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tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News
Photo credit: Creamer Media

02 Oct 2020

National

Tax breaks, grey import probe needed to grow local car market, says Naamsa (Engineering News)

As many European countries reintroduce lockdown measures to deal with a second wave of Covid-19, South Africa’s vehicle exports to these markets are “increasingly under pressure”, says National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) CEO Mike Mabasa. The European Union, with imports of R129.7-billion, was the South African automotive industry’s biggest export region last year. In an effort to counter the effects of a challenging export market, Naamsa is pushing for measures to stimulate demand for new vehicles in the local market, says Mabasa.

Anything to do with crypto is highly suspect, says SA’s financial watchdog (Business Insider)

As yet another cryptocurrency scam is investigated in South Africa, the director of investigations and enforcement at the financial watchdog warned consumers to stay away. “In my opinion, anything to do with a crypto is highly suspect and nobody should be invested in anything form of cryptocurrency or any of the products that go with it,” the Financial Sector Conduct Authority’s Brandon Topham told a media briefing on Wednesday. While the boom in cryptocurrencies has somewhat abated in the past two years amid a slump in prices, South Africans are still trading in these currencies, which remain unregulated.

Zimbabwean shoppers rush into S.Africa as borders open (RFI)

South African patrol guards had anticipated that Zimbabweans would resume illegal crossings into the country to buy goods as soon as travel restrictions were lifted. Hundreds were arrested as they tried to smuggle groceries back to impoverished Zimbabwe, where an economic downturn and rampant hyperinflation have destroyed livelihoods.

‘Zimbabwe to keep getting IMF technical support’ (Bulawayo24 News)

Government has said it will continue working with international financial institutions (IFIs), including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after its aborted Staff-Monitored Programme (SMP) with the Bretton Woods institution. In a wide-ranging interview, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube said it will work with IFIs to enable it to come up with the right policy mix for the country. “Government continues to work to address economic challenges to promote stability using homegrown solutions wherever possible,” Ncube said. “The country’s tax laws require tax payers to remit taxes on transactions in the currency of trade. Government therefore receives its foreign currency revenues from the taxes, duty, levies, royalties and part of these proceeds are being used to pay for civil servants’ Covid-19 allowances, which have been benchmarked in US dollars,” he said.

Zimbabwe entrepreneur sets up intra-Africa trade platform (The Chronicle)

A Zimbabwean entrepreneur with business interests across Africa has created a platform for potential investors to exchange business ideas within the continent. Mr Chad Chawanda, who has business interests in South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Zimbabwe, has established an intra-Africa trade platform through one of his subsidiaries, Size Chunk Import and Export (SCIX). SCIX runs a podcast where Mr Chawanda carries out interviews with some of the most decorated and successful business people and leaders on the continent.

How technology has boosted Rwanda’s response to Covid-19 (The New Times)

Three months after the Covid-19 outbreak was announced in China, Rwanda reported her first case of the pandemic. Nearly seven months later, the country has now confirmed a total of 4,836 Covid-19 cases of whom 3,125 have recovered. According to frontline workers, technology played a big role in ensuring that Rwanda prevents the quick spread of the pandemic. “We were paper-less from the very beginning and all the needed Covid-19 data were captured on very detailed dashboards (displayed on big screens) and were updated on a daily basis by a single click,” Dr Menelas Nkeshimana, a member of Rwanda’s Joint Taskforce for Covid-19 (JTFC) told The New Times.

Why Rwanda enacted new rules on transfer pricing (The New Times)

Multinationals that transact amongst themselves will now be required to abide by the new tax guidelines, following last week’s approval of a ministerial order that establishes general rules on transfer pricing. The practice is not illegal or necessarily abusive rather what is illegal or abusive is transfer mispricing, which essentially includes trade between unrelated parties. In 2018, a new income tax law was enacted setting out new rules on transfer pricing. The law stipulated that a ministerial order will be passed, highlighting how the new rules will be implemented.

Kenya’s implementation of Beijing Platform for Action on track, President Kenyatta says (The Presidency)

Kenya’s implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action that advocates for gender equality as well as empowerment of women and girls is firmly on track, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said. In a recorded video statement, President Kenyatta said the Beijing Platform for Action remains a powerful source of inspiration in the advancement of the rights of women and girls. “Gender equality remains central to the development agenda of my administration as is indeed enshrined in our Constitution of Kenya,” President Kenyatta added.

PAAR in Breach of TFA, WTO Convention, Says Cusomts Agents (THISDAYLIVE)

Customs agents in the country have called on the federal government to urgently put mechanism in place to review the present Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) currently being used by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), so as to accommodate the realities with present destination inspection operation regime. In a petition addressed to President Muhammau Buhari, the agents said PAAR in its current form do not conform to international best practice and law of the land, especially as signatory Trade Facilitation agreement (TFA), the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AFCFTA) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) convention.

The State of the Ivorian Economy: How Côte d’Ivoire Could Rebound after the COVID-19 Pandemic and Boost Growth (World Bank)

With GDP growth estimated at 6.9% in 2019 (or 4.2% in per capita terms), Côte d’Ivoire continued to be one of the best performing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa, driven in particular by the expansion of the middle class, which supported demand in all sectors. Prior to the COVID-19 health situation, the outlook for 2020 remained favorable, with projected growth of about 7%. This figure has been revised downwards, following the slowdown in exports and the introduction of COVID-19 containment measures, which put a brake on economic activity in the first half of 2020. GDP growth is now expected to be around 1.8%.

Entitled Taking Stock and Looking Ahead: Cote d’Ivoire and the COVID-19 Pandemic, the report – based on survey data collected in April – finds that the COVID-19 epidemic has had several direct repercussions on businesses: reduced working hours, lower sales and revenue, and even partial or total shutdown.

Agriculture boosts Cote d’Ivoire’s economy (Political Analysis South Africa)

The original objective of PAIA-ID, according to the reports, was to increase, in a sustainable manner, the production and productivity of the main crops in the region. This would be achieved through the development of infrastructure and the strengthening of organizational and institutional capacities. Agricultural production has “increased tenfold” these past few years, revitalizing the local economy, following the implementation of the Agricultural Infrastructure Support Project in the Indenie-Djuablin Region (PAIA-ID), between 2012 and 2019. Funded to the tune of 30.2 million dollars (16.89 billion CFA francs) by the AfDB, this project made it possible, in particular, to “restore the conditions of production and sale of agricultural products in this region, which has great potential.”


Africa

Partnerships in megaprojects critical to success of AFCFTA (Devdiscourse)

Partnerships in megaprojects are critical to the success of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA), says South African High Commissioner to Mozambique, Mandisi Mpahlwa. “If we cannot have these major projects that are going to help to integrate our continent, this agreement is going to be dead in the water. We have had a good account on the Maputo Development Corridor and the key issue to highlight is the importance of government leadership to crowd in the private sector and unlock economic potential using public-private partnerships,” he said on Thursday.

Innovation must be at forefront of driving economic recovery (Devdiscourse)

Innovation and the digital economy must be at the forefront of driving economic recovery in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, says Trade, Industry and Competition Deputy Minister, Nomalungelo Gina. “Innovation and digitisation will be necessary conditions for building this economy and will help build various small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) of the new economy. “It is not an exaggeration that the symbiosis of innovation and digital economy is now a pervasive juggernaut that is globally tearing down any inhibitive firewalls.

Africa’s digital acceleration path in the “new normal” (African Union)

H.E. Dr Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, addressed the MTN “Y’ello Connection Thought Leadership Roundtable” organized under the theme “Bridging the developmental gap: Africa’s digital acceleration path in the “new normal”. “COVID-19 pandemic has not only highlighted the importance of digital inclusion in daily life, but this “new normal” has reset the urgency to accelerate digital transformation on the Continent” said Dr Abou-Zeid H.E. Commissioner underlined the crucial role of the private-public partnerships in accelerating digital transformation and the implementation of the AU Digital Transformation Strategy.

Digital use can power gig economy growth in East Africa – report (The Star)

The gig economy which supports millions of people in East Africa can unlock more openings if it fully exploits the us of digital, according to a report by Mastercard. Titled The Gig Economy in East Africa: A Gateway to the Financial Mainstream, the report explores how digital inclusion is a prime enabler of the gig economy. According to the report, this is possible through connected devices that power the digital economy, and access to capital and markets.

ATAF publishes an approach to taxing the digital economy (ATAF)

The African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) published today a Suggested Approach to drafting legislation on Digital Sales Tax Services. The release of the publication comes at a time where more and more African countries are battling with levying taxes on highly digitalised multinationals. Many ATAF members have reported difficulties in taxing highly digitalised businesses operating in their countries. Their economies are rapidly getting more digitalised and that digitalisation often enables multinational enterprises (MNEs) to carry out business in African countries with no or very limited physical presence in those countries. This makes it difficult for countries to establish taxing rights over the profits the MNE is making from those business activities. 

Africa’s true potential is its young people, President Kenyatta tells French entrepreneurs (The Presidency)

President Uhuru Kenyatta has reiterated that Africa’s biggest asset is the potential held by its youthful population and not its natural resources. “I tell people all the time, we look at the African continent sometimes from a perspective of its natural wealth. The gold, the diamonds, the oil, the gas but what we tend not to see is what is the true African potential. “And the true African potential is our young men and women, and their capacity to participate with you to build a greater and better world for all of us,” President Kenyatta said.

Refurbished port will restore Kisumu as a commercial hub (Kenya News Agency)

The refurbishment of Kisumu port after four decades since the collapse of East African Community (EAC) will revolutionise business activities in the lakeside city.  This comes as a sweet surprise considering that the port remained dormant for so long denying those who relied on it directly or indirectly livelihood. Governor Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o revealed in an inclusive interview with KNA that all the institutions including port infrastructure, Kenya Railway, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and MV Uhuru were all intact and so commended the people of Kisumu for safeguarding the assets over the long period. “We are going back to full maritime transport in the Lake both for commercial goods and passengers,” Prof Nyong’o emphasised.

Kano-Niger rail line will service landlocked countries around Nigeria – Amaechi (Nairametrics)

The Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi says that the Kano-Niger rail, is favorable to Nigeria as it would enable Nigeria to service landlocked West African nations through the movement of cargoes to Lagos and also make Nigeria compete with other coastal West African nations. The Minister made this known in an interview with Arise TV on Thursday evening. Mr. Amaechi said; “Most coastal economies are competing better than us, in terms of cargo, we decided to join the market and compete to make the Lagos seaport viable. Since they (Niger republic) are not going to use the roads because they are afraid of crime, customs and police checkpoints, we introduced the Kano-Maradi line so that they can convey their goods from Maradi to Lagos seaport”.

New Information Kit to Enhance Gender Mainstreaming (COMESA)

The COMESA Secretariat has developed modules for an online course on trade and gender which will help the advancement of gender equality and empowerment of women in the region. This is part of an information kit presented to Member States in a virtual meeting of COMESA Gender Experts held on 21- 22 September. Speaking during the opening of the two-day meeting, Assistant Secretary General in Charge of Programmes, Dr Kipyego Cheluget said: “It is necessary to address the gender concerns and gaps adequately using different mechanisms including gender mainstreaming and women’s empowerment approaches to meet the aspirations of the Treaty.”


International

COVID-19, Women, Peace and Security Agenda and Multilateralism (African Union)

In the last three to four years, multilateralism has been under threat as evidenced in the global trading and economic management system, due in part to populism and isolationist policies in some countries. This has also affected global peace and security. Despite this, Africa has continued to demonstrate its commitment to multilateralism, grounding its actions on mutually beneficial cooperation in addressing the complex challenges of peace, security and development. Suddenly, in 2020, the world is facing an unprecedented health, economic and societal crisis arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. This crisis has brought to light deep-seated disparities in the world and glaring challenges that can lead to social unrest and insecurity. In addition, COVID-19 has demonstrated the weakness of the global financial system, impacting everyone and all pieces of the inter-connected chain, while the digital divide makes it near impossible for millions of boys and girls to access computers, new technology, thus educational and learning tools.

Re-centering multilateralism in our response plans to COVID-19 further calls on global solidarity for debt relief. Any relief offered must help to lift the disproportionate poverty burden from the shoulders and backs of women. New budgets must prioritize ending inequality between women and men - an urgent prerequisite for the survival and progress of all human beings in a ‘post’-COVID-19 world. This is also particularly significant as the continent observes a new decade of financial and economic inclusion of African women.

Height of fashion? Clothes mountains build up as recycling breaks down (Reuters)

The multi-billion-dollar trade in second-hand clothing helps prevent the global fashion industry’s growing pile of waste going straight to landfill, while keeping wardrobes clear for next season’s designs. But it’s facing a crisis. Exporters are struggling, as are traders and customers in often poorer nations from Africa to Eastern Europe and Latin America who rely on a steady supply of used clothes. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began early this year, textile recyclers and exporters have had to cut their prices to shift stock as lockdown measures restrict movement and business slows in end markets abroad. For many, it’s no longer commercially viable and they can’t afford to move merchandise.

ECA and IIF Host Private Investors, African Finance and Development Ministers to Discuss the Role of Private Capital During the Crisis, and Post-Pandemic Recovery (UNECA)

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Institute of International Finance (IIF) released the following statement after a virtual meeting of delegates representing African finance and development ministries, and the private creditor community to discuss the role of the private sector in supporting low-income countries through the COVID-19 crisis, and driving post-pandemic development.

Reform of the International Debt Architecture is Urgently Needed (IMF Blog)

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed debt levels to new heights. Compared to end-2019, average 2021 debt ratios are projected to rise by 20 percent of GDP in advanced economies, 10 percent of GDP in emerging market economies, and about 7 percent in low-income-countries. These increases come on top of debt levels that were already historically high. While many advanced economies still have the capacity to borrow, emerging markets and low-income countries face much tighter limits on their ability to carry additional debt.

Institutional reforms, political will key to gender inclusion- Sirleaf, UN, World Bank, others (Vanguard News)

Mainstreaming gender inclusion in governance requires institutional and legal reforms as well as deliberate efforts by political leaders to give women a fair chance to contribute their quota to development, according to panelists at the 1st Kwara State Gender Conference held on Thursday. “We set out to offer a strong platform to state and non-state actors alike to discuss domestic, bilateral and multilateral strategies to increase women’s participation in our societies. True to that, we are joined at this conference by some of the strongest voices in the clamour for better opportunities for women in Africa. Kwara State is actively taking the lead in the campaign for gender inclusion because we are convinced that a society works better and grows faster when no one is denied equal opportunities to succeed. And we have no regret pursuing this noble cause,” he said.

Annual report: Pandemic recovery must be measured in ‘human rather than economic terms’ (UN News)

In the Introduction, Secretary-General António Guterres said the international community should reflect on “our shared progress as well as... our vision and values”. He highlighted some of the Organization’s accomplishments, such as putting in place vital agreements that codify and protect human rights, setting ambitious goals for sustainable development, and charting a path towards a more balanced relationship with the natural world, among many others. In emerging from the COVID-19 crisis, the Secretary-General stressed the importance of multilateralism for a world based on fair globalization, the rights and dignity of everyone, and for “success measured in human rather than economic terms”.

Commonwealth countries look to unlock potential of FinTech (The Commonwealth)

An innovative toolkit to help countries unlock the potential of financial technology to deliver inclusive economic progress has been launched by the Commonwealth Secretariat. The toolkit has been created in response to the requests of Central Bank Governors from across many Commonwealth Secretariat with funding support from the Australian Government.