructure limitations.



    TransNamib/TradePort deal

    Tjivikua said TradePort had approached TransNamib in 2018 to start shipping its bulk manganese by rail from the Northern Cape to Lüderitz.

    “This is part of the solution to provide the required pit-to-port logistics solution and gave an undertaking to provide a minimum of 30 000 metric tonnes of manganese concentrate per month for this route,” Tjivikua said.

    He said several stakeholders – NamPort, the ministry of works and transport, as well as the ministry of industrialisation, trade and SME development – were part of the negotiations with TradePort, which concluded in May.

    Tjivikua said as a result of this “national project” TransNamib has recruited more than 150 people.

    “A lot of spinoff business activities are expected to be generated out of this new business venture, especially at Ariamsvlei, Keetmanshoop, Aus, and Lüderitz,” he said.

    CATHERINE SASMAN

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    Lifeline for stranded Chobe hipposLifeline for stranded Chobe hippos An emergency borehole has successfully been drilled to pump water into a Chobe River pond, where about 68 hippos are stranded in the drying river.

    Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta confirmed that the borehole was drilled on Monday to help save the 68 hippos, as well as crocodiles that are struggling to get out of a pond in the Chobe River between Botswana and Namibia.

    He said as of Monday the borehole was already pumping 12 000 litres of water per hour into the pond, and this was likely to increase by Tuesday.

    The ministry confirmed the stranded hippos at the beginning of this month, saying the river is drying up and breaking into little ponds, and that the 68 hippos are in one of them.

    Ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda said at the time the water was becoming very shallow and that talks were underway between Namibia and Botswana to save the animals.

    He also said a helicopter assessment was being undertaken to verify whether there are any other similar situations in other parts of the Zambezi and Kavango East regions. The assessment is likely to be completed by the end of the month.

    In 2016, about 100 hippos were also stranded in the Sampisi River channel, which flows from the Linyanti River in the Zambezi Region, due to the severe drought and poor rainfall experienced at the time.

    The ministry then conducted an assessment and resolved that fast intervention was needed to prevent the situation from deteriorating and the animals dying.

    The ministry also decided back then to drill boreholes to pump water into the ponds and river channel, so there would be enough available water for the animals.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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    SA firm sues Nantu for N$600kSA firm sues Nantu for N$600k The Namibia National Teachers' Union (Nantu) is being sued for N$593 982 by a South African marketing firm in terms of an advertising agreement entered into on 22 July 2015.

    In its January 2019 particulars of claim, SA Pulse Media (Pty) Limited, with its place of business in Cape Town, told the High Court that in terms of the agreement, a banner, along with a “hyper/web link advertorial on the GovLive website”, would be created at a cost of N$32 999 per month for 24 months, until July 2017.

    “The advertorial will contain a hyperlink from Nantu's banner on the GovLive website to Nantu's website,” the company said.

    Namibian Sun looked at the said website, govlive.co.za, and under the 'about us' link, it says: “GovLive is an advertising and marketing company based in South Africa and our services and products are currently available throughout southern Africa and surrounding areas. GovLive aims to exceed the expectations of every client, by offering greater value, optimising market functionality and improving operation efficiency.”

    There is also an option for a listing to “be seen [and] start selling. Now you can showcase your products or services to one of the most affluent marketplaces”.

    Essentially, it is an online marketing resource, operating from South Africa.

    According to SA Pulse Media, the agreement, entered into by Michael Scott, the company's financial manager, and Basilius Haingura, secretary-general of the union, indicated that the “full and final payment was due [on] December 2016 and strictly upon receipt of an invoice”.

    Moreover, the company says the agreement also stipulated that Nantu would have to prepare its own marketing material and that no liability for any errors therein would lie with the marketing company.

    The company said Nantu was duly invoiced on 24 November 2016, and to date, has not paid any money towards the account.

    SA Pulse Media also asked for 10.5% interest as from 25 November 2016, and for the costs of the suit.

    Nantu filed a notice of intention to defend on 4 March this year, but to date, it has not filed any papers. On 17 June, Stefania Cagnetta of PF Koep and Company, appearing on behalf of SA Pulse Media, withdrew as its counsel. Yesterday, at the scheduled status hearing for SA Pulse Media to secure counsel, Nantu said it would ask the court to strike the matter from the roll if the marketing firm does not find someone to act in its stead in the Windhoek High Court.

    Judge Marlene Tommasi is presiding over the matter, while Florian Beukes of Metcalf Attorneys appears for Nantu.

    YANNA SMITH

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    Nkurenkuru instructed to fix messNkurenkuru instructed to fix messParliamentary committee reads riot act The Nkurenkuru town council has been ordered to supply answers to the auditor-general's queries. The National Council Standing Committee on Public Accounts and Economy has instructed the Nkurenkuru town council to deal with the queries raised in an auditor-general's report, which points to poor accounting practices.

    Committee chairperson Peter Kazongominja and his fellow MPs told Nkurenkuru CEO Petrus Sindimba and the council's finance officer Jairus Kakoro on Tuesday to provide satisfactory answers to the concerns raised in the report.

    The main objective of the public hearings is to consider material findings raised in auditor-general reports and compile a report with recommendations to be tabled in the National Council.

    According to the auditor-general's report on the Nkurenkuru town council for the 2017/18 financial year there were a number of issues detected by the auditors that need serious intervention, for the sake of transparency. It was discovered that the council does not have a fair presentation framework for financial reporting and no detailed fixed asset register. There is also no depreciation policy and there was a non-disclosure of a bank account with an amount of about N$41 000 in it.

    It was further discovered that the council had an appropriation balance of about N$7 million between the opening and closing balances.

    The financial information also did not include a cash flow statement and notes, while there were also unexplained adjustments on expenditure and revenue amounting to about N$5 million and N$2 million, respectively.

    The council also did not provide erven sale agreements to the auditors, as well minutes of the procurement committee meetings that awarded two tenders amounting to a combined N$6 million.

    The issue of conflict of interest was also raised, as the council did not present any declarations for those sitting on the procurement committee.



    Council's response

    Sidimba explained that the undisclosed bank account is a holding account for the Nkurenkuru Trade Fair Expo and is not used for operational activities.

    Sidimba said the non-disclosure was an oversight on their part, as they relied on the consultant who used to prepare their financial statements.

    “We have taken note of it and we will ensure that all our accounts are disclosed,” Sindimba said.

    On the issue of the appropriation account difference of about N$7 million, Sindimba said it was a human error on their part.

    He said it resulted from the council having recorded an accumulated surplus of about N$15 million at the end of the financial year ending 30 June 2017, while the opening balance on 1 July 2017 in the financial statement shows an amount of about N$22 million.

    Sindimba also explained that they relied on the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) depreciation calculator, which is why they did not have a depreciation policy in place.

    On the lack of land sales agreements, Sindimba said they were only issuing deeds of sale and not sales agreements. However, a council resolution was passed that land sales agreements were to be used. The agreement was presented in the parliamentary meeting.

    The parliamentary committee applauded Sidimba for his honesty, especially by admitting they had omitted some of the required documents and for assuring them he will take the advice of the committee to heart.

    KENYA KAMBOWE

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  • 08/14/19--16:00: The struggle against poverty
  • The struggle against povertyThe struggle against poverty As one of the world’s most unequal nations, accomplishing the tasks involved in reducing poverty is a tall order for Namibia. Extreme poverty remains an alarming problem in many areas of our country, while almost a quarter of the residents of Kavango East live below the food poverty line, according to the latest Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Baseline Report recently launched by the National Statistics Agency. While there has been a relative improvement in the country's poverty indicators, some regions have shown an increase, in particular with regards to hunger. Towards the end of last year, the NSA announced three new poverty lines, with households having N$293 per month for food classified as being extremely poor. A typical Namibian household comprises between four and five people. The second class of food poverty is for the severely poor, which was set at N$389 per household per month. The third poverty line is for all those classified as poor, and is set at N$520.8 per household per month. However, there is a growing divide between the haves and have-nots, while tin shanties or slums continue to blight most of our towns, accommodating thousands of households. Limited employment opportunities are also adding to the woes, and have seen a big chunk of Namibians still trapped in poverty. The latest SDGs baseline report figures also show that more than 10% of the country's people lived below the international poverty line of N$27 (US$1.90) per day. It is beyond comprehension that Namibia, of all nations, is struggling to make huge progress in eradicating extreme poverty despite the enormous emphasis placed on agricultural productivity. We have so many unemployed young people and many Namibians are also not paid enough to rise above the poverty line. At the end of the day people are too poor to obtain enough food. There is so much social instability and the inequality especially in rural areas is unacceptably high. The high jobless rate is one of the biggest contributors to poverty problems in our country and therefore a focused jobs strategy and careful prioritisation of policy reforms are crucial to arrest this worrying trend.

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    Town hall meetings 'no election gimmick'Town hall meetings 'no election gimmick'Opposition slams president's engagements State House has hit back at opposition claims that the president's regional meetings are nothing but electioneering. Presidential spokesperson Alfredo Hengari has categorically denied allegations that President Hage Geingob's town hall meetings are a disguised election campaign taking place at taxpayers' expense or that anyone is being excluded. Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) vice-president Jennifer van den Heever dubbed the town hall meetings as a “Swapo Party campaign” in statement last week.

    She slammed the “inconsiderate and irresponsible manner” in which Geingob is running the “supposed” town hall meetings, claiming opposition party members were denied access to these gatherings. Van den Heever said Geingob is using the town hall meetings to “advance a single party's agenda”, saying the PDM had during an earlier occasion asked Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila to distinguish between state and political party resources. Geingob's town hall meetings are attended by most of his cabinet ministers and other aides.

    Van den Heever said Geingob, instead of “surrounding” himself with “handclapping advisors”, he should consult with the opposition, who should “school him” on crucial national issues.

    Some of the issues she identified are the public education and health sectors, the land question, the “collapse” of the economy and unemployment, particularly amongst young graduates.

    Hengari said no one has been denied the opportunity to take part in the town hall meetings, on the basis of political affiliation.

    “Anyone who says that is spreading falsehoods. The meetings are open to all Namibians and the list of those who asked questions and made submissions demonstrates the diversity of views expressed in the town hall meetings and across the political divide,” Hengari said.

    He said all the meetings are “open, inclusive and transparent”, while “respecting the cardinal principle of inclusivity”.

    CATHERINE SASMAN

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  • 08/14/19--16:00: 'Hands off Diescho'
  • 'Hands off Diescho''Hands off Diescho' Opposition parties have criticised President Hage Geingob for engaging in public mudslinging with political analyst Joseph Diescho, who is now living in Germany because he says he fears for his life in Namibia.

    During a town hall meeting at Nkurenkuru last week Geingob also appeared to have confirmed that Diescho was indeed fired as director of the Namibia Institute of Public Administration and Management (Nipam) because of his political columns published in New Era.

    Landless People's Movement (LPM) leader Bernadus Swartbooi this week condemned the president's conduct and said it was high time that the government stopped attacking Diescho.

    “It is wholly unacceptable that a democratic government is taking so much time and energy at the public level to humiliate, harass, intimidate and character assassinate a citizen of this country,” said Swartbooi.





    According to Swartbooi, Diescho has always been ready and willing to serve his motherland and he should be given the opportunity to make a valuable contribution to the lives of all Namibians.

    Swartbooi said it was unfortunate that the president used the town hall meeting to insult Diescho instead of listening to the concerns of the Kavango people.

    “As for the people of Kavango, they have at a public meeting with respect and decency asked and stated their complaints and that they feel that they are not well represented.

    “They have not said anything against any ethnic group; they have not insulted anyone to say who is overrepresented. They are just expressing their own circumstances and their own aspirations as citizens of this country. They deserve to be listened to,” Swartbooi said.

    The LPM agrees that the Kavango people are heavily underrepresented in the economy, the judiciary, parliament and politics, he added.

    During the town hall meeting Geingob also talked about Diescho not having a house, saying: “That is the person I brought back from the wilderness because I was told he did not have a house here. He cares for Kavango, and I am told he doesn't have a house, he stays in the Catholic Church (premises) or something. If you are so committed and worried about your people, why don't you have a house?”

    This remark irked the PDM's McHenry Venaani, who said the president was wrong and should not been seen engaging in petty gossip about people's personal property.

    “Society cannot dialogue personality and people's village homes. We must dislodge and unlock our human potential through valuing each potential. Professor Diescho deserves a chance in our society, not insults. Let's reserve our thoughts on negativity and focus on nation building,” said Venaani.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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  • 08/14/19--16:00: 39% of Namibians hungry
  • 39% of Namibians hungry39% of Namibians hungry A shocking 39% of Namibians were severely food insecure by 2018, while 821.6 million people worldwide did not have enough food to eat, as hunger levels increase globally.

    This is according to the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019 report, which says a total of two billion people experienced moderate or extreme food insecurity.

    This year's report summarises the most recent trends in hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in all its forms, with an in-depth look at the impact of economic slowdowns.

    The report said that for the third year in a row, there has been a rise in world hunger.

    The absolute number of undernourished people, as well as those facing chronic food deprivation, increased to more than 821 million in 2018, from around 804 million in 2016. The report indicates that in Namibia severely food insecure people increased from 500 000 in 2006 to one million by last year, at a prevalence of 39% of the population.

    “Hunger is on the rise in almost all African sub-regions, making Africa the region with the highest prevalence of undernourishment, at almost 20%,” the report says.





    “The number has been increasing steadily in Africa, where it reached almost 260 million people in 2018, with more than 90% living in sub-Saharan Africa.”

    In Namibia the prevalence of undernourishment is higher than the African average, standing at 27.3% and affecting 700 000 people.

    In 2018, 7.3% of children under five (49.5 million) were affected by wasting (low weight for height), consequently putting them at higher risk of mortality.

    The statistics indicate that in Namibia 7.1% of children under five were affected by wasting, which affected less than 100 000 children in the country.

    Globally, the prevalence of stunting among children under five years is decreasing.

    The number of stunted children has also declined by 10% over the past six years, but 149 million children are still stunted.

    Africa shows the least progress in reducing the prevalence of stunting since 2012.

    In 2018, Africa and Asia accounted for more than nine out of ten of all stunted children worldwide (54.9% and 39.5%, respectively). While the number of stunted children has declined by 10% over the last six years, the progress is too slow to achieve the 2030 target of a 50% reduction.

    In Namibia the prevalence of stunting among children under five years old is 22.7%, with about 100 000 children affected.

    The report, however, says that globally being overweight is increasing in all age groups, with particularly steep increases among school-age children and adults.

    In Namibia the prevalence of obesity in adults is 15% and affects 200 000 people, while in children the prevalence rate is 12.9%, affecting less than 100 000 children.

    According to the report, hunger has been increasing in many countries where economic growth is lagging.

    “Strikingly, the majority of these countries are not low-income countries, but middle-income countries and countries that rely heavily on international trade of primary commodities. Economic shocks are also prolonging and worsening the severity of acute food insecurity in food crisis contexts.”

    The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019 report was jointly prepared by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 08/14/19--16:00: Illegal grazing spree
  • Illegal grazing spreeIllegal grazing spreeFarmers sidestep standard procedures It is alleged that the culprits are using various tactics to sidestep applying through the traditional authority's office for legal grazing. Uukwangali Traditional Authority chairperson of Christian Simuketa says over 2 000 cattle are grazing illegally in their area of jurisdiction.

    He was elaborating on illegal cattle grazing in Kavango West, which was raised during a recent town hall meeting at Nkurenkuru.

    At the meeting, Kavango West governor Sirkka Ausiku and Kavango West Regional Farmers Union (KWRFU) chairperson Sabine Mufenda both expressed their utmost disappointment over the illegal grazing taking place in the region.

    It was revealed that the perpetrators are originally from Oshana, Omusati, Ohangwena, Oshikoto and Kunene, which are all in the grip of ongoing drought conditions.

    Simuketa explained the culprits use various tactics to sidestep applying through the traditional authority's office, which is then supposed to hold extensive consultations with the community, before permission is given to graze.





    Simuketa said the traditional authority charges N$50 per animal. He said they have thus far managed to prosecute six farmers for illegal grazing.

    “They have to follow the procedure and apply through the office of the traditional authority and we will identify a place where they can graze, but most of the time what these farmers are doing, they are not coming to the office. We just hear that there are cattle somewhere deep in the bush,” Simuketa said.

    “As we speak, there are more than 2 000 cattle in the bush and we don't know how they got there.”

    Simuketa said they understand what farmers are going through, especially those from the Kunene Region, where rain has been minimal for the past three years, “but procedures are there to be followed and must be adhered to at all times.”

    He said a common tactic used by the errant farmers is entering into agreements with certain community members to graze their cattle together, something the traditional authority does not approve of.

    Namibian Sun has also been reliably informed that some of the farmers from drought-stricken areas have gone to the extent of 'selling' their cattle to Kavango residents. However, this is a simple cover-up to graze their animals, as those who supposedly purchase these animals do not have the funds to do so.

    “No one has the authority to give anyone permission to graze their livestock in the Uukwangali area, apart from the traditional authority. If we catch you, you will be dealt with. So far we have come across six farmers and they were dealt with the traditional way,” Simuketa said.

    He said cattle herders live a nomadic life, as they move from one area to the next, which makes it difficult for the traditional authority to address the issue.

    Simuketa said another challenge is rebellious cattle herders, who show no respect and do not fear the law.

    “Some of them will tell you that they will not move unless you kill them first, because they have nowhere else to move their cattle to and it's very challenging to engage a person who has that type of mindset,” Simuketa said.



    Illegal fencing

    Another issue raised during the Nkurenkuru town hall meeting was illegal fencing, which Simuketa says limits the grazing areas available to farmers in the community.

    In Kavango West a total of 60 illegal fences have been erected without the consent of the various traditional authorities.

    Simuketa said this another headache for them, as farmers have developed a trend of running to the courts and obtaining court orders, when they are told to remove their fences.

    “Illegal fencing is another challenge, because the moment you tell the person to remove the fence, or you want to remove it, they run to the courts to obtain a court order. We all know that court proceedings are costly and they take time to be resolved,” he explained.

    Simuketa said the traditional authority is in the process of engaging various ministries to seek solutions.

    KENYA KAMBOWE

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  • 08/14/19--16:00: Company news in brief
  • Company news in briefCompany news in brief Glencore loses bid to stop 'Paradise Papers'

    Global commodity miner and trader Glencore yesterday lost its case to stop Australian tax authorities using business information that was leaked as part of the so-called Paradise Papers.

    Glencore had argued that information revealed by the Paradise Papers – a leaked dossier that included information on clients of the Appleby law firm in Bermuda - should not be available to tax authorities as the information had been stolen.

    But Australia's high court found that the Australian Tax Office (ATO) was entitled to access the documents as they were in the public domain, adding that lawyer-client privilege did not apply in this case.

    The ruling potentially opens the door for Glencore to receive a backdated tax bill, given the ATO has handed peers BHP and Rio Tinto large tax notices in recent years after reviewing their tax practices, specifically those around valuing commodities in lower tax jurisdictions.

    "Glencore respects today's High Court decision," a company spokesman told Reuters. – Nampa/Reuters

    StanChart eyes private bank assets in growth push

    Standard Chartered is targetting growing its private banking assets by 50% to about US$100 billion in three to five years and hire dozens of bankers in Hong Kong and Singapore towards that goal, a senior executive of the lender said.

    The moves show StanChart has big growth ambitions for the private banking unit that had until recently weighed on the lender's earnings, with its small size stoking speculation it would be put under review for possible divestment.

    The lender will recruit 30-40 private bankers every year in the next two to three years to add to its roughly 300 existing relationship managers, and the bulk of the additions will be in Hong Kong and Singapore, StanChart's global head for private banking and wealth management Didier von Daeniken told Reuters.

    With $65 billion worth of private banking assets, London-headquartered StanChart is a small player compared with UBS which, as per Asian Private Banker data, had assets worth US$2.3 trillion and Credit Suisse, with US$770 billion last year.

    The private banking business accounted for just 3.8% of StanChart's total profit before tax in the first-half of this year.

    StanChart's private banking business caters to wealthy individuals across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe, through booking centres in Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, India, London and Jersey Island. – Nampa/Reuters

    BAT's takeover of Twisp wins SA approval

    British American Tobacco's (BAT) proposed takeover of e-cigarette maker Twisp won approval from South Africa's Competition Tribunal on Tuesday after the UK-based group agreed to a series of conditions.

    The local unit of BAT, the world's second-largest tobacco company by sales, announced the deal in 2017 as part of its efforts to increase its offering of so-called next-generation products or alternatives to smoking cigarettes.

    BAT, like rivals, is striving for a bigger chunk of the global market for smoking alternatives as volumes of traditional cigarettes continue to slide.

    Under conditions placed on the deal, the combined group would not be allowed to agree with retailers to allocate their products more than 70% of visible sales space given to e-cigarettes. They also won't incentivise retailers to deny space to rival products. The conditions will apply for five years.

    The Tribunal also said there should be no retrenchments or job cuts as a result of the proposed deal for a period of two years from the date on which the transaction is implemented. – Nampa/Reuters

    Exxon eyes exit in UK North Sea

    Exxon Mobil is considering a sale of its assets in the British North Sea after more than 50 years in the oil and gas basin as it focuses on US shale production and new projects.

    The world's largest publicly traded energy company has held talks with a number of North Sea operators in recent weeks to gauge interest in some or all of its assets, which could fetch up to US$2 billion, according to three industry sources with knowledge of the matter. Exxon declined to comment.

    Leaving the British North Sea would mark a major retreat from Europe for Irving, Texas-headquartered Exxon, which has already put its Norwegian offshore assets on the block.

    It would follow similar moves by US rivals Chevron and ConocoPhillips which earlier this year sold the bulk of their North Sea operations.

    Potential buyers could include large private equity-backed North Sea producers such as Chrysaor or Neptune which have acquired portfolios from veteran producers in recent years. – Nampa/Reuters

    Boeing deliveries fall 38%

    Boeing Co delivered 38% fewer planes in the first seven months of 2019 than the same period a year earlier, as the grounding and doubts around the future of its best-selling 737 MAX jets hurt operations.

    Deliveries totalled 258 aircraft in the seven months through July, compared to 417 last year, and trailing far behind the 458 aircraft handed over in the same period by European rival Airbus SE.

    The numbers put Boeing on course to lose the crown of world's biggest planemaker, which it has held uninterrupted for seven years.

    The 737 MAX has been grounded worldwide following two fatal accidents that killed more than 300 people and both Boeing and airlines continue to extend the timelines for when it will return to service.

    Last month, the company posted its largest-ever quarterly loss due to the spiraling cost of resolving issues with the MAX, warning it may have to halt production of the grounded jet altogether if regulators around the world do not give clearance for it to fly again soon. – Nampa/Reuters

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    H&M backs firms promising social changeH&M backs firms promising social changeBanana leaf lamps Retailers are under growing pressure to prove positive social and environmental impact amid worries about labour exploitation, waste and pollution. Sarah Shearman – With lampshades made by Indian women and trays from East Africa, H&M said on Tuesday that it had become the latest retail giant to back businesses with a mission to do good, as pressure mounts to end throwaway consumerism.

    The world's second-biggest fashion retailer said it will sell homewares made by two social enterprises - businesses that aim to do good as well as make a profit - in H&M Home and Arket stores in five European countries from late August.

    "By offering products made by social entrepreneurs, we want to make it possible for our customers to be change makers," said Cecilia Tiblad Berntsson, social sustainability manager for H&M Group.

    H&M hopes the project will lead to "job creation and positive change for people where it is much needed," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in emailed comments.

    Retailers are under growing pressure to prove positive social and environmental impact amid worries about labour exploitation, waste and pollution, with some calling for tax reforms to end a throwaway lifestyle that is ruining the planet.

    H&M's move echoes that of another Swedish retail giant, Ikea, which has been selling products made by social enterprises since 2012, such as Ugandan coffee and Thai textiles.

    Luxury outdoor brand Canada Goose launched a social enterprise earlier this year, Project Atigi, hiring Inuit seamstresses to design parka coats, while the United Nations is promoting its Made51 brand of crafts by refugee artisans.

    ‘Greenwashing’

    Critics have said that environmental campaigns by fast-fashion businesses like H&M, whose growth depends on selling more products, amount to little more than "greenwashing".

    Its first foray into social entrepreneurship, H&M has selected businesses that create jobs for marginalised people who would otherwise struggle into employment.

    Employee-owned Bangalore Greenkraft in India makes lampshades from banana leaves and All Across Africa hires artisans in Rwanda and Uganda to make baskets and trays, which will be sold in Sweden, Norway, Britain, Denmark and Germany.

    H&M would not disclose details of how many products it plans to stock, but a spokeswoman confirmed it is "a small scale" pilot scheme.

    The retailer said it does not plan to profit from the scheme either, with profits going to the social enterprises which will use them to advance their social missions.

    H&M has tried to improve its environmental credentials in recent years, using more organic cotton, encouraging customers to recycle their clothing and trialing sales of second-hand clothes in its stores. – Nampa/Reuters

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    Steinhoff must slim down, sell assetsSteinhoff must slim down, sell assets‘Only way to survive’ Steinhoff said yesterday its European subsidiaries have implemented a financial restructuring plan. There is a lot of work still to be done, but I think management is doing the right things. - Sarine Barnard, Analyst: Investec Asset Management Wendell Roelf - Scandal-hit Steinhoff's only hope for survival is to sell off assets to become a retail-focused holding company, it says, as it fights to recover from a US$7 billion accounting fraud and share price crash.

    Established more than 50 years ago, the firm transformed itself from a small South African outfit to a furniture and household goods retailer straddling four continents before it shocked investors by flagging holes in its accounts in December 2017.

    Since then, it has had to stomach losses of up to US$4 billion a year and a dramatic fall from grace that has left it fighting to stay afloat.

    CEO Louis du Preez on Tuesday delivered a stark assessment of Steinhoff's options at the company's first public investor presentation since the scandal took hold, saying a radical transformation into a retail-focused investment holding company was its "only way to survive".

    Steinhoff has already sold a number of assets that do not align with that plan, and is looking to sell off others as well as cut jobs at its French retail chain Conforama, its management said during the presentation.

    ‘Mountain to climb’

    In a subsequent interview, Du Preez said this would also give individual units more operational independence and decision-making power by reducing services like human resources and financing at group level.

    The company's Johannesburg-listed shares were up 3.88% at 1109 GMT as investors welcomed the news.

    "There is a lot of work still to be done, but I think management is doing the right things and focusing on the right things, although it still has a mountain to climb," said Sarine Barnard, an analyst at Investec Asset Management who attended the presentation.

    Litigation key

    The company has already sold off a number of assets, including an Austrian furniture chain and stakes in firms like KAP Industrial Holdings.

    Its remaining portfolio includes furniture and household goods firms such as Mattress Firm Inc in the United States and the Fantastic chain in Australia, general merchandise outlets including Britain's Poundland, and a host of clothing stores.

    Asked about reports it was considering an initial public offering of its Pepkor Europe unit, which owns Poundland as well as retail chains Dealz and Pepco, Du Preez said Steinhoff was considering all options and that no decision had been made.

    Attendees said another big problem for Steinhoff is litigation. The company's stock tanked after the scandal, and numerous investors are claiming compensation for losses.

    Du Preez said the company was in talks to settle the lawsuits out of court, and hoped to deal with them in a single action.

    "How to solve the litigation is key," said Barry Cadle, a stockbroker with a personal shareholding in Steinhoff. If the company can get past the litigation, he said, it may lead to a rights issue.

    Executives at the presentation said the ongoing impact of the fraud would leave Steinhoff fighting for profitability for years to come, even with strong turnover.

    Overhaul

    As part of its overhaul it may look to restructure struggling French retail unit Conforama - which has had to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to fund its business amid mounting debt and falling sales - and cut jobs, executives said.

    Steinhoff's total debt, at 9 billion euro (US$10.09 billion), is also too high and needs to be addressed, Du Preez said. Measures will be taken to deal with this, including the re-issuance of previous debt instruments, he said.

    Steinhoff said yesterday its European subsidiaries have implemented a financial restructuring plan, after pushing the deadline date back repeatedly.

    Steinhoff Europe AG (SEAG) and Steinhoff Finance Holding GmbH (SFHG) entered into a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) in 2018 with its creditors.

    A CVA is a UK legal process that allows a company with debt problems to reach a voluntary agreement with creditors over the payment of its debts while continuing to trade. – Nampa/Reuters

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    Recession knocks on Germany’s doorRecession knocks on Germany’s door Germany's economy contracted in the second quarter, figures showed yesterday, highlighting its vulnerability to trade tensions and stoking debate on higher government spending. Shrinkage of 0.1% meant the economy lost significant momentum compared with the 0.4% growth seen in January-March. In a year-on-year comparison, it was just 0.4% larger than at the end of June 2018, with flat or negative growth in three of the past four quarters.While overall activity was supported by rising household and government spending, falling exports weighed on manufacturers, statistics authority Destatis said. "The door at least to a technical recession ... is wide open," said Klaus Borger, an economist at public investment bank KfW. Photo Nampa/AP

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    Muted celebrations for Sudan's first post-Bashir EidMuted celebrations for Sudan's first post-Bashir EidEconomy stuck in doldrums The currency has plunged by 70% against the US dollar on the black market since October. The situation is getting worse, there is no work, no income and no investment. - Mohamed Abdullah, Farmer Jean Marc Mojon - As Muslims in Khartoum marked their first Eid al-Adha feast without Omar al-Bashir as a ruler in three decades, the mood was upbeat Sunday but the menu stayed frugal.

    Months of bloody anti-regime protests created a historic opportunity for civilian rule in Sudan but also saw prices soar, putting a damper on celebrations.

    In Khartoum markets, the price of a sheep - a must in the Feast of the Sacrifice which is considered the holiest day in the Muslim calendar - has doubled since last year.

    "You used to be able to find a sheep for 3 500" Sudanese pounds (US$60), said Mohamed Abdullah, a farmer who lives on Tuti, a rural island wedged between the twin cities of Khartoum and Omdurman, where the Blue and White Nile meet.

    This year he paid 8 000 pounds, an amount he couldn't really afford even after raising the selling price of the milk from the few cows he rears on a small plot by the riverbank.

    "I have three children, I had to bring them something for the feast," the greying 43-year-old said.

    Lack of cash

    In Khartoum's Bori neighbourhood, considered one of the cradles of the protest movement that brought down Bashir earlier this year, an Eid market known for its low prices is witnessing record turnover.

    "There's a lack of cash in Sudan at the moment. Here we are using electronic payment cards a lot, to make it easier for the people," said one of the traders, Maki Amir.

    "Many people feel happy because of the revolution and the peace that was signed last week, that's why they want a real Eid celebration," he said.

    Sudan's economy was sent into a tailspin when the oil-rich south seceded in 2011 and the past eight months of turmoil - which initially erupted with protests over a tripling of bread prices - have taken a further toll.

    As buyers swarmed the huddled sheep on the dusty open market ground and inspected the animals' teeth, the haggling was sometimes acrimonious.

    Some men looking to buy a sheep to slaughter blamed traders for taking advantage of the power vacuum to raise their prices.

    The traders retorted they were being taxed by the government more than ever before.

    Revolution

    Since the last devaluation of the pound in October by the then Sudanese authorities, the currency has plunged by a further 70% against the US dollar on the black market.

    A deal was reached this month between the country's generals and protest leaders to transition to civilian rule in just over three years.

    The landmark constitutional agreement is to be signed at a ceremony on August 17 but, even if its provisions are implemented, the country remains on the brink of economic collapse.

    On the capital's walls, some of the protest murals have already been painted over and its streets were largely empty, many residents having left town to celebrate Eid al-Adha in their villages.

    At the market in Bori, Amir Abdullah came to buy a goat for an expatriate friend who wants it donated to charity but he will not be able to afford one for himself this year.

    He also said celebrating did not feel like a priority after so many protesters, an estimated 250, were killed in their efforts to take down the military regime.

    "Eid is not the same for everybody. Now I'm still in mourning for those who lost their lives," said Abdullah, sweat pearling on his forehead from the afternoon heat.

    "Definitely, the situation is getting worse, there is no work, no income and no investment ... but we have to stay focused on achieving the goals of the revolution: freedom, peace and justice."– Nampa/AFP

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    Omusati still waiting for drought aidOmusati still waiting for drought aidBeneficiaries few and far between Less than 9% of households which registered for the drought relief programme in the region were helped in June and July. OUTAPI – The severity of the drought in the Omusati region requires an urgent consideration for comprehensive relief food distribution in order to mitigate its impact on the community’s livelihoods.

    The call was made on Tuesday the governor of Omusati, Erginus Endjala, during president Hage Geingob’s Town Hall Meeting at Outapi.

    The region registered 33 930 drought-affected households to benefit from the drought relief programme. Endjala said only 2 898 households benefited from the programme during June and July.

    “This is a population of 16 339 beneficiaries and most of the affected groups are women, children, pensioners and child-headed households,” he said.

    The Office of Prime Minister (OPM) has provided two trucks and a water tanker from the Namibian Defence Force to supply water to the needy communities, while the ministry of agriculture, water and forestry (MAWF) in June this year made available 1 450 bales of free feed to assist poor farmers.

    A total of 133 farmers benefited from the initiative, Endjala said, adding that 120 subsidy claims, totalling N$55 480, were submitted for payment.

    Water

    The MAWF in collaboration with OPM granted N$1 million to the region for the installation of three boreholes and for cleaning and pumping seven test boreholes, rehabilitating eight hand pumps and purchasing materials for a 56km pipeline.

    Endjala said NamWater pumped water from Calueque in southern Angola into the Etaka-Uuvudhiya canal to the relief of cattle owners in the Omusati and Oshana regions.

    While acknowledging the increasing number of would-be drought relief programme beneficiaries countrywide, prime minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila at the same meeting called on employed Namibian individuals to come forth and contribute 2% from their income to the programme, as the government’s budget for the programme is faced with a deficit.

    Some N$104 million has so far been contributed to the programme. - Nampa

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    Millions for Windhoek’s informal settlementsMillions for Windhoek’s informal settlements The money will never be enough. - Laura McLeod-Katjirua, Governor: Khomas The ministry of urban and rural development has set aside N$50 million to improve the living conditions of Windhoek’s informal settlements residents for the 10 months to March next year.

    This decision was taken at a meeting between the City of Windhoek (CoW), the ministry and Khomas regional council in May, according to information presented at the municipality’s monthly council meeting.

    “Faced with time constraint and a health emergency, about 72% of the budget will be spent on curbing the onslaught of Hepatitis E,” reads council documents.

    The project’s primary objective is to improve access to land and basic services such as potable water, toilets, roads, electricity and ultimately the security of tenure during that period.

    To achieve this, about 2% of the budget will be spent on strategic spatial planning for Farm 508 to give a spatial vision for the township establishment process that will follow.

    An amount of N$3.5 million has been earmarked for road level design, while for the construction of water and sewer lines, N$4.1 million has been set aside for the Havana, Goreangab, Okuruyangava and Otjomuise settlements.

    About N$4.3 million or 8.6% of the budget will be allocated to the planning and registration of eight townships, including redesigns, where CoW has contractual obligations.

    “The money will never be enough. That [N$50 million] is just money allocated for a specific financial year. It is not a once-off amount,” Khomas regional governor Laura McLeod-Katjirua told Nampa in an interview yesterday.

    Urbanisation

    The latest statistics by the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia indicate that there are 308 informal settlements in Namibia with 228 000 shacks which house around 995 000 people in urban areas.

    “Urbanisation is not going to stop. Windhoek is the only capital city we have. The problem is that when people settle in these places, they don’t report to any authority. They just settle and demand services. This gives a lot of pressure on the government and the authorities' fiscus,” McLeod-Katjirua said.

    Lasting solutions to the mushrooming informal settlements include their formalisation as well as the construction of low-cost houses though public-private partnerships, she said.

    “But what is a low-cost house and to whom is it a low-cost house? If somebody runs a cuca shop, what is a low-cost house for that person?” the governor asked. – Nampa

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  • 08/15/19--02:12: Inflation takes another dip
  • Inflation takes another dipInflation takes another dip Annual overall inflation in Namibia last month settled at 3.6%, down from 3.9% in June and the lowest so far in 2019.
    A year ago, overall inflation stood at 4.5%.
    Figures released by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) this morning show annual overall food inflation at 3.7%, an uptick from 3.2% in July 2018.
    Overall transport inflation stood at 6.9% compared to 8.9% a year ago.
    Read the full report tomorrow in Market Watch.

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  • 08/15/19--16:00: John John to face Tchetha
  • John John to face TchethaJohn John to face Tchetha MTC Nestor Sunshine Tobias Boxing and Fitness Academy prospect Paulinus 'John John' Paulus is hard at work preparing for an international middleweight fight.

    Paulus will be involved in one of the many exciting undercard fights on 24 August, when Mike Shonena headlines the event with a clash against Youli Dong from China at the Ongwediva Trade Fair grounds.

    Titled 'Battle of Namibia vs China', this will definitely be one of the biggest boxing events ever organised in the north, and takes place at the biggest trade fair in Namibia, where thousands of boxing fans are expected to attend.

    Paulus, who boasts an unbeaten record of nine fights with nine straight wins, has proven to be quite a knockout specialist with eight of his wins coming by via knockouts.

    He was scheduled to face Future Maziya from Zimbabwe, but will now enter the ring against Simion Tchetha from Malawi after Maziya withdrew from the fight due to injuries sustained during a mob attack in his hometown.

    Promoter Nestor Tobias describes Paulus as the future of boxing, and a fighter with discipline and impeccable punching power.

    “When I see fighters like John John, I know that the future of boxing is bright and Namibia will continue to produce world champions, because you cannot ignore his talent,” Tobias said.

    Tickets for the event are selling for N$100 and N$10 000 for VIP tables at Computicket.

    Sports Reporter

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  • 08/15/19--16:00: Clubs bay for Kauta's blood
  • Clubs bay for Kauta's bloodClubs bay for Kauta's bloodEight teams want NPL chairman to resign Patrick Kauta says he will not resign and claims Fifa said there will be no promotions and relegations at the end of the coming season. Eight of last season's NPL clubs are calling on league chairperson Patrick Kauta to resign.

    Black Africa, Orlando Pirates, Young African, Civics, Tigers, Citizens, Mighty Gunners, and Julinho Sporting yesterday held a media conference where they called on Kauta to do the right thing and quit.

    The clubs said Kauta does not have the interest of football at heart, and that they have no confidence in his leadership style.

    Orlando Pirates' Niklaas Kasipili said the NPL executive committee, chaired by Kauta, continues to overstep their responsibilities and ignore a call by members to act within the prescribed norms and rules of the Namibia Football Association (NFA) statutes.

    Kasipili said they learned there was an executive committee meeting held on 10 August in order to discuss and appeal against the Fifa normalisation committee's decision not to have relegations.

    He said some of them were deliberately excluded from this meeting which affects all members of NPL.

    “We distance ourselves from this decision. As members of the NPL Board of Governors (BoG) we were not consulted and it was done ultra vires by the executive committee,” said Kasipili.

    He said the NPL has issued a fixtures list that kick-starts the league in September, while ignoring article 3.1.1 of the NFA manual which states the premier league will consist of 16 clubs or any other number decided by the NFA executive committee.

    Kasipili added the NFA statutes clearly state the power that is vested in article 2(b), which says the NFA is responsible to organise association football competitions in all its forms at a national level by defining precisely, as required, the areas of authority conceded to the various leagues of which it is composed.

    “The NPL continues to act and disregard the laid down rules and regulations set for the smooth running of the league.

    “The executive committee has over the year acted in a manner that is not in line with good governance,” lamented Kasipili.

    NPL executive member Victor Hamunyela, who spoke as an individual, as he is not representing any club even though he is affiliated to Civics, said that Kauta is trying to run the NPL like a dictator, while referring to Uganda's deceased president Idi Amin.

    “No member or league shall amend or change the format of the promotion or relegation of clubs as contained in these regulation.

    “The NPL has no right to determine the number of teams in the league, as Kauta is unilaterally doing; that prerogative lies with NFA and not the NPL.

    “When the normalisation committee was installed at the NFA by Fifa, it was clearly announced that they shall have the same powers as the (NFA) executive committee,” he said.

    Hamunyela further quoted article 57.2 of the NPL constitution, saying that members, players, officials, match and player's agents will not take any dispute to the ordinary courts unless specifically provided for in the constitution of the NFA and Fifa regulations.

    He further highlighted that any disagreement shall be submitted to the jurisdiction of NFA, an arbitration tribunal recognised by the NFA or the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.

    Hamunyela added that the league cannot start with 13 clubs because the agreement which they have with the sponsors, namely MTC and FNB, states that there will be 16 clubs.

    He too asked Kauta to relinquish his chair, as his stay will bring the NPL into disrepute.

    Mali Ngarizemo, the owner of demoted Young African, also asked for Kauta's resignation.

    “Maybe I don't have power and money like Kauta. But this issue of Young African is not a football matter but a personal matter and decision. The man is not good for football,” he added.

    Kauta said he will not resign unless the majority of members of the NPL BoG want him to step down.

    “I do not benefit from the league at all and mind you the letter Fifa wrote about relegation was speaking about the upcoming season, not the 2018/19 season, if you read the letter correctly,” he said.

    “The letter states that Fifa endorses that there will be no promotions/relegations for the upcoming season. Which means that relegations and promotions will take place in the 2019/20 season,” Kauta argued.

    He further said they will not bridge the NPL's rules by allowing two clubs, namely Civics and Pirates, to join the fray in the coming season.

    “On what basis should we amend the NPL rules? How are they different from Chiefs Santos or Rundu Chefs,” he added.

    With regard to Civics and Pirates, he said they are not members of NPL since 26 May. “That's because they were relegated. Young African was demoted long ago. The NPL constitution approved both by Fifa and the NFA makes it clear that you cease as members as soon as you are relegated or demoted.

    “This above argument has riled Hamunyela. This very reason led to Ngarizemo losing his exco seat as well. Now that it's his turn, then I'm the culprit,” added Kauta.



    LIMBA MUPETAMI

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