April 22, 2022 - 5 minutes read

22nd April 2022 Trade & Financial Services Round Up

By Amrit Labhuram
KENYA 

Kenya delays talks on 15pc cut in power bills

The State is yet to open talks for a review of power purchase agreements signed over the years by Kenya Power, signalling further delay of the promised electricity bill cut for homes and businesses by 15 percent.

Independent Power Producers (IPPs) revealed on Thursday that they were yet to receive invitations for talks on cutting wholesale power prices and ultimately lower consumer bills.

This contradicts a Ministry of Energy statement issued in January, which indicated that the talks had started and promised cheaper electricity by March 31.

The Electricity Sector Association of Kenya (ESAK) — the lobby for Kenya’s top IPPs — maintained that talks were yet to start amid opposition from the foreign-backed power producers to lower tariffs.

“As far as I know we are still waiting for the ministry to call us for talks which they have not done to date. None of the big power producers have met them to date,” said George Aluru, the chairman of ESAK.

The Ministry of Energy had opted for negotiations over forcing the IPPs to lower tariffs in the wake of opposition from the firms.

(Source: Business Daily) 

TANZANIA

Tanzania readies to tax Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp

Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) on Thursday held talks with officials from US social media giant Meta Platforms Inc as part of the government plans to introduce digital services tax targeting big technology companies.

“A team of experts from Meta, a company that owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, today held talks with TRA on how to tax their services in the country,” the taxman posted on Twitter.

Clarifying the post, TRA director of taxpayer services and education Richard Kayombo said the discussions were just preliminary on how the government can tax their services in Tanzania.

Tech giants such as Amazon, Google and Facebook make money locally but they pay taxes abroad.

African user countries no longer want to miss out on the revenue and are discussing digital taxes from tech giants which make billions in profits.

The Minister for Finance and Planning, Dr Mwigulu Nchemba, was quoted as saying that the impending taxes to the foreign social media companies would not affect consumers in any way.

He then clarified that the State was yet to figure out a way to roll out the plan.

(Source: The Citizen)

UGANDA

Raise our fuel import quota to ease crisis, Uganda tells Kenya

Uganda has written to Kenya seeking its intervention to increase monthly petroleum import quotas allocated to the country in a bid to ease shortages that have seen fuel price increase by almost 40 per cent in just three months.

In an April 11 letter, Energy Ministry Permanent Secretary Pauline Irene Batebe asked her counterpart in Kenya – Energy Principal Secretary Andrew Kamau – to increase fixed allocation of 110,660m³ of petrol and 110,400m³ of diesel transported through Kenya to satisfy fresh demand, partly driven by reopening of the economy. 

Uganda, also wants a guarantee of a monthly provision of 12,000m³ of aviation fuel. However, Ms Batebe yesterday told Daily Monitor that Kenya was yet to reply.

Dr Patricia Litho, the Ministry of Energy communications director, told Daily Monitor the letter is meant to mitigate disruptions in supply, which has caused disruptions at pump prices.

Uganda also wants its oil marketing firms to continue being supplied under the open tender system through their sister companies in Kenya as well as Kenya allowing oil marketers to load from Nairobi and other terminals in view of the low capacity in western Kenya.

(Source: The Monitor)

RWANDA

Regional leaders hold security talks in Nairobi

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday, April 21, hosted Presidents Félix Tshisekedi of DR Congo, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, and Evariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi over what reports say were talks on the insecurity caused by militia groups in the region and especially eastern DR Congo.

Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr Vincent Biruta, represented President Paul Kagame.

The meeting in the Kenyan capital comes at a time Kenya, through its embassy in Kinshasa, suspended their nationals’ operation along Mahagi-Bunia-Kisangani road ‘until proper security measures are put in place.’

The Embassy of Kenya in Kinshasa issued a notice to the Kenyan business community, particularly truck owners and truck drivers, to immediately suspend their operations along the Mahagi-Bunia-Kisangani route until proper security measures are put in place.

Earlier, the UN Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO), on March 29, confirmed the death of eight peacekeepers on board a helicopter that disappeared and crashed

(Source: The New Times)

ETHIOPIA

Ethiopia Secures $390m from Nine-Month Manufacturing Exports

Ethiopia has obtained $390 million from exports of the manufacturing industry, Melaku Alebel, Ethiopia’s Minister of Industry, announced. This, he pointed out, stands 87 percent of the target set for the period.

Despite the encouraging growth the manufacturing sector has exhibited, challenges remain in the forms of difficulty in getting required imports, lack of sufficient infrastructure, shortage of well-trained manpower, as well as financial and other difficulties.

Such and other difficulties have caused 396 manufacturing plants across five regions in the country to stop operations, Mr. Melaku remarked. The Ministry is working to address the challenges, he added.

Regardless, manufacturers in industrial parks as well as others are making a valuable contribution to the country’s economy by exporting their products.

The Ministry of Industry is making efforts to attract more investors, as well as execute necessary support schemes for existing investors in the manufacturing sector, the Minister noted.

(Source: 2merkato)

ERITREA

Financial contribution towards National Fund

Eritrean nationals in various countries extended financial contributions in support of families of martyrs and to augment the National Fund to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to a report, nationals in Uganda contributed USD 115,000  to augment the National Fund to combat the pandemic.

The Eritrean Embassy in Uganda indicated that previously, nationals in Uganda had contributed USD 327,137 for a similar objective.

Nationals in various countries known as “Eritrean Unity WorldWide EPLF Pal-talk Room” also contributed USD 29,000 in support of families of martyrs, according to the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare.

(Source: Ministry of Information Eritrea)

SOMALIA

Finance Minister Meets With World Bank Vice President In US

The Minister of Finance of the Federal Government of Somalia, Mr Abdirahman Duale Beyle, who is attending the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC, held fruitful meetings with World Bank Vice President for Africa Hafez Ghanem.

The Somali Minister of Finance and the Vice President of the World Bank discussed issues related to economic reforms in Somalia, progress on the Debt Forgiveness Program, the country’s elections and the Bank’s development projects in Somalia.

The Somali Minister of Finance met with Peter Lord, a senior member of the US State Department. Minister Beyle also held separate meetings with members of the IMF and other financial institutions.

Dr Abdirahman Duale Beyle is in Washington DC to attend the annual meeting of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other international organisations.

(Source: Radio Dalsan)

SUDAN

Sudan Ministry of Finance committed to fully reimbursing teachers

A delegation from the Sudanese Teachers Committee held a meeting yesterday with Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, President of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council, in order to review the committee’s unmet demands.

The Ministry of Finance pledged to disburse the salaries and shortfall, according to the full outlined structure, as well as disbursing an Eid al Fitr grant.

The delegation asked El Burhan to abolish his recent decisions that impacted teachers, and to ensure that teachers would not be punished for “exercising their rightful right to strike”.

The meeting concluded with the formation of a joint committee between the Ministry of Finance and the Sudanese Teachers Committee to follow up on the implementation of the decisions discussed.

The committee stated that they will communicate with the various teachers’ committees across Sudan, to relay the results of the meeting and to implement the necessary measures to ensure their compensation.

(Source: Radio Dabanga)

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