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MiziaNews - News From Mizialand

Postby Mizialand » Sat Jan 19, 2019 11:41 pm

OOC: This thread is a collection of relevant news from Mizialand. Feel free to comment.
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A PROFITABLE EXIT, NOT DISTRESS SALE
Chairman de Haan on sale of the nation's largest airline Air Liberte


St. Louis: The Chairman of Air Liberte, Mizialand's largest airline and part of the Liberte Conglomerate Mr. Morphieus de Haan said here on Friday,"This is not a distress sale, rather a financially prudent move." Early this year the Liberte group has put its airline Air Liberte on sale. Two large organisations Arthropol Airlines and AstyriaCorp have bid for the airline. If the merger goes through, it will be the largest in Mizia history.

Mr. Haan also said that there was no financial or operational pressure to exit the business. AL had earlier reported a net profit in the 2017-18 financial year but made net losses in the financial years 2012-17. He further said,"We felt that future profits in the business were suspect. Not only are margins in the airline business, particularly domestic, extremely low, the sky is also crowded with many players."

The airline was granted 'Special Subsidy' to expand internationally by Her Majesty's Government in 2010. Since then the airline underwent a rapid expansion adding over 115 destinations and 180 aircraft but in none of these years did the airline turn a profit. Experts blame it on a rapid expansion, continued subsidy, rising fuel prices, economy downturn and stiff competition from Low Cost Airlines.

Janis van Herbert, aviation analyst comments,"AL has not been able to finds its niche in the competitive environment. It is neither a luxury airline nor a low cost carrier. The end of subsidies earlier last year (HMG had decided to end all subsides to AL in July 2018) and a very large operational base surely puts a lot of pressure on the company."

Meanwhile, trouble seems to be brewing up at Air Liberte as the proposed sale draws to a close. As reported earlier, on Friday AL Employees Asssociation threatened an 'all out' strike if employee grievances are not addressed before the sale. They claimed 'proper treatment' and 'should not be thrown away like tissue' after the acquisition. "The future is worrisome" sums up Noémi Allard, President of the Flight Attendants Union. The representatives of various unions met the Board of Directors here on Friday over a 4 hour long meeting at the end of which the Board assured that the best interest of the employees as well as the guests lie at the core of the sale. The threat of the strike was thus withdrawn but the Unions told our correspondent that they will use their right to approach Her Majesty's Workers Right Department if the deal is not amiable to the workers. The trouble seems to subside, at least for now.
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Postby Mizialand » Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:07 am

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"I CAN ENGLISH SPEAK" SAYS NEW MINSTER FOR THE ECONOMY
The People Have Their Doubts


Heleventia:The newly appointed Minister for the Economy,Maik Koch said here on Monday," I can English speak." He was being asked a question about his perceived lack of multilingual skills by a correspondent from a national newspaper. Mr. Koch replied in English before switching to his native German,"...but I prefer to speak in German."

Mr. Koch was widely mocked in the social media - a comment on Twitter reads "May be he thought "Well, English is basically just German, so this should work!"" Some people raised questions as to how Mr. Koch will conduct business and briefings in international meetings.

Mizialand has three official languages - French, Dutch and German. Most people are bilingual in at least two - and all students learn English, at least till Grade 10. Though English proficiency is low in the country, most politicians have a basic command of the language.

In meetings conversation is usually carried out in either French or Dutch but translations are made simultaneously. However Mr. Koch was also criticized by the United Mizialand Opposition Front member Janis de Groot," His French hurts my ears. Its terrible." In international meetings while translation is provided, it is essential to have at least communication command of English which otherwise may be a handicap during lunches or informal meets. However, the constitution does not mentions any language skills as a requirement for a minister.

Leading Political Scientist Micheline Calmy-Rey commented," It is important to know English because his position will require dealing with lot of foreign corporations and governments. English is of course, the language of business."
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Postby Mizialand » Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:38 am

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NO HOLIDAY ON DURGA PUJA, EID

Referendum to recongnise them as public holiday rejected


Heleventia: The result of the referendum regarding recognition of the sixth day of Durga Puja and Eid-ul-Fitr, the last day of Ramadan was declared here on Sunday. This nation wide referendum recorded a turnout of 40,4% with 65,5% votes for 'No' 34,2% votes for 'Yes' and 0,3% votes declared as 'Invalid'. This referendum was held after the representatives from the Bengali and the Muslim communities in Mizialand, which form the largest migrant community (after excluding migrants from Lorecia), gathered enough signatures for a 'National Referendum'.

In Mizialand, referendum are held at three levels - Communal, Municipal and National. According to Article 3.2 A of the Representation of the People Act, 1996 any citizen aged 18 years and above of sound legal and mental capacity can initiate a referendum which can be voted upon once it attains 200,000 signatures. The signatures are verified at the Commune and the Commune, through their Provincial Representative sends the signature to La Frachiere (the Parliament) which assents it (the Parliament cannot refute any referendum which has required signatures) and puts it to vote. All citizens aged 18 and above of sound legal and mental capacity can vote on the referendum. Mizia citizens residing abroad can also vote at the Mizia embassies and/or consulates.

The referendum was initiated by Mizia Hoichoi, an organisation representing the Bengali Community here. The Bengali Community forms 0,9% of Mizialand's population, 64% of whom are Hindu, 33% Muslims and rest identify as 'Atheists'. Durga Puja is a major festival of the Shaktism sect of Hinduism which marks the victory of the shape shifting Goddess Durga against the demon Mahisasura. Since 2006, celebrations for Durga Puja have taken place at major cities such as Heleventia, St. Louis, Dakota, Bonn, and Amersfoort. It is especially celebrated with great enthusiasm in 'Litte Bengal' neighbourhood of Heleventia.

Eid ul Fitr marks the end of the month of Ramadan, the month of fasting in Islamic traditions. Though initiated by the Mizia Hoichoi, this festival is celebrated by almost all of the Muslims in Mizialand which form 3,5% of the population. It is an expression of the communal aspects of Islam such as giving alms to poor, charity, worship, patience etc. Usually most Muslims take a day of work on that day and pray at mosques.

Business and public holidays allow a day off for religious observance as a tradition rather than a rule. Many small and locally owned businesses however do not give a day off to their employees for these reasons; thus the Community felt for the proposal to be introduced at the National Level. Moreover the laws regarding 'personal and religious observances' vary from Commune to Commune and the Community felt that a uniformity was necessary. The referendum was opposed by the right wing 'Alternative Party', currently the largest party in opposition in the Parliament. "For every minority we cannot give a holiday. Then we will have so many holidays and consequent loss to business and productivity." said Janis de Laang, spokesperson for the party. The party had also campaigned against this referendum.

As is the current trend, this referendum saw a low voter turnout. "It did not concern us. I wonder how they managed enough signatures." said Thomas Sahin, who had recently turned 18 and is looking forward to other referendum "worthy of our time". Similar sentiments were expressed by Lola Gaël, a school prinicpal in St. Louis,"We already had 3 national referendum and 10 communal referendum so far this year. Next year, I'm going to be a member of the Communal Council. I suppose there's something like too much democracy." The trend of decreased public participation was observed in 2018 Mizia Voter Report on the occasion of the Third Anniversary of General Elections. According to it "35% of the respondents were tried of the political participation."

Khondakar Abu Naseer, a member of the Hoichoi expressed his regret that the proposal was rejected. "I am disappointed, but at least these days can be taken as observance." The Community campaigned and tried to raise awareness regarding the issue but unfortunately their efforts did not bear fruits. "We did not get a positive response from many Communes. Also we are only limited to largely urban Communes." said Mr. Naseer. It seems, for now, that people will have to depend on the whims of their employers for holiday on these days.
Last edited by Mizialand on Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Mizialand » Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:03 am

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EDITORIAL: STATE CAPITALISM - THE WAY FORWARD

Unlike other economies of the Lorecian Community, State Capitalism will be a major driver of growth


The Economy Minister's remark during the 2019-20 Budget Presentation that for sustained growth Mizialand needs a shift from state capitalism to "democratic capitalism", or the Third Way, not only to better integrate itself in the Lorecian Community but also as a means to achieve sustained growth, needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. While not indicative of in the present budget, such a remark suggests a change, or at least thoughts of change in the government policy. As we enter into the 2020s where 'sustainable' and not 'sustained' growth is expected to be a focus, the continuing role of the State in the economy remain crucial.

The data from Das (2015) suggests the striking role the State plays in the economy: : eight of the 10 largest firms by assets were state-owned in 2015. More importantly these firms are in the area of petroleum, natural gas, coal and steel providing the key capital goods for the economy. Waterbury (1993) described these firms as "cash-guzzling dinosaurs, characterized by ‘sloth, waste, and inefficiency’ thanks to the ‘genetic flaw’ of their links with government"; yet they have looked remarkably healthy. Despite increased competition from the private sector, they are more profitable and more efficient than their private counterparts (Moeun, 2017).

Lazzaarini in 2014 described three problems of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs): the agency problem of poor managerial selection, incentive, and monitoring, the social problem of multiple objectives and the political problem of political interference and corruption. Due to these problems, the Lorecian Community and rest of the developed world, beginning from the 1970s, began to turn away from this model. This was when the nature of State Capitalism in Mizialand began to change. We did not abandon this path but reformed it to sustain in an increasingly competitive world.

State Capitalism 2.0

This 'State Capitalism' (let us call it, unlovingly State Capitalism 2.0) is state steered. While the State continues to play an active role in the process of investment and innovation, it attempts to stimulate and not replace the private sector. Now, this leads to a change in the operating environment of the SOEs: first, they are exposed to disciplining power of the market to force efficiency, and second, by increasing their autonomy and endowing them with the trappings of corporate governance. How far these measures have been successful, depends on empirical evidence.

As the rest of Lorecian Community embarked on, or in some cases were the harbinger of 'absolute private ownership', in the 1930s, Queen Marjoline asserted a modified role of the SOEs. She commented that 'State Owned Enterprises' shall be granted complete autonomy to enable them to compete with the emerging private enterprises in the post war economy boom. This was reasserted by the 'Corporate Governance Act, 1951' which stipulated that in SOEs, based on their performance and future prospects will be granted financial and managerial autonomy and powers to incur capital expenditure. A second measure, entry of minority stakeholders also modified the SOEs future prospectus. Have these measures ensured their survival in an increasingly competitive world? The answer is mixed. While 389 SOEs have been privatized and 113 bankrupt since 1967, majority of SOEs today are profitable, growing at an average of 14 percent in fiscal 2017-18. However, while they behave as market players, they certainly benefit from preferential treatment by Her Majesty's Government, for example access to cheap land, railway freight, and finance via public sector banks.

Exploiting the SOEs

The aforementioned three problems described by Lazzaarini do, to some extent, haunt the SOEs. The enterprises healthy profits provide a regular stream of revenue for Her Majesty's Government. Continued political interference and nepotism, despite provisions to tackle them remains a major problem. The board still remains within control of Her Majesty's Government with the controlling line of ministers having little formal roles and responsibilities. The older ‘social’ and ‘political’ considerations—like provision of government revenues, employment, and social objectives—have not disappeared. Beyond corporate profitability CPSEs continue to advance state goals and provide a source of patronage. It is well known that their managing directors are appointed through politicized processes.

They fund a multiplicity of subsidies, which go both to private firms and continue to pacify rival groups that demand a share of the spoils—through cheap power for wealthy agriculturalists and residential consumers, for example. They provide regular dividends and other revenues for the government. At times of financial hardship they are mined still harder for resources: when the Economy Minister promised to limit the overall budget deficit in the face of the financial slowdown, he relied in part on extracting a special interim dividend of $2.6 billion from MiziaPEC.

Conclusion

Yet the SOEs continue to perform well, even in the face of increasing competition. MiziPEC is one of the largest corporation by revenue in Astyria. Majority of the SOEs have an operating ratio of 70 or less. Privatization, at least for now, remains at a slow place. And most importantly, the Mizia economy continues to grow at a healthy rate of 2,3%, thanks to the profiting SOEs.

In this regard, the Minister's remarks rather seem to suggest an upcoming shift in the government's policy, perhaps an approach to fit Mizia economy better into the puzzling complexities of the developed world, not to mention that the Mizia Economy is itself complicated. Mizialand's entry into the Lorecian Community provides the SOEs with an expanding and vibrant consumer base and new avenues of capital and international financing. Further streamlining and making them adaptive to a changing market environment can augment their profits, though the challenges of an integrated and liberalized economy demands an ever evolving operating environment.
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