Saturday, 31 July 2010

HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW YOUR HOUSE HELP?


By CAROLINE NJUNG'E
The stories are the stuff nightmares are made of. They read like one of those horror fiction novels that are written to shock and instil fear, yet they are real, happening to real people and are what every parent prays he or she will never have to live through.
We’re talking about the increasing cases of child kidnappings in the country; kidnappings that are being instigated by the very people you have entrusted your home and children to.
It could be your house help of many years, or that young woman that your pastor’s wife recommended the other day.
A year ago, Fiona Achieng returned home only to find her house empty. Her daughter, then one year old, and her house girl of nine months were missing.
“That morning, I woke up with a bad feeling. For no reason, I didn’t want to leave, and ended up getting out of the house at 8.30am, my reporting time,” Fiona recounts.
But still, she couldn’t concentrate on her work and at 1.30pm, she shut down her computer, took her bag and drove back home, even though she was due for a meeting at 2pm.
“I just had a feeling that something was not right,” she explains. When she got to her house, she found it locked.
She called her house help several times. The first time, the phone went unanswered, the second, the call would not go through. On inquiring, neighbours informed her that they had seen her leaving with the little girl strapped on her back right after she left for work.
Alarmed, Fiona went to her area police station, but was informed that she had to wait 24 hours before reporting a missing person. By then, she had called her husband, who in turn sought the help of a friend who worked with a security firm. It is this friend, using the firm’s sophisticated tracking system, who assisted them to locate the runaway house help.
“She was accosted just before 12 pm in Machakos soon after alighting from a matatu,” narrates Fiona.
Fortunately, besides fatigue, hunger, and shivering with cold because she had only a light dress on, her daughter was unharmed. When interrogated, the young woman said that she had been taking the little girl for “anointing.”
Nothing, not even being remanded in the police cells for a week prompted her to change her story. Eventually, Fiona, had her released without pressing charges.
“I just couldn’t cope with the emotional trauma that I knew would come with the trial,” she explains.
It might be a year ago but this mother of one is yet to come to terms with what happened. The incident shook her so much, that she has now installed a cctv system in her house, so that she can watch her new house help’s every move while away from home either from her laptop or mobile phone.
“For several months, I spent every waking minute either staring at my laptop or phone, until I realised that I wasn’t being productive at work.”
It is only recently that she managed to tame her obsession and she now switches off the surveillance camera once in a while.
What happened to Fiona could befall any young working or newly married mother who, more often than not, only has the househelp in the house. Older mothers usually have live-in relatives or older children around the house.
Like so many working young parents who rely on paid help to look after their young children and keep a semblance of order in the homes, Fiona knew little about her former house help, who had been recommended to her by her pastor. All she knew is what the girl had told her about herself.
She also says that in the 11 months she had lived with her, the girl had given her no reason to suspect that she would be capable of such an act.
“She was quiet and very religious. She spent her spare time either praying or reading the Bible,” says Fiona.
“I dread to think of what she planned to do with my baby since she had no intention of bringing her back,” says Fiona.
She advises fellow parents to heed their intuition and also to go that extra mile to know as much as possible about the people they employ in their homes. They say once bitten, twice shy.
Her current house help’s finger prints are with the CID, she knows her next of kin, has their phone numbers, knows where she comes from and even knows the woman’s area chief personally.
The watchmen who guard the estate are also under strict instruction not to allow the house help to go through the gate with her daughter. Further, she has made her daughter understand that no one, apart from her and her father, should walk out of the gate with her.
She also encourages the little girl to report should the house help mistreat her or bring strange people into the house.
“When you go through what I went through, you understand how important it is to take the steps I have taken.” 
But even that house help who has worked for you for years is still capable of such an act. If anything, according to the next woman’s story, she is the most dangerous because she knows practically everything about you.
Two years ago, Janice Kerubo’s three-year-old daughter went missing. She had been playing outside the family home. One minute she was there, the next she had disappeared.
The call from her hysterical house help came through on a Friday evening just as she was about to call it a day at work.
“She informed me that she had looked for Connie all afternoon and could not find her, even at the neighbours”, she says.
Janice immediately called her husband who also worked in town and together, they rushed home. By the time they arrived at about 7pm, their last born daughter was still nowhere to be found.
At about 7.30pm, Janice’s phone rang. The menacing voice on the other end wanted a million shillings the next day or they would kill the little girl. He would call an hour later to give instructions, he continued. If she dared to inform the police, she would never see her daughter again.
The line went dead
By the time the kidnappers called again some 45 minutes later, Janice was nearly out of her mind. This time, her husband, who was more composed, picked up the phone.
“He tried to negotiate with them because we did not have even a fraction of money they were asking for, but they stood their ground. They wanted the entire amount the following day.”
What shook them even more was the fact that the faceless man seemed to know so much about them.
“Si mnajenga nyumba kubwa sana Ruai? Hiyo pesa yote mna toa wapi?” the man asked. (Where are you getting that money you’re building your big house in Ruai with from?)
The man also knew about the new car they had bought earlier that year as well as the wholesale shop the family owned.
“We were shocked because these are people who seemed to know us so well,” Janice says.
When the kidnapper failed to call the following morning as promised, the anxious family decided to involve the police. The decision turned out to be what would bring their little girl back home. But barley 30 minutes after the family called the police, the kidnapper called again, using a different number.
“You have just killed your daughter, why did you call the police after we ordered you not to?” then he disconnected.
“We were all surprised at how they could have found out, and within such a short time, that we had called the police,” Janice narrates.
When they briefed the police after their arrival at their home, they called Janice and her husband aside, and asked them whether they had any reason to suspect their house help.
Janice’s first reaction was to dismiss the idea. The house help, a middle-aged woman, had been with the family for over seven years. She was practically Connie’s second mother, having helped care for her from birth.
“She was the last person I would have suspected.”
Undeterred, one of the two policemen called their house help, a mother of two, and asked her to hand over her phone.
After scrolling through the phone for less than a minute, the policeman, who had been consulting a piece of paper with the two numbers the kidnappers had used, singled out two numbers recorded in the house help’s phones.
To the family’s disbelief, they matched. It turned out that their house help had started communicating with the kidnappers two days before the actual kidnapping took place. 
“I could not believe it – this is someone I treated like family and on two occasions, her children had spent Christmas holidays with us,” says Janice.
She is the one that led the police to the kidnappers’ hideout. Luckily, the little girl was unharmed. Of course, not all cases have such happy endings.
www.nation.co.ke

ZAMBIA NODS DIGITAL MIGRATION TASK FORCE FORMATION


The Zambian Government has approved the establishment of a National Task Force on digital migration to oversee the country’s process of migrating from analogy to digital by 2015.
Lieutenant General Shikapwasha
Chief Government Spokesperson, Ronnie Shikapwasha said Government recognised the importance of the country changing the mode of broadcast from analogy to digital hence the setting up of this national task force.
Lieutenant General Shikapwasha said President Rupiah Banda had since approved the establishment of the task force and 11 people have been appointed to sit on the task force.
He said the taskforce which would be chaired by Mr. Luwani Soko an expert engineer, is multi-sectoral and would also develop a national roadmap and make recommendations on the digital migration.
He said a number of cooperating partners have shown willingness to partner with Government in this venture.
Lt. Gen. Shikapwasha, who is also Information and Broadcasting Minister, said this at a press briefing in Lusaka.
He said the mandate of the task force would go beyond 2015 and would address consumer complaints during and after the switchover.
He said the task force was expected to develop policy recommendations on measures to guide the upgrading of existing television sets, and control the dumping of obsolete electronic materials.
Lt. Gen. Shikapwasha said the taskforce would also help in formulating appropriate switchover strategy, formulate consumer awareness strategies, monitor and evaluate the awareness and use of new services.
“The terms of reference for the national taskforce are as follows; to formulate an appropriate switchover strategy programme within a specified timetable, to make necessary recommendations relating to the financing of the set top boxes, formulate appropriate consumer awareness strategies, monitor and evaluate the awareness take-up and use of the new services and address consumer complaints during and after the switch,”
He further added that the task force would also recommend a licensing policy regime in relation to network and service licensing.
Lt. Gen. Shikapwasha said it was vital that various thematic areas relating to policy and regulatory matters, technical and financial publicity were addressed.
He said the taskforce would be coordinated by a secretariat and would report to the inter-ministerial committee to be chaired by his ministry.
Lt. Gen. Shikapwasha has since called on the task force to work closely with countries and regulatory bodies within the region such as Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) to ensure that the switchover was effected before 2015.
ZANIS

Friday, 30 July 2010

PRESIDENT BANDA MOURNS PAKISTAN PLANE CRASH VICTIMS


President Rupiah Banda
His Excellency, Mr. Rupiah Banda, President of the Republic of Zambia, on Friday expressed shock following the tragic death of 150 passengers in a plane that occurred on Wednesday near Islamabad in Pakistan.
Pakistan plane crash 28-7-2010
President Banda, in a letter of condolences to His Excellency, Mr. Asif Ali Zardari, President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan said he learnt with profound sorrow the death of 150 people who died in a plane crash.
“We share the burden of grief with the bereaved families and therefore wish them solace and fortitude during this period of mourning in your country,” President Banda said.
“On behalf of the Government and people of Zambia, I wish to extend to you, the Government and People of Pakistan and the bereaved families our sincere and heartfelt condolences,” President Banda said.
150 people perished in a plane crash near Islamabad in Pakistan on Wednesday, July 28, 2010.

LET US WORK WITH NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES IN IMPLEMENTING HEALTH INTERVENTION PROGRAMMES - DR. MUKUKA


AS MALAWI CLOSES CHURCH FOR OBSTRUCTING MEASLES VACCINATIONS

Mufulira District Director of Health George Mukuka says that there is need to collaborate with neighbouring countries to ensure that the country moves at the same pace with its neighbours in the implementation of health intervention programmes.
Zambia Child Health week
Commenting on the just ended national measles vaccination exercise during the Child Health week in Zambia, Dr. Mukuka said Zambian children in border towns still have the risk of contracting measles from their colleagues in neighboring countries if such countries have not carried out measures to curb preventable diseases such as measles.
He however said that the Mufulira health team managed to vaccinate some Congolese children along the border with Zambia including those who were in Zambia at the time of the exercise.
Dr. Mukuka said the team has also stepped up surveillance along the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo that no foreigner comes into the country with measles.
He said with the measures that have been put in place, measles would be detected right at the border entrance and treatment would be conducted there and then.
Meanwhile, in a related development, the Malawi Government sealed off Zion Church on allegations that the church is preventing its members to seek measles vaccination in the hospitals as reported by Nyasa Times on its website.
Members of Ntonda Zion Apostolic Church in Chiradzulu district have accused the Malawi government of violating freedom of worship for closing the church’s branch in Chiradzulu district.
Church Elder Stephano Chopi says the development has forced the members to pray from inside their homes.
“It is two months now. We have nowhere to worship instead we are just staying in homes. It is also a threat to our children because they will not know the living God,” Chopi lamented.
“I have no plans to join any other faith I can just live with my faith without going to any church,” he said.
Chopi says the scripture say clearly that an ill person should be taken to the church elders for prayers.
He therefore watered down government’s accusations that the church has contributed to the increase of death rate among measles patients.
“It was written in the Bible that ‘everyone shall die’. This means that nobody will die unless his or her time has come. So it was automatic that whoever seeks medication will survive. Medication or no medication anyone can die. It’s just a matter of time”, he says.
Since February, Malawi has faced its biggest measles epidemic in 13 years. Health officials say the disease has killed over 90 people, mostly children, and infected more than 20 000 others.
The government says the church’s doctrine of refusing its members of receive medical treatment in hospitals has highly contributed to rise in the death rate of the patients.
Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika  has asked the church to stop the conduct.
“I’m not against freedom of worship but if it is against the welfare of the people, especially children, I’m totally condemning it. I’m totally sad with what this church is doing, why should we let children die for no proper reason?” Mutharika said recently in Chiradzulu district.
Mutharika said nowhere in the Holy Bible or Quran does God condemn medication.
Children wait to be vaccinated against measles at an MSF mobile 
clinicCourtesy of Doctors without Boarders
“Even in the Bible Jesus was administering some medication. Do you remember that Jesus (Christ} mixed his saliva with soil before he applied it to the eyes of the blind man for him {the blind} to see. Wasn’t that a medication?”
Several local rights groups have also condemned the church for violating the rights of children.
But Chopi is adamant saying his children were attacked by measles but got healed after praying for them.
“We don’t think we are violating any rights of children because we all know that life on earth ends when a person dies. What we are doing is preparing the children the longer lasting life in heaven so that they can enter the paradise when they die,” he says.

ZAMBIA'S FIRST LADY SAYS SMES THE SOLUTION TO BUSINESS GROWTH IN ZAMBIA


Thandiwe Banda
Mizinga Melu
First Lady Thandiwe Banda has said that financial assistance to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector was a solution to ensuring growth of business in Zambia
Mrs. Banda said Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) accounted for almost 90 percent of the total number of firms in Zambia and employ over 80 percent of the potential labour in the country.
She noted that SMEs were key players in all the major sectors of Zambia’s economy either as producers or suppliers.
The First Lady said Standard Chartered Bank was promoting growth of the SMEs through the mentorship of women entrepreneurs.
Mrs. Banda was speaking when she officially launched the Women Entrepreneurs Business workshop in Lusaka this week.
She disclosed that women entrepreneurs have for a long time been disadvantaged especially regarding accessing of finances from various financial institutions that demanded collateral.
She said it was imperative to note that efforts by various stakeholders including Government were being made to ensure uplifting of people’s living standards. 
Mrs. Banda urged other financial institutions to emulate Standard Chartered Bank in efforts aimed at alleviating the suffering of the disadvantaged women who intended to contribute to the country’s economic growth.
And speaking at the same occasion, Standard Chartered Bank Managing Director Mizinga Melu said the bank recognised the role that women played in Zambia’s development.
Mrs. Melu said the support that women entrepreneurs were receiving had translated into a need for more access to finance and banking services.
She disclosed that the bank had so far opened bank accounts for women entrepreneurs under this initiative.
And speaking earlier, Bank of Zambia Deputy Governor Tukiya Kankasa Mabula said Government was committed to reforming the country’s financial sector.
Dr. Mabula added that Government had approved the extension to the initial five- year Financial Sector Development Plan (FSDP).
She said the FSDP represented a strategy that was formulated to strengthen and broaden the Zambian financial sector.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

GOVERNMENT PRODED TO SCALE UP EYE CARE BUDGET

Sight Savers Zambia Country Director - Musanje
Sight Savers Zambia has asked Government to increase budgetary allocation to eye care, education and community based rehabilitation programmes in the 2011 National Budget.

Sight Savers Country Director Joseph Musanje said these sub sectors have for a long time been neglected in budget allocation hence the need for equal attention by Government when allocating resources.

Mr Musanje urged the Ministry of Finance and National Planning and line Ministries to follow the issues and demands from sub sectors.

Speaking at the Sight Savers Advocates Stakeholders Meeting at Blue Crest in Lusaka, Mr. Musanje said there was need for an overall budget allocation to the Ministry of Health to be increased to 15 per cent of the national budget in line with the signed international agreements such as the Abuja Declaration signed in Nigeria.

He said the budget on eye health should be increased to K 2.1 billion in the 2011 Ministry of Health budget adding that this increase signified a 20 percent increase from the 2009 budget.

Mr Musanje said this should go towards the formulation of an eye care policy that would carry an eye care personnel structure.

Meanwhile, Sight Savers Zambia has praised Government for ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Mr Musanje said the challenge was now upon Government to domesticate the Convention adding that Civil Society and Disability Groups have formed an independent monitoring steering committee to ensure monitoring of the domestication.

He also called on Government through the National Constitution Conference to study the Convention and ensure that the right legislation and disability is adopted in the proposed constitution.

ZANIS

ZAMBIA CELEBRATES RECORD HARVEST AT 84TH AGRICULTURAL SHOW

Mutharika- guest of honour at ZACS in Lusaka
RB to officiate at ZACS in Lusaka
Zambia is this week preparing for its 84th annual Agricultural & Commercial Show which opens on Thursday 29th July 2010.  It will showcase Zambia’s great agricultural achievements during the past year – including the biggest maize harvest, increased crop production and an overall growth rate in the sector of more than 12%.
His Excellency, Mr. Rupiah Banda, President of the Republic of Zambia will officially open the show with a speech where he will welcome guest of honour, Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika, President of Malawi. 
President Banda and his Government have supported Zambia’s millions of farmers in recent years.  President Banda’s most important role has been to subsidize fuels costs and introduce the Fertilizer Input Support Programme to help 500,000 small-scale farmers.  The Banda Government has successfully stabilized food prices – ensuring that Zambia has avoided the worst effects of the world recession endured by many other countries.
The output of the 2009-2010 maize harvest has beaten all previous records, with 2.7 million tonnes produced by Zambian farmers which is an increase of nearly a million tonnes on the previous year.  The country has also seen increased production of cassava, rice, wheat, cotton and tobacco.  At the same time, the price of mealie meal has continued to fall since President Banda’s election pledge in 2008 to deliver cheaper food for all Zambians. 
Lusaka Showgrounds, Zambia
President Banda commented: “Zambia has continued building a strong and successful agricultural sector which has the potential to increase our economic strength at home and abroad.  In the last year we recorded a growth rate of 12.4% in agriculture alone.  Our fertile land, excellent water resources and dedicated labour force should be recognized and celebrated across Zambia.  I am honoured to be able to share our success story with President Bingu wa Mutharika at this year’s Agricultural & Commercial Show.”
The Agricultural & Commercial Show is set to be a true celebration of the great achievement of putting a strong agricultural sector at the heart of the nation, to the benefit of all Zambians.  The show will be held in Lusaka from Thursday 29th July until Monday 2nd August 2010.
The two presidents will also hold official talks at State House on Friday 30th July 2010 focused on driving future investment, trade and support for agriculture in both countries.

CONGOLESE MUSICIAN SEES POTENTIAL IN ZAMBIA’S MUSIC INDUSTRY

Felix Wazekwa currently in Lusaka, Zambia

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Rhumba musician Felix Wazekwa has observed that the Zambian music industry has the potential to grow and penetrate the international market.

Wazekwa said this was because a lot of Zambian musicians are highly talented and creative in the way they write their music.

Speaking at a press briefing through an interpreter at Lusaka’s Pamodzi Hotel today, Wazekwa said the only thing that the Zambian musicians lack was exposure to other countries.

The 48- year- old musician added that exposure was very important for Zambian musicians, if they were to compete favourably on the international scene.

Wazekwa said proper exposure was what made DRC musicians to be known and compete on the international with other musicians from different countries.

Wazekwa is in the country for five days to perform various shows across Lusaka.
ZANIS

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

ECONOMIC VIOLENCE AND ABUSE COMMON IN ZAMBIA

Educational billboard - Stop domestic violence
The Zambia Police Services Victim Support Unit (VSU) has said economic violence and abuse is on the rise in most Zambian homes. Speaking in Lusaka, VSU National Coordinator, Senior Superintendent Kasale said it was disheartening to note that economic violence has become a common trend in most Zambian homes to settle domestic scores.
He said in most cases bread winners in Zambian homes, male or female, took advantage of their economic position to economically abuse their spouses, children and dependants.
Mr Kasale said bread winners deliberately stopped buying food and other human necessities such as clothing, medical care and education, among others in order to make their spouses fill unwanted resulting in them leaving their matrimonial homes.
The VSU National Coordinator said this on the sidelines of a five- day Gender Awareness workshop for service providers at Red Roof Lodge in Lusaka’s Roma Township this week. He said that such trends were commonly practiced in both high and low density urban areas.
He noted that such practices were also part of the issues that the VSU was handling on a daily basis as breadwinners attributed prevailing economic
situation in the country as the cause of them not supporting their spouses and families in general.
Mr. Kasale however advised breadwinners not use their economic situation as the reason for not supporting their families saying they should instead be transparent and honest to their spouses and families on their situation.
The workshop sponsored by the United Nations International Children’s Fund
(UNICEF) is aimed at empowering service providers with adequate information on Gender Based Violence (GBV) which is said to be on the increase in the country.
The workshop attracted service providers from nearly all corners of Zambia mainly attached to the VSU’s of police stations.
And during the workshop, some participants expressed concern at the law that prohibited housewives from physically reacting to their husbands’ girlfriends.
The participants said this development had actually empowered girlfriends to
have undue control of most men thereby creating domestic instability in most
homes.

However, Mr. Kasale advised the participants that the affected housewives should take advantage of the law of Adultery which he said was as punitive as
any other law.

AFRICA SEEKS GREATER ROLE IN INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Jean Ping
Following decades of playing an observatory role and unfair conditions on the international scene, Africa is now pushing for greater involvement especially on issues that affect its economic development.
At the ongoing African Union (AU) summit in Kampala, Uganda, African leaders are being urged to push for Africa's interests on the international scene.
According to Jean Ping, Chairperson of the AU Commission, Africa is increasingly becoming a formidable force on the international scene.
"Africa is gaining strategic importance and is thus attracting attention from a diversity of partners who are increasingly knocking at its doors and showing their interest in cooperating with the continent in mutually beneficial partnerships," he said.
Major world economies are already forging partnership with the continent. A series of summits between the continent and other parts of the world have taken place or are being planned, signaling Africa's increasing importance.
A series of summits are lined up this year. The third Africa- European Union Summit is scheduled for later this year in Libya. The second Afro-Arab Summit will also be held in Libya this year, 33 years
after the first summit was held. Already other summits like the Sino-Africa summit have been held. The first high-level bilateral with the United States of America-AU meeting was held in April this year.
BUANEWS

HOW BIRTH ORDER AFFECTS YOUR ROMANTIC LIFE

By KEN. P MUNYUA, living@ke.nationmedia.com

You’ve probably felt that someone, perhaps even a sibling, always seems luckier than you in matters of love, right?
Well, while each of us is a unique individual, our birth order has a significant impact on our psychological make-up and attitudes towards romance.
Yet many people don’t give their birth position a thought when choosing a partner. Today, we look at the characteristics of children born in different positions in the family and how these characteristics influence their relationships.
Psychologists and marriage therapists recognise four main birth orders.
First borns
They are born managers and might end up even controlling their partners, if not careful.
Usually, a first born will have one or more of the following characteristics: be a natural leader, a high achiever, orderly, punctual, a know-it-all, bossy, highly responsible, and a pleaser of adults who obeys the rules.
A relationship thrives when both parties know what they want, but can be highly competitive if they’re not careful; it’s like having two CEOs running the same company.
Middle children
They are more sympathetic and think with their hearts more than their heads! If not checked, they get too emotional and this can be dangerous.
The middle child is flexible, generous, independent, secretive, easy going, social, a peacemaker who respects authority and a strong negotiator who might, nevertheless, feel that life is unfair.
This partner will go out of their way to make sure that the relationship works. However, in the process, they might end up forgetting about themselves.

Last borns
They are used to being taken care of by others. If they are not made aware of it, they can be selfish and expect to be taken care of, even in a relationship. However, they should also be able to take care of their partner.
For some reason, many people fear getting involved with last borns, who have the following traits: risk taker, outgoing, creative, self-centered, financially irresponsible, competitive, bored easily, likes to be pampered, and have a good sense of humor.

Only child
Like last borns, and perhaps even more so, they are the focus of their parents’ attention.
So it is advisable that they also learn to give instead of always taking.
They have the following traits: close to their parents, have self-control, are born leaders, mature, dependable, demanding, unforgiving, private, and sensitive.
So it is advisable to look at your birth position and, at the same time, study your partner’s traits in order to be in a position to relate well with them. This calls for humility, patience, and perseverance.
It should be a give-and-take situation, where both parties win.
Awareness is power, and when you are aware of your traits, you are better able to relate with your partner.
www.nation.co.ke (The writer is a counselling psychologist)

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

RANDOM TIT BIT OF THE DAY

I was in Zambia last weekend and was touched by a comment made by a Check in clerk at Lusaka International Airport after I had  commented at the number of foreigners that were coming in and out of Zambia every day such that flights from Johannesburg were now full. Just the other day a flight that would normally cost ZAR1,650 from Jobourg to Lusaka was ZAR4,500! That is why I changed my flight because that flight was full.
The young man said something to me that is poignant. " You know what sir, the unfortunate thing is that I don't see these opportunities that all these foreigners are seeing. I go home every night and try and work it out,  but I cant. Why are all these foreigners seeing opportunities and yet we Zambians cant?".
THE SECRET: There is an interesting dynamic going on in Zambia right now. This could either freeze us out as Zambians or benefit us.
 -  Basically, white/Indian  Zambians and settlers are sniffing out the opportunities and then transmitting that information back to their relatives, business associates abroad who are able to borrow funds at 3-6% per annum in USD, while w e Zambians have to compete and borrow at 36% (if you can find the money) i
n our local market. All the real estate deals and mining licences are being snapped up by these guys.
- Therefore, the key is for us Zambians to support each other's businesses by patronising /buying from establishments owned and run by Zambians, and without of course compromising on quality and standards.

BANKS CHALLENGED TO DESIGN ATTRACTIVE PRODUCTS FOR CUSTOMERS

Caleb Fundanga

Situmbeko Musokotwane
Minister of Finance and National Planning, Situmbeko Musokotwane, has called on banks and other financial institutions to be innovative and design attractive products to the public.
Dr. Musokotwane said Zambia’s financial sector has grown but there was little that had been done in providing attractive services and products to the customers.
He said despite the growth recorded in the financial sector, few people were accessing financial services in Zambia.
“The growth in the financial sector goes beyond just the number of financial institutions in the country. There is also need to innovations of products,” he said.
Dr. Musokotwane was speaking today at the national launch of the Zambia Finscope 2009 survey findings.
He noted that there was only a slight growth in the number of adults served by financial institutions in the country.
The minister said the survey showed a slight increase in the financially served adults from 33.7 percent in 2005 to 37.3 percent in 2009.
He explained that almost two thirds of the Zambian adult population still did not use any type of formal or informal financial product or service.
Dr. Musokotwane assured financial institutions of Government’s commitment to work with them to help Zambia become a middle income country by the year 2030.
The minister has meanwhile urged financial institutions to open up banks in rural in order to ease difficulties which Civil Servants faced in getting their salaries.
He said some Civil Servants, especially teachers, health workers and policemen were subjected to walking long distances to get their salaries, a situation he said affected their performance.
Dr. Musokotwane has also called on banks and other financial institutions to consider giving mortgages to teachers to help them build their own houses.
He said the education sector was faced with lack of housing for teachers in the country hence the need to empower young teachers with loans to build houses.
Banks challenged
Earlier, Bank of Zambia (BoZ), Caleb Fundanga, said at the same function that the role played by financial institutions in Zambia’s economic development had been limited in recent years.
Dr. Fundanga said the financial sector has been characterised by low financial intermediate and a high concentration of bank branches in urban areas.
“This has resulted in limited access to financial services for the rural population and the low to middle income earners in the country,” he said.
He said to address this challenge, the financial sector should determine the status of supply and demand for financial services in the country.
He said to do this, Government formulated the Financial Sector Development Plan (FSDP) to address various sectoral weaknesses and ultimately broaden Zambia’s financial sector.
Dr. Fundanga hoped that the findings of the survey will trigger innovation in products design by financial institutions in order to serve customers better.

BOSTWANA WELCOMES CONSTRUCTION OF THE KAZUNGULA BRIDGE


Kazungula pontoon - to be replaced by a bridge
Botswana says the construction of the Kazungula Bridge is a vital project that will connect the SADC region to the rest of the African continent.
High Commissioner to Zambia, Tuelonyana Oliphant says lack of a bridge in Kazungula had tremendously contributed to losses in terms of revenue, trade, commerce, damage to goods in transit and inconvenience to service delivery.
“Lack of a bridge in Kazungula has tremendously contributed to losses in terms of revenue, trade, commerce, damage to goods in transit and inconvenience to service delivery,” she said.
The High Commissioner said this in Kazungula District yesterday, when she inspected the site for the bridge.
Accompanying her was Southern Province Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary, Alfred, Chingi, Acting Kazungula District Commissioner, Muleya Siachinji and representatives from the African Development Bank (ADB).
She said Zambia and Botswana had both put high premiums in the Kazungula Bridge project due to its potential to enhance communication, trade and commerce in the region.
And ADB Country Representative for Zambia, Freddie Kwesiga said construction of the Kazungula Bridge could help Zambia achieve its vision of attaining middle income status even before 2030.
Dr Kwesiga attributed this to the possibility that the bridge would decrease trade barriers and promote regional integration.
He said despite pontoons being useful in the facilitation of traffic for people and vehicles through Kazungula, they are outdated and not safe to use.
“The technology of pontoons is outdated as it is from the early 1900s, and as such they are not safe and contribute to congestion of trucks at Kazungula border post,” he said.
Dr Kwesiga also said implementation of the Kazungula Bridge would create numerous opportunities for Public Private Partnerships (PPPs).
He said ADB was keen to address issues that were delaying the commencement of construction works for the bridge.
Meanwhile, Southern Province Permanent Secretary, Gladys Kristafor this morning said communication was a catalyst for development and as such pledged government’s commitment in ensuring implementation of the project was done effectively.
Mrs. Kristafor commended ADB for financing feasibility studies for construction of the bridge, which she said were expected to be completed by the end of this year.
And Mike Ormerod of EGIS BCEOM, the Consultant for the project said tourism activities were expected to increase once the bridge was completed.
Construction of the Kazungula Bridge is expected to cost over US$ 100 million and will include a railway component and ‘one stop’ border facilities on both the Zambian and Botswana side.
ZANIS