South Sudan UN supports projects to boost peoples livelihood in volatile state

17 February 2012The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is supporting a series of short- and long-term projects to help the people of South Sudan’s state of Jonglei, where ethnic rivalries often result in bloody conflict, to feed themselves and build reliable sources of livelihood, the agency said today. Working with local communities, FAO is supporting the distribution of livestock vaccines, fishing gear, vegetable seeds and tools to boost development in the world’s newest nation, which attained independence from Sudan in July last year after decades of fighting for self-determination.FAO aims to deliver as much assistance as possible in the next two to three months before the onset of the rainy season when unpaved roads in much of the under-developed country become impassable. Future initiatives will also focus on rainwater harvesting and other measures to strengthen long-term resilience, the agency said in a press release.In Jonglei and throughout South Sudan, poor harvests, increased demand, rapidly rising food prices, conflict, and displacements have been blamed for the prevailing food shortages.Cereal production from the latest harvest is about 19 per cent below the preceding cropping season, and 25 per cent lower than average over the past five years. The cereal deficit for 2012 is estimated at more than 470,000 tons – almost half of the country’s total consumption requirements for the year.FAO will provide vaccines and antibiotics to prevent the spread of animal diseases and to treat up to 100,000 livestock over the course of about one month.“These people are pastoralists, or herders,” said Nimaya Mogga, a livestock officer with FAO. “These cattle are their livelihood. Without them, they have nothing. During lean periods, they’re sold or exchanged for food. The sale of one cow alone can buy a family three months worth of grain,” he said.Many of those fleeing from the recent inter-ethnic conflict took refuge in the town of Boma where staples like sorghum and maize are now in short supply.“River Chelimon is about two hours walk away from Boma,” said Michael Oyat, FAO’s Deputy Emergency Coordinator for South Sudan. “It is believed [that] the displaced people could access it to fish. They’re hampered only by the lack of fishing gear.”FAO is providing 20,000 pieces of fishing gear to residents of Boma and two other towns affected by the outbreak of conflict in Pibor and Likuangole in December. FAO is also assisting local communities to plant vegetable gardens along river banks.At the request of the Government, FAO is also preparing a cash-for-work programme through which families will earn money to buy food locally while helping to rehabilitate rural infrastructure. read more

Motor industry urges caution in preBudget report

An official date for the pre-Budget report has not been set although it is expected to be issued in the first week of December 2003. No further changes to company car taxation Motor industry’s pre-Budget report submission DownloadClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) No increase in business taxesIn a submission today to HM Treasury, ahead of the Chancellor’s pre-Budget report in December, the motor industry sounded a word of caution to Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP.Amid growing reports of the rising costs of motoring and the importance of reduced CO2 emissions, The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) urged the Chancellor not to de-stabilise the trend towards cleaner cars by over-taxing the motorist in the upcoming report.‘The motor industry is committed to reducing CO2 emissions in line with environmental objectives, and has made tremendous progress in the development and introduction of new technologies. To be successful in the long-term, government must deliver clear incentives to motorists in order to increase the take-up of cleaner fuels and ‘greener’ technologies,’ commented SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan.He added, ‘There is a danger of undermining the progress that has been made in reducing average car emissions by attempting to increase revenue. Government should allow the new tax systems to be properly evaluated before further changes are made.’SMMT, which represents more than 600 companies in the automotive sector, identified the following issues for consideration by the Chancellor in his pre-Budget report.Company Car Taxation The CO2 based company car tax system has been subject to continuous reductions in its banding and minimum level, down to 140g/km CO2 by 2005/6. This shift has had a significant impact on the motorist’s choice of business cars with a surge in diesel engines and superminis. Further reductions could undermine these gains by forcing more drivers to opt out of company schemes and choose older, less efficient vehicles instead. Government should refrain from further changes until the Inland Revenue has completed a full evaluation of the system.Fuel Duties To encourage the take-up and availability of zero-sulphur fuels, government must increase its duty differential of 0.5 pence/litre for zero sulphur fuels. The wider use of zero sulphur fuels would improve fuel efficiency, reduce CO2 emissions and allow for the introduction of new technologies. However, greater incentives are needed to encourage widespread public use.Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) Since the introduction of the graduated VED system in March 2001, average new car CO2 emissions have fallen by 3.5 per cent. The message to motorists is clear and the market is on course to meet government’s 2012 emission targets. Further changes will be an unnecessary burden on the motorist.First Registration Fees The motor industry remains firmly against the DVLA’s plans to hike first registration fees by 52 per cent to £38 per vehicle. The proposed increase will be covering the estimated 1.75 million vehicles that remain unlicensed each year by targeting consumers, fleets and vehicle manufacturers.UK manufacturing Economic stability is currently keeping domestic demand for new cars high, compensating for previously increased business taxes. As the market cools through 2004, this benefit will be eroded and the UK automotive sector will face fierce competition. SMMT is committed to highlighting the need to stop any further business tax increases and regulatory burdens that would threaten the UK’s position as a competitive base in the global economy. Greater duty incentives for ‘greener’ fuels Registrations of diesel-engine cars have risen 4.2 percentage points since the introduction of the CO2 based company car tax system in April 2002. In the same time, registrations of superminis have risen 2.1 percentage points. Notes to Editors:The principal aim of government’s Powering Future Vehicles Strategy is to see 10 per cent of all new cars registered in the UK emitting 100g/km of CO2 or less by 2012. A full copy of the submission can be seen at www.smmt.co.uk. No increase to Vehicle Excise Duty read more