ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Weekly NotesSubscribe to Weekly Notes

Disintagrating Nigeria

NIGERIA was never a country with a common heritage; such unity as it possessed was British-imposed. The South had never been entirely at peace with the North since the latter had carfied out a 'jehad' early in the 19th century. And the slaughter last September of 30,000 men, wo- men and children of the Ibo tribe in the predominantly Muslim North as a result of which nearly 2 million Ibos were forced to flee to the East, foreshadowed the break-up of the tenuous federation. Now, the Eastern Region under its Governor, Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu. has seceded.

Centrifugal Forces in Food

 tiles, but also in jute, coal and engineering, to mention only some prominent industries, consolidation of ownership and management has become necessary to avoid further deterioration and foreclosure by creditors

Railways After the Spree

Railways: After the Spree ON THE WHOLE, it was not too difficult for the Railway Minister to shirt the responsibility for the sorry state of railway finances as revealed by the Budget presented to Parliament on Monday. Earnings from goods traffic did not come up to expectations in 1966-67, he explained, because the general economic stagnation kept down growth of goods traffic. But the greater part of the Railways' originating tonnage consists of what are termed as low- rated traffic, on a part of which the Railways do not cover even the variable costs of haulage. This is true of coal as the Minister himself stated in his Budget speech. Now, a substantial proportion of the shortfall in goods traffic in 1966-67 in fact consisted of these low-rated items and at least one-third of it of coal. If the freight on coal does not, or did not at the old rates, meet fully the variable costs of moving it, then it would follow that the Railways are in fact better off for not having had to carry the expected volume of traffic. So the link between the financial mess in which the railways find themselves and the shortfall in railway goods traffic may not be as simple as the Railway Minister would have us believe. In fact more important than the volume of goods traffic may be its composition which has been over the years changing to the disadvantage of the Railways with the proportion of low-rated traffic in the total showing a steady rise.

Growth of Small Companies

 examining the possibility of providing cheaper refinance to the SFCs. While this would be helpful, what is more important is that the Reserve Bank should consider provid- ing finance, not on an ad hoc basis through refinance (though this does help it to maintain a close watch on the operations of SFCs), but as lump-sum long-term loans. At the same time the Governor referred to the stringent resources position and impressed on the SFCs the need for a selective approach to financing problems. The interim budget had provided Rs 49.05 crores for financing institutions (of which Rs 25 crores was earmarked for the IDBI and Rs 5 crores for the IFCI) in 1967-68, against Rs 78.03 crores in 1966-67. Whether the figure would be appreciably different in the final budget is not known at the time of writing, but for once the country and the financing institutions need to face squarely the classic economic problem of rationing limited means among multiple ends.

Water for Bombay

 examining the possibility of providing cheaper refinance to the SFCs. While this would be helpful, what is more important is that the Reserve Bank should consider provid- ing finance, not on an ad hoc basis through refinance (though this does help it to maintain a close watch on the operations of SFCs), but as lump-sum long-term loans. At the same time the Governor referred to the stringent resources position and impressed on the SFCs the need for a selective approach to financing problems. The interim budget had provided Rs 49.05 crores for financing institutions (of which Rs 25 crores was earmarked for the IDBI and Rs 5 crores for the IFCI) in 1967-68, against Rs 78.03 crores in 1966-67. Whether the figure would be appreciably different in the final budget is not known at the time of writing, but for once the country and the financing institutions need to face squarely the classic economic problem of rationing limited means among multiple ends.

The Case for Forward Markets

Railways: After the Spree ON THE WHOLE, it was not too difficult for the Railway Minister to shirt the responsibility for the sorry state of railway finances as revealed by the Budget presented to Parliament on Monday. Earnings from goods traffic did not come up to expectations in 1966-67, he explained, because the general economic stagnation kept down growth of goods traffic. But the greater part of the Railways' originating tonnage consists of what are termed as low- rated traffic, on a part of which the Railways do not cover even the variable costs of haulage. This is true of coal as the Minister himself stated in his Budget speech. Now, a substantial proportion of the shortfall in goods traffic in 1966-67 in fact consisted of these low-rated items and at least one-third of it of coal. If the freight on coal does not, or did not at the old rates, meet fully the variable costs of moving it, then it would follow that the Railways are in fact better off for not having had to carry the expected volume of traffic. So the link between the financial mess in which the railways find themselves and the shortfall in railway goods traffic may not be as simple as the Railway Minister would have us believe. In fact more important than the volume of goods traffic may be its composition which has been over the years changing to the disadvantage of the Railways with the proportion of low-rated traffic in the total showing a steady rise.

SFCs Still Unsteady

sarily open, broad and liquid. Not only should controls on NTSB contracts continue, but whenever hedge trading, is permitted, trading in NTSD contracts, as a rule, should be discouraged. This could be achieved without much difficulty if the' FMC adheres to the policy of recognising only one association in a single city for both hedge and N'PSD contracts.

Kerala Enticing Industrialists

By making his threats sound por- tentious, Nasser himself can gain in popularity. When the Israelis attacked Jordonians and UAR dragged its feet, President Nasser was criticised in some quarters; a show of might now will rehabilitate him to some extent. Besides, the Syrian government has been somewhat shaky, and Nasser, no doubt, would like to give it a shot in the arm.

Gold Jewellery Exports

 It is altogether unnecessary to read chauvinism into Kerala's at tempt to attract private investment. Unless the States take active and .positive measures to attract industry

Higher Power Tariffs

 It is altogether unnecessary to read chauvinism into Kerala's at tempt to attract private investment. Unless the States take active and .positive measures to attract industry

Another Arab-Israel Flare-Up

 Delhi. At the former meeting they rejected the proposal for a six- month moratorium on lay-offs, retrenchments and closures in return for an undertaking by workers to desist from gheraos. They also refused to accept a Government representative on the proposed Committee to look into individual Cases of lay-off, retrenchment and closure, and further declined to bind themselves to any but the Committee'? unanimous findings, which in the nature of things would be few if any. At the meeting of the Standing Labour Committee in New Delhi, employers' representatives threatened to disown all their obligations in the field of industrial relations unless gheraos were stopped forthwith. The meeting, which was attended by the West Bengal Labour Minister, passed a formal resolution disapproving of gheraos, and the Union Labour Minister, though speaking cautiously, left no one in any doubt about where his sympathies lay on this isssue. Later on other Central Ministers have expressed themselves more plainly. Speaking in Calcutta this Tuesday the Union Minister for Steel condemned gheraos as an invitation to lawlessness and anarchy and said they not only "threaten our economic wellbeing but our very continuance as a stable society". And. as if to lend weight to the Another Arab-Israel Flare-Up THE first thing to remember about the current UAR-lsrael crisis is that it follows a pattern laid down over the years; the only new element is in the UAR demand for UNEF's withdrawal both from Egyptian territory and the Gaza strip. The UAR argument is that the UNEF was in the Gaza strip by agreement between Cairo and the Secretary-General of the United Nations and not by virtue of any resolution passed by the Security Council or the General Assembly, The UAR was thus legally entitled to ask for the withdrawal of UNEF.

Caustic Soda Playing Safe

By making his threats sound por- tentious, Nasser himself can gain in popularity. When the Israelis attacked Jordonians and UAR dragged its feet, President Nasser was criticised in some quarters; a show of might now will rehabilitate him to some extent. Besides, the Syrian government has been somewhat shaky, and Nasser, no doubt, would like to give it a shot in the arm.

Pages

Back to Top