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Trump’s Trade-War is now hitting East Africa: Because of possible lost trade with Second-Hand Clothes!

Museveni buying shoes in Wandegeya, 02.06.2017.

United States of America is really just cherry-picking the world right now, they are evolving into a beast and not an Uncle Sam. President Donald J. Trump don’t like to have friends, unless they are related or Roger Stone. That is now seen with his recent activity, not that he knows of these countries or these market. That I say, because he has no hotel or haven’t laundered money from there. The countries being hurt by his new policies are Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. Places he would never travel to or have consideration about. That is because in his mind, they are shitholes, but as long as they serve as vassal states for the United States. Everything is fine and dandy.

What we are talking about is this:

(A) THE PRESIDENT IS AUTHORIZED TO DESIGNATE A SUB-SAHARAN AFRICAN COUNTRY AS AN ELIGIBLE SUB-SAHARAN AFRICAN COUNTRY IF THE PRESIDENT DETERMINES THAT THE COUNTRY (SEE NOTE*)

(1) (A country that) has established, or is making continual progress toward establishing–

(A) a market-based economy that protects private property rights, incorporates an open rules-based trading system, and minimises government interference in the economy through measures such as price controls, subsidies, and government ownership of economic assets” (AGOA – ‘AGOA Country Eligibility’).

It is special that the US President is using this against these three states on the imports of used-clothes and shoes. That these three republics trying to develop their own textile and clothes industry, to create work and also revamp the economies. That would mean, that people would also earn more money and spend more money. In the end buying foreign produced clothes on the fashion-lines, that usually are branding American and European brands. Therefore, I don’t understand why Trump suddenly acts like this, when Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania wants to secure their industries.

Because, it is not many days ago, since the President himself used rules and provisions to secure the Steel and Aluminum industry on his own soil. So, that the giant United States can control it, but their trading with other can be spoiled, because it doesn’t favor the President. Seems like double-standard to be. It is easy to muffle the poor and the ones with lack budgets, that are in need of donors. They need to stifle the demands of the powerful, but the ones with power can just use the same means themselves. Still, that doesn’t make it right.

That the United States are trying to force their used-clothes on Rwanda. Like they don’t deserve their own clothes industry and to secure better products, local designs and local textiles is insane. Why shouldn’t they strive for that? Why shouldn’t Uganda strive for their own Bata’s? What is wrong with Tanzanian made shoes? Nothing really, that should be supported, especially if the United States wants to think long-term and create better exports. They would earn even more on ordinary trade of clothes, not second-hand that sold bulk and through other channels. But I am sure that Trump has no knowledge of this or even could imagine it.

This is clearly a step of imperialism from United States, since they cannot stomach, that the partners and the ones getting donations through USAID. Isn’t accepting to be a bazaar for their used stuff. The products that is B-Level and already had their day in the sunshine.

Knowingly, how he is America First, the man himself should understand how others wants to build to their own industries, but thinking Trump has that capacity of thinking is overstepping and thinking that he could actually calculate, that others are sovereign too and not only his state. The East African Republic’s shouldn’t be punished for acting in their own interests over second-hand clothes. Neither second hand shoes. That is insulting and infuriating. If it was just charity and done out direct needs. It would make sense, but if your forcing bad products, because of own will for quick-profits and at the same time destroying local industries. I understand why Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda is trying to ban it and stop it. I respect that and stand behind it. Who wants a old T-Shirt, when you can buy a local-made?

If you buy a local-made, it would create a job for the one making it, the one designing it and the one selling, plus the distribution within the state. That is good business and create lots of job. These jobs create other jobs and funnel money in the system. So some of them will buy foreign design and clothes, that might even be American. That is how the United States should think, if they cared about a free-market narrative, but they are now planning to punish Rwanda and others, because they want to build-up own industry.

Trump is creating a trade-war over Second Hand Clothes.

Second Hand Clothes to East Africa!

Washington, DC – The President determined today the eligibility of Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda for trade preference benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). In response to a petition filed by the U.S. used clothing industry in March 2017, the Administration initiated an out-of-cycle review of Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda’s AGOA eligibility regarding their decisions to phase in a ban on imports of used clothing and footwear. The review found that this import ban harms the U.S. used clothing industry and is inconsistent with AGOA beneficiary criteria for countries to eliminate barriers to U.S. trade and investment. Based on the results of the review, the President determined that Rwanda is not making sufficient progress toward the elimination of barriers to U.S. trade and investment, and therefore is out of compliance with eligibility requirements of AGOA. Consequently, the President notified Congress and the Government of Rwanda of his intent to suspend duty-free treatment for all AGOA-eligible apparel products from Rwanda in 60 days” (AGOA – ‘ President Trump Determines Trade Preference Program Eligibility For Rwanda, Tanzania, And Uganda’ 30.03.2018).

This is infuriating and not cool. AGOA should be used as a method to not destroy industry in the developing countries, but add revenue both ways. Now the United States is just using imperialism. Trade-War with East African Countries.

Trump is foolish and also, this is not gaining sympathy and the reasons for this. This isn’t adding and just show how belittling and narrow-minded he is. But that we knew, we just have to see who spanks him. Peace.

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Opinion: Now that the World Bank has new priorities, they will most likely not loan to the pipelines in East Africa!

 

There is certain movements that will strike as more expensive for the East African Community (EAC). This being for the Government of Uganda (GoU) and the Government of Kenya (GoK), who has big plans of petroleum pipelines from their oil-fields and to the coast. That being from Turkana to Lamu Port. While the Ugandan oil goes from Hoima to Tanga Port in Tanzania. Both development and industrial projects will have issues with the funding. The World Bank has supported massive infrastructure projects in both countries.

Therefore, for the two counties big development and oil industry, this is giant set-back, since they have to find funding and loans for the pipelines on the open market. Even with higher interests and making the profits of it lesser, than it would have been with a World Bank loan. It would not hurt the pocket as much as it does on the open market. The banks wants more profits themselves and also make sure they are paid-in-full.

With all this in mind. There are speculations, but first. Parts of the self-answering service. Before we look at the reactions in Kenya and Uganda. All of are important, as the state is involved in the licensing and building the pipelines. They are directly into the development and procurement of the pipelines. That is why this is big blow for the administrations and their possible tax-profits on it.

Word Bank Q&A:

Q. How is “upstream” oil and gas defined?

Upstream is an industry term that refers to exploration of oil and natural gas fields, as well as drilling and operating wells to produce oil and natural gas” (World Bank, 2017).

Current projects in our portfolio would continue as planned. However, no new investments in upstream oil and gas would be undertaken after 2019, unless under exceptional circumstances as noted in the decision” (World Bank, 2017).

Kenya Pipeline:

The announcement by the bank, which has significant interests in Kenya’s oil prospecting sector, does not bode well for the country’s anticipated entry into the club of oil producing nations beginning next year. Analysts said they do not expect an immediate reaction to the announcement even as they acknowledged that it takes the shine from oil in the long term” (…) “Locally, the World Bank is offering technical support to the Kenyan government, through the Kenya Petroleum Technical Assistance Project, to prime all stakeholders for commercial oil production and sale. The six-year programme is scheduled to run until February 2021 and involves the World Bank managing a Sh5.2 billion fund set up by investors from Germany, Norway and Britain. The World Bank’s private lending arm, International Finance Corporation, is however directly involved in Kenya’s oil fields, having a 6.83 per cent stake in Africa Oil, the Canadian exploration firm with interests in northern Kenya oil blocks” (Mutegi, 2017)

Uganda Pipeline:

The pipeline, is expected to be completed by the year 2020, when the country is scheduled to start oil production. In fact, Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni and his Tanzanian counterpart recently commissioned the construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline. The two leaders laid mark stones for the crude oil pipeline in Mutukula, Kyotera district and Kabaale in Hoima district. Total E&P Uganda, a subsidiary of French oil giant, Total S.A, is spearheading the construction of the crude oil pipeline on behalf of the joint venture partners. Adewale Fayemi, the general manager, Total E&P Uganda says discussions are ongoing to discuss on the formalities of how the pipeline will be run. Already, an agreement has been reached that the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) will be run and managed by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) – private pipeline company. This means that a private company will be incorporated with joint venture partners – Tullow Uganda, Cnooc Uganda Ltd and Total E&P Uganda, and the governments of Uganda and Tanzania as shareholders in the company” (Ssekika, 2017)

Certainly, this will put a strain on the projects. They have to deliver another type of arrangement to make sure they get funding and have the funds to pay the added interests the banks wants. The added points on the dollar and the interest-rates will hit state-owned firms and the state itself. Since the pipelines most likely becomes more expensive and will be less profitable.

That the World Bank is pulling out of these projects is all within line of the Paris Accord, as they have professed is the reason. Still, this will make these projects more expensive and make sure they are earning less on it. Unless, the crude-oil prices are going up to a level that makes these investments even more profitable. That is only for time to tell. Since it is costly projects and also sophisticated to build. There is needed lots of expertise combined state planning to achieve the development plans.

This is just the beginning, but the pipelines and these investments are vital for both Kenya and Uganda. As the governments are already borrowing state funds on the possible earnings from the oil reserves in their basins. Therefore, they need to drill and need the petrodollar as quickly as possible. Peace.

Reference:

Mutegi, Mugambi – ‘World Bank dims Turkana oil hopes’ (14.12.2017) link: http://www.nation.co.ke/business/World-Bank-dims-Turkana-oil-hopes/996-4227848-u02v8n/index.html

Ssekika, Edward – ‘East African Crude Oil Pipeline: The Inside Story’ (11.12.2017) link: http://www.oilinuganda.org/features/economy/east-african-crude-oil-pipeline-the-inside-story-details-emerge-of-how-the-crude-oil-pipeline-will-be-financed-managed.html

World Bank – ‘Q&A: The World Bank Group and Upstream Oil and Gas’ (12.12.2017) link: http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/climatechange/brief/qa-the-world-bank-group-and-upstream-oil-and-gas

Uganda: Members of Parliament seek legal ways to evade taxes! Citizens rise up (20.11.2016)

tax-justice-20-11-2016-p1tax-justice-20-11-2016-p2tax-justice-20-11-2016-p3

The Battle for the Oil the Coast; Double pipelines seems to be the END-game: Kenyan on their own, while Uganda picks route through Tanzania!

Kenyatta Ruto

There was not too far ago when the Government of Kenya was dreaming in their wild pipedream to advance their own ideas and manage to hook the Ugandan Government so they wouldn’t continue with the progressive agreement with Tanzanian counter-parts. In the end it seems like the waves are long gone. The wind from Lake Albert never seemed to turn.

LAPSSET_South-Sudan_Kenya_Pipeines-and-Lamu_Refinery_Map

We had to wait until 23rd April 2016 to be reassured that the President Museveni and his NRM could not be persuaded to be a continued or locked into the LAPSSET:   Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport. So it would be from Hoima, Western Uganda into the Northern Kenya bypass into the prospected lines would go there both from Ethiopia and South Sudan down to the shores and bays of Lamu Port.

Instead Uganda have continued and promised to honour the 2015 Memorandum of Understanding with Tanzania the Uganda–Tanzania Crude Oil Pipeline (UTCOP); that goes from Hoima or Lake Albert through the Tanzanian nation down to the shores of the Tanga Port. This is also because of the agreements and assurance of both governments and also the new Oil-Drilling companies in Uganda like Total and ENI. They have also spoken their peace and does not feel safe as where the Pipeline goes through uncertain areas of Kenya.

Tanzania-Uganda-Pipeline_0

So there will be two pipelines and in close reach and also with distinguished end-game; as the economic prospects are changed, the rates for oil-transport will be lost in the sight of Kenya. The Kenyan cannot now have future prospects of the oil-rates and jobs as a Pipeline gives. They will have cough-up the funding and most likely more borrowed money for the grand infrastructure.

The Ugandan will use funds and borrow monies to fund the pipeline-building and also give tax-payers and jobs in Tanzania. The rates by just transporting the oil from A-B will be a good tax-base for the Tanzanian Government. President Kenyatta hoped that his close relationship would help him and also with his Deputy Ruto also campaigning for Museveni to give something back. Seems like that didn’t help as the President Kikwete already have sweetened the tea and offered something that also helps to calm down the Oil-Drilling investors and their envelopes.

Keter Citizen TV

CS Keter of Kenya must be disappointed as his detained moment in Tanga Port came to nothing and the KDF forces inside Somalia are the reason for the fallout. Though I doubt that is the main reason. That is the diplomatic reason from the Ugandan Government. Ugandan Government and NRM-Regime is about money. They are all about the money, therefore the non-accountability and non-open tax-regime. The Ugandan Government would never say that is the main reason, but if Total, ENI and CNOOC words and tax-base is the current controlling the reasons for President Museveni. As he wants them on his side; so he can have secret deals with the Oil-Companies and keep the low-key taxes; not to talk about the un-disclosed agreements between them and the government of Uganda.

Therefore I am not surprised I think they only went into the talks in Kenya to please their neighbour and trading-partner as the relationship have soften over the last few months and the President of Kenya and President of Uganda have cherished more time together. As President Museveni have played the big-man and asked for suitors while waiting for the words from the Oil-Companies. The excuse of not taking Kenya is certainly been given by the Oil-Companies as the Ugandan President will only take the highest rates and the lowest fees for the construction. We can see that the borrowed monies that will be used should have low-charges and be clearly not too bad to GDP or the national inflation.

Kenyatta Museveni

Still, the matters remain how the relationship really is between Uganda and Kenya. As they have fought over the little Migingo Island and chicken export fiasco. An the Recently also covered a squabble over Yellow Fever Notes to give to Border Patrols to be relieved and be allowed to Enter into Kenya from Uganda. So with the decision to abandon all hope for Kenya and totally give way to Tanzania; will be hurting the pride of the Harambee in the coming weeks. Especially since the Kenyan has tried to get the Ugandan’s to use their port instead. This backfired and didn’t work.

I hope that this doesn’t stop the other Northern Corridor Integration Projects (NCIP) as of the Standard Gauge Railway and others that can connect the nations and bring softer transport of people and goods between the East African nations. Certainly the matter is at hand and the justification would be “terrorism” as why the pipeline didn’t get extended. Though I believe it is much more to say “cash money” and in general the black gold revenues.

This here will certainly be uncovered over time and the real reason will show-up by the Al-Shabab is a deflection and we know the gig is up. Peace.

Press Statement: Members of Parliament Emoluments to be Exempted from Income tax (08.04.2016)

CSBAG 08.04.2016

Press Release: Kenya must review Double Tax Agreement with Mauritius (02.11.2015)

kenya-money-1

(Nairobi, November 2, 2015) – Kenya is teetering on the brink of financial meltdown with the implosion of at least two private commercial banks in the last few months and signing of loophole-ridden double taxation agreements with tax havens Mauritius, United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

Tax havens are countries or states that position themselves as low tax jurisdictions allowing companies and rich individuals to hide their wealth without paying appropriate taxes where they actually make their profits or wealth. Tax Justice Network-Africa (TJN-A) in October 2014 sued the Government of Kenya (specifically the Cabinet Secretary to the Treasury, Kenya Revenue Authority and the Attorney-General) challenging the constitutionality of the Kenya/Mauritius Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement signed in Port Louis, Mauritius on May 11, 2012 and as contained in Legal Notice 59 published in the Kenya Gazette of May 23, 2014.

The Agreement significantly undermines Kenya’s ability to raise domestic revenue to underpin the country’s development by opening up loopholes for multinational companies operating in the country and super- rich individuals to shift profits abroad through Mauritius to avoid paying appropriate taxes. For example, provisions under Article 11 of the Agreement relating to interest limit Kenya’s withholding tax to 10 per cent whereas the Kenyan domestic rate currently stands at 15 per cent. This will significantly affect the tax base of the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA). The Agreement also sharply contravenes Articles 10 and 201 of the Constitution and is inconsistent with the principles of good governance, sustainability and accountability. The Agreement is open to abuse and this could endanger the growth and development of Kenya.

Three main reliefs sought by TJN-A are: that the High Court declares the government’s failure or neglect to subject the Kenya-Mauritius Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement to ratification in line with the Treaty Making and Ratification Act 2012 as a contravention of Articles 10 (a), (c) and (d) and 201 of the Constitution of Kenya.

That the Court directs the Cabinet Secretary for Treasury to immediately withdraw Legal Notice 59 of 2014 and commence the process of ratification in conformity with the provisions of the Treaty Making and Ratification Act 2012.  And award cost of the petition with interest against the Government of Kenya. The case came up for mention at the Nairobi High Court today, November 2, 2015. The court will fix a date for hearing the case on November 9, 2015. Speaking at a press briefing earlier today, the Executive Director of TJN-A, Alvin Mosioma said “there is need for public participation in the process of ratification of double tax agreements…double tax agreements kill the competitive edge of local firms”. 2 Senator Hassan Omar of Mombasa County who also addressed the press said Kenya’s “Parliament needs to appreciate its responsibility in safeguarding the public’s interests,” adding that “the reason people steal is because there is complicity and people are aware of it”. Provisions under Article 12 of the Agreement which relates to royalties also restrict at- source withholding tax to half (10 per cent) of Kenya domestic rate of 20 per cent. This will significantly weaken Kenya’s ability to raise revenue to finance its development. Additionally provisions under Article 20 of the Agreement reserves all taxation of “other income” not dealt with in specific Articles to the residence state.

This effectively reduces withholding tax to zero per cent on services, management fees, insurance commissions among others, whereas Kenyan domestic withholding tax rate currently stands at 20 per cent. This is a major gap that will lead to massive revenue leakages. The Agreement is neither United Nations nor OECD compliant and it also fails to address the issue of disposal of shares in companies. The Agreement effectively reserves under Article 13.4 all taxation of capital gains from selling shares in companies to Mauritius where the effective Capital Gains Tax is zero per cent. Under the Agreement foreign investors in Kenya can acquire Kenyan companies through Mauritius holding companies and Kenya cannot tax any of the gains when they sell these businesses again. This is open to abuse. Similarly, domestic Kenyan investors can dodge Kenyan taxes by round-tripping their investments illicitly through Mauritian shell companies. Kenyan companies can also easily avoid Kenyan taxes in dividends paid to foreign investors through devices like share buy-backs therefore deny the government of development funds.

The provision is very similar to the Capital Gains Tax Article in the India-Mauritius treaty which has proved very controversial costing India an estimated US$600 million a year in revenues as a result of tax avoidance and illicit round-tripping by Indian business executives driving the Government of India to initiate steps to renegotiate its agreement with Mauritius. Under the definition of ‘bilateral treaty’ in Section 2 of the Treaty Making and Ratification Act an ‘agreement’ such as the one between Kenya and Mauritius and which is the subject matter of this legal case, is a treaty subject to the Act and therefore requires that the Cabinet Secretary to the Treasury in consultation with the Attorney General, submit to the Cabinet the treaty, together with a memorandum outlining, inter alia – 1. Policy and legislative considerations, 2. Financial implications 3. Implications on matters relating to counties, 4. The views of the public on the ratification of the treaty.

Mauritius presently has tax treaties with 13 African countries namely Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Swaziland, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Apart from Kenya, Mauritius also has signed Double Taxation Agreements with Congo, Zambia and Nigeria. Currently Mauritius is negotiating DTAs with Algeria, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Malawi and Tanzania. Unlike Mauritius’ DTA with Uganda and Nigeria, for example, which have specific provisions for withholding tax for management/technical services fees, Kenya failed to negotiate any such provisions. 

In a related development, the Government of Kenya has signed an equally harmful Double Tax Agreement with United Arab Emirates and Qatar – both of which are tax havens – in which Kenya further deems its right to tax as unnecessary in a bid to attract investment from these two countries. These agreements will deepen Kenya’s current cash crunch by allowing the further erosion of the country’s tax base. – END.

ABOUT TJN-A: Tax Justice Network-Africa (TJN-A) is a Pan-African initiative and a member of the Global Alliance for Tax Justice. It is a network of 29 members in 16 African countries. TJN-A collaborates closely with these member organisations in tax justice 3 advocacy at the national and regional levels. TJN-A seeks to promote socially just and progressive taxation systems in Africa, advocating for pro-poor tax policies and the strengthening of tax systems to promote domestic resource mobilisation. TJN-A aims to challenge harmful tax policies and practices that favour the wealthy and aggravate and perpetuate inequality. For further enquiries, please email Kwesi Obeng at kobeng@taxjusticeafrica.net (+254 726 804 400) and/or Michelle Mbuthia at mmbuthia@taxjusticeafrica.net (+254 724 994 796).

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