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Burundi President Ndayishimiye Quarantined For 72 Hours




President of Burundi Evariste Ndayishimiye who has been away from his country for five days returned last evening and has been booked into a quarantine facility for the next 72 hours upon arrival at Melchior Ndadaye international airport.

“We have come from a country where the coronavirus still exists, you never know, we protected ourselves when we were there, even today we continue to protect ourselves. But you never know because you know that the virus passes through the air”, Ndayishimiye said upon arrival in Bujumbura on Saturday.

A seemingly exhausted Ndayishimiye after flying 2,253 km said the decision to quarantine himself is part of a continuation of the campaign against covid-19, “I should heal and not infect others. If we have been contaminated, we must avoid contaminating others. And now we are going to be tested by specialist doctors to really see if we are healthy”.

Ndayishimiye travelled with the First Lady Angeline Ndayubahe, the Minister of National Defense, Minister of Public Health, Minister in charge of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock and the Minister of Trade. It is not yet clear whether these will all be quarantined.

On November 2, the President of Burundi, Evariste Ndayishimiye flew from Bujumbura to Malabo the capital of Equatorial Guinea for a five-day state visit,on invitation by his counterpart President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

For Ndayishimiye, this was the second visit abroad as a new president of Burundi since he came to power through winning the June elections.

President Mbasogo had maintained a close relationship with former President Pierre Nkurunziza, who repeatedly visited Equatorial Guinea and also received Mbasogo in Bujumbura.

For five days, the Burundian and Equatorial Guinean press have been silent on details of Ndayishimiye’s visit except for a few twitter posts by Intare House (state house/presidency) carrying only carefully selected pictures to present to the public.

However, during the presidential campaigns earlier in May, Ndayishimiye dismissed claims that there existed Covid-19 saying the disease was a hoax.

“Nobody should lie to you that there is a pandemic called coronavirus. Lucky are those that believe in God’s protection.  God has protected Burundi from that virus,” the General said during a ruling CNDD-FDD party event.

In a twist of events six months later upon returning from a visit in Equatorial Guinea, President Ndayishimiye has a different view of the pandemic to which he is so scared of too.

On Saturday November 7, he called upon all travelers, in particular those coming from countries where the pandemic still exists, to respect the preventive measures against Covid-19.

Review Of Trip

Ndayishimiye said the visit helped to take stock of bilateral cooperation and to see together the situation from the point of view of the well-being of the populations of the two countries which he found good.

He says [him and host] noted that there are great powers that still want to impose their dictates on African countries and agreed it is time to pull themselves together as an African country. It is time to seek their political and economic independence because the opportunities are in Africa, stressed Ndayishimiye.

The two Heads of State have thus found it essential to connect African countries through networks to realize this dream so that diplomatic and commercial exchanges are a reality in Africa.

President Ndayishimiye hinted that four cooperation agreements were signed as well as a memorandum of understanding on diplomatic relations. These agreements are in particular the agreement on trade, diplomatic consultation, and the partnership agreement on the reciprocal exemption of visas for holders of diplomatic and service passports, the promotion and reciprocal protection of investments between the two countries, as well as an agreement in the maritime and port fields.

The Burundian Leader further indicated that he visited four provinces of Equatorial Guinea with his delegation. He was impressed by the significant progress Equatorial Guinea has made, particularly in the education sector, the economy, the exploitation of mineral wealth, road infrastructure, etc.

Impressed by this visit to Equatorial Guinea, Ndayishimiye has instructed the technical teams of the different ministries to collaborate with those of Equatorial Guinea to implement the agreements that the two Heads of State have signed.

Coronavirus Is For Other Countries Not Burundi – Ruling Party Says


Tanzania Requests For U$571 million From IMF To Fix Economy



In a marathon to release Tanzania from the grip of unorthodox policies previously ordered by Late leader John Magufuli, the new President Samia Suluhu Hassan has pursued a different direction.

Her government has officially applied for a U$571 million loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help in tackling economic challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We have submitted the application within the specified time. But I will provide detailed information in the near future,” Finance Minister Mwigulu Nchemba said on Wednesday shortly after a parliamentary session in Dodoma.

On June 10 Nchemba tabled the 2021/22 budget Worth Sh36.3 trillion in Parliament. Nchemba told the House that the requested funds were a low-interest loan aimed at tackling the social and economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, IMF officials in Dar es Salaam and Washington have conditioned Tanzania to provide information on Covid-19 which the government has tightly guarded.

Tanzania government has not published data on Covid-19 infections since May last year.

IMF confirmed about the existence of talks with the government.

“When applying for pandemic-related emergency financing, evidence of the pandemic has to be available to substantiate the claim,” the IMF’s resident representative, Jens Reinke, told media.

The Covid-19 pandemic notwithstanding, Tanzania’s economy expanded at the rate of 4.8% last year. But this rate was lower than the government’s projection growth rate of 5.5%.

Dr Nchemba told the Parliament last week that, in 2021, the economy is projected to expand by 5.6%.

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Kenya Budget Statement Expected This Afternoon



Over 59 million Kenyans are anxiously waiting to hear the Budget Statement scheduled for presentation at the National Assembly Thursday Afternoon at about 3PM or (2PM CAT).

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani is currently preparing himself to appear in the National Assembly and make his 2021/2022 budget statement.

According to local Pundits that have over the years monitored the Kenyan economy, this is going to be the first time the budget statement will be presented ahead of the 2021 Economic Survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) which would have traditionally painted a picture of the previous year.

As per procedure, after, reflecting on the state of the Kenyan economy, Yatani will proceed to highlight areas of priority spending in the new financial year which dawns on July 1.

According to insider details, unlike budget days of years past, the 2021 budget statement is all but complete with the exchequer having shares both its final budget estimates and the Finance Bill which carries with it new tax proposals.

An insight into New taxes

In another first in years, the National Treasury has not proposed any new income taxes under the 2021 Finance Bill.

Nevertheless, Kenyans will not be spared from greater taxes as the government strives to meet growing spending plans.

For instance, bread will see its tax status shift from zero rating to exempt effectively raising costs for the basic consumer commodity.

At the same time, the cost of importing motorcycles, popularly termed as bodaboda will shoot up with Treasury proposing the adjustment of excise duty on the imports from a flat Ksh.11, 608.23 to a rate of 15 per cent.

At the same time, jewelry and alternative tobacco products such as nicotine pouches will attract excise duty at the rate of 10 per cent and Ksh.5000 per kilogram respectively.

Punters will also be hit as the 20 per cent excise duty on amounts wagers returns after its temporarily deletion last year.

Besides taxes, other proposals in the Finance Bill seek to empower the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to better collections including a lengthened period to scrutinize tax payer records up to seven years from the current five.

Further, informants on tax matters will see their reward enhanced to a maximum of Ksh.5 million while the KRA will be allowed to contract third parties in the collection of digital services tax.

Both the budget estimates and proposals in the Finance Bill remain under scrutiny by the National Assembly with the house beginning its deliberations on the two key policy statements on Wednesday.

The pair of policies form the basis of the Appropriations Bill and the 2021 Finance Act, both of which will require final assenting by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

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Kenya To Build 233km Expressway For US$1.4B



President Uhuru Kenyatta has embarked on yet another ambitious and expensive infrastructure project even just one year towards the conclusion of his final term in office.

His government says that it has given green light to construction of an express highway connecting Nairobi to Mau summit covering almost 233kilometres.

This road will consume a total of US$1482,854,480. According to details, construction kicks off in September 2021 and will last at least 42 months.

The 233-kilometre contract that was awarded to a French consortium made up of Vinci Highways SAS, Meridian Infrastructure Africa Fund, and Vinci Concessions SAS last year will see the road expanded into a four-lane dual carriageway through a Public-Private Partnership model.

The consortium is expected to design, finance, construct, operate and maintain the express.

The firm will then recoup its finances using the revenues and income generated by the electronic toll collection system along road over a period of 30 years.

The project will also involve widening of the existing Rironi- Mai Mahiu–Naivasha road to becoming a seven-metre carriageway with two-metre shoulders on both sides, construction of a four-kilometre elevated highway through Nakuru town, and building and improvement of interchanges along the highway.

The Rironi–Nakuru–Mai Mahiu road forms a vital part of the most important transport corridor in Kenya — the Northern Corridor— which originates in Mombasa and terminates in Malaba.

It also serves traffic destined to Narok, South Western Kenya and Northern Tanzania.

Two toll stations are set to be developed along the Nairobi-Mau Summit highway project.

According to Transport Secretary James Macharia, “The project will upgrade the old Nairobi-Nakuru highway that serves the major trade route between Nairobi and Western Kenya.”

President Uhuru last year flew to Paris France where he was hosted by his French counterpart President Emmanuel Macron. It is during this trip that Uhuru courted the French consortium to invest in this ambitious infrastructure project.

Meanwhile, President Uhuru last week boasted that he has outperformed all his predecessors by expanding the country’s economy to a Gross Domestic Product of  Ksh10.3 trillion compared to GDP of Ksh.4.5 trillion accumulated by three previous presidents combined.

According to him, under seven years of his tenure, he had done more than founding father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, the late Daniel Arap Moi and retired President Mwai Kibaki.

“The colonisers left us with a GDP of close to Ksh. 6.4b, the combined administrations of Mzee Kenyatta, Moi and Kibaki increased GDP to Ksh.4.5 trillion, in a span of 50 years, but in only 8 years I have; has doubled that, and we are worth 10.3 trillion,” President Uhuru said.

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