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Minister’s half-year report numbers raise serious concerns about data quality and integrity

first_imgDear Editor,Forecasts are as good as the data used to prepare them. In public finance, it is critical that forecasts are based on good quality data since they are used to inform public policies which ultimately affects the lives of every citizen. The current cycle for preparing the national budget as per statutes was structured in a way that allows sufficient time to complete and accurate data to inform the budget estimates and to make policy adjustments for the next fiscal year. Unfortunately, the caretaker Minister of Finance (the Minister) incessantly rushed to deliver the national budget at the earliest possible time for the past four years, but this haste brought great harm to the completeness and accuracy of the data and the budget planning process. It is no surprise that the national budgets for the last few years have failed to deliver any meaningful change in the lives of average Guyanese. So while the official number screams 4.1 per cent growth, ask the ordinary man or the local Private Sector if they are experiencing this growth and you will hear a distinctly opposite story. The Minister chose to label their utterance as “trotted out numbers” but we are of the opinion that the Private Sector seems to have a better grasp of the tone of the economy than the Minister and we shall illustrate why below.The table on the “half-year balance of payment data for 2018” below seeks to bring light to this disconnect between what the Minister preaches and what happens in reality. The half-year report for 2018 was released on August 8, 2018, and the half-year report for 2019 was released on August 9, 2019. Clearly, both reports were prepared after the first six months of 2018. Logic will dictate that these two sets of numbers for the balance of payment performance during the first half of 2018 should be the same on both reports with minor differences for rounding errors. But this is clearly not the case.The table below shows enormous differences between the numbers originating from the 2018 and 2019 half-year reports, despite the “data-set” in question is referring to the same period – the first six months of 2018. For example, in the 2018 half-year report, the Minister claimed that the net current account balance was a deficit of US$194.2 million; in the 2019 half-year report, he claimed that the deficit (for the same period in 2018) was a deficit of US$578.6 million. If we assume that the 2019 numbers are correct, it means that in 2018, the Minister’s analysis was off by more than 200 per cent.We found that this error is not a one-off mistake or oversight. What we found was a series of systematic errors that show up in multiple places on the comparator table and in multiple publications coming out of the Ministry of Finance. Such poor quality data raises some very important concerns and questions.Other cardinal errors include (1) the considerable misstatement of the value of non-factor services, which include business services (which includes services contracted for oil exploration), transportation services, consulting and management services, insurance services, and advertising and marketing research services and communication services, and (2) grave inaccuracy in the amount classified as capital transfers from the Private Sector for the first half of 2018. Non-factor services and capital transfers from the Private Sector are key economic indicators of the health of the economy. So if the Ministry of Finance cannot get this right, then what can they get right?Such poor analysis and budgeting raise two major concerns. First, which of these numbers should the public trust? Is any of them correct? How can the Private Sector (the engine for growth), plan if it cannot rely on these numbers? What other indicators suffer from this same problem? Did the economy grow by 4.1 per cent? These are genuine questions that investors, analysts and planners are concerned about. Understandably, there will always be an acceptable margin of error when dealing with statistics, especially when forecasting is involved. But this is exactly the reason why the timing of the national budget should not be sacrificed for political expediency and optics. To intentionally or unintentionally ignore the consequences of ramming through the budgeting process for political expediency and bragging rights is to gamble with businesses’ investments, the livelihood of workers and the credibility of the data.Second, such poor analysis, forecast and budgeting raise the question of on what exactly did the Ministry spend that $135 billion that was assigned to it since 2015? Was any portion of it used for building technical capacity and staff training to improve the quality of data collection and analysis? If so, where are the signs of the improvements? It is not unreasonable for taxpayers to expect reliable and credible data regarding the state of public finances and the economy. Good economic management and policymaking begin with good fiscal and economic analyses for which dependable and trustworthy data is key. The Minister of Finance, like every other public officer has to ensure that the public is truthfully informed on the state of affairs of the nation. Unfortunately, the integrity and veracity of the data released by the Minister fail these simple tests and seems to be doing more harm than good to the nation.Sincerely,Sasenarine SinghDhanraj Singhlast_img read more

Dawson Creek RCMP looking for missing 49 year old

first_imgBlack toqueBlack jacketBlack sweatpantsWhite runnersBlack carry on suitcaseBlue backpackAnyone with information on Law’s location is requested to contact the Dawson Creek RCMP at 250-784-3700 or if you wish to remain anonymous please contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. UPDATE – Dec 24, 2018 – The RCMP confirmed that the 49-year-old male reported missing has been located, and he is safe and sound. Thanks to the media and public for your assistance.DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – The Dawson Creek RCMP are requesting the public’s assistance in locating a missing Dawson Creek man.Kenneth Law, 49 years old, was reported missing to the Dawson Creek RCMP on December 11th, when he was last seen at the hospital. Law has had sporadic contact with family but has not revealed his location.- Advertisement -The Dawson Creek RCMP are concerned about Law’s well being as he may require medication.LAW is described as:CaucasianSkinny buildThinning grey hair5’10Blue eyesLast seen wearing:Advertisementlast_img read more

Take a Breath, ‘SC fan

first_img Plus, after four sparkling years of football, Trojan fans have undoubtedly put their pompous ways of the past behind them and now can bask in their success without getting bent over one loss. Right? Talk show callers checked in, as did those who frequent USC Web sites, as did the various media types who talk and write for a living, especially those who take an obscene glee yes, I’m talking about all of you in Bristol, Conn. in seeing a team fall off its pedestal. There were a lot of facets of USC’s performance that can be picked apart the first fourth-down miss, Reggie Bush’s SportsCenter motivated lateral, and the coaches not using LenDale White early and often enough. You can have all of them. I just want one to pick on, because it is a point very dear to Carroll’s reputation: What was up with the defense? Vince Young is an incredible player who brings things to the field few others can. He’s a bit of a genetic freak with his ability to move as fast and as quickly as he does for someone who stands 6-5 and weighs 233 pounds. He may have an odd delivery, but his release is lightning quick. And he has an insouciant about him that had to be unnerving for Trojan defenders. But even the greatest of players can be harnessed, and given how well USC has adapted its game plans in the past, it was equally unnerving to watch USC lie back in a base defense and take all of Young’s hits chin first. The defensive line played read and react all night in hopes of containing Young. It never worked. All it did was turn the most physical players on the defense Frostee Rucker, LuJuan Ramsey into watchdogs. The safeties stayed in a soft two deep alignment all night, which gave Young’s underrated receivers plenty of room to run their short routes. The next time the Trojans do a good job covering Texas tight end David Thomas will be the first time. He was always open and always single covered. Of his ten catches, six went for first downs and two others left Texas with a second-and-one. This didn’t make sense. I would have loved to have seen strong safety Darnell Bing planted in Young’s path more often than he was, given that the 6-2, 220-pound Bing is the team’s hardest hitter and biggest player in the back seven. Even when USC did something different on defense, it seemed like taking a flyswatter to King Kong. Those delayed corner blitzes were so slow to develop that Young never seem hurried or flustered. Plus, what chance did 5-10 Justin Wyatt or 5-10 Ryan Ting have of sacking Young on a blitz? USC never put a big man on Young and hit him hard enough to jar his confidence. The few times Young hit the grass, it was of his own choosing. The size and strength of the Longhorn offensive line, which lined up five 300-pounders, was clearly under-estimated, as was the relative size of USC’s linebackers in dealing with them. But still if you’re truly national championship material, you do not let any one player rack up 467 yards, even one as talented as Young. You find a way to throw his game off. Instead, USC had no clue what was coming beyond the fact that Young would be involved. That was sad. Also predictable. Months ago, it was posited here that the only way to beat USC would be to outscore their amazing offense, and that proved to be correct. Did you know that USC moved into Texas territory on every possession save two, the first drive of the game and one in the second quarter? That they scored touchdowns on their first four possessions of the second half? And that they turned the ball over to Texas at the Longhorn 17 (downs), 19 (Bush’s fumble), in the end zone (interception) and at the 45 (downs), and that the game ended with their last play starting on the Texas 42? Yes, Bush made a huge mistake and struggled. Yes, Leinart has played better. Yes, the Trojans should have used White more. But the offense still did enough to win the game if the USC defense and its head coach hadn’t capitulated and spent as much time admiring Young’s work as the 93,986 in the stands. That’s not a criticism, of course, just an observation, and it comes and goes fleetingly. At least here it does. Elsewhere in the Trojan universe? One can never be sure. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson Right? RIGHT? One wonders. As rational as all the above may be, there was a whole lot of dismay on the faces of Trojan fans in the Rose Bowl after the 41-38 loss. Clearly, USC fans have come to expect victory, and believe that their young men will find a way to win regardless of the setting, opponent or situation. Even in light of Vince Young’s brilliance, USC fans cheered with expectations of superiority which is what made their silence after the loss so deafening. There was no waiting period, no cooling off period, for the critics to come out of the chorus and start picking apart USC’s first loss some 28 months ago, in September of 2003, harping on everything from the obvious, like Carroll’s fourth-and-two decision, to the obscure. center_img Assuredly, two national titles has bought Pete Carroll some equity among USC fans. After winning 34 games in a row, one can reasonably assume that the faithful of Troy will give him a mulligan, even if the errant upchuck happened to be for the national title in the Rose Bowl. last_img read more

Gallery: Naomh Conaill supporters in their numbers at Ulster SFC Club final

first_imgTHE RESULT mightn’t have gone their way but the supporters of Naomh Conaill would’ve been proud of their team all season – a campaign that will live long in the memory.Yesterday at Healy Park in Omagh, they were well-backed in their narrow 2-11 to 2-9 loss against Kilcoo from Down. Evan Logan was the man with the camera.Naomh Conaill supporters Eileen and Pat before the big game.All set for the big game – Anthony, Mary, Bernie, Annie and Nicole.All decked in blue – John, Claire, Ella and Lily.Ready to get behind Naomh Conaill – Siobhan, Pat, Emily, Cathy and Joseph.The Naomh Conaill supporters behind the goal who made great noise all day.Santa is a Naomh Conaill supporter! James and Ellie May.Naomh Conaill supporters in great voice before the game.Three generations of the McGeehins all set for the game – Eoin, Brendan and Aidan.The birthday boy Jonathan who is three today with Ailish and Martin.Another santa – Paul McGuigan – dressed in blue!Gallery: Naomh Conaill supporters in their numbers at Ulster SFC Club final was last modified: December 2nd, 2019 by Staff WriterShare 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:2019 Ulster Club SFCNaomh Conailllast_img read more

Bush and Iraqi leader meet after unusual one-day delay

first_imgAMMAN, Jordan – President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki today opened talks originally set for the day before but canceled following disclosure of U.S. doubts about the Iraqi leader’s capabilities and a Baghdad protest of his attendance. Instead of talks over two days, the stunning turn of events found Bush and al-Maliki meeting only today for a working breakfast and a longer session afterward. The Iraqi prime minister came to Bush’s hotel, and the pair were to appear before reporters at the end of nearly two and a half hours together. The abrupt cancellation of Wednesday’s opening session was an almost unheard-of development in the high-level diplomatic circles of a U.S. president, a king and a prime minister. Bush had been scheduled to meet in a three-way session with al-Maliki and Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Wednesday night, and he had rearranged his schedule to be in Amman for both days for talks aimed at reducing the spiral of violence in Iraq. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’The last-minute cancellation was not announced until Bush had already come to Raghadan Palace and posed for photographs alone with the king. White House counselor Dan Bartlett denied that the delay was a snub by al-Maliki directed at Bush or was related to the leak of a memo written by White House National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley questioning the prime minister’s capacity to control violence in Iraq. “Absolutely not,” Bartlett said.” He said the king and the prime minister had met before Bush arrived from a NATO summit in Latvia. “That negated the purpose to meet tonight together in a trilateral setting.” A senior administration official, who spoke with the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, basically echoed Bartlett’s account. The Jordanians and the Iraqis jointly decided it was not the best use of time because they both would be seeing the president separately, said the official. Members of the Jordanian and Iraqi delegations contacted Khalilzad, who called Air Force One and spoke with Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, giving them a heads-up, the official said. However, Redha Jawad Taqi, a senior aide of top Shiite politician Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, who also was in Amman, said the Iraqis balked at the three-way meeting after learning the king wanted to broaden the talks to include the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Two senior officials traveling with al-Maliki, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information, said the prime minister had been reluctant to travel to Jordan in the first place and decided, once in Amman, that he did not want “a third party” involved in talks about subjects specific to the U.S.-Iraqi relationship. With al-Maliki already gone from the palace, Bush had an abbreviated meeting and dinner with the king before heading early to his hotel. The cancellation came after the disclosure of a classified White House memo, written Nov. 8 by Hadley. In one particularly harsh section, Hadley asserted: “The reality on the streets of Baghdad suggests Maliki is either ignorant of what is going on, misrepresenting his intentions, or that his capabilities are not yet sufficient to turn his good intentions into action.” Administration officials did not dispute the leaked account, saying that on balance the document was supportive of the Iraqi leader and generally portrayed him as well-meaning. The memo recommended steps to strengthen the Iraqi leader’s position, including possibly sending more troops to defend Baghdad and providing monetary support for moderate political candidates for Iraq’s parliament. Al-Maliki also faced political pressure at home about the planned summit. Thirty Iraqi lawmakers and five Cabinet ministers loyal to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said they were boycotting the Iraqi Parliament and the government to protest al-Maliki’s presence at the summit. Bartlett said Wednesday night’s three-way meeting had always been planned as “more of a social meeting” and that Bush and al-Maliki would have a “robust” meeting on their own today.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

Search Warrant Lands Three in Jail in Scott County on Drug Charges

first_imgApproximately three grams of Methamphetamine was located on Misty Collins at the jail.Arrested and Charges:1) Travis McCleery, 36, of Scottsburg, was wanted out of Washington County, IN for possession of Methamphetamine and out of Scott County for Possession of a Syringe. In addition to his warrants, he was also charged with Possession of Methamphetamine, Unlawful Possession of a Syringe, Visiting a Common Nuisance, Resisting Law Enforcement, and Possession of Paraphernalia.2) Misty Dawn Collins, 30, of Austin, was charged with Visiting a Common Nuisance, Possession of Methamphetamine, Unlawful Possession of a Syringe, False Informing, Assisting a Criminal, and Possession of Paraphernalia.3) Charles McIntosh, 58, of Austin, was charged with Maintaining a Common Nuisance. The wanted person, Travis McCleery, was also located, hiding behind a panel in the insulation of the attic.Travis McCleery, Misty Collins and Charles McIntosh were all arrested out of the home and transported to the Scott County Jail. Late Monday evening, troopers from the Indiana State Police Post at Sellersburg received information that a possible wanted person was hiding out at 505 West Cherry Street in Austin.Troopers and officers from the Austin City Police arrived at the house and searched the house for Travis Lee McCleery, the wanted person. During the course of the search, pieces of drug paraphernalia were located in the home. After locating the drug paraphernalia troopers obtained a search warrant for the residence.During the search, several used syringes and other pieces of drug paraphernalia with Methamphetamine residue were located.last_img read more

South Africa relaxes exchange controls

first_img28 October 2009 South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has announced the further relaxation of exchange controls in a bid to reduce the cost of doing business in the country and attract more foreign investment. Presenting his Medium Term Budget Policy Statement in Parliament in Cape Town on Tuesday, Gordhan said the foreign capital allowance for residents, which was last adjusted in 2006, would be increased from R2-million to R4-million, while the single discretionary allowance would be increased from R500 000 to R750 000. To improve access to domestic credit in the financing of local foreign direct investment, restrictions on the granting of local financial assistance to affected persons have been further liberalised, with the doing away of the 3:1 ratio. Among a number of proposed reforms to cut red tape relating to business transactions, is a plan to allow South African companies to invest in Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states through offshore intermediaries. Other proposals, which the South African Reserve Bank will soon provide more details on, include increasing the current R50-million limit for company applications to undertake outward investment, to R500-million. The Reserve Bank will also consider removing the 180-day rule requiring companies to convert their foreign exchange into rands. However, South African companies will still be required to repatriate export proceeds to South Africa. There is also a proposal to do away with the R250 000 limit on advance payments for imports, and another to allow South African companies to open foreign bank accounts for permissible purposes without prior approval, subject to reporting obligations. Also being considered is a plan to replace the current paper-based monitoring system for exports – through Form F178 – with a more efficient electronic system. Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

How to Spur Innovation at Your Organization

first_imgTechnology tools are helpful, but they aren’t a substitute for human creativity. I read this from the HR Bartender blog authored by Sharlyn Lauby, one of my favorite HR thought leaders. She was talking about the best way to innovate today! Read it here! As she mentioned, the best way to innovate is to leverage the people and corporate culture that you already have in place. Those are the two pivotal factors, and any mismanagement of those can go wrong, especially when your talent has an innovative idea in the making. Here are a few things I would add to spur innovation at your organization: Start taking some riskNaturally, most employers go the direction of the less risky way and want to make sure they know what the outcome is going to be. But if they go too far in that direction, they stop learning new things and stop innovating. Get rid of the cultural barriersFear of failure can be the biggest cultural barrier. Inability to admit failure leads to inefficiencies and bigger failures. So leaders should support failures and embrace them to develop the untapped potential in employees. Create an environment where failures are accepted and encouraged. Let employees try something that is worth trying. Reward MistakesSue Shellenbarger, Work & Family columnist Wall Street Journal news editor says employers are rewarding employees for their mistakes or questionable risks. Keep in mind – not the same mistakes! For example: Grey New York, an advertising company, fosters a culture of creativity by rewarding the Heroic Failure Award to embrace the importance of trying, failing, dusting oneself off and trying again. Read it here to know more about their inspirational ideas in encouraging employees to innovate. Another example is the P&G’s Future Works Program, a separate division within the company, that invites employees to partner and to preserve a climate of innovation.Learn from the mistakesGive your employees an opportunity to openly share their mistakes and the lessons they learned from them. This will help nurture a relationship where trust, togetherness and constructive criticism are valued and appreciated. Emphasize sharing stories of failure within the organization just as much as you do with stories of success. Create a work environmentHave a focus group or committee, or a system for employees to communicate their ideas. Companies do various types of initiatives to help their employees relax, dust off their minds and to let them think of innovative ideas. For example, Grey New York has a ‘No Meeting Zone’ every Thursday morning from 9:00 a.m. to noon where they encourage everyone to do something challenging, new or unexpected. And why do you think the best innovative companies like Google, Zappos, Facebook, Twitter, etc., keep an incredibly casual work environment? Do you have any other ideas to spur innovation in an organization? Have you ever noticed a great work culture that encourages employees to take risks and innovate? Share it here, Would love to hear from you!To read the original post on HRBuddy.com, please click here.last_img read more

Team Whiteboarding with Twiddla

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting If your team is spread out over a wide geographic region, online collaboration tools are key to getting everyone on the same page. Something that dispersed teams haven’t had much opportunity to use use are whiteboards, which can be really useful in brainstorming sessions. But now, with Twiddla, this year’s winner of the Technical Achievement award at SXSW, comes a team whiteboarding service that offers a no-setup, online meeting web site for team collaboration. Twiddla can be used to mark up web sites, graphics, photos, or even start brainstorming on a blank canvas. Users can either sign up for the service by creating an account, or can just start using it in “guest mode.” A public sandbox is also available if you just want to check it out to see if it would work for you.If you do decide to use it to set up your own meetings, you can set them as either “public” or “private” and email invitations to your intended participants. Meeting participants are displayed in Twiddla’s sidebar and with just a click, you can start chatting with them using an audio chat feature that utilizes your computer’s microphone and speakers to take the brainstorming session from a chat session to a live conference call.Image from the Twiddla blogThe whiteboard tool in Twiddla lets you draw freehand, insert shapes, insert text, and insert media. You can use Twiddla’s built-in shapes or upload files from your own computer. Text can be entered in directly or can be placed in a text bubble or on a post-it note. A box at the top of the screen lets you enter in a URL of your choosing to pull up any web site on the internet. You can then overlay your drawings on top of the web site that is displayed.But I think the Twiddla team sums it up the best. When I clicked over to their “features” page, only two items were mentioned: “Kicks A**, Doesn’t Cost Anything.”I’d like to add to that list: Works. Twiddla is now in public beta. Related Posts Tags:#Product Reviews#web#Web Office sarah perezcenter_img A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…last_img read more

VMware Brings Zimbra into its Stack with a Portable Appliance

first_imgTags:#cloud#cloud computing#Virtualization Zimbra is marking its full integration with VMware in the form of a new virtual appliance designed for the data center and hosting markets. The new service combines VMware’s vSphere with the Zimbra email client in a portable product called the Zimbra Collaboration Suite Appliance.It’s part of the new VMware stack for the cloud that competes with Google Apps, Microsoft Exchange and providers such as Red Hat. VMware sees an advantage with its portability and its ability to meet the needs of a customer that is still a bit uncertain about a move to the cloud.Both Google Gmail and Microsoft can be ported to different environments but the transition can be complex when moving calendars, contacts and the associated metadata. The Zimbra service is not exactly the cloud, but it may be suited to customers who have concerns about the cloud and its distributed nature.Zimbra executives cite, for instance, a government agency in Japan that may not want its data distributed outside its borders. VMware is working with its hosting partners to meet that demand for offerings that keep the data in a specific geographic region. VMware will also focus on vertical markets such as healthcare.VMware has a network of 25,000 channel partners. Zimbra Collaboration Suite is now fully available to the entire network. It can be purchased in components or as a full suite.Zimbra is also fully integrated into VMware. And it looks like a decent fit, especially as the competition gets tighter to provide applications that are more flexible and have the ability to reach people anytime, anywhere, on any device.Google Apps does have its own advantages to Zimbra. A new customer can be in the cloud in minutes. Zimbra says its appliance takes 10 minutes to deploy. But it also needs to be installed and maintained.The offering shows that the cloud and a virtulalized infrastructure each has its advantages. The difference may be how deep VMware and Google can push their services to all those local and vertical markets. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…center_img 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts alex williamslast_img read more