22 Aug

Mozambique: Gas-Fired Power Station Plans to Triple Production

electricity generation

Maputo — The company Gigawatt-Mocambique plans to expand the electricity generation from its gas-fired power station at Ressano Garcia, on the border with South Africa from the current 120 to 350 megawatts.

Cited by the Maputo daily “Noticias”, the Gigawatt director of operations, Nazario Meguigy, said that an additional 60 megawatts of generating capacity will be added in 2018, with an investment of about 120 million US dollars.

The project to almost triple production, to 350 megawatts, will require a further 700 million dollars, and Meguigy, who was speaking during a visit to the power station by Deputy Labour Minister Osvaldo Petersburgo, said this sum is under negotiation with several financial institutions.

For his part, the Chief Executive Officer of Gigawatt-Mocambique, Bruno Morgado, said the company intends to transfer knowledge from foreign technical staff to their Mozambican colleagues, so that Mozambicans can guarantee the company’s production.

“When the company began its operations, we drew up a plan to reduce the number of foreign workers”, said Morgado. “We are in the second year of the plan and we think that within the next three years the company’s operations will be 100 per cent managed by Mozambicans”.

He added that, whenever necessary, specialists will be hired to support the Mozambican workers in such sensitive questions as the maintenance of equipment. Currently the Ressano Garcia power station employs 112 workers, of whom 102 are Mozambican.

“We have no doubt that, within the next three years, the company will be run by Mozambican workers”, he stressed.

source allAfrica

22 Aug

Nigeria: Government Joins 71 Countries to Combat Tax Evasion

Combat Tax Evasion

Lagos — Nigeria has joined 71 other countries to combat tax evasion as the Federal Inland Revenue Service has signed two major multilateral instruments.

These instruments are the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (MLI) and the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement‎ (CRS MCAA).

Chairman, Mr. Tunde Fowler, Executive Fowler signed the agreements on behalf of Nigeria in Paris, with Mr. Ben Dickinson, head of global relations and development division of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in attendance.

A statement issued by Pascal Saint-Amans, director of the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration (CTPA), said the signing of the agreements makes Nigeria the 71st jurisdiction to sign the MLI and the 94th jurisdiction to join the CRS MCAA.

The agreements will give Nigeria automatic exchange of tax and financial information among 101 tax jurisdictions and enhance the country’s ability and those of the other countries to contain tax avoidance and evasion as well as share financial data.

The MLI is a legal instrument designed to prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) by multinational enterprises. It allows jurisdictions to transpose results from the OECD/G20 BEPS Project, including minimum standards to implement in tax treaties to prevent treaty abuse and “treaty shopping”, into their existing networks of bilateral tax treaties in a quick and efficient manner.

The text of the MLI, the explanatory statement and background information are available on OECD website along with the list of the 71 jurisdictions participating in the MLI and the position of each signatory under the MLI.

The CRS MCAA is a multilateral competent authority agreement based on Article 6 of the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, which aims to implement the automatic exchange of financial account information pursuant to the OECD/G20 Common Reporting Standard (CRS) and to deliver the automatic exchange of CRS information between 101 jurisdictions by 2018.

The text of the CRS MCAA, background information and the list of the 94 signatories are available on OECD website. Saint-Amans explained that the agreements will provide “automatic exchange of tax and financial information among 101 tax jurisdictions and enhance the ability of countries to contain tax avoidance and evasion.

It would be recalled that Fowler has said with the introduction of Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), no Nigerian can evade tax payment.

According to him, the board has received positive response so far on the scheme. To improve tax compliance, the Federal Government said tax offenders stand to enjoy 29 per cent waiver on overdue taxes if they take advantage of VAIDS. The VAIDS programme is aimed at reducing tax payers’ liability and creates more awareness on the statutory function of every working citizen to pay tax.

The scheme which started July 1, offers a window for those who, before now, have not complied with extant tax regulations to remedy their positions by providing them limited amnesty to enable voluntary declaration and payment of liabilities.

source from allAfrica

22 Aug

West Africa: Morocco’s Controversial Plan to Strengthen Ties With West Africa

ECOWAS

Morocco is launching a charm offensive as the kingdom seeks to expand its influence in West Africa by joining the economic union ECOWAS. But Nigeria is reluctant to see Morocco join as it stands to lose power.

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI is making his country’s membership application to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) a top priority. Earlier this year, he visited Ghana, Ivory Coast, Guinea and Mali to promote his cause.

At its June summit in Monrovia, ECOWAS confirmed that Morocco’s membership was possible, at least in principle.

Back in January, Morocco had rejoined the African Union after 33 years. Since then, the king has been busy signing dozens of bilateral trade agreements with other African countries.

In recent years, at least 85 percent of Morocco’s direct foreign investment went to African countries. In 2016, it was the largest African investor on the continent, to the tune of $8 billion (6.8 billion euros). Of this, $2.7 million went to Ivory Coast alone.

However, trade with Africa overall is stagnating: In 2015, just 1.4 percent of Morocco’s imports and 7 percent of its exports were traded with sub-Saharan Africa. If Morocco were to join ECOWAS as a full member, it would have access to the 15-member free market.

A ‘win-win’ situation

From an economic standpoint, there is nothing preventing Morocco from achieving ECOWAS membership – the country is far better off than most other members in this regard. According to the economic community’s constitution, geography is also not a criterion to exclude the North African country.

Christoph Kannengießer, the chief executive officer of the German-African Business Association, says it’s a win-win situation: “ECOWAS will not be weakened by an economically strong country such as Morocco, and as an ECOWAS member, Morocco would be better able to fulfill its desired role as a bridge between Africa and Europe.”

However, before Morocco can formally join ECOWAS, the organization says the political, economic and social implications should be thoroughly considered. Although it is primarily considered an economic-based group, members of ECOWAS also aim for political integration. Morocco and ECOWAS already have opposing views on important issues: ECOWAS recognizes Western Sahara as an autonomous state, while Morocco believes the annexed region is a legitimate province of its kingdom. Although the June summit openly discussed the possible membership of Morocco, King Mohammed VI did not attend due to the presence of Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. The Moroccan government explained the monarch’s absence by saying that Morocco had no official diplomatic relations with Israel.

Searching for new allies

Morocco is currently a member of the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU). However, economic and political disagreements – especially between Morocco and Algeria – have prevented the group from making any real progress. No major meetings have taken place since 2008.

In addition, the economy of Morocco’s most important trading partner, the European Union (EU), is faltering. New allies and new markets for Moroccan products are needed – and with a combined population of 350 million, ECOWAS could turn out to be the perfect partner.

“The Moroccans are pursuing a double-edged political strategy,” Kannengießer told DW. On the one hand, the country is seeking a privileged relationship with Europe. On the other hand, it is also trying to strengthen its integration with other countries on the African continent.

“The Moroccans know that the African continent, especially West Africa, is an important region of growth, not only from an economic perspective, but in terms of political influence as well,” he says. He says it is necessary to discuss whether economic intergration necessarily leads to political integration.

‘An attack on Nigeria’

However Nigeria, the strongest economic player in ECOWAS, is reluctant to see Morocco receive membership. A number of interest groups have already lobbied the government in Abuja, calling on it to try and stop the North African country’s admission.

Nigeria currently makes up more than two-thirds of ECOWAS’ economic power. If Morocco were to join, it would become the second-strongest member, with more economic clout than Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Mali combined.

“Morocco’s accession to ECOWAS is clearly an attack on Nigeria and its strategic position in West Africa,” says former Nigerian Foreign Minister Bolaji Akinyemi. He argues that supporters of Morocco’s candidacy want to weaken Nigeria’s influence in the region and that in the event of its accession, Nigeria should leave ECOWAS.

“I don’t think ECOWAS would survive that,” says Akinyemi. In order not to jeopardize economic cooperation, he instead recommends the development of bilateral agreements between Nigeria and Morocco.

“I think that economic pragmatism will play an important role in Nigeria as well,” says Kannengießer.

He says he can imagine several possible outcomes of Morocco’s application to ECOWAS, including full membership, privileged integration status or even simply observer status as an interim solution.

“But perhaps the whole thing could fail in the event of Nigeria’s veto,” he added.

Source from allAfrica

09 Aug

Kenya election 2017: Raila Odinga says election systems hacked

Hacked

Kenya opposition presidential candidate Raila Odinga has said the electoral commission’s IT system has been hacked to manipulate the election results.

He rejected early results from Tuesday’s vote indicating a strong lead for President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The electoral commission has not yet responded to Mr Odinga’s accusation, but politicians have called for calm.

Many fear a repeat of the violence after a disputed election 10 years ago.

More than 1,100 Kenyans died and 600,000 were displaced following the 2007 vote.

Mr Odinga said that the hackers gained access to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) computer system by using the identity of the commission’s IT manager, Chris Msando, who was killed last month.

The opposition leader had earlier told journalists the results coming in were “fake”, because the authorities had failed to present documents verifying the results.

Electoral officials say that with 91% of results in, Mr Kenyatta is leading with about 54.5%, to Mr Odinga’s 44.6%.

These results mean Mr Kenyatta appears to be heading for a first-round victory. In order to avoid a run-off, a candidate needs 50% plus one of the votes cast and at least a 25% share of the vote in 24 of Kenya’s 47 counties.

There were eight candidates in all, but apart from Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga none polled more than 0.3% of the vote.

What is Mr Odinga’s complaint about the vote?

The opposition has described the results being released online as a “fraud” because they were not accompanied by original result forms 34A and 34B from the polling stations.

“They are fictitious, they are fake,” said Mr Odinga.

He said that the results were “the work of a computer” and did not reflect the will of voters.

“We have our projections from our agents which show we are ahead by far,” he added.

Opposition officials have said that, despite assurances from the electoral commission, they still have not received the result forms.

What does the electoral commission say?

The electoral commission has been urging people to wait calmly for the full results of Tuesday’s vote.

“During this critical phase, we urge all Kenyans to exercise restraint as we await official results from the polling stations and indeed as they start trickling in,” the commission said.

However, it admitted that a lack of mobile data coverage had delayed the delivery of the supporting documents, forms 34A and 34B.
There had been reports on election day of the failure of some voter-identification equipment. Also, one in four polling stations were apparently without mobile phone coverage, meaning that officials were asked to drive to the nearest town to send results.
The presidential candidates’ agents would have “special access” to the forms, though, the electoral commission said.
The Daily Nation newspaper quoted commission head Ezra Chiloba as saying only results supported by the forms had been published.
How did the voting go?
Voting passed off largely peacefully and some polling stations remained open after the scheduled 17:00 (14:00 GMT) closing time.
People started queuing early to ensure they could cast their vote. Long queues could be seen, and video footage at one polling station showed people injured after an apparent stampede.

There were reports that one man had been killed in clashes in the Kilifi area.

But there was one heartening moment when a woman gave birth to a baby girl as she queued in West Pokot to cast her ballot. New mother Pauline Chemanang called the circumstances of the birth a “blessing” and called her baby Kura, Swahili for “ballot”, according to local radio.

However, in the run-up to election day, a top election official was murdered, there were claims of vote-rigging and hate speech flyers and rhetorical text messages began circulating.

Some nervous Kenyans stockpiled food and water, while police prepared emergency first aid kits in the event of violence.

What is at stake?

Mr Kenyatta is hoping for a second term in office.

Voting for the national and local assemblies has also been taking place

Mr Odinga, 72, has run for president three times and lost each time. President Kenyatta, the 55-year-old son of Kenya’s founding president, beat him in the last election in 2013, but their rivalry is generations old – their fathers were political opponents in the 1960s.

Mr Kenyatta and his running-mate William Ruto were indicted by the International Criminal Court for their alleged roles in the bloodshed a decade ago. The case ultimately collapsed due to lack of evidence, and after key witnesses died or disappeared.

  • Six separate ballot papers: For president, national assembly, female representatives, governors, senate and county assemblies
  • 47 parliamentary seats and 16 senate seats reserved for women
  • Eight presidential candidates: President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga are favourites
  • Kenyatta beat Odinga in 2013 – their fathers were also political rivals in the 1960s
  • A candidate needs 50% plus one vote for first-round victory
  • More than 14,000 candidates running across the six elections
  • More than 45% of registered voters under 35
  • Some 180,000 security officers on duty nationwide in case of trouble

Read full article on BBC

08 Aug

Kenya: Polls Open in Centers Countrywide Amid Tight Security

Nairobi — Polls have opened in Kenya's high stakes election

Nairobi — Polls have opened in Kenya’s high stakes election, with voters having started streaming to polling stations as early as 1am.

Voting has already started in most parts of the country.

Anxious voters camped throughout the night at various polling stations ready to cast the vote on Tuesday morning, signaling a likely high voter turnout in the Kenya vote.

At the Moi Avenue Primary School Polling Station in Nairobi’s Starehe Constituency, hundreds of voters started lining up at 11pm and more were streaming in at 1am, five hours ahead of 6am when polls were set to open.

“I thought I am the only one coming early… I am surprised at the number of people here and the more that are coming,” Peter Mureithi said, having joined the queue shortly before midnight Monday.

The polling station is the largest in the city centre, and the queue was already past the Globe Cinema Interchange a few meters from Moi Avenue.

Most of the voters who chose to spend the night at the poll station were hawkers from around the city who wanted to vote early and carry on with their work.

“It was easier for us to stay here than go home then come back here early in the morning. We have our jobs to do and our families to feed but we also want to exercise our constitutional right to vote for the leaders we want,” one of the voters who identified herself as Muthoni said.

Another voter added: “There is no sleeping today. If we have to, we will do so while sitting here. We want to be among the first ones to vote and by 9am all of us should be back to work. Above all, we want to vote peacefully.”

The call for peace resonated with everyone we spoke to with all calling for restraint and people to accept the results.

“Everyone has a right to vote and we should all be ready to accept the results. There is no need to fight because of elections. We are all Kenyans irrespective of tribe. If we fight, will any of the candidates come to bring us food in our houses?” Calvin Otieno, another voter said after joining the queue at midnight.

Another one added: “These politicians always say we are the stupid ones because for them at the end of the day they will be friends, call each other brother and son while we are fighting with each other for them. We must be friends too.”

There was heavy security at the polling station, with more than 10 police officers patrolling the area.

Starehe is one of the constituencies in the city which will witness a bare knuckle fight for the new Member of Parliament with the battle pitting youngsters; businessman Steve Mbogo, musician Charles ‘Jaguar’ Njagua and activist Boniface Mwangi.

via allAfrica

08 Aug

Nigeria: Govt Announces 27 Industries to Enjoy Tax Break Under Pioneer Status (Full List)

The federal Nigerian government on Monday released the full list of the 27 key industries and products who will enjoy a tax break

The federal Nigerian government on Monday released the full list of the 27 key industries and products who will enjoy a tax break, being included in the revised list of ‘pioneer status’ incentives for prospective investors.

At the end of the meeting of the Executive Council of the Federation, FEC, last week, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, disclosed the approval given to the 27 industries.

Mr. Enelamah did not, however, list the 27 industries.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, later confirmed that the creative industry was among the 27.

Earlier, the trade and investment ministry announced the lifting of the administrative suspension on processing pioneer status incentives, PSI, applications for prospective investors in the country.

Some of the benefits of the pioneer status include tax relief, mainly for corporate income tax.

Here is the full list of the 27 industries to enjoy the pioneer status.

Mining and processing of coal;

Processing and preservation of meat/poultry and production of meat/poultry products;

Manufacture of starches and starch products;

Processing of cocoa;

Manufacture of animal feeds;

Tanning and dressing of Leather;

Manufacture of leather footwear, luggage and handbags;

Manufacture of household and personal hygiene paper products;

Manufacture of paints, vanishes and printing ink;

Manufacture of plastic products (builders’ plastic ware) and moulds;

Manufacture of batteries and accumulators;

Manufacture of steam generators;

Manufacture of railway locomotives, wagons and rolling stock;

Manufacture of metal-forming machinery and machine tools;

Manufacture of machinery for metallurgy;

Manufacture of machinery for food and beverage processing;

Manufacture of machinery for textile, apparel and leather production;

Manufacture of machinery for paper and paperboard production;

Manufacture of plastics and rubber machinery;

Waste treatment, disposal and material recovery;

E-commerce services;

Software development and publishing;

Motion picture, video and television programme production, distribution, exhibition and photography;

Music production, publishing and distribution;

Real estate investment vehicles under the Investments and Securities Act;

Mortgage backed securities under the Investments and Securities Act; and

Business process outsourcing

Via AllAfrica 

07 Aug

Mashaba’s Joburg is not ‘bankrupt’, says finance MMC

Parks Tau alleged that South African government is bankrupt

The ANC’s Parks Tau has alleged that Herman Mashaba’s government is bankrupt after he left it with a ‘positive balance sheet of ‘R1.7bn’.

The City of Johannesburg has denied allegations made by the African National Congress in Johannesburg on Sunday about the city’s financial position.

“The comments are nothing more than the ANC’s attempt at reviving [former mayor] Parks Tau’s political career from the ashes,” mayoral committee member for finance Rabelani Dagada said.

“The truth of the matter is that under ANC administration, the city and its finances were run in an environment of chaos and disorder, all of which allowed a culture of corruption to fester and flourish. Since coming into office, we have learnt that almost 19 percent of the city’s R55 billion budget has, over years, been lost to corruption,” he said.

“The management of the city’s finances is a matter of public interest. We welcome scrutiny into the city’s finances by our residents. However, I would caution that the city’s finances should never be used as an instrument for petty politics.

“Stakeholders such as the Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA), National Treasury, and Investors City keep us honest and constantly advise us on how finances can improve. The financial performance for the financial year (FY) 2016/17 is yet to be audited by the AGSA and any proclamation on the figures undermines the role of the Auditor-General South Africa,” Dagada said.

Among other things, in terms of revenue collection for 2016/17, the unaudited numbers showed a significant reduction in the variance between the budgeted and actual revenue collected compared to 2015/16. There was an improvement from R3.4 billion negative variance in 2015/16 to R2.7 billion negative variance for 2016/17. In March and June 2017, revenue collected exceeded R3 billion, the first time ever revenue collection exceeded R3 billion for two months.

Total revenue collection in 2015/16 was R34.9 billion versus an improved collection of R35.2 billion in 2016/17. “We also asses our revenue collection performance through the financial ratios, and our forecasted debt to revenue ratio is 40.7 percent, well within our target. Our main liquidity ration measure, cost coverage ratio is also projected to be a healthy 36 days, well above National Treasury benchmark,” he said.

The city’s 2017/18 budget was assessed by National Treasury and found to be funded.

“There are many customers in the city that we believe were not being billed for the three metered services – electricity, water, and sewerage. The plans that we proclaimed during the state of the city address and the budget speech of collecting more revenue are already being implemented.”

The so-called “billing crisis” was never reduced but rather “swept under the carpet” during the previous ANC administration by way of reduced credit management, which reduced customer complaints; increasing customer indebtedness by the “pay for what you are not disputing model”; and “fake actual readings”, which were called “calculated actuals”.

In terms of the city’s liquidity status, as at June 2017, the closing cash balance was between R3 billion and R4 billion. It should also be noted that liquidity had been deteriorating year-on-year due to the billing problems that went unresolved under the watch of the previous administration. The city’s current cash balances were around R4 billion.

The city paid all its short-term financial obligations as they fell due. The city continued to pay salaries and its creditors. Creditors were paid in compliance with the National Treasury requirement that suppliers should be paid within 30 days of receiving a valid tax invoice.

As for the short-term borrowing in the 2017/18 financial year the city could confirm that council had approved raising up to R3 billion from the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) to manage potential cash flow mismatches that might arise in the future.

“The city’s finances are in a sound position. The DA-led administration has made tremendous progress since taking office to ensure that we run a clean administration following acceptable governance practices. The financial state of affairs will be revealed by the AGSA when he issues his report in November 2017.

“We have increased access to basic services, including electricity, to unprecedented levels, including through our new micro-grids in informal settlements. We have increased investment in roads and traffic signals which are the arteries of life and commerce in this great city, upgrading our key bridges and highways as we go.

“It’s totally inaccurate for the ANC Joburg to purport that under mayor [Herman] Mashaba’s tenure the City of Johannesburg’s financial stability has been in a state of perpetual decline or precarious. This is a characterisation of their time in government. Should the ANC continue on their present path, they will not only expose themselves as failed government but a failed opposition party as well,” Dagada said.

– African News Agency (ANA)