The Prime Minister, Youssef Chahed of Tunisia, sacked its energy minister on Friday (August 31) over an allegation of corruption in the ministry, the government announced.
Corruption is like a plague affecting many African countries and preventing them from growing as expected.
A government which takes anti-graft cases seriously is taking a good step towards development. Tunisia is a country that has a bad history with corruption cases and why the last autocratic government was chased out of office to allow a democratic rule to charge of governance in the country.
Khaled Kaddour who was sacked along with other senior officials did not respond to the allegation at the time the sack was carried out.
The Prime minister, Youssef Chahed has given orders for a thorough investigation into the corruption in the ministry. He further ordered the merger of the energy and industry ministries according to reports from an official source to Reuters.
However, an official who was sacked along with Khaled denied ever getting involved in any corrupt practices and was determined to prove his innocence.
According to a government spokesman, Iyad Dahmani, the sacked minister and other officials were alleged of permitting a Tunisian investor to illegally explore one of Tunisia’s most important sites, the Halk Manzel Oilfield.
He was allowed without going through due process of licensing. Dahmani said the deal on the oilfield which is closed to the coastal city of Monastir also has undue tax privileges to it.
On the clampdown on corruption moved by the country last year, Kaddour happens to be the first minister to be hit by the anti-graft campaign of the administration.
The Secretary of State for Energy, Hachem Hmidi who is among the other four denied the accusations and was committed to clearing his name from the whole corruption saga in the ministry. He made it clear from his statements:
“My exit from the government helps me to devote myself to the case and prove that I am innocent of these malicious charges.”
The other sacked officials named in the allegation were the director general of illegal affairs in the ministry, the head of the national oil company- ETAP and the director general of fuel.
It will be recalled that corruption was the major reason for the revolt against the Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali’s regime in 2011. Today, many Tunisians are yet to see any difference since the transition into a democratic government the same year with a free and fair election process.
In July this year, parliament passed a law to compel senior officials to make their assets public in a bid to fight against unlawful enrichment when in government.
The committee on anti-corruption in the country agreed to the widespread of corruption in all sectors of business leading to an annual loss in billions of dollars to the government.
Following the sack of Tunisia energy minister and in the drive to rid the country of corruption, a big figure in the political circle in the country is currently under investigation for corruption accusation.
Chafik Jaraya is the man talked about here. He had been a strong financial support to the ruling party, Nidaa Tounes in 2014 elections. Also read to know why an analyst of International Crisis Group stated ‘Tunisia is seen as the land of recruitment for terrorist’.
Thousands of Tunisian jihadists in the past four years have been migrating to warring countries abroad such as Iraq, Syria, and Libya to be recruited into al-Qaeda and Islamic State.
This is far more than what any other nationality can account for. According to a senior analyst for the International Crisis Group, Michael Becher Ayari, Tunisia is seen as the land of recruitment for terrorist.
Obviously, this suggests reasons why the fear of invasion from jihadists from abroad is most likely. The migrants could possibly find their way back into the country with more battlefield experience and terrorist activities.
However, the fears haven’t resulted in any attack as declared by western diplomats, a regional analyst, and the government authorities.
Many Tunisian jihadists who migrated to join groups in Libya in 2016 must have died fighting to recapture Sirte, the capital of ISIS’ acclaimed caliphate in northern Africa.
Many extremists who went to Iraq and Syria are believed to have died as well. Many survivals may be captured and kept in prisons in Syria or in a hideout somewhere.
The Tunisian government has been proactive. Militants who find their ways back into the country are arrested and incarcerated to prevent future regrouping.
Tunisia’s Secular State Practice May Be An Issue
Tunisia as a country is a likely target owing to the more secular and liberal views of the government on Islam, freedom of expression and women.
There are records of previous attacks from international jihadist groups in Tunisia. The attack of 2015 still remains fresh when gunmen from ISIS attacked the popular Bardo Museum and the resort town of Sousse killing many people who are mostly foreigners.
Tunisians who are ISIS members came in from Libya and moved to capture Ben Guerdane before being repelled by government forces.
Ever since the attack, al-Qaeda and the Islamic State have executed more attacks in Tunisia but are not as disastrous. Likely invasion of jihadist from abroad is today not likely according to conclusions provided by government and other stakeholders. Also read about the never-ending war in Syria.
Brexit- Britain exiting the EU has been the talk among supporters and others on the other side of the decision by the United Kingdom government.
Exiting the European Union without a formal agreement with the body in a No-Deal approach is another twist to it. The UK Prime minister Theresa May’s argument that a no deal in leaving will be better off than leaving the EU with a bad deal instead.
It was seen in some quarters as a move that may be too costly for the country and may not materialize. But the possibility is gradually appearing to come to fusion by March 29, 2019.
This rare move that may come as an option has very little support in parliament except for groups who have limited understanding of international trade rules and legal obligations the move may carry along with it.
This may have a lot of serious consequences in the economy; affect how every Briton transacts business online and offline, and carry out inter-boarder trades.
With the Prime minister’s promise of keeping citizens informed through notices, the first batch of government papers to alert citizens on what to expect from a No-deal Brexit have raised a lot of concern from shoppers, businesses, farmers, UK expats, and NHS patients.
The “technical notices” released by ministers on a no-deal departure covers medicine, finance, and trade, Dominic Raab, Brexit secretary have said. Mr. Raab is optimistic for every Briton with the government’s preparation already put in place.
In the twenty-four technical alerts made available in August, the implications are well spelled out:
- Online shoppers will most likely get high cost of parcels to be delivered to the United Kingdom owing to the removal of VAT relief
- Increase in the charges of credit or debit card payments in the European Union should be expected on the removal of surcharges.
- Expats of British origin in the EU are more likely to lose access to their financial services including pension income.
- NHS patients could face delays in accessing innovative treatments.
- Organic farmers will face trade embargo and will experience delays in exporting to the European Union. They will need to apply for certification for this purpose from Brussels which may take as much as nine months to complete.
- Delays at the borders if coming from rail, sea or by road should be expected for a large amount of supply of medicines.
From the batch of notices released, many have pointed out that the government is clearly not prepared for a no-deal exit from the EU.
They are of the opinion that the papers have shown clear information that the no-deal option will only spell disaster which they never voted for.
The anti-Brexit campaigners are asking for a second referendum instead of going for the no-deal option to quit the EU.
However, included in the released paper, Mr. Raab informed of government’s preparation to recruit additional 9, 000 staff into the civil service to facilitate Whitehall preparations when No-deal Brexit applies.
Further plans to employ additional 1,000 border staff to handle any increase in demands of duties that may occur have been taken into consideration.
Seven years on, the civil war in Syria doesn’t seem to be ending very soon. It appears as time goes by the situation is getting worse still with many casualties recorded during major assaults on territories.
The end to a war comes when the warring factions come to see reasons why they should give consideration to peaceful discussions and resolve issues that separate them in an amicable way with no one particular side claiming victory.
Unfortunately, in the Syrian war, none of the factions are prepared to dialogue with others to see an end to the war that has cost the country about 500, 000 lives since it began. Over 5 million Syrian refugees have been camped in various locations and not less than 6 million people have been displaced from their homes without hopes of returning very soon on sight.
The latest and major onslaught that drew lots of attention because of the mode of the attack came in April 2018.
It was alleged that President Assad used chemical weapons and many civilians lost their lives when the attack was executed in Douma, one of the rebel’s strongholds. Though the allegation needed further investigation at the time, this is not the first time chemical weapons will be used against civilians.
A similar attack took place a few years into the war making the United Nations opt for a resolution demanding that chemical weapons be destroyed in 2013 and moved for peace talks in Geneva.
Up from then, it is quite unfortunate that peace talks have not been given a chance.
Too Many Interests To Contend With
On the demand for peace talks in Geneva, the obstacle has been that of diverse interests. And disagreements on who should be part of the peace talks.
The US won’t want to see an Iran or a Mr. Assad included, Russia doesn’t want the jihadist rebels included and Turkey doesn’t want to see the Kurdish people’s defense Unit (YPG) involved which America is solidly behind of.
Since the conflict broke out in 2011, close to 200 rebel groups have emerged.
There are still too many of them even when some of these rebel groups formed an alliance to become bigger.This is where the problem of a peace talk lies. It is difficult to know who the opposition is to the current President Assad’s regime.
All this time, President Assad’s regime has been claiming it is warring against Al-Qaeda, Islamic State, and the Salafi jihadist groups to maintain the country’s modern secular state status. Russia is solidly behind Mr. Assad by assisting to defeat all these groups with a support of air strikes to the ground troops of the Assad’s regime. Europe and the US are comfortable and like Assad’s ideology of modern secular state but don’t want either Assad or the jihadist group.
This diverse interest makes it quite impossible for a peace talk to be effective with the only option left for a fight to finish and a clear victory for one.
Mr. Assad’s Regime Victory Could Be The Long-Awaited End To The War
The Syrian war will end with a victory for one. With no clear peace deal on sight, President Bashar al-Assad is going all out to stamp its authority as the elected government in the country with a clear victory.
A victory for him and others mean an end to the war. He is taking all measures possible along with Russia to eliminate all rebel groups even if it has to be with many civilian casualties going for it.
This gives the reasons why Mr. Putin never accepted talks on resolution and Mr. Assad not honoring the 30-day ceasefire resolution from the UN.
Both countries don’t want to give a time for the rebels to fortify themselves or regroup again.
They are determined to wipe out all rebels as fast as it can be even if it has to come by any means.
However, with the US supporting the Kurdish YPG group and have successfully ended the occupation of the Islamic State, the war should see its end when the Assad’s regime, strongly supported by Russia eliminates every Salafi jihadist group to take control of western Syria.
This is not out of sight, though, it may be difficult to be optimistic about the whole Syrian War ending soon. Also read about the reasons of implications of the China-U.S. trade wars.
The business world has been agog with the trade stand-off between the top two largest economies in the world, the US and China. Close attention is given to what may result from the trade war between the two. As the trade confrontation between the two countries rages, the effects are bound to reach other parts of the world besides the two warring countries.
Recently, the administration of President Trump has increased tariffs on imports for some countries. The $34 billion increase in goods from China caused some uproar with a retaliatory move from China doing the same with a $34 billion tariff increase on US exports.
What could this portend for the world economy and how does it affect the US and China?
The trade tension went further higher when Donald Trump threatened one more time that he was prepared to impose tariffs on other Chinese goods to the tune of $267 billion in addition to the $200bn in duties he had warned on imposing on Chinese products.
Consumers And Producers Will Also Bear The Brunt In The US
No doubt, there are risks involved for both countries. Both consumers and producers alike will have a share of the consequences. Consumers in the US may have to live with changes and so will should it be for the Chinese people.
Should the dispute between the two countries worsen, consumers will need to suffer some increase in import goods, US businesses may need to go back on more hiring. The purchasing power of many US citizens will be lowered when a tariff increase is implemented.
From the minutes of the Fed meeting, policymakers agree to the fact that extended trade rift between the two countries can harm business sentiments, employment, and investment spending.
Already, the agricultural sector had seen noticeable declines in livestock and stock prices. It is among the sectors in the US that were hit by the Chinese retaliatory action on $34 billion of US goods.
The US economy may be shaken for this.
Implication On China
The impact on China may not have an immediate effect. It takes some time. Trade flows move slowly. These were the assertions of Jonathan Slone, the chief executive officer of an investment group.
On the Chinese part, the tariff increase could lead to lowering the productivity of the manufacturing sector and altering of the supply chains. Other possibilities include a significant increase in oil prices and negative effects on the housing sector. The impact already seen was the check on capital spending downwards to forestall any uncertainty by the government. The agricultural sector has, however, got upward improvements afterward.
Talks have been on between the two countries but no breakthrough has come their way.
Trump strongly affirmed he wasn’t ready to make any deal with China that China will like to commit to. However, he said his administration will continue talks with China.
Effects On Global Economic Ties
What may seem to be a battle with grave economic consequences for some may be a blessing in disguise for others. From the trade war between the US and China, Trump’s administration may be creating a good opportunity for Asia and the EU to open up their trade relationship for better improvement. The war may stand to make the trade relationship between the two regions grow faster than they’ve been in the past. Already, outside the US, a kind of urgency to catch on the development may have been capitalized upon by Europe and Asia by working on regional trade agreements and policies between their regions.
This scenario played out when the Trump’s administration withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Not quite long, a successor came in to take the place of the US. As China is seen as a major player in the Asian economy, Japan is already looking to unite with the Regional and Comprehensive Economic Partnership which China is one of the major components.
If it goes the way of Asian and EU forming closer economic ties, they’ll come to agree on the lower tariff on each other’s goods. Businesses in this open market will spark off competition which will also lead to more dynamism and improvement.