Items filtered by date: Monday, 17 September 2018

Four Eskom power plants have fewer than 10 days of coal, with the power utility planning on trucking and railing supplies from a facility in the Limpopo province to the stations in Mpumalanga that’s about 400 kilometers away.

The constraints at the plants in Mpumalanga are mainly because the company that supplies them is under business rescue, Khulu Phasiwe, a spokesperson for Eskom told SAFm radio Monday. The plants are supplied by mines owned by Tegeta Exploration and Resources, a company linked the Gupta family. 

Eskom plans to transport coal from its delayed Medupi power plant in Limpopo to the facilities in Mpumalanga, and plans to build an alternative, dirt road to move the fuel so as not to compromise existing freeways, Phasiwe said. The utility is also in talks with state rail company Transnet to move the coal by train.

Oakbay said in August that it agreed to sell Tegeta for R2.97bn to Swiss company Charles King SA. The disposal was expected to be concluded in 12 months, Oakbay said at the time.

 

Bloomberg News

Published in Engineering

Following $10.13 billion allegations of illegal repatriation of funds and tax evasion against MTN Nigeria, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Department of State Services (DSS) and other relevant security agencies to probe the operations of the company.

In a statement in Abuja on Sunday, the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said the Federal Government should spare no effort in recovering the money as anything to the contrary would send wrong signals to other corporate organisations it had punished for lesser tax infractions.

Recall that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had alleged that MTN repatriated $8.13 billion using irregular certificates of capital importation (CCIs), while the Federal Government through the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, demanded for the payment of $2 billion in tax arrears.

According to Wabba, the allegations have vindicated the NLC as it had earlier highlighted alleged labour laws, local content law and security breaches by the telecommunications company.

The statement quoted the NLC President as saying, “We at the NLC hereby urge MTN Nigeria to comply without further delay with the directive of the Federal Government to pay $2bn in tax arrears as well as the $8.13bn it was said to have illegally repatriated to South Africa over which four indigenous banks have been fined.

“Coupled with the demand that MTN should obey our national laws by allowing unionisation, we urge critical government agencies such as the Nigerian Communication Commission, the EFCC, the Department of State Services, Nigeria Immigration Service and the CBN to closely look into the operations of the company, especially in the light of the Thabo Mbeki report.

“On our part, we are, however, not surprised by the unethical conduct of MTN. They are not only engaged in the exploitation of Nigerian workers and turning them into slaves, but have extended their frontiers to unwholesome economic exploitation and sabotage.”

The NLC also called on the government to use the opportunity to send appropriate message to everyone, especially corporate organisations that often paid taxes in the breach.

Published in Telecoms
FCMB Bank (UK) Limited, an independently incorporated subsidiary of First City Monument Bank Limited (which is a member of FCMB Group Plc), has introduced its Personal and Business banking proposition in London, United Kingdom and Lagos, Nigeria at an impressive ceremony attended by the top echelon of the business community within and from outside the country.
 
The development follows the latest variation of permission obtained by the United Kingdom-based Bank to extend its services to include retail (investments) for individuals and business enterprises. This is in addition to the existing wholesale deposit taking activities, foreign exchange, treasury, corporate banking and trade finance offerings to corporate and institutional customers of FCMB Bank (UK) Limited.
 
The variation of permission was granted by the Prudential Regulation Authority, the financial services regulatory body of the United Kingdom, and it became effective on June 8, 2018.
 
The Personal and Business banking proposition of FCMB Bank (UK) Limited is anchored on the Bank’s London Leverage and Africa Awareness. This will enable the financial institution deliver its promise of being the Corporate and Private Bank for African-oriented entrepreneurs, investors and professionals across all their banking needs.
 
The Group Chief Executive of FCMB Group Plc, Mr. Ladi Balogun, explained at the ceremony that the launch of FCMB Bank (UK) Limited’s personal and business banking proposition is as much a statement of substance as it is one of intent. According to him, “our successful UK platform has proven to be of great importance to the Nigeria stockbroking and international trade finance activities of FCMB Group. Leveraging our deep networks in Africa’s biggest economy, the importance of a London presence to many of our Personal and Business banking customers, and technological innovation, we welcome this opportunity to meaningfully serve more of our customers and grow the value of our UK franchise”.
 
Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer of FCMB Bank (UK) Limited, Mr. James Benoit, said, “with the extension of its services, the Bank is now able to receive deposits from both customer segments as well as provide them bank loans to enable them meet their financing needs. The deposit products on offer include current, notice savings and fixed deposit accounts at competitive rates; while its lending products include Buy-to-Let Mortgage Loans enabling target customers to acquire a piece of London and purchase property to include in their investment portfolios.’’.
 
He added that the Bank will be expanding its premises and entering into partnerships with Fintech providers to open up service options to its clients and enhance their overall banking experience.
 
Dignitaries at the launch commended the Board and Management of FCMB Group Plc for going the extra mile in ensuring the institution has a very strong presence in the United Kingdom through FCMB Bank (UK) Limited, which will go a long way to boost individual and business transactions between Nigeria and the United Kingdom, thereby enhancing customer experience.
 
Operating in the City of London, FCMB Bank (UK) Limited began its operations as a BIPRU €50k investment firm in September 2009 with CSL Stockbrokers (another subsidiary of FCMB Group Plc), providing the services of “receiving and transmitting” institutional client orders for Nigerian listed securities. Subsequent to the variation of its permission on September 27, 2013, the Bank commenced wholesale deposit taking activities across various segments.
 
 
Daily Post
Published in Bank & Finance

App-based e-hailing group Uber is calling on the Department of Transport to hold off implementing new proposed amendments to the National Land Transport Act.

According to the group, while it supports the government’s desires to update its transport laws to recognise modern services like e-hailing and ride-sharing, there are a few clauses which reference these technologies specifically, and have raised some concerns.

Chief among these is the requirement for e-hailing services to deny access to their system for any driver who doesn’t have the necessary operating licence.

Failure to do this can result in the ride-sharing company having to pay a fine of up to $6672 (R100000). Drivers are also subject to the fine, and also a potential prison sentence of two years.

However, Uber noted that in the cities where it operates in South Africa, drivers are facing massive delays in getting their permits from local authorities, or are simply not able to do so.

“Therefore, Uber proposes that the implementation of this clause, as well as any sanctions against drivers themselves, are delayed until the current challenges being experienced by Public Transport operators applying for operating licenses are resolved,” it said.

“The permit-issuing systems and processes of many of South Africa’s major municipalities are flawed and this has resulted in massive application backlogs and delays of up to 18 months in the issuing of operating licences,” Alon Lits, general manager for Uber in Sub-Saharan Africa said.

The group claims that some municipalities have even stopped issuing permits altogether, showing that the system simply does not work as it should.

As an alternative, the group suggested that the transport minister includes a clause in the amendments that allows drivers to operate legally if they have submitted fully compliant applications and are in possession of receipts, but where the operating licence has not yet been issued by the municipality.

“The idea of a receipt being substitutable for a licence in such circumstances already exists – with licence renewals, drivers who have submitted renewal applications are allowed to operate on the basis of their receipts,” it said.

Other issues

Uber also highlighted two other clauses that have been proposed for inclusion in the NLTA amendments that should be reconsidered.

The first of these is a requirement that all e-hailing vehicles involved in transporting passengers will need to have special markings to identify them. This was a problem because of the targeted violence towards Uber drivers by other metred-taxi operators, the group said.

“Uber drivers are still experiencing very high levels of intimidation and even violence from some other transport industry participants and we are concerned that insisting on identification markings on vehicles could result in an increase in these targeted attacks,” Lits said.

“We are requesting that the Transport Ministry considers delaying this particular provision until such time as the violence and intimidation cease.”

Uber has also asked the ministry to reconsider the power granted to licencing authorities to define the locations or zones in which e-hailing vehicles are allowed to operate.

“This provision does not take into consideration the changes in the ways in which both metered taxis and e-hailing vehicles operate today; the legislation needs to recognise and reflect these changes rather than limiting the ability of drivers to pursue fare opportunities that are closest to their immediate location, wherever that may be,” the group said

Impact

Uber said it currently has over 12,000 active drivers in South Africa, where these drivers are often the breadwinners for their families.

“Therefore, the economic opportunity Uber provides has a direct impact on thousands of people.

“We estimate that if the backlog and delays around the current system for issuing operating licenses are not resolved before this clause comes into effect, there would be a loss of approximately 9,000 direct job opportunities and consequent negative impact on 27,000 people whose livelihoods depend on the e-hailing industry.”

 

Source: Business Tech

Published in Travel & Tourism

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