8th April 2022 Trade & Financial Services Round Up

April 8, 2022 - Reading Time: 5 minutes - By Amrit Labhuram

Taxpayers to deposit 50pc of disputed tax at CBK before suing KRA

Firms and individuals fighting the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) in courts over tax demands will have to deposit 50 percent of the disputed amount in a Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) account.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani says the proposed changes to the Tax Procedures Act are aimed at encouraging out-of-court settlements amid complaints that the KRA is unable to collect billions pending the conclusion of suits that take years to conclude.

But the proposal has the implication of hurting companies’ cash flow and discouraging many from suing the KRA.

Currently, courts determine whether KRA’s demands for security are justifiable and then set the amount to be given either as a deposit or bank guarantee.

The KRA says that cases worth billions of shillings have been pending before the courts for years, hurting its ability to increase revenue collections.

The proposal is, however, likely to face opposition due to its anticipated impact on the cash flows of businesses caught up in the tax wars with the KRA.

Mr Yatani says that taxpayers will be refunded the deposit within 30 days if the cases are ruled in their favour.

The requirement for the 50 percent deposit will hit big businesses caught up in disputes with the taxman estimated to be worth billions of shillings.

(Source: Business Daily)


Fresh move to spur growth of Tanzanian startups

Start-ups, including those that had been grappling with operational challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic, could soon breath a sigh of relief, thanks to a beer maker’s accelerator programme.

Tanzania Breweries Limited (TBL), a member of the Anheuser-Busch InBev group of companies, said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that it was now inviting innovators across the country to apply for its 100+ Accelerator programme that would see a start-up going home with up to $100,000 (about Sh230 million) to implement a pilot project.

“Once selected, participants will receive mentorship, training and up to $100,000 to implement a pilot project with some of the most well-loved brands in the world,” the firm’s country director, Jose Moran, said yesterday.

The programme – which was officially launched in 2018 – seeks to solve supply chain challenges across water stewardship, circular economy, sustainable agriculture, climate action, inclusive growth, and biodiversity.

A recent survey by the Tanzania Start-up Association, which is an umbrella membership-based organization that brings together stakeholders in the Tanzanian Startup ecosystem, revealed that at the climax of the pandemic last year, 42 percent of start-ups reported to be in what is called the “red zone”, going four months or less of cash runway left.

(Source: The Citizen) 


Uganda exports to South Sudan hit record high

Dr Adam Mugume, the Bank of Uganda director for research, told Daily Monitor that South Sudan’s export performance was not out of range, noting that South Sudan was benefiting from an increase in international oil prices thus augmenting demand for imports.

Uganda, he said, exports mostly food-related items, re-exports such as petroleum products, and building materials, among others to South Sudan.

South Sudan remains one of Uganda’s leading exports destination despite challenges of repeated conflicts. Uganda’s leading exports to South Sudan include cereals, maize and wheat flour, sugar, vegetable oils, beer, soft drinks, iron, steel, cement and motor vehicle re-exports.

Cumulatively, according to the Bank of Uganda report, Uganda’s exports to South Sudan increased to $503.3m (Shs1.8 trillion), for the year ended February 2022, from $353.9m (Shs1.2 trillion) for the period ended February 2021, which represented a percentage growth of 33 percent.

During the last eight years, Uganda’s exports to South Sudan have increased at an annualized rate of 46 percent from $17.3m in 2012 to $357m in 2020.

South Sudan remains vulnerable to several shocks, worsened by high levels of poverty and food insecurity, which stands at about 80 per cent.

(Source: The Monitor)


Commercial properties lead in non-performing loans

Commercial properties are leading among industries with the highest Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) ratio, according to data from the Central Bank.

In the Monetary Policy and Financial Stability Statement released last week, the Central Bank noted that commercial properties lead with a 19.1 per cent NPL ratio as of December 2021.

Kasai Ndahiriwe, Director of the Monetary Policy Department, explained that the highest NPL ratio results from the shock of Covid-19 where most commercial buildings were not able to receive rentals or lost their tenants which led to their failure to pay their due loans.

According to the regulator, NPLs ratio slightly increased in 2021 to 4.6 per cent from 4.5 per cent in 2020 against the benchmark of 5 per cent. The outstanding NPLs amount increased by 19 percent to Rwf158bn from Rwf133bn in 2020.

However, the NPL ratio is a drop from 5.4 per cent recorded in the previous three quarters of 2021 which reflects the higher growth of gross loans relative to the growth of NPLs as well as the significant write-off of overdue loans.

In 2021, banks wrote off loans amounting to Rwf75bn compared to Rwf22bn in 2020.

(Source: The New Times)


Over 3,000 Investment Licenses Issued in Addis in 3 Months

Addis Ababa Investment Commission said it has given 3,005 investment licenses in three months. The achievement, the Commission noted, exceeds the target it set for the period for Ethiopia’s capital by 11 percent.

The original plan was to issue 2,698 licenses over the three months, the third quarter of the Ethiopian fiscal year that started on July 8, 2021. Compared to the same period last year, the amount has also shown an increase of 8.6 percent.

(Source: 2merkato)

Ethiopia Earns 2.5 Billion USD from Export in Eight Months

Ethiopia has secured 2.52 billion USD from export over the past eight months, according to the Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration.

Presenting the performance report of his ministry to the House of People’s Representatives today, Trade and Regional Integration Minister Gebremeskel Chala said the country has secured 2.52 billion USD from export during the past eight months.

The projected export earning in the stated period was 2.77 billion USD, he added.

Of the total revenue secured 1.75 billion USD was obtained from agriculture, 320.9 million USD from industry, 389 million USD from mining and other sectors.

The performance has shown a 20 percent increment when compared with the same period last year.

(Source: Ethiopia News Agency) 


Somali Government Receives Aid From UAE

The Federal Government of Somalia on Thursday received a donation from the United Arab Emirates, which brought four planes to the capital Mogadishu.

The Director General of the Ministry of Aid of the Federal Government Ahmed Abukar Ahmed has taken over 26 containers of food items from Aden Adde International Airport in the United Arab Emirates.

Director Ahmed Abukar Ahmed thanked the United Arab Emirates for its assistance to the Federal Government of Somalia, and indicated that the aid would be delivered to those affected by the drought.

Various officials from the UAE Embassy were present at the handover ceremony, which is intended to reach people affected by the drought in the country’s regions.

This is the fifth donation from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the country.

(Source: Radio Dalsan)


Turkish powership departs Sudan due to millions unpaid

The Red Sea Electricity Department announced the departure of the Turkish powership, MV Karadeniz Powership Rauf Bey, due to the government’s failure to meet the ship’s financial obligations of 10 million Euros. The floating power station, which supplied electricity to Port Sudan, has forced the electricity department to enact a programme of electrical conservation on the people.

Due to the government having only paid three million out of the €10 million owed to the Turkish vessel on 30 March, the Red Sea Electricity Department issued a restriction on electricity in the area.

As per the department’s programme to reduce electrical consumption, electricity will be reduced during a period of three hours in the daytime and a period of three hours in the evening. The department also urged people to rationalise their consumption, to ensure that electricity is shared throughout the city during this period of scarcity.

(Source: Radio Dabanga)

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