Africa Business News
South Africa advised to seek fund from IMF
The Institute of International Finance has advised South Africa to seek funding from the International Monetary Fund given its high debt levels, large capital outflows and a potentially deep recession.
The IIF said it expected South Africa’s economy to contract by 2.5 percent in 2020, but said waning demand, travel restrictions and pandemic-related closures could lead to a deeper recession.
The group, which was created by 38 banks in leading industrialised countries, called South Africa's economic situation "increasingly untenable". It said entering a program with the IMF could bring much-needed funding and help shore up investor confidence.
Nigeria delays planned increase in electricity tariff
Nigeria's Power Minister, Sale Mamman, says the country will postpone, by at least three months, planned electricity tariff increases as its citizens struggle with coronavirus lockdowns. Mamman made the announcement in a tweet. He said the first price increase since 2015, which was scheduled to take effect on Wednesday, will take place only when distribution companies “improve quality of supply, meter consumers and agree with consumers on rates.
Taraba state Government orders closure of markets and worship center
Taraba State government has ordered the closure of all markets, shops and worship centres in the state to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The shutdown is expected to commence from Thursday, April 2. At a press briefing, the Deputy Governor, Haruna Manu, warned that the measure taken should not be allowed to cause panic buying, hoarding or hike in prices of goods and services.
Manu explained that essential services like pharmacies, food stores and petrol service stations were exempted from the order.
He said the state government will study the implications of its directive by giving periodic updates on the situation so that it does not impact negatively on the people.
NNPC seeks smooth movement of petroleum tankers
Meanwhile, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has appealed to law enforcement agencies across the country to allow free movement of petroleum products during the lockdown of Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The group, in a statement, said the exemption granted by President Muhammadu Buhari to certain categories of essential workers covers the operations of petroleum products tanker drivers. The group also advised motorists not to engage in panic buying, noting that NNPC holds over 2.6 billion litres of petrol which is enough to last through the period of the lockdown and beyond.
Federal Government of Nigeria reduces petrol price to N123.5 per liter
The Federal Government has reduced the price of petrol from 125 naira per litre to 123 naira, 50 kobo per litre. This is a 1 naira 50 kobo reduction on every litre of petrol purchased nationwide.
The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency announced the new price after a whole day meeting with stakeholders in the oil and gas sector in Abuja.
Executive Secretary of PPPRA, Abdulkadir Saidu, said the guiding price takes effect on 1st April 2020, and shall apply at all retail outlets nationwide for the month of April 2020. He said the PPPRA and other relevant regulatory agencies shall continue to monitor compliance to extant regulations for a sustainable downstream petroleum sector.
Britain’s banking sector scraps billions of dollars in shareholder dividends.
Britain’s banking sector has scrapped billions of dollars in shareholder dividends and share buybacks after the Bank of England requested the move to boost liquidity and help cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
The British central bank, in a statement, said its Prudential Regulation Authority division had asked lenders to stop the payments until the end of the year.
It also said it expects them not to pay any cash bonuses to top staff.
In response, Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Standard Chartered all stated that they will scrap dividends and not pursue buybacks.
Zambia in need of financial advisers to stable economy
Zambia's finance minister, Chileshe Kandeta, says the country is looking for financial advisors to help ensure the sustainability of its debt and manage any loans maturing from next year and beyond.
The minister told Reuters that the government had issued a request for proposals to provide advisory services on liability management and debt. Kandeta said the request for proposals was issued as part of Zambia’s asset liability management exercise, including project re-scoping and refinancing of Zambia’s Eurobonds.
He said the government had no intention of unilaterally restructuring its debt without consulting creditors and would respect agreements.
Naira plunges further, dollar sells for N412
The dollar exchanged for N412 on Monday at the Bureau De Change segment of the market.
This followed a temporary suspension of sale of forex to the Bureau De Change operators in the industry by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria had made a request to the CBN to grant it market holidays, given the ongoing challenges faced in the local and global economies due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The CBN granted the BDCs two weeks market holiday as requested.
According to the BDCs, there had been drastic decline in demand for forex due to the impact of the COVID-19 on the economy, as businesses were down and many people were not traveling out of the country.
Microsoft clarifies Teams usage surged 775% in Italy
Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) said it has seen a 775% jump in a month for Teams calling and meeting in Italy, withdrawing an earlier statement that the surge was for its cloud services in regions around the world that enforced social distancing to curb transmission of the coronavirus.
The company posted the correction in a blog late Monday, which was originally posted on March 28.
Microsoft did not provide any details on growth in cloud services in virus affected regions in the latest blog update.
Huawei's revenue tops $223 billion
Huawei Technologies reported a dramatic slowdown in the second half of 2019 on Tuesday, weighed down by U.S. restrictions on the Chinese telecom giant. According to SVP Vincent Pang while revenue grew 19.1% annually, topping $223 billion, the company’s overall growth declined 80% from Q1 to Q4, making for a big challenge
Huawei’s annual profit also slowed down, coming in at $9 billion, a 5.6% growth year-on-year, compared to the 25% growth the company posted in 2018. Operating cash flow increased by 22% to $13.1 billion.