Swaziland – 16 March 2015

USA firms still keen to trade with SD
By Nomthandazo Nkambule
DESPITE the uncertainty of the country’s trade with the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), lots of firms in the United States of America (USA) still want to partner with firms in Swaziland.
USA Arthur Group Senior Partner Sam Arthur said the USA firms wanted to partner with others from Africa especially those from the Sub-Saharan Africa like Swaziland, Lesotho and many others.
He said there were possible collaborations in supply chain, diverse expertise, consulting, call centre, mining, information technology (IT), health care outsourcing and many others.
Arthur said there would be so many benefits for the countries associated with trading with the US and these included strengthening business relations, improvement in firms stability, reputation enhancement.
Swazi Observer


Time to pull the plug on SACU
By Peter Fabricius
The formula that determines how the customs and excise revenues gathered in the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) are distributed among its members looks, to a layperson, dauntingly complex. But this formula has had an enormous impact on the economic and even political development of the five SACU member states; South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland.
The impact has arguably been greatest on South Africa’s neighbours, the four smaller member states that are often referred to simply as the BLNS. But it has also had an impact on South Africa.
SACU was founded in 1910, the year the Union of South Africa came into existence, and is the oldest surviving customs union in the world. Originally it distributed customs revenue from the common external trade tariffs in proportion to each country’s trade.
Institute for Security Studies.


Labour minister concedes federations’ non registration impacting on SNPF
By Thembeka Dlamini
The continued non registration of unions is affecting the operations of the Swaziland National Provident Fund (SNPF) as it remains without a board.
The board disintegrated after the de-registration of the unions as the ministry of labour and social security wants them to be registered as per the requirements of the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act of 2014. The minister, however, assured SNPF management that this anomaly would soon be sorted during a tour of the headquarters in Manzini as part of her Vusela exercise.
“The present board no longer forms a quorum and the provident fund was affected because the tripartite structure collapsed as a result of deregistration of the federations,” the minister said.
Swazi Observer


Swaziland: Swazi King’s Birthday Excesses
By Swazi Media Commentary
King Mswati III of Swaziland will celebrate his 47th birthday at Buhleni, one of his 13 palaces, in the Hhohho region, one of the poorest regions of his kingdom.
Details of the celebrations on 19 April 2014 have yet to be announced, but if they follow celebrations in recent years King Mswati III, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, will ensure that many millions of dollars are spent on him.
In 2013 his birthday party cost US$3.6 million, but Percy Simelane, spokesperson for the Swazi Government, which is handpicked by the King, said this money did not come out of the kingdom’s budget for celebrations and national events. He told Voice of America radio, ‘The king’s birthday was privately sponsored this year, as [was] the case was last year.’
Swazi Media Commentary

CANGO relaunches its brand
By Winile Mavuso
The Coordinating Assembly of Non-Governmental Organisations (CANGO) has rebranded itself and launched its new logo in style during a function at Happy Valley yesterday.

The launch was attended by players in the NGO sector as well as donor organisations. Notables during the event included Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade Gideon Dlamini, Principal Secretary in the Deputy Prime Minister’s office Khangeziwe Mabuza, Swaziland Standards Authority Director Dr Lomkhosi Mkhonta, Swaziland Business Coalition against HIV and AIDS Director Thobile Dlamini, Save the Children Director Dumsani Mnisi and National Emergency Response Council on HIV and AIDS National Executive Director Khanya Mabuza.

In his opening remarks, CANGO Director Emmanuel Ndlangamandla outlined that CANGO was established in 1983 originally as a network of Primary Health Care NGOs. It expanded its mandate to be an umbrella body for non-governmental organisations in Swaziland in 1987. With a membership of about 70 NGOs, CANGO’s main mandate is focused on coordinating the NGO sector, building the capacity of its members to fulfill their mandate, influencing policies through advocacy and managing grants.
Swazi Observer


EDITORIAL: Sacu formula needs revision
By Nhlanhla Nene
LAST month’s budget estimated that about R979bn of tax revenue will flow into the public purse in the current fiscal year, which ends at the end of this month. Of this SA will pay almost R52bn to its Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) neighbours.
This is in terms of a formula that has been in place for just over a decade, since the Sacu — SA, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia — renegotiated an apartheid-era agreement from 1969 on how customs and excise revenue for the region would be shared.
Business Day

Police intimidation in Swaziland
By LO – Informasjons- og rådgivningsavdelingen
The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions has written a letter to Prime Minister in Swaziland strongly condemning the systematic interference by police in lawful and legitimate trade union activities.
The Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) organised a mass meeting scheduled to take place on 26 February 2015 at the Bosco Skills Centre Hall in Manzini in order to address questions related to the registration of trade unions, the loss of trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, the recognition of trade unions for collective bargaining purposes and other democratic rights. However, police intimidated the landlord of the Bosco Skills Centre Hall on 24 February 2015 indicating that he could not rent out the hall to TUCOSWA without the permission of the police. Police also reminded him that he had to follow the law of the land without stating which laws he would have violated by renting the space to TUCOSWA.
Landsorganisasjonen i Norge


Perks for elite, but budget gloomy for poor
By Lewis Simelane
Mbabane – Swaziland’s R16 billion 2015/16 government budget is proving controversial even in a country where dissent is usually stifled.
Although the projected government revenues this year will be R14.6bn, down from R14.8bn last year and guaranteeing a deficit, criticism of the budget presented to parliament this past week by Finance Minister Martin Dlamini has been directed towards spending priorities.
“Budgeting for the real things, Swaziland needs to grow its stagnant or shrinking economy. Agriculture should command 10 percent of the budget to make Swaziland once again food secure. Instead, the 3.3 percent of spending for agriculture is less than last year. The attitude among the leadership seems to be as long as there are donor groups and the UN to keep Swazis from starving, then government revenue is free to be used to beef up the security forces,” a Mbabane economist who requested anonymity said.
Business Report

I dare you! Ncongwane challenges govt
By Welcome Dlamini
Secretary General of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland Vincent Ncongwane leaves for London, England, next Sunday to talk about democracy in Swaziland.
The invitation comes a week after police stopped a TUCOSWA meeting from taking place because included in the day’s agenda was a deliberation on multi-party democracy. It also comes a couple of weeks after His Majesty King Mswati III, when delivering his Speech from the Throne during the opening of the second session of the 10th Parliament, expressed concern about individuals tarnishing the country’s image.
He said it should deeply concern every Swazi to hear people who have no knowledge of Swazi culture, “portraying it in bad light on some foreign forums”.
Swazi Observer


SD Loses Over 2500 Jobs, 660 Created In 2014/15
By Kwanele Dhladhla
MBABANE – Efforts by Swaziland Investment Promotions Authority (SIPA) to attract investments that could create jobs continue to be watered down by the number of job losses which surpassed the number of jobs created by 73 per cent.
This effectively means the 660 jobs created by SIPA through successfully inviting seven companies to open shop in Swaziland during the 2014/15 financial year did nothing to the country’s unemployment statistics since 2547 people were either retrenched or became redundant.
Times of Swaziland


Swaziland: Swazi King’s HIV Pledge in Ruins
By Swazi Media Commentary
Only weeks after King Mswati III of Swaziland said that he would personally wipe out the HIV virus in his kingdom, local media have reported a ‘panic’ as ARV drugs ran out.
The King, who has been mocked around the world for his claim to be able to rid Swaziland of HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS, made his claim in a speech opening the Swazi Parliament.
ARVs are drugs used to help people who are living with the HIV virus.
Swazi Media Commentary