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14th April 2022 Trade & Financial Services Round Up

KENYA

Fuel prices to hit highest in Kenya’s history without subsidy

Petrol prices will from midnight increase to the highest level in Kenya’s history unless the State subsidises the rising crude oil costs, which may further stoke public outrage over the high cost of living.

Estimates from the oil marketers indicate that fuel prices could increase by up to Sh40 a litre in the absence of a subsidy— which will be the highest in Kenya’s history.

But the State could offer a partial subsidy similar to last month to ease the jump in fuel prices amid the push by oil dealers to scrap the State aid that has been blamed for the fuel shortage that has persisted for the past weeks.

“Without the subsidy, the prices are likely to jump by up to Sh40 a litre based on the cost of cargos that were shipped this month,” said a CEO of a top marketer who sought anonymity for fear of State reprisals.

The State partially withdrew the fuel subsidy, imposed last year, in March, sending diesel and petrol prices to an all-time high in the first increase since October.

The weakened subsidy plan pushed the energy regulator to increase diesel and petrol prices by Sh5 a litre to Sh115.60 and Sh134.72 respectively in its monthly review on Monday.

The costs of energy and transport have a significant weighting in the basket of goods and services that is used to measure inflation in Kenya. The fear of a price increase comes as the State seeks solutions to the ongoing fuel shortage.

(Source: Business Daily)

TANZANIA 

Government entities operating on loans listed

Controller and Auditor-General (CAG) Charles Kichere’s report has revealed that operations of 16 government entities rely on loans.

Speaking to reporters in Dodoma on April 12, 2022, CAG Kichere said the institutions rely on loans to operate because they have low capital compared to their actual needs.  

In the list he has named, Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC), Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco), Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), Tanzania Telecommunication Company Limited (TTCL) and National Insurance Cooperation (NIC).

Others are National Development Corporation (NDC), Tanzania Standard Newspapers (TSN), Tanzania Investment Bank (TIB), Tanzania Forestry Research Institute (Tafori), Arusha Water and Sewerage Authority and State Mining Corporation (Stamico).

The CAG also named others as Tax Revenue Appeals Board, Medical Stores Department (MSD), Tanzania Institute of Education, Petroleum Upstream Regulatory Authority (PURA) and Cashewnut Board of Tanzania (CBT).

In the report, Mr Kichere said that due to the situation, the financial capacity of the 16 institutions could be affected due to the high cost of such loans.

“The high debt ratio for capital, among other things, was due to increased loans and costs after failure to pay loans and interest rates on time,” he said.

The CAG advised the institutions to seek funds from the government to increase their capital so that they can repay their loans.

“They should also review their capital structures and monitor loan repayments to avoid interest rates due to delays in payments,” he said.

(Source: The Citizen)

UGANDA

How public debt will delay Uganda’s middle income aspirations

Uganda’s total public debt has risen up to UgShs73.7 trillion. If public debt is not tamed, it will have a huge impact on the economy that is trying to pick up the pieces following the disastrous effects of Covid-19.

With the skyrocketing public debt, the aspiration to attain the much-sought after middle income status, may once again prove elusive, according to experts.

With the middle income status, the per capita income also known as income per person would be in the range of $1,033 (nearly UgShs3 million). Currently, Uganda’s per capita income is $733 (about UgShs2.5 million). The World Bank ranks middle income countries as those whose income per person averages between $1,036 (UgShs3.6 million) and $12,615 Ug(Shs44 million).

According to economists and government technocrats, for most Ugandans to annually earn the above amount of money, the majority of the population will have to be engaged in the money economy which according to President Museveni, is one of the government’s outstanding challenges.

The latest National Labour Force Survey (2016/17) found that most Ugandan youth aged 18-30 years are either unemployed or employed in the informal sector and less than 15 per cent had formal jobs.

(Source: The Monitor)

RWANDA

Rwanda, Congo-Brazzaville sign eight pacts

President Paul Kagame and President Sassou Nguesso of Congo-Brazzaville on Tuesday presided over the signing of eight agreements as part of efforts to deepen bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

The agreements were reached on the second day of President Kagame’s visit to the country.

“On behalf of the government, I signed several legal instruments that will promote the broadening and deepening of the field of cooperation between Congo and Rwanda,” said Mr Nguesso

“This dynamic of cooperation, driven by the Rwandan and Congolese Heads of State, will ultimately allow the establishment of a real strategic partnership which will ensure that the level of economic relations reflects the depth of the ties between the two countries,” he added.

He added that the agreements touched different fields including agriculture, mining, skills training, culture, sport, protection of investments and management of economic entities.

(Source: The New Times)

ETHIOPIA 

Yirgalem Agro-Industrial Park Gets $4.4m from a Year’s Exports

Yirgalem Integrated Agro-Industrial Park has obtained over $4.4 million from exports since it went operational in March 2021, the Industrial Parks Development Corporation of Ethiopia’s Sidama region announced.

Having 11 shades when it went operational a year ago, Yirgalem Integrated Agro-Industrial Park now houses five companies that produce avocado oil, honey, milk and coffee.

The industrial park has been able to create a direct linkage between the industrial companies and farmers, Memiru Moke, CEO of the Sidama Industrial Parks Development Corporation said. In doing so, he remarked, over 135 thousand farmers have benefited.

Efforts are underway in the industrial park to replace imported value-added coffee and milk related products, Mr. Memiru pointed out.

Yirgalem Integrated Agro-Industrial Park has shades that can serve up to 150 manufacturing companies, with all necessary infrastructure fulfilled, the CEO noted. In light of this, as well as abundance of agricultural produce that can be used as input for production, as well as the provisio of sufficient labor in the area, he has extended calls to investors to take advantage of the investment opportunities at Yirgalem.

(Source: 2Merkato)

ERITREA 

Senior Eritrean delegation on working visit to Sudan

Senior Eritrean delegation composed of Mr. Osman Saleh, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Presidential Adviser Yemane Gebreab is on a working visit to the Republic of Sudan.

The Eritrean delegation delivered a message of President Isaias Afwerki to General Abdel Fattah Al Burhan, President of the Republic of Sudan.

In his message President Isaias underscored Eritrea’s hope that Sudan, with President Al Burhan’s leadership, will overcome the serious political, economic and security challenges it has been facing.

President Al Burhan on his part  thanked President Isaias for his support and stated that despite domestic and external difficulties, the situation was moving in a positive trajectory.

The Eritrean delegation also met and held extensive discussions in Khartoum with Gen. Mohammad Hamdan Daglo, Vice President of Sudan, and Dr. Jibril Ibrahim, Minister of Finance, focusing on enhancement of bilateral relations of partnership and cooperation as well as regional developments.

(Source: Ministry of Information Eritrea)

SOMALIA 

Somali, Ethiopian Government To Work Together On Air Safety

Somali Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Duran Ahmed Farah chaired a meeting between Somali and Ethiopian civil aviation authorities in Mogadishu today.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed ways in which the government of Somalia and Ethiopia can work together on air safety and security, and pave the way for the two sides to hold further meetings to reach agreements on exchanging experiences.

The meeting also focused on ways in which Somali and Ethiopian civil aviation authorities can work together, according to the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation.

The meeting was attended by the Director General of the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, Ahmed Moalim Hassan, Director of the Somali Civil Aviation Authority, Getachow Mengiste, Director General of the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority, and officials from both governments.

(Source: Radio Dalsan)

SUDAN 

Livestock exports to Saudi Arabia resume from Port Sudan

The export of livestock from Sudan to Saudi Arabia via Port Sudan has resumed, after a review of the protocol by Saudi authorities and the Sudanese Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries was concluded last week in the field of health requirements. The export of livestock and meat represent an important source of hard currency for Sudan’s state treasury.

The General Quarantines and Meat Health Administration of the Federal Ministry of Animal Resources sys via the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA), that 53,225 sheep and 93 camels were exported to Saudi Arabia over the last two days, which showed an immunity of 80 per cent.

Director-General of the General Quarantines and Meat Health Administration , Dr Ali Adam affirmed readiness of his administration to inspect, investigate, and quarantine livestock and meat, and tightening control over exports at land, sea and air ports. He praised the role played by the veterinary and technical staff at the ministry and their good performance at quarantine and inspection centres in the states.

(Source: Radio Dabanga)

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