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Africa Business in Brief

 

issue 378 | 15 Nov 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

A non-exhaustive list of recent measures aimed at curbing the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

World: With COVID-19 infections surging worldwide, a united group of 18 companies representing a large portion of the world’s generic pharmaceutical manufacturers pledged to work together to accelerate access to hundreds of millions of doses of new interventions for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) via the non-profit Medicines Patent Pool (MPP). “This unprecedented cooperation from companies that are typically competitors represents a breakthrough in our efforts to level the playing field for access to drugs that will be crucial to controlling and defeating this pandemic,” said Charles Gore, executive director of MPP. “These are companies with an excellent track record of working with originators to ensure generic versions of their innovations meet high standards for quality – while answering the need for more affordable, accessible therapies.” Gore noted that collectively the 18 companies joining the pledge have the capacity to deliver substantial amounts of conventional drugs, technically known as “small molecules” in industry parlance, and an increasing ability to produce more molecules known as biologics. Biologics include monoclonal antibodies targeting COVID-19 that have shown promise as potential ways to either treat or prevent infections – but cost and manufacturing capacity pose substantial barriers to deploying them globally. Gore said he hopes the pledge by such a respected group of generic industry players to produce large volumes of high-quality COVID-19 treatments will encourage firms now developing either new or re-purposed therapies to negotiate agreements allowing rapid access to those in need. This can be either through licensing of their intellectual property, or where licences are not needed, facilitating ways to scale up manufacturing capacity to meet the high demands.

Source: Medicines Patent Pool

Africa: Despite the profound crises of 2020 which have jeopardised hundreds of thousands of jobs across Africa, the African Energy Chamber expects employment to remain strong thanks to ongoing capital projects sanctioned since 2018, especially LNG ventures. Inflexible capital programs will indeed assist in sustaining the overall employment throughout 2020 and 2021. As a result, the Chamber does not see big immediate impact from COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021 on job numbers as the initiated capital programs in 2018 and 2019 are ongoing and ramping up activity. This is particularly the case for Total’s mega greenfield Mozambique LNG project in Mozambique requiring north of 10,000 employees to set up two liquefaction trains with a combined export capacity of 12.88 million tonnes per year (mtpa). But additional projects, such as Eni’s 3.4 mtpa Coral Sul FLNG project, also in Mozambique, or BP’s 2.45 Greater Tortue Ahmeyim (GTA) LNG project in Mauritania and Senegal will also contribute to maintaining employment rates in the short term. The same applies in Nigeria with the NLNGSevenPlus project, sanctioned by Nigeria LNG Ltd before the COVID-19 pandemic. Towards 2025 however, the numbers of jobs are expected to decline again on the back of new projects in 2020 and 2021 not being sanctioned due to COVID-19. Major new ventures were indeed expected to be sanctioned this year and create thousands of jobs, including Ghana’s Pecan Field Development by Aker Energy or ExxonMobil’s 15.2 mtpa Rovuma LNG project in Mozambique. As a result of their delays, the impact of the current crisis on jobs creation and employment in Africa is expected to be more severe in a few years than it is currently, unless immediate measures are taken to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and restore investors’ confidence.

Source: African Energy Chamber

Africa: In its latest ‘Africa Energy Outlook 2021’, the African Energy Chamber forecasts increased gas monetisation across the continent on the back of decarbonisation and industrialisation drive. The African Energy Chamber has notably found that while not insulated to COVID-19, gas markets have been less exposed than oil markets to the shocks of 2020, notably because the transportation industry has been the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and is more oil-demanding than gas. The global gas market was nevertheless already facing a glut of liquefied natural gas (LNG) before COVID-19, resulting in even more depressed prices as the pandemic’s impact on demand started to manifest in the spring of 2020. As a result, key reference prices in Europe, North America and Asia all have experienced negative pressure since the start of 2020. The forecast notably points to a tight LNG balance between 2023 and 2025, and along with it, a price spike. Following this period, there is a downside risk in prices for 2026 and 2027 driven by the potential of seeing a new wave of sanctioning activity during 2021 and 2022. Such future projects are expected to include ExxonMobil and Eni’s 15.2 million tonnes per year (mtpa) Rovuma LNG terminal in Mozambique and expansions of BP and Kosmos Energy’s Greater Tortue Ahmeyim (GTA) FLNG project in Mauritania and Senegal. Given the gas glut on global markets with corresponding depressed prices, the Chamber notes that there may now be an opportunity to stimulate more domestic gas consumption in Africa. Expanding infrastructure to displace diesel, increased use of gas in the power mix and gas for industrial purposes are all initiatives that would benefit from the current low cost of gas. Monetising gas makes even more sense in Africa given the continent’s very high flaring intensities. While 2018 is currently the last year with high quality data, projections towards 2025 nevertheless points to Africa overall not improving its position with emissions remaining above 30 kilograms CO2 per barrel of oil equivalent. Only stronger monetisation of gas at home could justify using Africa’s gas reserves for industrial and power generation purposes instead of burning and wasting them. In doing so, Africa would not only reduce its carbon intensity, but also become more attractive to global investors seeking to allocate capital to the least carbon intensive projects possible.

Source: African Energy Chamber

Africa: President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, and Chairperson of the African Union (AU) convened and presided over a teleconference meeting to discuss Africa’s strategy for financing COVID-19 vaccines on 7 November 2020. While recognising that the continent has made remarkable progress in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, he noted that Africa needed to urgently implement its vaccine strategy, with a focus on acquisition and financing, in order to fully control the spread of the virus. He stressed that Africa should take appropriate measures, as part of the strategy, to secure timely access to COVID-19 vaccines when they become available. President Ramaphosa further noted that about USD12-billion was required, and this was expected to come from three sources: the COVAX initiative, the World Bank, direct donors, and the African Export–Import Bank, which has committed to raise up to USD5-billion. As part of the meeting conclusions, President Ramaphosa established the COVID-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) in support of the Africa Vaccine Strategy that was endorsed by the AU Bureau of Heads of State and Government on 20 August 2020.

Source: AU

Botswana: Botswana's national airliner Air Botswana has announced plans to re-commence scheduled regional operations. The airliner said the decision is in accordance with the government's announcement to relax international travel restrictions. According to Air Botswana, re-commencement of its scheduled regional operations is effective from 10 November 2020. Air Botswana will initially offer four weekly flights between Gaborone and Johannesburg, to be adjusted based on travel demand. Other regional destinations will be gradually introduced, including Cape Town, Harare and Lusaka.

Source: Xinhua

Ghana: A majority of businesses are optimistic of recovery from the devastating effects of COVID-19 by the middle of 2021, the latest survey by the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) has shown. The survey, which was aimed at assessing the impact of COVID-19 on businesses in Ghana, revealed that about 80% of firms across the manufacturing, services and construction sectors expect to recover by June 2021. About 40% of the firms said they are likely to invest in the next six months. However, chances of employment in the next six months remain low, given that only 26% of firms are likely to hire additional workers. Speaking during a discussion of the findings of the survey, the chief executive officer of AGI, Mr Seth Twum-Akwaboah, said “tax waivers or temporary tax breaks, stimulus package from government, reduction of corporate tax, flexible loans from commercial banks, electricity and water subsidies are in this order the most important things firms expect to alleviate the impact of COVID-19.”

Source: GhanaWeb

Ghana: International rating agency, Moody’s says demand for inner-city office space and housing is likely to be materially lower after the COVID-19 crisis, stressing this will also affect the growth of online shopping, which will have a lasting impact on the retail sector. The travel sector, including airlines and hotels, will similarly be transformed, Moody’s said. While these far-reaching transformations could ultimately create more efficient economic structures or open up new industries, the social and economic costs will prove challenging for policymakers, Moody’s said. The rating agency, however, cautioned government to strengthen its institutional framework in order to withstand and respond effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic in the wake of the second wave seen in other countries.

Source: GhanaWeb

Ghana: The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved an additional credit of USD130-million from the International Development Association (IDA) for the Ghana COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Project. The additional financing in the health sector will support the Government of Ghana to scale up its efforts to mitigate the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic and to safely reopen its economy. The project will strengthen the government’s efforts to prevent and contain the virus and to safely revive socioeconomic activities in the country. It will also help prepare for future COVID-19 vaccine deployment, and expand communications and awareness campaigns nationwide to reduce risks of infection and to increase understanding of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Source: World Bank

Kenya: Kenya's exports to African countries have risen to reach pre-COVID-19 levels, with the pandemic seemingly giving the country's external trade a boost, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) said on Wednesday, 11 November. Top destinations of the country's goods are Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to the export data released by the CBK. The exports have been on the rise since April, surging to hit KES22.5-billion (about USD208-million) in August, a level last seen in February and March. Between March and August, the east African nation exported goods worth USD1.07-billion to countries in the continent, despite the pandemic, which saw trade stifled in some regions. Other countries that Kenya exports goods to are Ethiopia, Egypt, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Source: Xinhua

Rwanda: The African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) has placed Rwanda at the forefront among countries that put in place effective COVID-19 tax relief measures in Africa, followed by Lesotho, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Niger, Madagascar, South Africa, Togo, Cameroon, the Gambia, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Ghana, Angola, Burundi and Namibia. Rwanda is one of the 39 members of ATAF, an organisation that was established by African revenue authorities in 2009, in order to improve the performance of tax administration in Africa.

Source: Taarifa

South Sudan: The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a disbursement of SDR36.9-million (about USD52.3-million or 15% of its SDR quota) to South Sudan under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF). This is the first Fund-supported financial assistance provided to South Sudan since it joined the Fund in 2012. The disbursement will help finance South Sudan’s urgent balance of payments needs, contain the fiscal impact of the shock and will provide critical fiscal space to maintain poverty-reducing and growth-enhancing spending. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, South Sudan had achieved significant progress due to improved political stability and an uptick in global oil prices. Economic growth rebounded, inflation declined, and the exchange rate stabilised. However, the pandemic and oil price shock created severe economic disruption, leading to deterioration in the fiscal and external balances, and a sharp decline in growth, reversing some early gains from political stability. South Sudan’s economy is projected to contract 3.6% in FY20/21, about 10 percentage points below the pre-pandemic baseline.

Source: IMF

Uganda: The tightening of lending rates by banks in Uganda is healthy because it will slow down a rise in non-performing loans (NPLs) and enable the banks to manage defaulted loans, Moody's Investors Service said on Thursday, 12 November. Peter Mushangwe, a bank analyst at Moody's, said the move taken by the banks amid an economic slowdown is positive because it will enable them to better manage NPLs, which are set to increase in the coming quarters. According to a survey by the Bank of Uganda, on a net basis, banks expect the default rate on loans to both enterprises and households to increase before December 2020. The projected increase is mainly attributed to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on business activities, employment and incomes of firms and households. At the continental level, Moody's said that rising pressure on African governments caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is weighing on domestic banks because the creditworthiness of the banks is inextricably linked to the financial strength of the government of the relevant country where they are based.

Source: Xinhua

Uganda: Uganda on Tuesday, 10 November lifted the ban on labour export after an eight-month suspension in efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. Frank Tumwebaze, minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, said in a statement that all licensed companies involved in the sourcing of external employment for Ugandan migrant workers will resume labour export following further easing of COVID-19 restrictions. "Following the relaxing of a number of COVID-19 lockdown measures by the Ministry of Health and resumption of air travel, the ministry will be lifting the ban on labour export by licensed companies in accordance with the existing mandatory COVID-19 standard operating procedures for all travellers," said Tumwebaze.

Source: Xinhua

Zimbabwe: Through the Zimbabwe is open for business mantra, the government has been rolling out a number of initiatives to make travelling and regional, and international trade seamless. These include the upgrading of the Robert Mugabe International Airport, and the modernisation of the Beitbridge border post at a cost of USD241-million and reaffirmation of the introduction of a one-stop border post (OSBP) concept at Beitbridge. Under the OSBP, the two countries sharing a border harmonise operations to simplify doing business and travellers are cleared once for passage into either country.

Source: The Chronicle

World

New course: Siemens Energy will no longer bid on coal projects

Siemens Energy has announced that it will be withdrawing from all new coal projects. Chief executive Christian Bruch told a press conference: “Effective immediately, we cease supporting the development of new coal-fired power plants.” He explained that while the company would honour all existing coal-related agreements, it would no longer bid for tenders for pure coal-fired projects. “Sustainability is at the core of our actions,” he said, which in turn made taking on new coal projects untenable. He said existing technology partnerships “will be addressed” in light of the coal withdrawal, and the company was in the process of evaluating the impact of the decision on its own staff and sites. Bruch was speaking during the inaugural annual press conference for Siemens Energy since the company spun-off from Siemens AG earlier this year and in September listed on the Frankfurt stock exchange.

Source: ESI Africa

Africa

Geothermal development crucial to power economic growth in Africa

The 8th African Rift Geothermal Conference in Kenya gathered stakeholders to discuss regional cooperation and accelerating geothermal development in Africa. The five-day virtual conference (2-6 November 2020), held under the theme ‘Energy and sustainability, seizing the moment to invest in geothermal resources for sustainable development’, was hosted by the government of Kenya in partnership with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the African branch of the International Geothermal Association, the Kenya Electricity Generating Company, the Geothermal Development Company as well as the Geothermal Association of Kenya. In his opening remarks, Charles Keter, Kenya’s Cabinet secretary for Energy, emphasised the need for innovation and capacity building in geothermal development to power economic and social growth on the continent. Participants recognised the need for capacity development for geothermal practitioners to ensure effective development of these projects through the newly established Africa Geothermal Centre of Excellence. Delegates agreed to increase geothermal resources installed by a capacity of at least 2,500 MW of electricity in the region by 2030.

Source: ESI Africa

Africa

New Google-IFC report estimates Africa’s internet economy could be worth USD180-billion by 2025

e-Conomy Africa 2020, a new report released by Google and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), estimates that Africa's Internet economy has the potential to reach 5.2% of the continent's gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025, contributing nearly USD180-billion to its economy. The projected potential contribution could reach USD712-billion by 2050. Driving this growth is a combination of increased access to faster and better quality internet connectivity, a rapidly expanding urban population, a growing technology talent pool, a vibrant startup ecosystem, and Africa's commitment to creating the world's largest single market under the African Continental Free Trade Area. Currently, Africa is home to 700,000 developers and venture capital funding for startups has increased year-on-year for the past five years, with a record USD2.02-billion in equity funding raised in 2019, according to Partech Ventures Africa. Digital startups in Africa are driving innovation in fast-growing sectors, including fintech, healthtech, media and entertainment, e-commerce, e-mobility, and e-logistics, contributing to Africa's growing internet gross domestic product (iGDP), defined as the internet's contribution to GDP. Investments in infrastructure, consumption of digital services, public and private investment, and new government policies and regulations will play an important role in supporting Africa's digital growth.

Source: IFC

Africa

Orange launches Djoliba fibre backbone in West Africa

Orange and its subsidiaries announced the commissioning and commercial launch of Djoliba, the first pan-African backbone based on a terrestrial fibre optic network, coupled with undersea cables, offering secure connectivity abroad from West Africa. This investment aims to support the digital ecosystem and meets the growing needs for connectivity in the region. The new backbone covers eight countries: Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal. Natively interconnected with the domestic networks within the countries, this broad coverage will generalise access to connectivity for operators and companies. Until now, telecommunications networks in West Africa were built inside each country, up to its borders; there was no cross-border network. To provide a service between two capitals, operators had to integrate the offers of several providers and join several different networks which were interconnected at the borders. This new network is a true innovation that simplifies the interconnection processes between countries.

Source: Africa Business Communities

Botswana

Botswana reviews immigration policies to improve business environment

Botswana's President Mokgweetsi Masisi on Monday, 9 November revealed that the southern African country will continue to review immigration policies and acts to facilitate business activities. Delivering the state of the nation address, to the first meeting of Botswana's second session of the Twelfth Parliament in Gaborone, Masisi said his government is reviewing both the immigration and citizenship acts. "As a way of improving the business environment, government will continue to review immigration policies and acts to facilitate the ease of doing business in Botswana," said Masisi, adding that Botswana is also in the process of finalising a migration policy in collaboration with the Southern African Development Community (SADC). These collaborative finalisation processes with SADC will be completed by the end of March next year, he said.

Source: Xinhua

Ghana

Bui Power Authority gets mandate to develop renewable energy

Parliament has enacted the Bui Power Authority (Amendment) Bill 2020 to empower the Bui Power Authority to develop renewable energy and other clean energy alternatives in the country. Explaining the Bill’s rationale to the House, Energy minister, John Peter Amewu said the government in 2007 established the Bui Power Authority through the enactment of the Bui Power Authority Act 2007 (Act 740), with the mandate to develop a hydroelectric power project on the Black Volta at Bui and any potential hydroelectric power site on the Black Volta River. He said the authority has demonstrated enough institutional capacity in the area of renewable energy and successfully extended hydropower initiatives. However, its continuous investment and development of renewable energy has been flagged by auditors on several occasions as unlawful, since it falls outside the scope of its mandate. The Ministry of Energy consequently presented the Bill to address this anomaly and to give legal backing to the authority to execute and manage renewable energy projects and other clean energy alternatives.

Source: GhanaWeb

Ghana

Government to release ECG to private concessionaire after botched PDS deal

A year after the government terminated its agreement with Power Distribution Services (PDS) over allegations of fraud, it has emerged that there are fresh moves to release the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to another private concessionaire. New companies are angling to take over the power distributor as the government seeks to offload the state’s involvement in power distribution. Deputy minister of Energy in charge of petroleum, Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, announced the government’s decision in Accra. He said although the government had been silent on the previous botched ECG/PDS matter since the termination of the contract, processes were underway to secure a new deal. He, however, failed to disclose the identity of the new private concessionaire. However, he indicated that the move was aimed at making the power distributor more efficient and profitable to support economic development. Dr Amin Adam gave the assurance that the arrangement being devised would be better than the concession agreement that the ECG entered into with the now-defunct PDS in March 2019 before it was cancelled in October that same year.

Source: The Ghana Report

Kenya

Tender invitation for natural gas feasibility studies

The Government of Kenya intends to create a domestic natural gas market for power generation and industrial use. The gas will be imported as government progresses with development of domestic gas resources. Introduction of gas for power generation is aimed at further diversification of the country’s energy mix, increased security of supply, reduction of the cost of electricity and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in line with the 2015 Paris Global Climate Change Agreement that Kenya is a signatory. The Kenya Electricity Generating Company PLC (KenGen) invites expressions of interest from eligible consultancy firms to conduct a feasibility study for the following: Development and operation of infrastructure for importation, storage, and regasification of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for power generation in Kenya; conversion of the existing Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) to operate on natural gas; development of a new natural gas power plant; and operations and maintenance (O&M) of the natural gas infrastructure for a period of 20 years. The deadline for receipt of expressions of interest is Monday, 30 November 2020 at 10:00 East African Time.

Source: ESI Africa

Nigeria

FG ratifies Nigeria’s AfCFTA membership

The Federal Government on Wednesday, 11 November 2020 ratified Nigeria’s membership of the African Continental Free Trade Area. The decision was taken at the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari. The minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of the meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Mohammed said with the ratification, Nigeria has beaten the 5 December 2020 deadline set for all countries to ratify their membership. The minister said, “The Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment presented a memo today [Wednesday] asking the Federal Executive Council to ratify Nigeria’s membership of the African Continental Free Trade Area. “You remember that on 7 July 2019, Nigeria signed the AfCFTA agreement in Niamey during the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union. “The effective date ought to have been July 2020. But as a result of the pandemic, it was postponed to 1 January 2021 and all member states were given up to 5 December to ratify the agreement. That is precisely what Nigeria did today.”

Source: Economic Confidential

Rwanda

Government to provide incentives to mining exploration companies

Rwanda says it has put in place an incentive package that seeks to attract investors in mining exploration activities, part of the drive to strategically reposition the country’s mining sector in the region. The new incentive package was announced on Tuesday, 10 November ahead of the Africa Mining Forum, by Francis Gatare, the chief executive officer at the Rwanda Mines, Gas and Petroleum Board (RMB). “We are excited about a new incentive [package] for exploration companies that gives incentives for a 10 year-loss carry over,” he said during a press briefing. “This means that companies that invest in initial exploration can carry forward losses or expenses incurred during that period.” According to Gatare, the incentive is a new provision in a revised Investment Code that targets to attract junior mining companies, whose business model focuses on mineral exploration, and then sell their assets after making mineral discoveries.

Source: The New Times

Sudan

Sudan to start producing oil at al-Rawat oilfield within two weeks

Sudan will add 3,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil production from a new oilfield, which will boost the country’s output to 64,000 bpd, the general manager of state oil firm Sudapet told Reuters. Sudan has been trying to lift oil production to lower costly fuel imports after losing 73% of oil output when South Sudan seceded in 2011. The al-Rawat oilfield in White Nile state will go online within two weeks with seven wells, said Aiman Aboujoukh in an interview on Tuesday, 3 November. Sudan hopes to add an extra 20,000 bpd next year if the Ministry of Finance approves funds for exploration, he said. He said authorities hoped that Western firms would invest after the United States confirmed it would lift Khartoum from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, a designation that had blocked international funding and debt relief. Sudan had earlier doubled local fuel prices with immediate effect to tackle budget deficit during an economic crisis.

Source: Reuters

Uganda

AfDB grants USD500,000 for capacity development of MSMEs in the petroleum sector

The African Development Bank and the Government of Uganda have signed a USD500,000 grant agreement for financing of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to boost business linkages on the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Technical Assistance project. The project's overall objective is to help develop capacity of local Uganda MSMEs along the East African crude oil pipeline, by enabling them to access new market opportunities, and building linkages with larger, national, regional and international companies. The project aims to support inclusive private sector growth and the creation of an estimated 500 jobs along the pipeline. Through the Fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA), the Bank will contribute USD500,000 to the project. The Government of Uganda through the Petroleum Authority will provide counterpart funding. A similar project is being finalised on the Tanzanian side of the border. The grant was provided in response to a request from Uganda and Tanzania for assistance in preparing local business communities to be able to retain a portion of the USD3.5-billion investment in the construction of a crude oil pipeline from Hoima in western Uganda to Tanga, on the coast of Tanzania, agreed in 2016. This has recently been followed by the signing, in September 2020 between the two governments, of an agreement for the project to be undertaken by Total E&P as the lead private sector developer.

Source: Africa Business Communities

Uganda

Court orders URA to refund billions to 13,946 importers

The Court of Appeal has ordered the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to refund billions of shillings, which was illegally levied from 13,946 traders who imported goods for 11 years. In an unanimous decision delivered on Monday, 9 November the three judges of the Court of Appeal including Frederick Egonda Ntende, Cheborion Barishaki and Muzamiru Kibeedi ruled that there is no law, which authorised URA to collect domestic value-added taxes (VAT) at the rate 15%. Therefore, court ruled, the collection was done without any authority of law, contrary to the Constitution. “A reading of the provisions of law shows that VAT can only be collected at a rate of 18%. It does not provide for collection of domestic VAT at a rate of 15%. There appears to be no statutory instrument issued by the Minister and approved by Parliament specifying the rate of domestic VAT,” Justice Barishaki held in a lead judgment. The court held there was no basis upon which URA could estimate a mark-up, which applied generally to all importers. The decision resulted from an appeal in which traders, led by Ms Margaret Akiiki Rweheru, challenged a High Court decision that had held that the imposition of domestic VAT of 15% on the value of goods, which is not provided for in the VAT Act in addition to the 18% on importation, was legal.

Source: Daily Monitor

Uganda

Uganda tops African countries with well-developed electricity regulatory frameworks - ERI 2020 report

Uganda has for the third time in a row emerged as the top performer in this year’s Electricity Regulatory Index (ERI) report published by the African Development Bank (AfDB). The East African country, along with Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia and Kenya, the other top performers, have regulators with the authority to exert the necessary oversight on the sector. However, the overall electricity regulatory frameworks of African countries is poorly developed, and most countries experience major regulatory weaknesses. The ERI, a flagship report of the AfDB, is a composite index which measures the level of development of electricity sector regulatory frameworks in African countries against international standards and best practice. The third edition of the ERI report was launched during the Digital Energy Festival of the Africa Energy Forum, on 5 November 2020. The event brought together more than 70 stakeholders in the energy sector, regulators, international organisations, and development finance institutions like Africa50 and the World Bank.

Source: AfDB

Zambia

ZRA launches App that rolls out e-services to ease tax payments

The Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has launched a mobile application called the Tax On App that will enable taxpayers to make their transactions easily on their mobile smartphones. ZRA acting corporate communications manager, Robert Zawe said the App will enable taxpayers to do all their transactions as well as create a TPIN without the stress of filling in manual papers and visiting ZRA offices. “The App provides for tax registration and one can easily retrieve their TPIN in case it is forgotten. To access the Tax On App ensure that you have a registered TPIN number that will give you access to sign in and download the application on Google Play Store or Apple Store”, he said. The Tax On App will help clients to use their phones to pay and access various types of taxes and related services like taxpayer registration, filing of returns, verification, integrated border declaration form, motor vehicle calculator, passenger clearance, making payments, registration of TPIN and tax type, as well as clearance of vehicles among others.

Source: Techwatch News