9th December 2022 Trade and Financial Services Round Up

  • 9 Dec 2022
  • 4 Mins Read
  • 〜 by The Vellum Team


KRA starts crackdown on hidden employee perks

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has started a crackdown on firms under-declaring their payrolls in what will see thousands of employees pay taxes on items like overtime, leave pay and per diems.

The taxman is targeting a raft of employee benefits and perks running into billions that have been paid to star employees and not subjected to the 30 per cent Pay As You Earn (PAYE).

This comes days after official data uncovered an additional 230,935 workers earning above Sh100,000 monthly who were not captured in State filings, raising fears of tax evasion.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) revised the pay data for 2.9 million Kenyans employed in the formal sector for the four years to 2020 after it emerged that firms have been omitting some regular perks while reporting the workers’ payroll.

Now, the KRA has threatened firms with penalties of up to 25 per cent of the evaded tax if they fail to report the hidden allowances.

The taxman wants the firms to inform it of perks such as telephone allowances, dinner cash, and per diems in excess of Sh2,000 per day, and non-cash benefits like gym fees in excess of Sh3,000 monthly.

(Source: Business Daily)


Mortgage loans grow by 7 per cent

The value of mortgage loans has grown by 7.01 per cent year-on-year pushed up by competition, creativity and low-interest rates.

The value of the outstanding mortgage loans increased to TShs 522.95 billion at the end of September compared to TShs 509.99 billion in a similar period last year.

Tanzania Mortgage Refinance Company (TMRC)’s latest report showed that 32 different banks are offering mortgage loans dominated by five top lenders, commanding 64 per cent of the market share. CRDB is the leader controlling 37.07 per cent.

“Further,” TMRC said, “the competition in the market has led to the emergence of other products impacting mortgage market growth as the products have favourable terms and are used for housing purposes.”

According to TMRC, these products are competing with the mortgage in terms of loan amount and, to some extent, tenor as they are offering consumer loans for a period of up to seven years amounting to around 120m/-, enough to buy a housing unit.

“The Tanzania housing sector’s fast-growing demand is mainly driven by the strong and sustained economic growth with GDP growth averaging 6 -7 per cent over the past decade,” TMRC said.

Also, the fast-growing population, which is estimated to more than double by 2050, is pushing the demand up while the government, in partnership with global non-profit institutions and foreign governments, continues to meet the growing demand for affordable housing.

The report issued on Monday said further the interest rates on mortgage loans improved from 22 – 24 per cent in 2010 to 15 – 19 per cent today though are still relatively high, negatively affecting affordability.

(Source: Daily News)


Polish businesses pursue investments in Rwanda’s agriculture sector

More than 20 business companies from Poland in Rwanda to explore trade and investment opportunities they have also expressed interest in the agriculture and agro-processing sector.

Zdzisław Sokal, The Executive Vice President of Polish Investment and Trade Agency, said they signed agreements with Rwanda Development Board (RDB) on exchanging trade and investment opportunities.

“We are an open door for cooperation. We can use our experience in Rwanda’s economy,” he said, adding that Poland was once a small economy.

He said that polish investors are interested in various areas of the Rwandan economy. “Our agriculture is at a high level; we have high production of chicken among others.” The country is the EU’s largest producer of poultry and apples, the second-largest grower of potatoes, after Germany, and ranks third in sugar beets, rapeseed, a plant chiefly used for oil, and pork.

Other major crops include wheat, rye (cereal plant), triticale (grain crop which is a hybrid of wheat and rye), oats, cruciferous vegetables, carrots, onions, and cherries.

Polish businesses are also exploring trade and investment opportunities in finance, ICT, health, manufacturing, water, and waste management, among others.

(Source: The New Times)


EEP envisages cooperation, mutual growth by exporting electric power to neighboring countries

Ethiopia’s power export to neighboring countries envisages strengthening mutual cooperation and growing together, Ethiopian Electric Power Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ashebir Balcha told ENA.

The CEO said EEP is making adequate preparations to expand cooperation with neighboring countries through power integration.  In addition to economy, this power integration covers many aspects that benefit neighboring countries, he added.

If we take Somaliland and South Sudan, for example, they mostly generate electricity using diesel. So, they will benefit a lot by importing energy from Ethiopia, which is cheap and also contributes to the reduction of air pollution in the region, Ashebir elaborated.

According to him, the importance of connecting neighboring countries with energy is not only for export purposes but also for the  benefit of growing together.

The CEO, who recalled that Africa 2063 vision envisages connecting African countries through economic and social interactions, said the Government of Ethiopia has invested more in power generation and transmission lines than in other countries in the sub-regions.

Ethiopia is currently generating over 4,818 MW of electric power, and plans to exponentially increase it to 17,000 MW in 2030, it was learned. The country mainly generates a comparatively affordable and clean hydroelectric power that it seeks to integrate with neighboring countries.

(Source: ENA)