LET’S LECTURE: The Politics of the New Electricity Law

first_imgOn Thursday, September 24, 2015, the House of Representatives passed the 2015 Electricity Law of Liberia, following passage of the same bill by the Liberian Senate exactly the week before. The good news is that a law has been passed essentially opening the Liberian electricity market to private investors, breaking a 40 plus year monopoly enjoyed by the state-owned electricity company, the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), and providing an avenue to solve Liberia’s two decades chronic electricity shortage.That is the good news. Brescelco, an NGO founded by me in December 2014, has achieved in 9 months of robust public advocacy what the Sirleaf Administration has failed to accomplish in 9 years, with all the might of state and donor resources behind it. Our achievement was possible because of strong public support from the Liberian people and equally strong support from the US government, which laid down a game-changing ultimatum to the Liberian government in the waning days of this marathon campaign. It essentially told GOL that it would not disburse a US$250 million grant that was to come its way upon signature in October of the country’s first Millenium Challenge Compact unless electricity reform legislation was passed. This is no rumour. Speaker Alex Tyler himself told me this in a meeting about a month ago. I of course knew about Uncle Sam’s conditionality but I acted like it was all news to me. Speaker Tyler went on to tell me that if it meant extending their session (the Legislature was supposed to have gone on recess on September 1st), they would in order to pass the necessary legislation so as not to lose the US$250 million. Thank you, Uncle Sam!The bad news is that the law passed suffers from several defects, which the Legislature was told about in a 2-page Brescelco petition addressed to Speaker Tyler following a citizens’ march on the Capitol on September 22nd. The most serious defect is that the powers of the independent regulator are placed in the hands of the Ministry of Lands, Mines & Energy. Apologists for this piece of tomfoolery justify it as a temporary measure, a two-year transition during which time capacity building and other good things will be put in place while the regulator is being “incubated” in the ministry. The problem with that logic is that the ministry does not have single person with expertise or experience in electricity regulation. Senator Albert Chie, chairman of the Senate energy committee, made that observation during the August 26th hearing on the Brescelco bill (submitted to the Senate in May) and the Administration’s bill (submitted in July) before he somersaulted just before passage of the Administration’s version on September 17th.Moreover, the ministry has no money in its budget to support the independent regulator. The funding is reportedly coming from a US$30 million grant that the European Union and Norwegian government will be making available to support the regulator over 5 years. So, the expertise for capacity building will be coming from the donors and the money for the regulator will be coming from the donors. So, exactly what value does the ministry bring to the table? The answer is “none”.President Sirleaf and her gang just want to get their hands on that donor money. If the regulator is on its own, with its own offices, staff and own identity from Day 1, as it should be, the donor money will flow directly to the regulator, with little chance for chopping. If, however, the regulator is “warehoused” in the ministry, then the donor money will necessarily flow through the ministry, and who knows what shenanigans the Administration will be able to get up to. The two-year transitional period they have asked for has a suspicious coincidence to the 2017 election calendar. The second reason why it is a bad idea for the ministry to serve as regulator, even for an interim period, is that the Liberian Government, through its ownership of LEC, will be placed in the enviable position of being referee and player at the same time. The regulator (the referee), at all times, is supposed to be independent of the government and of the electricity companies.The next 12 months will tell whether this interim arrangement will work. It is entirely possible that some private sector investors will decide that they do not want to play in a game in which the referee is also a player. I hope we skeptics will be proven wrong and investors will come. Otherwise, this whole exercise will have been a waste of time.If investors come forward and apply for licenses to produce and sell electricity and are awarded licences, then all is well and good. But if the ministry denies them, then this matter may have to be settled in court. Under our system of government, the Legislature may pass all the laws it wants. But it is left to our Judiciary to decide whether or not those laws pass constitutional muster. The Legislature has no say in that matter. Thank God for separation of powers!The writer is a certified public accountant and a businessman. He can be reached at (ha[email protected]).Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Continue Reading

Raiders’ Sharpe fills massive void left by Brown vs. Packers

first_imgALAMEDA — The last thing an offensive lineman wants to hear is his name on the loudspeaker, and it happened twice to David Sharpe in the late first and early second quarter against the Green Bay Packers.In his first start since the end of the 2017 season, Sharpe was starting at right tackle in place of Trent Brown, who couldn’t play because of a left calf strain. No pressure, really. Sharpe was not only replacing the highest paid lineman in NFL history, but a player who has played as if he …last_img read more

Continue Reading

Federer visits projects in South Africa

first_img22 February 2013Roger Federer, the man regarded by many as the greatest tennis player of all time, travelled to South Africa to visit the Hlukani and Govhu creches in Limpopo province this week. Both creches have benefited from the Roger Federer Foundation’s partnership with local non-governmental organisation (NGO) the Read Educational Trust (Read).The two organisations have been partners since 2010, and the Federer Foundation so far supports 14 creches. The aim is to increase that number to 40.“We have to have partners because we obviously can’t do this alone,” Federer told IOL’s Kevin McCullum this week. “You need the community, the partners to give the best possible opportunity for the kids.”PartnershipRead’s partnership with the Federer Foundation has so far reached 27 teachers, 953 learners and 14 schools in Limpopo province.A decision was taken late last year to increase the foundation’s contribution to Read due to the good results the partnership produced in its first two years. During 2012 and 2013, the Foundation will contribute R8.7-million.Describing his interaction with the children on his recent visit, Federer, the father of twin daughters Myla Rose and Charlene Riva, said: “I loved playing with the kids. They were between two and six years old, right in the sort of demographic of my own kids, so it felt really like home a little bit.”South African tiesFederer’s mother Lynette is South African, and that means he has close ties to the country, although his last visit was eight years ago.“I can’t believe I haven’t been here for eight years,” he told McCullum. “I had planned to come back a lot more, but the next thing you know I become this good tennis player and I have to travel all around the world, and so when you don’t have to travel, you just don’t.“I’m very happy to have made this trip again, to see some friends and family,” he added. “It was so worthwhile. I know it won’t be another eight years until I come back to South Africa.”BeneficiariesThe number of children benefiting from the Federer Foundation includes 14 000 children in South Africa, 16 000 in Zimbabwe, 10 000 in Zambia, 6 500 in Malawi, 3 200 in Ethiopia and 150 in Switzerland.Federer has won more Grand Slam singles titles than any man in history, with 17 to his name, including seven Wimbledon titles, five US Opens, four Australian Opens and one French Open.He is still one of the world’s leading players at the age of 31, which is considered “old” for a top tennis player. Yet he was good enough to win Wimbledon last year and is currently ranked second in the world behind Novak Djokovic.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Continue Reading

Bearish numbers for soybeans

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The report today was bearish for soybeans with ending stocks increasing from 330 million bushels to 365 million bushels. The U.S. soybean yield was estimated at 50.6, compared to last month at 48.9, while trade estimates were 49.2 Old crop soybean exports did increase by 60 million bushels which was at the top end of estimates. New crop soybean demand increased by 45 million bushels as exports were up 35 million bushels and crush was increased by 10 million bushels. With ending stocks up so much due to the increased production it was unable to hold the gains seen earlier in the day.U.S. soybean production was estimated at 4.201 billion bushels, up 141 million bushels from last month. The last two weeks soybean prices have moved some days on the bigger supply while other days it was increased demand. In the end today, the higher production is now apparent.U.S. soybean production is a new record. It is just a matter of how high it goes. The higher production will keep soybean prices under pressure with November CBOT soybeans having great difficulty in trading above the $10 mark in these current conditions. Earlier today it had reached $9.90. At 12:30 p.m. they were $9.62.Corn production was lowered as expected. The U.S. corn yield was 174.4 bushels per acre while production was 15.093 billion bushels. Production was lowered 60 million bushels. Both yield and production were above trade expectations.Prior to the report corn was down 1 cent, soybeans were up 7 cents, and wheat at up 2 cents. At 12:30 pm corn was down 3 cents, soybeans down 18 cents, and wheat was up 3 cents.Today’s USDA monthly supply and demand report will be closely watched to see two important numbers in the tables for corn and soybeans. First, will be the corn yield. Traders are expecting a slight decline from last month’s U.S. yield at 175.1 bushels per acres. The average trade estimate put the corn yield at 173.4. Second, will be how much USDA increases soybean demand. In addition, the soybean yield is expected to increase. While many are suggesting the U.S. soybean yield to eventually be above 50 bushels per acre, the trade expects that number to be a stair step process, taking several months to reach that level.The biggest number traders will be watching should be in soybeans and the export demand. Old crop exports are expected to increase 40 to 60 million bushels.  If USDA increases the yield from last month’s 48.9 bushels to the trade estimates of 49.2 bushels and exports grow 40-60 million bushels, then ending stocks do not increase.  Last month USDA put the new crop soybean ending stocks at 330 million bushels. The general trend of thought the past month has been for the corn yield to come down while the soybean yield will go up. Early corn harvest reports across Ohio and the Midwest indicates corn yields are disappointing and below previous expectations.  Many in Ohio will have above average corn yields but not record breaking. The U.S. Gulf soybean basis for soybeans is at a big inverse for nearby barges due in part to tight U.S. stocks, record September export demand, as well as soybean harvest starting later than expected. The vessel lineup at the Gulf for September is largely for soybean boats. With the heavy rains last month in Louisiana, harvest has been delayed across much of the southeast region of the U.S.Keep in mind that grain prices are constantly looking at fundamentals. Things like crop size, yields, and exports go a long way to determine prices. But other outside factors also come into the equation. The U.S. dollar, crude oil, and interest rates are some of those factors.  Permeating throughout the financial markets almost constantly are interest rates. Last week on Friday U.S. stocks took a big hit, closing down 394 points. A big factor for the decline suggested U.S. interest rates could be increasing during this months Fed meeting on September 20 and 21. As of today the likelihood of seeing an interest rate increase is at 21%.Don’t be surprised to see a wide price range for soybeans after the report is released. It could easily be 15-25 cents within the first 10 minutes of the report. The computers often are programmed to make buys or sells based upon the headlines. For example, one number in the soybean table could be negative or bearish while another number is positive or bullish. Those types of headlines could see the computers both buying and selling in a short period of time. The last thing producers want to see is a bullish report and then a lower close. That suggests the bullish news is no longer bullish.Corn is still in a trading range. December corn is at $3.38, November soybeans at $9.62, and December wheat at $4.07. Soybeans appear to have the highs in near term unless weather problems delay harvest or export demand increases even more.last_img read more

Continue Reading

Social Enterprise Is Not Living Up To Its Promise

first_imgRelated Posts Tags:#enterprise IT#Salesforce#social brian proffitt Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Nowcenter_img IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of… If you’re not hearing a lot about social enterprise these days, it may be because no one can figure out what the hell social enterprise is.On paper, the concept sounds reasonable, even important: take popular social media tools (microblogs, wikis, blogs, etc.) and use them for internal collaboration, project management and overall feel-good business practices.Social Entreprise vs. Business As UsualBut in practice, a lot of companies have found that actually using this stuff is not a magic wand to bring forth happiness and productivity to their organization. The reason? Social media tools in the enterprise often work counter to the internal communications practices that have long been ingrained in companies.For instance, in theory it might seem like a good idea to coordinate creative activities on social platforms. But in reality, there’s always going to be the managerial hold-out who won’t accept a project as actually moving forward unless there’s a meeting or memos – the very things social enterprise practices are trying to eliminate. And there could be a legitimate need for this, too: If not done properly, social enterprise software can fail at making sure someone deals with all the boring minutia, like documentation for regulatory purposes, which could be a huge no-no.Then there’s the issue of figuring when and for what social enterprise should be used? In too many cases, employees may get confused over when and how they’re supposed to turn to the social media platform in their day-to-day jobs. And if only some workers engage with the platform, its utility is greatly reduced. You Can’t Force Workers To Be SocialToo often, enterprises overlook the importance of organic adoption of social media. You can’t just flick a switch and turn on a social network – and an email from the CEO won’t work either. Instructions to go social from the IT department are even more likely to ignored. The appeal of these platforms lies in the very fact that they grow and evolve network connections at their own pace – as users find them helpful and engaging. Social media tools do make it easier to establish those connections, but it’s not something you can force.That’s why, when I read news like Salesforce may be moving away from its social enterprise channel and focusing more on cloud computing, I’m not surprised.ZDNet writer Dan Dignan points out other reasons that help explain why social enterprise seems to be failing. My personal favorite? That social enterprise is like a cleverly disguised version of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). And that dog just won’t hunt. “ERP software changed companies fundamentally, but also led to spectacular IT disasters largely due to people, process and culture. Social with business process integration won’t work.”So does that mean the entire concept of social enterprise is doomed?Not necessarily. The gigant-o, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink enterprise social platforms imposed from the top are indeed in trouble. But targeted tools that companies and their employees pick and choose to bring social techniques to specific projects and use cases may still find success. But that’s still a much-reduced vision of the social enterprise’s original promise Image courtesy of Shutterstock.last_img read more

Continue Reading

Feds push back following opposition to federal carbon tax

first_imgOTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – With Ontario and Alberta ramping up their efforts to oppose the federal carbon tax, the Trudeau government is pushing back.Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is taking aim at her opponents and lashing out at Ontario Premier Doug Ford for launching new ads against the carbon tax.“Literally having a misleading advertising campaign using taxpayer dollars, not telling people the cost of climate change that we are all paying right now or the money that’s going back,” she adds.RELATED: Alberta premier says provincial carbon tax will die May 30McKenna says Conservatives want to take the country back in time instead of supporting a clean economy.“You have conservative politicians who want to take us back in time, they don’t take climate change seriously, they are using taxpayer money to run misinformation campaigns,” McKenna adds. “You got Andrew Scheer developing a climate plan with oil lobbyists behind closed doors.”She adds it’s disappointing Alberta Premier Jason Kenney plans to scrap his provincial carbon tax by may 30, forcing the feds to impose one.RELATED: NDP unveils parts of climate plan in motion as the Green Party edges closerMcKenna won’t speculate on how quickly the Trudeau government would act but says Albertans will end up getting more money in their pockets thanks to the rebate.These latest jabs are thrown as a new Abacus poll shows 78 per cent of Canadians believe a climate change plan must or should include a price in pollution.last_img read more

Continue Reading

Juventus midfielder welcomes Ronaldo

first_imgAs report that Cristiano Ronaldo has said “yes” to a switch to Juventus thickens, one of  Juve’s midfielders Blaise Matuidi says “it would be nice to have one of the best players in the world” join their club.The report indicated that the Portuguese superstar has agreed to move to Juventus this summer, in a €100m deal. There are also speculative reports claiming that CR7 is being offered a €30m per season contract, four times what current top earner Gonzalo Higuain earns as well as the report that Adidas could help fund the move.However, Ronaldo signed a ‘lifetime’ deal with Nike just two years ago and is said to be worth $1bn, and will continue even after he retires.LeBron James and Michael Jordan, are the first footballers to land such deal, but Ronaldo has made them the third player to agree to such huge partnership,Franck Ribery, FiorentinaFiorentina owner: “Ribery played better than Ronaldo!” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Fiorentina owner Rocco Commisso was left gushing over Franck Ribery’s performance against Juventus, which he rates above that of even Cristiano Ronaldo’s.Matuidi was asked about Ronaldo’s move to Juventus in a Press conference at France’s training camp and he said:“We’re at the World Cup,” Matuidi pointed out.“Yes, I’ve heard the talk but for now it’s just a rumour. I won’t lie, it would be nice to have one of the best players in the world at Juventus. It would be fantastic for the club and we Juventus players.“But I’m with France now and there are other things to think about.”last_img read more

Continue Reading

Fonseca admits Shakhtar deserved 60 thrashing to Man City

first_imgShakhtar Donetsk boss Paulo Fonseca refused to blame the referee for their devasting 6-0 loss to Manchester City in the Champions LeagueThe Premier League champions were awarded a bizarre penalty after Raheem Sterling kicked the turf and fell to the ground inside the box.Referee Viktor Kassai then awarded City the spot-kick with Gabriel Jesus slotting it home for the first goal of his hat-trick and the club’s second of the game.Sterling would later get on the scoresheet himself along with David Silva and Riyad Mahrez to leave Shakhtar bottom of Group F.“It’s difficult to discuss that after such a result, but, of course, the penalty was ridiculous,” said Foncesa on the club website.“I think everyone saw it … I am by no means saying that we lost because of that. However, of course, that spot-kick was ridiculous for everyone.”Premier LeaguePremier League Betting: Match-day 5 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Going into the Premier League’s match-day five with a gap already beginning to form at the top of the league. We will take a…“In fact, you don’t even need to talk a lot and make a drama out of that. City are just the team of an entirely different level.“They fully deserved this victory, with this kind of score. Meanwhile, we were neither far nor close to being ourselves.”Shakhtar are four points adrift of second-placed Lyon in Group F with just two games remaining.“We’ve still got every chance of securing the second spot,” added Fonseca.“Clearly, it will be very difficult, but mathematically possible. It just remains to win two games, at the same time realising that it will be tough. Let’s see if we can be better in boxing than in football.”Shakhtar will next face Hoffenheim in Group F on November 27.last_img read more

Continue Reading

Guardiola not bothered by congested fixture list

first_imgPep Guardiola has brushed aside suggestions the Premier League schedule will have an impact on the title race between Liverpool and Manchester City.City are currently four points behind League leaders Liverpool but have a chance to heap the pressure on them in their next two matches.The Citizens go to Newcastle United on Tuesday with Liverpool hosting Leicester City the following day, and the Reds’ subsequent game at West Ham next Monday comes 24 hours after Guardiola’s men welcome Arsenal to the Etihad Stadium.Guardiola, however, is adamant the fixture list won’t influence the course of the title run-in.“In both situations, playing before or after, we have to win the games or it’s over,” he told reporters.“Every game is a final, cups are also a final, Burnley [on Saturday in the FA Cup fourth round] was a final. What should we do playing after? We have to win. Before? We have to win. Simple.“All the teams want to fight for the title and feel the pressure. We have it and we feel it, we have to handle it. So many, many points to play [for] – many, many games – a lot of games in our legs and minds, change competitions day by day.jose mourinhoMourinho knows why City and Liverpool are so far ahead George Patchias – September 13, 2019 Jose Mourinho knows why Manchester City and Liverpool are so far ahead of everyone else in the Premier League.In an interview with the Telegraph,…“Believe me we don’t think about that, don’t get distracted from what we have to do. Same against Burnley, imagine what Newcastle will do in the game and focus on what we have to do. That’s the only way to be consistent and try to win every game.”Guardiola equally spoke about the opposition’s approach knowing fully well they are renowned for their defensive approach.“Newcastle play quite similar to Burnley, the setup will be quite similar,” he said. “Of course every team is different with the setup and in our experience with Newcastle in the last two seasons against my colleague it’s always tough – 0-1 there, 3-1 here – so it was tight.“It will happen tomorrow as they defend really well but also at the same time I feel we attack better against this type of defence. We control their counter-attacks better and we concede a few set pieces and we attack more fluently.”Guardiola says it doesn’t matter if City play before or after Liverpool – they just have to win #MCFC pic.twitter.com/M0o3cFZUHI— Andy Hampson (@andyhampson) January 28, 2019last_img read more

Continue Reading