Significant Figures: Tanzania’s Bank Closures And Israel’s Immigration Problem

Significant figures is a synopsis of important numbers and statistics hidden in the week’s news.

The week was marked by Israel giving an ultimatum to the illegal immigrants of African origin living in the country, to leave (with assistance from the government) or face jailtime. Tanzania raised the cap on fuel prices and withdrew licences from five banks, moves which are aimed at shoring the economy.

05

The Bank of Tanzania on Thursday revoked the licenses of five “critically undercapitalised” community banks to protect financial stability in the economy.

There are about 40 commercial banks and a dozen community banks, which target savings from specific communities or sectors such as farming, but the financial sector is largely dominated by just a handful of big banks.

08 and 34

The Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA) increased the price of petrol in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam by 8 shillings per litre to 2,167 shillings ($0.9709), and the price of diesel in the capital by 34 shillings to 2,018 per litre. This translates to a raise in the cap for petrol and diesel by 0.35% and 1.71% respectively.

Fuel prices have a big influence on the inflation rate in Tanzania. In the 12 months through November inflation eased to 4.4%, from 5.1% the previous month, but the fuel price hikes could push the inflation rate up again, analysts said.

21

According to Bank of Uganda (BoU) remittances coming into the country are now over $1 billion (UGX 3.6 trillion), which is way more than the $600 million (UGX 2.1 trillion) official donor aid received in a year.

Experts say if organised well, Uganda’s remittances which have been growing at 21% for the last five years will grow further and contribute immensely to the country’s economic development.

80

Imports account for more than 80% of the cargo on Kenya Railways or a daily average of 2,000 containers.

Cargo shortage has hit the standard gauge railway’s goods haulage business that was launched on Monday, forcing Kenya Railways to delay the daily service. The second cargo train that was expected in Nairobi on Wednesday was still stuck at Mombasa port awaiting containers amid increased imports via Kenya’s sole sea port.

38,000

There are some 38,000 migrants living illegally in Israel, and some 1,420 are being held in two detention centres.

Israel said on Wednesday it would pay thousands of African migrants living illegally in the country to leave, threatening them with jail if they are caught after the end of March.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in public remarks at a cabinet meeting on the payment programme, said a barrier Israel completed in 2013 along its border with Egypt had effectively cut off a stream of “illegal infiltrators” from Africa after some 60,000 crossed the desert frontier.

600,000,000

SportPesa cancelled KES 600 million ($5.80 million) in direct annual sponsorship for the Kenya’s main football league and other sports, after the government hiked taxes for such firms by more than four times.

The government increased the tax rate on gross profits for sports betting firms, lotteries and casinos to 35% last year, from 7.5%, to create a fund for sports, culture and the arts. It says the rapid growth of betting in a loosely regulated environment has hurt the young and vulnerable.

8,000,000,000

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved the Bank’s 2018 borrowing programme for $8 billion (UGX 28.6 trillion) to be raised from capital markets.

“We have stepped up our profile in the international capital markets and will continue to raise funds across the globe to provide cost effective resources to our clients” said Ms Hassatou N’Sele, the acting vice president finance of the AfDB Group.