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Rwanda, South Africa sign mega dollar deals with China

China will invest $14.7 billion in South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Tuesday after talks between the two countries

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China will invest $14.7 billion in South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Tuesday after talks between the two countries.

The news sent the rand one percent firmer.

Speaking at the same event, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the world’s second-biggest economy would take active measures to expand imports from South Africa to support development in Africa’s most industrialised economy.

Ramaphosa, who has promised to revive the economy since becoming president in February and after winning the leadership of the ruling African National Congress last year, said “Xi has indicated that China is ready to invest and work with South Africa in various sectors.”

The rand firmed after Ramaphosa’s announcement, spurred by offshore demand for the currency, traders said.

South Africa’s struggling state-run power firm Eskom, which swung to a full year loss on Monday, received a $2.5 billion loan from the China Development Bank.

Ramaphosa has focused on revitalising Eskom, Africa’s largest public utility, which was embroiled in corruption scandals under former president Jacob Zuma and narrowly avoided a liquidity crunch early this year after banks halted lending. Zuma has denied wrongdoing.

South Africa’s logistics utility Transnet also received a cash injection, as well as other sectors of the economy, officials said.

Xi said China and South Africa were important emerging economies with similar perspectives on many global issues.

“Hence the need to strengthen cooperation,” Xi said.

Read Also: World’s largest refinery to cost $10bn; Dangote secures $650m loan

Meanwhile, Rwanda has signed loan agreements worth more than $300 million with China and India to fund roads and irrigation, officials said, as leaders from the two Asian powers made their first visits to the East African nation.
Jinping visited Rwanda from Sunday to Monday and granted a loan to build two roads while India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived on Monday.
Modi, who was on the way to a summit in South Africa, agreed $200 million in loans.

“With India we signed a loan of $100 million for irrigation in three separate areas in the country and $100 million for developing special economic zones,” Rwanda’s minister of finance Uzziel Ndagijimana told Reuters.

“With China we signed a loan agreement of $76 million for the road from Huye to Kibeho and for the new Bugesera airport access road it is $50 million,” Ndagijimana said.

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Nigeria’s finance ministry unveils system to monitor tax exemptions

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Nigeria’s Ministry of Finance has unveiled the Incentive Monitoring and Evaluation Platform (IMEP), a cutting-edge computer system meant to make it easier to keep an eye on the tax costs connected to import duty exemption certificates.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Wale Edun, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, said it was part of a larger plan to cut down on tax spending and make sure that fiscal policies were helping the country’s economy grow.

Edun said the IMEP was meant to change how the Federal Ministry of Finance figures out how much the tax breaks for businesses, non-governmental organizations, and foreign groups affect the economy.

Since President Bola Tinubu took office, Nigeria’s government has been trying to change the country’s fiscal and monetary policies. This has led to bold moves by both the central bank and the tax advisory committee run by Taiwo Oyedele.

Edun said the ministry wanted to improve the monitoring and review of these exemptions by putting in place a strong automated tool. He talked about how the IMEP has many useful features, such as a mechanism for clawing back duties, electronic report generation, a central database for tracking, factory geo-location tagging, industry qualification status validation, integration with many government agencies, and sending demand notices to people who don’t pay their taxes.

“One of the critical objectives of the IMEP is to provide a framework that will prevent ineligible applicants from receiving tax benefits, enforce compliance with fiscal policy measures, and offer a comprehensive analysis of the economic impact of tax incentives.

“By doing so, the ministry hopes to curb the misuse of tax expenditures, support the realisation of economic outcomes from fiscal incentives, and enhance the direct measurement of tax incentives’ effects on the economy,” he noted.

Edun says the system is meant to give a framework to checkmate and limit applicants who aren’t qualified, make sure that strict fiscal policy measures are followed, and give a strong analysis of how tax incentives affect the economy.

“Overall, the introduction of the IMEP represents a significant step towards reducing the cost of tax expenditure and ensuring that tax incentives have a positive impact on the Nigerian economy. This initiative is part of the government’s commitment to fostering transparency, accountability, and efficiency in the management of the nation’s resources,” he explained.

In December, the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) said it granted three years of tax exemption to 34 companies in 2023.

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Nigeria’s inflation hits 28-year high of 33.20%

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The recent gains of Nigeria’s Naira as the best-performing currency worldwide in the last month have had little or no impact on the consumer price index in the West African country as its inflation rate reached a 28-year high of 33.20%.

According to the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria’s inflation has continued its 15-month-a-row surge driven by soaring food and energy costs despite the central bank’s rate hikes aimed at halting its ascent.

This was 10.37% more than the 21.9% inflation rate seen in March 2023. Year-over-year, rural inflation was 31.45% in March 2024. Rural inflation fell from 2.9% in February 2024 to 2.87 % in March 2024, which was a 0.20 percentage point drop from February 2024.

It went up by 5.71% points from March 2023 to March 2024, when it was 19.79%. The average rural inflation rate for the twelve months finishing in March 2024 was 25.50%.

Food prices went up by 40.1% a year in March 2024, which was 15.56 percentage points more than the rate of 24.45% a year earlier. The statistics office said food and non-alcoholic beverages were the biggest contributors to the pickup in inflation. Food inflation rose to 40.01% year-on-year, from 37.92% a month earlier.

Since President Bola Tinubu ended an expensive gasoline subsidy and devalued the naira twice in his first year in office, price pressures have grown. To get the economy off of subsidies that have hurt the government’s finances, the government recently raised energy rates for people who use the most electricity.

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