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Thursday, 3 March 2011

Regional Watch

Murmurings in Mozambique on whether the time is now right for the government to renegotiate contracts with some of the mega-projects that have come to dominate the economy.

The Economist on the most expensive city in the world dubbed the "New Dubai". Unfortunately, in typical Economist style no coherent explanation of why this.

A familiar story from Tanzania. Despite claims of a boom in its  mining industry, the bulk of taxes paid to the government comprises deductions from the workers' wages.

Zimbabwe's health crisis reaches another crescendo as the government announces that the country has run out of the critical painkiller morphine - replacing it with indigenous medicine.


  1. Cho,

    " Zimbabwe's health crisis reaches another crescendo "

    What 'crescendo', unless you are referring to relentless multi-billion propaganda campaign that has been passing for 'media coverage', ever since they decided to redistribute land to around 350,000 families instead of 6,000 white farmers.

    There are elections coming up, and the MDC think they are going to lose - because people are seeing through them. So they are going to need an excuse for not participating.

    If they do, be prepared for a lot of negative news stories on Zimbabwe that apparently have nothing to do with the elections, but create a general feeling of gloom and doom.

    Also be prepared never to hear a word about the economic sanctions that are still in force against Zimbabwe, and that have put a credit freeze on the Zimbabwean government since December 21st 2001.

    I would like to see some honest reporting on the economic sanctions - not merely the 'travel restrictions' and sanctions against individual businesses, although they have an economic impact too - the global credit freeze of the Zimbabwean government that caused hyperinflation in 2002 and onwards.

  2. From Mozambique:

    Cited by the independent television station STV, he stressed he was not suggesting that a law be passed one day and amended on the following day. "That's not what I'm saying", he declared. "But the conditions do exist for us to rethink what we did 10 or 15 years ago".

    And from Tanzania:

    At least 54.5 per cent of the taxes collected from mining, gas and oil companies in the country is being paid by ordinary workers in form of various taxes, according to a new report released here yesterday by the Tanzania Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (TEITI).

    Can you say PAYE?

    This is the same all over the region I guess, and is part of the IMF/WB privatisation scam.

    What heartens me is that the Patriotic Front is getting behind the Windfall Tax.

    Zambians not benefiting from mines - Simuusa
    By Brina Manenga
    Thu 03 Mar. 2011, 04:00 CAT

    “People are not benefiting enough from the mining sector compared to the people who run these mines. The resources that are obtained from the mining sector are not trickling down to the poor people of Zambia. Out of the whole mining revenue we are only getting about three per cent which is totally unacceptable,” Simuusa said.

  3. Morphine in short supply
    Tuesday, 15 February 2011 20:12

    arvs.jpgHigh costs of importing raw materials used in the production of morphine has resulted in severe shortage of the drug in most government hospitals, a situation that has seen chronic and terminally ill patients having to resort to other options.

    Government hospitals, especially referral centres which cater for high volumes of patients have been hit by a shortage of morphine, an essential medicine used for managing acute pain.

    Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, Retired Brigadier, Dr Gerald Gwinji confirmed that there is a shortage of the drug in tablet form which are taken orally and the powder that is mixed with water.

    These are usually given to patients who may not necessarily require admission but experience severe pain nevertheless.

    Dr Gwinji said the injectable morphine stocks which are currently available, are reserved for hospital use only.

    Chronic, terminally ill people and those with cancer that has spread to the bones require doses of morphine to help them deal with pain.

    At the moment patients have to use other drugs like pethidin.

    Dr Gwinji attributed the shortage of morphine to constraints in production costs, saying the local company that produces the drug imports raw materials from South Africa.

    Morphine is in a group of drugs called narcotic pain relievers, and is used to treat moderate to severe pain.

    It works by dulling the pain perception centre in the brain.

    The health sector is one of the areas that have been hardest hit by illegal sanctions imposed on the country by the west.

  4. Even the Botswanan opposition is getting in on this trend. And rightly so. Africa is getting ripped off left right and center. No one should be hungry or poor, but gold, diamonds, copper, bauxite, uranium and much more are leaving the continent without us benefiting from it.

    Botswana politicians want Mugabe-style leadership in mining
    By: Botswana Gazette-TZG
    Posted: Wednesday, March 2, 2011 10:24 am

    BOTSWANA is not benefitting from its huge mineral resources and would prefer to have a leadership style like that of President Mugabe to ensure that its people have access to those resources, says leading politicians in that country.

    Councillor for Monarch South Ignatius Moswaane said he would prefer President Mugabe's leadership style when it comes to dealing with mining industry investors.



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