Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Get Rid of "The Door" and Allow us to move from Survival to Prosperity

Our Young Gradutes Knock "The Door" for Jobs, Skills and Access to
Technology, The Reverse is true as well. "The Door" is the problem. Our governments need to pick up their pens and remove the beuracracy and laws that prevent us from taking advantage of the beneficial interaction we would be having with other Human Beings.

Ensuring Security, Granting and Protecting Individual Property Rights, Enforcing Contracts though Impartial Courts should be the priorities in our bid to give our people a chance to realize their aspirations!

Cisco Systems executives will undertake a tour of five major African countries in March to provide its African business partners and customers with information on advanced networking technologies and how the technology can be used to assist companies across the region. Under the banner of the Cisco Innovation Tour, the series of events will see Cisco executives hold seminars in Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Zambia."These events will address a broader audience comprising both existing Cisco resellers and potential prospects. Existing and potential resellers and end-users will get an in-depth update on how advanced networking technologies work together to create solutions for our customers," says Anthony Vonsée, Cisco Systems general manager for sub-Saharan Africa.The Cisco Innovation Tour debuts in Dakar , Senegal on 14 March and then moves to Lagos, Nigeria on 16 March, Accra, Ghana on 18 March, Lusaka , Zambia on 21 March, and finally Nairobi, Kenya on 23 March.Each of these events will feature a full day seminar, covering topics ranging from Intelligent Information Network (IIN), broadband (metro, optical and storage), Integrated Services Routers (ISR), security, IP communications, and promotions and certifications within the channel.Vonsée says he is particularly upbeat about the opportunities for Cisco partners in Africa today because of the increasingly positive political and economic climates across the region. "The opportunity to upgrade current infrastructures to next generation networks (NGN) and the fact that our channel partners have the right solutions to do this, puts them in a strong position. As more and more businesses and governments alike begin to recognise the immense benefits in deploying cutting-edge networking solutions, we expect our channel to realise the enormous business potential.""The key to success though resides with proper training and familiarity with the latest networking technologies - be it the convergence of voice, video and data, IP communications including IP telephony or any of the other solutions which are available to the channel today," says Vonsée.There are also huge opportunities for Cisco partners as a result of looming deregulation of telecommunications markets across Africa, the forthcoming consolidation in financial services markets, the advent of telemedicine, distance learning and IP satellite technologies. All of these new dynamics will present untapped opportunities for Cisco partners at all stages of the channel."Our partners understand the dynamics and the unique characteristics of their respective local markets. They are also the point at which Cisco and its customers meet. So it is incumbent on both of us that we maintain an environment in which customers can continue to benefit from the latest technologies through the best training, advice, delivery and implementation of solutions that will help them gain business advantages," says Vonsée.


Akinyi J. Arunga said...

By Okech Kendo

A legend framed behind Mr O.P. Narang’s desk at Agro-Chemical and Food Company Ltd in Muhoroni has a potent message for a struggling economy and stagnant corporations.

It reads: "A business enterprise is not a club created for recreation, it is a human organisation created for the serious purpose of achieving tangible economic results called profits."

The inscription could be rephrased to bring the meaning closer to plundered state corporations or to captains of industry who do not understand the dynamics of management, especially how to get the commitment of personnel.

It is possible to work with the politically correct to run a public office, but one needs people who know what they are doing to manage a business that is capable of producing tangible economic results called profits.

Profits are alien to state corporations because they are in the hands of the politically and socially correct who have a jaundiced notion of work. For as long as Big Daddy or Big Mummy is up there, they believe, they can always enjoy the ride. Narang is the resident director and chief executive officer of Agro-Chemical and Food Company Ltd, where the Government commands majority shares.

But what is the state doing, in the age of privatisation, in these corporations? Why the official reluctance to divest?

Rarely can the Government, as a pig farmer, produce those tangible economic results called profits. Corporation jobs are goodies to be dished out to cronies or cronies of cronies.

And industry captains who cannot produce those tangible economic results have no business holding down corporations that should be producing profits for the principals.

Across the sugar belt in Nyanza and Western provinces today, there are numerous accounts of lost opportunities. The opportunities were lost because of the mistakes of omission or commission of presidential or ministerial appointees.

While they enjoyed political patronage, they massacred the people’s hopes of walking out of perpetual want.

While they lived in a clover, they impoverished millions of wananchi through systematic and deliberate plunder.

For more than a generation, political appointees turned state corporations into centres of patronage and influence peddling.

Failed politicians found their way into directorships of State corporations, without question or caution whatsoever on their competence to run such ventures.

In some instances, ministers or Members Parliament who had connections to the President pushed their political rivals into these corporations to divert their attention from constituency politics.

Once there, the chief executive officers, who were themselves ill-equipped for corporate leadership, imported their youthwingers, relatives, relatives of relatives, friends, and friends of friends to create a network of patronage that punctured these outfits.

Work ethic was compromised. Compliance, rather than commitment, was in vogue, as corporations were trashed down the gully of political opportunism.

Promotion, supply tenders and contracts went to the politically and the socially correct.

Corporations were turned into personal fiefdoms, where corruption, cronyism and nepotism were the ascendant realities.

Farmers, the mainstay and providers of the raw materials for most of these corporations in western Kenya, were discouraged and finally gave up on agriculture.

Today, many sugar millers with government shareholding owe farmers millions of shillings, dating back several years. Instead of paying farmers to encourage them to produce more sugarcane, the proceeds of their sweat were diverted to finance political conspiracies. Some whet the greed of directors who knew they would only be occupying those offices only for as long as they were politically correct.

For as long as the directors and executive chairmen of these corporations were in favour with the appointing authorities, they plundered and blundered, most of the time, in fact all the time, with criminal impunity.

The South Nyanza Sugar Company, Muhoroni Sugar Company, Miwani, Chemilil and Mumias Sugar Company are yet to recover from years of accumulated mismanagement. The losers were farmers, workers and the economy.

Some of the politically correct directors and managers bought shares, sometimes controlling stakes, in some State ventures. This was the genesis of the ownership crisis at the Kenya Seed Company and the Kenya Co-operative Creameries, for example.

Muhoroni Sugar Company is under receivership because former managers forgot business as they pandered to political expedience and opportunism. By the time the firm was surrendered to undertakers it owed farmers more than Sh90m.

Today, Chemilil Sugar Company, founded in 1968, 11 years before the South Nyanza Sugar Company, and six years before Mumias Sugar Company, is arguably in competent hands. But about two years into transition, farmers are yet to be persuaded that sugarcane is still a viable crop.

The Government played politics with the sugar sector as it did with others. Although there are attempts at recovery, it is painful and arduous getting out of several years of plunder and blunder.

Writing-off bad debts to free cash for expansion, and cane development may be the route to poverty reduction.

Akinyi J. Arunga said...

Government getting out of Business and out of the way of business is the only way to save the industry. A private business can not afford to play around since they don't have taxes to bank roll them, and will go out of business if they run losses, unlike the situation when the government is running the show, they just tax the sugar consumer to keep the factory running, and since they don't care about competition (because they will not go out of business), they dont improve their efficiency, so so the consumer not only looses precious money through the tax, but has to pay artificially high prices... no wonder the sugar growers can't afford sugar in their tea.

Uhuru ni Haki