Sixty-one heads of government and other top-level officials from Africa and Europe converged in Brussels in March last year to discuss mutual relations.]]> |||
SIXTY-ONE heads of government and other top-level officials from Africa and Europe converged in Brussels in March last year to discuss mutual relations. After two days of deliberations, they issued a 63-point agreement laced with platitudes such as: “We take particular pride in the breadth and depth of our partnership”, and: “We are convinced that the growth of our two continents will be mutually beneficial.”
Although the leaders discussed issues such as ongoing fighting in the Central African Republic, democracy, regional integration, immigration and development assistance, the elephant in the room was flagging trade relations between Africa and Europe.
South Africa is one of the EU’s most important trading partners in Africa, but President Jacob Zuma did not attend. This was in solidarity with Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, who refused to fly to Belgium because his wife, Grace, was denied a visa.
“That time must pass wherein we are looked at as subjects, we are told who must come and who must not come,” Zuma said. His boycott was one of many incidents in the seemingly endless trade talks between Africa and Europe.
European Commission president José Manuel Barroso reiterated Europe’s preference for dealing with African countries as equal partners, but in reality only South Africa can be considered as such, says Christoph Hasselbach, the editor of Deutsche Welle, a German broadcasting organisation.
Trade agreement talks began actively in 2000 after Europe and 79 countries from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) signed the Cotonou agreement on trade, aid and political relations. That agreement stipulated that economic partnership agreements (EPAs) had to be signed by 2008.
But while the EPAs require both sides to lower tariffs on imports and exports, the participants cannot agree on the terms. Nevertheless, 14 countries have accepted interim EPAs, with Mauritius, Madagascar, the Seychelles and Zimbabwe the first to do so.
Interim EPAs permit countries to export to the EU duty free, while gradually allowing EU imports over 15 to 25 years.
Before the Cotonou agreement was the 1975 Lomé convention, under which the EU granted “non-reciprocal” trade preferences to ACP countries for the export of agricultural and mineral materials duty free to Europe. Now the EU wants these agreements to be replaced with EPAs, which are “reciprocal”, so ACP countries can equally open their markets to EU exports. But Africa is in no hurry to liberalise its markets.
“African countries typically have quite high protection, so liberalising in favour of Europe would hand Europe a terms-of-trade gain,” writes Paul Collier, the director of the Centre for the Study of African Economics at Oxford University.
Africa is not embracing EPAs because of fears that bigger EU companies could flood the continent with cheaper products, destroying nascent local industries. Also, cutting tariffs will lower the government revenues Africa needs to invest in areas including agriculture, health and education.
James Asare-Adjei, the president of the Association of Ghana Industries, says Ghana relies heavily on tariff revenues to fund development. With an EPA, the country could lose up to $300 million (R3.2 billion) a year in revenues.
Aliyu Modibbo Umar, a former Nigerian commerce minister, says: “If 30 years of non-reciprocal free market access into the EU did not improve the economic situation of the ACP, how can a reciprocal trading arrangement achieve anything better?”
Bingu wa Mutharika, the late Malawian president, once dismissed EPAs as “a divide-and-rule tactic being advanced by Europe for selfish interests”.
The EU admits EPAs will create more jobs in Europe. But it notes that Africa stands to benefit from improved economic stability, training opportunities and knowledge transfer, and higher export sales. “For over 30 years, exports from ACP countries were given generous access to the European market,” it states on its website. “Preferential access failed to boost local economies and stimulate growth.”
But provisional implementation is allowed.
The EU is also promoting the World Trade Organisation’s trade facilitation agreement, reached in Bali, Indonesia, last year. Trade facilitation focuses on lowering the cost of doing business by minimising regulations and procedures required to move goods and services across borders.
The Bali agreement – an offshoot of the inconclusive 2001 Doha Round of talks – urges countries to adopt fast and efficient customs procedures.
Africa is not convinced of the purported benefits of the trade facilitation agreement. The continent’s trade ministers have agreed to implement it provisionally, which is allowed. But the EU would prefer a total, not tentative, implementation and is determined to twist arms to have its way.
EU trade negotiators who were in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, during the AU summit in June mounted pressure on African leaders to change their stance. An AU official was quoted as calling their approach “an unprecedented power game rarely witnessed at an African heads of nations meeting”.
Angered by such arm-twisting, Nigeria and Mauritius announced they might renege on their provisional acceptance of the agreement.
But Africa may not hold the line for long, facing EU threats to cut off aid and the US’s warning that it could allow the expiration of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), a US law enacted in 2000 under which Africa can export certain goods to the US duty free. Unless renewed, Agoa expires in 2015.
The WTO is pushing for total implementation of the trade facilitation agreement.
Director-general Roberto Azevêdo has warned that provisional implementation could mean less development aid. “All the Bali decisions – every one – would be compromised.”
And Angelos Pangratis, the EU envoy to the WTO, says, “The credibility of the negotiating function of this organisation is again at stake.”
But Nelson Ndirangu, the director for economics and external trade in the Kenyan foreign ministry, questions why the EU opposes Africa’s proposal “to implement the trade facilitation agreement on a provisional basis” as allowed under the Doha declaration. “Clearly there are double standards.”
At the end of the Malabo summit, divisions appeared in Africa’s position. “We never said we will not implement the [trade facilitation] agreement, but we don’t know how to implement it,” Ndirangu says.
South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe have urged Africa to implement the trade facilitation agreement only after Europe demonstrated its commitment to providing development aid through action, not just words. Under the Bali agreement, a commitment to provide aid is not binding.
Africa’s growing trade with Asia, especially China, is of concern to Europe, Hasselbach says. Africa’s share of global trade has increased steadily, from $277bn (2.3 percent) in 2001 to about $1 trillion (4.6 percent) in 2011, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development.
While Europe is still Africa’s largest trading partner, Africa’s trade with Asia grew by 22 percent during that time, while trade with Europe grew by only 15 percent. In addition, Europe’s contribution to Africa’s manufactured imports declined from 32 percent in 2002 to 23 percent in 2011, while Asia’s share increased from 13 percent to 22 percent during the same period.
More twists and turns are likely to take place in EU-Africa trade relations before next year, when implementation of the trade facilitation agreement should begin.
Big economies like Nigeria and South Africa are talking tough, but others are more circumspect. Rashid Pelpuo, Ghana’s minister of state for public-private partnerships, warns that trade agreements are always tied to “aid, technical and political assistance… It will be too costly not to sign.”
This feature is provided by the UN’s Africa Renewal Features Service.]]>
Your child throws a tantrum and smashes something? Take out “naughty child insurance”.]]> |||
YOUR child throws a tantrum and smashes something? Take out “naughty child insurance”.
Similarly, you can buy cover against your bride becoming pregnant before the honeymoon, your team being knocked out of the soccer World Cup, burning your tongue eating hotpot or if smog ruins your holiday.
Quirky, maybe, but China’s insurers are turning to ever more creative ways to drum up business in a market where growth has stalled and penetration rates of abound 3 percent, half the global average, are little changed from a decade ago. Premiums in China are less than $278 billion (R2.96bn) a year, way below the $1.3 trillion paid in the US, according to Munich Re and Swiss Re data.
“It’s consumer acquisition, a way to engage new customers,” said Joseph Ngai, who heads the Greater China financial institutions practice at McKinsey. “It’s primarily marketing.”
While most of the policies are short-term promotions, they offer insight into Chinese concerns.
Ping An Insurance Group Company of China, the world’s second-biggest life insurer by market value, has offered an “Accidental Pregnancy Before Honeymoon” policy to cover the cost of having to unexpectedly cancel a honeymoon.
It also offered a payout just to wives in the case of divorce, and another policy, akin to an investment plan, that paid out, after a certain period, if a couple stayed together. – Reuters]]>
Vodafone Group and Telefonica SA used a technology conference in Spain yesterday to call for the EU to focus less on new rules for phone companies and more on Facebook and Google to reduce their dominance.]]> |||
Amy Thomson and Rodrigo Orihuela London
VODAFONE Group Plc and Telefónica SA used a technology conference in Spain yesterday to call for the EU to focus less on new rules for phone companies and more on Facebook and Google to reduce their dominance.
The carriers are battling so-called network neutrality proposals, championed by internet companies, that they say will hurt business and discourage new products such as driverless cars. The proposals are meant to prevent carriers from blocking access to some websites or slowing web traffic.
“Network neutrality was invented by those who don’t want neutrality,” said Telefónica chief executive César Alierta. “All we request is a level playing field for the whole sector, not only for telcos.”
Internet companies have generally favoured stricter rules protecting the free flow of traffic on the web. Google, Facebook and more than 100 other online companies wrote to the US Federal Communications Commission in May urging the agency to protect the industry against service providers who discriminate against traffic.
These internet companies have become too dominant, giving them the power to control what applications are developed and used by consumers, the carriers said.
“They’re so obsessed with us not having a market share of 40 percent in countries like Ireland, countries with 3 million inhabitants, but they’re not concerned about a well-known company having 90 percent of the market in search engines,” Alierta said.
Google didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment today. A Facebook spokeswoman declined to comment.
Vodafone closed down 0.02 percent at 206.70 pence in London trading. It has declined 30 percent this year. Telefónica, up 2.1 percent this year, was down 0.08 percent to e12.06 in Madrid.
Vodafone chief Vittorio Colao said that the proposed rules could require carriers to treat all data flowing through their network the same, which would hurt the development of new services and applications that require a guaranteed service quality. “Driverless cars, health solution services, this will require a lot of bandwidth and a lot of speed and no delay. You don’t want to be in a driverless car getting to a traffic light and the network is congested.”
The carriers emphasised the importance of being allowed to merge into fewer, larger companies in Europe where competition has spurred price wars and cut into profits. Colao said that the conditions on acquisitions in Germany and Ireland, where regulators required carriers to open their networks to allow the creation of competing services, will prevent the industry from recovering.
Last year, the European Commission presented a package of reforms that were meant to unify the continent’s networks. The European Parliament presented its own amendments in April. That’s where the phone company says the laws became unreasonable.
The European Council will hold a digital summit on October 23. The group of heads of state of EU nations will have considered the proposals and come up with its own. The three versions will be reconciled before the council adopts it into law. – Bloomberg]]>
Japan and India agreed yesterday to strengthen strategic ties as Asia’s second- and third-biggest economies keep a wary eye on China, and said they would accelerate talks on the possible sale of an amphibious aircraft to India’s navy.]]> |||
Kiyoshi Takenaka Tokyo
JAPAN and India agreed yesterday to strengthen strategic ties as Asia’s second- and third-biggest economies keep a wary eye on China, and said they would accelerate talks on the possible sale of an amphibious aircraft to India’s navy.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, also agreed to speed up talks on an elusive co-operation deal on nuclear energy, welcoming “significant progress” in the negotiations.
“The two prime ministers reaffirmed the importance of defence relations between Japan and India in their strategic partnership and decided to upgrade and strengthen them,” Abe and Modi said in a statement after a summit in Tokyo.
Modi, on his first major foreign visit since his election in May, arrived on Saturday for a five-day trip aimed at capitalising on a personal affinity with Abe to bolster security and business relations in the face of an assertive China.
In a sign of their warm ties, the two leaders greeted each other with a bear hug when they met in Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto for an informal dinner. Modi is one of three people that Abe follows on Twitter, while the Indian leader admires Abe’s brand of nationalist politics.
“The 21st century belongs to Asia… but how the 21st century will be depends on how strong and progressive India-Japan ties are,” Modi told Japanese and Indian business executives earlier in the day.
“The 18th century situation of expansionism is now visible,” Modi said in a veiled reference to China, referring to incidents such as the encroachment on other countries’ territories and seas.
“Such expansionism would never benefit humanity in the 21st century,” he said. – Reuters]]>
Rising food prices helped push up Kenya’s consumer inflation rate last month to its highest level since June 2012, the statistics office said yesterday, making it more likely that the central bank will lift interest rates.]]> |||
RISING food prices helped push up Kenya’s consumer inflation rate last month to its highest level since June 2012, the statistics office said yesterday, making it more likely that the central bank will lift interest rates. Annual inflation rose to 8.36 percent in August from 7.67 percent in the previous month, it said. Consumer prices rose 0.94 percent from July, while the food and non-alcoholic beverages index was up 1.75 percent on the month. “With the [central bank rate] at 8.5 percent, there is room for a modest rise in the rate by the end of the year,” Razia Khan, the head of research for Africa at Standard Chartered Bank, said. The central bank’s monetary policy committee will meet tomorrow. – Reuters]]>
Euro zone manufacturing growth slowed slightly more than initially thought last month as new orders dwindled and factories suffered amid rising tensions in Ukraine, a business survey showed yesterday.]]> |||
EURO zone manufacturing growth slowed slightly more than initially thought last month as new orders dwindled and factories suffered amid rising tensions in Ukraine, a business survey showed yesterday.
Factories barely increased prices last month, and manufacturing activity in France fell at the fastest pace in 15 months, in disappointing news for the European Central Bank (ECB) before Thursday’s meeting to set monetary policy.
Markit’s final manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for last month came in at 50.7 points, the lowest in a year and below both July’s 51.8 and an earlier flash estimate of 50.8. Still, August did mark the 14th month the index has been above the 50 line that separates growth from contraction.
An index measuring output, which feeds into a composite PMI due tomorrow that is seen as a good guide to growth, sank to a 14-month low of 51 from July’s 52.7 but was just ahead of the flash reading of 50.9.
“Although some growth is better than no growth at all, the braking effect of rising economic and geopolitical uncertainties on manufacturers is becoming more visible,” said Markit economist Rob Dobson.
Tensions between Russia and Ukraine threaten to damage the region’s fragile recovery.
The factory PMI for Germany, Russia’s biggest trade partner in the EU, fell to an 11-month low of 51.4. In France, the bloc’s second-largest economy, the PMI fell to 46.9.
“France remains a real concern, as does Italy… Signs that growth impetus waned in the key industrial engine of Germany, and in Spain and the Netherlands too, is also less than reassuring,” Dobson said.
“The slowdown in industry is likely to add further fuel to the fire for analysts expecting additional monetary or fiscal stimulus to be implemented.”
The ECB would probably launch a quantitative easing programme by March next year in a bid to prevent deflation and jumpstart economic growth, but it is not expected to change policy this week, a Reuters poll found last week.
Prices rose just 0.3 percent last month, the smallest increase since October 2009, and the output price index in the PMI survey was only just above the break-even mark at 50.3. That was above July’s 50.1 but below a flash reading of 50.4. – Reuters]]>
The Public Investment Corporation (PIC), Africa’s biggest fund manager, favours South African platinum equities over those of gold, betting against the price performance of the metals and the share performance of the companies that mine them.]]> |||
Franz Wild and Janice Kew
THE PUBLIC Investment Corporation (PIC), Africa’s biggest fund manager, favours South African platinum equities over those of gold, betting against the price performance of the metals and the share performance of the companies that mine them.
The PIC, which manages assets of more than R1.4 trillion, is the biggest or second-largest shareholder in South Africa’s four biggest gold producers and two largest platinum producers.
It preferred platinum because of its industrial applications, while gold was primarily used in jewellery or for investment, chief investment officer Daniel Matjila said.
The gold price has advanced 7.2 percent this year compared with a 3.9 percent gain for platinum. At the same time, an index of gold stocks traded in Johannesburg surged 52 percent, heading for its first annual increase in three, while a measure of platinum shares declined 11 percent in what will be its fourth year of losses.
“Platinum is strategic in the long term,” Matjila said in an interview last week. “We like industrial metals, not those about sentiment.”
South Africa is Africa’s largest supplier of gold and the world’s biggest producer of platinum, accounting for about three quarters of supply.
The PIC, which manages money on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund, holds 11.8 percent of Impala Platinum (Implats), the second-largest producer of the metal, and 3.2 percent of Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), the biggest.
It also owns 7.6 percent of AngloGold Ashanti, 7.7 percent of Gold Fields, 7.5 percent of Sibanye Gold and 6.5 percent of Harmony Gold.
Output has tumbled at Amplats, Implats and Lonmin after a five-month wage strike this year, prompting the firms to review growth plans or to put mines up for sale.
“We want to hang in there,” Matjila said. “It should bounce back at some point. We are a long-term player.”
Police shot dead 34 protesters in August 2012 during a wage strike at Lonmin’s Marikana mine, the deadliest police action since the end of apartheid in 1994.
“The most important thing is to try and resolve all these problems around mining, the Marikana issue, the social issue,” Matjila said.
“We need to come up with a solution, at least a long-term solution.”
South Africa plans to promote manufacturing to reinvigorate sluggish economic growth, which measured an annualised 0.6 percent in the second quarter after contracting 0.6 percent in the first three months of the year.
South African companies should explore more ways of using platinum in domestic manufacturing, Matjila said.
Platinum is used in catalytic converters to reduce pollution from cars. Its use in fuel cells, which convert hydrogen into electricity, is being explored.
“It’s got such good industrial use. We need to figure out how to enhance that. Maybe through beneficiation and many other things, industries around that. And try to create even better value.”
The PIC would keep stakes in gold producers, Matjila said.
“We’ll continue to play in gold,” Matjila said.
“It’s still one of the most important precious metals in our view, but we don’t believe we’ll go in in a big way.
“The best we can do is just to keep the position we have at the moment.”
The PIC is also planning to boost its investment in producers of energy, a shortage of which has stifled South Africa’s economic growth.
The PIC would invest into potential shale gas projects “in a big way”, Matjila said.
Explorers including Royal Dutch Shell seek to tap as much as 390 trillion cubic feet of gas resources beneath the Karoo, the eighth-biggest deposit in the world, according to the US Energy Information Administration. As the government turns to private companies to help state-owned power utility Eskom fill a R225 billion expansion funding shortfall in the five years to March 2018, Matjila said the PIC would also be a “big player” in financing new power plants. – Bloomberg]]>
Bidvest Group listing its international food services unit in London might provide cheaper funding to expand into new markets, including the US, the company said.]]> |||
BIDVEST Group’s listing of its international food services unit in London might provide cheaper funding to expand into new markets, including the US, the company said yesterday.
“It has been quite complicated to continue to fund significant acquisitions abroad out of the South African balance sheet,” chief executive Brian Joffe said. “Management are quite keen, having now expanded into Europe [and] South America, to potentially get involved in the US.”
Bidvest has businesses ranging from food services to pharmaceuticals, with South Africa as its main market.
Acquisitions added R7.2 billion in sales last year. The company is evaluating a stock sale in London for its food-service unit as investor interest grows after deals in the UK and Italy.
Joffe said the funds involved to pursue an acquisition in the US were “quite significant”.
Roy Mutooni, an analyst with Renaissance Capital, said a listing in London would unlock value for shareholders and was an opportunity to incentivise management.
“The company has posted a solid performance both locally and internationally in the year ended June despite the R1bn write-down at Adcock Ingram. I think the consideration of a listing in London would strengthen the company,” he said.
For the year to June, trading profit advanced 16.6 percent to R8.9bn, Bidvest said yesterday. Turnover rose 19.7 percent to R183.6bn, of which food services ranging from distribution to ingredient manufacturing accounted for more than half.
“The prospects for the group remain positive, supported by the anticipated benefits arising from the significant acquisitions and investments made over the past year,” it said. “In South Africa, trading conditions are expected to remain tough, compounded by the impacts of a rising interest rate climate, its impact on consumer demand and low economic growth.”
Shares rose as much as 2.7 percent, the steepest intraday climb in five months, and closed 2.5 percent up at R288.34 on the JSE. – Additional reporting by Dineo Faku]]>
Without any sense of irony, a South African insurance company can offer cover against legal costs and proclaim: “There aren’t many advantages that go with being indigent, except for all the free legal services.”]]> |||
WITHOUT any sense of irony, a South African insurance company can offer cover against legal costs and proclaim: “There aren’t many advantages that go with being indigent, except for all the free legal services.”
It is ironic in more than one sense but it is true that legal aid is available in South Africa – as long as you are poor enough.
For South Africans earning more than R5 500 a month, after tax, our legal system is off limits, unless they are prepared to mortgage their homes to the hilt and empty their savings accounts. Legal Aid automatically disqualifies people who own their homes – or have ever owned their home in the past. You can be indigent but once you’ve owned property, no legal aid for you.
The facts are that only the super-rich or large corporations dare to appeal to the courts. All but the bravest individuals can risk it.
Is this an exaggeration? Well, consider this. A good advocate demands R1 200 an hour. That is R9 600 a day (assuming an eight-hour day) or R48 000 a week. Assuming 20 working days a month, a first-class advocate earns R192 000 a month. Even after giving the receiver of revenue his cut, it is a shed-load of money to pocket every 30 days – and an awful lot of cash for his client to find.
The advocate’s fee is, of course, not the only thing a private plaintiff will find on his bill. Substantially more than an eight-hour day may be spent on the case. There are other items too numerous to list here, but the point is made. Litigation is beyond the reach of the average white-collar worker as well as skilled trades people – whatever his or her colour.
Lawyering does very well. There are at least 20 000 registered lawyers who employ 40 000 more who are “support staff”. Apart from the mining industry and the civil service, it is difficult to find another sector of the economy employing more people.
Such are the potential awards that the number of students studying law is rising; some estimate 3 000 qualify every year.
One can only guess at the value of the lawyer business. Not every lawyer is an advocate. Most earn their livings from property law, conveyancing, and related matters, contracts, and estate administration.
It is true that there are a few who give their services free (again, only to the poor). Some will gamble on getting a settlement in cash, taking a percentage of the client’s winnings instead of charging by the hour – and getting nothing if they lose the case.
But if you are indigent, there are a host of lawyers willing to plead your case for nothing, even if you are accused of a crime. No advocate will defend you for free if you are not deemed poor. The poor are protected. Working stiffs are on their own.
Everything said so far is a non-professional’s view. What do lawyers say? They measure their fees against those in other countries such as Australia and Britain – a developing country measured against developed economies.
They will point to the pro bono scheme under which lawyers will not charge for services. But it depends on whether your case is deemed worthy enough, and there is a means test. Nevertheless, it is a worthy service, even though it is mandated by section 35 of the constitution, so it is hardly an example of generosity. They have to do it.
There is also another free service. It is called the First Interview Scheme. This, too, has a catch. You do not have to be indigent and you do get a free consultation with an attorney – once. After that first free interview, you pay. It is described by the Law Society as a service for “those members of the public who would not normally make use of the services of an attorney, or who may hesitate to consult an attorney for fear of the possible high fees resulting from their services, or for those who do not qualify for pro bono assistance”.
What a relief, the non-indigent may think. However, it turns out that: “Any legal steps which may be taken, or any further consultations arising from the interview, are payable at the normal tariff, which must be agreed upon between the attorney and the client. The client will then become a paying client of the attorney.” Mr Average you are still on your own.
Appeal to the courts if you dare. If you want to gamble, far better visit a casino, the odds of success might be superior.
If you’re feeling unlucky, take out legal insurance and pay every month, just in case. And read the fine print. Lawyers probably wrote it.
Keith Bryer is a retired communications consultant.]]>
Deeply indebted consumers, who collectively owe about R1.44 trillion, will get some relief when the petrol price drops 67c at midnight today.]]> |||
DEEPLY indebted consumers, who collectively owe about R1.44 trillion, will get some relief when the petrol price drops 67c at midnight today.
Neil Roets, the chief executive of one of South Africa’s largest debt management firms, Debt Rescue, said yesterday that there had been a steady decline in the ability of indebted consumers to repay their loans.
The decrease in the fuel price would help many South Africans who had been pushed into poverty by a variety of increases over the past months, including an 8 percent hike by Eskom in the cost of electricity, the 0.75 basis point increase in the repo rate this year, and an above-inflation rate increase in the cost of basic necessities such as food, Roets said.
Dawie Roodt, the chief economist at Efficient Group, was delighted with the petrol price decrease and said it would bring welcome relief to hard-pressed consumers.
“It is definitely going to put a few extra rands in the pockets of consumers.
“Now would be a good time to pay off outstanding debts and try to build up a nest egg for a rainy day,” he said.
Reckless lending has been brought into the spotlight by the recent failure of African Bank.
Wikus Olivier, a debt counsellor at DebtSafe, said a major part of the decline of South Africa’s credit health was due to the boom in unsecured, and often reckless, microlending.
“Years of reckless lending practices have resulted in many consumers becoming over-indebted and unable to keep up with their repayments due to a number of social and economic factors,” Olivier said.
He said that when the credit amnesty took place, much of the important information about the payment history of individuals was removed, meaning the same indebted consumers now stood the chance of gaining access to even further credit despite their inability to settle their existing accounts on their current income.
Mine Restoration Investments, the penny stock that listed on the JSE’s AltX in 2012, could be suspended at a time when it expects its newly commissioned coal briquetting project to boost revenue.
Yesterday, the JSE flagged how Mine Restoration had failed to submit its annual report for the year to June within the six-month prescribed period.
As a result it could be suspended or terminated from trading on the exchange if it failed to submit its annual report by September 30, the JSE said.
Mine Restoration’s newly appointed chief executive, Richard Stait, is confident it will meet the September 30 deadline. He told Business Report that financial headwinds had necessitated a delay in the company’s audit.
Stait also said the company would make an announcement within 24 hours on the coal briquetting project. Mine Restoration was established in a bid to clean up the acid mine water in gold mines on the Witwatersrand.
At the time of listing, Mine Restoration sets its sights on clinching a multimillion-rand tender from the government, which has yet to materialise.
There is no doubt that shareholders are disappointed after investing a lot of money in the acid mine drainage project.
Mine Restoration impaired more than R40 million. It was also unable to pay a R20m loan from the Development Bank of Southern Africa and it wanted to terminate its liability to the debt.
Fortunately for Mine Restoration, its coal briquetting project focuses on exploiting coal beneficiation opportunities. It is involved in a project at Keaton Energy’s Vaalkrantz colliery, where it produces coal briquettes through the processing of coal fines. Coal fines are an unwanted by-product in the coal mining industry.
Edited by Banele Ginindza. With contributions from Wiseman Khuzwayo and Dineo Faku.]]>