July 2, 2021 - 5 minutes read

2nd July 2021 Trade & Financial Services Round Up

By Acha Ouma
KENYA

Employers oppose paying NHIF contributions for staff

Kenyan employers have rejected proposals in a Bill that require them to match workers’ monthly contributions to the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF).

The Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) warned compelling employers to match the contributions to the public health insurer would destroy private medical insurance and force firms to deepen job cuts.

Doubling the Sh1,700 that top contributors make to the fund ranks high on the list of targeted changes to the NHIF Act, which will be introduced to Parliament on Wednesday morning.

The plan is to have the workers continue paying same amounts and employers matching in a structure modelled on the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).

Source: Business Daily

Family Bank eyes expansion in counties with bond funds

Family Bank plans to expand its presence to all 47 counties as it gears up for tier-1 status in the next three years, with the drive being funded by the proceeds of its corporate bond that started trading on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) on Wednesday.

The tier-II bank said it would use the funds to increase its branch network from the current 92 outlets in 37 counties, widening its presence and customer base as it also considers an initial public offering proposal.

“We target to be in every county though we recognise that it’s not a determinant to be a tier-1 or II bank,” said Family Bank chief executive Rebecca Mbithi during the bell ringing ceremony for the bond at the NSE on Wednesday.

Source: Business Daily

Short term T-bills below CBK base rate for first time since March

The interest rate on the shortest tenor of Treasury bills has fallen below Central Bank of Kenya’s (CBK) base rate for the first time since March, giving the regulator more room to ease monetary policy.

Economists at NCBA said, in a brief, the decline of the 91-day T-bill rate — which fell to 6.86 percent in last week’s auction — might give the CBK more comfort to cut its base rate, which currently stands at seven percent, especially with inflation remaining largely stable.

A more accommodative stance would help the economy regenerate following the difficulties endured in the past year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Source: Business Daily

UGANDA

Government to cut travel budgets, seeks Shs600b to solve oxygen crisis

Finance Minister Matia Kasaija has said government will seek to raise Shs600b from within budget cuts for different allocations to provide emergency funds to facilitate the Ministry of Health in partly dealing with the current runaway oxygen crisis and surging Covid-19 cases.

Speaking in Kampala yesterday, Mr Kasaija said budget cuts, although will create delay in planned projects for the 2021/22 financial year, were necessary in the face of a crisis resulting from Covid-19, noting that the Shs600b will help the Ministry of Health to solve shortage of oxygen by procuring more plants as well as supporting the procurement of more vaccines.  

“We have reached a level that is uncomfortable. Once you go beyond 50 per cent of GDP you have to be very careful. So we are extremely very conscious about our debt. So we are going to raise the Shs600b by cutting our budget, we are not borrowing any money,” he said. 

Source: The Daily Monitor

URA counts on May, June collections to hit target

Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) is banking on May and June to beat its Shs21.6 trillion revenue collection target, which by the end of April was behind by Shs5 trillion.

In an interview early this week, Mr Ian Rumanyika, the URA assistant commissioner public and corporate affairs, said although the 2020/21 financial has closed (yesterday), URA’s performance has been fairly good building on the optimism that in May and June tax payers dash to file different returns as well as paying arrears.

“We were given a target of about Shs21.6 trillion and by the end of April 2021, we had collected Shs15.5 trillion against the set target,” Mr Rumanyika said in a virtual meeting, noting that they will wait for to see how May and June turn out.

Source: The Daily Monitor

TANZANIA

Investors snap up Vodacom shares despite price fall

Foreign investors stimulated activity at the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) on Tuesday after injecting over Sh2.9 billion at Vodacom Tanzania counter through a block trading arrangement.

At the end of the trading session, the foreign investors pushed the liquidity up to Sh3.74 billion in total from 7,490,370 total shares, according to the bourse’s market report for June 29, 2021.

For Vodacom, this is the first big transaction at the local bourse since the company announced a Sh30 billion annual loss last month.

By considering the turnover and volume of 7,257,562 shares traded in the block trade, Vodacom traded each share at an estimated negotiation price of Sh400, lower than its market price of Sh770.

Speaking to The Citizen, financial analysts say the transaction does not reflect on the fall of demand for the company’s stocks, but rather shows that other investors are optimistic on the future outcome.

Source:The Citizen

Tanzania to release guidelines on Covid-19

The Tanzanian government has said it is reviewing its guidelines on controlling the spread of Covid-19 following a third wave of the disease.

This comes a few days before primary and secondary schools are scheduled to reopen countrywide, amid official data showing that at least 100 Tanzanians have tested positive of Covid-19 since the third wave of the diseases began.

It also comes at a time when education stakeholders have been advising that boarding schools should put in place a mechanism to prevent the spread of the virus, including checking students’ temperatures when they report back to school.

Speaking at Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL) on Tuesday, chief government spokesman Gerson Msigwa said the Health ministry in collaboration with the President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Government) and the Education ministry are working on the matter and would soon give a way forward.

Source: The East African

ETHIOPIA

Reducing Inflation and Unemployment Priorities in New Budget: Finance Ministry

The draft budget for the Ethiopian fiscal year 2014 has given priority to reducing inflation and unemployment in line with the country’s 10 Years Perspective Plan, according to the Ministry of Finance.

The 2014 draft budget was tabled this week for discussion among government officials and various sections of the community at a public hearing in the House of People’s Representatives. Finance State Minister Eyob Tekalign said 60 percent of the total cost of food and food items is the result of inflation and high cost of living.

Source: ENA

Council of Ministers Approves Over 1.1 Billion USD Loan

The Council of Ministers has referred over 1.1 billion USD loan agreements and draft bills that enable the country to ratify the African Road Safety Charter and the United Nations Road Traffic Convention to the House of People’s Representatives.

The Council of Ministers has approved  four loan agreements concluded with the International Development Association (IDA).

According to a press release of the Council, the first 500-million-USD loan agreement would improve access to electricity for the community and to increase  supply of electricity to the rural community at household level, community institutions and enterprises, it was learned.

Souce: ENA

RWANDA

Rwanda legalises medical use of Cannabis 

Rwanda has passed a new order that legalises medical use of Cannabis, also known as marijuana, as the country moves closer to mass production and export of the multi-billion-dollar cash crop.

The consumption of Cannabis products for recreational purposes remains illegal in Rwanda. The country maintains harsh penalties for illegal production, distribution and consumption of Cannabis.

A new Ministerial Order governing Cannabis and its products in Rwanda gazetted on Monday lists guidelines for the growing, processing, exporting and medical use of marijuana.

Under the signature of the Minister of Health Daniel Ngamije and the Minister of Justice Johnston Busingye, the new law clarifies that recreational use of marijuana remains illegal and punishable by law.

Source: The East African

Rwanda secures $3.6m from EU to revamp labs for Covid jab production

Rwanda has signed a Rwf3.6 billion ($3.6 million) partnership with the European Union to help upgrade the country’s laboratory capacity to help it attract investors to manufacture Covid-19 vaccines.

The funds will be used to strengthen the Foods and Drugs Authority’s quality control for medical products, to enable the regulator to acquire necessary certification from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“What we signed is a step to revamp and also strengthen the Rwanda Foods and Drugs Authority. The money we will receive from the EU will support the acquisition of laboratory equipment to make it a modern facility that will enable Rwanda to get a WHO certification,” Clare Akamanzi, Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Development Board told CNBC Africa on Thursday.

Source: The East African

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