Browsing: EAC


While all other agricultural exports are suffering reduced demand owing to the Covid-19 global pandemic, that is not the case for tobacco which has recorded remarkable increase in sales at the beginning of the marketing season.

Reports from Zimbabwe say export of flue-cured tobacco is stable and prices are firm, with tobacco sales having increased more than quadrupled over the cause of the last and the present season. Last season closed with sales of USD232 008 but this season has opened with sales of USD1 598 230 that is a 588 percent increase!

As market season opened at the start of the month, an impressive USD1.6 million was sold. With attractive prices that begun above USD 5 per kilogramme, farmers were more than willing to sell. Only three days after the marketing season opened, farmers had sold almost 700 000 kilogrammes of tobacco.

The country’s Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board …

Members of Parliament in Tanzania are urging the government to consider giving tax breaks to businesses in a bid to help them stay afloat.

Alternatively, the government is encouraged, through the Central Bank, to scrap interest on loans so that borrowers do not fall into default.

At the moment, despite the global slowdown, businesses are still operational but they are operating way below their year revenue projections. Already, at the start of the second quarter, the country is facing potentially huge loan defaults by both large corporations as well as small and medium sized companies.

Big businesses are now turning to the government to intervene. While the Central Bank, the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) has already issued a stimulus package for commercial banks, the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) is working on an arrangement to save large borrowers from mega defaults that would in effect ripple throughout the economy.

Commercial …

coffee wars

Once upon a time in Kenya, tea and coffee were the big players, the rulers of the country’s agribusiness the top foreign exchange earners.

However with time passing the crops contribution to annual earnings kept falling, because the farmers were simply not getting paid in time. The peasants’ payment was little and delayed.

As a result, production and quality of the coffee and tea out remained poor and could not earn the country its potential income from the sector.

Now the government has set aside USD15 million to revitalize the sector. The funding is from the World Bank which is meant to compliment another USD30 million that Kenya set aside back in January.

What is to be learnt here is not just the will to revitalize the coffee and tea sectors but also the willingness to admit what the problem was in the first place, slow and low payment of …

The falling price of crude oil spells good favour for importers in Africa. The price of crude has been on a steady drop despite attempts by producers to cut output. As a result, many African countries are taking advantage of the situation and stock piling their reserves.

Take for instance the case of East Africa, crude oil represents more than 20 percent of Tanzania’s annual imports. So a drop in price of crude means the country can afford to buy more and reserve for future use. However no official report has been issued as to the government policy on the matter.

The issue that arises here is the matter of crude versus refined oil. Africa, Tanzania included, imports refined oil which is more costly than crude but with falling prices of crude then follows that  even the price of refined oil has taken a dive

As such, the country is …


Countries neighbouring Tanzania including Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia have barred truck drivers from the country to cross their borders. The development comes as cases of the COVID-19 in Tanzania now reach 480 with 196 new cases reported both on the mainland and on the island of Zanzibar.

Of these, 174 are from Tanzania Mainland and the other 22 are from spice isles of Zanzibar. The grim news gets only worse with the announcement of six more deaths bringing the total number of deaths to 16.

Not all is doom and gloom, there are reports of 167 people recovering from the virus and of these, 36 are from Zanzibar and 83 are from the Mainland.

Meanwhile, truck drivers are protesting the strict border measures placed on transit vehicles. For example, at the Mutukula border with Uganda, it is reported that several drivers have tested positive for the coronavirus and been denied …


Rwanda is poised to launch what it refers to as the ‘COVID-19 recovery fund’ that will serve to finance economic recovery efforts post the virus pandemic.

Among the sectors slated to benefit from the recovery fund is the country’s tourism sector. It only makes sense since, the tourism sector is one of the most affected sectors along with the catering and hospitality sectors as well.

In so doing Rwanda, which actually called for an emergency East Africa Community (EAC)  Heads of State meeting to deliberate regional response to the coronavirus pandemic, has again set precedent been the first country in the region to set aside recovery funds for the coronavirus aftermath.

The affected businesses across various economic sectors will be afforded access to low interest and even interest free loans. The loans are expected to help the business get back on their feet serving as operating capital.

Of these, it …


Most businesses are looking for digital options to conduct their businesses and banks are no exception. Already the economy was tipping towards digitizing most all its activities but with the onslaught of the coronavirus, digitizing is no longer optional but a must.

Banks are now pushing for 100 percent digital migration of their customers seeking at least 90 percent of their services to be offered remotely. In Tanzania, CRDB Bank has announced that it is aiming to increase online and simbanking to 90 percent by the end of the year.

To achieve this goal, the bank has launched a campaign to mobilize online and mobile phone services for all their customers. The bank is now working to raise public awareness and increase use on online services rather than going with the traditional way of standing in line at the bank.

The press release quotes a high ranking bank official, the …

For over two months now, companies in Tanzania are holding back contractor payments blaming it on the global coronavirus crisis.

Chinese companies are particularly in the spotlight with contractors complaining of delayed payments for goods delivered and services done. In an exclusive with this paper, an aggregate mine operator (name withheld) said payments due to the company from Chinese companies are still pending two months down the road.

This is the exact scenario that the government tried to evade when it throughout the Central Bank, Bank of Tanzania, it released a stimulus package to cushion the economy to ensure business stay liquid and are able to make all due payments.

It is not far fetched to think companies are taking advantage of the ongoing health crisis not to pay their debts or even government taxes and fees. I mean, non performing loans and tax evasion were profound well before the …

The higher your salary, the higher your taxes, that is why it is called P.A.Y.E that is Pay-As-You-Earn. You earn more, you pay more, its that simple, or is it.

Apparently it is not that simple. Companies are giving the top management and expatriates leeway to weasel out of the earning tax. You see, PAYE is a function of your earning that is, it is tax deducted from your monthly salary.

The way it works is that you earn a gross amount from which taxes are deducted and your pension contribution is also deducted as well. What remains after these deductions is your take home salary otherwise called net salary.

Legal consultant for corporate law in Tanzania Mr. Peter Makinda told a press conference that to keep their salaries up, top management in many companies under report their gross earnings for themselves on the one hand and to attract expatriates …


The price for crude oil is down 60 percent since the year started and it is only tumbling further, global oil news reports.

On the one hand, analysts blame the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and on the other the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia is said to have contributed to the sharp drop.

Even the movers and shakers are feeling the pinch, oil in the US plummeted 34%, crude oil falling by 26%, and brent oil falling 24%. Associated Press reports that prices this week dropped to an 18 year all time low of under USD20 a barrel for the US.

Speculators say it is the best time to invest, pessimists would have you shy away from taking the risk.

The idea is a simple business law, buy when prices are low and sell when prices peak, so technically, the advice to buy into the oil business now is …