News and Updates in the Business World

  • Mastercard Foundation has announced a partnership with a consortium of 11 small and medium enterprises in Ethiopia to repurpose their factories to manufacture personal protective equipment in the fight against COVID-19. The Foundation will commit more than USD 3.2 million from the Mastercard Foundation COVID19 recovery and resilience program which was created specifically to assist institutions and communities in Africa to withstand and respond to the short-term impacts of this pandemic, while strengthening their resilience in the long-run.
  • Listed firms are now changing their regulations to allow for virtual annual general meetings (AGMs) to accommodate realities such as Covid-19 that have made large physical gatherings impossible. The state ban on physical gatherings had stalled holding of AGMs, which are usually crucial for endorsing dividend payments and voting new leaders.
  • The International Monetary Fund has said it expects the Treasury to allocate sufficient funds towards fighting the Covid-19 pandemic without foregoing investments in productive sectors of the economy in the 2020/2021 budget. This comes as Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Joseph Mwanamvekha, is today expected to present the financial plan to Parliament.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic may lead to the loss of 13 million jobs in Nigeria, the World Food Programme of the United Nations declared on Wednesday. According to the agency, Nigeria needs urgent financial intervention to boost its economy, as millions of citizens across the country are currently suffering the harsh economic impact of the virus.
  • Cash transacted through mobile phones and tablets in April fell to the lowest level in more than two years on the back of reduced earnings by businesses and workers. Central Bank of Kenya statistics show mobile payments fell by KES 56.52 billion (approx. USD 532.5 million) in the first full month after Kenya enforced partial trade lockdowns to stem the spread of the virus.
  • Private sector players who first proposed a deferral of Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax now want a total waiver saying the effects of coronavirus on the economy have turned out much more devastating than they has earlier projected. President Museveni on Thursday said that the government will defer the payment of PAYE by private companies that have been hard-hit by the lockdown for nearly three months now.
  • The South African government has agreed how much it will pay private hospitals and medical practitioners to treat severely ill COVID-19 patients if public hospitals run out of space, a senior health official told Reuters. The government has been in talks for months with private firms and medical associations ahead of a probable scenario where public hospitals run out of critical care beds.
  • Zambia‚Äôs government has called on the public to use less cash in order to reduce their exposure to the coronavirus. Now mobile money tellers and grocers find themselves at risk. Mobile money transactions have surged in Zambia since late March, as health officials urged the public to use less cash to reduce their exposure to the coronavirus.