MPs slash Sh500m from vaccine plant budget
Parliament has slashed the budget set aside for building a factory in Kenya to make vaccines including for Covid-19 by Sh500 million.
This is after the Budget and Appropriations Committee (BAC) backed the Health Committee’s recommendation to slash the Sh900 million seed capital that the Treasury allocated for a vaccine manufacturing plant in the mini-budget.
The Health Committee had proposed a Sh400 million cut but the BAC enhanced it to Sh500 million.
“Reduce Sh500 million (development) from establishment of the vaccine plant. The committee (Health) had reduced the same project by Sh400 million,” the committee said in a report on the Supplementary Budget I for 2021/22 financial year.
BAC did not provide reasons advanced by the Health committee to justify the huge cut on the budget for construction of the Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing plant.
Kenya had in January invited firms through a global tender to bid for the construction of a Covid-19 vaccine plant, the Kenya BioVax Institute, a State-owned commercial and manufacturing firm
The State has since picked American biotechnology firm Moderna to set up a manufacturing facility in Kenya, its first in Africa, to produce messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, including Covid-19 shots.
Moderna said it expects to invest about $500 million (Sh56.5 billion) in the Kenyan facility and supply as many as 500 million doses of mRNA vaccines to the African continent each year.
It also has plans to start filling doses of its Covid vaccine in Africa as early as 2023, following a deal with the Kenyan government.
(Source: Business Daily)
Suluhu calls for more investment in housing development
President Samia Suluhu Hassan yesterday said demand for housing was increasing annually, and asked the public and private sectors to step up investment in the area to address the challenge.
The Head of State also accepted a request from occupants of Magomeni Quarters that they be allowed to pay in instalments in order to gain full ownership of the houses at the end of the five-year grace period in which they would not pay rent.
President Hassan was speaking when she officially opened residential buildings worth TSh52.1 billion, whose construction began during the leadership of former President John Magufuli. The houses were built to accommodate 644 residents, who surrendered their land for the project.
President Hassan said available statistics showed that the country was facing a shortage of three million housing units, with the shortfall increasing annually by 200,000 units.
“This shows that there is a huge opportunity in the sector. TBA, Watumishi Housing Corporation and National Housing Corporation should collaborate with the private sector to increase investment in the area in order to address the challenge,” she said.
According to the President, improving public-private partnership could go a long way in swiftly addressing challenges the people were facing instead of waiting for the government’s intervention.
(Source: The Citizen)
Museveni directs minister to improve water coverage in Mityana
President Museveni has directed the Minister of Water and Environment, Sam Cheptoris, to quickly work out modalities of extending safe and clean water villages in Mityana District which are currently water stressed.
In a letter dated February 28, Mr Museveni said he had received information that about 120/720 villages in the area do not have a clean water source such as a borehole or a stand water pipe, which puts lives at risk.
“I am therefore directing you [Minister for Water] to work with lands minister Judith Nabakooba to rectify this. The policy of the NRM is all the 70,000 villages of Uganda should, as of now, have at least one good source of water and the plan is that more sources per village should be created in the coming years so that people do not have to line up for water ,” Mr Museveni’s letter reads in part.
Uganda failed to attain the access to clean water target in rural areas as planned in the Water and Environment development sector plan 2015/2016 to 2019/2020, according to government data.
The plan targeted 79 percent clean water access from boreholes in rural areas, but only 68.7 percent was attained between 2016 and 2020. Out of the 60,000 boreholes constructed across the country, 12,000 are not functional and the government is capable of repairing only 40 percent of boreholes that break down.
“Government needs UgShs1 billion annually for maintenance of boreholes,”Mr Alfred Okot Okidi, the permanent secretary Ministry of Water said on March 23.
(Source: The Monitor)
Kagame, King Abdullah of Jordan meet
President Paul Kagame on Wednesday, March 23, arrived in Aqaba, Jordan, where he was welcomed by His Majesty Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein.
In Jordan, Kagame is expected to attend the Aqaba Process Meeting on East Africa slated for March 24.
Prior to the meeting, the heads of state held a bilateral meeting, according to the Presidency.
“Today’s bilateral meeting discussed enhancing ongoing areas of cooperation between Jordan and Rwanda,” the Presidency said in a tweet.
In 2015, King Abdullah II launched the Aqaba Process to comprehensively address interconnected counter-terrorism and violent extremist threats through informal discussions around three key themes including; prevention, coordination and ‘filling in the gaps.’
(Source: The New Times)
Zewde Advises Riparian States of Transboundary Watercourse to Avoid Politicising Water
In her speech to the 9th World Water Forum in Dakar, President Sahle-Work Zewde advised riparian states of transboundary watercourse to avoid politicising water.
Heads of States, ministers, parliamentarians, civil society organisations, private sector, intellectuals are in attendance of a forum underway in Dakar, Senegal.
President Zewde highlighted in her speech GERD and the Green Legacy Initiative.
She stressed the need to address common challenges through three interrelated approaches, namely ensuring political commitment, seeing water as a technical matter and avoiding politicisation, and genuine cooperation which is not an option but rather a necessity for riparian states of trans-boundary watercourse.
The World Water Forum is the world’s largest event on water. It has been organised every three years since 1997 by the World Water Council, in partnership with a host country.
The 9th Forum is the first of its kind to be hosted in sub-Saharan Africa.
By bringing together participants from all levels and areas, including politics, multilateral institutions, academia, civil society and the private sector, among others, the World Water Forum provides a unique platform where the international water community and key decision makers can collaborate and make long-term progress on global water challenges.
(Source: Ethiopian News Agency)
Sudan opposition welcome US sanctions against Central Reserve Police
The Khartoum State Resistance Committees and the Forces for Freedom and Change have welcomed the announcement of US Treasury sanctions against the Sudan Central Reserve Police (CRP, popularly known as Abu Tira) for serious human rights abuses. The US Treasury listed the excessively violent repression of peaceful pro-democracy protests by the security forces as the main reason.
The spokesman for the resistance committees in Khartoum, Fadhil Omar, told the Sudan Today programme on Radio Dabanga that the resistance committees welcome the US sanctions and called for them to be applied stringently, to stop the violations against the demonstrators.
Bushra El Sayem, the leader of the opposition Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), described the sanctions as “a precursor to other penalties that will include the chain of command in the current coup authority”.
Bushra told Sudan Today that he believes that the sanctions against the Central Reserve Police might have an impact on the supply of rubber bullets, “and the rest of the tools of repression used by the police”.
As reported by Radio Dabanga, yesterday, a statement by the US Treasury highlights that “the CRP has used excessive force against pro-democracy protesters peacefully demonstrating against the military-led overthrow of the civilian-led transitional government in Sudan”.
(Source: Radio Dabanga)
International Community Condemns Assassination Of MP Amina
Members of the international community have condemned the suicide bombing on 23rd March in Beledweyne, the capital of Hiran region, targeting Amina Mohamed Abdi, a member of the 10th parliament.
EU Ambassador to Somalia Tiina Intelmann wrote a short message on Twitter condemning acts of terrorism and politically motivated killings, and sent condolences to MP Amina for the suicide bombing.
“The European Union condemns acts of terrorism and politically motivated killings, and extends its condolences to the family of MP Amina,” said Tiina Intelmann, EU Ambassador to Somalia.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has strongly condemned the killing of a Somali lawmaker in Mogadishu.
A statement from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Mogadishu called for an investigation into the assassination of lawmaker Amina Mohamed, and called for a peaceful and secure election process.
British Ambassador to Somalia Kate Foster has described yesterday’s bombings in Mogadishu and Beledweyne as aimed at disrupting elections in Somalia.
At least 30 people have been confirmed dead in a series of suicide bombings in Beledweyne while many others have been seriously injured and buildings destroyed.
(Source: Radio Dalsan)