November 2008


 

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Officials from the International Finance Corporation will soon be in the country to finalise financing agreements for the construction of the Kafue Gorge Lower power project.

Commerce Minister Felix Mutati said the construction of the power station will cost one $1 billion.

He also disclosed that the African Development bank and another Chinese bank will give Zambia over $28 million to assist Zambian businesses expand.

He said this in Lusaka when he officiated at the Zambia Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry Annual General Meeting.

Mr. Mutati also said the government will consider possibilities of reducing the International Gateway fee to make it affordable for the mobile phone service providers.

Although the International Gateway has been liberalised, the cost of using it, is pegged at $12 million which is considered to be out of reach for telecommunication providers.

Mr. Mutati also urged the business community to focus on opportunities that the global financial crisis presents rather than looking at the negative impact.

He said every crisis presents an opportunity which the private sector should be exploiting.

Copyrights © 2008 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom. 

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Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane says Zambia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will slow down next year compared to earlier estimates because of the global economic crisis.

Dr. Musokotwane said this is on account of the unexpected slow down in the mining and toursim sectors following the global crunch.

He said this when he issued a ministerial statement in Parliament Friday on the impact of the Global financial crisis on the Zambian economy.

The minister has also warned that low copper prices pose a significant threat to economic growth achieved over the last five years.

The minister however said Government has already initiated dialogue with mining companies to assess how best the impact of the crisis can be mitigated.

He said if the low copper prices continue future investments in copper mining may decline.

Dr. Musokotwane however said the mining sector is still expected to grow next year because production in new mines will start.

Meawhile Dr. Musokotwane said there is a possibility that the financial crisis may affect the 2009 national budget.

 

Meanwhile, the National Airports Corporation plans to spend K5 billion to expand facilities at Livingstone International Airport.

Airport Service Director, Prince Chitimbwe says this will be done to expand facilities at the airport which has seen an increase in flights.

He further disclosed that Lusaka International Airport will also be given a facelift but did not say how much the project will cost.

The facelift will include improving immigration facilities and rehabilitating of shops in the terminal.

He said the corporation can now afford to embark on such projects because the financial position is steadily improving.

Copyrights © 2008 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom. 

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.

Copyrights © 2008 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc.

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The space shuttle Endeavour has returned to Earth after an eventful mission to repair parts of the International Space Station (ISS).

The shuttle’s landing site was switched from Florida to Edwards Air Force Base in California due to bad weather.

The shuttle touched down safely at around 1325 local time (2125GMT).

The mission had been extended by a day because Nasa wanted the shuttle’s crew to make repairs to a machine which makes drinking water from urine.

Lost tool bag

The shuttle, with a crew of seven, was piloted by Commander Christopher Ferguson.

“Welcome back. That was a great way to finish a fantastic flight,” Mission Control radioed.

“And we’re happy to be here in California,” Commander Ferguson replied.

Earlier on Sunday a Russian space vessel docked with the ISS, delivering food, clothes and Christmas presents.Russian flight engineer Yury Lonchakov remotely guided the Progress spaceship to a docking port after an automated system failed.

Endeavour’s mission saw the shuttle and its crew spend 16 days in space.

 

The equipment to provide drinking water from astronauts’ urine had failed several times since it was delivered two week ago.

Astronauts also took part in four spacewalks to repair a mechanism meant to keep the station’s solar panels pointed towards the sun.

The work was slower than expected because astronaut Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper lost her tool bag during the first spacewalk.

Inside the station, ISS commander Mike Fincke supervised work on the malfunctioning water regeneration system which distils, filters, ionises and oxidises wastewater – including urine – into fresh water.

 

Earlier, the system’s centrifuge – needed to separate solid particles from liquid as part of the distillation process – became unbalanced as it spun and shut down before the intended four-hour cycle was complete.

Nasa needs the new system operating before it can expand the station’s crew from three to six people, which is currently scheduled for May 2009.

The extended mission meant Endeavour’s crew celebrated Thanksgiving in space and did not leave the station until Friday.

Endeavour’s mission is the fourth and final orbiter mission of 2008.

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The bullet pockmarks on the wall were crudely patched, and the regular customers were waiting as Leopold’s shutters were rolled up, amid a cheering crowd, for the first time since terrorists opened fire here last week, killing 10 people.

“We need to prove to terrorists that we’ve won and they’ve lost,” says Ferhan Farzad Jehani, the defiant owner of Leopold’s – a favorite among locals and foreign backpackers alike, especially after it got several mentions in “Shantaram,” a popular novel loosely based on the life of author Gregory Roberts.

Leopold’s, located in a teeming market in the heart of Mumbai (Bombay), has been a daily stop for a middle-aged man named Lawrence, who is not comfortable giving out his last name. He arrived at the cafe just minutes after the shootout Wednesday.

“Backpackers come here with dog-eared copies of ‘Shantaram,’ ” says Lawrence. “The attack was meant to shoo them away. But I hope and pray that won’t happen.”

On Sunday, Lawrence returned to Leopold’s, where he ordered a steaming hot chelo kabab, a Persian delicacy made of mutton fillets, served with rice.

 

Although more were killed in the 1993 serial bombings that hit India, the terror attack last week is being touted as “India’s 9/11.”

The style and magnitude of the attack is unprecedented, many say. Mumbai has earlier endured bombings on commuter trains and public places, but this is perhaps the first time that gun-wielding men have stormed streets and posh hotels, indiscriminately opening fire on innocent civilians.

“This is the worst terror attack in India,” says Ram Puniyani, the secretary of the All India Secular Forum, a nongovernmental organization. “There’s widespread shock, but the city is known to bounce back.”

“‘Spirit of Mumbai’ is a used-and-abused phrase,” says real estate agent Lucky Handa. “It’s like lives come cheap in India. There’s attack after attack, and it doesn’t stop.”

Mr. Handa’s mother, Aruna Handa, was trapped for 36 hours on the 19th floor of the Taj Mahal Hotel. One of the 10 places struck by terrorists, the hotel was under siege for nearly 60 hours, before commandos gunned down all terrorists in the building Saturday morning.

Mrs. Handa emerged unscathed after being rescued by commandos, but the nightmarish incident has affected her, she says.

Some parts of this city, still shell-shocked, came to a grinding halt for a few hours on Friday afternoon as a rumor about another shootout unexpectedly rent the air. Shopkeepers closed their doors, cars turned back – jamming traffic – and fear prevailed on the streets.

Calm returned an hour later when, over loudspeakers, the police declared it was a false alarm.

There’s also some anger at India’s ruling political class over their perceived shortcomings in dealing with the repeated terror attacks in Indian cities.

In its dealings with terrorism, says Mr. Puniyani, India often harasses innocent civilians, and other times the response is just too soft.

“Pakistan’s ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence] chief has audaciously refused to come to India to help with the investigation,” says Mr. Handa. “What the heck is India doing about it? Nothing.”

On Saturday evening, after the siege at the Taj had ended, a bevy of angry protesters gathered outside the hotel. One placard held by one of the protesters read:

“Mr. Terrorist: I am alive. What more can you do?

Mr. Politician: I am alive despite you.”

Copyright © 2008 The Christian Science Monitor. All rights reserved.

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By Karamjit Kaur

SINGAPORE has inked two separate open air agreements with Romania and Zambia.The deal with the first allows Singapore carriers to operate an unlimited number of passenger and cargo flights between Singapore and points in Romania, as well as beyond the country to any other city in the world.

The same privileges are given to Romania-registered carriers.

The Singapore-Zambia open skies deal similarly allows both passenger and cargo carriers of Singapore and Zambia to operate any number of flights between and beyond both countries to any other city worldwide.

It is Singapore’s first such air deal with an African country, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said on Friday.

Both pacts were inked during the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Air Services Negotiation Conference which was held in Dubai.

The inaugural event which ended on Friday was part of ICAO’s effort to implement a ‘one-stop shop’ platform to improve the efficiency of the bilateral negotiation process through a central meeting place where countries can conduct several bilateral air services consultations with one another.

CAAS director-general Lim Kim Choon said this has provided ‘a convenient platform to facilitate countries like Singapore in pursuing for the liberalisation of air services.’

Liberalisation provides carriers of the respective countries with full flexibility to respond quickly to market opportunities, as and when they arise, he said.

Mr Lim noted that the conclusion of the two agreements is also ‘a clear reflection of the warm bilateral ties that Singapore enjoys with Zambia and Romania, as well as our respective countries’ firm commitment to promote liberalisation in the aviation industry.’

To date Singapore has concluded open skies agreements with more than 30 countries. Copyright © 2007 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.

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APA-Abuja (Nigera) The global financial crisis has affected Zambian economy to the extent that the price of copper has come down to $3,300 from $8,000 per tonne, Zambian President Rupiah Bwezani Banda told journalists in Abuja on Thursday.

Speaking at a joint press conference with President Yar’Adua, Banda said his government intends to “widen the base of other industries and commodities”.

Banda, who was on his first trip outside Zambia since he was elected in October, called for the strengthening of developmental ties between his country and Nigeria to cushion the effect of the global financial crisis.

“We believe Nigeria is in the position to assist us. You have got the educated manpower, experience over the years for some of the crops we want to introduce in our country as staple foods,” he said.

He said his country was proud that Nigerians have invested in Zambia.

“We have for the first time truly an African bank from Nigeria – Access Bank — and two more banks will be coming to our country from Nigeria,” he said.

He called on Nigeria\’s business to come to Zambia to take advantage of the facilities and opportunities that exist in the industrial, manufacturing and financial sector of his country and to help in producing such crops as cassava, cocoa and palm oil for which Nigeria is “well known as specialist in that field.”

President Yar’Adua said he had discussed with the Zambian leader issues of a bilateral nature, African issues, situation in Zimbabwe and need for Nigeria and Zambia to convene a bilateral commission and to sign the various agreements that will enhance their bilateral relations.

African Press Agency – Copyright upon prior authorization

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THE Government has launched the national Public Private Partnership (PPP) policy that will accelerate development, bring about modern infrastructural development and provide more readily accessible services.

Speaking during the launch at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka yesterday, President Rupiah Banda said the PPPs would also strengthen the private sector’s participation in economic development.

The PPP is a new approach under which Government institutions would partner with the private sector in the procurement of works and services for the benefit of the general public.

The policy would facilitate an inclusive approach to the development process of Zambia in which all stakeholders would participate.

In a speech read on his behalf, by Vice-President George Kunda, Mr Banda directed Minister of Finance and National Planning Situmbeko Musokotwane to drive the process and ensure that the PPP unit was set up

He said he expected that the necessary legal and institutional arrangements would be finalised as soon as possible in order to ensure that the rewards of the programme were realised.

Mr Banda urged all Government institutions to identify projects or areas, in which PPPs could be pioneered so that they could be processed.

Mr Banda said the Government was committed to pursuing the reform process aggressively in order to achieve economic growth and create wealth for the people in a shortest possible time.

He said the PPPs would have a tremendous positive impact on the way business was conducted in Zambia.

He said Zambia’s strategic location on the continent made it possible for the country to be a hub for various regional infrastructure links such as transport, energy and telecommunications.

Mr Banda urged the Government ministries and agencies to immediately explore PPP opportunities for implementation in their areas and to market them to potential investors.

Mr Banda said the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) should make efforts to collaborate with the PPP unit in promoting various projects.

He challenged the private sector to come forward with their money and invest in infrastructure development sector.

“You (the private sector) know as well as I do that by bringing you in, we aim and hope to enhance efficiency, productivity and increased value for money,” he said.

Mr Banda said dialogue between the public and private sectors should continue and improve as they continued to discover common ground and areas of collaboration.

Dr Musokotwane said he accepted the responsibility of ensuring that PPPs were undertaken in a professional and effective manner.

Dr Musokotwane said in a speech read on his behalf by Finance and National Planning Deputy Minister, Chileshe Kapwepwe that the ministry would proceed with relevant measures for the establishment of a PPP unit to manage the process.

He said PPPs had great potential for increasing investment flows in the country despite the dark shadow cast by the global financial crisis.

Works and Supply Minister Mike Mulongoti said the PPP policy was formulated to confirm the Government’s commitment to private sector involvement in the delivery of infrastructure and related services.

Mr Mulongoti said the PPP would facilitate a platform for formal arrangements between the public and private sectors to conduct business in an equitable manner.

Mr Mulongoti said the PPP policy was formulated in a very transparent and participatory manner.

“A very comprehensive consultative process was undertaken in which stakeholders countrywide were involved,” he said.

Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Felix Mutati said public resources were not sufficient to carry out all developmental projects hence the need for the private sector to come on board.

Mr Mutati said viable projects were better done with the support of the private sector.


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