Levying of suspension by BSP France

Good news for Air Madagascar Plc at last! Since yesterday, the only Malagasy airline company was not suspended to the BSP France anymore. The re-opening of the issuance of Air Madagascar’s tickets is now effective. Since yesterday, all GDS in France can trade Air Madagascar’s tickets. This shows that despite of Air Madagascar’s problems, the French air authorities believe that the national airline company is still reliable.

Air Madagascar Plc was suspended by all European BSPs on April 21st, 2011 after that Brussels has decided to ban an Air Madagascar’s plane – a leased Boeing 767-300 – from flying all over European air space. According to Brussels, this plane lacked necessary maintenance activities in breach of essential European air safety standards.


It stinks oil war in Madagascar

Good news Folks: tomorrow, there will be a decrease of pollution in Madagascar.

Why? All the gas stations in Madagascar will go on strike for half a day. They will stop selling gas and other oil products on Wednesday April 13th, 2011 morning. This is the decision which came out from the extraordinary general assembly of the GPGLSS (association of free owners/managers of gas stations) last Monday.

This demonstration is a kind of warning towards the State (specifically the ministry of mines and hydrocarbon) and the GPM (association of the oil companies in Madagascar). Through such movement of protest, the GPGLSS wants to force the State and the GPM to reach a consensus which will restore peace and stability in the petroleum industry. Indeed, dispute between the ministry of mines and hydrocarbon and oil companies, may severely affect gas stations on their oil supply and profit margin.

There are two kinds of profit margins for gas stations:

  • least of fixed margin: MGA 32;
  • variable margin: between MGA 05 and MGA 16 according to each gas station’s performance and set criterion for each oil company.

The source of that dispute was TOTAL’s decision to increase its prices on some of its oil products on March 03rd 2011. The increase was between MGA 60 and MGA 100 according to the product. Immediate reaction from the government:

Decree on staple commodities

This decree was amended: all oil products legally became staple commodities. Products which are listed in this decree can defer to the competition act which provides that the law of supply and demand has to be the only market’ s rule to set price and does not allow any interventionism from the State. The article n°: 02 of this act provides that the State can take exceptional temporary measures which can exceed 06 months. Such measure has to be cancelled once the situation gets back to normalcy.

Order n°: 4497/2011 on March 03rd, 2011

The ministry of mines and hydrocarbon issued this order which provided that the “Logistique Pétrolière” Company has to reduce its storage cost by MGA 50 per liter, and allowing the ministry to set a cap price for some oil products on sale in Madagascar.

Council of State

The GPM sued the Malagasy State before the Council of State in order to have the order n°: 4497/2011 cancelled. The GPM also asked for the withholding of enforcement of the order. On March 16th, 2011, the Council of State issued its decision on this last request: the request for withholding of enforcement was rejected.

The line of defense of the State was that according to the article n°: 186 of the act n°: 2004-036 of October 01st, 2004 (the act which rules dispute between the State and private individuals), in any case, withholding of enforcement can not be pronounced by the Council of State when the dispute is about a decision which concerns public order, security and quietness.  The order n°: 4497/2011 was described as the only defense against a limitless increase of price of oil products which will make Malagasy people more and more suffer. The order n°: 4497/2011 which is an economic decision was presented and highlighted as a humanitarian work. The order n°: 4497/2011 then remains enforceable until the Council of State issues its final decision on the substance of the case.

Jean Martin Rakotozafy, president of the GPGLSS, in his yesterday press conference, demanded that the GPM and the ministry of mines and hydrocarbon reach a consensus on the oil prices and publicly announce them on the latest Friday April 15th, 2011.

Malagasy rosewood for Chinese beds

Luxury consumer market fuelling illegal destruction of Madagascar’s forests, says new report

26th October 2010

Nagoya, Japan – Consumer demand for expensive rosewood furniture and musical instruments in China and elsewhere is the primary driver of an ecologically devastating trade in illegal timber, according to a report published today by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Global Witness. The report, launched at the 10th Conference of Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), shows how this ongoing trade has been facilitated by the complicity of some of Madagascar’s state authorities and weak law-enforcement by the country’s transitional government.

The Cyber Observer: The fact is that, due to the lack of  International fund (no International recognition), the current Malagasy transitional administration uses the illegal export of illegally logged rosewoods to fund the state accounts. It is also a golden business opportunity for all the high state officers (president, prime minister, ministers, members of the transitional parliament, high ministerial officers, high ranked military officers who all took part into the 2009 coup, …) to refill their coffers located abroad, in France and in tax heaven countries. This “weak law-enforcement” is voluntarily wanted by them.

“Madagascar’s natural assets are being stripped to feed a ready network of international buyers,” said Reiner Tegtmeyer of Global Witness. “We first exposed the scale of this problem in October last year but the plunder shows little sign of slowing.”

Since June 2009, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Global Witness have been contracted by Madagascar National Parks (MNP) to investigate the illegal harvesting and trade of ebony, pallisander and rosewood, which spiked dramatically following the political coup in Madagascar. The new report shows that the vast majority of wood is destined for the Chinese luxury furniture market, with small quantities moving to Europe and the US for use in musical instruments.

The Cyber Observer: note that the massive illegal rosewood logging and the massive hunting of lemurs have started with the illegal takeover of Andry Rajoelina.

“In China, Malagasy rosewood beds sell for a million dollars apiece, yet less than 0.1% of the profits remain with local people,” said Alexander von Bismarck of EIA, noting that the group’s investigations found that Chinese traders were often aware that the wood they purchased was endangered and not legally cut. “I don’t think the buyers of these beds would sleep well at night if they knew the full story behind their beds.”

The Cyber Observer: Newly resident Chinese people (some of them ..) are also actively involved in this traffic.

A Decree issued in early 2010 by Madagascar’s Forest Minister reinstated a ban on export of all precious woods. However, the report shows that further shipments of wood have left Madagascar’s ports since then while logging within parks continues. In July, UNESCO put the Rainforests of Atsinanana, the site most affected by the illegal logging, on its World Heritage in Danger List. It urged Madagascar to “take the necessary measures to enforce the decree and halt all illegal logging activities.”

The Cyber Observer: despite such decree, military forces assist the national transport of the illegally logged rosewoods.

The UNESCO decision also encouraged countries to “ensure that illegal timber originating from Madagascar is both banned and prevented from entering their national markets.” These words echoed a Decision passed by the CBD in 2008 that urged Parties to “take effective legislative and non-legislative measures to prevent harvesting of forest products and resources in violation of national legislation.”

Meanwhile, in Madagascar, new legal measures and enforcement activities appear to indicate a genuine commitment from the Forest Ministry to curb the harvesting and export of precious wood.  Madagascar has also formally requested that their trade be controlled through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

“We welcome the latest indications from the Madagascan government,” said Tegtmeyer, “However, past experience has shown that such measures are often undermined by special exemptions and weak implementation. To plug the gaps, governments of all timber-consuming countries must follow the example of the US and crack down on import of illegal timber.”

Following the first joint report from EIA and Global Witness, the US authorities launched an investigation under the amended Lacey Act, which prohibits companies from trading in illegally sourced timber. This action, coupled with an extensive awareness campaign by civil society groups and concerned scientists, has seen demand for Malagasy rosewood largely dry up in the US and Europe.

The Cyber Observer: After he left Madagascar, the former US ambassador has issued a very critical report for the USAID about the traffic of rosewoods in Madagascar.

The organizations called upon China to take immediate steps to halt imports of wood from Madagascar and move towards stricter policies for its own companies and traders.

“China’s response to these findings will be critical for Madagascar’s biodiversity. China has a great opportunity to help put an end to illegal timber trade and protect biodiversity,” said von Bismarck.

The Cyber Observer: This report was collected on the web site of  Global Witness.

QMM’s employees can’t enter their site

Since Monday, an association named “Fagnomba” blocks the way to the gate of QMM’s site in Mandena, Tolagnaro. This association wants QMM to prioritize local population for its recruitment and local products for its puchase.
QMM has declared that it can’t negotiate unless the association removes its barricade which prevents QMM’s employees to enter the site.
Yesterday, Fagnomba’s demands increased. The association wants the resignation of the HR manager, the supply manager and community liaison manager of Qit Minerals Madagascar.
QMM apparently is now facing the same complicated problem as Sherritt Madagascar.
What is behind all of that?
Let’s remind that just after the takeover of Andry Rajoelina last year, the HAT has appointed a French law firm to analyze the contracts between the Malagasy state and the big foreign mining firms working in Madagascar. We all know that Andry Rajoelina’s administration will never dare to question the legality of these contracts, especially when they bring lots of tax income for the (orange) State. And if it does so, these International firms always have the possibility to sue the Malagasy state before the ICSDI (International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes) where it has no ghost of a chance to win.
Is it thinkable that the Andry Rajoelina and his HAT are behind all of these sudden social protests to put more pressure on these International mining firms?
Concerning the recruitment, it is a legal principle that the employer has the sovereign right to hire who they want.

Pierre Van Den Boogoarde leaves Madagascar

“The IMF leaves Madagascar” This is the headline of today’s L’Express de Madagascar

Actually, it is the resident representative (or head of mission) of IMF who leaves Madagascar: Mr. Pierre Van Den Boogoerde. The question of closing the local representation in Madagascar will be debated soon at the IMF’s headquarters.

What does really mean such departure? What’s behind it? According to Mr. Pierre Van Den Boogoerde, the IMF has not yet decided about his replacement and the future of the local representation office. Will there be a replacement? If we rely on the IMF principles, it is sure that this international institution will act like the USA: having no official and diplomatic head of mission until the return to constitutionnal order.

One thing is sure, the employees of the IMF representation must be worried for their jobs and future. If the rumour about the closing of the IMF representation office is confirmed, the Andry Rajoelina’s “orange revolution” will make more innocent victims.

The IMF, apart from its budgetarian aids in Madagascar, plays also the role of a “gendarme” for all financial transactions between madagascar and the other countries, and above all it is the watchdog on all public finances issues. If the IMF really leaves Madagascar, even if Madagascar does not need anymore its help and assistance, how will we end up with Andry Rajoelina and his HAT?

To be continued …

The ministry of mines and energy calls Charles Randrianasoavina

No this is not a joke … unfortunately, this is not a joke …

In order to fight against the traffic of mining products, the minister of mines and energy, Mamy Ratovomalala, has officially appointed the famous Lieutenant Colonel, Charles Randrianasoavina to be in charge of the “brigade control of mines and lapidary”. This is a department within the ministry of mines and energy which fights against mining fraud and traffic.

For those who do not know the Lieutenant Colonel Charles Randrianasoavina, he was among the CAPSAT (a military camp which stores and fixes all the weapons and ammunition of the Malagasy Army – the mutiny of the Malagasy Army against Ravalomanana’s regime started there with CAPSAT troops on March 08th, 2009)  officers who conspired against the Ravalomanana’s regime.

The Lieutenant Colonel Charles Randrianasoavina was the officer who interrupted the meeting between the representatives of the International Community, the three top ranked generals of  the Malagasy Army who were scheduled to lead a Military regime, Andry Rajoelina and his close collaborators, threatened the US ambassador, Neils Marquardt, with his Kalashnikov, arrested the Pastor Lala Rasendrahasina, president of the FJKM (Protestant church), and forced the three top ranked generals to go to the CAPSAT camp, on March 17th, 2009 at the EPISCOPAT (Catholic premises) Antanimena.

The Lieutenant Colonel Charles Randrianasoavina was the officer who proceeded to the arrest of Ralitera Andrianandraina, in charge of the security of the High Constitutional Court, on April 28th, 2009.

The Lieutenant Colonel Charles Randrianasoavina was the officer who proceeded to the arrest of Manandafy Rakotonirina and Mrs. Ihanta Randriamandranto, both leaders of the pro-Ravalomanana movement,  on April 30th, 2009 at the Carlton Hotel.

The Lieutenant Colonel Charles Randrianasoavina was the officer who clearly death threatened Joaquim Chissano on August 28th, 2009 at the International airport of  Ivato. While waiting for the return of the politicians who took part into the Maputo II negotiations round, he declared to the journalists: “if he (Joaquim Chissano) comes to Madagascar, he will deal with me …” On that day, he wanted to arrest (again) Manandafy Rakotonirina for having slandered against the Malagasy Army.

The Lieutenant Colonel Charles Randrianasoavina is now the co-director of the FIS (Intervention Force of Security) – this is the armed militia of Andry Rajoelina that the European Union wants to disarm. He took and still takes bloody and rough actions against the pro-Ravalomanana supporters when these latters want to demonstrate on the streets.

The Lieutenant Colonel Charles Randrianasoavina is now among the directors of the JIRAMA (national company which provides water and energy). He was and still is behind armed assaults against wealthy businessmen and companies.

The list is too long to be all posted here … this just an extract, few sample of how “incredible man” is Charles Randrianasoavina, a soldier who became a gangster. One thing is sure, his name with his accomplice, the Lieutenant Colonel Lylison Charles, will be on the “black list” of the AU as among the “grantees” for the “targeted sanctions”.

Few weeks ago, on March 08th, 2010, The Lieutenant Charles Randrianasoavina, during the celebration of the one year of the CAPSAT’s mutiny, declared in a interview to Antsiva radio (FM radio which belongs to the mayor PDS of Antananarivo) that he was not satisfied with his current situation (he was already director of JIRAMA and co-director of FIS at that time!). He also said that he could have become president of Madagascar if he has ever wanted. He did not deny that he and his brothers in arms at CAPSAT have done a coup and that on March 17th, 2009, he forced the three top ranked generals to hand over the power to Andry Rajoelina.

Now then in Madagascar, we have a mercenary who has lost his military honor with three caps (FIS – JIRAMA – mining brigade). One thing is sure: he is the right man at the right place if it is to impose a real dictatorship in Madagascar. The dictatorship of Andry rajoelina … but, is it really sure that he respects Andry Rajoelina? Not that sure … I always remember what the Lieutenant Colonel Charles Randrianasoavina and the Lieutenant Colonel Lylison Charles (he belongs to the Gendarmerie), have said at MAGRO Ankorondrano when “chasing” Raveloson Constant, a politician close to Ravalomanana and Manandafy: “When we do actions, NOBODY, not even ANDRY RAJOELINA can stop us”

Time to be afraid in Madagascar.

Guessing game: who is Charles Randrianasoavina?

Silo Rice Mill is dying piece by piece

“Silo Rice Mill” is a company which belongs to the TIKO Group. It is mainly involved on rice operations throughout Madagascar.

Two huge engines which belong to this company located in Vohodiala,Alaotra, were reported to be missing last Friday. The gendarmes made their on site investigations the day after and noticed that there was no evidence of infringement: the gate, the doors, the windows were intact.There are guards who kept the premises of the company but they noticed or heard nothing.

This company, due to the current political crisis and regular threats against the employees, has suspended its operations since the former president, Marc Ravalomanana, main owner of TIKO Group, was ousted by a coup backed by the Malagasy Army. Since there, many goods and materials belonging to Silo Rice Mill have been stolen. Such situation made the operations of Silo Rice Mill impossible.

This theft is considered as a lethal strike against the company because these two big engines were the key technical parts of the material structure of the company. There is no hope of production recovery without them …

CMA – CGM Madagascar and rosewood trafficking

The environment of Madagascar is in a critical situation due to the illegal logging and fraudulent MASSIVE export of Malagasy rosewood. This situation has started when the Malagasy political turmoil has worsen and when Marc Ravalomanana, the former president of the “red island”, has really lost his control over the country. The rosewood trafficking is not the only “environmental crime” which has occured but it remains the worst ecological disaster that Madagascar has experienced.

Nowadays, it appears that the rosewood trafficking involves also a “big” French shipping company: CMA – CGM. Through its Malagasy subsidiary, CMA – CGM Madagascar (which parent company is headquartered in Marseille, France), this shipping company ships out of Madagascar’s sea borders countless containers of illegaly logged rosewood.

“Everybody is deemed to know the law” CMA – CGM knows very well that through transporting illegal goods, it is liable to penalties. These goods (the rosewood) are considered by the law as illegal when their logging have been illegaly made … which is clearly the fact here, and CMA – CGM knows IT!

CMA – CGM Madagascar is among the four great shipping companies which operate in Madagascar: CMA – CGM, UAFL, Spanfreight and Safmarine. These three laters have agreed to stop carrying rosewood following criticism but CMA – CGM remains “very active” despite repeated complaints from conservation groups. Such behaviour reflects the general attitude of French economic leaders in Madagascar: arrogant and contemptuous. Such behavious is promoted by a sense of impunity provided by the current Malagasy state led by Andry Nirina Rajoelina who is believed as very close to French interests.

Facing all of these criticisms, CMA – CGM Madagascar has declared that it has already obtained an authorization from the minister of environment and forests … No kidding! And if you were granted with an authorization to ship slaves, would you do it ???

According to the conservation groups, CMA – CGM has, at many times, been warned that the goods they carry were of illegal origin, but this French company just don’t care …

With the CMA- CGM’ s acts in Madagascar, it is the global image and reputation of French companies which are spoilt.

How not to be pessimistic for Madagascar AGO program

I am very pessimistic” The US Ambassador, Neils Marquart, said yesterday to journalists concerning the continuation of the AGO program in Madagascar. Yesterday was the deadline for the Malagasy authorities (note that I do not write “Malagasy government”) to comply with the conditions to have the AGO back for 2010.

Through the mouth of an ambassador, and especially, in regards to the untold rules of International diplomacy, such statement may really mean something else. According to the practices, diplomatic statements are sometimes used to mitigate a truth which should not be disclosed yet. It is also used to prepare the public for an unavoidable event. May be the US Ambassador wanted to launch the following message: “You Guys have failed. You have missed your last chance to get the AGO for 2010. There will be no Madagascar AGO 2010”. If this is the real unbearable truth, it is now time for the 200,000 local future joblesses to look seriously for another job or another activity to survive.

Yesterday was also the last day given to the Malagasy authorities to apply for the renewal of the AGO program for 2010. AGO program is an annual economic program which needs to be renewed every December. I do not know till now if the Malagasy authorities (especially the ministry of trade) have done such application.

Here is a very strong and appealing evidence that confirms my (understable) pessimism concerning the fate that is reserved to the Madagascar AGO program: Last Friday (12.11.2009), the US congress voted to cancel the eligibility of Madagascar under AGO. But despite such vote, the final decision belongs to the president Barack Obama. Actually, like in Madagascar, the president has to enact (to promulgate) the act to make it enforceable.

According to the last information I have, the US government (through a statement from Ian Kelly, Sopkesman of the US state department) decided last night to give 10 more days of deadline for the Malagasy authorities to set up a national unity and consensus transitional government (an administration which is 100% agreed by the four political movements, the Army, the civil society, the private sector, the civil servants, and by the people (the so called “vahoaka”)), and to restore the “rule of law”. Madagascar then has till next Tuesday to comply with these conditions, otherwise, there will be Madagascar AGO program for 2010.

The possible reply of SADC

The SADC is quite unhappy with the decision of Madagascar (decision made by the current “de facto” Malagasy authorities, led by Andry Nirina Rajoelina) to ban all flights from Mozambic, Kenya, and South Africa. Andry Nirina Rajoelina has instructed his minister of transport, Rolland Ranjatoelina, to issue a ministerial order which bans all flights from or / and to Mozambic, Kenya and South Africa. This is to forbid all the participants to the negotiations round of Maputo III to come back home (mainly the delegations of the three political movements).

Since Monday, the SADC has handled unformal meetings to find the “appropriate reply” to this Madagascar’s decision. Unofficially, the SADC may ban the SADC’s air space to all flights of Air Madagascar. This also means that the planes of Air Madagascar would not be allowed even to overfly SADC countries. There are several african countries which would be involved in this “blockade”, such as: South Africa, Mauritius, Mozambic, Zambia, Angola, Swaziland, Rwanda, …

If this decision becomes effective, it will be disastrous for Air Madagascar and its partners.