16th April 2021 Trade & Financial Services Round Up

April 16, 2021 - Reading Time: 4 minutes - By Wanjiku Mwai
  • A majority of company chief executives in Kenya believe the high cost of doing business and taxation posed the biggest threat to their operations over the next 12 months. The survey found that although most business leaders projected a substantial economic rebound in the second quarter of the current fiscal year on improving orders and sales, a challenging business environment posed the biggest threat to progression.
  • Latest data from the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) shows outstanding premiums increased 6.7 percent to Sh38.1 billion last year as the coronavirus pandemic affected cash flows of insurance intermediaries. Insurance firms have also been blamed for delaying payments to reinsurance firms, who assist in settling a share of larger and riskier claims.
  • Medical insurers in Kenya will from next month foot Covid-19 vaccination bills for policy holders ahead of July when the importation of the vaccines would be open to private firms.
  • Kenya and Uganda have agreed to abolish the trade barriers that have led to a sour relationship between the two neighbouring countries which saw various goods subjected to taxes against the East African Community (EAC) Customs Union Protocol. A delegation from Kenya led by Trade Secretary Betty Maina has been in Uganda to deliberate on the matter after Kampala raised concerns over Nairobi’s imposition of taxes on goods coming in from Uganda and banning milk and poultry products.
  • The Ministry of Labour wants part of the KES 257 billion (approx. USD 2.4 billion) loan from the International Monetary Fund to cushion workers involuntarily squeezed out of employment through a monthly stipend.
  • The Kenya Investment Authority wants clear timelines set for approval of work permits for foreign investors to enable better planning for investors setting up locally.
  • Kenya will auction new oil and gas exploration blocks in the Lamu Basin on the Indian Ocean territory within a year as the country looks to attract new investment in the petroleum sector.
  • Farmers attached to Kenya Tea Development Agency will receive KES 734 million (approx. USD 6.9 million) this week as dividends from the seven subsidiaries of the firm.
  • In person education set to resume. The Ministry of Education announced students in boarding schools will begin heading back to school.
  • Africa College of Insurance and Social Protection is set to host an insurance distribution channels convention aimed at connecting stakeholders and distributors of insurance services in the country.
  • Iringa-based commercial farm, Farm For the Future, said that it has been impressed by President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s recent gesture towards economic transformation, saying in supports of the same and hence would solicit USD 2.2 million of investment in crop production.
  • An agricultural inputs and service provider will distribute a total of five million tree seedlings to farmers across the country in the next five years. This is will help in the fight against climate change.
  • President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has met the trade delegation from Kenya who are on a working visit to Uganda over efforts to revive the trade relations between the two countries.
  • The Minister of finance Matia Kasaija has tabled a budget of UGX 41.2 trillion (approx. USD 11.34 billion) for the next financial year 2021/2022. The proposed budget is UGX 4.3 trillion (approx. USD 1.2 billion) less than last year’s budget.
  • The World Bank remains the biggest source of Uganda’s loans, according to details from Uganda Ministry of Finance. Central and local government domestic arrears now stand at UGX 4.144 trillion (approx. USD 1.1 billion), according to Ministry of Finance.
  • Coffee earnings have hit USD 50.5 million, the highest performance in more than three years.  According to a report by Bank of Uganda, coffee earnings in February grew by UGX 40 billion (approx. USD 11 million) up from USD 39.7 million earned in January, which indicated a 21.4 percent increase.
  • Telecom Egypt and the Sudatel Telecom Group signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance cooperation in the field of international connectivity between Egypt and Sudan.
  • Dr. Cyrill Jean Nunn, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Egypt and Eng. Yasser Shaker Chief Executive Officer at Orange Egypt met to kick off the Strategic Alliance between the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and Orange Egypt on Digital Education and Training.
  • Egypt’s Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala El-Said has attended the UN Economic and Social Council Forum on Financing for Development for 2021.
  • The Reserve Bank of Malawi has defended the MWK 35 billion (approx. USD 44.4 million) profit posted in 2020 at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic when many businesses faltered in the country.
  • The Ministry of Finance has started soliciting views from stakeholders on the formulation and composition of the next financial plan, expected to be presented to Parliament in June.
  • Market analysts have predicted an increase in share prices for recent market entrants, FDH Bank and Airtel Malawi, following the release of their financials which show substantial profitability for the year ended December 31.
  • Trade conditions in South Africa have turned more positive following a meaningful improvement in March after the lockdown in December dampened trade. The rand rallied against most emerging market currencies, rising 0.66 percent to ZAR 14.41 (approx. USD 1.00) against the dollar after February’s retail sales data showed rising activity.
  • Fitch Ratings has upgraded Zambia’s Long-term Local-Currency Issuer Default Rating to ‘CCC’ from ‘CC’ and has affirmed Zambia’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency IDR at ‘RD’.
  • The national year-on-year inflation rate was 10.3 percent in March 2021 which is the same as the 10.3 percent recorded in February 2021, the Ghana Statistical Service has announced.
  • The Managing Director of the Bank of Africa has said the government should adopt a performance pay approach towards public sector wages.
  • Agritech entrepreneur Desmond Koney has developed a new mobile application that allows Ghanaian’s home and abroad to own and run actual farms in Ghana remotely.
  • Investors’ renewed appetite for stocks aided the rebound of transactions on the Nigerian Exchange, as the All-Share Index rose by 0.09 percent.
  • With the signing of a progress acknowledgment statement between BUA Group and Axens of France for the former’s proposed 200,000barrels per day refinery in Akwa Ibom, the Group has expressed optimism about completing the project before 2025. (Read full article here)
  • Amber Drinks is set to continue the maiden edition of its empowerment program with the aim of empowering over 2000 people with the opportunity to become business owners and support their livelihood over the course of the year. (Read full article here)
  • The Federal Government is currently supporting private developers to provide electricity through solar energy, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said.
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