Zimbabwe’s government wants to sell some of its ivory and rhino horn stockpile - estimated to be around $600m (£480m) by the state-run Herald newspaper - to help fund its conservation efforts.

Environment Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu made the appeal ahead of a world conservation conference that is to be held in Panama in November.

He told the BBC that close to 65% of the world’s elephant population was in the country which had a huge impact on human habits.

The Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) only permits the trade in elephants in exceptional circumstances.

“Conservation is very expensive,” the minister told the BBC’s Newsday programme.

He said that he did not want the issue to be politicised and that on two previous occasions that Cites had allowed ivory stockpile sales, the money had been ploughed back into protecting wildlife.

The Covid pandemic had also meant that tourism revenues - used for conservation - had plummeted over the last two years, he said.

 

Source: BBC

The Bank of Zambia says on Friday that its computer system suffered an attack by hackers, which disrupted some of its operations.

“The disruption which affected some systems at the bank such as the bureau de change monitoring system and the website, emanated from a suspected cyber security indent,” Besnat Mwanza, assistant director in charge of communications at the Bank of Zambia, said in a statement.

She said the central bank experienced a partial disruption of its information technology (IT) applications on Monday.

The affected systems have been fully restored, Ms. Mwanza said, urging players in the financial sector to be vigilant as the incident may not be isolated.

Source: Lusaka Times

The Ministry of Energy has assured that there will be no increments in electricity tariffs and connection fees until the electricity cost of service study which is currently undergoing peer review is ready in two months’ time.

Minister responsible Peter Kapala however says that this position does not stop the Energy Regulations Board from proceeding to look at Zesco’s latest application to revise connection fees for Standard Connections related to three customer categories as is required under the laws governing the sector.

Mr. Kapala said that after Zesco’s failed attempt to hike tariffs earlier this year, the company has made the latest application and ERB has since asked for comments as advertised but has emphasised that it is his government’s policy and plan that there will be no increment in tariffs and connection fees until the Cost of Service Study report is out.

In its latest application, Zesco indicated that it has had challenges to promptly connect new applications for electricity resulting in a backlog in new connections of 67,000 as at 31st December 2021.

This was attributed to lack of cost reflective fees for connections, which, according to Zesco are up to 10 times below the actual cost of connection in some cases. The proposed increase in power connection fees is over 300 percent in some cases.

Source: Lusaka Times

Twitter has confirmed that two of its bosses are leaving the social media company in one of the biggest shake-ups since Elon Musk agreed to buy the firm.

The executives had been leading Twitter’s consumer and revenue operations.

From this week, the firm has also paused most hiring, except for “business critical roles”.

The move comes as the multi-billionaire Tesla boss moves ahead with a $44bn (£36bn) takeover of the platform.

“We are pulling back on non-labour costs to ensure we are being responsible and efficient,” a Twitter spokesperson told the BBC.

Kayvon Beykpour, who led Twitter’s consumer division, and Bruce Falck, who oversaw revenue, both tweeted on Thursday that the departures were not their decisions.

Mr Beykpour said that he is currently on paternity leave and was disappointed after being asked to leave by Mr Parag, who “wants to take the team in a different direction”.

Mr Falck tweeted: “I’ll clarify that I too was fired by (Parag).” But he appeared to delete the tweet later. His Twitter bio now says “unemployed”.

Jay Sullivan, who was leading the consumer unit during Mr Beykpour’s leave, will become permanent head of the division. He will also oversee the revenue team until a new leader is appointed.

This week, Mr Musk said he would reverse former US President Donald Trump’s ban from Twitter if his takeover bid was successful.

Appearing at an event on Tuesday he said: “I would reverse the permanent ban but I don’t own Twitter yet so this is not a thing that will definitely happen.”

On Thursday, he tweeted: “Even though I think a less divisive candidate would be better in 2024, I still think Trump should be restored to Twitter.”

Mr Trump has said that he does not want to return to Twitter, but instead aims to build up his own Truth Social platform.

Source: BBC

President Hakainde Hichilema has dispelled allegations that  government has given back Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) to Vedanta Resources.

The President has urged Zambians not to take serious social media postings about KCM.

Speaking when he arrived in Ndola on the Copperbelt for a one day visit, President HICHILEMA said Government has only engaged the mining investor to see how issues at the firm can be resolved outside court.

He said government wants to bring in investors that will invest in the Konkola Deep Mining Project to ensure increased production.

President Hichilema said his government is keen on resolving all issues in the Mining sector to ensure mineral resources begin to benefit Zambians.

The President also emphasized that government will not allow illegal mining activities, the reason the Ministry of Mines is working on issuance of mining licences.

Meanwhile, President Hichilema has directed councils across the country to ensure prudent use of resources.

The Head of State noted  that  government has dealt with cadres who were collecting money in the markets and bus stations and it is important that Councils do more with the money being collected.

He said there is need to ensure money collected is channeled to cleaning of towns to avoid any Cholera outbreaks.

And Copperbelt Province Minister Elisha Matambo said the people on the Copperbelt are happy that the new dawn administration is uniting Zambians.

Mr Matambo said before the 2021 elections, the country was divided and it is important to acknowledge President Hichilema’s agenda to unite the Country.

He further said the people on the Copperbelt are happy with the ongoing recruitment of teachers and Health Workers as well as the increase in the Constituency Development Fund.

Source: Lusaka Times

The National Union of Miners and Allied workers -NUMAW- says it is happy that Vedanta has agreed to settle the matter out of court.

NUMAW says it is hopeful a solution will be found soon.

NUMAW National Treasurer SAUL SIMUJIKA says the legal battles currently happening at KCM are derailing progress of the mine.

Mr. SIMUJIKA told ZNBC news that the court battles have created anxiety to the workers and the community of Chingola and the Copperbelt.

Source: ZNBC

BOTSWANA has been inundated with inquiries to supply coal to Europe and estimates that demand from Western countries could top a million tonnes a year, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said on Tuesday.

“We have received inquiries from Europe and so we want to (export),” Masisi said in an interview with Reuters in Cape Town, where he was a key speaker at the Mining Indaba conference.

Botswana’s coal production has been limited and it has mostly exported to neighbouring countries, according to the International Energy Agency. However, it plans to increase production.

Masisi said Botswana has seen demand from both governments and the private sector in Europe and estimates that demand from Europe could reach more than 50,000 tonnes a month.

Lefoko Moagi, Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, said in the same interview that Botswana could meet that demand, while Masisi said it wanted to do so “as soon as possible.”

Coal prices have more than doubled since the beginning of the year and mining companies are scrambling to pump up production and benefit from high prices, even as there is rising pressure on companies and countries to stop using high-polluting coal.

“Typically what we’ve been getting is 50,000 tonnes a month is what they want to get, but we’ve also had others (inquiring about) long-term contracts, we are looking at a million tonnes a year from individuals and countries,” Moagi said.

However, President Masisi emphasised that all parties were committed to reducing carbon emissions in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change.

“So, clearly, there will be some responsibility arrangements in how to use the coal so that we don’t cause a lot of pollution” he said.

Source: REUTERS

Times Tower, the KRA headquarters. Bluebird Aviation has sued KRA claiming the Commissioner of Domestic Taxes has not provided it with assessment leading to Sh1.08 billion tax claim. What you need to know: • KRA said the digital lab will target forensic acquisition, extraction, and discovery of electronic evidence. • KRA disclosed that it will enlist special software to access data from Macintosh computers, iPhones, iPads and other smartphones. The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is setting up an advanced forensic laboratory that will allow it to mine data, including hidden accounts and records, from taxpayers’ computers and mobile phones to detect tax and financial fraud. The move by the taxman’s newly formed intelligence management division comes amid a strong shift to online transactions and electronic record-keeping by businesses as opposed to the traditional paper-based accounting systems. KRA said the digital lab will target forensic acquisition, extraction, and discovery of electronic evidence. “A lot of evidence gathered during the course of investigations is digital in nature such as e-mails, texts, video, audio, image files, and other transactional data on hard disks and other storage media,” the agency said in a disclosure on the new laboratory. Read: Taxpayers on edge as KRA moves to stem cheating “The investigations of such crimes require sophisticated data acquisition, mining, analytics, and storage tools in addition to technical expertise to reconstruct the transactions and provide insights into complex crimes,” it added. Many large corporations, including some multinationals and mobile phone operators, presently hand records of their transactions to KRA teams in soft copy. Online transactions The shift to online transactions has however proved problematic for tax audit and investigation teams amid growing tendencies by some firms to hide their actual financial transactions and accounts. Additionally, an option of password protection in the digital records has proved a challenge for tax investigators and auditors seeking to get full access to all data from computers or phones seized during investigations into suspected fraud or tax evasion. Read: Ukur Yatani takes on tax cheats in proposals KRA disclosed that it will enlist special software to access data from Macintosh computers, iPhones, iPads and other smartphones. “The tool should also be compatible and have ability to extract, analyse data from all types of phones and tablets, should include full range of peripherals and accessories needed for mobile forensic investigations, including connectors ... faraday bags, memory card readers, SIM and micro-SIM ID Cloning cards, camera of capturing images of the data or screenshots directly from the device...” the taxman disclosed in a tender call for supplies to the forensic lab. In its budget for the financial year ended June 30, 2021, KRA set aside Sh31.19 million to acquire an intelligence gathering system as it steps up its war on tax evasion. As part of the digital intelligence gathering, KRA has introduced stringent conditions requiring businesses to acquire internet-based electronic tax registers (ETRs) and connect them to its systems for real-time monitoring of their daily sales. The two systems will give KRA a view of goods as they leave the production line to the point of exchange between retailers and consumers, collecting what is due at each point along the supply chain. Curb tax evasion The Value Added Tax (Electronic Tax Invoice) Regulations, 2020 require all businesses with an annual turnover of at least Sh5 million to have ETRs. Under the new system, KRA now receives sales and invoice data from all registered firms and traders daily in a fresh push to boost revenue collections and curb tax evasion. Read: Anxiety as KRA’s sales check system goes live Traders are also required to seek the taxman’s permission to perform any other business the next day through the system, meaning that incorrect or incomplete data logged the previous day could lock them out. Failure to comply with the regulations attracts a fine not exceeding Sh1 million, imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or both. The internet-enabled ETR come with several unique features. For example, it captures the personal identification number (PIN) of the gadget’s buyer. Capturing the buyer’s PIN is however optional when generating an invoice and it is only applicable where the purchaser intends to claim input tax for the VAT paid. The new ETRs also have a control unit serial number issued by KRA to identify each tax register, beside a control unit invoice number, which is a unique number generated by the tax register upon issuance of each tax invoice. Read: KRA eyes rich tax cheats from social media posts The gadgets also come with a Quick Response (QR) code that helps one to confirm the validity of the tax invoice. Besides the real-time monitoring of transactions through the internet, KRA also announced installation of flow meters and closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) in alcohol manufacturing factories—guaranteeing the state round-the-clock information on the operations of manufacturers to curb tax evasion. The taxman has further deployed IT systems on the supply side, with the rollout of the Excisable Goods Management System (EGMS) in 2013 that facilitates tracking stamps on excisable goods along the supply chain to account for payment of taxes. The digital stamps were meant to replace paper stamps but are also prone to counterfeiting. Now, KRA has expanded its surveillance through the mass custody flow meter that will track high volumes of alcoholic beverages produced to maximise the excise tax collected. CCTV cameras will also allow the taxman to track what the firms are producing. The technology is expected to complement the existing EGMS. Source: The Nation Media

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved financial assistance for Mozambique, the first such aid by the fund to the country after a six-year suspension.

The suspension was imposed after the country was found to have more than $2.7bn (£2bn) of undisclosed state debts - money which the government borrowed to set up a sophisticated tuna industry - to buy trawlers and military patrol boats, but much of it was allegedly diverted to corrupt officials.

The son of Mozambique's ex-president and 18 others went on trial last year over the "tuna bonds" affair. They have not yet commented on the charges.

The IMF board on Monday approved a three-year $456m (£369m) aid that will support economic recovery and help reduce public debt.

“With this programme, the decision taken today to approve the agreement negotiated with the government, we will also obtain additional resources for the financing of the economy, not only the resources in the agreement financed by the fund, but it also opens the window of opportunities for funding by other partners," Mozambican Prime Minister Max Tonela said.

Source: BBC

Vedanta Resources Limited, the company that used to run Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) has said that it was allowed to resume
running the mine again, it is committed to investing a USD 1 billion towards capital mine development and other infrastructure to increase KCM’s integrated production from the current 50kt to 100kt per annum, and a further potential increase to 200ktpa in the medium-term.

In a letter addressed to President Hakainde Hichilema, Finance Minister Situmebeko Musokotwane and a number of other stakeholders including the Mine Workers Union of Zambia by the Group CEO, Sunil Duggal , the company said further said that it commits that upon return it shall implement a 20% salary the increase across the board and a one-off payment of K2 500 within 3 months of the return that after the technical forensic audit of KCM has been completed, and that it shall again review the workers’ conditions of service to ascertain whether there could be room for further adjustments.

The company also proposed to support hospitals, clinics, and schools, provide scholarships, and livestock, and promote youth development programs, training and sports development including football sponsorship, adding that these programmes shall be established by a Special Purpose Community Trust which will be managed jointly by the mine and community.

Vedanta also said that it is committed to paying KCM suppliers (specifically small suppliers) up to USD 220 million which was due as on 21 May 2019 when the Provisional Liquidator was appointed, adding that it is the intention of Vedanta to ensure that Zambian small businesses are prioritised in its supply chain.

The company also said that KCM will put in place a procurement program that, having identified appropriate Zambian small businesses, will avail them with support and medium-term contracts so that they can grow with KCM.

The company concluded in the letter by stating that it looked forward to engaging will the Government of Zambia, ZCCM IH and all other relevant stakeholders on the conditions of Vedanta’s return to KCM.

Source: Lusaka Times

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