President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf told the nation that the Small Business Empowerment Act (SBE) is now taking effect in the country. Delivering her state of the nation address on Monday on Capitol Hill, Madam Sirleaf said the Act, which was launched last year, requires all government entities to spend a minimum of 25 percent of their procurement budget on goods, services and works from Liberian owned businesses, five percent of which must be directed to Liberian women owned businesses. Based on the current budget, she assured that a total of U$70 million could be injected into the Liberian economy through Liberian-owned businesses to ensure that they are properly funded and capacitated.President Sirleaf said already 104 of 6000 Liberian businesses have registered free of charge and are in compliance with the process established by the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission (PPCC). “We urged all Liberian owned-businesses, including the media and law firms to register and take advantage of the 25 percent preference which will help the country achieve this objective, noting that, it is important that all three branches of government make maximum effort to ensure full implementation of the law which benefits our people,” she said.She however used the occasion to recognize two dynamic entrepreneurs, one in the agriculture sector – Mr. Mahmud Johnson of J-Palm Liberia, who processes palm kernel for oil; and Mr. Alex Garley of Garreston Steel, a manufacturer of nails. Several small-scale and medium scale operations from copybooks manufacturing, printing, rubber wood and meat processing, and hospitality have potential to grow in size. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
At ChefConf in Austin, Chef today unveiled its newest product, which unifies its tools into a single platform containing workflow, automation and compliance capabilities. Chef Automate tops the Chef product line now, as it includes the company’s compliance tool InSpec, application automation tool Habitat, and Chef for provisioning automation.Chef Automate includes an analytics dashboard for tracking provisioned servers and watching as metrics accumulate from them. Over time, said Ken Cheney, vice president of business development at Chef, the analysis done in the analytics dashboard will evolve to help fuel workflow and development processes.(Related: Why Rugged DevOps is becoming a thing) Cheney said that automation is one thing, but automation at scale is an entirely different proposition that requires new tools. Specifically, he said, “From a core automation perspective, we want to give customers the flexibility they need, but when you move customers up to automating at scale, multiple people are touching the automation. Our goal is to make adoption and management at scale easier.”That means bringing automation tooling together, he said, so that workflows are available to developers and operators, rather than just throwing Chef scripts over the wall when they’re done. For business-process workers and analysts, the Chef InSpec compliance tools will allow for rules to be set out and enforced as others use the system, ensuring that compliance needs aren’t violated accidentally by others using Chef.At ChefConf, the host company also introduced its first certification. Chef Certification will be available in two levels: basic fluency and local cookbook development, each of which is available through Chef itself.“Chef skills are always in the top 10 to 20 list of some of the highest-paying skills out there,” said Cheney. “We saw that there was a real demand out there for people to demonstrate their proficiency in Chef in a way that had the Chef brand behind them. In the government space, they can’t get people trained unless they have a certification on the back end. We see people wanting to build a career around Chef. This provides them a way to demonstrate that they’re proficient.”
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Partisan Strife, Interest Group Concerns Emerge In Spending Debate The New York Times explores how intra-GOP allegiances to the business community are changing. Meanwhile, AARP acknowleges that adjustments must be made, but argues against cutting back entitlements. Also in the news, the director of the National Institutes of Health expresses his wariness about the impact sequestration could have on biomedical research. The New York Times: For ‘Party Of Business,’ Allegiances Are ShiftingBig business is so fearful of economic peril if Congress does not allow the government to keep borrowing — to pay creditors, contractors, program beneficiaries and many others — that it is nearly united in skepticism of, or outright opposition to, House Republicans’ demand that Mr. Obama first agree to equal spending cuts in benefit programs like Medicare and Medicaid (Calmes, 1/15).Roll Call: AARP Warns Against Cutting Entitlements To Solve Budget CrisesThe influential seniors’ lobby AARP issued a warning Tuesday for members of Congress and Obama administration officials looking to narrow the deficit: Don’t do it with cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. As lawmakers and the White House consider squeezing savings from those programs, AARP CEO Barry Rand, in a lengthy speech at the National Press Club, said his organization will work to put the emphasis on people, not balance sheets (Ackley, 1/15). Politico: AARP’s Barry Rand: Mend, Don’t End Entitlements“Yes, we do need to make adjustments to Medicare and Social Security and Medicaid — and AARP members realize that — but we need to do so without compromising the health and retirement security of the American people or undermining the values that we all cherish,” [Rand] said (Glueck, 1/15).Politico: Biomedical Science At Stake With SequestrationFrom his perch at the National Institutes of Health’s sprawling campus in Bethesda, Md., Director Francis Collins is eyeing the impending sequestration cuts warily. If lawmakers don’t find a way to blunt the across-the-board cuts, the government’s premier medical research center will lose 6.4 percent of its budget — a cut Collins calls a “profound and devastating blow” for medical research at a time of unprecedented scientific discovery (Cunningham, 1/16).Also, CNN provides details on who benefits from entitlement programs — CNN Money: Entitlement America: Who Benefits? Entitlements — including Social Security, Medicare and safety net programs such as Medicaid and food stamps — don’t just benefit the poor and unemployed. More than 90% of the benefits go toward working families, the disabled and the elderly. And more than half of all entitlement spending helps middle class Americans. In 2010, those age 65 and older collected 53% of the dollars, while the non-elderly disabled received 20%, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning group (Luhby, 1/15).
Sears picks liquidator in case Eddie Lampert’s US$4.4-billion takeover bid falls through: sources Sears has lined up Abacus Advisory Group to sell the chain’s vast inventories of tools, appliances and store fixtures should negotiations with Lampert fail How Sears’ dying stores are fuelling a new fortune in real estate Comment Join the conversation → Share this storySears picks liquidator in case Eddie Lampert’s US$4.4-billion takeover bid falls through: sources Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Reuters Reddit Twitter Email Facebook A long-standing liquidator is now first in line for one of the U.S. retail sector’s most daunting assignments: shutting down 126-year-old department store chain Sears Holdings Corp, people familiar with the matter said on Sunday.Sears has lined up Closter, New Jersey-based Abacus Advisory Group LLC to sell the chain’s vast inventories of tools, appliances and store fixtures should negotiations with Chairman Edward Lampert over his US$4.4-billion takeover bid end unsuccessfully, the sources said.Lampert’s bid to rescue Sears through an affiliate of his hedge fund, ESL Investments Inc, has fallen short so far, the sources said. The billionaire and Sears are racing to resolve the bid’s sticking points before a Tuesday court date after negotiations dragged well beyond a Friday deadline, the sources said. Eddie Lampert makes $4.6-billion bid to buy Sears in ‘last-ditch effort’ to keep retailer alive Sears’ hedge fund war: Awaiting Eddie Lampert’s next weird move Sears would be better off dead, creditors say, blasting Lampert’s plan to keep it on life support The bid would preserve 425 Sears stores and up to 50,000 jobs across the United States, according to a letter delivered to Sears on Dec. 28. A liquidation would put roughly 68,000 people Sears now employs out of work.Besides tapping Abacus, Sears has turned to a firm run by retail magnate Jay Schottenstein to help it shed inventory in the event of a liquidation, the sources said. Schottenstein is the chief executive of teen apparel chain American Eagle Outfitters Inc and chairman of shoe seller DSW Inc.The sources asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential. Sears and Alan Cohen, chairman of Abacus, declined to comment. Schottenstein could not be immediately reached for comment.Abacus has a 16-year history with Sears, after liquidating more than 800 stores for the once-mighty chain since 2002, according to bankruptcy court papers. Sears had already retained Abacus as a liquidation consultant after filing for bankruptcy, but decided to take offers from other liquidators.Sears decided to continue working with Abacus last Friday after turning down bids from competitors that have worked on some of the biggest wind-downs in recent years, including Bon-Ton Stores Inc, Toys “R” Us Inc and Sears Canada, the sources said.Abacus has worked on several liquidations, including Filene’s Basement and Service Merchandise Corp, according to its website.ADMINISTRATIVE CLAIMSA main point of contention in the negotiations between Lampert and Sears on Sunday centered on whether Lampert’s bid adequately addressed so-called administrative claims, the legal term of art for the bankruptcy costs Sears has racked up since filing for bankruptcy protection on Oct. 15, some of the sources said.Those costs, which include bills from lawyers and financial advisers, are expected to exceed $200 million, those sources said.Under one scenario being discussed, Lampert would agree to cover the shortfall if Sears cannot fully pay those bills, these sources said.Lampert’s bid also proposes forgiving US$1.3 billion of debt he holds in exchange for ownership of the reconstituted Sears, a bankruptcy manoeuvre known as a credit bid. In addition, Lampert wants a release from legal exposure related to a series of transactions he engaged in with the retailer before it filed for bankruptcy protection. Those made him the company’s biggest creditor, in addition to its largest shareholder.Lampert’s offer did not include putting up cash to back the credit bid. That has raised concerns in the negotiations since there remains a chance that the manoeuvre might not be allowed in court given ongoing investigations of Lampert’s pre-bankruptcy deals, which the hedge fund manager maintains were proper, the sources said.Lampert’s takeover bid is not likely to go forward absent settling the concerns related to the proposed credit bid and legal release, one of the sources said.Unsecured creditors have pushed for Sears to liquidate, partially because they contend they will realize a better financial recovery if it does. Those creditors, which include Sears landlords and bondholders, have also questioned Lampert’s pre-bankruptcy transactions with the retailer.© Thomson Reuters 2018 Eddie Lampert’s plan to save Sears would hand his hedge fund $1 billion Related Stories The story of billionaire Eddie Lampert’s spectacularly bad investment in a dying Sears 0 Comments January 7, 201910:34 AM EST Filed under News Retail & Marketing More Jessica DiNapoli and Mike Spector Edward Lampert’s bid to rescue Sears through an affiliate of his hedge fund, ESL Investments Inc, has fallen short so far, sources say.David Paul Morris/Bloomberg