Mining and Business Magazine proposes the 15 free symbolic measures that could be taken within 3 months by the new government.
IMPORT – EXPORT: Ban the importation of some food commodities that are largely available in the DRC: tomatoes, bananas, sugar, honey, mango juice or pineapple juice, coffee, chicken etc.

1.IMPORT – EXPORT:  Ban the importation of some food commodities that are largely available in the DRC: tomatoes, bananas, sugar, honey, mango juice or pineapple juice, coffee, chicken etc.

This measure will immediately boost the sectors concerned, including agriculture and farming industry.  However, as a prerequisite, this measure needs price control so as to prevent domestic producers from taking advantage of the ban by setting the prices then increasing them later.  Which would result in increasing the financial burden on the most disadvantage social classes.

2.GOVERNMENT SPENDING:  Tally the salaries of members of parliament with the realities of the country by symbolically capping at 50 times the minimum wages.  

Come on dear MPs....50 times the monthly minimum wages in stead of the current 100 times, that it is not so bad, after all! For instance, in France, the gap between the minimum wages and the salary of an MP is less than 8 times.  

Besides, this measure would come with another benefit, namely getting the Parliament to deliver on its key obligations: serving the interests of the people and representing them.  Seeing that MPs will hardly accept any drastic reduction of their wages, chances are that the minimum wages will rapidly increase.

3. HEALTH: Forbid any load-shedding or water shut-down for hospitals

It is unacceptable in a country such as ours that hospitals, morgues and other private health care centres should be deprived of power or water.  In particular, emergency services, maternity wards, or resuscitation units etc. should never ever be without electricity.  The same goes for water, which is key for hygiene in the hospitals and prevents the risk of hospital-acquired diseases.  The mission to serve the public that is incumbent upon the power utility and water utility should be reviewed in this regard to ensure such situations are eradicated.  

4.EDUCATION: Use the prevailing exchange rate when settling fees at the Congo Central Bank:

Students have been kicking and screaming for months because imposing a US dollar exchange rate that does not reflect the reality on the ground makes no sense, to say the least.  

Alternatively, universities may decide to accept payment in

Congolese Francs!     

5. FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION: Setting up a free and anonymous hotline enabling to blow the whistle on incidents of corruption:

Whistle-blowing is not necessarily an interesting ideological alternative.  But the fact still remains that given the need to send a strong signal that will curtail the large appetite for corruption from senior officers in the public administration, this alternative is worth carefully examining.  The solution will at least act as a disincentive to them and, most definitely, curtail their corruption drive.      

6. 4TH PILLAR OF POWER:  Allowing the media to freely investigate corruption and mismanagement scandals:

In his inauguration speech, the President underscored that he would protect the media.  Incidents of corruption and mismanagement could be exposed and the first heads that will roll will certainly make others think twice before engaging in corruption.  

On the other hand, this state guarantee which also exposes the state to public scandal, will be seen by the people as a resolve by the state to lead by the example.

In the same vein, in terms of mutual obligations, the media should also comply with their Ethics Code by not disseminating rumours or baseless information.  Articles produced by the media should be duly supported by sources and evidences that can be made available. Failing that, the media could be prosecuted for defamation.   

7. DOMESTIC TRAVELS:  Passport checks on arrival for domestic flights should be banned

There are so many unnecessary hassles during domestic flights.  The question is what for?  One wonders.... because for the same trip by car or by boat, you will never be required to show your ID papers!

It should be noted that immigration officers who will be released from passport checks could, as a result, be redeployed to duties for the protection of borders, genuinely.

 

8. DAILY LIFE:  Ban the sound pollution from revivalist churches

Praying and honouring your God is one thing.  Imposing your belief to all your neighbourhood at all times of the day and night is quite another! Is God deaf so that it would take such noisy sound systems to express your love to Him?

9. DECENTRALISATION:  Initiate a robust and strong-willed decentralisation policy in relation to Kinshasa in compliance with the constitution

The 2006 constitution which led to the break-up of provinces should enable better management of the territories thanks to a greater proximity to the people.  Likewise, a guarantee for taxes redistribution by the central government was instituted.   Yet, it seems that the Provinces are having a hard time securing these budgets from the central government.  Taking strong commitments in this regard and timeously availing the funds to the provinces will enable them to undertake initiatives that they deem useful for their development. As a result, this will contain the youth exodus from provinces to Kinshasa.  

 

10.  SEE TO THE RIGHT COMPOSITION OF DELEGATIONS ON OFFICIAL TRAVELS: ensure that any Congolese official, sports, cultural, economic delegation is composed only of qualified personnel!

Artistic delegations without artists, sports delegations with 4 to 5 support staff members per athlete, official delegations comprising aunts or cousins of the head of delegation...DRC’s representation abroad sometimes seems to be quite funny!

Restoring a tad bit of order in this murky situation would not harm the image of the country which was so tarnished by these fake repetitive delegations. And this could even help the country win medals or close deals...    

11. EDUCATION: Ban the expulsion of school-children during the academic year

Punishing or humiliating a child because their parents lack money is an outdated education strategy. Yet we happen to be in 2019.

That being said, this ban should not result in the perverse effect of some parents not paying the school fees.  Hence, in the event of non-payment of fees, a system that protects the child while constraining parents to settle the fees, should be put in place.  For instance, the system could consist in retaining a school certificate, transcripts or diplomas at the end of the academic year or even preventing the child from re-enrolling for the next year.  

12. CONSUMPTION: Make it compulsory to display the prices of all items in all shops and boutiques

Pricing based on the appearance of the customer does undermine business.  The resulting domino effect between shops and boutiques, attributable to a domestic tradition or a tax evasion tactics, scared away the expatriates (and other people...) from boutiques.  On the other hand, it is observed that shops that display prices are better off than those that don’t.  At the end of the day, the loss for the national economy is huge! There is a law making it compulsory to display the prices of goods and services.  It is its effective implementation by the state which went wrong.  

 

13. POLLUTION:  Genuinely ban plastic bags from business

The law was passed and is being implemented.  Then why nothing or virtually nothing changes as these bloody plastic bags are still being used in all supermarkets in the city?  Many central African countries implemented interesting solutions, by sensitising the sellers and consumers, then fighting against plastic bags illicit producers before supporting new packaging initiatives.  We should never forget that not acting against plastic bags now will come with a hefty cost.  

 

14. ENVIRONMENT: Impose a moratorium on the oil exploitation project in the Virunga and Salonga parks:

Revisiting the stakes for oil exploitation in these two parks that are part of World’s heritage, especially in terms of long-term losses, the country’s image, tourism etc. will require a moratorium of some months on the project.  

According to experts, 3 to 5 billion of barrels are reportedly buried in the two parks.  But we should bear in mind that quantity corresponds to the US annual oil production... Which means it won’t get to become Kuwait!  Besides, we are far from seeing the first barrel being extracted, let alone being pipelined to Matadi or Dar Es Salam!

And since all boils down to money, announcing to the world that the protection of wildlife has become a priority for the DRC and (given the new governance in Brazil) the country would like to retake the global leadership by proudly playing its role as the lung of the planet, would definitely be more lucrative in short and long term.  We really need to get the maths right!

 

15. SELL THE POWER UTILITY (SNEL) to one private consortium or two private consortia so that next year all customers can at long last enjoy quality power.  This would require a tendering process and some high-level authority to strictly monitor costs.

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