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Parastatal spending spree

first_img6 February 2006State-owned enterprises Eskom and Transnet are to get the lion’s share of the more than R370 billion set aside by government for infrastructure development, Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said on Monday.Briefing the media in Cape Town on Government’s Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative (ASGISA), Mlambo-Ngcuka said 40 percent of the R372 billion in state investment announced by President Thabo Mbeki on Friday in his State of the Nation Address would go to public enterprises.Infrastructure upgradeEskom will be spending R84 billion, she said, mostly on energy generation, transmission and distribution. Transnet would be spending R47 billion, with R40 billion of this going to harbours, ports, railways and a petroleum pipeline.The Airports Company of South Africa will be spending R5,2 billion on airport improvement and the Dube Trade Port, while R19,7 billion will go to water infrastructure.South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 Soccer World Cup will lead to spending on the building or improving the 10 stadiums to be used, along with investment in the environment around stadia, as well as on access to these World Cup venues, the deputy president said.TelecommunicationsInformation and communications technology will also receive investment, “with a strategy to rapidly grow South Africa’s broadband network”.This will also be facilitated by the pending operationalisation of a second national telecoms operator later this year, which is part of a broader plan to reduce telephony costs more rapidly in a bid to boost the call centre sector in South Africa, which has already attracted 5 000 jobs so far.This sector has the potential, she said, to create 100 000 additional jobs, directly or indirectly, by 2009, and marketing, skills/training, telecoms costs and regulatory challenges are being addressed towards meeting this.The other immediate priority sector is tourism. “This sector . is ready for a second phase of growth that could take its contribution to GDP from about 8% to about 12%, and increase employment by up to 400 000 people by 2014,” said the deputy president.Job creationWith South Africa’s unemployment rate at 26.7 percent, the infrastructure programme also has the key focus of creating and sustaining jobs, along with a programme to address a “maintenance backlog”.One of the key problems in job creation is a skills crisis. The deputy president said today that 70 percent of South Africa’s population was under 35 years of age, and the government intended to increase access to adult education and proceed with a number of other training programmes.Skills shortageThe drive for skills is a critical priority for South Africa and a lack of these threatens to derail some of the interventions being undertaken by ASGISA, said Mlambo-Ngcuka.The “binding constraint” of a skills shortage is receiving urgent attention, said the deputy president.“For both the public infrastructure and the private investment programmes, the single greatest impediment is the shortage of skills – including professional skills such as engineers and scientists, managers and financial personnel, project managers; and skilled technical employees such as IT specialists and artisans,” said Mlambo-Ngcuka.If necessary, skilled labour will be imported from outside the country, she said, while a new initiative, the Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA), that was mentioned also by Mbeki in the State of the Nation address, is to be established next month.The job of JIPSA will be “to confirm the urgently needed skills and find quick and effective solutions”.“Solutions may include special training programmes, bringing in retirees or South Africans who are working outside SA, and drawing in new immigrants when necessary.”Overarching goalMeanwhile, other binding constraints being addressed by ASGISA are the volatility and level of the currency; the cost, efficiency and capacity of national logistics system such as freight transport; barriers to entry to markets for new businesses, limits to competition and limited new investment opportunities; a loaded regulatory environment and the burden this places on small and medium-sized businesses; and deficiencies in state organisation, capacity and leadership.These are all receiving urgent attention, said the deputy president, as South Africa strives to achieve an annual growth rate averaging 4.5 percent or higher, while between 2010 and 2014 South Africa will seek a growth rate of at least six percent or higher.An overarching goal through achieving a six percent growth rate is to meet the Millennium Development Goals of halving extreme poverty and unemployment by 2015.The target for government is to get unemployment to below 15 percent, said Mlambo-Ngcuka.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Major milestone for KAT-7 telescope

first_imgThe milestone is important in terms of the African bid to host what will be the world’s largest radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), because it demonstrates that Africans have the technical expertise to build such a complex working instrument. South African astronomy celebrated a major milestone this month as the first four telescopes of the KAT-7 demonstrator radio telescope were linked together as an integrated system to produce Africa’s first “interferometric” image of an astronomical object. “Interferometry” refers to a technique in which radio signals collected at the same time by a system of networked radio telescopes are processed into a single high-resolution image. In her budget vote speech in Cape Town in April, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said that if Africa were chosen to host the SKA, “significant international funding” would flow into South Africa and its partner countries on the continent. The KAT-7 is a precursor to the MeerKAT, which will be one of the most powerful telescopes in the world in its own right, consisting of 80 dishes, with a high-speed data network linking the telescope site in the Karoo to a control centre in Cape Town. Boost for SKA bid In a statement last week, the Department of Science and Technology said this was a significant step, because it meant South Africa now had its own functioning radio interferometer. 18 May 2010center_img SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material “If we win the bid the central location will be in Carnarvon in the Northern Cape, with other parts of the array as far as 3 000km away in eight African partner countries,” she said. The KAT-7 will serve both as an engineering test-bed and as an operational radio telescope in its own right, while the MeerKAT will be one of the largest scientific research facilities in the world, and will consolidate Africa as a major global hub for astronomy in the world. Making new science possible “This will increase our chances of winning the SKA bid,” the statement read. “Technically, it could be handed over to astronomers who could begin to do science with it; science that was not possible in Africa before,” the department said.last_img read more

Villagers benefit from well-heeled visitors

first_imgThe children in the Welverdiend community are jubilant, greeting visitors with smiles and waving at the cameras. They enjoy singing their English songs to tourists, who bring items such as coloured pencils for drawing. Inside, there are spaces for various activities – a cutting corner, a space for fantasy play with stuffed animals, and blocks for colour and counting. (Images: Melissa Jane Cook)• Valeri MoutonPR Manager&BEYOND+27 11 809 4332valeri.mouton@andbeyond.com• Youth urged to build better future • Rugby sewing initiative kicks off • Empowering youth for a bright future • Eastern Cape entrepreneurs in spotlight • Khulisa reinvents livesMelissa Jane CookAlong the western edge of the world famous Kruger National Park lies the upmarket Timbavati Reserve, a Big Five private game reserve that shares unfenced borders with Kruger, in Mpumalanga. It is an incredibly wild and alluring part of the world.Ngala Safari Lodge, an &Beyond property, is in a prime position, overlooking Kruger. But for the lodge and its travel company owner, it is not only about the animals. Both have a long-standing commitment to give back to the communities where the properties are situated – &Beyond owns luxury lodges and resorts across Africa. It believes its contributions, leadership and volunteer efforts, help to create strong, energetic pockets of society where its businesses can flourish and its employees can live and work well.As with the parent company, giving back to the community is a large component of Ngala Safari Lodge. Aside from the wildlife – leopards walk across the patio – attentive staff and luxury accommodation, a draw card for visitors is the lodge’s incredible community focus.Ngala strives to create meaningful and lasting benefits for the natural environment and the communities that surround its operations. Its social and conservation principles are deeply entrenched and it prides itself on creating a positive culture within the community. In working with the villagers, Ngala has a three-pronged approach: a focus on education, health care and income generation.Sustainability and conservationThat community is Welverdiend, a rural village just a few kilometres outside the Orpen Gate of Kruger National Park. In Welverdiend, the community is “working hard towards sustainable livelihoods and protection of our natural resources”, it says on its blog. It offers group tours, on which visitors are able to learn about the traditional way of life and the challenges villagers face in a changing environment.Welverdiend means “well-deserved”. There is calmness in the community, a feeling of quiet. The homes are spaced out, littered with patches of green. Elvert, a driver at Ngala who brings tourists to the village, has a deep passion for the community. He says that there are about 12 000 people, guided by one chieftain.There is a craft centre where locals sell their handmade products to tourists. Colourful bracelets, intricate beaded belts and wooden bowls are among the items made by the 24 women and one man who supply the centre. There is a craft centre where locals sell their handmade products to tourists. Colourful bracelets, intricate beaded belts and wooden bowls are among the items made by the 24 women and one man who supply the centre.Creating employmentNgala believes the ideal for sustainability is to create employment, which it puts into practice in its work with Welverdiend. The community benefits greatly from the lodge, not only from its visitors. One local generally supports about eight people, which means that having employment, at any level, at Ngala makes a huge difference in the lives of villagers. Elvert says that tourism is a sustainable industry so “we must look after the animals as they bring the tourists who help support the communities”.There are three primary schools, catering for 2 400 children, and one secondary school serving Welverdiend. The language spoken is mostly Northern Sotho and Shangaan. A nursery school, called Hlalala, has 76 children, aged from a few months to about four, and three teachers. The pre-school was donated by tourists, and Ngala works with the Africa Foundation in keeping it afloat. The teachers are all volunteers and play a significant parental role in the lives of the children. At school they are fed breakfast and lunch.The children are jubilant, greeting visitors with smiles and waving at the cameras. They enjoy singing their English songs to tourists, who bring items such as coloured pencils for drawing. Inside, there are spaces for various activities – a cutting corner, a space for fantasy play with stuffed animals, and blocks for colour and counting.At Mahlale High School, Moses Hlungwane, a former student, greets visitors and takes them on a tour of the school. In 2013, there were 185 students and they achieved an 87% pass rate. It is a no-fee school and students are given a meal a day. It is what you would expect from teens – girls with their skirts hitched high and boys with their shirts out, sitting outside classes or trying to bunk.But in one section, the classrooms are uninhabitable. They are in a dangerous state of disrepair and old desks and books spill around the dirty rooms, strewn with litter, on uneven concrete flooring. Hlungwane says they have been asking the government to fix this for years; the wait continues.He admits that he was a good learner and came back to teach others. He is seen as a father figure, and encourages the students of today to strive to do better. At the gates of the school as you leave is a large sign: What did you contribute? Moses Hlungwane, a former student at the school is now a teacher there. He is seen as a father figure, and encourages the students to strive to do better.Good deedsIt is said that “deeds of giving are the very foundations of the world”, and this has given credence to the work that supporters have done in Welverdiend. The pre-school, classrooms and craft centre, were all are donated by tourists.Employing and buying locally and setting up business relationships with local people, it is believed, will help to create employment, stimulate entrepreneurial activity, increase investment in infrastructure and boost the overall standard of living in the region. Supporting local economic growth is therefore key to long-term success.Ngala Safari Lodge manager Stephen Smith explains that Ngala has regular interaction with the local Welverdiend community, where they have “worked with, not for” the community to foster health care, education, employment and skills development. The lodge supports conservation lessons for the pupils, and locals have received bursaries in travel, tourism management and business training. One villager was given a bursary by French champagne group Moët & Chandon to do a hotel management course and train in restaurants in France and the USA.Through its education initiatives, more than 10 classrooms have been built, along with kitchens for two schools and sanitation blocks. Classroom overcrowding has been reduced, hygiene improved and school nutrition programmes supported.Practical helpIn terms of conservation, the vast majority of the community has never been in a national park and does not understand the value of conservation. Hundreds of children have been taken on conservation lessons and the children are given opportunities to explore their natural heritage and learn the value of conservation.Other initiatives are more practical. Water supply is sporadic and many hours are spent carrying heavy water buckets. Just under 1 000 Hippo Water Rollers have been distributed. This innovative product allows water to be collected far more quickly and easily, freeing up more time for income generating activities or education.In addition, a food garden was planted at Mahlekisana Primary School and training in permaculture food gardening was provided. The school garden now feeds 4 000 schoolchildren and community members a month. It functions as a resource centre where people are taught organic farming and the nursery provides seeds for community initiatives. Water supply is sporadic in the community and many hours are spent carrying heavy water buckets. Just under 1 000 Hippo Water Rollers have been distributed. This innovative product allows water to be collected far more quickly and easily, freeing up more time for income generating activities or education.Health careRespect for local culture and support for social development are integral to responsible tourism practice, considering the effect tourism can have on local communities. &Beyond also recognises that its most valuable asset is its staff. Spearheaded by positive health trainers David Patient and Neil Orr, in 2003 they created a dynamic training course built around natural vitamins and minerals, affordable foodstuffs and the power of positive thinking. It is geared at preventive health care and at improving the health of people living with chronic disease.Patient is the longest documented HIV-positive survivor in the world, at more than 31 years and counting, 22 of which were without antiretroviral therapy. He was diagnosed with Grids on 13 March 1983, while living in Las Vegas in the USA. Grids was later to be more commonly and universally known as Aids. Orr has a Masters degree in research psychology in the area of psychoneuroimmunology, which is concerned with the role that attitude plays in maintaining health.They motivate and empower people through Positive Health training, and encourage them to take positive action in dealing with all current health challenges, not just HIV/Aids. Working with &Beyond, the Positive Health programme has reached over 30 000 individuals among staff and rural communities. The programme was voted one of three finalists in the 2005 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards in the Investor in People category.Goal is lifeTo increase motivation to stay healthy and start a culture of developing life goals, &Beyond created its The Goal is Life programme, linking the universal game of soccer and the great game of life. It involves working with World Wide Sports and listening to soccer stars spread the message that to achieve your goals, you need to maintain a healthy body and a healthy mind. Soccer stars have held workshops in surrounding communities to inspire and uplift the staff and neighbours, and to help spread the message of safe sex and healthy living.There is also a Sing for Life programme, which celebrates the ancient African arts of drumming, singing and dancing. Across Africa, &Beyond’s properties hold staff performances of song, dance and drumming. It also held an international competition with staff from its properties. Competing against each other with virtuoso performances of modern and traditional song and dance, they gathered on a single stage and celebrated life, heritage and their magical continent.&Beyond’s community development partner is the Africa Foundation. The latter facilitates the socio-economic development of rural communities living in or close to the continent’s conservation areas. The former provides direct employment for nearly 2 000 people, and in some cases has boosted the employment level on the land by 1 000%.You can visit their website at www.andbeyond.comlast_img read more

Investors Back Music Discovery Plug-in For Google Chrome

first_imgRelated Posts Extension.fm, a Chrome browser extension we first wrote about in February, has launched to the public and announced that it’s received funding from a group of high-profile investors, including Spark Capital, Betaworks, Founder Collective (Caterina Fake, Chris Dixon and others) and Dave Morgan (founder of Tacoda and Real Media).Extension sits in your browser and automatically grabs the links to any music files you see around the web, rendering them easy to play later through a special interface. Based in New York, the company is lead by Dan Kantor, the creator of AOL-acquired Streampad and the feature in Yahoo’s Delicious that renders links to MP3 files playable. With that kind of background and backing, it’s hard to imagine there’s not a whole lot more in the company’s plans than a Chrome extension. That said, the Chrome extension is very impressive and Chrome is the best browser on the desktop.Extension is most appropriately described as a music discovery service. It’s not for listening to bands you already know and love – once you get access to Spotify, there’s no other game in town for that, except perhaps Mog. But if you’re a person who likes to peruse blog posts and other pages where new music is linked to, the Extension makes listening to those songs systematic and very enjoyable. It lets you capture and listen later to all the new music you stumble on while zipping around the web. Separating media from its initial place of discovery, temporal displacement for more conscious media consumption, is probably something that video files could benefit from as well. Time will tell if Extension gets into that business.With the investment, Spark Capital’s Bijan Sabet will join the Extension Entertainment Board of Directors. Sabet lead Spark’s previous investments in Twitter, Tumblr, Boxee and more. He wrote about the investment on his popular blog today. Tags:#Multimedia#music#news#web marshall kirkpatrick 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People…center_img 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnoutlast_img read more

Assam BJP MLA has to prove citizenship

first_imgAn MLA of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Assam has been served a notice to prove his citizenship amid the exercise to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC) that is nearing completion. Kishore Nath and six members of his family were served the notice on Friday by the Foreigners’ Tribunal No 1 on suspicion of being doubtful voters. Mr. Nath, 53, represents the Barkhola Assembly seat in southern Assam’s Cachar district.Other members of his family served notice include his wife Nilima Nath and four brothers. “We shouldn’t have received this notice as we have been living here for three generations. I believe some mischief was done during a verification process during 2008-2012 when the Congress ruled,” Mr. Nath said.last_img read more

Gambhir named ODI captain as Dhoni, Tendulkar, Sehwag rested

first_imgGautam Gambhir was on Saturday named captain of the Indian team for the first two matches of the ODI series against New Zealand starting on November 28 with the selectors opting to rest five senior players, including regular skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh were not considered due to injury concerns as a 14-member ODI squad was announced after a selection committee meeting in Nagpur.”M.S. Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh were not considered due to injury concerns, which require attention and rehabilitation,” BCCI secretary N Srinivasan said in a statement.Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Ashish Nehra, who were part of the squad for the ODI series against Australia last month, were left out.Wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha, Ravindra Jadeja, Yusuf Pathan and S Sreesanth were recalled to the ODI sqaud.The selectors also announced the Test team for India’s tour of South Africa next month with Dhoni as the captain and all the other four senior players rested for the ODI series against New Zealand returning.Saha also found a place in the 17-man Test squad, the same as paceman Umesh Yadav.Jaydev Unadkat, who was named in place of Zaheer Khan for the ongoing third Test against New Zealand here, was also retained in the squad.Team for first two ODIs against New Zealand: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Murali Vijay, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Sourav Tiwary, Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), R Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, R Vinay Kumar, Munaf Patel, S Sreesanth, Yusuf Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja.advertisementTeam for Test Series against South Africa: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag (vice-captain), Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, S Sreesanth, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Wriddhiman Saha, Jaydev Unadkat, Umesh Yadav, Pragyan Ojha.With inputs from PTIlast_img read more

Public Holiday for Dr Rosita Butterfield

first_img Letter to the Editor Calls for Dr. Rosie to be Named Nat’l Hero Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Recommendation for National Hero, Dr. Rosita named as ideal Recommended for you Related Items:Dr. Rosita Butterfield, state funeral Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 22 Jan 2015 – It will be a national public holiday on the day that Dr. Rosita Butterfield is given a State Funeral; determined today by Cabinet that Thursday February 5th, the country will have the day off to mourn the loss and celebrate the life of the first woman to be elected to the honourable House of Assembly. Dr. Rosie, who has delivered over 100 babies in these islands during her years as a midwife, will lie in state in both Grand Turk at the House of Assembly, on Tuesday February 3rd and on Wednesday February 4th at her church, Faith Tabernacle in Providenciales. Final plans are still being arranged explained the Premier today in a post Cabinet press conference; the House of Assembly is working with Dr. Rosie’s family to firm up plans. Humble beginnings remember for Hon. Dr Rosita Butterfieldlast_img read more

Cory Briggs announces hes running for City Attorney of San Diego

first_img Posted: July 8, 2019 July 8, 2019 Categories: Local San Diego News, Politics FacebookTwitter Cory Briggs announces he’s running for City Attorney of San Diego Updated: 6:12 PM KUSI Newsroom, 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) – San Diego attorney Cory Briggs announced he plans on Good Morning San Diego to challenge incumbent Mara Elliott for San Diego City Attorney.On his campaign website Briggs notes the reason he’s entering the race. “As someone who has spent nearly two decades fighting special interests at City Hall, I believe now’s the time to bring my training, experience, and taxpayers-first approach to the City Attorney’s Office.”Monday evening, KUSI’s Sasha Foo was live at city hall with more on the Cory Briggs quest to become the city’s top legal adviser. KUSI Newsroom 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settingslast_img read more

Former BNP Media Veteran Acquires Industry Marketing Solutions

first_imgRandy GreenFormer BNP Media publisher Randy Green has acquired a handful of B2B publications from Iowa-based Industry Marketing Solutions and its founder, Steve Scanlan, the two parties announced this week.Included in the sale are five ad-supported print and digital titles — such as Plastics Hotline and Material Handling Solutions, among others — with each brand’s staff now reporting to Green, who will serve as publisher in addition to president of RDG Media, a new company set up to house the publications.Prior to founding the new company, Green had spent the last 22+ years at BNP Media, joining as a classified advertising manager in 1994 before rising through the ranks to group publisher of ISHN, R&R, Casino Journal, Hotel F&B, and various titles within BNP’s food/beverage/packaging group, like Brand Packaging and Flexible Packaging, before stepping down earlier this month. “Our goal is to continue serving the audiences with products that generate a superb and cost-effective return for our advertisers,” said Green in a statement. “We look forward in the very near future to introducing innovative products that will enhance advertisers’ share of market. We will continue to publish our products from the Ft. Dodge, IA offices.”Following the sale, IMS Digital Marketing, which provides services related to digital marketing and advertising, web design, and SEO, has been rebranded RDG Digital Solutions. IMS Auctions, a website that lists upcoming auctions related to the construction and packaging industries, will continue as a joint venture between RDG and Scanlan’s ES Group LLC.“Randy Green and RDG Media is the perfect choice to help drive this business forward,” added Scanlan in the statement. “He has had a strong background in our markets and his knowledge and use of innovative strategies to serve advertisers in these markets is second to none. These publications could not be in better hands.”Not included in the sale were two similar Scanlan-owned titles, Electrical Solutions and HPACR Solutions, both of which published December 2017 issues this month.last_img read more

Emami Cement on an expansion spree

first_imgEmami Cement, part of the Emami Group, announced the setting up of a cement-grinding plant in the WBIDC Panagarh Industrial Park in the Burdwan district of West Bengal, and said two other units are being planned in Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh.The 2 million tonne per annum (mtpa) capacity unit entails an investment of Rs 500 crore, and is likely to be commissioned by the end of this year, the company said in a statement. India is the second-largest producer of cement in the world, and is expected to move up further with a slew of initiatives announced by the Central government, such as smart cities. The company said eastern India represents a good business opportunity given the low level of penetration.”While the cement capacity in India is estimated to register a decent growth in the next few years, Eastern India remains one of the most under-penetrated markets. With this new project, we expect to capture this market potential effectively,” said Emami Group director Aditya Vardhan Agarwal in the statement.Emami Cement is executing a 4-mtpa integrated cement project comprising a clinkerisation plant and a cment grinding plant at a cost of about Rs 3,000 crore at Risda in the Balodabazar district of Chhattisgarh, apart from planning two cement plants in Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh.The cement industry grew at a modest 5.3 percent in value terms in the quarter ended December 2015 on a YoY basis, with the aggregate value of revenues of 18 cement companies at Rs 19,300 crore, according to a note by brokerage firm Nirman Bang Institutional Equities.The volume growth was 5.9 percent. The performance was mixed for various geographies.”The southern region continued to report volume contraction whereas a moderate pick-up in demand was witnessed in the northern region. Prices in the eastern region and some parts of Maharashtra touched a new low during the quarter, impacting the earnings of some Central companies,” Nirmal Bang said.The industry benefitted from lower power and fuel costs resulting in a fall in overall operating costs, despite the rise in other costs on account of the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) levy and higher provisioning because of the amendment to the Payment of Bonus Act, it said.The note said there would be a modest increase in cement prices in the northern region while prices are expected to remain firm in the southern region in the forthcoming quarter. Demand for cement is unlikely to see any major uptick as “construction activity is yet to witness a meaningful pick-up across India,” Nirmal Bang said.The major players in the cement business in India include ACC, UltraTech Cement, Ambuja Cements, India Cements, Shree Cements, Birla Corporation and Prism Cement.The Emami Group has interests in FMCG, infrastructure and newsprint, among others.last_img read more