January 30, 2021 - 5 minutes read

29th January 2021 Trade & Financial Services Round Up

By The Vellum Team
KENYA

Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) retain the Central Bank Rate (CBR) at 7 % 

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) met on January 27, 2021and assessed the outcomes of its policy measures deployed since March 2020 to mitigate the adverse economic effects and financial disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic. The global economy is now estimated to have contracted by 3.5 percent in 2020, but is expected to grow by 5.5 percent in 2021 with the ongoing global rollout of COVID-19 vaccination programmes and additional policy measures particularly in the U.S.

After much deliberation, the MPC concluded that the current accommodative monetary policy stance remains appropriate, and therefore decided to retain the Central Bank Rate (CBR) at 7.00 percent.

Source: Central Bank of Kenya

Agency goes online to track FDI deals

Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest) has set up a web-based Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) tracking tool enabling it to generate reliable and timely investment statistics for investors and to guide marketing strategies.

The FDI tool, developed by KenInvest through technical and financial support of Partnership for Investment and Growth in Africa (PIGA) will indicate the status of foreign and domestic direct investments, source countries and metrics of preferred sectors.

PIGA Kenya national coordinator Hellen Rintari said the FDI Tool was a must-have for any investment promotion agency (IPA) and government.

Source: Business Daily

Kenya seeks G20 Sh32bn debt holiday extension

Kenya may receive additional debt relief from the Paris Club of international creditors to help ease Covid-19 related financial distresses.

The country has already received Ksh. 32.9 billion loan repayment break which it would have paid between January and June and will make more savings if the period is extended for another six months.

Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) governor Patrick Njoroge said an announcement extending the debt service waivers may come in April.

“We should add that G20 have committed to consider if they could extend the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI_ beyond June 2021. They will consider it in April in the context of the IMF-World Bank spring meetings,” he said during a post monetary policy committee(MPC) briefing on yesterday.

Source: Business Daily

Google Unveils A 10 Million Dollar Grant To Support Kenya’s Post Covid-19 Recovery

Google has announced a 10 million US dollar package to support Kenya’s post Covid-19 recovery efforts.

The announcement was made Wednesday evening by Google’s Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai during a virtual meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta on the sidelines of a public discussion on digital transformation in Africa organised by the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA).

CCA is a Washington DC based trade association focusing on strengthening trade and commercial ties between the United States of America and African economies.

In addition to the 10-million-dollar package, which includes 3 million to support small businesses, 5 million for Kenyan startups and 2 million for charity, Mr Pichai announced several other investments lined up by his organization for Kenya.

Mr Pichai said his company will expand its Google for Startups Accelerator program this year by supporting 100,000 businesses and 15,000 developers in Kenya.

In the education sector, the American technology giant will train 29,000 students and 1,800 teachers on remote learning using its Google Classroom platform.

President Kenyatta welcomed the post Covid-19 recovery support from Google and thanked the company for working closely with the Kenyan Government in driving digital transformation across the country in the 13 years of its operations in Kenya.

Source: PSCU

Policy Brief: Findings of Covid-19 Antibody Survey in Nairobi City County Conducted in November 2020

KEY FINDINGS 

  • The overall seroprevalence of COVID-19 in Nairobi was 35%. This means at least 1 in 3 persons in Nairobi had been infected by COVID-19 in the 8 months since the first case COVID-19 in the 8 months since the first case was reported in Kenya.
  • Persons aged 20-49 years were 2.5 times more likely to have been infected by COVID-19 likely to have been infected by COVID-19 compared to children < 10 years. Children less than 10 years and persons over 60 years had than 10 years and persons over 60 years had the lowest infection levels.
  • Men and women had been equally infected.
  • The infection level was higher in the more densely populated sub-counties of Nairobi.
  • Half of the households in Nairobi had at least one person who had been infected. However, in most cases the remaining people in the households had no evidence of past infection.
  • On average 3 in every 10,000 COVID-19 infected individuals died. This finding indicates that Kenya’s mortality may be lower than developed countries.
  • Similar to other countries, the current surveillance systems detect only 2.4% of all infections.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. The basic COVID-19 mitigation measures should continue because nearly two thirds of Nairobi’s population, and perhaps more in the rest of the counties, remain at risk.
  2. Seroprevalence was lowest among 60+ years; vaccination could prioritize these individuals and those with comorbid conditions who are at the highest risk of severe disease.
  3. Although children had lower infection levels in our study, healthy children have lower risk of severe disease globally and so may not be prioritized for vaccination.
  4. Surveillance should be enhanced, particularly in rural counties that likely have higher population of people still at risk than Nairobi County. 
  5. Future seroprevalence studies should be conducted in both rural and urban counties to guide policy.

Other updates:

Beneficial Ownership Information Submission – Deadline Extension for a period of 6 months with effect from 1st February 2021

The Business Registration Service (BRS) has in consultation with stakeholders granted a final grace period of six months ending 31st July 2021.

BRS say that they have received a significantly high number of applications to file Beneficial Ownership Information E-Register  at  the  Companies Registry by persons who are keen to comply with the requirements of the Companies Act, 2015.

Failure to comply with this requirement after 31st July 2021 makes it an offence to the company and every officer of the company who is in default and such officer will billable to a fine upon conviction.

UGANDA

Court rejects Bank of Uganda ‘friend request’ in DTB-HAM case

 The Bank of Uganda has lost an application in which it sought to join as ‘Amicus Curie’ (Friend of the Court), the ongoing appeal by Diamond Trust Bank against Ham Enterprises, a company owned by businessman Hamis Kiggundu.

The court was sitting to hear an appeal against a ruling by the high court to the effect that the DTB Kenya, a parent company of Diamond Trust Bank-Uganda, was not registered to do business in Uganda, nor appoint DTB Uganda as an agent to collect debts owed to the Kenyan bank by Kiggundu. 

The judgement stemmed from a case filed by Ham Kiggundu, and his two companies Ham Enterprise Limited and Kiggs International (U) Limited against DTB -Uganda, and DTB-Kenya, in March last year, accusing them of fraudulently siphoning more than 120 billion Uganda Shillings from his accounts without his knowledge and consent. 

Source: The Independent

Increase spending to revive economy, private sector players urge government

As the economy starts to heal from the 2021 election fever, and people get back to work, with hopes that the coronavirus vaccine will get here, private sector players and experts want the government to act quickly on revamping the economy.

But how do the experts want this done?

“Increased spending by economic agencies especially by the government and enabling private firms to actually spend,” said Lawrence Bategeka, a senior economist in an interview with The Independent on Jan.21.

Source: The Independent

TANZANIA

Analysts predict yield rise for 15-year bond

Debt analysts have predicted a slight increase in yields for the 15-year Treasury bond due to a low liquidity level in January.

They said the low money in circulation in this month would lead to a price drop of government long -term securities, which in turn would push yields up.

The government today wants to borrow from the public 122bn/- in 15 years at a coupon rate of 13.5 percent yearly.

Zan Securities Chief Executive Officer Raphael Masumbuko projected a yield increase based on last week’s Treasury bill results after its prices dropped.

Source: Tanzania Standard Newspapers Ltd

Central bank is upbeat on 2020 growth statistics

The Bank of Tanzania (BoT) has exuded confidence that economic growth targets will be realised even as Covid-19 effects posed challenges across the globe.

Last year, Tanzania revised its growth targets from 6.9 percent to 5.5 percent following the pandemic which disrupted world economic activities. However, the central bank’s monetary policy committee says the 2020 targets will be realised.

According to the committee statement posted on the BoT website, the gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow by six percent or more in 2021.

Source: The Citizen

Bank of Tanzania moves to rein in operating costs, NPLs

The Bank of Tanzania (BoT) has moved to ensure that the banking industry strictly adheres to regulations on operating costs and nonperforming loans (NPLs) in a decision expected to benefit customers in the long run.

BoT issued a circular on Monday requiring commercial banks and financial institutions to effectively manage NPLs and operating expenses.

The central bank says in the document that commercial banks and financial institutions must maintain their cost-to-income ratios at not more than 55 percent, while NPLs should not exceed five percent of total loans.

Source: The Citizen

ETHIOPIA

Public Raises Over 1 Billion Birr for GERD in Half-Year

The public has raised over 1 billion Birr during the past six months, according to the Office of the National Council for the Coordination of Public Participation to the Construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Briefing journalists today, Public Relations Head of the Office Hailu Abraham said the public’s contribution is further strengthening after the first phase filling of the dam. The money raised by selling bonds and other means is the largest that has so far been collected, he added.

According to him, the contribution of the public has reached over 14 billion birr since the commencement of the dam.

Source: ENA

MALAWI

Firms dominate cannabis licence applications

The Cannabis Regulatory Authority (CRA) says it is receiving more applications for medicinal cannabis production from companies compared to groups of farmers who are applying for industrial hemp production. So far, since licence fees were announced in November last year, CRA said it has formally received 35 applications, with over 20 applications coming from individual companies and the rest from farmer groups. However, experts in the field feel this is an indication that licensing conditions are not favouring the majority of growers. In an interview, CRA acting registrar, Ketulo Salipira said having more companies on board should be good news for the country as they will be producing and adding value for export markets, earning the country foreign exchange. The recently gazetted regulations show that applications for licences attract a non-refundable fee of USD1,000 (about MWK740,000) for medicinal cannabis while a licence for industrial hemp is pegged at USD500 (about MWK370,000). A licence fee to cultivate and sell, as well as a licence to process is pegged at USD10,000 (about MWK7.4-million) for medicinal cannabis. A licence fee to cultivate and sell industrial hemp is USD2,000 (about MWK1.4-million) while a licence to process industrial hemp is pegged at USD5,000 (about MWK3.7-million).

Source: The Nation

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