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Uber fights for its London survival in court

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Uber will defend its right to operate in London in a court hearing on Monday after the app was deemed unfit to run a taxi service and stripped of its license in its most important European markets.

Regulator Transport for London (TfL) shocked the Silicon Valley firm by rejecting its license renewal bid in September, citing its approach to reporting serious criminal offences and background checks on drivers.

Uber’s 40,000 drivers, representing around one in three of all private hire vehicles on the British capital’s roads, can continue to take passengers until the appeals process is exhausted, which could take years.

The legal battle pitches one of the world’s richest cities against a tech giant known for its forays into new markets around the world that have prompted bans, restrictions and protests, including by drivers of London’s famous black cabs.

Uber’s lawyers will begin their appeal at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday, in what is expected to be a largely administrative hearing designed to set a date for a fuller hearing next year.

Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi has apologised to Londoners and met TfL Commissioner, Mike Brown, in October for what both sides described as constructive talks.

Brown said in November that “there are some discussions going on to make sure they are compliant.”

Months of legal wrangling are likely unless the Silicon Valley app, valued at around $70 billion with investors including Goldman Sachs (GS.N), can come to a new arrangement with the regulator.

“We continue having constructive discussions with Transport for London in order to resolve this,” an Uber spokesman said ahead of the hearing.

“As our new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has said, we are determined to make things right.”

Losing its London license was just one of many blows to Uber this year as a stream of executives left amid controversies involving allegations of sexual harassment and issues surrounding data privacy and business practices.

In Britain, Uber is looking to appoint a new boss after Jo Bertram announced her departure less than two weeks after London’s decision

It also faces potential problems in the northern English city of Sheffield where its license has been suspended and in Brighton, southern England, where local officials extended the firm’s license for only six months to give them more time to consider the outcome of the dispute in London.

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Namibia Ranked 4th in SADC in Terms of Financial Inclusion

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The latest results from the Namibia Financial Inclusion Survey (NFIS) indicate that the country’s banking population increased to 67.9 percent in 2017, up from 45 percent in 2011. In addition, the majority of the eligible banking population, 64.7 percent, said they consider Automated Teller Machines the most comfortable banking channel followed by bank branches at just over 58 percent.



“When comparing Namibia to other countries in the SADC region where the financial inclusion surveys have been implemented, Namibia is ranked fourth in terms of financial inclusion, with Seychelles topping the region,” said Statistician General and CEO of the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA), Alex Shimuafeni.

The results of the national survey, of which the target population was eligible members of private households, further indicated, at close to 60 percent, that the main barrier to banking was a lack of money for saving purposes while a marginal percentage (0.1 percent) reported the inconvenience of banking hours as a barrier to accessing financial services. The results also showed that the majority of the eligible population (32.5 percent) earns up to N$1000 per month with the main source of income being wages from private companies whilst government or parastatal wages ranked third at 10.3 percent.

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In addition, approximately 19 percent of the eligible population reported having borrowed money in the past six months preceding the 2017 NFIS. The main reason for borrowing was for buying food but the main barrier to accessing credit was out of fear of increased debt.

 The NFIS 2017 also revealed that close to 13 percent of adults in the country has or used credit or loan products from banks during the six months before the 2017 NFIS. “They could also be using other non-banking credit or loan products and/or borrowed from friends or family, but the defining characteristics are that they borrow (some or all of their credit) from a bank,” explained Shimuafeni.

-NEWERA

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Business persons in Tanzania pleads for Scrapping of Nuisance Taxes

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Business persons in Kilimanjaro Region have pleaded with the government to scrap nuisance taxes and charges saying they are crippling their businesses and undermining growth.

Speaking here during a training to public officials and businesspersons from all districts of Kilimanjaro Region, the businessmen said there multitude of charges which have led to closure of many businesses in the region.



The training is organised by the regional Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA) and Best Dialogue. Mr Christopher Shayo ‘Chrisburger’ who runs restaurants in the region said there were between 18 to 20 taxes to new entrants in business that make it difficult for newcomers to be able to run businesses, while others more are charged to going-on businesses.

Mr Shayo said the difficult periods are during auditing, whereby apart from being required to pay respective taxes, traders are slapped with hefty fines. He said that he was optimistic the situation would change as he sees the government noticing some improper issues and seeking to address the them.

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 The Moshi based businessman said the Fire and Rescue Services and Occupational Safety and Health Authority (OSHA) officers charge more than a business licence fee. TCCIA Vice Chairman (Trade), Mr Dismas Dede pleaded with the government to make early payments to suppliers and constactors as it is making it difficult for them to operate as well as paying salaries and procurement of other items.

He said it was sad that everything was referred to Dar es Salaam for action and it takes too long to pay. Mr Dede also called upon Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) to be closer and friendlier to businesspersons instead of the current situation where the two sides look at each other as if they are enemies

Officiating the training, Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner (RC), Ms Anna Mghwira thanked TCCIA and Best Dialogue for facilitating the training, saying that it was necessary when the government is taking all efforts toimprove the economy and make industrialisation real.

In a speech read by Same District Commissioner, Ms Rosemary Senyamule, the RC said participants have to understand the investment climate in the region, challenges and how to solve them; get the knowledge on how to manage and develop dialogue between public and private sector and how to bring together private and public sectors and work in friendly environment.

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-AllAfricaNews

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