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Tunisia to receive $247 million IMF loan tranche1 minute read

The IMF approval will open the way for Tunisia to sell bonds worth up to $800 million this year.

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IMF suspends Kenya's $1.5 billion loan talks
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The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday, approved the payment of a $247 million loan tranche to Tunisia, the sixth under its loan program with the North African country, according to Minister of Reforms, Taoufik Rajhi.

Tunisia struck a deal with the IMF in December 2016 for a loan program worth around $2.8 billion to overhaul its ailing economy. It included steps to cut chronic deficits and trim bloated public services.

Related: Court nullifies secret loans taken by Mozambique government

This will bring total disbursements to about $1.6 billion since 2016. 

The IMF approval will open the way for Tunisia to sell bonds worth up to $800 million this year.

Tunisia needs around $2.5 billion in external financing in 2019, officials said.

The country has been hailed as the Arab Spring’s only democratic success because protests toppled autocrat, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011 without triggering violent upheaval, as happened in Syria and Libya. 

Related: Kenya seeks $750 million World Bank loan for budget support

But since 2011, nine cabinets have failed to resolve Tunisia’s economic problems, which include high inflation and unemployment, and impatience is rising among lenders such as the IMF, which have kept the country afloat 

The IMF had wanted Tunisia to freeze public-sector wages – the bill for which doubled to about 16 billion dinars ($5.5 billion) in 2018 from 7.6 billion dinars in 2010. 

In order to cut the energy deficit demanded by the IMF, the government last March, raised fuel prices, the fifth hike in 12 months. 

The parliament also approved last April, a law to raise the retirement age for civil servants by two years and impose social security taxes on employees and employers, another key reform demanded by the country’s international lenders to stabilize its finances.

Related: IMF, Congo Republic provisionally agree on three-year loan deal

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Uganda Establishes First Free Zone at Entebbe Airport

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The government of Uganda through the Uganda Free Zone Authority (UFZA) has finalised plans to establish the first public free zone at Entebbe International Airport. The free zone is projected to boost export-oriented investment in the country.

The project will be implemented by the National Enterprise Corporation (NEC) on a five acre piece of land acquired from the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) at the Entebbe International Airport premises.

Under the arrangement, the project targets sectors which include food processing, mineral processing, warehousing, storage and simple assembly, where all operators in the public free zone will process their products for onward export through Entebbe International Airport.

The development of the Public Free Zone projected to cost UGX 48billion will, on completion house seven production units and trade houses such as offices of the Uganda Free Zones Authority, Uganda Revenue Authority, and other government offices to promote enterprise. The Government of Uganda (GoU) has already awarded UGX 12.5 Billion for the first phase of the project.

Speaking at the site handover event, Hez Kimoomi Alinda, the Uganda Free Zones Authority Executive Director, said the project is expected to contribute cargo volumes, create hundreds of direct jobs and significantly improve Uganda’s exports.

“On completion, the project will support increased production quality assurance and value addition to commodities that are widely produced by the masses to improve household incomes, create employment and eliminate poverty as well as improve the value of Uganda’s exports,” he said.

Alinda was speaking while handing over the site for the construction of the Entebbe International Airport Free Zone at which he said they had acquired five acres from the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority for the development and contracted National Enterprise Corporation, the commercial arm of the UPDF for the construction.

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Somali Petroleum Authority Appoints Independent Directors

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The Somali Petroleum Authority (SPA) has announced the appointment of six Independent Directors to its Board, each representing a Member State and one Independent Director representing the Federal Government – following the approval of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers.

The announcement follows the appointment of Ibrahim Hussein as Chairman and Chief Executive of the SPA, representing the Federal Government, and is in line with the provisions of the Petroleum Law.

The Board will oversee all the SPA’s activities to ensure that it develops a sustainable and competitive industry in the interests of all Somali people, in keeping with its mandate.

The newly appointed Board Members to the SPA are Asha Osman Ahmed, Vice Chair and Board Member representing Banadir Regional Authority;
Ibrahim Ahmed Layte, Board Member representing Hirshabelle State;
Abdulkadir Aden Mohamud, Board Member representing Galmudug State;
Ibrahim Abdulkadir Mohamed, Board Member representing South West State; Ahmed Haji Abdi, Board Member representing Jubaland State;
Abdihafid Ali Dirir, Board Member representing Somaliland State; and
Mahad Mohamed Sh. Hassan, Board member representing the Federal Government.

There are nine positions on the Board of the SPA representing seven Members States and two representing the Federal Government. The Board focuses on the SPA’s long-term objectives and priorities to be one of the world’s leading petroleum authorities, promoting the development of a sustainable oil and gas industry. Specifically, the Board will ensure that the regulatory and fiscal regime being developed will apply the principles of equality, openness, accountability, transparency and non-discrimination in the interests of all the Somali people. The Board is committed to upholding the highest standards of health and safety for people in all activities relating to the exploration of petroleum in Somalia, as well as maintaining world-class environmental standards. Moreover, the Board will work to maintain sound risk management, internal control systems and reviews on the efficacy of these annually.

In June 2019, The Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources announced details of the Petroleum Ownership Management and Revenue Sharing Agreement between the Federal Government and its Member States, which delivers by far the highest percentage of potential revenues from the industry to non-Federal institutions of any comparable agreement. The structure of the Board, with seven of its nine members representing the Member States, will underpin the SPA’s commitment to develop the petroleum industry in the interests of all the Somali people.

Commenting on the appointment Ibrahim Hussein, Chairman and Chief Executive, said: “We are very excited to welcome new colleagues onto the Board of the newly established SPA, as together we work to develop the country’s petroleum industry. The structure of our Board will ensure that all the Member States are able to help shape the development of the industry in the interests of the whole country. The SPA is committed to rigorous standards of corporate governance in order to achieve our goal of attracting international investment to maximize the economic recovery of the country’s oil and gas reserves. This will enable Member States to significantly increase investment in education, transport, agriculture and healthcare infrastructure.”

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Anonymous Didn’t Hack Our Website – First Bank

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Anonymous, an online network known for launching cyberattacks against government institutions, has reportedly hacked the website of First Bank of Nigeria Limited.

But the financial institution has denied the hack.

A visit to the bank’s website at 01:30pm showed that it had been brought down completely.

In a string of tweets, Anonymous confirmed bringing down the bank’s website while alleging that the bank deducted money from the accounts of customers who are in support of the #EndSARS campaign.

Anonymous also accused the bank of instructing its staff not to join the #EndSARS campaign.

It stated, “Now #ENDSARSOPPRESSION Official website of First Banks Nigeria has been taken #Offline. You remove money from users because they support #EndSARS.

“We #Anonymous have taken-down your website in support of #EndSARS

“You will pay for your actions. you should have expected us!

“Enjoy your server taken down. no money is gone.”

Anonymous, however, said it would restore the website after it “keep it down for some time”.

However, First Bank said the website was never brought down in the first place.

The bank said, “Our attention has been drawn to the tweet making the rounds on social media on shutting down the FirstBank website following a false tweet that the Bank prevented staff from joining the ongoing protests in the country.

“As the largest banking institution in Nigeria, it is not unlikely that we may be seen as a target in circumstances such as these. This is rather unfortunate as we believe far-reaching reform is necessary and we have said as much on a number of occasions across our platforms.

“In the process of change, some pain will be borne by all and some anger may well be misdirected. We understand this as a part of the process of the struggle.

“”We have a large staff strength and an even larger customer base who may be affected by any disruption and this would be a pity as a number are also contributing in many ways to ensure that voices are heard and required action is taken.

“We have been consistent in our message on the need to end all brutality and carry out necessary reforms. We will continue to lend our voice accordingly.”

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