Int’l firm selected to valuate GuySuCo blacklisted

first_img– fined, handed 2-year ban by regulator for alleged fraud in India– NICIL says firm to commence work in Guyana shortlyBy Jarryl BryanPricewaterhouseCoopers, the international audit firm selected by the coalition Government to valuate the multibillion-dollar assets of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), has actually been banned from auditing listed companies in India owing to its alleged involvement in fraud.According to a report originating from international news agency Reuters, and other news sites in India, the company was handed the two-year ban last week for allegedly overstating earnings and assets for Indian software company Satyam Computer Services.The report states that Pricewaterhouse was the audit firm at the time the more than US$1 billion fraud occurred. It was the founder of the company, Ramalinga Raju, who blew the whistle on the fraud in 2009, costing shareholders billions and shaking the industry.Besides the ban, Reuters said the Securities and Exchange Board of India has handed down an order for Pricewaterhouse Bangalore and two of its former partners to pay 131 million rupees or US$2 million, plus interest, in forfeited funds. This must be done within 45 days, with the ban taking effect on March 31.In its defence, Pricewaterhouse is quoted as saying it will appeal the regulator’s decision in court. It has defended itself by affirming that there was no “intentional” wrongdoing in the fraud at Satyam.In GuyanaWhile PricewaterhouseCoopers is facing blacklisting and fines in India for its purported involvement in fraud, the firm may very well commence its work at GuySuCo as early as this week.This is according to National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Horace James. During an interview with Guyana Times, he related that Expressions of Interest (EoIs) have been received from local and overseas bidders for the estates.“Three companies submitted proposals. After a financial and technical review, we selected PricewaterhouseCoopers as the persons to do the audits for the divestment. They should be on board by next week (this week). They will audit the three estates and they will also (evaluate) expressions of interest from all over the world, local and overseas, for the three estates.”James also informed this publication that an assets register was currently being used as a baseline to determine what assets were in place on the estates.Government has long made known its plans to close the Enmore and Rose Hall Sugar Estates, sell the Skeldon Sugar Factory, reduce the annual production of sugar, and take on the responsibility of managing the drainage and irrigation services offered by GuySuCo.GuySuCo, which is saddled with billions of dollars in debt, is currently engaged in divesting its assets to get cash to meet its operational and other expenses. At the same time, Government is forging ahead with downsizing the industry, citing the economic feasibility of the sector. At present, a Special Purpose Unit (SPU) is in charge of this process.That unit was first announced by Agriculture Minister Noel Holder when he presented a policy paper to the National Assembly on the future of the sugar industry. Some $130 million was allocated “to provide for the establishment of a Special Purpose Unit to manage the reform of the sugar industry”.In July, the Government had presented a supplementary request to tap the national coffers. The National Assembly has since approved the monies for the Unit, headed by Colvin Keith-London, who will be based at the Kingston Headquarters of NICIL.At the time monies were being approved for the SPU, Finance Minister Winston Jordan had said that Government was unclear as to what it was looking to earn from the sale of the GuySuCo assets since they still needed to be properly evaluated.As such, some $60 million was approved to hire an accounting firm, in this case PricewaterhouseCoopers, in order to lead the divestment process, including updated valuations of the assets.last_img read more

In most private moment, families of war dead must choose a public face

first_imgNEW YORK – When Florika Dima’s husband died while serving in Iraq, she began telling stories. About the patriot who left his family behind to serve the country that hadn’t yet awarded him citizenship. About the man who bought his wife’s needy friend groceries, even though his own wallet was thin. About the jokester who drove around his tiny New York town wearing his mother-in-law’s dress, just to make strangers laugh. Army Sgt. Catalin Dima would not, she swore, become an anonymous photograph on the evening news. “When they see all the soldiers that died they just see the picture of the soldier, not the man he was, or the type of father he was, or the type of husband, or the type of friend,” she said. “He’s not just another name on the list.” With the toll from the Iraq war steadily growing, it frequently falls to those stunned by sorrow to become ambassadors for the dead, defining how their loved ones will be remembered. These mourners must choose whether to break from private grief to speak publicly about the person they have lost. Florika wanted Catalin, 36, remembered in every particular. So when reporters came knocking on her door, she told them about the Romania native’s silly side, his hobbies, his determination to enlist over her objections. “I didn’t feel so alone, getting the story out,” she said. Many others have chosen to stay private, focusing on family and trying to make sense of devastating loss. For Tisha Gray, it wasn’t even a choice. “I wasn’t capable of making decisions,” she said of the weeks after the day uniformed men showed up on her doorstep in Richmond, Va. She still doesn’t remember breaking a window in a fit of anger. Later, at her husband’s funeral, she was talking to a friend, then suddenly found herself sitting outside, head between her knees. Through it all, she felt as if she was in a fishbowl with the mourners streaming through her house and the reporters calling her phone all peering in. “No, he’s mine. You can’t have him,” she remembers thinking. “It did feel like everybody wanted not only a piece of him but a piece of me.” She wasn’t ready to give any of Michael up not the charming boy she’d once chatted up on a Richmond, street corner, where he was singing with his friends. Not the proud police officer who had always dreamt of carrying a badge. Not the father of their four girls. So she asked the friends answering her phone and the police guarding her door to turn all the press away. And then one day she picked up the phone to find a Chicago Tribune reporter on the other end, and she didn’t hang up. Without the crush of attention she felt in the days after Michael’s death, she was no longer afraid that the same reporters who she felt had harassed her family years before after her brother was killed would now try to talk to her children. And she no longer worried she might find herself expressing her pain by condemning the war effort, which she says she supports. Some days, she still doesn’t want to talk about the 32-year-old Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class. More than a year later, the pain feels too fresh. But other times, she worries about keeping his memory alive. And the stories about the two of them told sometimes in present-tense, as if he might walk through the door can get her through the day. When family members choose to mourn privately, teachers, co-workers and friends often step forward to offer their own memories of the fallen. Some, like John Heidrick, have to decide how much to say. Heidrick’s memories of Josph Lister were bittersweet. In daily, one-on-one sessions at his Pleasanton, Kan., high school, the teacher had seen a temperamental teenager with difficulty focusing, a boy coping with the death of one parent and the departure of another. But the structure of the military had changed all that. In later visits, Heidrick saw a confident man, one with a wife and a baby, who had found in the Army “the family he’d always wanted.” Heidrick felt uncomfortable stepping in where blood relatives would not, he said, but ultimately he held nothing back deciding that the whole truth would help people understand exactly what the 22-year-old had accomplished. “Considering what he had done with his life, I think he would have been proud” of the unedited story, Heidrick said of the Army specialist. “He wanted to be something, and he wanted to amount to something. And he did.” For others, dying at such a young age left them with few defining moments and a long list of things they hadn’t done. Army Pfc. Kevin Cuming was “like many people who go into the Army, many young guys, who do not know what to do, and they’re not really focused in their lives,” Yolanda Cuming said of her son. “He wanted to straighten himself out.” Yolanda wanted everyone to know what her son had missed out on in life. Dead at 22, the soldier would never have a serious relationship, never finish school, never pursue his dream of being an artist or a chef. She used every interview to try to get across a message, hoping it could somehow spare others the same pain. Her son had been unprepared and unequipped, she said. The war, she argued, had been a mistake from the beginning. The choice to speak out was hard. The reporters seemed intimidating, and Yolanda, always camera shy, found herself unable to control exactly how much of her privacy she gave away. “The photographers were right in front of my face, and I would beg them, plead with them,” she said. “I said, ‘please, don’t, don’t, don’t.’ And the more I would say ‘please, no,’ the more they did it.” Despite her efforts to introduce the public to Kevin, she found that interest soon waned. “That was hard,” she said about the one-year anniversary of Kevin’s death when no one sent flowers. “Last year I could turn 2,000 people away from my door.” Florika Dima, too, is getting fewer calls from reporters. But she’s still telling stories focusing on keeping Catalin’s memory alive for their three children ages 6, 5 and 3. So she shows them the car he loved to work on, which she leaves parked across the street from their home. She serves them his favorite dishes with his medals and photographs sitting nearby. And each night she leads them in a prayer to their father: “I love you. I miss you. Watch over me as I grow.” 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

Tickets in high demand for Wolfe Tones Christmas concert in Letterkenny

first_imgLegendary balladeers The Wolfe Tones are on their way back to Donegal for a highly-anticipated show in the Mount Errigal Hotel Letterkenny.The band has announced a Christmas gig in the Mount Errigal on Monday 30th December 2019 and tickets are already in demand.After 56 years on the road, the performance of arguably Ireland’s greatest ballad singer, Tommy Byrne, will once again be a memorable experience – Joe McDonnell, Kevin Barry, The Ballad of James Connolly, Grace, Streets of New York, as well as many other ballads, will provide a not to be missed Wolfe Tones experience. Tickets are £26 – €29.50 and available from the Mount Errigal Hotel reception, Ticketmaster.ie and Eventbrite.The Wolfe Tones have entered an unprecedented 56 years on the road.  Starting off in Dublin in 1963, the group continue to tour and pack venues across the World. Emerging from the ballad boom of the early 1960’s, The Wolfe Tones started out on a career which has taken them to the heights of not just Irish, but international entertainment.  They’ve received numerous international honours, including the freedom of both New York and Los Angeles, as well as the City of Philadelphia’s greatest honour, The Liberty Bell. The Wolfe Tones have in their ranks arguably Ireland’s most prolific song writer and composer of his generation, Brian Warfield.  Brian has written songs that have become standards with Irish groups across the World, his ballads are sung from concerts to sports stadiums across the globe.  From Celtic Symphony to Rock On Rockall, join the Wolfe tones for a Christmas concert in the Mount Errigal Hotel Letterkenny on Monday 30th December The Wolfe Tones are iconic, they have been the soundtrack to generations of Irish across the World for the last 56 years. Their journey continues, Brian Warfield, Noel Nagle and Tommy Byrne make up The Wolfe Tones, and they remain a ‘must see’ Irish group. One thing is for sure, The Wolfe Tones will once again make the rafters ring in their own inimitable style.  Wolfe Tones’ shows sell out, as always, early booking is advised to experience a night to remember in the company of true legends of Irish music.Tickets are £26 – €29.50 and available from the Mount Errigal Hotel reception, Ticketmaster.ie and Eventbrite.Tickets in high demand for Wolfe Tones Christmas concert in Letterkenny was last modified: December 18th, 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:concertletterkennywolfe toneslast_img read more

People Can Be Devious Lab Rats (and Researchers)

first_imgHuman lab rats can fool human researchers, who in turn can fool the human public.  Honesty must be the only policy in science.Fraud by Lab RatsThe laugh is on psychologists who published a landmark longitudinal study in the 1990s about adolescent sexual attitudes.  Science Daily and Live Science reported that the “National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health” (nicknamed Add Health) was skewed by young pranksters who apparently lied on questionnaires about their sexual orientation, inflating the numbers of homosexuals and bisexuals from an expected one percent to 5-7 percent.  The psychologists were further surprised that large numbers of the self-reported nonheterosexuals reported going straight in the later years of the survey.  Surprised, the researchers published the results anyway.  Their “widely-cited” paper, based on 14,000 participants responding in four waves between 1994 and 2008, “led researchers, clinicians and policymakers to an inflated sense that gay youth are more suicidal, depressed and psychologically ill than are straight youth.”Only now are the researchers realizing that “they should have known something was amiss.”  It’s possible some of the adolescents didn’t understand the questions, but more likely, a follow-up study concluded, they were just joking, thinking it funny to pretend to be homosexual while answering the questions.  The report in Archives of Sexual Behavior is titled, “The Dubious Assessment of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Adolescents of Add Health.”  Because policymakers can be reluctant to question “scientific” results, “The possibility could have serious implications for a generation of researchers who study the data, and it may have broader implications for understanding teen love, health and sexuality, the researchers in the study say.”  The articles did not specifically mention any policies or laws enacted on the basis of the questionable data.Fraud by Lab ResearchersLast year saw the downfall of a number of psychologists caught fabricating and inflating their data.  Now, one geneticist is seeking a comeback after his humiliating downfall.  Science Insider says that Woo Suk Hwang, the Korean cloner who disgraced himself eight years ago with fraudulent papers about human embryonic stem cells (1/09/2006), is trying to redeem himself with his old specialty of cloning animals.  His scandal had caused some serious soul-searching by journals about scientific integrity (2/05/2006).  In Nature, David Cyranoski wrote more at length about Hwang’s redemption after “one of the most widely reported and universally disappointing cases of scientific fraud in history,” one his university president had called “an unwashable blemish on the whole scientific community as well as our country.”  How, then, can the blemish be washed?  Can the leopard change its spots?Hwang no longer works with human embryonic stem cells, but exercises his expertise with animal cloning.  He started, after all, as a veterinarian.  Still, he is a known liar.  He admitted to lying, but still maintains he really did create a line of hESCs.  He also blames his co-author for duping him.  He has spent no time in jail, despite a 3-year sentence (later reduced to 18 months, pending appeal).  Meanwhile, his lab, still staffed by some of his original colleagues during the scandal, is making good money cloning dogs and other animals – much of it supported with government grants.  The lab has published 40 peer-reviewed papers since the scandal.  “The fact that Hwang is being published in peer-reviewed journals is a sign that he is becoming accepted once more.”  His investors and colleagues seem to think that having been caught in such a high-profile scandal will keep him on best behavior, knowing he will be scrutinzed more carefully.  One partner was impressed with “how hard he works, and how passionate he is for science.”  Another scientist, though, is skeptical: “If you fabricated data once, how would one know that you will not do it again?”It is likely Hwang still feels the lure of fame for human therapeutic cloning.  The government has given him permission to work on human embryos – just not to clone them.  That hasn’t kept him from applying.  With hopes for redemption, the lure of fame, and enough ambiguity about some aspects of his retracted papers, will he once again be given trust by a public that sees this scientific hero as too high to fail?  More importantly, what’s the complaint about ethics of fraud in a field – human cloning – widely criticized by many ethicists as immoral?In passing, Cyranoski made this statement about the choice between human embryonic stem cells (hESC) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC):Nevertheless, Woo Suk Hwang intends to return to human therapeutic cloning. But he may be trying to ride a wave that has already passed. A competing technology — induced pluripotency, discovered in 2006 — creates stem cells from adult cells, skirting the difficulty of sourcing human eggs and the controversy of embryo destruction. Even the announcement last year that a human stem-cell line had finally been created from a cloned embryo got a more muted reception than the carnival that greeted Hwang when he announced his now-discredited paper.In hindsight, it’s ironic that Hwang fell just months before the iPSC revolution.  Cyranoski’s words reinforce the theme that iPSCs appear to have rendered hESC work redundant if not irrelevant.  Since “therapeutic cloning” remains just as ethically controversial as before, one wonders why Hwang and others still pursue that path with such zeal.Update 1/22/14:  Nature published an editorial to correct a false impression some were getting from Cyranoski’s article that Hwang has been rehabilitated within the scientific community.  “Nothing could be further from the truth,” the editors say: nor should scientists rush to rehabilitate him.   The editors question the originality, impact, or scientific value of any of his work, and warn about Hwang’s apparent selfish motives to recover, an effort that some South Koreans seem too eager to accept for reasons of national pride.Update 1/29/14:  The whistleblower who alerted the media to the Hwang fraud told Nature about the threats and abuse he suffered as a result.  For daring to expose a South Korean star scientist, Young-Joon Ryu had to go into hiding six months with his wife.  It took years for him to find new employment, but he does not regret his decision.  “The Hwang case was a wake-up call for many journals to police [fraud] more seriously,” a European science publisher said, adding, “little has formally changed regarding the protection and encouragement of constructive whistle-blowing”.Consider the parallels to Kermit Gosnell, the late-term abortion monster.  He was condemned not for performing abortions per se, but for violating procedural rules in the manner he did it.  It appears that Hwang, who showed himself unworthy of trust, is being given trust once again after a wrist slap and a public show of indignation.  How terrible that he would lie and fake his data!  That he pressured women to donate eggs and experimented on fertilized human embryos is seen as a lesser offense.  A society that can tolerate unethical behavior in one sphere is not likely to repress it in another.When a preacher sins, he is usually out of the ministry for good.  It doesn’t mean he can’t earn a living some other way, but no longer can he be trusted to teach others how to live.  While we all love redemption stories, there are certain roles in society that demand higher accountability.  Science (like any scholarly pursuit) should be one of them.  A scientist who has betrayed a trust by fraud undermines any future credibility.  Let that person take up truck driving or cooking, assuming he or she can be trusted to deliver the goods honestly.  Notice once again that science is not a mechanical method.  It depends on the minds and hearts of fallible human beings, aspiring to ethical ideals that are timeless and universal, not made of matter in motion. 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Genesis Hits the Big Screen

first_imgReview of “Is Genesis History?” that premiered nationally in theaters in a one-night Fathom Media event on Feb 23.It’s very difficult to get a hearing for intelligent design these days, let alone Genesis 1-11. And even if you got a public platform for Genesis, limiting it to a rational discussion of creation in six literal days and a global flood would seem miraculous. But that’s what Compass Cinema pulled off in secular theaters around the country for a one-night film event by Fathom Media. Some towns had to open additional theater space because of the demand. That happened in Littleton Colorado, I know, and in my hometown, a second theater was added. Both filled up, indicating significant interest in the subject.On ContentThe film consists largely of conversations by Del Tackett with leaders in the Biblical creation movement about scientific evidence supporting the historicity of Genesis accounts of Creation and the Flood. The conversations occur at Grand Canyon, in museums and zoos, on a dinosaur dig and other locations. Del is founder of The Truth Project, a popular worldview apologetics course. In 2008, Del was among two dozen Bible scholars who participated in a special scholar’s rafting trip through the Grand Canyon sponsored by Canyon Ministries. I was on that trip and got to know Del, finding him to be a humble, godly, and very intelligent man, an excellent teacher who is genuinely interested in scientific questions. It appears that trip was very stimulating for him and all the other Bible scholars. We all saw profound evidence for the Flood with our own eyes as veteran guide Tom Vail steered us down the river. Details of the evidence were expounded by PhD geologist Andrew Snelling, who is also prominent in the film. Perhaps that trip was a turning point in Del’s thinking to take him beyond mere Biblical apologetics into full embrace of the historical Genesis.Tom Vail and Del Tackett conversing in Grand Canyon, 6/28/08.Photo by David CoppedgeThe experts interviewed—all credentialed scientists and scholars— are listed on the film’s website. Topics range from strata in the Grand Canyon, the nature of the Hebrew text, the extent of variability of original created kinds, the Biblical epochs contrasted with secular geological epochs, fossils and soft tissue in dinosaur bones, questions in recent-creation astronomy, world history after the Flood, and more. The variety of topics (necessarily covered briefly though sufficiently for film) provides a well-rounded answer to the point of the film: can Genesis be reasonably considered a true history of the world, given that the mainstream believes in a big bang and billions of years? Tying each scientist’s answer together is recognition of the importance of paradigms. The evidence does not speak for itself; it is always evaluated through a paradigmatic framework, especially for historical questions that cannot be repeated in a lab. Genesis provides an eyewitness account of earth history by the Creator himself. Secular science, without that advantage, constantly changes its stories. Several of the scientists remarked that what they were taught in school as fact is no longer believed. In conclusion, a pastor connects Genesis to the gospel and urges building one’s view of world history on the Bible’s reliable record instead of the shifting sands of science.On DeliveryProduction quality was OK but not great. Being used to the top-notch Illustra Media films, I thought the energy level was somewhat low, the music mediocre, and much of the scenery poorly shot. There was not a trajectory of interest leading to a climax; just a series of interviews at about the same energy level throughout. For its purposes, though, the producer needed to concentrate on the facts being shared; the audience benefited from each expert having enough time to explain his views. Each of the experts delivered key points with authenticity and credibility. Many of the face shots were a bit too close for my comfort, and often shaky, but not to a disturbing degree. Graphical elements were few. The interviews were tied together with pencil drawings that merged into live action, with a few others used to illustrate points. A few scenic shots and drone shots were eye-catching, but I could imagine someone watching the film once, and then listening to the soundtrack alone the second time. It was a film for the ears more than for the eyes.Line drawing from “Is Genesis History?” (Compass Cinema)On ImpactAs a presentation of the young-earth creationist view, the film was probably more effective by being low-key, fact-rich, and personalized than by trying to generate artificial interest with special effects, dramatic music and emotion. It was clear these were reasonable men, not scientific renegades or nuts as opponents are prone to portray them (see ridicule in the Baloney Detector). They all have PhDs from secular universities in their respective fields.Even though it was low-key, the film had very interesting moments. From reactions I sensed around me, the dinosaur soft-tissue demonstration by Kevin Anderson, when he pulled on stretchy tissue found inside a Triceratops horn that he and Mark Armitage had dug out in Montana with their own hands, was a high point. The images seemed to elicit gasps of astonishment, illustrating that facts of sufficient import need no extra dressing. The widespread flat layers of strata pointed out by geologists Steve Austin and Andrew Snelling also had visual punch for the catastrophist/Flood position. The audience was probably also surprised when Snelling revealed results of radiometric ages from the same rock he had collected that differed by millions of years depending on the method used.  I thought Tackett’s opening was very effective. He stands in a deep canyon, hiking along a stream, sensing the vast spans of time that must have passed, only to reveal that the whole canyon was younger than he was! As the drone camera backs away, he explains that the canyon formed within a couple of days in a catastrophic mudflow at Mt. St. Helens since the 1980 eruption. The similarities to Grand Canyon in the subsequent episode are apparent, showing that you can’t always trust your senses if you didn’t know the true story of what happened. Later, Kurt Wise applied that point well to warn of flaws in uniformitarian interpretations of present processes.Group led by Dr. Steve Austin into the “Mini-Grand Canyon” at Mt. St. Helens, Aug. 4, 2012Photo by David CoppedgeAudience responses I heard outside the theater were uniformly positive. Everyone was smiling and commenting that they thought it was really good and were glad they came. There’s a lot of science in this film without being technical. Each viewer probably had their own favorite moments, whether the towering dinosaur reconstructions, swimming sharks, stars and galaxies, Grand Canyon, or a fossil dig in progress. I would like to see two impacts of this production: first, to encourage pastors to take a bold stand for Genesis as “true to what is there,” and second, to encourage young budding scientists to follow in the footsteps of these men whose dedication has given many Christians confidence for having reasonable faith, because God’s word is trustworthy. It fits the world as we see it. It’s history; His story.Update 2/24/17: Just got word that there will be encore showings on March 2. See the website for details. This indicates that interest was high. The publicity team says, “Our premier last night vaulted Is Genesis History to one of Fathom’s best releases!”It was good to see a spirit of unity among the participating scientists. They come from different organizations; sometimes that can result in divided loyalties. They also avoided infighting over different young-earth models, focusing instead on points of agreement. The producer and participants also wisely avoided disparaging comments about theistic evolutionists or old-earthers. Hopefully that will encourage viewers of those persuasions to consider the evidence itself.On the day of the showing, Paul Nelson felt it necessary to issue a “dissent” about his part in the film. On Evolution News & Views, he claims his views were misrepresented, mistakenly portraying a false dichotomy between old-age secularism and young-earth creationism as if those were the only two options. While his feelings are understandable and his arguments sound, I’m not sure it was necessary or helpful to call this a “dissent.” He could have called it a “clarification.” Nothing Paul says in the film is false; it’s only incomplete. The word “dissent” appears to put him at odds with not only the producer, but with Del Tackett and all the other honorable scientists who appear in the film. Paul is a good, wise and honorable teacher himself; let’s hope this issue will be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction in the DVD version.I’m glad to know many of the scientists in the film personally, and even more glad to know that many of them are supportive of Creation-Evolution Headlines. If you missed the film, I hope this review encourages you to see it if and when it comes out on DVD.  —David Coppedge, reviewer(Visited 166 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Implementing the president’s nine-point plan

first_imgMinister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Gugile NkwintiWednesday, 28 October 2015 – Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Gugile Nkwinti, addressed the media at the Economic Sectors, Employment and Infrastructure Development cluster meeting where he expanded on Jacob Zuma’s nine-point plan that is designed to increase economic growth and create jobs.Download the speechMinisters and Deputy MinistersDirectors-GeneralMembers of the MediaLadies and gentlemenGood morning and welcome to the Economic Sectors, Employment and Infrastructure Development (ESEID) Cluster media briefing.South Africa adopted the National Development Plan (NDP) and Vision 2030 to create a better life for all its citizens in an inclusive society. We are over a year into the implementation of the NDP; on a path to accelerate economic growth and resolve the triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality.You will recall that President Jacob Zuma announced the Nine-Point Plan to ignite growth and create jobs in his State of the Nation Address (SoNA) on 11 February 2015. President Zuma further provided a progress report on the Nine-Point Plan in his Mid-Year SoNA implementation update to the media on 11 August 2015.The Nine-Point Plan, whose priority interventions are the main concern of the Economic Cluster, has been designed to accelerate economic growth and create jobs by, among other things, transforming the economy and increasing investments. The three types of interventions – job drivers, enablers and cost-cutting interventions – have been designed to work in collaboration to grow the economy.A key cross-cutting priority of the Nine-Point Plan is to build stronger and enduring partnerships with the private sector.This media briefing expands on the President’s progress report by providing more detailed information and providing an opportunity for engagement on the implementation of the nine priority interventions.Economic ContextThe global economy continues to face significant headwinds. The global economy grew by 3.4% in 2014. South Africa’s main trading partners have experienced divergent economic growth. The European Union grew by just 0.9% while Japan shrunk by 0.1%. However, Sub-Saharan Africa grew by 5% and the United States grew by a robust 2.4%. China’s economy continues to slow down with growth moderating to a still impressive 7.4%. Commodity prices of iron-ore, coal, platinum and oil are still well below their 2008 highs. The substantial drop in the international oil price has brought benefits for South Africa but will reduce growth in oil-producing African countries which are key destinations for South Africa’s manufactured exports.Overall, global outlook is still very uncertain with gross domestic product projections being revised downwards by the International Monitory Fund. South Africa cannot depend on global growth alone to catalyse domestic growth. The uncertain global economic outlook has depressed business and consumer confidence in the domestic economy.South Africa continues to face macroeconomic constraints. However, government is cautiously optimistic that the economy will return to growth largely on the back of a significantly improved electricity supply outlook and intense efforts by government to grow investment levels.Government is also pleased to note the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, which indicates that South Africa has risen seven places to rank 49th out of 140 countries in the Global Competitiveness Index.In August 2015, President Zuma received the Status of Women in the South African Economy report. The report identified the need for an explicit intervention to enhance the economic empowerment of women across the country, starting with the Nine-Point Plan and Operation Phakisa initiatives.The report serves as a baseline to promote socio-economic empowerment of women and gender equality, and to advance their human rights.Government has prioritised leveraging private-sector investment in the infrastructure build programme, the manufacturing sector and the Ocean Economy under the auspices of Operation Phakisa.Operation Phakisa is an innovative and pioneering approach to translate detailed plans into concrete results through dedicated delivery and collaboration. Through Operation Phakisa, government aims to implement priority programmes better, faster and more effectively.Update on progress on implementation of the nine-point planGovernment is working towards a reliable energy supply to ensure energy security for now and the future; an enabler for economic growth.On 30 August 2015, President Zuma officially opened one of six generating units at the Medupi Power Station in Lephalale in Limpopo, which contributes about 800 megawatts (MW) to the grid.Medupi Power Station will add 4 764 MW to Eskom’s grid once completed and will be the world’s largest coal-fired power station. This is also the fourth dry-cooled, baseload station to be built in 20 years by Eskom, after Kendal, Majuba and Matimba power stations.The R2 billion Kouga project that has been established will provide renewable energy that can power as many as 50 000 houses, adding to the large new energy capacity that solar and wind energy has brought to the grid. Electricity supplied by 37 approved Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme (REIPPP) projects also continued to increase and supply just over 1 500 MW to the grid. In an effort to influence the increase in local content of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plants under the REIPPP – as a first step towards this – the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has established a 100 kilowatt (kW) concentrated solar energy pilot facility with a unique design that uses smaller, smarter and modular heliostats (solar collectors) to overcome cost challenges.More recently, we completed work on the process to select the preferred bidders for the Small Projects Independent Power Producers Programme (1 – 5 MW), which aims to assist small developers to gain experience in project development and raise the necessary funding for similar projects.Recently, 21 284 households were connected to grid electricity and 2 761 connected to off-grid technology.The DST is finalising the bio-energy atlas that indicates the potential energy that may be generated using agricultural/forestry/sawmill residues and organic waste across the country. This policy and investment decision support tool seeks to improve energy security and increase levels of energy access, and will be launched before the end of the financial year. The atlas provides a sense of the proximity of bio-energy resources to energy infrastructure and areas that have limited energy access. It also gives an indication of employment-creation potentials in harvesting and converting biomass to energy.Construction of the two Integrated Energy Centres (IECs) in Bushbuckridge and Nkomazi in Mpumalanga are at a planning stage and will be completed in March 2016.On average, an IEC can employ up to 30 permanent staff members, complemented with temporary capacity. Temporary and permanent people employed during the building period will all have the opportunity to acquire training that makes them employable in the greater job market.Progress has been made in revitalising agriculture, the agro-processing value chain and land reform.The Agricultural Policy Action Plan has been reviewed to ensure that it becomes a job driver and promotes growth, employment, rural incomes, investment, output, export and African regional development.Work is continuing in the development of 44 Agri-Parks across the nine provinces. One Agri-Park is ready to be launched in North West. Production plans have been developed and are being implemented across the country to ensure increased production in the areas supporting the Agri-Parks. The DST is busy with a feasibility study on agro-innovation hubs that will support the development and dissemination of appropriate technologies to be implemented in Agri-Parks.A total of 12 221 smallholder producers were supported through advisory services, training, technical support and infrastructure from April to June 2015. In addition, 36 additional farms are being supported under the Recapitalisation and Development Programme.The DST is in the process of establishing a wheat-breeding platform to support the development and commercialisation of new breeding technologies for emerging and commercial farmers. Five new cultivars will be produced by 2020 to support increased productivity and food security. The DST also supports the Eucalyptus Genome Project, a local platform for tree genomics research in South Africa. This project focuses on the identification of desirable traits which speed up and allow for more accurate breeding. The project has the potential to increase industry competitiveness based on improved physical and chemical properties of wood and improved disease resistance to support the forest, pulp and paper industry, thus grow the economy and create employment opportunities.The Recommissioning Strategy for the Western Cape forestry exit areas has been approved to put about 22 000 hectares (ha) of state forestry land back into commercial forestry operation. The resultant benefits range from job creation, local economic development and future improvement in timber supply.According to the LHA study that was commissioned by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Independent Development Corporation, the recommissioning of Western Cape plantations will employ 350 full-time workers for the five-year period. This number will increase to 1 500 when the plantations are in full production.In an effort to enhance the competitiveness of the agricultural sector through research, development and innovation, government – together with the private sector – have invested R104 058 468.78 million to implement innovation programmes for the fresh produce, aquaculture, wine, citrus and forestry sectors.To increase the amount of land under irrigation, a total of 74.6 ha were revitalised during the first quarter of the current financial year and five water-use authorisation licences were issued to previously disadvantaged individuals, amounting to 3.79 million m3 volume of water that will be used for irrigation. Some 15 resource-poor farmers were supported to access water for production.As at 30 June 2015 the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights had settled over 78 138 land claims, which benefitted more than 1,9 million individuals from 385 691 families have benefitted from an award of 3 231 787 hectares of land acquired at the cost of R18.7 billion.  Some beneficiaries opt for financial compensation, to date the Commission has paid over R9.1 billion. An additional R4.1 billion has been awarded to beneficiaries that have opted for land as development assistance.South Africa is advancing beneficiation and adding value to our mineral wealth; a job driver in the economy.Operation Phakisa in the mining industry is designed to unlock investment, enhance the nation’s productive capacity and encourage participation in key mineral value chains.Plans are in place to save jobs and to find alternatives to the threat of job losses in the mining sector. All key stakeholders signed a declaration on 31 August 2015 to save jobs and alleviate the impact of job losses in the industry.The Department of Trade and Industry provided support for a 100kW static fuel cell that runs on platinum and natural gas installed at the Chamber of Mines offices in Johannesburg.Engagements are underway with public and private sectors to promote market development, early adoption of the technology and manufacturing plants in South Africa.Through public-private partnerships, the DST facilitated the deployment of three 5kW hydrogen fuel cell units at three schools in the Cofimvaba district in the Eastern Cape and another 5kW hydrogen fuel cell unit at a clinic in Windsor East, Johannesburg, Gauteng. Apart from providing energy access in support of the provision of education and health services, the technology lays the foundation for the growth of a new industry based on South Africa’s platinum resource.We are moving towards more effective implementation of a higher-impact Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP).The President announced during the Mid-Term SoNA implementation update to the media that progress was being made on implementing the IPAP, which is one of the job drivers in the economy.Government continues to create a conductive environment to attract both local and foreign investments. This is achieved through industrial financing that includes offering support to enterprises that can create and sustain jobs.Through the Manufacturing Competitiveness Enhancement Programme, government approved 161 enterprises for funding and leveraged investment of R5.8 billion with 28 212 jobs sustained.The Automotive Incentive Scheme approved 13 enterprises for funding and leveraged investment of R1.5 billion.Government is committed to transforming the economy by ensuring that previously marginalised groups participate meaningfully in the economy. This has led to the drafting of the Black Industrialists Policy Framework, which has been presented to the ESEID Cluster and the Cabinet Committee in July 2015.Significant progress is being made in terms of attracting investment into the Industrial Development Zones (IDZs). For example, in Coega IDZ, 12 new investors with an investment value of more than R8 billion were signed, five investors with an investment value of more than R140 million were signed in the East London IDZ and the Richards Bay IDZ signed five new investors with an investment value of more than R2.8 billion.Government is playing its part in moderating workplace conflictYou will be aware that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa leads the interface between business and labour to normalise labour relations.Consensus on a working definition of a National Minimum Wage was reached at the National Economic Development and Labour Council.Other mechanisms to reduce workplace conflict include a Code of Conduct for strikes, lockouts and compulsory arbitration by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.South Africans are generally peace-loving and law-abiding citizens. We must stop all criminal and violent activities during industrial action and labour strikes.I would like to emphasise that peaceful negotiations are the best solution to deal with disputes and problems.Unlocking the potential of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), cooperatives, township and rural enterprises as job drivers in the economy.620 informal traders were trained in all nine were trained through the National Informal Business Upliftment pilot project in partnership with the Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority (W&RSETA). The training focused on entrepreneurship, marketing your business, customer-care, financial management, purchasing skills, regulatory and by-law compliance, hygiene and food safety, merchandising, and point of sale.489 enterprises and cooperatives were supported through the rural development, environment and tourism sectors’ initiatives. A fresh-produce market has been established in uThungulu District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal.To support the development of a vibrant bio-economy industrial sector, the Biomanufacturing Industrial Development Centre that was established at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research now supports 17 small and medium high-tech enterprises.To support the development of a competitive mobile innovation industry, a mobile solutions lab (mLab Southern Africa) was established at The Innovation Hub and now supports 11 small and five medium mobile innovation enterprises.As part of facilitating access to finance for SMMEs and cooperatives, the Department of Small Business Development’s Black Business Supplier Development Programme supported 376 enterprises to the tune of over R95 million (R95 821 711.23 million). This has supported 10 399 jobs.The Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) disbursed R344 million to 24 711 SMMEs. It also financed 5 305 youth-owned businesses, 22 296 black-owned,21 940 women-owned, 22 620 SMMEs and cooperatives in priority provinces. It is important to note that 43% of the allocations were in the priority sectors – such as construction, information and communications technology (ICT), mining, manufacturing, agriculture and tourism – as defined in the New Growth Path and IPAP.It is encouraging that 98% of support is towards informal businesses. This is consistent with the Nine-Point Plan announced by the President during the 2015 SoNA. It is important to note that most of the SEFA’s loans are not supported by any form of collateral.The Small Enterprise Development Agency’s network of 48 incubators supports 2 236 clients. A total of 535 permanent jobs were created by incubated small enterprises, mostly in the agriculture and construction sectors.Progress has also been registered in cross-cutting areas to reform, boost and diversify the economy. They were designed to support the other nine priority interventions.TelecommunicationsThe Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services has started the process of providing broadband connection services in eight districts in provinces where the National Health Insurance programme is being piloted, including the appointment of a network service provider to connect the facilities. Furthermore, the development of   the connectivity plan of schools in the eight selected districts is underway.380 schools have been connected through Universal Service Obligations imposed by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa. The process will include classification of schools based on its proximity to existing network infrastructure. A total of 1 938 schools were equipped with facilities and computer rooms, and a further 131 rural communities provided with ICT equipment and services. The roll-out of broadband and ICTs will stimulate local economic development and promote economic opportunities for the youth.Water and sanitation27 200 households recently gained access to safe drinking water. Two water projects funded through the Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant were completed in Masilonyana Local Municipality in the Free State, and the construction of 15 bulk infrastructure schemes are at different phases.Phase 1 of the Mokolo Crocodile Water Augmentation Project has been completed and has met all short term water requirements in the Waterberg areas. This will contribute in meeting water requirements for the Medupi and Matimba power stations.3 978 households recently gained access to sanitation through the Rural Household Infrastructure Grant and 3 822 buckets in formally established areas have been replaced with proper sanitation services.Transport, rail and roadsTransport infrastructure supports all the other nine priority interventions and is an important enabler for economic growth.The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s Rolling Stock Fleet Renewal Programme is underway, with one of the trains being manufactured in Brazil ready for delivery on 30 November 2015.In an effort to maintain provincial roads, 19.24km have been surfaced, 62km resealed, 18km gravelled, 821km bladed and 227 628 m² potholes patched. The provincial road network is funded through the Provincial Roads Maintenance Grant (PRMG). A list of these roads is in Table B5 of the Division of Revenue Act: Provincial Roads Infrastructure projects list funded through the PRMG.Construction of three bridges is at different stages in Mbombela, Bushbuckridge and Nkomazi in Mpumalanga (reconstruction of flood-damaged bridges).The Bus Rapid Transport System continues to be operationalised in various cities of South Africa:– In Cape Town, MyCiTi is moving an average of 42 522 people against a target of 50 000 per weekday. – Rea Vaya in Johannesburg is moving an average of 33 670 people against a target of 40 000 per weekday. – In Pretoria, A Re Yeng is moving an average of 3 000 people against a target of 10 000 per weekday. – Go George is moving an average of 7 630 people against a target of 10 000 per weekday in George.The construction has continued to expand the coverage of the system in the abovementioned and other cities in accordance with roll-out requirements and available funding.The South African National Roads Agency Limited has begun preliminary designs and other preparatory work for the upgrade of Moloto Road.The feasibility study for the construction of the rail factory in Ekurhuleni has been approved. This factory will produce 580 coaches and generate approximately 33 000 direct and indirect jobs.The development of a cabotage policy to support the Oceans Economy programme of Operation Phakisa is nearing completion.A draft private sector participation framework for ports and railway sectors has been developed and is due for finalisation.The Nine-Point Plan interventions were designed to stimulate the economy in a phased manner over the long term. Each priority intervention does not work in isolation but is part of an integrated national effort. It is a national effort towards inclusive economic growth. The economic empowerment of women is critical in order for South Africa to achieve real economic development and growth. The Nine-Point Plan interventions will yield results over different time frames in the immediate, medium and long term.We are confident that these priority interventions will help to grow South Africa’s economy and address the challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality if we all work together. The economy is everyone’s responsibility.Together let’s move the country forward.I thank youlast_img read more

Buried Ducts Allowed in 2018 Energy Code

first_imgIn humid climates, that’s not the case. The photo above shows condensation on a duct in a crawl space in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Outdoor dew points can hit 80°F in the summer there and average somewhere in the 70s. With 55°F air moving through supply ducts, you’ve got to have well installed insulation on the duct with significant R-value to keep the surface temperature above the dew point.When that supply duct is in a vented crawl space, it’s really hard to keep that surface temperature above the dew point because the temperature down there is already close to the dew point. When you have a supply duct above the ceiling insulation in a vented attic, however, the surrounding air temperature is typically higher than ambient. Thus, the surface temperature of that duct most likely will be above dew point. That means no condensation.But if you bury that supply duct in fiberglass or cellulose insulation, which allow attic air to reach the duct’s surface, all bets are off. As you pile more and more insulation on top of the duct, the surface temperature of the insulation jacket drops.Since attic air permeates into the ceiling insulation, the dew point within is presumably the same as in the attic space above the insulation. Further, if the attic is vented, the dew point of that attic air should be about the same as the outdoor air. Right? The result is a duct surface temperature that’s below the dew point of the air in the ceiling insulation, and that means condensation.As it turns out, ducts buried in ceiling insulation in humid climates do sometimes have condensation problems. If you live in a humid climate, especially locations near the Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic Ocean, you may now know the reason for those mysterious water spots on your ceiling. Maybe. They could also be from roof leaks.What the research says about buried ductsWell, that sure sounds reasonable, but is it confirmed by what actually happens? A Building America paper from 2016 titled, Compact Buried Ducts in a Hot-Humid Climate House has an answer for us. Home Innovation Research Labs did a study on a buried duct system in a home in Lady’s Island, South Carolina (a bit north of Hilton Head). One of the main questions they wanted to answer was:What is the minimum level of duct insulation to prevent condensation at the outer jacket of buried ducts in hot-humid and mixed-humid climates?So they set up this model home with a buried duct system and installed a lot of sensors. The ducts had the standard R-8 insulation you find on attic ducts but then were covered with R-30 ceiling insulation. Here’s what they found:No condensation on the ductsColder air delivered to the houseSimulated simple payback of 3.1 years, and simple return on investment of 32%Another really interesting thing they found was that the assumption I mentioned in the last section doesn’t seem to be warranted. Remember when I said that the dew point within the attic insulation is presumed to be the same as the dew point in the attic above the insulation? Well, that’s not what they found. The graph below shows two things: (1) The dew goes through daily cycles (similar to what I found in a spray foam attic in Atlanta), and (2) the dew point peaks decrease as you descend into the ceiling insulation and get closer to the drywall. This is good to know.Now, this is all good stuff, but it’s just a start. For one thing, the report is based on only one month’s data, August 2015. For another, they set this house up specifically as a test house and thus made sure to get as close as they could to their design conditions. (They did miss on duct leakage, though. Their goal was 1 cfm25/100 square feet of conditioned floor area and they hit 4 cfm25/100 square feet.)It may well turn out that R-8 duct insulation is good enough for general use, but I’m not convinced yet. Neither, as it turns out, is the International Code Council.The new I-code requirementsThrough the 2015 versions of the IRC and IECC, the codes haven’t said anything about buried ducts. They’re not prohibited, but there’s also no guidance on how you would design and install them if you wanted to try it as an alternative to bringing the ducts into the conditioned space or moving the building enclosure to the roofline with spray foam. But that’s now changing as the 2018 I-codes have addressed the issue for the first time.The new buried duct requirements are pretty simple. It’s basically just two things. All supply ducts completely or partially buried in ceiling insulation must:Be insulated to at least R-13 in IECC climate zones 1A, 2A, and 3A and to at least R-8 in all other climate zones;Have a total of R-19 of insulation above and below the ducts, excluding the R-value of the duct insulation.But of course there’s more. Once we put the ducts down into the insulation, other questions arise. Here are the two relevant to this discussion:Can you add the insulation above the ducts to the duct insulation for energy modeling and load calculations?Can you consider buried ducts to be in conditioned space?The answer to both of those questions is yes, but only with more rigorous requirements. Let’s look at them separately.Deeply buried ducts. The first question leads to what is called “deeply buried ducts.” They get this designation if they (1) are no more than 5.5″ above the drywall, (2) have at least R-30 on either side, and (3) covered with at least 3.5″ of insulation (on top of the R-8 or R-13 duct insulation). If they meet all three requirements, then you can enter R-25 as the effective duct insulation in load calculations and other energy modeling.Buried ducts inside conditioned space. The second question gets a yes if the buried ducts meet even more stringent requirements: (1) The air handler must be inside conditioned space; (2) duct leakage must be no higher than 1.5 square feet of conditioned floor area; and (3) the sum of the ceiling insulation above the duct and the duct insulation must equal the prescriptive R-value for ceiling insulation. If you achieve all of that, you can model the ducts as being located in conditioned space.Will the new buried duct requirements work?Since so many homes are built with ducts in the attic and blown fiberglass or cellulose insulation on the ceiling, this new option may appeal to some builders. We know that putting ducts in unconditioned attics is stupid from an energy perspective. But we also know that a builder will absolutely get a callback because of water spots on the ceiling whereas energy bills that are 20% higher than they might be with ducts in conditioned space just won’t register.There are pitfalls here, though. Here are a few:Buried ducts that are poorly insulatedToo much duct leakageImproperly sealed vapor barrier on the duct insulationAny of those things could lead to condensation on the ducts. A strap around a duct compressing the insulation, for example, reduces the R-value at the strap. That lowers the temperature at the vapor barrier and may put it below the dew point.As with just about every other part of construction, the buried ducts method will work fine if implemented properly. It could also lead to some major headaches if it’s not. We’ll see what happens if builders choose to try it.Footnote† Both of my parents were smokers. Both died of lung cancer. Allison Bailes of Decatur, Georgia, is a speaker, writer, building science consultant, and the author of the Energy Vanguard Blog. You can follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard. RELATED ARTICLESKeeping Ducts IndoorsCreating a Conditioned AtticSealing DuctsDuct Leakage Testing Water vapor from the air condenses on air conditioning ducts in humid climates. It’s as normal as poorly insulated bonus rooms making occupants uncomfortable or cigarettes causing lung cancer†. Condensation on ducts is most common in crawl spaces and basements, where the air is more likely to have a higher dew point.But it also happens in conditioned space and occasionally even in attics. That’s why you have to be careful about burying ducts in attic insulation in humid climates, especially in coastal areas. The 2018 International Residential Code (IRC) and International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), however, have passed new requirements they say will prevent condensation on such buried ducts. Will they work?The problem with buried ductsBefore getting to the new IECC requirements, let’s understand the issue a little better first. The potential for duct condensation is a humid climate, cooling season problem. My friends out west regularly bury their ducts in air-permeable insulation (mainly fiberglass and cellulose) and don’t worry about condensation. The air in the ducts may be as low as 55°F, but their summer dew points are usually below 50°F. There’s just not enough water vapor to condense.last_img read more

Steps to Financial Freedom: Saving & Investing

first_imgContributions by Molly Herndon and Carolyn BirdIn this third installment in this series, we’ll tackle the steps of saving and investing. By now, we’ve covered budget tracking, credit scores, and now we’re on to an important cornerstone of a sound financial wellness plan.Step 5: SavingSavings are a key component of a successful financial wellness plan. An “emergency” savings fund acts like an insurance policy to meet unplanned expenses. We know that things are bound to break, we just don’t always know when. An emergency savings account can help keep credit card debt under control by providing the means to, for example, replace a flat tire, buy a new washing machine, or to repair the furnace. An emergency savings fund should be quickly and easily accessible, without fee or early withdrawal penalty and is a vital component to a smarts savings strategy. Without an emergency fund unexpected expenses can wreak havoc on a budget. Taking money from retirement account is typically not best approach since that jeopardizes your future financial security and costs you money in penalty charges. Encourage your client to research high-yield savings options with your client to assure their money is earning the most interest, and garnering the fewest fees, possible. You may also want to discuss the importance of being adequately insured and other measures that can reduce economic hardship during disasters. An amount for saving should have been determined when your client was creating his or her monthly budget tracker. Now, work with your client to evaluate progress toward savings goals. Discuss any savings plans the client may already have through the military. Service members may already be contributing to the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), and if not, walk though the benefits of these defined contribution plans. You may also want to review monthly expenses to determine if they could increase the monthly amount going into the TSP account. Here are some simple ways to decrease monthly expenses and increase savings.Participation in the TSP is a great way to start or to supplement a retirement savings fund. Early contributions toward retirement are an important practice for service members who are establishing sound financial management strategies. The amount of money needed at retirement is shaped by the sort of retirement a person envisions. For many of our service members, retirement is decades away. So, for now, the best plan is to put the power of time and compound interest to work. In the future, the service members will a great resource available as they begin to seek guidance to tailor their retirement savings and investment plan. Service members with children may be interested in starting a college savings accounts for their children.Step 6: Investing Service members who are meeting their monthly financial obligations may be interested in earning more from their savings. Start by determining your client’s level of risk tolerance. Young and financially secure clients may be willing to tolerate larger losses for the opportunity to gain higher returns, but this is not always the case.The Thrift Savings Plan is an excellent way for service members to invest and save up to $16,500 pre-tax dollars a year, but some service members may also be interested in the benefit of opening an IRA to enrich their savings plan. In addition, active duty service members may be interested in the Department of Defense Savings Deposit Program (SDP), which was established to provide members of the uniformed services serving in designated combat zones the opportunity to build their financial savings. The SDP offers a guaranteed interest rate, currently at 10 percent annual interest, while the service member is in a combat zone and for up to 90 days after departing the combat zone.To be eligible for the DSP, the service member must be receiving Hostile Fire Pay and be deployed for at least 30 consecutive days or at least 1 day in each of 3 consecutive months. Your client may want to consider timing the receipt of a re-enlistment bonus to meet the DSP guidelines. Amounts up to $10,000 may be deposited and will earn the 10 percent annual interest (compounded quarterly). Wouldn’t this be a great way to maximize that bonus? You will wan to be sure your client understands that interest does not accrue on amounts over $10,000 and that interest on balances up to $10,000 will cease on the 91st day after leaving a declared combat zone. Service members will want to have a plan for those funds after this period to keep their money working for them. Withdrawals can be made through a service member’s myPay system.Working with service members to evaluate their savings and investment goals and expectations is a crucial step in developing a sound financial management plan. Next week we will discuss raising financially fit children, and the importance of modeling responsible financial behavior for the next generation.What savings strategies do you suggest to clients? What hinders a successful savings plan?last_img read more

Whatever it takes

first_imgTerrence Romeo talks to reporters as he attends his first practice with San Miguel. INQUIRER photo/Denison DalupangFor those wondering how a troubled superstar can fit himself into a title-studded roster, here’s an encouraging start: Terrence Romeo knows his place in the San Miguel Beer lineup.“Wala talaga akong maipag-mamalaki sa kahit kanino sa team na ‘to,” the controversial playmaker told reporters after his first practice with the Beermen Thursday.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games PLAY LIST 01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening Jimmy Alapag as SMB assistant coach has homecoming feel to it “I’ll just have to play the right way of basketball,” said Romeo. And that means leaving the past way behind him.The PBA’s three-time scoring champion refuses to dwell on his unceremonious exit from the KaTropa, who reportedly dealt him away to preserve their cherished chemistry.“Kung sasabihin ko ‘yung totoong dahilan, hahaba lang ‘yung usapan,” he said. “I’m moving on.”“Whatever they say about me, whatever the writeups say about me—about going Awol, about being unreachable during our Christmas party, I don’t know any more … I have no control over that now,” he added in Filipino.Before his tour of duty with KaTropa, Romeo played for GlobalPort for five years, a partnership that also ended on a sour note after a spat with coach Pido Jarencio that was caught on national TV.ADVERTISEMENT Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue “I’ll just make the most out of it with my new team. It is what it is,” said the 26-year-old guard known for his isolation skills. “We’re in a world that sometimes, there are things you just couldn’t control.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? MOST READcenter_img View comments LATEST STORIES Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte It’s a mind-set he needs to hold on to if he wants to squeeze out the most of this last chance to smooth out a career that has alternated between highlights and unsavory headlines: “I have nothing on the guys on this team.”“I want to learn from them. I want to learn how to become a champion,” he said of the stars of the team that has won four straight all-Filipino titles.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionReportedly on a demand by the stars of his former team, Romeo was shipped out by TNT for San Miguel’s Brian Heruela, David Semerad, and a 2021 first round pick. The transaction ended Romeo’s affair with the KaTropa, one that didn’t even last a whole season.To make this shot at relevance work, Romeo knows he has his work cut out for him. LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviñolast_img read more