Preparations Underway For Madaraka Day Celebrations

The Preparations for Madaraka Day celebrations are moving on smoothly, Busia Acting County Commissioner Kipchumba Ruto has said.

Speaking during the celebration Committee meeting at the Teso North Deputy County Commissioner’s Conference Hall on Monday, Ruto said that the occasion will be held at Amagoro Primary School.

‘We would like to ask the chiefs to mobilize members of the community to attend this important public holiday,’ he said.

He added that buses will be used to ferry a section of residents from the seven Sub Counties of Busia to attend the event which will be presided over by Busia Governor Paul Otuoma and Busia Acting County Commissioner Kipchumba Ruto.

The Administrator further said that rehearsals for the parade will begin on Monday next week.

Ruto stated that 14 groups drawn from the seven Sub Counties will participate in the entertainment, with each Sub County producing one entertainment group.

‘Teso North being the host will produce three entertainment groups,’ he said, adding that there will also be a tug of war between both male and female prison officers and the County government teams.

He further said that the County Choir, County Cultural group and a comedian group from the County Commissioner’s office will also participate in the event.

At least 3,000 people are expected to participate in the celebrations with a number of dignitaries invited from the neighboring country of Uganda.

However, similar celebrations will be marked in the remaining six Sub Counties led by various Deputy County Commissioners.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Civil Servants Quest For Special Hospital Wing

Civil servants in Nakuru County have called on public hospitals to set aside private wings for workers even as the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) called for prudent use of medical covers.

Led by Nakuru West DCC Simon Werre, the officers urged public facilities to allow express services for public officers, to enable them utilize the facilities that would in turn improve their capitation ahead of the Universal Health Care (UHC) programme rollout.

‘The Civil Servants always have their deductions made promptly to the National Health Insurance Fund and this therefore means they are the primary financier of NHIF. It therefore calls for equal VIP treatment when they access the public hospitals; and also to allow them to go back to work,’ noted Werre.

The officers regretted that no resources had been designated for the workers and long queues had pushed them away to private facilities, further denying the government funded facilities an opportunity to reap from the fund.

The medical covers that are now capped at Sh 70, 000 (outpatient) and Sh700, 000 (inpatient) for officers serving in job groups A-K, covers the principal member with five children and one spouse.

NHIF Rift Valley Regional Manager, Robert Otom, while calling on the officers to prudently put to use their covers to avert depletion before the end of the financial year, noted that the shared resources were limited to the seven family members for a year.

‘We are in talks with the county government officers to help them see the business sense of having a specialized wing for civil servants in every public facility. Most officers have found themselves exhausting their limits half way while attending private hospitals that charge exorbitantly,’ added Otom, noting the need to improve services at the facilities as they were the drivers of UHC.

The officers are required to make additional contributions for more children, with those changing spouses only allowed to cover them after a month. The Comprehensive cover, also takes care of fertility treatment, dialysis, drug and substance abuse rehabilitation as well as treatment overseas among others.

Otom noted that the fund also covered for air and road evacuation, in cases of emergencies, urging the officers to also acquire a Travel Insurance each time they went for overseas treatment as it would come in handy in travel delays and for repatriation of the body in case of death.

‘We have noted with concern that more women seek their vitals checked through the annual checkups, than men. It is good to have the checkups dome annually, as this will flag out diseases before they reach alarming stages,’ Tum said, noting that the men should demand for blood sugar tests as well as to check on their prostates.

The public officers also called on the fund managers to raise the ceilings on the cover, noting that medial expenditures were unaffordable if they were to fund them from the pocket.

‘Setting the limits at Sh 70, 000 is very punitive for an officer, who does not wish to be sick in the first place. Some of the members are terminally ill and the process of seeking excess of loss cover is so bureaucratic and inaccessible for those who are not well connected,’ observed Gerald Opiyo.

Anne Muthoni queried, ‘Could we have our public facilities stocked with drugs available for civil servants?’

The officers regretted that no clear plan had been set out by the NHIF for officers retiring the civil service and urged the government urgently address the issue.

Source: Kenya News Agency

County To Use Sport-Based Intervention To Reduce Alcoholism

The fight against the use of illicit brews and second-generation alcohol has been ongoing in the Country especially in the Mt Kenya region.

Leaders have been in the forefront trying to eradicate the use of the illicit brew in their counties and come up with effective measures to stop the usage of drugs and second-generation alcohol.

Speaking during a football tournament organized by the area Member of County Assembly (MCA) of Gathigiriri ward Benson Ngahu, Kirinyaga Deputy Governor Wachira Githanda, said that he will rally Kirinyaga youths to support the war on illicit brews.

He said that the County Government will improve the state of the stadia in the county where the youths will be participating in sports.

The stadiums targeted are Wang’uru stadium in Mwea, Kerugoya Stadium in Kirinyaga Central and Kianyaga stadium in Gichugu.

‘We will provide training grounds for high altitude training not only for Kirinyaga youths and Kenya in large but also internationally,’ the Deputy Governor said.

Wang’uru Stadium is the most modern stadium in Kirinyaga having hosted the Mashujaa Day in 2021. It will be opened to the public by the end of July after being closed for refurbishment.

County Executive Committee (CEC) Member in charge of sports Denis Musyimi, said that the county government will support youths to nurture their talents as well as make them actively engaged. This will also help develop already existing talents and also discover others.

‘We will continue supporting you in sports activities because it’s a great way towards fighting drugs amongst our youths.’ he said.

MCA Thiba ward Peter Kiragu, also urged residents of Kirinyaga not allow their region to be converted into a testing ground for alcohol by business owners.

Peter Karinga who represents Tebere ward, also added that they will be closing the local bars that are selling the harmful brew in the county and take action on corrupt county government officials who are involved in the business.

The ongoing football tournaments are one of the ways of implementing the call by the Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua to fight alcoholism in Mt Kenya region to help save the future generation in the region.

The National Government Administration Officers (NGAO) led by the County Commissioner Nayioma Tobiko launched a 3-month Rapid Results Initiative (RRI) towards ending alcoholism and drugs abuse which has since witnessed success.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Angolan Epolua crowned African bodybuilding champion

The bodybuilder Aquiles Epolua won Sunday in Johannesburg (South Africa), the international bodybuilding tournament “Arnold Classic”, in the category Elite Pro Bodybuilding up to 95 kg.

Aquiles, vice-world champion in the amateur category, beat the competition in his debut in the professional category.

In individual women, Helena Gonçalves won the “wellness fitness” category, after the last stage of the competition called “Overall”, where the winners of all classes compete.

Maria Faria, in the amateur class, “Bodybuilding” category, won the trophy, performing the same feat as her colleague Aquiles Epolua.

Angola national teams, amateur and professional versions, were also champions in the continental competition.

In this international competition, disputed in honour of the world icon of the bodybuilding sport “Arnold Schwarzenegger”, Angola was represented with a delegation that included ten athletes.

Source: Angola Press News Agency (APNA)

Angola needs US$1 bln to launch ELP – Angola 2050

Angola said it needs to mobilise about US$1 billion to launch the Long-Term Strategy (ELP – Angola 2050).

The intention was announced by minister of Economy and Planning Mário Caetano João on Monday in Luanda.

The minister was speaking to the press on the sidelines of a consultation of International Organisations, Development Agencies and Diplomatic Missions, on ELP – Angola 2050.

He mentioned human capital (education, health and others), infrastructure (production, transport and distribution of electricity) and diversification as priority for the country’s new dimension of economic growth.

Caetano João said the amount will be needed to ensure progress by 2050, and added that such value should be mobilised via foreign direct investment, citizens’ resources and commercial banks.

As for the strategy, the minister said the education should have an impact on the other areas, stating that human capital is crucial for a more participative governance.

In his speech, the official spoke of the need to boost pre-school education, “from zero to five years old. “We have to work on nutrition by allowing proper formation of the cognitive organs and enabling the capacity to absorb the necessary information to occur without interruptions”, he said.

Mário Caetano said that the Government will strengthen the financial products available to the market, micro-credit, PAC, Planagrão, so that it contributes to the natural exodus of those who are in urban areas, towards rural areas, with a focus on agri-business.

He stressed that the objective was to unblock Angola’s economic growth, building a resilient economy that would benefit all citizens, and that it was necessary to invest in infrastructure, as a driving factor for inclusive economic growth, productivity and social development.

The Long-Term Strategy is the basic tool for drafting the National Development Plan (PDN), which presents the country’s long term strategic development options and is worked out based on scenario analysis for national, sector and territorial levels.

The document under discussion predicts that the non-oil Gross Domestic Product (GDP-NP) will grow 3.3 times, from US$84 billion to US$275 billion, by 2050, with an estimated population of 70 million.

The ELP – Angola 2050 also plans that non-oil GDP per capita will rise 1.2 times, from US$3.67 billion to US$4.215 billion, supported by non-oil exports that are expected to grow 13 times more, from US$5 billion to US$64 billion.

GDP, currently at US$122 billion, is expected to reach US$286 billion, which will represent a growth of 2.4 times more and Public Debt will see a reduction of 6 percent, from 66 to 60 percent of GDP.

Estimates show that under Angola 2050, in the next 27 years the life expectancy of Angolans will rise six years, from 62 to 68 years of age.

The mortality rate, between the ages of five, will fall from 56 percent to 19 percent. Unemployment is expected to fall 10 percent from 30 to 20 percent.

Source: Angola Press News Agency (APNA)

Partners suggest investment in foreign languages for ELP – Angola 2050

Debate on the issues such as visa facilitation, use of credit cards and investment in foreign languages aimed to attract more investors were held Monday in Luanda.

The main contributions were presented by the International Organisations, Development Agencies and Diplomatic Missions for the Long-Term Strategy (ELP – Angola 2050).

In order to ensure enhanced visibility in the economy the ambassador and head of the European Union (EU) delegation in Angola, Jeannette Seppen defended investment in foreign languages such as English and French to attract more investors.

Seppen was speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the meeting organised by the government.

The ambassador also spoke of the need to focus on environment in order to increase the circular economy, which also contributes to economic and commercial growth.

She also said that the strategy is aligned with the EU programme that supports economic diversification, as well as governance and human capital development issues.

The EU official pointed the country’s population growth for 2050 about reaching 70 million inhabitants as, “on one hand, beneficial, but on the other hand, it can be challenging”.

The representative of the United Nations Children’s Organization (UNICEF), Louise Moreira, on the other hand, said she is pleased with the ELP and is committed to continue to provide assistance to reduce poverty at the national level.

Meanwhile, the Swedish ambassador, Lennart Larsson, said that he will promote Angola abroad, as part of relations and “invite Swedish businessmen to invest in the country, mainly in the southern region.

The Long-Term Strategy (ELP) Angola 2050 aims to obtain the contribution of major public and private, collective and individual players with a high level of experience and knowledge in the different sectors.

According to the Government, the strategy may bring a global vision for Angola and the role at international level in the next 30 years.

Source: Angola Press News Agency (APNA)

President names State Secretary for Urbanism and Housing

Angolan head of State João Lourenço Monday appointed Manuel André da Costa Canguezeze as Secretary of State for Urbanism and Housing, according to a note published on the Presidency’s Facebook page.

Prior to the appointment, the source said, the President João Lourenço sacked Adérito Adelino João Carlos Mohamed from the position of Secretary of State for Urbanism and Housing.

Adérito Mohamed was appointed in September 2022.

Source: Angola Press News Agency (APNA)

395 diamond stones seized in Lucapa

National Police seized 395 diamond stones of several carats on Sunday in the municipality of Lucapa, eastern Lunda Norte province, ANGO has learnt.

The diamonds were in the possession of two national citizens, aged between 24 and 54 years old, who were detained during a micro-operation conducted in Calonda area.

The citizens were preparing to travel to Lunda Sul province to sell the diamonds.

Source: Angola Press News Agency (APNA)

Research in Seychelles’ aquaculture potential shows optimistic results

Aquaculture in Seychelles is on the path to becoming a strong sector in the island state’s Blue Economy, according to a fisheries official.

Over the past year, several research has been undertaken to highlight constraints, challenges as well as opportunities in the sector.

In 2019, the opening of a broodstock, acclimation and quarantine facility at the Providence Fishing Port on the main island of Mahe marked the official opening of aquaculture as an industry and became the central research facility.

The head of the Aquaculture Department at the Seychelles Fishing Authority, (SFA), Aubrey Lesperance, said research in the aquaculture sector plays a vital role in ensuring that all necessary research work is conducted and reported on to be able to provide insight for investors with necessary information based on their interest in the aquaculture sector.

“We have conducted research on different marine species, mainly the pompano, the mangrove snapper, as well as the spanner and mud crabs. We also undertook several analyses on nutrient and algae cultivation,” explained Lesperance.

He added that a very successful trial for the grow-out of mangrove snapper has been conducted and that “the information for this trial has been collated as a journal article. To ensure that the results can easily be applied in a commercial aquaculture setting, a Windows-based application was developed.”

According to the research, one of the key species that has been identified as a good candidate for commercial aquaculture in Seychelles is the Golden pompano. In the last year, the aquaculture team captured numerous specimens mainly in the southern part of Mahe.

“A similar growth experiment is being conducted on these to the mangrove snapper trail. The largest batch now weighs an average of 500 g and has grown quickly. The only problem has been that there have been a couple of mortalities, mostly due to fish jumping out of the tanks. This experiment is near completion, and information will be used to produce a model and app that can be distributed to investors to aid in commercialising this species,” explained Lesperance.

The research department of the broodstock, acclimation, and quarantine facility has also experimented and started raising sea urchin larvae. But this has led to some challenges with spawning, fertilisation, and feeding. “Water quality seems to be a problem, and during the next experiment, a lower stocking density and water exchanges will be implemented to attempt to grow the larvae for longer.”

Lesperance added that one of the developmental areas for aquaculture in Seychelles – 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean – is the production of aquarium fish. “An interesting species in this regard is the Seychelles anemone fish. We collected two pairs of anemone fish, which are currently being conditioned at the facility,” he said.

One private investor who has ventured into aquaculture is Christopher Lespoir of Harmony Investments. The company is currently experimenting with the farming of sea cucumbers.

“As a start-up company within the Blue Economy sector, it is commendable the amount of work input by the Seychelles Fishing Authority to prepare for the launch of the industry. Though there is more work ahead to be done, enough has been done to welcome new players like us in Harmony Investment,” Lespoir told SNA.

Lespoir believes that is essential to ensure that structures are in place to “prevent external economic sharks to now come in, poach local ideas, local resources and drive the local industry with local companies to a state of assured failure. We remain confident that Seychelles Fishing Authority is aware of such threats and will mitigate accordingly.”

Source: Seychelles News Agency

Cryptocurrency fraud case at Seychelles’ Nouvobanq: Two new suspects in police detention

Two additional suspects in the fraud case involving cryptocurrency at Nouvobanq remain in police detention granted by the Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

The two suspects joined 12 others who were arrested and appeared in court last week.

The court has granted the police permission to detain the two suspects until May 30 while they continue their investigation.

The Magistrates’ Court said it had granted the police’s request since it believes a prima facie case has been made against the two suspects.

Mid last week, Nouvobanq said in a press communique that an investigation is ongoing by Seychelles’ authorities into what appears to be a fraudulent case. The case involved cryptocurrency between several parties based internationally and locally, in which Nouvobanq was the targeted bank.

Nouvobanq said that the ongoing investigation is being conducted by the bank, the Financial Crime Investigation Unit within the Seychelles Police Force and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).

The bank had reiterated its commitment to delivering a good service to its customers and continues to adhere to governance structures, which include the detection and prevention of fraudulent activities.

Nouvobanq is one of several commercial banks in Seychelles, founded in 1991, in a joint venture between the Seychelles government and Standard Chartered Bank.

As such it falls under the regulatory purview of the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS).

CBS told SNA that “the particular incident reported by Nouvobanq relates to cryptocurrency, which is not treated as a currency and is therefore not legal tender in Seychelles. Albeit not a means of payment currently offered by financial institutions licensed or regulated by CBS under the Financial Institutions Act or the National Payment Systems Act, CBS and other relevant authorities are cognisant of its increasing popularity globally and rising interest locally.”

It added that given this reality and mindful of the associated impacts and risks, a National Risk Assessment (NRA) has been conducted, which has identified cryptocurrency or virtual currency/asset activities as an important risk to the domestic financial system.

“The regulatory and law enforcement authorities are currently working to address the identified gaps and put in place a robust regulatory framework to help mitigate the country’s exposure to the potential risks that can arise from such activities, which include money laundering and terrorism financing risks,” said CBS.

Source: Seychelles News Agency