CUNA following appropriations bills, DOL overtime hearing

first_imgCUNA will be watching two appropriations bills this week for amendments that may affect financial services. The U.S Senate is expected to resume consideration of the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2016 (H.R. 2028), while the House may consider the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (H.R. 4909).Also this week, the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship will conduct a hearing examining the U.S Department of Labor’s (DOL) overtime rule. The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, starting at 10 a.m. (ET).The DOL proposed changes in overtime pay in 2015–changes that would increase the threshold of overtime pay eligibility by more than twice the current rate. CUNA, in its comment letter, said the proposal would make it extremely difficult for credit unions to comply with the rule.CUNA has backed House and Senate bills, the Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act (S. 2707/H.R. 4773), that would require the DOL to fully analyze the impact of the proposal. continue reading » 8SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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Pandemic erases $5.9b of Indonesia’s tourism revenue as businesses seek help

first_imgThe COVID-19 pandemic has wiped out around Rp 85 trillion (US$5.87 billion) of Indonesia’s tourism revenue so far this year, forcing business associations to call on the government to provide a greater stimulus for the virus-battered industry.The hotel and restaurant industry has lost nearly Rp 70 trillion in revenue as leisure travel has come to a complete halt, while aviation and tour operators have lost Rp 15 trillion in revenue, according to data from the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI).“More than 95 percent of workers in the tourist sector are being furloughed without pay,” PHRI chairman Hariyadi Sukamdani told lawmakers during a hearing on Tuesday, adding that 2,000 hotels and 8,000 restaurants closed during the first three months of the outbreak, which started in March in Indonesia. Hariyadi told lawmakers that the government’s tax incentives were not an effective measure to stop the bleeding, adding that many workers in the tourist sector could not access the government’s pre-employment card program, resulting in a further blow to the industry.“Banks will need to extend the debt-restructuring program and they will need to provide working capital loans” to rescue businesses in the tourist sector, he went on to say.Indonesia’s foreign visitor arrivals plunged 86.9 percent year-on-year (yoy) in May to 163,646, according to Statistics Indonesia (BPS) data. From January to May, Indonesia recorded just 2.9 million foreign tourist visits, a 53.56 percent drop from the same period last year.Tourism has been one of the sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak as countries around the world imposed travel restrictions while Indonesia implemented a partial lockdown to curb the spread of the virus, leaving tourist destinations empty since March. The government has allocated Rp 695.2 trillion from the state budget as a stimulus to strengthen the healthcare system and bolster the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, business associations and economists have openly criticized the slow stimulus disbursement, which they say will risk recovery in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy.The tourist sector was being abandoned by the government as the stimulus aimed at rescuing businesses had not yet arrived after three months of pandemic, Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) vice chairman for tourism Kosmian Pudjiadi said.“We have yet to receive direct help until now from the government,” Kosmian told lawmakers during the same hearing, adding that tourism-related businesses would go bankrupt by the end of year if the government and banks were unable to provide the much-needed cash injections.The government, he went on to say, will need to provide cash injections to businesses and stimulate consumer demand for businesses to survive throughout the pandemic, which he expects will only fully recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2023.“The government can, for example, increase domestic business trips to save the tourist sector,” Kosmian said.The Health Ministry has issued health protocols for businesses and public facilities, such as hotels, restaurants and shopping malls, as the government gears up to reopen tourist destinations during the so-called new normal period.Destinations in the resort island of Bali, Semarang in Central Java and Medan in North Sumatra, for instance, have started to reopen for local visitors despite a rising number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.“We must demonstrate our confidence to domestic and international consumers that health protocols here have been implemented seriously and in detail so that we can soon restore the tourist sector, which has been affected the most by COVID-19,” Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama Kusubandio said earlier this month.Topics :last_img read more

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Govt dismisses Amerindians land concerns as “greed”

first_img… sovereignty now belongs to the State, not the people – ScottThe Amerindians are greedy because they have requested security in the lands they have held since time immemorial, were the sentiments expressed by Minister within the Labour Department, Keith Scott in the National Assembly. Scott also philosophised that sovereignty now belongs to the State, governed by the coalition A Partnership for National Unity, Alliance For Change Government (APNU/AFC).These were some of the news that befell the nation this past week in response to the Peoples Progressive Party’s (PPP) motion to halt the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the issues surrounding lands belonging to Amerindians and freed African slaves.Lands rowParliament sitting on Friday which eventually turned ruckus after the Speaker, Dr Barton Scotland walked outThe ‘lands row’ debate on Friday in the National Assembly descended into a ruckus that enveloped the hallowed Chambers of the National Assembly this past week, when legislators met to not only pay homage to fallen comrades, but push through critical legislation needed for the advancement of the Oil and Gas industry, as well as bringing some clarity to the vexed issue of land, land entitlements, and land disputes among Africans and Amerindians in Guyana.The almost sacrosanct hallowed Chambers of the Parliament of the Cooperative of Guyana was desecrated in a manner that will surely be a marked point in history, and the nation must now truly ponder on what “geriatric children” for the most part make up the 65 members of the National Assembly.The Director of Public Information, Imran Khan, has since confirmed that proverbial gloves are off, and it’s no more ‘Mister Nice Guys on the part of the government ministers and representatives.’According to Khan, “The Opposition is waging political warfare and quickly shifted into campaign mode…Being in the political contest, the onus is on us to respond appropriately (and not always nicely), and to defend the people of Guyana from this onslaught.”But what exactly obtained in the hallowed Chambers this past week?Amerindian rightsOn Friday, the political Opposition was free to press through its motion – a debate weeks in the making – calling for the immediate suspension of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) that was established by Head of State, President David Granger.During the course of the debate, which began on Thursday and culminated on Friday evening, Government Speaker to the motion – specifically Minister Keith Scott – rose and told the National Assembly that Amerindians were avaricious in their request for more lands.He was peddling the same line as African Cultural Development Association (ACDA) and now Presidential Advisor, Eric Phillips, that Amerindians, while being the smaller population in Guyana, were looking to own 24 per cent of the country, including sub-surface rights.This position was vehemently argued against by the political opposition.Scott, in his presentation, also hinted at the fact that sovereignty does not belong to the people, but instead the State – a startling reminder of the party paramountcy philosophy that was the hallmark of the Forbes Burnham Government.The Government Minister did not make a mistake in his comments, as he supported his Government’s position by pointing to a possible invasion by perhaps the Venezuelans, and essentially said it was not the people that would have to defend themselves and territory, but rather it was the State.Opposition members quickly took umbrage to this position, pointing to the Supreme Law of Guyana, which says that sovereignty lies in the people of the country, and that the elected leaders are merely representatives of the people.CatalystNigel Dharamlall is the former Permanent Secretary in the then Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, now Indigenous Affairs. The PPP backbencher, in his arguments against the motion, and supporting his former Minister, Pauline Sukhai, sought to expand on the Terms of Reference (ToRs) secretly worked out by select members of the Granger Administration.This attempt, however, was shut down by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland, leading to what can only be described as one of the most chaotic moments in the history of the Guyana Parliament – notwithstanding infamous ‘flour throwing’ when flour was banned – by the late Janet Jagan, and the cereal references by the late indomitable Deborah Backer in reference to the ever prevalent drug trade locally.IrrelevantDharamlall was told by the Speaker Dr Barton Scotland to cease his irrelevant references to the sugar industry, as he debated a motion related to lands.The PPP Member of Parliament insisted his line of questioning was not only relevant but cogent to his line of argument in the debate.The Speaker was having none of it however, and instructed Dharamlall to take his seat, since he was in contravention of the standing Orders relative to relevance of a presentation.Experienced Chief Whip Gail Teixeira, however, led the protest by the PPP members of Parliament in support of their colleague’s right to speak.By this time Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo joined the fray and immediately repudiated the Speaker, Dr Baton Scotland, saying that his partisan behaviour must come to an end.The Speaker decided, however, that it was best to abandon his post, since by this time the hallowed Chambers of the National Assembly had descended into a state worse that the ambience that permeates its environs on a normal day when vagrants adorn its exteriors.It was about 18:30hrs in the Friday evening of a session that had begun at 14:00hrs – a session that had been preceded by another round of drama the previous night.Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo instructed his MP to continue his presentation. The Speaker had vacated the seat, the Sergeant at Arms had already removed the Mace, it was just the members of the Assembly sitting in the House.RuckusIt was not a ruckus, it was a fish market debauchery that followed.“Disrespect! Disrespect! Disrespect! This is disrespect!” was the chant of the Government members as Opposition members egged their colleague into finishing his presentation.By the end of the night, few remembered that the President had in fact put the CoI on hold with respect to Amerindian land issues.Minister of State Joseph Harmon had earlier in the night assured no sinister motives in the CoI, but this did little to allay the fears of the Opposition.This, however, paled in comparison to the verbal onslaught that obtained the previous night, when Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman was allowed to unleash an unrestrained, vitriolic attack on the Opposition Leader over his concerns expressed in regard to the Petroleum Bill which was promulgated the previous night.Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo had attempted to bully the Opposition into submission, and not having a further say on the motion.He, at this point in time, exacted his powers as PM in order to have the last say, but this did not obtain, as the Speaker of the National Assembly allowed the Opposition Leader to make a contribution to the now historic debate.last_img read more

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