Mastermind and KRA Feud Over Tobacco Imports

Cigarettes+XXX+smokingWhile many nations are mulling over health legislation to curb tobacco use, it would seem the Kenyan authorities have opted for a conventional ‘delay-and-stall’ approach. From a trade facilitation perspective it is a disaster, but no doubt the ‘health propeller heads’ will be happy.

The Star (Kenya) reports that Mastermind Tobacco Kenya has accused the Kenya Revenue Authority of detaining its vehicles bringing in unprocessed tobacco from the Democratic Republic of Congo at the Malaba border for the last one month.

MTK Malaba liaison officer Robert Kiru said three trucks for its processing plant in Nairobi had been detained at the border since August 30 (2013) with no explanation coming from KRA.

“KRA Malaba station manager Philip Chirchir has not given concrete reasons why the trucks are held and neither have we been invoiced for any payment. Our three other trucks are still parked at Malaba Uganda with storage charges now totalling Sh300,000,” Kiru said. Addressing journalists at Malaba border Kiru dismissed as false claims by KRA that no bond had been paid on the impounded trucks. He however failed to show copies of the bond to prove payment.

MTK Corporate Affairs manager Josh Kirimania said he had talked to KRA top officers in Nairobi and wondered why none of them has ordered their officers in Malaba to release the trucks. “KRA have no tangible reasons to hold our trucks in Malaba. This is killing our business since we rely on imports from DRC and Uganda to sustain our business,” he said. Kirimania said KRA was ‘blocking’ their trade by continuously detaining their trucks at the Malaba border and called for an end to the practice. Chirchir could not be reached for comment as he was said to be in a security meeting. Source: The Star (Kenya)

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Institute of Logistics and Supply Chain Management enters Training Arena

logisticsThe Institute of Logistics and Supply Chain Management (ILSCM), the latest player in the training arena, has been launched. The institute aims to partner with industry and improve the general calibre of those pursuing careers in logistics and supply chain related disciplines.

ILSCM is set to provide job-specific academic programmes as well as face-to-face short learning programmes. Qualifications will range from a National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 2 to an NQF Level 7. The Uniprep programme offers students the opportunity to bridge the gap between the further education level and the higher education level.

The training organisation states that very few institutions offer qualifications in the logistics and supply chain field – especially through distance learning education, which is becoming all the more popular as it provides flexibility for those who are employed on a full-time basis. Visit their website: www.ilscm.co.za

Joint Statement on Trade Facilitation Assistance

imfI can’t quite make up my mind on the following multilateral institution statement.  Is this a ‘call to action’ or a ‘call of desparation’? Clearly no amount of money and consultants will make this happen. Me thinks its more to do with the ‘National’ versus ‘Regional’ dilemma, and, the political will of sovereign governments to engage or trust the globalisation agenda. And…… time is running out!

These multilateral institutions issued the following joint statement today at the Annual meetings of the World Bank and IMF: African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, Inter, American Development Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank Group

“The Ninth WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia on 3-6 December 2013 offers an opportunity to conclude a WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement that will deliver tangible economic benefits for developing and least-developed countries. We urge WTO Members to seize this opportunity.

“At our meetings here in Washington we had the opportunity to discuss preparations for the Bali Ministerial meeting. We are encouraged by the renewed engagement by WTO members on trade facilitation and other issues of interest to developing countries, including least-developed countries.

“We would like to reiterate our strong collective commitment to support trade facilitation. A growing body of research points to the positive development impact of trade facilitation. Tackling inefficiency in clearing goods and shortening delays can reduce the cost of getting goods to market with positive effects on competitiveness and consumer welfare.

“Our institutions are engaged in a broad range of trade-related infrastructure projects. Since 2008, we have disbursed USD 22 billion in concessional support for economic infrastructure and building productive capacity in developing countries. With strong evidence that trade facilitation reforms help maximize the economic impact of our trade-related infrastructure assistance, our support to trade facilitation programs has more than doubled since 2008.

“A WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement would add significant momentum to efforts to increase developing country competitiveness, and provide a multilateral framework to shape and guide trade facilitation efforts taking place at the regional and national level. In July 2013, together with more than 20 other organizations and governments, we stated our strong commitment to support developing countries, and in particular least-developed countries, in the full and effective implementation of a WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.

“We recognize that concerns persist in the negotiations about access to and coherence of assistance. We will work with the WTO and its members to help ensure that the new commitments that a trade facilitation agreement would bring are supported. We will also work to ensure that our support for the implementation of commitments is coordinated with our support for complementary infrastructure development.

“To implement a WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, we recognize we will need to discuss further how to ensure a coordinated and effective response to requests for support from developing countries, and in particular least-developed countries.” Source: International Monetary Fund

Pravin Gordhan named Finance Minister of the Year

Pravin Gordhan - Finance Minister of the Year 2013 (Mail & Guardian)

Pravin Gordhan – Finance Minister of the Year 2013 (Mail & Guardian)

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan (former chairperson of the World Customs Organisation) has been named the Finance Minister of the Year for 2013 in sub-Saharan Africa by the Emerging Markets website, the finance ministry said on Sunday.

The website’s citation stated that Gordhan, appointed in 2009 at the height of the economic crisis, had been praised by analysts, the ministry said in a statement.

This was because South Africa especially was more exposed than other emerging markets to dangers stemming from the eventual pullback of quantitative easing by the US’s Federal Reserve.

Emerging Markets provides news, analysis and commentary on economic policy, international economics and global financial markets, with a special focus on emerging markets.

In his acceptance speech in Washington DC, where he has been attending the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Gordhan thanked Emerging Markets for its recognition of South Africa and its economic team.

‘We are terrible managers’
“Minister Gordhan was critical of the sudden change in the narrative about emerging markets, which up until the second quarter of this year were praised for managing their economies very well,” the ministry said.

“[Emerging markets contributed] more than 50% to global economic growth and for lifting large numbers of people above the poverty line.”

Gordhan said: “Three months later, we are apparently fragile and we are terrible managers of our economies. We the emerging markets are here to stay.

“We live in an interconnected world, and more importantly, we live in an interdependent world. There is no decoupling from you, the advanced economies, and there is no decoupling from us, the emerging markets.” Source: Mail & Guardian/Sapa