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What exactly is Bitcoin Revolution ?

What exactly is Bitcoin Revolution ?

A piece of BREAKING news of the BBC was about what exactly is Bitcoin Revolution ? It elaborately explains that Bitcoin Revolution is a financial technology with the plan to redistribute world wealth that basically takes from the top 0.1% and give back to 99.9%.

Bill Gates gives away $90 billion fortune after striking it big with Bitcoin

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Bill Gates makes his biggest investment

Microsoft Founder- Bill Gates revealed his £500 million dollar investment in Bitcoin Revolution today and is expecting to double the value of his investment in under a year. If you haven’t heard of bitcoin yet, then this is something for you –Bitcoin Revolution.

Before we go into details of Bitcoin Revolution, let us explain who Bill Gates exactly is. Bill Gates is a known billionaire in the tech industry, most famous for founding Microsoft. Some call him the smartest entrepreneur of our century. He’s a large personality as well and his businesses have amassed him a net worth of over $9.2 billion USD. He has made it his agenda to nosedive into the technical sector diversifying his businesses. Whilst being a founder of Microsoft, he has found his passion in a unique industry, a new one powered by Financial Technology. Bitcoin Revolution is his latest project. ”I want people to acheive financial independence and not be slaves of economy crises” Bill Gates announced in TEDx talk.

But now, Bill Gates has decided to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in order to literally take over the bitcoin market. He’s teamed up with Richard Branson change the definition of money. That’s why they acquired Bitcoin Revolution.

What exactly is Bitcoin RevolutionBitcoin Revolution is a financial technology with the plan to redistribute world wealth. Basically – take from the top 0.1% and give back to 99.9%. Bill Gates believes wealth is not distributed well in our age, and although there always will be someone richer and someone poorer, the current situation is not acceptable, where top 0.1% controls almost 90% of world wealth. Bill Gates believes he can cut that down to around 20% without causing world-wide financial crisis, Pratt goes even further. So what exactly does that mean to you, the regular middle or lower class person? This means you will become 2 – 3 times wealthier, and no one except the super-wealthy will take a hit. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it?

Ok, the theory is there, but how will it work you might ask? Overall, the idea is easy. The top 0.1% keep their wealth invested in stocks, and Wall Street brokers trade these stocks for them. The idea is to beat the Wall Street traders in their own game – make winning trades so Wall Street with their hoards of wealth slowly but surely starts losing money. Just like a poker game, where a new player comes along on the high-stakes table and starts winning.

In order to do this, you would need a better stock movement predictions than the Wall Street has. That is Where Bitcoin comes in. With the help of cloud computing, it can be done, and it’s actually being done now as Bitcoin Revolution has showed! This is exactly the reason why Bill Gates and Branson jumped on this technology as soon as he heard about it. It’s revolutionary.

We interviewed Bitcoin Revolution CTO Dan Marconi so he can better explain exactly how Bitcoin Revolution operates.

Can you tell us how Bitcoin Revolution works?

Bitcoin Revolution works like a team of spies. We have millions of automated robots that go on social media and gather real-time data – posts, images, text, videos and anything else people are publicly saying. Then we analyze all this data, looking for topics related to any publicly traded companies. Once we have a certain trending topic related to a big company, we analyze if the trend is Positive or Negative. If the trend is positive, we bet on the stock to rise, if the trend is negative – we bet on the stock to fall. It’s that simple.

How often does Bitcoin Revolution make a mistake?

Not that often at all. What people are saying on Social media is real, it’s there and it’s true, so we rarely make a mistake. We are still in Beta stage of our software, but it’s already showing over 87% successful trades. This means that out of 100 trades Bitcoin Revolution makes automatically, 87 will be profitable.

How much money can a regular user of Bitcoin Revolution make?

It depends a lot on the money they invest and the broker they work with. Let’s take the regular user who starts with 500 and bets 20 per trade. Over 24 hours Bitcoin Revolution will make around 200 trades based on trends on Social media. Around 174 of the trades will be profitable, and 26 will not. This means user will win approximately 3,480 and lose around 520. Evening out to 2,960 profit in a single day. There are some small commissions added by the broker, but it’s usually less than 2%.

Has any user actually lost his investment?

No, we have never had a user who had lost his invested money. Even the worst cases we have had were always profitable in the end.

What improvements are you working on right now?

Right now, we can only access information that people are publicly sharing on social media. Once we go out of Beta and make the Bitcoin Revolution available for anyone, we will ask our users permission to access their individual Newsfeeds. This will give us even more data to work with, making Bitcoin Revolution more accurate.

Individual Newsfeeds? Is it safe to give access to that?

It’s 100% safe. We simply ask for access monitor the newsfeed using automated systems. There is no risk of us posting anything or your behalf. And besides that, no real human will be reading your Newsfeed. It’s all just algorithms looking for keywords. We take privacy very seriously and will never take any risks to harm our users.

How much will it cost to use Bitcoin Revolution automated system?

We don’t know yet. But first 1,000 spots will be free. After that, for regular users, we are thinking of charging 10,000.00 monthly and a hundred times as much for trading firms who wish to use Bitcoin Revolution. We do not want to disrupt the stock market too much so spots will be limited to 1,000 trading firms and 1,000,000 regular users.

When will Bitcoin Revolution be available?

Very soon. We are just adding finishing touches and first members will be welcome very soon. First, we will open the doors for small traders – regular people, and only later for big trading firms. Again, first 1,000 people will get a lifetime membership for free.

After the interview Dan showed us Bitcoin Revolution in action. It was like seeing a real miracle for the first time. Dans software was making money on autopilot. Dan was so confident in his Software that he offered to give us one free membership, so we can run our own independent tests, and so we did.

Alex Woods, 24

We took one of our intern students Alex Woods and told him to sign up, following each step.

The first step was fairly easy – he needed to fill in some details like name, last name, email and phone number. After the form was completed and submitted, he was taken to Bitcoin Revolution dashboard. Everything seemed pretty easy over there.

The next step was to fund the trading account with a trusted broker. The broker Bitcoin Revolution selected for Alex was BinaryTilt. As we were navigating to the deposit page, Alex received a phone call from BinaryTilt. It was his personal account manager wanting to assist funding process. With the help of account manager, funding process didn’t take long, as all major Credit Cards like VISA, MasterCard and American Express are accepted. Alex went ahead and deposited 250. Once funded, we navigated to the “Auto Trader” section of software, set the trade amount to recommended 20 and enabled it.

Bitcoin Revolution started making trades automatically in front of our eyes, winning most of them. We left it active for 23 hours and once we came back, Alex already had 2,592.37 in his account.

Alex wasn’t convinced. To make sure this was all real and not just some phoney numbers on the screen he requested a withdrawal of 2,500.00 to his bank account. This was a fast and easy process as BinaryTilt is a thrusted broker. After 2 hours money was in his bank account! At this point Alex and we knew that it’s real.

We can’t wait for the software to go live. This will change lives of millions of people. Sometimes the things that seem too good to be true, are actually true.

UPDATE

The incredible has happened. Dan has just notified us that Bitcoin Revolution is live! They are accepting first 1,000 members free of charge for life. As of writing this, there are 937 spots left, but it won’t be long before all the spots are filled up with this once in a lifetime opportunity, so hurry up. Click the link below to sign up now.

Click Here to access Bitcoin Revolution

http://nullrefer.com/?https://itsaurl.com/?a=8992&c=9805&s1=BG

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IMF’s alarming report on Algeria’s economy outlook

IMF’s alarming report on Algeria’s economy outlook

The release of July 2018 report of the International Monetary Fund calls on the highest authorities to analyse the prospects of the Algerian economy with lucidity according to internal and external constraints and no longer to sail on sight. In July 2018, the IMF’s alarming report on Algeria’s economy outlook, contrary to the views of gloom must be realistic. The country is in a situation that could take on another dimension and possibly worsen without any deep change in the system of governance, adapting it to new internal and global changes.
There is a unanimity of national and international experts on the Government that clearly shows lack of strategic vision, as if suffering from lack of foresight. We always said:
“The greatest ignorant is the one who does not listen; instead of beliefs everything to deepen the culture of tolerance and favour the interests of Algeria and not his interests.
The IMF report of July 2018
For the IMF in its last report, the country remains faced with significant challenges, posed by the decline in oil prices four years ago. Economic choices are also likely to “complicate macroeconomic management”, undermining growth “and” aggravating risks to financial stability in the medium term. Despite a critical budget adjustment in 2017, budget deficits and the external current account remain high. Overall economic activity has slowed down, although growth outside the oil sector has remained stable. The current policies of the Government according to the IMF weaken the resilience of the economy rather than strengthen it. Therefore, without profound reforms, these measures may lead the country into a deadlock at horizon 2020/2022. In any case and despite these measures to pay off some of the liquidity injected through monetary financing, the Bank of Algeria which raised the minimum reserve rate from 4% to 8% in January whilst resuming its absorption operations by taking bank deposits at seven days and also envisaging a moderate increase in the price of management, the use of printing money to finance the budget deficit risks aggravating imbalances, increasing inflationary pressures and accelerating the loss of foreign exchange reserves, notably through the use of banknotes to finance the budget deficit which according to the Bank of Algeria, the amounts loaned to the Treasury was in the order of 5,723 Dinars (DZD) as at the end of March 2018.
The inflationary thrust has undoubtedly not (yet) taken place, and even growth is expected to have a net rebound this year to 3%, compared to 1.6% in 2017, but for the IMF, unconventional financing representing 23% of GDP which will have enabled the funding in the first quarter 2018, for nearly 50% of the credits to the public sector, the economy will also have reached its limits from 2020 with rates of inflation and unemployment record likely to exceed in 2020/2022, 15%.
Quoting the IMF report, the increase in liquidity will stimulate demand, which will result in short-term price increases due to insufficient domestic supply and savings opportunities. At the same time, the hardening of import barriers is likely to fuel inflationary pressures by reducing supply – even by leading to shortages for specific products. Wage and price expectations could quickly adjust and strengthen each other. The authorities could then be forced to resort to monetary financing in subsequent years, which could lead to an inflationary spiral in the economy.
The International Monetary Fund advises to “use a wide range of financing instruments, including the issuance of public debt securities at the market rate, public-private partnerships, asset sales and, ideally, borrowing to finance well-chosen investment projects. “No progressive depreciation of the Dinar combined with efforts to eliminate the parallel market in foreign exchange would also promote adjustment”.
Two factors: demographic pressure and changes in foreign reserves
The Algerian population evolution looks thus:

DZ population

For that, 350.000/400,000 productive jobs per year will have to be created with a real growth rate of 9/10% over several years to avoid sharp social tensions. However, the blocking of investment in Algeria does not lie in changes in laws or the elaboration of utopian strategies, bureaucratic vision, as one does not fight the informal sphere by strict administrative measures, but by improving on the functioning of the society, with a focus on participatory and civil society.
Hence the urgency of a speech of truth for the foreign exchange reserves have evolved as follows:
According to the IMF, foreign exchange reserves will, in 2022, allow less than five months of estimated import and in 2023 assessed at $12 billion less than three months of import.
Growth is expected to slow very strongly as early as 2020, causing an increase in the unemployment rate. It will also result in a particular persistence of budgetary deficits and, above all, external deficits which will gradually eliminate all the leeway available to Algeria.
As per the IMF, Algeria needs a barrel at $87.6 to achieve a balanced budget by 2016 compared to $60 in 2007, $80 in 2009, $125 in 2010, $140 in 2012, $110 in 2015. As for 2017, under the year’s Finance Act, the level is close to $75.
As far as 2018 is concerned, the supplementary finance law of 2018, as approved on 5 June 2018, for an additional envelope of DZD500 billion (approximately $4.4 billion) to cover all current public and unproductive expenditure, generalized subsidies, other costs and mismanagement not to say bribery, will require a barrel exceeding $100, for not to draw off the foreign reserves that could then increase.
Conclusion: The return to confidence and growth within the framework of universal values as a condition of political, social and economic stability.
To meet future challenges, to project on the future, far from any devastating populism, new governance, a language of truth and morality of the leaders are necessary.
A certain budgetary rigour, better governance, a change of course in the current economic policy, with a barrel between $60/70, Algeria can sense out, possessing assets. Debt is low, 20% of GDP, external debt 2.5% of GDP. However, above all, Algeria needs a return to trust to secure its future, to move away from the vagaries of the rentier mentality, to rehabilitate work and intelligence, to bring together all its political, economic and social parties, avoiding division on secondary subjects, to learn to respect our different sensibilities. This is how eternal Algeria can realise as bound by its oath of November 1st, 1954, a sustainable development accommodating economic efficiency and profound social justice to which we are deeply attached.
admmebtoul@gmail.com

How to Energize the Algiers Bourse ?

How to Energize the Algiers Bourse ?

The Algiers Bourse or stock exchange, an administrative creation in 1996 seems to be in utter lethargy; the largest Algerian companies such as SONATRACH, state oil company and SONELGAZ, power utility company with several other large public as well as private groups are not listed on it. Knowing that the dynamism of a financial market spearheaded by an active stock exchange would have prevented the current unconventional financing. So, how to energize the Algiers Bourse ?

The important thing for a reliable stock exchange is the number of reliable players in this market that is for the time being VERY limited. It is little bit like, let us imagine a very nice football stadium that can accommodate more than 50,000/100,000 spectators without a team to play the game. The Algerian authorities have and are therefore content with building the stadium but without players.

The lethargy of the Algiers Exchange refers mainly to a binding business environment itself linked to the mode of governance.  The main obstacle therefore is a bureaucratized business environment as explained by the few productive companies. Referring to all those international reports, the mixed results, on the performance and / or the prevalent business climate in Algeria, it is those bureaucratic mechanisms that discourage real investors. Algeria has a macro-economic framework artificially stabilized by the oil exports revenues ‘rente’; this does not energize the real sphere of the economy and doing so might eventually run into risks such as emptying the county of its best brains, the essential substance of the development of the 21st century.

As shown some investigations of the ONS (Office National of Statistics), the Algerian economy being a rentier economy with about 83% of its fabric represented by trade and services of very small dimensions, the official growth rate excluding hydrocarbons being artificially sustained at 80% of GDP via public expenditure.

It is to be noted that, according to official data, more than 90% of Algerian private enterprises are of family type without any strategic management, and that 85% of public and private enterprises do not master the new information technologies. Most of the private and public sectors live through government contracts granted by the state and the economy is dominated by the informal sphere particularly of the merchant type that is itself linked to the rentier logic. The Bourse to have a significant role, all the capital shares of the Algiers Stock Exchange must represent a significant share of the gross domestic product, the volumes of transactions observed being currently insufficient. Private operators likely to engage in this activity will only be able to do so when the number of companies and the volume processed will be sufficient to cover their costs. This activity is in deficit in the services of public banks where it is exercised. On the technical level, in the current state of their accounts, very few companies know exactly the evaluation of their assets according to market standards.  It turns out that the accounts of Algerian public companies from the most important to the smallest are in a state that would not pass the diligence of the most basic audits. SONATRACH needs a new strategic management like most of Algerian companies, with clear accounts to determine the cost per division and / or section. The opacity of the management of the majority of companies that are limited to delivering consolidated global accounts veil the essential. For example, for SONATRACH, it is a matter of distinguishing whether it has to mainly do with exogenous factors, thus to be dependent on the evolution of the price at the international level or to rely on good internal management. This failure should not be sought in the technical and regulatory apparatus (Cosob SGVB Algeria Clearing) but rather within the macroeconomic and macrosocial frameworks in the extent to which its effectiveness must be enrolled in a clear strategic vision of development of the new global mutations.

Therefore, how to energize the stock market from Algiers ?

I can see five axes.

First,  it would be the lifting of all environmental constraints of which bureaucratic obstacles would mean the redesign of the new missions of the State as a matter of urgency. There can be no Bourse without competition and the Rule of Law..

Secondly, a Bourse must be based on a renovated banking system and I will insist on this fundamental factor because the Algerian financial system for decades is the place par excellence for the distribution of the oil ‘rente’ annuity and turning therefore into a huge power struggle.

Thirdly, there can be no stock exchange without the resolution of deeds that must circulate freely as segmented into shares or bonds referring to the urgency of integrating the informal sphere by the issue of title deeds.

Fourth, there can be no Bourse without clear and transparent accounts modelled on international standards sustained by the generalization of audits and analytical accounting in order to clearly determine the cost centers for stakeholders. This raises the problem of adapting the socio-educational system; for there is no such thing as financial engineering.

Fifth, transiently as primer, we propose a partial privatization of some national champions to start the movement and the creation of funds of Private / Public set ups to select a few private companies for their future Initial public offering (IPO). We could also introduce: 10% of SONATRACH, 10 to 15% of the BEA (Banque Exterieure d’Algerie), 15% of COSIDER and 15% of the CPA bank. This would create a stock index consisting of volume and quality starting the virtuous circle and attracting private operators. These funds would act as incubators of companies eligible for the stock exchange. In this context, aid for the development of private actors in the investment sector (IOB advisors, asset managers) would be needed.

In summary, if these conditions are fulfilled, accompanied by adaptation to new global mutations, good governance, valorisation of knowledge, Algeria, strong by its important potentials for a diversified economy, can become a pivotal and stability factor of the Mediterranean and African region.

Any destabilization of Algeria, as I pointed out on several occasions, would have geostrategic implications throughout the region. But it is to be recognised that in this month of May 2018, Algeria has still a predominantly public economy with a centralized managed system because structural reforms are slow to materialize on the ground. And yet, it is necessary to avoid living forever on the illusion of the permanent ‘rente’ for no country through history has developed solely through raw materials.

Major geostrategic mutations are expected to be inevitable in the future, making the 21st century to be dominated by the emergence of decentralized networks, replacing the state-to-state customary relations in above all the economic relations that together with the advent of artificial intelligence will revolutionize the entire global economic system.

ademmebtoul@gmail

The Arab world in attracting Foreign Direct Investment

The Arab world in attracting Foreign Direct Investment

WAM, the Emirates News Agency posted this article April 8th, 2018 about the UAE with the second-largest Arab economy, is leading the Arab world in attracting Foreign Direct Investment, (FDI). It is known that Dubai leads Arab start-ups but the recent Saudi Arabian reforms being engaged in the non-oil local activities may possibly alter that.
In the meantime, the UAE bankruptcy laws and company possible total foreign ownership are no longer hampering but rather allow total foreign contribution to the sought after investment in the local economy.

Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy

UAE leads in attracting FDI in Arab world: UAE Minister of Economy

In 2016, the UAE attracted 29 percent of the total FDI inflow in the Arab world, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, told the media ahead of the Annual Investment Meeting, AIM, taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from April 9th to 11th, 2018, under the theme, “Partnerships for Total Growth and Sustainable Development.”
The FDI inflow to the UAE reached AED37.8 billion (US$10.3 billion) in 2017, according to the UAE Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, FCSA, up from AED35.23 billion ($9.6 billion) recorded in 2016. This raised the total FDI stock of the country to AED473.500 billion ($128.94 billion) in 2017.
“We also topped Arab countries in terms of attracting new foreign investment projects, as we attracted 4,492 foreign investment projects in the UAE, out of a total of 12,192 new investment projects in the Arab countries from 2003 to 2016, reflecting the competitiveness of the national economy at the state level in creating efficient business,” he added.
The country is also working on luring quality investments that serve its development objectives and provide additional value to the national economy.
“FDI plays a crucial role in strengthening economic growth and raising the efficiency of national economies, and the UAE is constantly adapting the best policies and economic trends to keep pace with changes in the nature and trends of foreign investments to consolidate its position as a global destination for business and finance.
“According to preliminary data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD, global FDI flows are forecast to decline by 16 percent in 2017, from $1.81 trillion in 2016 to $1.52 trillion in 2017,” he said.
However, FDI inflows to developing economies are expected to stabilise in 2017, reaching about $653 billion, an increase of 2 percent over 2016.
“This indicates the need for countries, including the UAE, to continue their efforts to attract more investments in those sectors that add value, and to develop the appropriate policies and frameworks to make the best use of the presence of FDI to serve their development objectives,” he added.
Speaking about the Annual Investment Meeting, he said, “It is a collaborative platform for linking advanced and emerging markets and exploring potential partnership opportunities and will address obstacles facing acceleration of FDI inflow. It will also seek to explore promising investment opportunities in vital sectors, including energy, mining, manufacturing, infrastructure, logistics, agriculture, tourism and ICT.”
WAM/Elsadig Idriss/MOHD AAMIR

Climate change, like Corruption, is a matter of Life or Death

Climate change, like Corruption, is a matter of Life or Death

In How corruption affects climate change TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL claimed that Climate change, like Corruption, is a matter of Life or Death and it sees its role in this to help ensure that the  billions of dollars already pledged go where they’re needed. This requires transparency.

Chatham House looked at the phenomenon of corruption generally, and at how to combat it. A holistic approach being needed, Sean Hagan, author of this article, advises based on his as well as on the IMF’s own experience, that there are four key elements to an effective anti-corruption strategy: transparency; enhancing the rule of law; economic reform; and the building of institutions. Graft is not just a moral and political problem, it can also 
be an economic disaster, writes Sean Hagan.

Cancer in the system

Corruption is a global problem that is coming increasingly into sharp focus. Across the world, recent high-profile cases of corruption have caused moral outrage − and justifiably so. 

In many countries, rising inequality and faltering trust feed a perception of unfairness and the belief that elites play by different rules. In response, governments are showing an increasing willingness to get to grips with this problem. Importantly, they understand that systemic corruption is not just a moral and political problem but also an economic one.

Indeed, recent analytical and empirical work done at the IMF reveals the extent to which corruption can undermine sustainable and inclusive growth. In particular, when corruption is systemic – that is when it is no longer the exception to the norm but the norm itself – it can undermine the government’s capacity to perform important state functions. These functions include the conduct of fiscal and monetary policies, the design and implementation of market regulation, financial sector oversight and the rule of law.

Take, for example, fiscal policy – that is, the exercise of the government’s power with respect to both raising revenue and public expenditure. In a country with entrenched corruption, the ability of the state to tax suffers. Low levels of trust in the government arising from entrenched corruption translate to a weak culture of tax compliance and a high rate of tax evasion. Declining government revenues create economic instability as the government is forced to accumulate debt that can quickly become unsustainable.

On the expenditure side, systemic corruption distorts spending decisions towards wasteful, large projects that generate kickbacks and away from more economically and socially valuable investments in areas such as health and education. 

Weak expenditure controls and corrupt procurement practices simply waste public resources, undermining the ability of the government to provide much-needed social services. Since they rely more heavily on government services, the poor are disproportionately affected by these distortions, thereby entrenching poverty.

The ability of the government to attract private investment is also limited by systemic corruption. Bribes make investments more expensive. Indeed, corruption is often referred to as a tax on investment. Perhaps even more importantly, for an investor considering a large capital investment, the prospect of having to pay a continuous series of bribes may dissuade him or her from making the investment in the first place.

Entrenched corruption also undermines financial inclusion. When credit cannot be enforced because of corruption within the court system, it generally increases the cost of credit, making it more difficult to obtain. 

At a higher level, corruption weakens financial sector oversight and stability through corrupt lending practices, poor supervision of banks and regulatory capture.

More generally, systemic corruption weakens the social fabric with a disproportionate impact on the youth. When young people see that what is important is who you know rather than what you know, it can undermine their incentive to pursue an education. At its extreme, corruption can create civil unrest and armed conflict − with devastating economic and human consequences.

How does one combat corruption? The starting point is to acknowledge that there is no quick fix. A holistic approach is needed and, based on the IMF’s own experience, there are four key elements to an effective anti-corruption strategy: transparency; enhancing the rule of law; economic reform; and the building of institutions.

‘There are few deterrents more powerful than a credible threat of prosecution’

In addition to promoting efficiency and sound decision-making, transparency is a very effective anti-corruption tool. This is hardly surprising because corruption thrives on secrecy and opaque structures. In its own work, the IMF promotes compliance with international standards aimed at enhancing transparency and accountability in 12 policy areas of its core competence. These include data dissemination, fiscal policy, and monetary and financial policy.

Enhancing the rule of law is obviously critical, too. There are few deterrents to corruption more powerful than a credible threat of prosecution of corrupt officials and confiscation of ill-gotten assets. To be sure, in countries beset by systemic corruption, the institutions charged with the prosecution of corruption may themselves be corrupt. In these cases, experience has revealed that it may be necessary to establish and empower new institutions even for a transitional period until adequate capacity is developed. Importantly, governments should tackle not just public officials who receive bribes, but should also prosecute private sector operatives who pay bribes as well as those private actors who facilitate the laundering of proceeds.

The third element is economic reform. While regulation is essential in any market economy, steps need to be taken to address excessive regulation, especially where the regulatory process is opaque. As an economist would say, excessive complexity and opacity create ‘rent-seeking opportunities’. Technology is a particularly useful mechanism in this regard, since it can remove the exercise of discretion in simple approval processes, limiting the opportunity for officials to solicit bribes.

Finally there is institutional reform. Well-functioning institutions support transparency, the rule of law and economic reform. Indeed, a reform agenda is only as good as the officials charged with implementing its elements – whether it is the courts, prosecutors, tax officials, bank regulators or customs personnel. 

To succeed, reform efforts should seek to develop a cadre of competent public officials who are independent of both private influence and political interference. This requires a clear legal framework that establishes and empowers the respective institutions, technical expertise of the officials and clear incentive systems for public officials rewarding professionalism and competence while punishing improper conduct. But perhaps, most importantly, it requires effective leadership. There are a number of examples of leaders who, through their own integrity and attitude of zero-tolerance, have transformed the norms of behaviour of public officials in a relatively short time.

This is not a new issue for the IMF. Indeed, as early as 1997, the IMF outlined a policy for addressing governance and corruption in member countries – building in part on our experience up to that time. 

In 2017, twenty years after the policy on governance and corruption was first adopted, the IMF looked at how implementation of the policy had fared. It is fair to say that the review showed that, while the IMF had made progress, more work was needed. In particular, there is recognition that to be effective, the IMF needs to develop a more systematic approach when assessing, among its members, the severity of governance vulnerabilities – including corruption – and the macroeconomic impact of these vulnerabilities. Such an approach will promote fairness, by ensuring that similarly situated members are treated similarly. The IMF’s Executive Board will be considering these potential reforms in the near future. Stay tuned

 

AUTHOR: Sean Hagan is General Counsel and Director of the Legal Department, IMF. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF management or its Executive Board

 

Developing Countries and their Diaspora facing up the World

Developing Countries and their Diaspora facing up the World

Developing Countries and their Diaspora facing up the World

How? Well, here is in The policy brief of The Brookings about how are developing countries and their diaspora facing up the world conjecture of today, Dany Bahar, David M. Rubenstein Fellow – Global Economy and Development and Ernesto Talvi, Director – Brookings Global – CERES Economic and Social Policy in Latin America Initiative take us through the phenomenon of human migration in its latest developments. Implications in terms of money and knowledge transfers between the countries involved are reviewed in detail. Excerpts of the study are reproduced below starting with its eye opening introduction.

Migration is a very old phenomenon; much older than trade and capital flows. Scientists believe that the first massive migration of modern humans happened between 60,000 and 80,000 years ago from Africa to Asia. In modern history, migration has typically been the subject of heated policy and political debates, even becoming the raison d’etre for hundreds of organizations worldwide.

The number of international migrants increased from 75 million in 1960 to close to 250 million today. This has created important diasporas for many countries in the world, both large and small. This trend has been accentuated by the recent refugee crisis, adding about 15 million people to overall migrant figures.

Clearly, this irreversible trend begs the question: Can the growing diasporas represent an opportunity for developing countries in nurturing their home economies? Migrants and diasporas are, to some extent, “unexploited capital,” and the purpose of this document is to explore this growing opportunity.

In this paper, we start by describing the most recent data on migration and diasporas. Then we review different ways through which diasporas can be an asset for the economic development of their home countries. Finally, we suggest guidelines on policies that can be used to utilize these assets.

WHERE AND HOW LARGE ARE DIASPORAS?

Many countries have very large and significant diasporas, which tend to be quite spread out around different areas of the world. We focus on seven groups of countries containing developing nations. These groups are emerging Europe (which we define as all Eastern European countries plus Turkey), emerging Asia, Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, South America, and Central America and the Caribbean (including Mexico).

The sizes of diasporas by region of origin, in millions of people are about 45 million migrants around the world from emerging Europe, 70 million for emerging Asia, 25 million for the Middle East and North Africa, close to 25 million from sub-Saharan Africa, 12 million for South America, and 25 million for Central America and the Caribbean. Migrants from developing countries account for about 200 million of migrants out of a total of 250 million migrants in the world.

These migrants are, in fact, also quite geographically spread around the globe, as shown in Figure 2, which visualizes the distribution of destination regions for these seven groups. Migrants whose countries of origin are in emerging Europe are spread around other countries in emerging Europe (58.5 percent) and in Western Europe (32.6 percent), as well as a few of them in North America and the Middle East and North Africa. Besides from migrants originally from Central America and the Caribbean countries—who are overwhelmingly residing in North America—migrants originating from countries in all the other regions are characterized by having a large share of their migrants in other countries within the same region, but also another sizable share spread around other developed and developing countries.

HOW CAN DIASPORAS FOSTER ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF THEIR COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN?

We focus on three main ways through which diasporas can support the development of their home countries: remittances, business networks, and the diffusion of knowledge.

Remittances

The role of remittances can be highly beneficial for countries that have a relative large diaspora. Remittances can significantly increase income, consumption and investment, thus increasing welfare among, particularly, lower income households, and in turn complement through taxation resources that can be used toward the provision of public goods such as education, health, and infrastructure, among others.

Overall, remittances have become an increasingly important flow: from year 2000 until 2015 they more than doubled as a share of global production. Today they add up to almost $440 billion per year worldwide (more than three times the size of official development aid flows). For particular countries, such as Mexico, remittances are a crucial source of income. Only in 2016, remittances to Mexico reached almost $29 million—about 2.7 percent of its GDP—mostly coming from Mexicans living and working in the United States. Countries like India and the Philippines, together with Mexico, are the largest recipients of remittances. For smaller countries, such as Armenia, Moldova and El Salvador, remittances make at least one sixth of national income.

. . . The size of remittances received by different regions containing a majority of developing countries are tracked graphically. These amount to significant sizes and trend upward over time. Countries in emerging Europe, for instance, received $50 billion of remittances in 2016; a similar figure for countries in the Middle East and North Africa as well as Central America and the Caribbean. Countries in emerging Asia received about $250 billion of remittances in 2016, while countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South America received about $35 billion and $16 billion, respectively.  Thus, remittances are a key component of how countries benefit from their diaspora, and often a very important source of foreign currency for developing countries.

Business networks

Migrants residing abroad can play a crucial role in lowering the costs of doing business in between their home and current countries. 

The diffusion of knowledge

One fact that has fascinated economists for the past decades is that the diffusion of knowledge is a localized phenomenon. An example is that scientists and inventors tend to cite more often the work of other scientists and inventors (e.g., academic papers, patents, etc.) located nearby. Another example is that local firms tend to become more productive following the establishment in their neighbourhood of a new larger firm, often a multinational one, from which they can learn or copy best practices.

Read more on the original document.

Lebanon’s debt-to-GDP ratio could balloon to 180% by 2023

Lebanon’s debt-to-GDP ratio could balloon to 180% by 2023

The National of the UAE reported that Lebanon’s debt-to-GDP ratio could balloon to 180% by 2023 if the government does not undertake reforms to narrow its fiscal deficit, which may reach 10 per cent of GDP amid the current geopolitical tensions, the IMF said.

Lebanon needs to start implementing reforms that address its funding needs and tackle its debt, currently at 150 per cent of GDP, which is exacerbated by political uncertainty, internal disagreements and the burden of hosting about 1 million Syrian refugees, which represent about a quarter of the population. Prime Minister Saad Al Hariri’s sudden resignation in November, which he rescinded later, plunged the country into political uncertainty.

Out of the 26 points of the IMF’s Key messages, only 7 of them are reproduced below for their relevance, pertinence as well as their potential applicability to all countries of the MENA with however some country specific customisation.

Lebanon: Staff Concluding Statement of the 2018 Article IV Mission

February 12, 2018

The reform agenda needs to focus on three areas:

  • First, fiscal policy needs to be immediately anchored in a consolidation plan that stabilizes debt as a share of GDP and then places it on a clear downward path. Any scaling up of public investment will need to be grounded in such an adjustment plan and must be preceded by strengthening the public investment management framework.
  • Second, financial stability risks should be contained, including by incentivizing banks to gradually strengthen their buffers and by taking further actions designed to strengthen credit quality.
  • Third, to promote sustainable growth and improve equity and competitiveness, the electricity sector needs to be reformed and the anti-corruption regulatory framework should be enhanced and made effective.

Context

  1. The underlying economic situation has not changed and remains challenging, with high public debt, current account deficit, and funding needs. Public debt is estimated above 150 percent of GDP at end-2017, and is expected to rise rapidly with a budget deficit above 10 percent over the forecast horizon. The current account deficit is expected to remain above 20 percent. The funding environment has been affected by the political crisis of November 2017. Without a significant reduction in the economy’s funding needs or an increase in deposit inflows (and given the global interest rate outlook), the Banque du Liban (BdL) will need to increase interest rates or use its sizable gross reserves to meet the funding needs of the economy. The budget of 2018 and preparation for the upcoming Paris conference could provide key platforms to initiate the much-needed economic reforms.

The Economic Backdrop

  1. Growth remains low. We estimate growth to be at about 1–1.5 percent for 2017 and 2018. The traditional drivers of growth in Lebanon—tourism, real estate, and construction—remain slow and a strong rebound is unlikely soon. According to the BdL, real estate prices declined by over 10 percent over 2017, while the purchasing managers’ index indicates that private sector confidence continues to be weighed down by political uncertainty. Inflation in 2017 reached 5 percent, likely due to a rise in the costs of imports, notably oil, and a weaker U.S. dollar.
  2. The fiscal situation remains very difficult and poses significant risks. In July 2017, the Lebanese parliament approved an across-the-board increase in the salary scale of public sector employees and pensions of retired civil servants. A range of tax and fee increases was approved during the second half of the year. While the net fiscal impact is expected to be broadly neutral in 2018, higher personnel and interest costs will be main contributors to further deteriorating fiscal position over the projection horizon. The overall budget deficit in 2017 is expected at 7.3 percent of GDP, with a primary balance of 2.4 percent—in part due to one-off revenues from taxing higher bank profits due to BdL financial operations. In addition, subsidies to Electricité du Liban (EdL) are increasing, in part due to rising oil prices.
  3. External imbalances are large and persistent. The nominal effective exchange rate appreciated sharply in recent years, while the real effective exchange rate (REER) also strengthened in 2017 by 2.8 percent. The current account deficit is projected to have remained above 20 percent in 2017. Goods exports as a share of GDP continue to decline, while imports remain strong, in part due to cheap credit made available by several BdL subsidy schemes and higher oil prices. The persistently large current account deficit and other imbalances are evidence of a significant REER overvaluation.
  4. In response, the BdL continues to expand its unconventional financial operations. The BdL has introduced several new financial operations since summer 2016 that offer large incentives to domestic commercial banks to invest in BdL’s dollar-denominated term deposits. Consequently, the increase in bank exposure to the BdL has accelerated since summer 2016. While these operations have boosted the gross reserves of the BdL and the capital of banks, they have come at a cost to the BdL’s balance sheet and net FX position, and have been regressive. In addition, the BdL introduced a new operation in December 2017 to incentivize banks to secure longer maturity local-currency deposits, by increasing the interest rate on existing BdL long‑term instruments held by banks by 2–3 percentage points.
  5. Lebanon’s outlook remains uncertain. Under our baseline scenario, growth will gradually rise close to 3 percent as external demand picks up due to a global recovery. Inflation is expected to remain around its trend of 2.5 percent. Overall fiscal balances are expected to reach well above 10 percent of GDP and public debt close to 180 percent of GDP by 2023. The current account deficit will remain large. Under the baseline assumption of no reforms or increase in interest rates, Lebanon’s reserve adequacy position is projected to deteriorate over the medium term. But the projection is subject to both upside and downside risks. On the upside, Lebanon’s outlook is linked closely to developments in Syria. In the event of an early resolution, Lebanon would be well placed to benefit from the reconstruction effort, as well as from the reestablishment of trade and an improvement in regional investor confidence. This would have significant and positive implications for local incomes and growth, though not enough to restore debt sustainability without adjustment. On the downside, tensions in the region could lead to escalation of conflicts or trigger security incidents, higher oil prices could increase Lebanon’s funding needs, or deposit inflows could decelerate putting pressure on foreign exchange reserves.

Policy Priorities

  1. Lebanon needs urgent action to preserve confidence in the system and take advantage of international support. Over the past several years, Lebanon has maintained a policy mix of loose fiscal policy, and high real rates on bank deposits combined with cheap private sector credit through various quasi-fiscal subsidy schemes. However, given rising vulnerabilities, the need to establish a policy framework that places the economy and public debt on a more sustainable path has only increased. The increased engagement by some donor countries also offers an opportunity to secure their support for a reform and investment plan. The reform agenda needs to focus on three areas.
A photograph of Algeria’s Economic and Financial situation

A photograph of Algeria’s Economic and Financial situation

This is a summary note relating to the last report of the Bank of Algeria on the economic and financial situation of the country at the end of 2017. It is a photograph of Algeria’s economic and financial situation as it stands today.

1.- According to the Governor of the Bank of Algeria in his business note dated February 12th, 2018, on economic and financial indicators, the growth rate was only 2.2% in 2017 (compared to 3.3% in 2016). This rate in our view barely covers the demographic growth rate. The Algerian population exceeded according to the Office of National Statistics to 41 million inhabitants in January 2017, the labour force being estimated at about 11 million and demand for employment in addition to the current overestimated unemployment stock including non-productive or very low productivity varies between 300,000 and 350,000 per year.

Employment is based on the rate of growth and the structures of productivity rates, with a significant change in the profile of the growth rate structure, that according to the IMF, could be extrapolated to an unemployment rate of 13.2% in 2018. Because employment is not created by decree or with overstaffing in the administration: public or private companies are not competitive in terms of cost/quality within the framework of international values.

2.- Out of a total of exports, the Bank of Algeria’s report notes an amount of US$32.9 billion in 2017 compared to $29.3 billion in 2016; non-hydrocarbon exports were only $1.3 billion (70% of hydrocarbon derivatives) against $1.4 billion in 2016. Exports of hydrocarbons declined in volume after an increase of 10.8% in 2016 while their value increased to $31.6 billion as at end of 2017 compared to $27.9 billion in 2016.

As for imports, legal transfers of capital and currency outflows of services not included, despite all restrictions they were $48.7 billion in 2017 compared to $49.7 billion in 2016, a decrease of $1 billion only compared to 2016. The prognosis is for an import of goods that could be $30 billion in 2018.

Could it be realistic when we know kthat the economic area is represented by 83% of small trade-services, and the industrial sector accounts for 6.3% of GDP; 97% of these enterprises are small SMEs and that most of public and private enterprises operate at more than 70/75% with imported raw materials?

3.- As a result, the trade balance deficit was $15 billion, and the overall balance of payments deficit closed at $23.3 billion in 2017 compared to $26.3 billion in 2016. This gives a hard currency outflow representing all services whose amount fluctuated in 2010 and 2016, between 9 to $11 billion, plus all legal capital transfer of foreign firms of $8.3 billion. On the budgetary level according to the central Bank, the actual budgetary revenues at the end of September 2017, were 4.74 trillion Dinars (DZD) versus DZD3606 billion in September 2016 and the budgetary expenditure remained quasi-stable at DZD5.535 trillion of dinars; or a deficit of DZD795 billion. It should be noted that for the IMF in its 2017 report, the public debt is estimated at 12% of GDP and the external debt would not exceed 3% of GDP.

4.- Foreign exchange reserves closed at $97.3 billion as at end of 2017 compared to $56 billion in 2005, $77.78 billion in 2006, $110 billion in 2007 to $138.35 in 2008, and $147.2 billion in 2009, to $157 billion in 2010, $188.8 billion million in 2011, $190, 66 in 2012, $194 billion in 2013, $179.9 billion in 2014, $144.1 billion in 2015, from $114.4 billion by end 2016, to $97.3 billion at end 2017. The Foreign Exchange Reserves amount by end of 2017 should have been lower since many foreign company invoices were not honoured, and this would affect year 2018.

Unconventional financing would also increase this dynamic with all new project financings accelerating the outflow of hard currencies by those companies strongly dependent for their operation on outside Algeria input. The country has a respite of three years to avoid a return to the IMF and thus to put in place a competitive productive economy and assume a real strategy off-hydrocarbon rente. These keep the Dinar rating at more than 70%. If the foreign exchange reserves tended towards $20 billion, the Bank of Algeria would be forced to rate the Dinar at about DZD200 an Euro, not to mention the on-going discrepancy with the informal sphere where the Dinar stood as at February 13th, 2018 between DZD206/208 an Euro.

5.- As for the official inflation rate, between 2016/2017, it approached the 6% with all subsidized goods whose amount increased under the Finance Act of 2018 by about 8% compared to 2017. This rate is biased for not considering that nowadays, the basket which must preside over the calculation of the index must be historically dated. In addition, there are approximately $17 billion for unconventional financing only for 2018: In cases where this amount or a significant fraction would go to unproductive or low-value-added expenditure, it will be expected to cause an inflationary surge, which will necessarily require an increase in the interest rates of primary banks, if they want to avoid bankruptcy, which will slow down productive investment and speed up speculative action.

6.- So, to avoid an uncontrolled inflationary process, arises the problem of subsidies. In the face of the previously reviewed budgetary tensions, the success of any targeted subsidy operation would involve three actions.

  • First, this operation is technically impossible without a reliable real-time information system, highlighting the distribution of national income by social strata and regional distribution and / or how to tell the rich from the poor.
  • Secondly, this operation is also impossible without quantifying the informal sphere which allows for the consolidation of income, existing different data or that one refers to the gross domestic product (between 40/50% according to the ONS), compared to employment (more than 33% of the labour force according to the Ministry of Labor) or the money supply. Per the governor of the Bank of Algeria dated February 12, 2018, who holds, I quote: “The money trust circulating in the economy until December 31, 2017 was DZD4.78 trillion and on these DZD4.78 trillion, about DZD2000 billion are hoarded amongst the private and / or economic operators, that is exactly 41.84%.

Therefore, to avoid confusion in the analysis of the money supply at the level of the informal sphere, the normal share held by personal-use households must be differentiated from the amount stored for speculative purposes.

  • Thirdly, there is need to define precisely an institution that would be responsible for all traceability and to establish a balance which must be positive, otherwise this operation would have no meaning, both in Dinars and in foreign currencies. In 2012, in an operational report which I forwarded to the Government following a dossier made under my leadership, which I personally presented to members of the National Assembly’s Economic Commission on Fuels in 2008, I had advocated a National Chamber for Compensation authority to be responsible for establishing all intra-socio-professional and inter- regional transfers. (1)

7.- In summary, faced with the current situation characterized by social tensions, economists and politicians, before developing a socio-economic policy must recognize their limits therefore needing to know the historical movements, the anthropological, political, economic and social forces, often influenced by external actors; thus, to know the functioning of the society always on the move.

Hence the strategic importance of the dialogue where the natural place would be the Economic and Social Council as enshrined by the new Constitution which should bring together the best competencies and all the components of the representative society, where a realistic policy of targeted subsidies would be discussed and developed. The 2018/2025/2030 strategic objective will be to overcome the current status-quo.

ademmebtoul@gmail.com

Note

(1)-Audit under the direction of Professor Abderrahmane Mebtoul “For a new fuel policy in a competitive system” (Ministry of Energy 2007/2008) assisted by executives Leaders of SONATRACH, national experts and Ernst & Young   (8 volumes 780 pages) where a volume was devoted to subsidies, and a new pricing policy, another volume on the development of new fuels from the Gas whose GPLc and the Bupro.

The 7 wonders making Dubai rank above Paris and New York

The 7 wonders making Dubai rank above Paris and New York

AMEinfo published an article based on a recent Statista chart that shows Dubai is ahead of Paris and New York. This chart has itself introduced the latest Euromonitor data, as cited by WEF, revealing the most visited cities in the world for 2017. This article written by Dana Halawi, Senior Journalist listing the 7 wonders making Dubai rank above Paris and New York is republished here.

7 reasons why Dubai ranks ahead of Paris and New York in tourism

February 1, 2018 5:04 pm

·         https://ameinfo.com/wp-content/uploads1/2018/02/HRJYG7-1024x684.jpg

 

Paris is home to amazing landmarks such as The Champs Elysees, Tour Eiffel, the Louvre and designer boutiques along the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.

New York, on the other hand has Trump Tower, Times Square, the Status of Liberty, Central Park and Broadway.

Are they getting their share of tourists?

Sure, but much less than Dubai!

Statista, the statistics portal, reveals that Dubai has beaten Paris and New York with its number of yearly visitors in 2017.

Some 15 million people spent at least one night visiting the city last year compared to 14.4 million for Paris and 12.7 million for New York.

How did Dubai accomplish this?

7 Dubai attractions that beat New York and Paris

1– Burj Khalifa: The world’s tallest tower naturally dominates the Dubai skyline. The view from the observation deck on level 124 is absolutely stunning, topped only by the view from the luxurious At The Top Sky Lounge on the 148th floor. Located at the base of the iconic Burj Khalifa and just outside the doors of the famous Dubai Mall, the Dubai fountain features the world’s largest choreographed fountain system. Close to Burj Khalifa is the Dubai mall which has over 1200 shops with an indoor theme park, an ice rink, a huge indoor waterfall and the giant Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo.

2– Palm Jumeirah is one of the largest artificial islands in the world. Locals and tourists alike enjoy the Palm’s vast array of high-end hotels, including the Waldorf Astoria, Fairmont, One&Only, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray and, and most notably, the iconic Atlantis, The Palm.

3– The Walk and Beach at JBR: For those who like to shop, dine, see a movie and go to the beach all in one place, consider a trip to The Beach opposite JBR. It’s an area buzzing with activity with a regular open-air cinema and a popular water park to entertain the little ones for an hour or two. Also, the Dubai Marina Yacht Club consists of four enchanting marinas and offers a virtual centre of sailing, shopping, and distinctive dining.

 

Courtesy of Statista.com

4– The Dubai Opera: Located in Downtown Dubai, Dubai Opera is the radiant centre of culture and arts in Dubai. With its unique 2000-seat multi-format theatre, Dubai Opera is a definitive international destination for performing arts and world-class entertainment productions.

5– The Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF): Dubai hosts the biggest shopping event in the region on a yearly basis offering people an unlimited number of offers, sales, promotions and an endless list of activities.

6– The DP World Tour Championship, Race to Dubai: It is a golf tournament on the European Tour. It takes place at the Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai. The title sponsor is DP World, a shipping company based in Dubai. Around $7,5 million are paid to the top 15 players with the Race to Dubai winner getting $1.5m.

7– Dubai Creek: The Creek is the original centre of the city’s commerce and still buzzes with boats traveling regularly. Dubai Creek divided the city into two main sections – Deira and Bur Dubai. Bur Dubai, the historic district, is located on the western side of the Dubai Creek and Deira. Among famous activities in this area are the Gold Souk, Dubai Heritage Village, Dubai Old Souk, and Dubai Museum.

 

Dana Halawi has over seven years of experience in Journalism with articles published in multiple magazines and a newspaper in Lebanon. She specialized in Banking and Finance at the Lebanese American University and has a Master’s degree in International Affairs.

Read: Dubai is floating some amazing ideas: Will they sink or swim?

Check this: These new look autonomous cars could make you hungry!

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UK contractor Carillion pulling out of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar

UK contractor Carillion pulling out of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar

ME CONSTRRUCTION NEWS reported back in July 2017 that UK contractor Carillion pulling out of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar, has also sold its 50 percent stake in its business in Oman.

The London-listed company’s board announced a “comprehensive review of the business and the capital structure,” saying it will exit the three Middle East markets, as well as quitting all construction PPP projects.

Arab News reported in September that Takeover speculation drove Carillion shares almost 20 percent higher on Wednesday after a London newspaper reported that a Middle Eastern firm was preparing a bid for the struggling construction and support services company.

In fact, all Carillion’s stakeholders endured one or another this sort of news all through 2016 and 2017 up until the final collapse of the group this month. Moheeb AbuAlqumboz, University of Huddersfield, author of this article of The Conversation by alluding at the potentialities of other group of the same calibre being impacted by the Brexit is in our view little overstretched. In any case here is the full article republished with our compliments to the author / publisher.

 

How Brexit puts the UK at risk of more collapses like Carillion

The construction industry has always been characterised by uncertainty. Managing large construction projects involves enormous challenges, coming from the political, economic, social and technological environments involved. The bigger the project, the bigger the challenge. For big infrastructure projects such as railways and hospitals, we’re talking multi-million pound contracts and thousands of employees, over a number of years.

So, in many ways, the collapse of the UK’s second-largest construction company, Carillion, is not surprising. The National Audit Office, which scrutinises the UK government’s public spending, predicted that more than one-third of mega projects – the kind that the government outsources to Carillion – will fail in the years ahead.

And yet the shape and speed of Carillion’s demise was still shocking – even to the many industry observers who were watching its poor performance over the past year. Not least because its rapid descent into liquidation, without first going into administration, put 40,000 jobs at risk overnight.

Carillion’s demise shows the risks that are encountered in an industry that contributes £90 billion (6.9% of GDP) to the UK economy. Although it is still too early to know all the details of how and why it collapsed, it is an important reminder that the construction industry is characterised by risk, uncertainty and complexity on all levels. And something we should be mindful of is how Brexit will compound this.

Uncertainty abounds

A quick glance at the performance of Carillion shows that it amassed risky contracts without being able to fulfil its commitments. This put it under mounting debts – its liabilities were in excess over its total value of assets – and precipitated its demise. Winning lucrative contracts is great, but contractors need to have a positive cash flow to pay the various instalments of implementing its contracts.

The basics of planning and scheduling construction projects is that contractors need to keep schedules of their projects in balance with their available cash. In other words, contractors can win as many projects as they can, but they must be able to fulfil their outward payments at any given point of project implementation. When every contract comes with uncertainty, this is magnified when more projects are run at the same time.

Managing projects in general means managing uncertainty that is divided into known uncertainty and unknown uncertainty. For example, companies know that when they are building over the winter, they should allow time for bad weather slowing projects down. But an example of unknown uncertainty that Carillion ran into when working on the Royal Liverpool University Hospital was the “extensive” asbestos that was found on the brownfield site where it was being built.

The ongoing Brexit talks add a new layer to these uncertainties. The UK is engaged in negotiations with the EU on its single market access, which will affect the free passage of people and goods with its biggest trade partner. EU imports equal 6% of production costs in the UK’s construction industry and 8% of the industry’s existing workforce is at risk if the UK does not retain access to the single market.

So there is a big worry over whether companies can implement projects in the UK smoothly. Construction projects are usually labour-intensive and the right skills are needed. Government figures show that the skills gap is widening and there is not sufficient labour to fill vacancies on big construction projects. Added to this is the UK’s ageing workforce. Even without Brexit, the construction industry predicts a 20-25% decline in its workforce over the next decade. So, if the UK cannot reach a good deal for the construction industry, more big infrastructure projects will be at stake.

Brexit will also have an impact on the way that most big infrastructure projects are funded – through private finance initiatives or PFI. The government pays the private sector to build its big projects, awarding the contract to the best bidder. Some projects have also benefited from the European Investment Bank, which the UK will no longer be party to when it leaves the EU. This could make it more reliant on PFI, which is highly controversial.

The ConversationThe construction industry has barely recovered from the 2007-08 financial crisis. The latest figures show a slight growth in output, but this was merely thanks to residential construction. Commercial and public projects have been slowing down. With Brexit providing so much uncertainty in the months ahead, we should not be surprised if we see more construction companies struggling.

Moheeb AbuAlqumboz, Lecturer in Project Management, University of Huddersfield

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

The Conversation