Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Media asked to adhere to professionalism

In a bide to bring respects in  journalism profession so as to run on the right track, the government has seen the need to caution media personnel who  does the job to  be accurate when putting down facts that they gather for news. In order to reinforce such a move, on Tuesday this week, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Ms Suzan Mlawi, called upon media stakeholders in the country to adhere to professionalism through publishing correct and accurate information. Ms Mlawi made the call, when she visited Tanzania Standard (Newspapers) Limited (TSN), the publishers of Daily News, Sunday News, HabariLeo, HabariLeo Jumapili and Spoti Leo, situated along Mandela Expressway, near Tazara Junction, in Dar es Salaam. The newly appointed PS toured the printing house to familiarize herself with TSN staff, the company’s operations and challenges. Accompanied by the ministry’s Deputy PS, Mr Nicholaus William, Ms Mlawi said some newspapers were surviving in the market because of practicing ‘yellow journalism’ and advised TSN management not to embark on such kind of business. 

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Ms Suzan Mlawi elaborates a point to Daily News-News Editor, Mr Leonard Mwakalibela (right) during her tour at Tanzania Standard (Newspapers) Limited (TSN), the publishers of the Daily News, Sunday News, HabariLeo, HabariLeo Jumapili and SpotiLeo. Standing on her left is the Deputy Permanent Secretary, Mr Nicholaus William and TSN Managing Editor, Dr Jimmy Yonazi. 
(Photo by Fadhili Akida of Daily News retrieved from the daily news website)

But is very nice to see that government newspapers have the role to deliver accurate and correct information,” the PS added. The TSN Managing Editor, Dr Jim Yonazi, said apart from putting professionalism first, the company has penetrated some East African markets and now eyeing the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through HabariLeo. “We have a good presence online like YouTube, Facebook, blog and website and we are striving to have more subscribers,” Dr Yonazi added. Apart from publishing newspapers, the Managing Editor added that TSN has also embarked on new commercial printing project, which deals with banners, exercise books and also producing documentaries to enable the company generate more revenue. Meanwhile, Director General of the Tanzania Information Services who doubles as TSN board member, Dr Hassan Abbasi said due to the important role TSN is playing, in the absence of subsidies from government, some policies should be revised to build enabling environment to compete with other players in the market.  Among TSN’s main objectives are to diversify news products and services to meet established needs of the market and improve the quality and profitability of its products and services.

Tanzanians advised to but shares in bouses

Tanzanians have been advised to develop a culture of buying shares on initial public offers (IPOs) if they have to effectively participate to and own the country’s economy. Through IPOs, companies float shares publicly, giving members of the public an opportunity to own the economy. TCCIA Investment PLC Board Chairman Aloys Mwamanga said many Tanzanians were unnecessarily missing opportunities to buy shares and ultimately owning the economy. “Shares are certificates that show your commitment and preparedness to really own the economy,” Mr Mwamanga told the company’s recently organised 12th Annual General Meeting. He said the government under President John Magufuli is determined to have all Tanzanians participating effectively to the economy, the goal that can be realised easily through purchase of shares in public companies. “Share trading plays a critical role towards realising the mid-sized, industrial based economy...many companies raise capitals and invest in big projects through sales of shares,” he explained. Established in 2005, TCCIA Investment started buying shares in NMB Bank, gradually growing its current 28bn/- capital. Apart from NMB, TCCIA Investment has shares in Twiga Cement, Tanzania Cigarette Company, SWISSPORT, CRDB Bank, Simba Cement, Dar es Salaam Commercial Bank (DCB) and Tanzania Breweries Limited, all listed on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange, Mr Mwamanga said. The firm’s Chief Executive Officer who doubles as the Board Secretary, Mr Donald Kamori described this year’s 12th AGM as a success, saying new shareholders were trained on shares. “We discovered that many people want to see money re maining in hands or banks. They are ignorant on shares, which they see as a new tradition and not appropriate for their money,” Mr Kamori said. He said through annual seminars, the understanding of investments in shares is on the rise and called for more public sensitisation on shares. One shareholder, Ms Salma Mpokonya, conceded that she knew nothing about shares before the seminar, but was now conversant with the concept. “In the past I had wrong notion that only affluent people were eligible to own shares,” she said, urging all Tanzanians to embrace share buying habit for their bright future, economically.

Entropy is ruining EAC integration dream

The week was a mixed bag of fortune where Rwanda was acclaimed by World Bank among the globe’s top 50 investment-friendly countries, got ranked 4th globally by World Economic Forum among nations with the least gender gap. However, these wins came amid regional body scratches. Although body scratches taint the image of a beautiful car, they often don’t affect the engine’s capacity to continue performing efficiently; for today, let’s have this analogy in mind as we reflect on one neighbour’s rather messy megaphone diplomacy campaign against Kigali. Rwanda has suffered countless body scratches ever since it set out on its path to self-re-discovery, renaissance and transformation; it is a path that has no space for the halfhearted as the President said in a recent speech. It’s a path that requires full commitment, to follow. Like body tattoos, these scratches are lined all over Rwanda but they have never succeeded in stopping its engine from powering the country towards its development agenda, this explains why, in spite of many setbacks, this country has never lost its winning attitude. Also, these scratches are inferior, compared to the deep scars of history sustained through the tough battles to liberate this nation from the abyss. But entropy is one major obstacle that stands in Rwanda’s way as it firmly continues walking the path towards further transformation. To define it, entropy is a lack of order or predictability of a situation, leading to gradual decline into disorder - one thing Rwanda hasn’t had on its side is time. While for most countries, the epoch of colonialism helped build firm economic foundations to support future governments. In Rwanda’s case, colonialism instead of building, destroyed the social stratum of the nation when it embarked on the campaign of sowing seeds of ethnic hatred; the result wasn’t just a body scratch, it was a blow that blew the engine causing a national standstill. The engine would be restarted in July 1994, after bringing the car to a grinding halt from its mad rush down the hill before it could hit the bottom potentially killing everyone onboard. The survivors of that national tragedy have since been running a game of catch-up, building from almost zero. As the life-span of Rwandans rose above 70 years of age, that of regional fortune continues to suffer, often dying before the age of five, in many a neighbour’s case. With entropy entrenched in the region’s politics, the spirit of planning for long-term development has suffered great damage. EAC integration projects are among those that are suffocating underneath the heavy weight and bad breathe of this regional entropy. On July 1, 2013, I wrote: “So when the trinity of Kagame, Kenyatta and Kaguta met in Kampala last week, it was good news when Rwandans, Kenyans and Ugandans heard that their leaders had discussed not politics but projects that would ease trade and increase business opportunities for them.” Thousands of words were typed in positive commentary about the then ‘new hope for EAC regional integration, the collaboration of the three states to invest in infrastructural projects on the northern corridor and help East Africans move faster towards their transformation. A secretariat was set up to coordinate these projects and every quarter, Presidents of the three countries would meet to get updated by their technical teams, to sign off things and command action on ready to implement projects. In the media, we loved to call it ‘a new wave of political will.” We all hoped. We all almost thought, after all, politicians can be trusted. We though for once, they had added their respective national dreams to create one big dream that would have space for all our aspirations. The dream had even started expanding in all directions, spreading to South Sudan, Ethiopia and at some point, DR Congo. Fast forward into 2017; the dream has fazed. For all the positive commentary, it appears we were all in a slumber; there was never a dream. I mean, what else would explain this tendency to move five steps forward and then eight backwards? Thanks to our entropy, the real issues that should concern the attention of our governments have been thrown under the bus as focus shifted to domestic political squabbles. In Kenya, a second presidential election in two months was concluded recently but a 3rd might be on the cards and demos have brought business to a standstill including in Mombasa where at least 30 percent of Rwanda’s external trade is processed. No one is talking about the Standard Gauge railway anymore; there’s no more talk about developing infrastructure that would connect the three countries to and enable Rwanda to buy additional electricity from Kenya and Ethiopia. There’s no talk of the joint oil refinery investment; nothing. The last time our leaders met over this business was in April 2016. It is almost 2018; seven meetings skipped without explanation and I hear some partners have even developed new ideas, totally different from the agreed to direction; a classical example of entropy.

Digital transformation to farmers is in place

Full implementation of digital marketplace is soon to become a relief to smallholder farmers engaged in organic farming who have been struggling to reap reasonable prices and reliable markets for their produce.  And, already some 420 tomato farmers in Iringa have expressed willingness to use the application to sell their produce. Through a mobile application developed by an Israeli company Farmster, the farmers will be connected to local and international buyers where they can negotiate and settle for reasonable offers for their crops. “Many farmers have been held back by lack of reliable markets but this new application will enable them to have a wider access to buyers,” the Chief Executive Officer and founder of Farmster, Mr Adam Abramson, said in Dar es Salaam on Monday evening. The application is available to farmers with either smart phones or the normal cell phones, he explained, expressing optimism that the technology will do away with middlemen who have been exploiting farmers. The expat made the explanation during a presentation to members of Living Green Network at an event where the company and network signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for implementation of the initiative. The CEO of Living Green Network, Mr Adam Ngamange, was highly optimistic that the arrangement would enable the farmers to engage in fully-fledged commercial farming. “Markets for organic crops are available globally but our farmers have not been able to access the opportunities, this is the right time for them since you can connect to buyers even before harvesting the crops,” Mr Ngamange said. During the signing ceremony, the network which has 6,000 members signed an agreement with B and B Insurance Brokers to provide insurance cover for the farmers against risks such as floods, drought, fire as well as diseases. Mr Ngamange pointed further that plans are to engage Tanzania Women Bank (TWB) and Equity Bank to provide credit facilities to members of the network. A farmer from Bagamoyo in Coast Region, Mr Walter Muze, spoke highly of the technology, describing it as a relief to farmers who have been falling ‘prey’ to greedy middlemen. He was equally optimistic that the technology will play a great deal to members of the network who are engaged in block farming in Morogoro Region.