15th July 2022 Trade & Financial Services Round Up

  • 15 Jul 2022
  • 5 Mins Read
  • 〜 by Amrit Labhuram

Biden dumps Uhuru’s trade deal with Trump

The Biden administration on Thursday launched a fresh strategic trade and investment partnership with Kenya, replacing an agreement ex-President Donald Trump’s government had inked with Nairobi.

The US and Kenyan governments will start work within three months to develop a roadmap for engagement in 10 areas, including agriculture, digital trade, action on climate change, and trade facilitation and customs procedures, the US Trade Representative’s Office said.

The launch follows last year’s statement by the US government that it would review the Trump-era bilateral trade negotiations with Kenya in 2020 over a potential free trade agreement (FTA).

Mr Trump and President Kenyatta had in February 2020 announced the intention to start formal trade talks, triggering activities that were expected to culminate in a deal within two years and ahead of the August 9 General Election.

(Source: Business Daily)


Tobacco growers earn TShs86 billion this season

Over 11,000 growers of tobacco through contract farming arrangements with Alliance One Tobacco Tanzania Limited (AOTTL) have earned a total of TShs86 billion this season alone, the company announced Wednesday.

The firm’s managing director Ephraim Mapoore told Morogoro regional commissioner Martin Shigella Wednesday that they have so far bought 22 million kilos of tobacco worth TShs86 billion in the ongoing season.

He said for the past five years, the company has been spending TShs26.5 billion on salaries and personal costs every year.

It has also been paying TShs11.6 billion as income tax in the form of pay-as-you-earn (Paye) for its employees each year and another TShs1.718 billion for their contributions to social security funds yearly.

He, however, noted that the firm’s operations were being affected by unreliable power supply and a lack of water connection from Moruwasa to the factory.

He said they currently depend on their own water wells and a dam.

Mr Shigella, who toured the factory to launch the crop processing season, commended the firm for creating direct and indirect jobs to people in the region.

(Source: The Citizen)


Public debt has grown to 54%, says minister

State Minister for Planning Amos Lugoloobi has said Covid-19 related borrowing resulted in higher debt levels with the current debt ratio to gross domestic product (GDP) growing to at least 54 percent. 

Speaking at the launch of the National Development Plan III Mid-Term Review in Kampala yesterday, Mr Lugoloobi, said public debt was now above the 50 percent threshold due to increased borrowing to mitigate challenges resulting from Covid-19 and other disasters such as locusts.

“Today, debt to GDP is 54 percent. So, we have already gone beyond the threshold of 50 percent,” he said, noting that debt levels have increased sharply in the last three years. 

However, Mr Lugoloobi did not reveal the value of Uganda’s current public debt.

As of October 2021, according to data from the Central Bank, Uganda’s public debt had risen to UgShs73.8 trillion up from UgShs69 trillion in June 2021.

The increase was mainly attributed to a UgShs5.9 trillion debt that the government had acquired from the domestic market.

Therefore, Mr Lugoloobi said, there was a need for the government to rethink the financing architecture of the National Budget with the view of increasing the tax ratio to GDP.

(Source: The Monitor)


1,500 businesses risking prison, penalties over water permits

More than 1,500 businesses are using water without permits and, as such, they face penalties as well as imprisonment, Doing Business has learnt.

Vital Munyandinda, the Water Use Permits Division Manager at Rwanda Water Resources Board (RWB), said that water resources are under increasing pressure, emphasising the need for using them efficiently and effectively so as to ensure sustainable use for future generations.

“Currently, we have identified a total of approximately 2,200 big water users. And so far, only 696 have valid water use permits,” he said.

He said that according to the 2018 water use law (Article 36), “any person who uses water or carries out a water related activity without a water use permit as required, commits an offense.”

Upon conviction, the suspect is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than two months and not more than three months and a fine of Rwf500,000 or only one of the penalties.

“Additionally, if businesses do not have water use permits, they are not recognised for water allocation and planning and they risk losing their water share, their abstraction sites or their concession areas,” Munyandinda explained.

(Source: The New Times)


House Standing Committee Appreciates South Korea for Dev’t Support

Foreign Relations and Peace Standing Committee Chairperson of the House of People’s Representatives appreciated the South Korean government for supporting development endeavours in Ethiopia.

House Foreign Relations and Peace Standing Committee Chairperson, Dima Negewo held discussion about bilateral issues with South Korea’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Kang Seokhee today.

On the occasion, he said Ethiopia and South Korea have been enjoying long-standing relationships in multifaceted spheres.

The chairperson also appreciated the development assistance the Government of Korea has been  providing to Ethiopia.

Dima expressed his gratitude to South Korea for supplying humanitarian aid to especially areas affected by conflict and drought. “We really value and appreciate this support,” he said.

According to him, Ethiopia also desires to share the experiences of South Korea in technology transfer and strengthen existing overall relations.

“Korea has the largest development cooperation projects in Ethiopia this year. We have about 100 billion USD development projects in Ethiopia,” he stated.

(Source: Ethiopian News Agency)


Hunger deepens in Darfur camps: WFP in Sudan ‘must make heart wrenching decisions’ amid $366m funding shortfall

Soaring food prices, which have resulted in even the basics becoming unaffordable to the poor, are forcing many destitute displaced people in Darfur to face hunger every day, however the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in Sudan laments that due to a funding shortfall of $366 million for 2022, WFP is having to prioritise assistance based on the resources available and “make heart wrenching decisions, knowing that we cannot help everyone in Sudan who needs it”.

WFP in Sudan has faced challenges on the ground, especially after three major WFP warehouses in the North Darfur capital of El Fasher were raided and looted in December 2021. The unstable security situation has also made matters precarious for logistics, as drivers of convoys transporting WFP aid have been targeted by bandits.

(Source: Radio Dabanga)


DF Calls on India to Reduce Food Prices in Somalia

Federal Government Envoy for Drought Relief and Humanitarian Affairs Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame met with Indian Ambassador to Somalia and Kenya Dr Virander Paul.

The ambassador and Abdishakur held in-depth talks on the long-standing relationship between the Governments of Somalia and India and how India can once again invest in Somalia.

The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Ambassador Mahamat Saleh Annadif has strongly condemned the recent terrorist attack in Mogadishu. especially rice and sugar.

He also discussed with the Ambassador that India should advocate for Somalia in the international arena, especially in the G20, to help the people affected by the drought.

The Ambassador welcomed and promised the Ambassador that India will always stand by Somalia and will do its utmost to support Somalia, especially in drought relief.

(Source: Radio Dalsan)