7th January 2022 Trade & Financial Services Round Up

January 7, 2022 - 5 Minutes Read - By Amrit Labhuram

Bond transactions rise to record Sh956 billion

The flight to fixed-income investments in the Covid-19 pandemic period swelled transactions in bonds at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) to a record Sh956 billion last year, nearly seven times the value of equities traded on the bourse.

Both retail and institutional investors have been seeking the higher guaranteed returns available from government securities as earnings from other asset classes such as equities and cash deposits remain low, hence the huge spike in bond turnover.

The State’s high appetite for debt has also fuelled the high trading activity on bonds due to the large amount of new issuances being introduced into the market, raising fears that the private sector is being starved of credit. In the 2021 calendar year, the Treasury sold a net of Sh771.3 billion in new bonds that were subsequently traded actively at the bourse.

“The bonds market outpaced the 2020 numbers by 38.44 percent to Sh956 billion from Sh691 billion registered in 2020; this is a record high in trading activity recorded … Equity turnover declined by 7.58 percent to Sh137 billion from Sh148 billion posted the previous year,” said the NSE.

The rise in bond turnover generated more commissions for the bourse operator and the stockbrokers who handle most of the trades in the debt securities. The bonds market was also seen as a haven for investor cash after the pandemic hit the country and contracted the economy by 0.3 percent in 2020.

(Source: Business Daily)

Kenya and China sign six trade agreements

Kenya and China have signed six trade agreements and promised to form a joint working group to address trade barriers between the two countries to reduce trade imbalances.

During the bilateral talks and the signing of the agreements between Kenyan Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo and Chinese State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi, Kenya expressed optimism that the agreements will increase its export to China and improve the economy of its people.

“The six trade agreements signed on Thursday between Kenya and China will improve trade and deepen relations and collaboration between our two countries. Kenya seeks to increase agricultural exports to China to address trade imbalance between the two countries,” said Ms Omamo.

The two countries have agreed to collaborate on Information Communication and Technology (ICT) to boost the digital economy in Kenya, continue in the development of regional transport for economic hubs on Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and create a market of Kenyan agricultural products.

In the talks, Kenya seeks to export avocado and aquatic products while China intends to continue donating rice to the East African country to assist in humanitarian aid.

(Source: The East African)


Brela extends the listing of firms’ beneficial owners

The government on January 4,  2022 extended the registration of companies’ beneficial owners for another six months after low compliance and requests from the firms.

Tanzania’s Business Registration and Licensing Agency (Brela) has been receiving the registration since last year.

The minister for Industry and Trade, Prof Kitila Mkumbo, said there were challenges in the registration process and that the companies requested extension of the December 31, 2021 deadline.

“I direct Brela to continue creating awareness among the companies on what is expected of them, its importance and convince them to register their respective beneficial owners,” he said in a statement.

(Source: The Citizen)

New Bank of Tanzania payment system set for February roll-out

The Bank of Tanzania (BoT) is now expecting to roll out its new payment system next month after successful trials that involved banks and mobile operators.

Known as Tanzania Instant Payment System (Tips), the interoperable system allows transfer of payments between different participating digital financial service providers, both banks and non-banks, in real time.

The central bank, BoT, which started operating the pilot project of the system last June, has confirmed that they will be expecting to roll out the system in February.

BoT’s National Payment System director Mr Bernard Dadi told The Citizen that they were supposed to roll out the system last month, in December but they decided to postpone it to February, this year.

The preparations for the use of the system that will operate in card-based payments, mobile banking, e-economy schemes and internet banking, was first put underway in June 2018.

The system will reduce the need to use cash for assorted transactions in the economy.

(Source: The Citizen)


Protests by Northern Corridor truck drivers disrupt cargo transport

Long distance truck drivers plying the Northern Corridor are protesting fresh mandatory Covid-19 testing before entering Uganda, disrupting transport operations.

A traffic snarl-up is building, stretching more than 70km, with the drivers fearing that they will contract waterborne diseases due to lack of basic facilities such as toilets along the highway. Drivers must pay Sh3,600 to get tested and receive a certificate but they have protested against the “exorbitant” fee and the slow clearance process.

Most of the drivers are from Mombasa, Eldoret, Nakuru and Nairobi, transporting goods to landlocked countries in east and central Africa.

The traffic jam had stretched from the Malaba border crossing to Kanduyi in Bungoma County by yesterday, with the drivers petitioning Kenyan and Ugandan officials to resolve the stalemate over the new Covid-19 testing requirements.

(Source: The Monitor)

Inflation stood at 2.2% in 2021

A slower rise in prices of goods and services following reopening of most sectors of the economy in 2021 helped Uganda’s inflation rate to decline in 2021.  

The above development relieved policy makers from policy adjustments to counter the rising inflation while relieving pressure from the general public.  

Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) said on December 31 that the annual average headline inflation for the calendar year 2021 was recorded at 2.2 percent compared to 2.8 percent recorded in the calendar year 2020. 

In the core and non-core inflation for the 12 months to December 2021 increased to 3.0 percent up from 2.9 percent in November 2021.  

The increase in annual non-core inflation is mainly attributed to annual Energy Fuel and Utilities (EFU) increased to 3.2 percent, up from minus 2.0 in November 2021.  

(Source: The Monitor)


RURA cautions retailers for hiking cooking gas prices

Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) has said that a team of inspectors has been dispatched to the field after different people failed to comply with new official prices of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

The new prices were set at Rwf1, 260 per kilogramme from over Rwf1, 500 in some neighbourhoods.

However, a quick stop check done by The New Times to different city suburbs indicates that gas refill prices are still high for some retailers where for instance a 12-kilogramme can cost between Rwf16,000 and 16,600 instead of the recommended 15,120.

(Source: The New Times) 

Restrictions in movements pose food supplies threat to Kigali

Businesses are facing the risk of reduced supplies as the government enforces vaccine mandates between Kigali and upcountry.

The government is expected to make it mandatory for only fully vaccinated people to travel in and out of Kigali to provinces.

However, there is concern among traders that their suppliers upcountry who yet to get the second dose may be locked out. Currently, Kigali city has the majority of the people who are fully vaccinated.

Business people in Kigali say it could take between three to six months “for many of our suppliers, clients to get fully vaccinated so they can be permitted to return in business,” a Nyarugenge market wholesale trader told Rwanda Today.

Health authorities, however, maintain enforcement of vaccine mandates present no discrimination, especially in Kigali where more than 90 per cent of the population were fully vaccinated.

(Source: Rwanda Today)


Ethiopia Obtains $333.9m from Export Revenues in a Month

Ethiopia has obtained over $333.93 million from exports in agriculture, manufacturing, mining and other sectors during the one month period from November 10 to December 9, 2021, it has been learned, achieving 99.95 percent of the target set for the period.

Compared to the same period last year, the performance has shown an improvement of 42.48 percent.

The export of coffee, oilseeds, spices, flowers, vegetables and fruits, textiles and garments, food and drink, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, construction materials, meat and dairy products, as well as electricity have specifically performed well beyond the target set, the Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration pointed out. 

(Source: 2merkato) 

Ethiopia Launches Its First Integrated Freight Transport Management System

Ethiopia’s first Integrated Freight Transport Management System (IFTMS) has been launched, developed by the Ministry of Transport and Logistics, and Ministry of Innovation and Technology.

In a tweet, Dagmawit Moges, Ethiopia’s Minister of Transport and Logistics, said, “The system provides an end to end solution for freight transport operator’s registration and renewal, competency service provision, cross border entry permit for drivers and assistants, and associated services.” She called it “a new chapter” in Ethiopia’s freight transport.

Modernization initiatives will continue in transport and logistics to enable the provision of quality, efficient, and transparent service to Ethiopian citizens and beyond, Ms. Dagmawit emphasized.

(Source: 2merkato) 


Ministry of Health updates on Covid-19 situation

Thirty-three patients have been diagnosed positive for Covid-19 in tests carried out today at Quarantine Centers and Testing Stations in the Central and Southern Regions.

Out of these, twenty-seven patients are from Quarantine Centers (3) and Testing Stations (24) in Asmara, Central Region. Six patients are from Testing Stations in Dubarwa (4) and Mendefera (2); Southern Region.

On the other hand, twenty-two patients who have been receiving medical treatment in hospitals in the Central (15) and Southern (7) Regions have recovered fully and have been discharged from these facilities. Sadly, a 75 year old patient in the Southern Region has passed away due to the pandemic.

The total number of recovered patients has accordingly increased to 7,841 while the number of deaths has risen to 78.

The total number of confirmed cases in the country to date has increased to 8,161.

(Source: Ministry of Information Eritrea)


Transport Minister Denies Signing Pact With Foreign Firm To Manage Somalia’s Airspace

Somalia has dispelled reports of signing an agreement with a foreign private firm to control Somalia’s airspace.

Responding to the allegations, the head of Somali Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) Ahmed Ma’alin Hasan termed the agreement as fake news.

The remarks by the head of SCAA came just hours after reports made rounds on social media alleging that the Somali Civil Aviation Authority and the Ministry of Transport signed a discreet agreement with a private US company.

In December 2017, the Somali government took control of its air space after more than two decades.

Air traffic has been controlled by the United Nations from Kenya since 1992.

(Source: Radio Dalsan)

Ministry Of Labor Signs $185 Million Pact With WFP

The Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Abdiwahab Ugas Hussein Khalif, received in his office WFP Representative in Somalia, Elkhidir Daluum, and discussed in depth how to strengthen the ministry’s partnership with WFP.

The meeting focused on expanding cooperation between the two sides, with the signing of a $ 185 million co-operation agreement, which is part of the National Rehabilitation Support for Vulnerable People in Baxanao.

WFP is also playing a leading role in an emergency project to support locust-affected families, assisting the government in responding to the drought.

“We underscore the commitment of the Somali Government and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs to the implementation of the Government’s first WFP Rehabilitation projects, a co-operation agreement we have signed,” said Minister Abdiwahab. spoke to the media after the meeting.

“Efforts by the Government to implement community-based projects are well underway, and the social registration system will be completed soon.”

The meeting was the first between the government’s Minister of Labor and Social Affairs and the WFP Representative appointed for the mission at the end of last year.

(Source: Radio Dalsan)

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