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Rejoinder to Musa Bility’s Rants

first_imgI learned something new about the circumstances surrounding our recent fuel debacle. It was Aminata, not Srimex (my apologies to Musa Bility) that was given the exclusive right by LPRC management to bring in 6,500 tons of diesel (equivalent to 2 million gallons, about 2 weeks’ consumption). All other importers were forbidden to bring in any product until Aminata’s had landed.  Problem is that Aminata’s cargo was supposed to have come in on January 10th. It is February 16th and no sign of that cargo. If TOTAL, the foreign importer that Musa Bility complains so much about, had not come to our rescue with a 7,000 ton cargo that is now discharging, the economic wellbeing and security of our nation would have been put at serious risk.To support his claim that I was in the pocket of foreign importers, Mr. Musa Bility asserted, on T. Max Jlateh’s radio talk show “50/50”, that local importers’ market share never exceeded 15 % while I was managing director of LPRC. As the table below shows, that assertion is patently false.Fig. 1 LPRC Gasoline & Diesel Import Statistics                 Liberian Importers       Foreign Importers         All ImportersYear      Thousand Gallons         %    Thousand Gallons    %    Thousand Gallons    %2005               5,169               12%         39,674               88%       44,843             100%2006             17,870               35%        33,295                65%       51,165             100%2007             20,719               39%        31,859                61%       52,578             100%2008             12,150               19%        52,327                81%       64,477             100%2009             21,080               35%        39,725                65%       60,805             100%2010             12,041               15%        65,859                85%       77,900             100%2011             19,039               23%        63,019                77%       82,058             100%I took over as managing director in January 2006 and left in September 2009. One can see that there was a dramatic increase in the market share of Liberian importers during my first year in office, from just 12% in 2005 to 35% in 2006. That growth continued into the next year, 2007. In fact, the market share of Liberian importers for gasoline was 50%. So much for the claim that I was in the pocket of the foreign importers.I achieved these dramatic results for Liberian importers without imposing any quotas or limiting the right of any importer to import. I simply helped Liberian importers in a number of non-discriminatory ways. I put in a good word for some with product suppliers and even arranged financing for one, unbeknownst to him. I simply told him, “You will receive a phone call from such and such company. They will extend credit to you.” I hooked the very Musa Bility up with a large Nigerian oil company, OANDO, but that relationship unfortunately went sour because of his unorthodox business practices.The market share of the 3 Liberian importers at the time dropped precipitously in 2008 because they did not take my advice. I warned them that the foreign importers would not take kindly to their eating their lunch and would likely come back strong. To counter that, I suggested that they form one giant company so they could more effectively compete. But instead of doing that, they got seduced by their new-found wealth and chose to “diversify” into new territory, businesses with which they were unfamiliar, a classic mistake of burgeoning Liberian entrepreneurs.I learned several decades ago from the legendary Liberian industrialist, Steve Tolbert, that if you diversify away from your core business into unknown territory without having the management infrastructure in place, you risk failure, and that is exactly what happened. As the price of crude oil escalated during the first and second quarters of 2008, reaching a peak of US$148/barrel, Siaka Turay (Aminata) decided he wanted to be a rice mogul, went to China and took a large position on rice, thinking the price would continue to rise. Bad move. The price dropped dramatically and he lost his shirt. The financing company backing him almost went bankrupt.Musa Bility (Srimex) wanted to be the cement king of Liberia. He similarly lost a ton of money. These costly mistakes impacted severely on their core business, petroleum importation, because they used their petroleum money to finance their forays into unchartered waters. They were unable to pay their petroleum vendors on time, the vendors started reducing the amount of credit they were willing to give them and the downward spiral took hold, such that by the end of 2008 their market share had dropped precipitously from a high of 39% to 19%.By 2011, the rot had set in. That’s when LPRC management decided to step in and set up the cartel of Aminata, Srimex and Conex (Cherif Abdallah) and to force foreign importers to buy through the cartel members, under the guise of “Liberianization”. If you deduct some 4.7 million gallons of product that MOTC was forced to buy from Srimex that year, the true market share of the Liberian importers in 2011 was 11%, not 23%, a level that was even lower than they had attained in 2005, the year before I took over at LPRC!             Mr. Bility would have us believe that the cozy monopoly that the Three Musketeers aka the Mandingo Mafia have arranged with LPRC Managing Director T. Nelson Williams to guarantee them healthy profits is good for us, the consuming public, because the monopolists are Liberian. Well, a monopoly is a monopoly is a monopoly, no matter the skin color of the monopolist. And we in this country know from bitter experience how harmful monopolies can be. Put another way, we know how beneficial to consumers free markets are. On the day Cellcom launched in 2004, the price of international calls dropped by 50% from US$1.00 per minute to 50cents. Sim cards that used to cost US$65.00 now cost as little as US$1.00. And the cell phone wars bombarding us on our airwaves have resulted in lower and lower toll rates.My wife and I are in the food service business (P. A’s RIBHOUSE). We have never asked the government to exclude anyone from the catering or restaurant business whether they are white people, brown people, yellow people, Lebanese, French, Italian, Chinese, Vai, Mandingo, Fulah, Mende, Gio, Mano, Gola, Kpelle, Kru, Krahn, Sapo, etc. We are willing to compete, to take our chances in the rough and tumble of the marketplace, where sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. The customer, not the government, should determine who prospers and who falls by the wayside. That is the essence of our free market system.Mr. Bility wants us to believe that a cartel of 3 Mandingo boys (out of total complement of 11 importers, including 7 Liberian importers) is a valid definition of “Liberianization”? Puhleeeaze! Had he told me that when I was MD at LPRC, I would have promptly revoked his importation license, created my own Bassa Mafia by collecting 3 boys from Kokoyah (my home), issuing them import licenses, arranging product supplies and financing for them, and regaling them as paragons of Liberianization virtue. What a crock! The current cartel of the Three Musketeers at LPRC has a bad smell to it. It lacks transparency, is corrupt by its very nature and should be done away with.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Fire Alarm Halts Senate Session

first_imgSenators attending regular session yesterday hurriedly fled the Senate Chambers on hearing reports of a fire outbreak in the building.The fire, which reportedly started from the high ceiling of the Chamber, was immediately brought under control with no serious damage to that important section of the Capitol Building which hosts Legislators during joint sessions.At the time of the alarm, the lawmakers were discussing a letter from the Minister of Health-designate, Dr. Bernice Dahn, in response to the one sent to the Senators by the National Health Workers Association of Liberia (NAHWAL) asking them not to confirm her.The discussion which turned into a heated debate was prompted by a call to order by Lofa County ranking Senator George Tengbeh. Sen. Tengbeh called for a halt to the reading of Dr. Dahn’s letter, citing its voluminous nature. In line with precedent, not rule, he called for a motion that the letter be sent to the Committee on Health.But the motion, not the call to order, was vehemently protested against by several Senators, with Maryland County Sen. Dan Morais taking the lead, citing Rule 50 of the Senate.Sen. Morais and those siding with him reminded their colleagues that the letter must be read in its entirety as approved by plenary when it was passed as an agenda item for yesterday’s sitting.This argument was however, short-lived when Pro Tempore Armah Jallah announced: “There is report of a fire in the Joint Chambers, and session is hereby suspended.”That notice did not need repeating, as Senators hurriedly collected their documents and other belongings and left the Chamber. The lights went out immediately thereafter.Meanwhile, Dr. Dahn’s lengthy letter, only half of which was read, carried several attachments and gave specific reasons that led to the dismissals of the two NAHWAL leaders, Messrs. Joseph Tamba and George Williams, president and secretary general, respectively.Firstly, Dr. Dahn said their dismissals were based on the death in Grand Gedeh County of a pregnant woman who needed a caesarian section and was denied care by an anesthetic nurse on duty. “This (was) sheer wickedness in addition to a total neglect and gross breach of our medical ethics…and the non-compulsory response to journalists’ questions posed to the leadership of NAHWAL on what their regrets were in relation to the woman’s death. Their response (allegedly) was that ‘this is a revolution.’Dr. Dahn said this “hardened response prompted the senior management team of the Ministry to advise the Minister of Health to apply the law which prevents such action by civil servants. This advice was endorsed by the executive.”Dr. Dahn then wondered whether the Ministry was wrong for being the voice of the people. “A dead pregnant woman, a deceased baby…had it been one of us, Honorable members of the Senate or one of our immediate relatives, what would we have expected of the Minister of Health? Please Sirs, kindly ponder these thoughts from the human perspective and advise us…,” said Dr. Dahn in her letter. It may be recalled that NAHWAL through its leadership recently launched a scathing attack on Dr. Dahn in a three-page letter to the Senate cataloguing alleged misdeeds that if considered by that body cannot qualify her for the post.In the letter dated April 20 Messrs. Williams and Tamba accused Dr. Dahn of constantly discouraging partners, who desired to add a little more to incentives of health workers, as was the case at the Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town.NAHWAL, according to the letter, “strongly believes that if government’s agenda is for an improved health care delivery system in the post-Ebola era, then certainly, Dr. Dahn, the former CMO, who led the sector for ten years to its total collapse, cannot be a worthy steward of the Ministry of Health & Social Welfare.”In another development, the Senate yesterday granted Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Amara Konneh an excuse to allow him to attend the 52nd Anniversary of the African Development Bank (AfDB) conference in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.As one of the governors, Mr. Konneh informed the Senate that he was expected to deliver a paper and also vote for the next leadership of the Bank, and as such, he was requesting that the Senate allow him to appear before them next week to be able to adequately answer questions related to his recent town hall statement in the United States.The Senate granted his request and Minister Konneh will now appear on Thursday, June 4.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Man charged with woman’s murder to spend more time behind bars

first_imgA 35-year-old mason of Tuschen Housing Scheme, East Bank Essequibo (BE), was on Thursday further remanded to prison for the murder of a 27-year-old woman back in 2008.Sylvester Vanderhyden made yet another court appearance at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan. He was previously charged and was not required to enter a plea to the charge and as such, he was remanded to prison.On Thursday, the accused was further remanded. He will make his next court appearance on November 1, 2018.The charge stated that on November 5, 2008, at Agricola, Greater Georgetown, Vanderhyden murdered Melissa Payne. After being on the run for nine years, he was arrested in May last year, and was subsequently charged with the indictable offence.According to reports, Payne was fatally shot after she attempted to resist the perpetrator of a brazen attack on herself and a male companion.The pair had encountered mechanical problems and had exited the canter truck in which they were travelling when they were accosted by several armed men who relieved them of a bag containing some $110,000 in cash along with a quantity of jewellery.It was after Payne exhibited reluctance to hand over her handbag that she was shot by one of the perpetrators. The men then made good their escape.Payne’s companion, who was named as David Fraser, reported flagging down a motorist who transported the bleeding woman to the hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival.Soon after the incident, several men were arrested, and Jermine Savory of Agricola was charged with the murder of Payne after he allegedly cracked under pressure and admitted to his involvement in the crime.Savory, however, denied ever firing the fatal shot at the woman.last_img read more

Leipheimer starts off with familiar result

first_img“I had a lot more pressure this year,” said Leipheimer, whose time was about 4 seconds faster than his winning effort last year. “Last year, I knew I’d ride a good time trial, but I didn’t expect to win. This year, I was expected to win, and I expected myself to win.” First-year pro Jason Donald, the eighth of 144 riders on the course, finished second in 4:50.49. Ben Jacques-Maynes was third in 4:54.26. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SAN FRANCISCO – Levi Leipheimer repeated his winning performance from last year, leading an American sweep Sunday in the Amgen Tour of California prologue. Leipheimer completed the 1.9-mile primarily uphill circuit to Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill in 4 minutes, 49.05seconds at an average speed of 23.994 mph. center_img Leipheimer, a three-time Tour de France top-10 finisher, was the last cyclist on the course as the defending prologue titlist. The Montana rider’s strong effort was apparent as he posted the fastest split times along the route. Leipheimer will wear the race leader’s jersey in today’s first stage, the 97.1-mile road race from Sausalito to Santa Rosa. A former Tour of Germany winner, Leipheimer finished sixth in the inaugural Tour of California, 1:10 behind winner Floyd Landis. last_img read more

KPL decline FKF request to postpone fixtures

first_img“We received a request from FKF on the same but we have declined because it is not an obligation for clubs to release their players. We are running on a very tight schedule and moving the fixtures will only work to congest the calendar further,” Oguda told Capital Sport.He added; “They really have to plan on how they are going to use players. If clubs want to release players then it is under their own violation but games will continue.”The federation had asked matches to be shelved to allow new head coach Sebastien Migne assess his squad having called up a squad of 24 players who are set to report to camp Monday morning.-Formal request“We made a formal request and we will still continue to engage to see whether in the spirit of sportsmanship we can have the games shelved. It is not a must because it is out of the FIFA calendar but we are only hoping we can have an agreement in goodwill,” FKF communications Chief Barry Otieno said.As thus, Migne might have a challenge fielding strong sides in the friendly games against Swaziland and Equatorial Guinea. Most assuredly, he will be without Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards players who play in the Mashemeji Derby on Saturday in Kakamega.Gor Mahia boss Dylan Kerr on Sunday admitted at being in the dark over what exactly will transpire in the coming week.“The coach told me he needs the players in camp on Monday morning and again we have the derby coming up which is a huge game so I don’t know how things will go. If the derby is on, most definitely I will need my best players available,” the coach offered.The squad of 24 players called up on Saturday has seven Gor Mahia players and three from AFC while three more are on the standby list. In total Migne already has 10 players out of the fixture.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Harambee Stars head coach Sebastian Migne leads players in training. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYANAIROBI, Kenya, May 21- The Kenyan Premier League (KPL) has declined a request from the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) to shelve this weekend’s fixtures including the Gor Mahia v AFC Leopards Mashemeji Derby to allow Harambee Stars play two friendly matches on Friday and Monday.According to KPL Chief Executive Officer Jack Oguda, the two friendly games do not fall in the FIFA calendar and hence are under no obligation to shelve fixtures.last_img read more

Who will win the World Cup, according to journalists and broadcasters

first_img diamond geezer You’re the one LATEST WORLD CUP NEWS Martin Lipton – SunSport World Cup reporter“Of course I’d love to say England. It would be the greatest thrill of my professional and football life to see them do it.“But I think that Croatia, with their guile and experience, might prove a hurdle too high.“I also think that England will put up such a contest that Croatia will be drained and that the winners will come from the other semi-final.“While France arguably have the best squad left in, Belgium play football the right way.“In Hazard, de Bruyne and Lukaku, they have three attacking players I would pay to watch. And I think the quality of that trio will make the Red Devils footballing Gods on Sunday.” 5 England players celebrate beating Colombia on penalties A reminder to Liverpool fans about the very comical threat Neymar offers Watch every goal England scored at the 2018 World Cup Belgium’s Golden Generation are on the verge of a World Cup semi-final David Coverdale – SunSport World Cup reporter“Belgium. Their confidence is sky high after that sensational win over Brazil.“Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard are playing better than ever and Kevin De Bruyne has come to the party now, too.“Their Golden Generation know it is now or never and they do not look like letting this chance slip.” Dele Alli reveals pre-match rituals and lucky charms he has before matches Charlie Wyett – SunSport World Cup reporter“England will get to the World Cup final. After that fortune comes into it so let’s feel lucky. England.” 5 Neil Custis, SunSport World Cup reporter“England. Having witnessed Croatia struggle to get past hosts Russia in Sochi I genuinely believe they have nothing to fear in their semi-final.“The problem is either France or Belgium in the final as they have been the two stand-out teams in the whole tournament.“The players will have to produce the performance of their lives to win that, but they can do it. We have to believe. Come on England.” Pure class Good times Why does Luis Suarez kiss his wrist when he celebrates a goal? LU BEAUTY ‘It could have been me’ – Allardyce admits World Cup was tough to watch Arsenal star Laurent Koscielny admits he didn’t want France to win World Cup Shy guy 5 SUPERSTITION misery England fans are having the time of their lives this summer Paul Pogba buys France World Cup winners specially designed rings 5 Lukaku has scored four World Cup goals so far Olivier Giroud confirms N’Golo Kante is the nicest man in football The World Cup semi-finals are on talkSPORT at 19:00 (UK time) on Tuesday 10 July and Wednesday 11 July here.There are just four teams left, but who will win football’s biggest prize?Of the sides in the semi-final, only France (1998) and England (1966) have won the World Cup before, so talkSPORT.com asked journalists based in Russia for the 2018 edition who they think will triumph.Adrian Durham – talkSPORT Drive host“I want England to win the World Cup, but I think Belgium are the best of the four teams left so logic tells me to go for them. [Romelu] Lukaku is unplayable at times and contributes so much even when he doesn’t score. [Eden] Hazard has been my player of the tournament but they are vulnerable. I want England, but I’ll say Belgium.” NO JOY Learn the words for England’s catchy Gareth Southgate song Fallon d’Floor 5 Southgate makes young England fan’s day by replying to his letterlast_img read more

WEATHER ALERT: WINDS IN DONEGAL TO HIT HURRICANE FORCE, SAY FORECASTERS

first_imgHURRICANE force wind gusts are on their way to Donegal on Monday, forecasters have just said.In an urgent weather warning, the reputable online weather site The Meteo Times, says the morning rush hour is going to be accompanied by horrendous conditions.“The current period of strong winds continues as another frontal system arrives on Monday morning, bringing strong and very gusty south-southwesterly winds to all parts of the country during the day,” said forecaster Peter O’Donnell. “Winds will strengthen as the rain band reaches the west coast before dawn, quickly spreading eastwards across the country during the morning and afternoon. Winds will be strong gale-force along coasts, possibly reaching storm-force in the west and northwest for a time. Gusts could reach up to 130 kph in exposed locations in Clare, Galway, Mayo and Donegal, with 80-100 kph more typical elsewhere.“Behind the fronts winds will veer westerly and ease towards evening, first in the west, then in the east around midnight.”High tides could also cause coastal flooding and Met Eireann has issued a warning for possible disruption along the Donegal coast.Lightning strikes and heavy winds brought power disruption to many areas on Sunday, including Killybegs, Creeslough and Letterkenny. Gardai and all the main motoring organisations have issued weather warnings in the past hour. WEATHER ALERT: WINDS IN DONEGAL TO HIT HURRICANE FORCE, SAY FORECASTERS was last modified: January 28th, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Donegal DailySAY FORECASTERSweatherWEATHER ALERT: WINDS IN DONEGAL TO HIT HURRICANE FORCElast_img read more

Taiwanese TV station finances investigated

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! A Taiwanese news channel with a bureau in the San Gabriel Valley is fighting an investigation by the Taiwan government into the broadcaster’s finances.“The (Taiwan) Government Information Office continues to fine us, they just fined us a million (Taiwanese) dollars,” said Lynn Tso, TVBS bureau chief in Pasadena.Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian threatened to shut down the station last month, saying its business model violates Taiwanese law because of its support from a major Hong Kong investor. Chen revoked the threat in early November, but the station was fined on Tuesday the equivalent of about U.S. $31,000 and an investigation continues.“The government considers its shareholder structure illegal,” said Paul Chang, a Taiwan government spokesman.Chang said Taiwan law prohibits media companies from being majority owned by foreign investors. TVBS is 53 percent owned by Run Run Shaw, a legendary Hong Kong movie producer.The conflict between TVBS and Chen’s government is being watched by local Taiwanese.“Some people take it very emotionally,” said Wencheng Lin of the Taiwanese American Citizens League in Rosemead. jason.kosareff@sgvn.com(626) 962-8811, Ext. 2717last_img read more

R9.5bn to grow business competitiveness

first_img23 February 2012 Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has allocated R9.5-billion over the next three years to boost South African businesses through competitiveness incentives and investment in technology, enterprise development and agriculture. The bulk of this – R5.75-billion – has been allocated to the Department of Trade and Industry as part of a manufacturing competitiveness enhancement programme which will kick off in April.Special economic zones Added to this, R2.25-billion has been set aside in incentives over the next three years for businesses that invest in special economic zones. The remaining R1.5-billion has been allocated to provincial and rural agricultural colleges (R150-million), the Agricultural Research Council (R400-million), the Council for Geoscience (R200-million) and the Council for Mineral Technology (R150-million). The Department of Science and Technology has also been allocated R350-million of the R9.5-billion to fund technology manufacturers, place graduates in small businesses, and commercialise new technology in nanotechnology, renewable energy and waste, titanium and satellite development.Manufacturing competitiveness The manufacturing competitiveness enhancement programme will provide production and distressed funding support to boost productivity and competitiveness, raise investment and create jobs. Businesses that invest in new machinery, plant and equipment, as well as in product development, process redesign, standards accreditation, and feasibility and marketing studies, will qualify for the incentive. The programme is aimed at labour-intensive sectors already covered by incentives – including the clothing, textiles, leather and footwear and automotive sectors. Incentives will target improvements to business conditions and productivity through skills development, business incubation, reducing red tape, technology transfers and adaptation, and providing access to markets and logistics. Last month, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies unveiled a new bill for special economic zones – which are an extension and improvement of the current industrial development zones. Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Sponsor Post: Powering the Grid: The $200 Million GE ecomagination Challenge

first_imgRelated Posts Tags:#Sponsors#web rww sponsor 1 A major topic of interest among the tech-savvy is how to improve the power grid, which will enable us to reduce power and use it more efficiently, resulting in lower energy bills. The GE ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid is seeking the best new grid technologies, models, and processes for clean, usable energy. GE and its partners have committed to invest $200 million in ideas submitted by inventors, technologists, and entrepreneurs who come up with marketable ways to create and connect power with improved grid intelligence and efficiencies.Do you have creative ideas about power grid technology? If so, GE wants to hear from you.If your energy-saving grid solution is one of the ideas selected by the challenge judges, it might just come to life with the help of a cash grant, a GE research center fellowship, a cooperative product development agreement, and/or an equity investment.The GE ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid combines its eco-conscious effort with an interactive social community that tracks online votes, highlights contest entries, and provides facts and figures about grid technologies and renewable resources.To enter, visit the GE ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid site by Sept. 30, 2010, or download the free iPhone app. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more