Weah Launches US$3M Loan Scheme for Small Businesses

first_imgPresident Weah (2nd from left) and platform guests, including LBDI president John B. S. Davies (far right) launch the Liberia Business Development Fund with a symbolic check of US$3 million In fulfillment of some of his campaign promises to empower Liberian-owned businesses, President George Weah launched a US$3 million Pro-poor Loan Scheme aimed at empowering “struggling Liberian businesses to surmount their ordeals.”It can be recalled that in his inaugural speech early this year, the President promised to enunciate policies and programs towards the empowerment of Liberians to take ownership of the country’s economy, instead of them being mere spectators.The program, which was held at the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) branch in Red Light, Paynesville City, brought together government officials, business people, partners and superintendent of the Red Light market, Janjay Dennis.President Weah said the launch of the US$3 million micro-finance loan scheme for Liberian businesses indicates concrete steps to place citizens in a controlling position of the economy.He said one of his greatest desires has been to find ways by which Liberian-owned businesses would benefit from loans to move them from low to high business levels; from traders to manufacturers.“Since I took over as President, there have been so many programs and occasions in which I have participated to support and advance the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development,” President Weah said.He added, “the launch of this scheme is just another milestone in helping you overcome poverty, and become masters of your own destinies.”He reassured Liberian businesses that his government would prioritize their interest and offer programs to help them become more competitive.“Today is the launch of the Liberian Business Development Fund (LBDF). We are here today to witness a promise fulfilled. The LBDF has been established by my government as a multi-million dollar loan scheme exclusively for Liberian businesses and micro-finance institutions,” he said.He said Liberians will have borrowing access to the LBDF to enable them produce goods and services for the domestic market.“My desire is to strengthen and support you, so that ordinary business people will be able to move from sidewalks to stores,” Weah said.He continued, “this is to help them move from the level of petty markets to manufacturing, and from being spectators to being active participants in the national economy; so that in the near future, Liberian businesses will be able to take ownership of the Liberian economy.”He said the interest rate on the loan scheme remains pro-poor in nature, one of the lowest in the Liberian financial market, with flexible collateral requirement and payment procedure over time.Weah then admonished potential borrowers that the loans are not free money and they must exercise responsibility and seriousness in repaying their loans on time in order to create access for other Liberians.He said the micro-loan scheme will be available and accessible in all the 15 political sub-divisions of Liberia and will be intended for vulnerable business struggling to recover and compete.The President used the occasion to assure Liberians that his government would use every available cent on developing the country.John B. S. Davies, president of the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) lauded President Weah for ensuring that such money is provided to Liberian-owned businesses.Mr. Davies said the launch of the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development earlier in Ganta, Nimba County will serve as a focal point for rallying the growth of the economy.“As president of LBDI and chairman of the Liberian Bankers Association, along with colleagues across government, see it necessary to incentivize the pro-poor agenda for prosperity and development,” Mr. Davies said.“Today, we sow a seed as a partnership with the government to ensure that access to finance for small businessmen and businesswomen who, in any country, serve as the bedrock of the economy,” he said.Of the US$3 million, Mr. Davies said the government through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning made available US$1 million, while the LBDI made the remaining US$2 million available, lauding the Board of Directors of LBDI for making such worthy initiative.He said the US$3 million will impact over 1650 small businesses across the country, stating: “It’s our expectation, honorable President, that five major areas will be affected positively, including trade, agriculture, service, manufacturing and transport.According to Mr. Davies, beneficiaries of the loan will pay only 7 percent as interest rate for a year on the money received.Mr. Davies continued: “everyone who has tertiary education knows that small business is the way to grow an economy. We agreed that it’s in our interest and a number of things will be done through this initiative.”He also assured the government and the Liberian people that the money will go to small businesses.Mr. Davies added that the loan also stands to be gender sensitive, and will also prioritize the vulnerable people who over the years have been overlooked, including the visually impaired people.Wilson Tarpeh, Minister of Commerce and Industry (MOCI), said the provision of the loan was as a result of President Weah’s steadfastness and support for private sector development.Minister Tarpeh said the Commerce Ministry along with partnering institutions is poised to ensure the success of the US$3 million loan scheme.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Teen found dead in WCD trench

first_imgA teenager, who allegedly cried out for abdominal pains on Sunday, was discovered dead in a small trench close to his Zeelugt squatting area, West Coast Demerara home on Monday. Dead is 19-year-old Ganesh Jitlall. Information reaching Guyana Times revealed that the man left home on Sunday crying out for pains but did not return.His mother with whom he lived became worried and a search party was established. His body was subsequently found at about 10:00h on Monday morning with his eyes wide open.Reports received stated that the young man sometimes wanders off and return home after days.It is believed that he might have suffered a seizure and fell into the water. His brother also told investigators that the now dead man suffered from mental illness.At the time of the discovery, there were no marks of violence about his body, but the Police are awaiting the results of a post-mortem examination to determine whether or not to launch an investigation into the man’s death.last_img read more

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Agriculture self-sufficiency – a growing possibility at Mahdia

first_imgThe cost of chicken and fresh farm produce such as vegetables and ground provisions in the mining town of Mahdia, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) has been greatly reduced as a result of the efforts of farmers in the community.The farmers have adapted new irrigation systems, and embarked on large-scale poultry rearing and the use of pen manure for their crops.Chicken from a price of $1100 per pound a year ago is now being retailed for under $600 per pound.  Fresh eggs, which were previously sold at $3000 per tray, are currently available at $1500 per tray at supermarkets and grocery shops in theBusinessman/farmer Roger Hinds along with Agriculture Minister Noel Holder and other officialsmining community.The reduction in the price for fresh farm products was among the many positive developments on the agricultural front revealed to Agriculture Minster Noel Holder and his team during an outreach to the area on Thursday.Businessman/farmer Roger Hinds has incorporated the use of the Hoyo irrigation system and storage of water in plastic tanks for use during the dry spells.His four-acre farm boasts an amazing variety of crops, including vegetables, spices, and fruits. A huge section is dedicated to citrus.Other innovations revealed to the visiting team included greenhouses for his vegetable (pak choy, sweet peppers and lettuce).“I get approximately 400 eggs a week from these chickens, and I sell them along with the other produce at the farm at my supermarket.  Before, a tray of eggs could be as much as $3000; I sell for $1500 including the tray.”Hinds, the proprietor of the Roger Hinds Hotel, a supermarket complex and wholesale depot in the town, also took the team for a look at his poultry operation, which has successfully reared the Guyana Livestock and Development AuthorityCalaloo being cultivated on a large scale in Mahdia(GLDA) Black Giant breed of dual purpose chickens for the production of eggs.According to Hinds, the Black Giant chickens have significantly impacted the cost of an egg in Mahdia.Hinds assured that he was committed to producing enough along with other farmers to make his town self-sufficient in vegetables and poultry supplies.“For as long as I can remember, the only source of fresh veggies and meat was from the coast, and this was at significant [cost], for transport through the trail or by aircraft. This cost was passed on to the residents of the community – I wanted to change that, I wanted to bring down the cost of food in Mahdia,” he explained.The price of chicken has also been positively impacted by the efforts of poultry farmer Richard Owenkirk, who said he saw a need in the town and was the first to establish a poultry operation such as his.“I would see how much a pound of chicken would cost us here in Mahdia, as much as $1200 at times. But I understood the challenges suppliers had in sourcing the meat in Georgetown, and then have it refrigerated for the long haul here; I felt I had a plan that could ease the hassle. Today, that plan is paying off for me and for the consumers of my town.”Owenkirk sells his chickens at a wholesale price of $320 per pound to wholesalersTurmeric is a big crop at Hinds’ farmwho then retail for around $500 a pound.Minister Holder – who was in the company of GLDA Head Nigel Cumberbatch; National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Freddy Flats and National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) CEO, Dr Oudho Homenauth – was also shown efforts to cultivate pawpaw (papaya), citrus and other fruits such as soursop and sugar apples.The Minister expressed delight at the developments in the agriculture sector in the Region. He said he was delighted to see that the non-acquisition of additional lands to expand operations.Minister Holder has committed to working with the Region Eight Regional Democratic Council (RDC) along with the Lands and Surveys Commission with a view to having them access lands that would facilitate the continued growth of agriculture in that part of Region Eight.last_img read more

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Police school delinquent bus operators, touts on proper conduct

first_imgAs part of an enforcement exercise aimed at enforcing traffic laws and maintaining law and order at the various bus parks at Stabroek, ranks of A Division (Georgetown-East Bank Demerara) clamped down on delinquent bus operators and touts.The detained bus operators and touts during the schooling session at the Brickdam Police StationThe “Traffic Enforcement Exercise” commenced on Thursday and continued on Friday during which some 17 persons were arrested for touting and several minibus drivers and conductors were detained for various offences, a statement from the Force’s Public Relations Office said.These include: soliciting of passengers; having offensive weapons (knife and ice picks); tint; breach of road services licence (amplifier set and equaliser in minibus); breach of road services licence (offensive words and designs on minibus), and defective tyre.As part of the exercise, traffic ranks stationed at the Brickdam Police Station, which also houses the Divisional Headquarters, took the opportunity to educate the delinquent drivers and conductors about the seriousness of these offences prior to releasing them.Some of the detained vehicles at the Police stationThey were advised on issues such as the seating capacity of a minibus; working attire; obstruction of traffic around the Stabroek Market area; playing of loud or offensive music; speed limit; cleanliness of the interior of the minibuses; paying of traffic tickets; insurance of motor vehicle, and adhering to all traffic laws and regulations.Following the teaching session, the drivers were all grateful to the police for their leniency and thanked them for the advice given.The “Traffic Enforcement Exercise” was spearheaded by Second-in-Charge ‘Traffic’ A Division, Assistant Superintendent Forbes Browne, and assisted by Inspector Gavin Boyce along with a team from the Brickdam Police Station’s Traffic Department.last_img read more

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NPHL title on the line as the Flyers host Pirates in Game 5 tonight

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Flyers are one win away from the winning the NPHL Finals, with Game 5 set versus the Falher Pirates on Tuesday night.The Flyers are coming off a three-goal victory in Game 4 as the team used a four-goal third period and a hat-trick from Rick Cleaver to take a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Pirates.The boys in blue and white will have the opportunity to close out the series and claim the NPHL title for the first time since 2008-09.- Advertisement -“The hardest game to win,” added Hartman. “The guys know that it’s not over, but are ready to start where they left off in Falher. Our lines are now starting to turn up the pace and I look forward to a great game tomorrow.”Tonight’s Game 5 will take place at the North Peace Arena. Puck drop is at 8:30 p.m.last_img read more

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Police seek advice from DPP on Crime Chief’s fate

first_imgCorruption probeDeputy Police Commissioner and Crime Chief Lyndon AlvesThe fate of Deputy Police Commissioner and Crime Chief Lyndon Alves, who was sent on administrative leave after damning allegations of corruption by several whistleblowers within the Guyana Police Force (GPF) were made public, will soon be determined.This is according to Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, who told Guyana Times on Thursday that the probe into Alves’ alleged misconduct as a serving senior member of the GPF has been completed and that his file has been sent for further advice from the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) on the way forward.“Well, we are awaiting certain legal advice. Most of the statements have been completed already. So we are waiting on the legal advice,” the minister.Less than three weeks ago, Alves was sent on administrative leave to facilitate an investigation into allegations of corruption levelled against him.Shortly after, Minister Ramjattan had told the media that President David Granger appointed the Crime Chief, Lyndon Alves, therefore, the President would have to determine the fate of Alves after investigations are completed.“If he is cleared, he will come back, if he is not well fine. The President, having appointed him, will make certain decisions,” the Minister said at that time, despite the fact that the law states the Police Service Commission deals with disciplinary issues within the GPF.Given that the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) is conducting the investigation, meaning the Police is investigating itself – which in itself has raised a number of questions – Ramjattan had also said that it is important for such cases to be investigated by the OPR to build confidence. He added that hundreds of cases have been investigated by the OPR before which have all been respected as they were even subject to further analysis. In fact, cases are even sent for legal advice from the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP).Prior to his suspension of duties at the GPF, for a number of weeks, ranks in Berbice blew the whistle on alleged corruption by the Crime Chief and claimed that he was shielding a few junior rogue ranks who have been linked to criminals.last_img read more

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9/11 mastermind eyed L.A. landmark

first_img“One of the things we’ve learned in dealing with al-Qaida-type terrorists is once they get fixed on a target they tend to stay fixed on it,” Vernon said. “These are things that stand for the region, are landmarks, icons, for the region.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Last year, President Bush credited the cooperative efforts of several countries with foiling the planned attack on the US Bank building, which towers 73 stories above the downtown Los Angeles skyline. Bush said at the time that Mohammed began planning the attack a month after Sept. 11 and planned to have terrorists with bombs hidden in their shoes blow open the cockpit door of a commercial airliner. They would then fly the plane into the building. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa complained at the time that he had been given no particulars of the plot, learning of them only from watching the president’s speech on television. Villaraigosa had no comment Thursday, a spokeswoman said. Vernon said local authorities still consider the building a key target, adding it is one of several protected by stepped-up security measures that he declined to discuss. Another is Los Angeles International Airport, which was the target of a failed attack planned for New Year’s Eve before the millennium. LOS ANGELES – Suspected 9/11 terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s admission that he planned to destroy the West Coast’s tallest building comes as no surprise to Los Angeles authorities, who say it is still one of the nation’s top terrorist targets. Mohammed told U.S. authorities this past week that he had planned attacks that would have destroyed Los Angeles’ US Bank tower, Chicago’s Sears Tower and New York City’s Empire State Building among others. The attacks were planned as a second wave of violence against the United States following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York and Washington. “We knew that we’ve been a target since 9/11,” Los Angeles police Lt. Paul Vernon said Thursday. “We know that we’re one of the top three targets in the nation. The fact that he admitted to that doesn’t change anything.” None of the secondary attacks Mohammed mentioned in a lengthy statement read at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were carried out. last_img read more

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GARDENING WITH GARETH – PLANNING THE VEGETABLE GARDEN FOR SPRING

first_imgPurple Sprouting Broccoli (Picture RHS)This week the focus of our attention is in planning for spring and winter harvests in the vegetable garden.Hopefully your vegetable garden is like mines and bursting at the seams with tasty summer produce, this is coming as a result of your planting and planning much earlier in the season and as such we have to be planning ahead now for spring and winter in the vegetable garden.By horticulturalist Gareth AustinGareth AustinWhilst crops such as salads, spinach and peas are in full flow just now we can be sowing a wide range of crops for harvest much later in the season. By sowing I mean you can sow direct into the soil, or in many cases you can sow into small tray for planting as and when gaps appear, so think about sowing some in trays 2 weeks before you harvest, thus you’ll have ready to go plants…really maximising the short growing season here! Here’s a few of my favourites to be sowing now: BeetrootBeetroot, alongside Turnips are for me the highlight of the vegetable garden. I thought Beetroot only came in Red but had my eyes opened as a result of working with some amazing chefs, and now I grow a wide range of colours, which as a family we eat pickled, roasted, raw, mashed, and crisps….almost every way possible! I sow a small amount every 3 weeks, this way I get a nice steady amount of baby beetroot to harvest. This can be continued right upto end of August.Salad Leaves Quick cropping salads can still be sown ‘little and often’, this ensures a steady supply of fresh leaves. Starting in September I then move onto sowing lambs Lettuce, sown in September this will then be ready from February onwards in a cool polytunnel or glasshouse.TurnipsAgain, like beetroot we consume these in many forms and also I sow these little and often, especially the Purple Top and Snowball varieties. A wee sowing of only a dozen or so every few weeks ensures a nice steady harvest of baby veg. Again this can be continued right up to end of August.Pak ChoiThese respond well to be sowing late summer, where the soil is warm and the light levels are lower. If sown now these will be ready to eat in around 8 weeks or so. The red Pak Choi looks especially pretty in the garden.Many gardeners new to the grow your own scene are surprised that there is so much you can be sowing and planting now, and indeed how much can be grown through the winter for seasonal cropping. A good vegetable garden is neither completely full or empty as there should always be some sowing and some harvesting going on. Kohl RabiSown now you can get a late Autumn harvest from this delightful vegetable. At home we eat it roasted and I’ve even pickled it. Its not terribly widely known or grown, but it’s really tasty.New PotatoesA joy for the Christmas table. After first harvests of your new potatoes in the garden, select a few from these to use as seed. Plant these straight away into some prepared soil in the polytunnel, or into big planter bags (using a mix of compost and soil), adding some fertiliser to both. The reason we need to keep them inside is that these will still be growing outside when the frost comes, and if the frost hits the foliage then they will be killed off. So as the nights get cooler, fleece these over, and then come Christmas week dig them up and you’ll have nice potatoes for the table! Baby CarrotsSelect a variety such as ‘Nantes’ or ‘Chantaney’ and sow these lightly into the soil after your early potatoes crop has been harvested. These will germinate quickly and will be suitable for lifting this autumn and through the winter months.LeeksSown now, these will develop into nice ‘baby leeks’ for harvesting during the winter months from the garden.RadishQuick and easy to grow, a small sowing of Radish on a fortnightly basis will yield a tasty wee treat on a regular basis. You can continue this sowing till end September in a polytunnel.KaleThe super food of the moment. I’ve grown this for years, largely due to me being a lazy gardener (Kale doesn’t require as fertile a soil as normal cabbage) and kale isn’t as prone to rootfly and the likes. Kale sown now will be suitable for picking through the winter as winter greens. These will require some sort of pigeon protection if you’re under a flight path somewhere, so fine anti-bird netting or fleece is ideal. I’ve planted some and nurtured them through the winter, only to lose the crop over one night to a group of hungry Pigeons!CauliflowerFor me a waste of time to grow at home. I think it gives too little a harvest for the space it occupies in the garden, but maybe you have a far bigger garden than me. If so then a variety such as ‘All the Year Round’ can be sown now for Winter harvests. Late season Cauliflower is always ‘whiter’ than summer harvests due to the lower light levels.Spring CabbageThese will need to be sown by the end of August to ensure a crop for Spring harvests. These like the cauliflowers and Kale will need netted against pigeon devastation.Purple Sprouting BroccoliSown now this tasty crop will be ready from February onwards.Green manuresA quick and easy way to add a sparkle to your soil between harvesting and replanting is by sowing a green manure crop, a sowing of a fast maturing crop such as Mustard is a great way of adding some valuable organic matter to the soil and for adding a shot of fertility. Also think upon Green Manures as great weed control – as if they’re growing there then weeds can’t! So rather than leaving soil bare for a month, sow a green manure and make this ‘gap’ work for you! Otherwise work in a handful of chicken pellets to the m2 between every planting.Slug BanterA slug!Thanks to everyone who made contact about last week’s feature on Slugs and Snails! it proved to be really popular…you guys just hate slugs!!! However I’m reminded of a BBC radio 4 experiment during the ‘So you want to be a Scientist’ programmes. This involved encouraging kids to gather up snails from their garden, marking them with nail varnish and then swapping them with their neighbours…most would then find their marked snails back in their gardens the following day…thus proving that snails have homing instincts, so the ‘through them over the fence’ approach to snail control doesn’t work. You should try this with the kids during the school holidays….and see how many times you can get the same snail to come ‘home’.Next week….With the Donegal Garden Trail in full flow we look at the joys of visiting gardens in the summer.Gareth Austin is resident Horticulturist with BBC Radio Foyle, a member of the Chartered Institute of Horticulturists and lectures in Horticulture with National Learning Network. For more see GarethAustin.com or join Gareth on Twitter @GardenerGareth.GARDENING WITH GARETH – PLANNING THE VEGETABLE GARDEN FOR SPRING was last modified: July 11th, 2015 by StephenShare 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:donegalGardeningGarth Austinspring vegetableslast_img read more

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Arecibo SETI Project Draws a Blank

first_imgProject Phoenix, a 10-year project searching for evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence, found nothing, reports the BBC News.  The project used the world’s most powerful radio telescope at Arecibo, Puerto Rico, to scan 800 nearby stars for signals.  Project manager Peter Backus claims the team has learned a lot about searching for ETI, but concludes we live in a quiet neighborhood.No need to feel lonely.  There is someone out there attempting to make contact.  It’s your Creator.  Read the uncoded message in Isaiah 55.  He uses a private wavelength called prayer.  You don’t need expensive instruments.  You don’t need to send coded messages, and you don’t need to wait thousands of years for the answer.  It’s the fastest medium of communication in the universe, faster than light: so fast, in fact, that the Recipient answers before the call.    All Carl Sagan could hope for in Contact was a temporary fellowship of commiseraters waiting for the heat death of the universe.  The living God offers a fountain of eternal life.  Choose today.  Don’t hesitate; seek the Lord while He may be found.(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Legal Aid Board

first_img20 March 2003“The promotion and protection of human rights must apply to all without exception, and that includes the human rights of both the victims and the accused. It is for this reason that the Legal Aid Board has undertaken to institute litigation on issues that impact on the rights of vulnerable groups”, says Legal Aid Board chairperson Judge Dunstan Mlambo.The Legal Aid Board has extended its services to ensure the protection of human rights by offering quality legal services in both criminal and civil cases.The Board provides independent legal help to indigent South Africans. To achieve this, the Board has opened 44 justice centres throughout the country. These centres are the primary service delivery agents for legal aid, and the number will increase to 60 by the end of the year.For more information, including contacts, visit the Legal Aid Board website.Improved delivery in remote areas in South Africa is also being targeted through a pilot project aimed at creating better integration and coordination between advice offices and the Board’s justice centres.Launched jointly by the Board and the CS Mott Foundation, the aim is to optimise contact with civil society organisations, especially advice offices that have often acted as critical frontline sites for access to justice for the public.Many of these advice offices were established in recent years by a variety of organisations, and the need to integrate and co-operate them with the primary legal aid provider is critical to the aim of providing justice for all.Judge Mlambo says full respect of human rights for all means that the vulnerable in society, especially women and children, need to have the same protection under the law as any other members of society.“We support government and rights organisations in protecting all human rights and ensuring that there is respect for these rights. Our work contributes to a better South Africa, where rights are respected, laws are valued and all citizens have confidence in the justice system.”The areas in which the Legal Aid Board offers assistance include legal representation, access to justice, access to necessary information and to relevant resources. The Board also offers legal advice, accurate information and clear guidelines on the protection of human rights.“Our immediate focus is the rural areas where people need such services. Our motivation behind this arises from the abuse women and children (from these areas) have suffered and continue to suffer”, Mlambo says.“We strongly believe that it is our duty to protect the rights of all human beings, regardless of whom they are, and believe that financial, social or educational constraints should not deprive anyone of the right to justice.”Techno-savvy turns the Board aroundThree years ago, the Legal Aid Board was on the verge of bankruptcy. Handicapped by mismanagement, it faced a real threat of being closed down by Parliament. A decisive action plan was needed.With support from the government, a strong interim management team was pulled together under the chairmanship of Judge Mohamed Navsa. CEO Ashley Ally, Finance and IT executive Kumaran Naidoo and HR expert Mpuseng Tlhabane formed a new triumvirate to address the weaknesses at the Board.Today, the Board is back on its feet. It has recently received a clean audit report, its entire executive team is in place, and over 300 000 people from marginalised communities have access to justice each year via the Board’s justice centres.According to Kumaran Naidoo, the clearance of backlogs, implementation of good control systems and techno-savvy have underpinned the turnaround at the Board.“The Legal Aid Board made a strategic decision to provide its services through local offices, Legal Aid Board justice centres, in communities of need”, Naidoo explains. “Each centre is like a large legal firm offering a one-stop service for civil and criminal cases.“Each centre serves between 10 and 20 courts, which means that the legal representatives spend most of their time in court. We needed to use technology to simplify and speed up processes to free our Justice Centre staff to spend their time effectively on service delivery.“Operating in remote parts of South Africa, we needed an integrated, online, real-time software solution if we were to achieve this.”To this end, new business control systems were put in place, followed by a new administrative and financial system, underlaid by a wide area network connecting all of the Board’s offices to each other.“Our wide area network brings to the Legal Aid Board the ability to monitor standards and create uniform processes”, says Naidoo. “It also allows us to do this without centralising everything at head office, causing delays in decision making, or relying on similarly cumbersome processes.”Each Justice Centre will eventually have its own Internet Cafe set up and will, via the wide area network, be able to track cases and precedents, monitor its budgets, and produce its reports.“Ultimately, all of our business processes will occur online”, says Naidoo.“When you’re sitting in an isolated community like Butterworth or Umtata, for example, and you are dealing with the cutting edge of justice as it faces impoverished communities, the ability to operate in real-time with the best resources available in South Africa really can mean the difference between success or failure in terms of our mandate of ‘Justice for all’.”SouthAfrica.info reporterlast_img read more

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