Justice Johnson Turns 75

first_imgThe Chairperson of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR), and retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Cllr. Gladys K. Johnson, has warned individuals, especially the youth, against occupying offices or positions in which they were not trained or schooled.Cllr. Johnson also warned the government against misplaced employment, arguing “that attitude of allowing people to learn on the jobs is one of the main reasons causing problems in the country.”The Liberian human right Chair made these remarks on Saturday, August 22 during the celebration of 75th birth anniversary at her 72nd boulevard residence.Commissioners and Staff of the INHCR, UNMIL, friends and family members graced her diamond jubilee.The retired Associate Justice in her special remarks also admonished the youths to be prepared by going to school for the challenges ahead, stating that generational change can only be done when the next generation (the youth) is schooled or trained.“I want to thank the Almighty God for making me to see my 75th birthday, but I sometime cried that why I should buried three of my children and still be living – why God did not add those years to my children,” Justice Johnson wept as she remembered her late children.She also thanked God for the belated celebration of her 50th wedding anniversary, which was held on July 18.“I am happy that I was able to observe my 50th wedding anniversary, though my husband is not in the country with me – all I can say, it was not easy all those years, but we made it.”Some of those who made remarks, wishing her more years to live included Kedar Puldyal – UNMIL Human Rights Section, Mrs. Johnetta H. Moore, Mrs. Anne Peabody, Mrs. Victoria Ireland and Mrs. Gwendolyn Gooding-Wilson.Commissioner Adolphus Wade and Madam Victoria York spoke on half of the Commissioners and staff of the INHCR.Justice Johnson is married to Mr. J. Rudolph Johnson, the 2005 vice presidential candidate to Amb. George M. Weah of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC). The Union is blessed with six children, but two, Mustapha and Sumo Johnsons have predeceased their parents. They were 21 and 25 years old respectively. Those living ones (all females) are Bendu, Keimah, Ciannah and Meisami Johnsons.Before her appointment to the INHCR in 2013, she served as Commissioner for Administration at the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC (2012-2013) and served as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia (2006 – 2011) until she was honorably retired at 71.Cllr. Johnson served as lecturer at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law where she taught Legal Ethics to senior students with emphasis on professionalism and integrity building (2007-2009).Prior to coming to Liberia from 1985-2005, she was the legal consultant/counselor in the USA.Cllr. Johnson made history when she served as Probate Court Judge, from 1977-1982, when she probated the first opposition political party – People’s Progressive Party (PPP) in 1979 thereby breaking the One Party ( True Whig Party) system in Liberia in the midst of national controversy.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Costa scores at last as Spain beat Luxembourg

first_img0Shares0000LUXEMBORG, October 13-Diego Costa bagged his first goal for Spain as the champions got the defence of their European title back on track with a 4-0 win over minnows Luxembourg in Euro 2016 qualifying Group C on Sunday.The goals came from David Silva and Paco Alcacer in the first half, with Costa snatching the third on 69 minutes, while substitute Juan Bernat made it 4-0 with a debut goal on 87 minutes. Spain, who lost to Slovakia on Thursday, are now second on goal difference in Group C on six points from three games, with Ukraine, also on six points, in third.Slovakia’s 3-1 away win at Belarus left them top with nine points from three.Silva got the opener when he latched on to an uncharacteristic long ball out of defence after 27 minutes. The 21-year-old Valencia striker Alcacer doubled the tally with his third goal in three games for Spain just before half-time. Costa, in his seventh match for Spain had missed a hatful on the night before he swivelled to fire home from close range to the visible relief of the whole team.“Diego wanted to pay us back with goals for the suppport we’ve given him. He feels good in the group, but I told him at half-time he was thinking too much about it (getting a first goal) so I just told him to keep calm,” coach Del Bosque said after the game.The Brazilian-born Costa has been on fire in England with nine Premier League goals for Chelsea this season, but that was his first goal in seven for Spain.Bernat, a Bayern Munich left-back, will also have given Spain reason to smile as a younger generation emerges to refresh their ageing squad.Eyebrows were raised before tha game when Spain handler Vicente Del Bosque dropped the under-performing ‘keeper Iker Casillas, the 33-year-old with whom Spain won Euro 2008 and 2012 plus the 2010 World Cup, in favour of Manchester United stopper David de Gea.For his part de Gea had little to do, but was assured on the few occasions he was called upon.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

‘I am 30 years of age, I will just keep working’ – Rooney keen on England future

first_img1 Wayne Rooney still dreams of ending his international career on a high, despite the England captain being dropped to the bench in Slovenia.The country’s most capped outfield player and all-time top scorer is to be reduced to a watching brief in Ljubljana after interim boss Gareth Southgate took the bold – and perhaps belated – decision to drop the 30-year-old.Rooney has struggled for form and a regular place in the Manchester United line-up recently, with a smattering of fans going as far as to boo the Three Lions captain during Saturday’s straightforward win against Malta at Wembley.It was a reaction Rooney claimed not to have heard – an assertion some may question the credibility of – yet the fact he answered it at all was remarkable.Rooney, against Southgate’s initial advice, wanted to speak at the pre-match press conference, giving candid, direct and forthright answers to broadcasters and writers several hours after news of his omission leaked out.“I wouldn’t say brutal,” he said. “I think there are many people playing in the Premier League and around the country who would only dream of being part of an England squad.“I’ve done it 117 times, but of course a time comes where there might be a bit of a change, but all I can do is keep working and turning up, so that I am ready when called upon.“I understand this is part of football. It is something which you have to go through and I am big enough to deal with it.”Professionalism should not be mistaken for accepting this is the beginning of the end, though.“I am 30 years of age,” Rooney said. “I am not 35 or 36 where you are thinking ‘can you get back from it?’“I will just keep working. I have said before that I will not stop playing for England and then think of going to Dubai for a few days in the international break. I will turn up when called upon and be ready.”Southgate’s decision was borne out of the desire to better cope with Slovenia’s strengths and was spoken about at great length with Rooney on Sunday evening, becoming apparent to team-mates when working on squad shape on the eve of the game.The decision may be accepted and understood, but the repercussions will include increased talk of how best to utilise Rooney’s talents at a time when he is learning to adapt to physical changes.“I feel fine,” he said. “But Ryan Giggs at 30 wasn’t the same player at 18. And he played till he was 40.“There’s lots of examples out there you can use – players re-evaluate and work out the best way to move forwards. I’m sure that will happen with me.”Asked if a settled position would help, the man deployed in midfield by England and further forward at United said: “It would help, of course. But that’s the manager’s decision where they want me to play.“I am not naive in terms of thinking that I am still a 20-year-old who could do what I could do when I was 20.“I understand that. I feel my game is different to that of a 20-year-old, but I also think I have qualities that can help move this team forward.“So it is a moment which I am in at the minute but, as I keep saying, I have to show the right attitude, be positive and make sure I am supportive of my team-mates.”The willingness to fight was furthered by last week’s meeting with members of the triumphant England side of 1966.Rooney has been unable to inspire his country beyond the quarter-finals of a major tournament, yet he still dreams of glory as England look to qualify for the World Cup in Russia – his last shot at international silverware.“I met a few of the ’66 lads last week and, of course, that is how you want to be remembered: successful and winning things,” Rooney said.“It hasn’t happened since then but I always give everything for England.“Record goalscorer, I am proud of that. I have given everything and will carry on giving everything and try and help myself and my team-mates alongside those ’66 lads.”It is an ambition as admirable as his desire to help his country’s cause in whatever way he can.“After the summer it would have been easy for me to walk away and say ‘that’s it, I’ve had enough’ but that’s not me,” Rooney added.“As I keep saying, I feel I have a lot to offer and I’ve made that clear, certainly up until Russia if we get there. That’s what I want to fulfil.“Listen, I’m not suddenly going to turn round and say ‘I’m not playing, I’m not going to turn up’ – I know I can be a big help for the other players, whether I’m playing or not, both on and off the pitch.” Wayne Rooney will start the World Cup qualifier against Slovenia on the bench last_img read more

Floyd Landis: High testorerone levels a “natural occurrence”

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2 Landis is still awaiting results from a backup sample, which will clear him if found to be negative. Switzerland-based Phonak said it would ask that the backup sample be tested in the next few days. Landis’s lawyer, Luis Sanz, said he fully expected the backup test to come back with the same result, since the elevated testosterone was produced naturally by Landis’s body. The 30-year-old cyclist said Friday that he would undergo additional testing to prove it. “I will procede to under go all these tests … to accredit that the levels that I’ve had during the Tour and all my career are natural and produced by my own organism,” he said. Until those tests are conducted, Landis said, “I ask not to be judged, or much less to be sentenced by anyone.” If ultimately proven guilty, he could be stripped of the Tour title and fired from the team. MADRID, Spain (AP) — Floyd Landis said the high testosterone that showed up in a drug screening at the Tour de France is the result of his natural metabolism — not doping of any kind — and he will undergo more tests to prove it. “We will explain to the world why this is not a doping case but a natural occurrence,” Landis said at a news conference Friday, his first public appearance since the test result cast doubt on one of the most stirring comeback wins in Tour history. Landis said in a Thursday teleconference that he had no idea what caused his elevated testosterone levels following the race’s 17th stage last week, where he made his heroic charge into the Alps. But on Friday, he was adamant that the reading was the result of his natural physiology. “I would like to make absolutely clear that I am not in any doping process,” said Landis, wearing a baseball cap turned backward and a white shirt with the name of his Phonak team. “I ask not to be judged by anyone, much less sentenced by anyone.” The team suspended Landis after the International Cycling Union notified it Wednesday that he had an “unusual level of testosterone/epitestosterone” when his test was taken last Thursday, the day he staked his comeback in the Alps. Landis, a native of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, said he was shocked when told of the initial positive result. He said he had been tested six other times during the tour, and many other times during the year. His voice was subdued and at times downcast on the Thursday call, when he said he expected to clear his name but never to truly shake the disgrace of doping. But Landis turned defiant in his Friday appearance, chastising the media for implying that he was accused of doping and defending himself as an honest competitor who devoted his life to his sport. “I declare convincingly and categorically that my winning the Tour de France has been exclusively due to many years of training and my complete devotion to cycling,” he said. “I was the strongest guy. I deserved to win, and I’m proud of it.” Landis’ positive test rocked the cycling world, already under a cloud following a wide-ranging doping investigation in Spain that led to the barring of several of the world’s leading cyclists from the Tour. On the eve of the Tour’s start, nine riders — including pre-race favorites Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso — were ousted, implicated in a Spanish doping investigation. Their names turned up on a list of 56 cyclists who allegedly had contact with a Spanish at the center of the probe. Landis was not implicated in that investigation.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Border fencing cost up

first_img“At issue for Congress is how best to allocate scarce border security resources while safeguarding homeland security,” investigators wrote in the first government study to examine long-term costs of the newly expanded fence. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who will head the House Homeland Security Committee, has indicated he will re-evaluate the project – a plan that could involve denying additional funding. Other lawmakers – including Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. – have met to discuss a renewed immigration bill that would offer a guest-worker program and a means for millions of illegal immigrants to obtain legal status. Any proposed funding cuts, however, are certain to spark heated debate. Bob Dane, a spokesman for the Federation for Immigration Reform, a D.C.-based group that advocates against illegal and most legal immigration, called the barrier a necessary expense. “That fence is a very tangible statement of this country’s intent to enforce its borders,” Dane said. “It is expensive, but it’s a fixed cost,” he said, contrasting the cost of the fence to what he described as the “variable” cost to the U.S. of paying for illegal immigrants’ education, health care and other social services. California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who supports extending the fence, has not taken a position on future funding, said her spokesman, Scott Gerber. “She has seen the fence be effective in California,” Gerber said. “The question is, how much money is there and how much is realistic?” According to the Congressional Research Service report, the 14-mile fence south of San Diego has been effective in reducing the number of illegal crossing arrests. But officials note that many believe illegal immigrants are simply crossing the border in Arizona instead. And investigators warned Congress that extending the fence through Arizona and Texas will still leave vulnerabilities. One side effect could be an increase in underground tunnels like the ones discovered this year, necessitating federal investment in tunnel-detection technologies. The report also found a number of other costs that Congress has not yet accounted for, including increased costs associated with building in remote areas where workers might need to be housed for extended periods; purchasing land in Texas; and using private contractors, as the DHS has proposed. Fitz and others predict that immigration in general and the fence in particular will be at the forefront of policy debates in 2007. “The time has ripened for this issue,” he said. “Democratic leaders recognize it as an absolutely critical policy issue for them to address head-on.” lisa.friedman@langnews.com (202) 662-8731160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: John Jackson greets a Christmas that he wasn’t sure he’d see“I don’t think you’re going to see them repeal the law. It’s just a matter of whether you’re going to see them fund the entire thing.” Before adjourning earlier this month, the House and Senate passed sweeping legislation to extend a 14-mile fence already under way in San Diego east to Arizona and Texas. President George W. Bush signed the measure into law. Lawmakers so far have allocated $1.2 billion for the fence’s infrastructure and technology. But the fence also has raised the ire of many Democrats, who call it an unnecessary and costly diplomatic obstacle. And now they will be in charge of deciding how much funding the project will get. According to the Congressional Research Service report released earlier this month, the hidden costs of the fence far outweigh known expenses. WASHINGTON – A hotly disputed fence on the U.S.-Mexico border will cost more than $60 billion – nearly 10 times more than original estimates – with billions more needed for land acquisition and maintenance, according to a new government study. While officials have estimated that the 850-mile fence will cost $7 billion to erect, the report notes that maintenance could cost as much as $70 million per mile over its 25-year life span and that miles of private property in Texas still must be purchased. The new cost estimates come as a Democratic-controlled Congress prepares to revisit the contentious issue of reducing illegal immigration. And a number of lawmakers have called for a re-evaluation of the fence now being built along the Southwest border. “It won’t ever get built the way it was mandated,” predicted Marshall Fritz, advocacy director for the Washington, D.C.-based American Immigration Lawyer’s Association. last_img read more

Eden Hazard ‘happy’ at Chelsea but ‘likes’ Real Madrid, says former team-mate

first_img Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury REPLY Premier League Team of the Season so far, including Liverpool and Leicester stars Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard won two Premier League titles together at Chelsea 1 MONEY shining no dice Ronaldo warned Lukaku how hard scoring goals in Serie A would be before Inter move REVEALED huge blow “I know what I am going to do. I have made a decision,” he said.And Fabregas, who ended his four-and-a-half-year spell at Chelsea to join Monaco last month, knows his former team-mate likes Real.The Spanish giants are reportedly preparing an £88million move for Hazard, whose Stamford Bridge deal expires next year.The Belgium captain, 28, has once again been Chelsea’s standout performer this season, scoring 15 goals and registering 10 assists. Every time Ally McCoist lost it on air in 2019, including funny XI reactions Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won center_img RANKED Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? Berahino hits back at b******t Johnson criticism – ‘I was in a dark place at Stoke’ ADVICE BEST OF Son ban confirmed as Tottenham fail with appeal to overturn red card LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS REVEALED Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade In an interview with Radio Marca, Fabregas said: “Let’s see what he decides to do. He has a year and a half left and he is happy at Chelsea and so is his family.“But in the end they are very personal decisions. He likes Madrid and he has always said it.“Hopefully he will renew with Chelsea, but if he does not he will finish in Madrid.” Forbes list reveals how much Mayweather, Ronaldo and Messi earned this decade Cesc Fabregas hopes Eden Hazard signs a new contract with Chelsea.Earlier this week, Hazard confirmed he has made a final decision about his future, but would not go into detail.last_img read more

John Hughes concedes defeat in chase for Celtic’s Anthony Stokes

first_img“It looks like Anthony Stokes is going elsewhere,” he said, “so we wish him all the best. Whoever gets him they are getting a real talented footballer. “We just have to move on. To be honest we were sort of doing that anyway, three or four days ago. “We read the picture and reading between the lines we realised that he didn’t fancy Inverness. So we have been moving on and hopefully we can try to attract someone else.“It is certainly in the attacking areas that we need to strengthen and there is one or two on the go and hopefully in the next week or so we might have one in.” Hughes claimed it was “irrelevant” why Stokes was uninterested in a move to Inverness, saying: “I wish him all the best, he is still a good friend of mine.” He jokingly added “He must be really fit at this moment in time because the last time I got a text was four days ago telling me he would phone me after training and I never heard from him. So he must have been training for the last four days, he must be really putting himself through the wringer. “But I decided three or four days ago not to put pressure on the kid. He is probably feeling it a little bit in terms of being out of the picture at Celtic and he needs to get himself going again so hopefully that is the case.” Inverness Caley Thistle boss John Hughes says he has given up hope of taking Anthony Stokes on loan to the Highlands.The Celtic striker has been linked with moves to several clubs including Dundee United and Hibernian but Hughes was first to publicly express an interest.He worked with Stokes when he was in charge at Falkirk and Hibs earlier in his managerial career but the Caley Thistle boss does not expect them to link up for a third time this season.Hughes claimed it was time to move on after missing out on “a maverick, a wonderful footballer” who has fallen out of favour with the Premiership champions. last_img read more

Derek McInnes pleads for greater patience from Dons fans

first_imgAberdeen boss Derek McInnes wants greater patience from supporters as he looks to build a squad capable of challenging Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premiership.The Dons were criticised after they crashed out of the League Cup in a 3-0 defeat to Motherwell last Thursday. They were to offer an immediate response, however, winning 1-0 at Fir Park three days later to stay two points off early Premiership pacesetters Celtic in second place.McInnes believes his side’s display against the Steelmen in league action hinted reaction to the cup exit was over the top. He said: “When you are building that togetherness you need to dig out big results like Sunday. All these experiences forge a strong bond as a team.“What we showed last Sunday was we are not as poor as some people thought, it was two mistakes plus the fact we were playing a good team in Motherwell.“We always search long and hard but I think some of the criticism from our own was beyond.”He added: “There has to be more trust in what we do, we are unbeaten and have good players who are working hard. “We are in a decent place and are hoping to get another three points to reinforce a strong start.”The Dons host McInnes’ former club St Johnstone at Pittodrie on Saturday, intent on taking three points as they look to maintain pressure on the league leaders. While Aberdeen remain undefeated in the league, the manager believes his side are yet to reach top gear.On-loan striker Greg Stewart agrees with his boss and also took aim at his own displays since arriving in the north east.He said: “On a personal level I hoped to be doing better, it’s not worked out that way but I just come in and work hard in training every day.“We obviously have a big squad with a lot of good players. For me I expect to be doing better, though. It hasn’t quite happened yet but hopefully that will turn around with hard work.”“It’s probably down to match sharpness. Being in and out of the team has been frustrating but that’s down to myself, I haven’t played as well as I should be.”McInnes confirmed midfielder Greg Tansey will miss Saturday’s Premiership clash and is out for four weeks following an operation.last_img read more

Family’s Christmas Day swim raises almost €4,000 for cancer care

first_imgA kind-hearted family’s Christmas Day swim in Donegal has raised almost €4,000 for two cancer care and support centres. Owen and Kevin Brady from Derry, along with over 40 members of their friends and family, took part in an annual swim at Lisfannon beach in Buncrana last December.The event raised £3,372 (approx €3,848), which was kindly donated by the family to show appreciation for the treatment and care given to their mother, Cathy Warwick. The North West Cancer Centre (NWCC) at Altnagelvin Hospital received a donation of £1,592, with a certain amount was also donated to Macmillan Cancer Support.Brady Family donation to NWCC Altnagelvin Hospital: Accepting the cheque is Nichola O’Kane, Ward 50 Ward Manager and NWCC Staff, John McDonald, James Taylor Feeny and Jennifer McLaughlin.Family’s Christmas Day swim raises almost €4,000 for cancer care was last modified: February 4th, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare 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:Altnagelvin HospitalChristmas swimLisfannonMacmillan Cancer SupportNorth West Cancer Centrelast_img read more

IDC takes lessons from Brazil

first_img23 May 2011 Brazil is a country more likely to conjure up images of beaches, samba and soccer than of people hard at work. Yet the tropical nation’s development bank has become an inspiring model to South Africa in its quest to boost industrial development. The idea that South Africa would look to a development bank in Brazil is even more significant when one considers that for years economists repeatedly wrote off the South American country as one of all talk and no action. But in the last decade or more, things have begun to change. Last year, Brazil grew 7.5% and this year it overtook Italy to become the world’s seventh-largest economy. Much of this growth is being driven by loans to businesses and infrastructure projects by Brazil’s development bank, BNDES. The bank has more than tripled its lending over the last five years, so much so that it is now one of the biggest development banks in the world – exceeding even the mighty World Bank. Last year, the Brazilian development bank lent out 168.4-billion reals (R733-billion) – more than double the World Bank’s US$44.2-billion (R306-billion) in disbursements for 2010. This has taken place while the Brazilian development bank last year posted a record profit of 9.9-million reals and a default rate of a mere 0.15%.IDC starts scaling up BNDES lending dwarves that of South Africa’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), which in the 2010 financial year disbursed R6.2-billion, posting a profit of R2.2-billion with a 16.3% impairments ratio. But the IDC too, is scaling up. Last month, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel announced that the IDC would invest R102-billion in funding over the next five years – a 160% increase on the IDC’s loan approvals in the past five years. The IDC is now considering selling off some of its holdings – which include shares in major firms such as ArcelorMittal, Sasol and Kumba Iron Ore, among others – to finance the expected R36-billion shortfall in investment spending. It also hopes to inject more capital into small business lending – with the planned merger of Khula Enterprise Finance and the South African Micro Finance Apex Fund (Samaf) with the IDC’s small business funding portfolio to create a wholly-owned subsidiary under the IDC dedicated to funding small enterprises.A more powerful, strategic funding agency Brazil’s development bank has provided the IDC with several important lessons in how to create a more powerful and strategic funding agency – with Patel noting in June last year that his department is looking at emulating the success of BNDES. The Brazilian development bank’s use of funding from its Worker’s Assistance Fund – the equivalent of South Africa’s Workmen’s Compensation Fund – led the IDC to form a joint R2-billion funding scheme with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) launched last year. Shakeel Meer, the IDC’s divisional executive of corporate strategy, says the IDC is particularly interested in BNDES’ application of local content development – where the Brazilian development bank insists on a certain percentage of local suppliers or content when it hands out funding. Meer says insight into BNDES’ model had also led to the exposure to various industry specific financing schemes and methods, which has helped the IDC to formulate various financing schemes in recent years.International linkages The IDC has over the years, built strong links with a number of development banks around the world – such as the European Investment Bank, Germany’s KFW/DEG, France’s AFD/Proparco, Japan’s JBIC and the China Development Bank. The IDC first became interested in BNDES in 2005, after an IDC delegation visited its Brazilian counterpart to conduct an institutional benchmarking exercise. In a 2005 study by the IDC’s Jorge Maia and Lumkile Mondi, and economist Simon Roberts, found that BNDES was heavily involved in financing the Brazilian economy such that not a single major undertaking, involving private Brazilian capital after 1950, had taken place in Brazil without BNDES support. The authors also found that despite higher real interest rates in Brazil, BNDES had maintained better rates of investment than South Africa – partly because of the larger role that it plays in Brazil’s economy. They also found that financing at BNDES is closely linked to the bank’s strategic view of the economy and its practice of linking financing requirements to the promotion of local industrialisation. With relations between the IDC and BNDES growing closer, the two, in 2009, signed a technical co-operation agreement aimed at exchanging ideas on industrial strategy, financial products and co-operating in financing projects in Africa.Different operating environments However, Meer cautions that despite the similarity between the corporate mandates and origins, the operating environments and institutional funding models of each institution has evolved in a very different manner. For example, while BNDES has a near monopoly in Brazil’s long-term funding market, the IDC has to compete along side private-sector banks in South Africa. Another difference is that while the IDC has an almost exclusively direct funding approach, BNDES utilises an enormous network of financial intermediaries for indirect funding purposes, largely due to the specific characteristics of the Brazilian financial system. Meer says BNDES use of financial intermediaries accounts for its substantially lower defaults, since this is largely carried by the intermediaries. The IDC’s project development initiatives and its large equity portfolio also means the IDC is forced to assume a “substantially” higher degree of risk than BNDES, he said. Beyond the differences between the two banks, critics have questioned whether BNDES massive scaling up of finance is sustainable, pointing out that the bank’s funding is massively subsidised by Brazil’s treasury, which risks driving up inflation by releasing too much cheap money into the market. Meer however believes the expected increase in IDC financing would not have a negative effect on the South African economy, pointing out that the IDC’s funding activities complement those of the private financial sector. He says IDC also has cooperative funding arrangements with various domestic financiers. The IDC uses a pricing approach that considers both risk and development impact, he says. “In addition, from time to time, IDC introduces specific subsidised funds to promote targeted objectives,” he explains, adding that this was a similar approach to BNDES. The IDC also launched a lower interest rate offering this year which offers prime less three percent for projects with a high employment effect. Meer says the offer of lower interest rates within certain funding schemes is made possible by cross-subsidisation internally, as well as due to specific external funding arrangements with for example the UIF.Too much state control? Speaking to BuaNews recently, BNDES president Luciano Coutinho, disagrees with critics that believe the massive increase in funding by BNDES risks putting the state in too much control of the economy. “In our case there is no danger at all because our bank has a highly professional management and our non-performing loans are much lower than the private banking system,” Coutinho said. “We have a very competent bank and we understand that in order to have an efficient development bank we have got to be absolutely professional in terms of credit rating and independent decision making and we have to be accountable and transparent. “Those are pillars of good governance, because if you don’t have good governance you can’t be a good development bank, because we manage public money so we have to be efficient in managing money.” Coutinho says developing funding priorities was an important step to boosting the role of any developing finance bank and notes that the IDC has already developed priorities such as funding infrastructure development, food security (through loans to agro-processing companies) and the green economy. Last year about 93%, or 568 000, of BNDES funding disbursements were to micro, small and medium-sized companies as well as individuals – with 320 000, or half of all its funding operations were through the BNDES Card – which is a hybrid of an e-commerce and credit card financing system. About R$4.3-billion was disbursed through the card to SMEs – 74% up on 2009. He believes the card might be a product that South Africa could learn from BNDES and that the bank could make available in its technical co-operation agreement with the IDC. Source: BuaNewslast_img read more