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Tag: FINANCE

Ex-Rwanda development bank’s chief arrested

Former Chief Executive Officer, Development Bank of Rwanda, Alex Kanyankore, has been arrested on charges of favouritism and receiving illegal benefits while in office.
 
The Rwanda Investigation Bureau said Kanyankore, who was sacked by the bank’s board in December 2017, was arrested on Tuesday.
 
The spokesman of the Bureau, Modeste Mbabazi, more details would be given after a full investigation.
 
Kanyankole served as head of the public company from 2013, according to media reports.
 
During his reign, the bank underwent restructuring and split into two entities, one focusing on the commercial business while the other on financing Rwanda’s developmental projects.
 
The commercial entity was later sold to Atlas Mara Group, a pan-African financial institution.
 
Under Kanyankole, the bank also took over the disbursement and recovery of Rwandan university student loans after reaching an agreement with the Ministry of Education.

World Bank cuts sub-Saharan Africa’s growth forecasts to 2.7%

The World Bank has cut its forecast for growth of sub-Saharan Africa in 2018 to 2.7 per cent, down from an earlier 3.1 per cent, partly due to less favourable external environment
for the region.
 
The lender said in its October 2018 issue of Africa’s Pulse, the bi-annual analysis of the state of African economies, that its 2018 projection represents a slight increase from 2.3 per cent in 2017.
 
“The slower pace of the recovery in sub-Saharan Africa (0.4 percentage points lower than the April forecast) is explained by the sluggish expansion in the region’s three largest economies, Nigeria, Angola, and South Africa,” said the World Bank.
 
Albert Zeufack, World Bank Chief Economist for Africa, said the region’s economic recovery was in progress but at a slower pace than expected.
 
Zeufact said policymakers must continue to focus on investments that foster human capital, reduce resource misallocation and boost productivity to accelerate and sustain an
inclusive growth momentum.
 
“Policymakers in the region must equip themselves to manage new risks arising from changes in the composition of capital flows and debt,” he said.
 
According to the report, global trade and industrial activity lost momentum, as metals and agricultural prices fell due to concerns about trade tariffs and weakening demand prospects.
 
“While oil prices are likely to be on an upward trend into 2019, metals prices may remain subdued amid muted demand, particularly in China.
 
“Financial market pressures intensified in some emerging markets and concern about their dollar-denominated debt has risen amid a stronger U.S. dollar,” says the Pulse.
 
The World Bank said lower oil production in Angola and Nigeria offset higher oil prices, and in South Africa, weak household consumption growth was compounded by a contraction in
agriculture.
 
The lender said growth in the region — excluding Angola, Nigeria and South Africa — was steady, noting that several oil exporters in central Africa were helped by higher oil prices and an increase in oil production. 
 
According to the World Bank, economic activity remained solid in fast-growing non-resource-rich countries, such as Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, and Rwanda.
 
These were supported by agricultural production and services on the production side, and household consumption and public investment on the demand side.
 
The lender warned that public debt remained high and continues to rise in some countries.
 
The lender noted that vulnerability to weaker currencies and rising interest rates associated with the changing composition of debt may put the region’s public debt sustainability further at risk.

Nigeria slashes business name registration fee by half

Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo
has announced approval of a 90-day special window to register businesses
at a reduced rate of US$16.4 (N5,000 ) only from US$32.8.
Mr. Laolu Akande, Senior Special
Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice
President in Abuja, said that Osinbajo made the announcement in Enugu.
Osinbajo, who was quoted as making the
announcement at the launch of the 19th edition of the Micro, Small and
Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Clinics in Enugu, said the special window of
90 spanned from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31.
He said that the gesture was to further ease the process of registering MSMEs in the country.
“It was observed during some of the
earlier editions of the MSMEs Clinics that a lot of MSMEs were finding
it difficult to register their businesses as a result of cost.
“The practice since we began the MSMEs
clinics is that most agencies offer price reductions, especially for
registration, and all other pre-investment approvals, during the
Clinics.
“So, I am pleased to announce that the
Federal Government, through the Corporate Affairs Commission, has
approved a special window of 90 days from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31 to register
businesses at a considerably reduced rate of N5,000
only, down from as much as N10,000 previously.’’
He said the action was taken to afford more MSMEs an opportunity to formalise their businesses.
Speaking on other initiatives by the Federal Government designed to consolidate the gains of the MSMEs Clinics, 
Osinbajo said that the Federal Government would be establishing shared facilities for MSMEs.
He said that the facilities would be
based on a partnership between the Federal Government, interested
States, Bank of Industry, NEXIM Bank, FIRS, NAFDAC, SON and interested
private sector partners, as part of 
efforts at deepening the impact of the Clinics.
“The purpose of these shared facilities
is to have a fully-equipped place with machinery and equipment required
for various trades and businesses. MSMEs can then do their businesses at
those locations at a reasonable cost.
“This way, MSMEs are spared the financial burden of having to buy their own equipment in order to be able to do business.
“Where possible, these shared facilities
would have been pre-certified by relevant agencies, removing the need
for MSMEs to pursue these certifications by themselves.’’
He also announced the Federal
Government’s willingness to partner with State governments in
establishing more One-Stop Shops, to further enhance business
registration and facilitate seamless interaction between owners of small
businesses and the relevant regulatory agencies.
The vice president said that the Federal
Government was also aware that some States had gone on to set up
‘One-Stop Shops’ after the Clinics.
According to him, the One-Stop Shops will
bring all the relevant agencies together in one place so as to enable
the MSMEs access their services on an ongoing basis.
“The Federal Government is also willing
to partner with your State Government to immediately set up one such
place for the good use of MSMEs in Enugu State,” he said.
Osinbajo also said there were follow-up
plans to ensure that all the finalists from the maiden edition of the
MSMEs Awards were supported with publicity and media exposure, to enable
them to reach even larger markets at home and
abroad.
He said that the ongoing disbursement of
collateral and interest-free loans given to petty traders under the GEEP
TraderMoni programme would soon be launched in Enugu.
Earlier in his remarks, Gov. Ifeanyi
Ugwuanyi of Enugu state said the State government had already keyed into
some of the social investment programmes initiated by the Federal
Government.
Ugwuanyi promised that the state would
continue to cooperate with all federal authorities to improve the
well-being of the people.

The governor expressed appreciation to
the Federal Government for inaugurating the National MSMEs Clinics in
the state as it would greatly improve the lives of many youths,
especially those seeking employment opportunities.

Saudi Arabia gives $200m lifeline to Yemen

Saudi Arabia has approved a grant of $200 million to Yemen’s Central Bank to stem the riyal’s slide.
 
“The aid was aimed at stabilising the
war-torn country’s economy and increasing the value of the Yemeni
currency to alleviate the suffering of Yemenis.
 
“The funds were approved by Saudi King Salman upon a request from Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi,’’ the report said.
 
The plunging riyal has led to a surge in
food and fuel prices that triggered demonstrations last month and
prompted a hike in interest rates.
 
The impoverished Arab country has been
locked in a civil war since the Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi rebels
seized all Northern provinces, including capital Sanaa, in 2014.
 
Saudi Arabia leads an Arab military
coalition that intervened in Yemen’s civil war in 2015 to support the
government of President Hadi after the Houthi rebels forced him into
exile.
 
The United Nations has listed Yemen as
the world’s top humanitarian crisis, with 7 million Yemenis on the brink
of famine and a cholera outbreak killing over 2,000 people.
 

World Bank withholds grant for Tanzania

The World Bank has confirmed it was withholding 50 million dollars of grant for Tanzania because the bank was deeply concerned about restrictions that the government has placed on freedom of speech concerning statistics.
The grant was intended to support government statistical activities in Tanzania but latest reports indicated that this support may have to wait longer.
“We are in discussions with the government of Tanzania on whether further support to building sustainable statistical systems is appropriate at this time,’’ the bank in a terse statement said.
President John Magufuli was expected to sign into law the new Statistics Act which was passed on Sept. 10, by Parliament in the capital Dodoma.
Report says the new act seeks to criminalise the collection, analysis, and dissemination of any data without first obtaining authorisation from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The World Bank on Monday said it had “shared’’ its concerns with the Tanzanian government and was “in discussions’’ with officials about the new act.
The new statistics law criminalises the dissemination of “any statistical information which is intended to invalidate, distort or discredit official statistics.’’
Offenses are punishable by a 6,000-dollars fine or a three-year prison term.