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Army Rescues 15 Women, 6 Children Kidnapped in Northern Mozambique



Jihadists kill 12 in northern Mozambique

Mozambican Army has rescued 21 people kidnapped by Islamist militants in Cabo Delgado, the country’s police boss has said.

Bernardino Rafael, the commander-general of the Police of the Republic of Mozambique (PRM), said the 21 – which included 15 women and 6 children- were kidnapped from the gas-rich province last week.

“Recent fighting meant the security forces knew where the militants were located, so with the assistance of helicopters they were able to track down and isolate the abductees,” he said.

They will be taken back to Matemo, which has suffered militant attacks since October.

But the police chief said the island was now safe.

The militants, known locally as al-Shabab, or the youth, have launched a series of attacks on villages and towns in the area over the past three years

More recently they have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, and are known for their gruesome attacks, which include the beheading of villagers and the torching of houses.

They tend to kidnap women and children, who are used as sex slaves and to transport looted goods following attacks.

Over the weekend, the US defense department said that Anthony Tata, its acting under secretary for policy, had visited Mozambique last Friday to hold meetings with government ministers about the importance of a strategic plan to bring stability to Cabo Delgado.

A statement from the US embassy says it will disburse $42m (£31m) for humanitarian and socio-economic development projects in the northern region.

These efforts and others, according to ambassador Dennis Hearne, are part of the $500m annual assistance given to the Mozambique by the US.

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East Africa Business News

Zambia, IMF Plan on Credit Extension Meet in February



Fredson Yamba, Zambia’s Secretary to the Treasury, says his country will next month hold a virtual meeting with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to negotiate an extended credit facility.

The virtual meeting will be held from February 1 to March 3, 2021, Yamba said.

According to Yamba, the meeting comes in the wake of a request by the Zambian government last November for a formal programme and a visit by an IMF team in December.

The meeting will be held under the Extended Credit Facility window which provides financial assistance to countries with protracted balance of payments challenges, a situation which the southern African nation faces.

The programme discussions will centre on the government’s objectives to attain fiscal and debt sustainability and on key pillars in the country’s economic recovery programme, he said in a release.

“In line with the need to stabilise the economy and gain traction on its reform agenda, the government as espoused in the economic recovery programme, 2020-2023, and prior cabinet approvals have prioritised having a formal programme with the IMF,’’ he added.

The talks, he said, will also focus on the need to scale up social protection programmes and undertake the much-needed reforms in the agriculture and energy sectors.

Zambia is seeking a financing agreement with the international lender to tackle its battered economy, which is getting worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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East Africa Business News

Kenya Power, World Bank to Provide 55,000 SMEs with Smarts Meters



Bernard Ngugi, the Managing Director and CEO of Kenya Power, says the state-owned electricity firm is set to distribute 55,000 smart meters to customers in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).

According to Ngugi, the World Bank-funded project is part of the Kenya Electricity Modernisation Project

He added that the smart meters are enhanced with the capability of detecting electricity distribution errors and alerting the distribution company.

“The combined benefits of error-free data, prompt network problem identification, and audit of energy consumption will go a long way in enhancing service delivery to our customers in the SME sector,” Ngugi said.

Kenya Power said the smart metering plan will cover 20% of the medium-sized companies supplied by the electricity power firm.

The smart meters are part of an Advanced Metering Infrastructure that facilitates two-way communication between the company and the customer.

The platform gives customers access to real-time information on their consumption patterns and billing thus allowing them to assess their energy usage through an online customer portal.

In the event of any outage, the smart-meters are able to communicate directly with the company’s National Contact Centre which facilitates immediate resolution and enhances efficiency as the Kenya Power teams are alerted promptly.

Additionally, the smart meter also sends a notification to the customer via SMS. The project covers 20% of the company’s SME customers.

The company plans to install the smart meters for all SMEs by the end of the 2023/2024 financial year.

“We believe that the advanced metering technology will further enhance customer satisfaction based on the visibility and prompt detection of power usage and also reduce technical losses which are key to ensuring reliable and quality supply of power,” Mr. Ngugi said.

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Social Media Influencers in Kenya to Pay Digital Service Tax

Key stakeholders have since been eagerly waiting to see how the Kenya Revenue Authority would implement Digital Service Tax under the Finance Act 2020.



Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has announced the introduction of a new Digital Service Taxes (DST) which all influencers doing business on digital platforms will now have to pay.

The taxman noted in a public notice, that there now are increasing numbers of influencers who do not file tax returns or pay taxes on transactions.

“Social media influencers will be liable to pay digital service tax since their income is derived from or accrued from the provision of services through a digital marketplace or by providing digital advertising services in Kenya,” the statement read in part.

The taxman described an influencer as a person who commands a large following on social media platforms through the products or services they use or engage in to drive sales or merely for fame and popularity.

The 2020 Finance Act introduced DST on income from services provided via the digital marketplace in Kenya and will be applied at 1.5 per cent on the gross transaction value (exclusive of VAT).

“Kindly note the tax will be collected and remitted by agents appointed by the commissioner of Domestic Taxes,” Kenya Revenue Authority added.

The authority said last week, that it was targeting it was targeting more than 1,000 businesses and persons under the new digital taxes, adding that the tax shall be due at the time of transfer of payment for the service to the service provider.

A person will be subject to DST if they provide or facilitate provision of a service to a user who is located in Kenya.

Key stakeholders have since been eagerly waiting to see how the Kenya Revenue Authority would implement Digital Service Tax under the Finance Act 2020.

The exact scope of the transactions that fall under the ambit of new tax and the mechanism through which KRA would collect and administer it, has since raised lots of concern among Kenyans.

According to Kenya Revenue Authority, for residents and companies which are permanently established in Kenya, the DST will be offset against the income taxes which is due in the year of income.

As for companies and non-residents without a permanent establishment in Kenya, DST will be a final tax.

The regulations have listed out a number of transactions taking place on digital platforms that attract the new tax.

Many have argued that social media influencers in Kenya are not high income earners, and in some instances push political agenda, further questioning if the tax will fall on the politicians themselves.

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