African press review 9 June 2017

It's all very financial on African front pages this morning, as South Africa appoints a new Treasury chief, and most east African finance ministers present their budgets.


Dondo Mogajane is the big name on South African front pages this morning.

His appointment as director-general of the national Treasury has been welcomed by the financial community and Treasury staff for the promise of stability it brings to the institution.

Mogajane has served at the Treasury in various capacities since 1999, including four years as former finance minister Pravin Gordhan’s chief-of-staff and one year as its chief operating officer under another former finance minister, Nhlanhla Nene.

He had been the acting director-general since his predecessor, Lungisa Fuzile, resigned in mid-May, following President Jacob Zuma’s axing of Gordhan and former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas in a cabinet reshuffle.

BusinessDay's editorial says the new man has big shoes to fill.

The directors-general of the Treasury in the democratic era have been an impressive bunch, says the Johannesburg-based financial daily, each making a significant contribution to South Africa’s fiscal and economic health and to its standing in the eyes of investors.

The director-general is the accounting officer of the Treasury and its executive head, and is, arguably, at least as important as the Finance Minister, according to BusinessDay.

Malema accuses Guptas of fixing Transnet train tender

Over at the Mail & Guardian, opposition Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema says he's going to ask foreign governments to take action against companies involved in an allegedly dubious tender issued by the rail company Transnet.

Malema spoke at a press briefing yesterday where he released a 28-page document that seeks to expose an allegedly crooked Transet tender for locomotives.

He said a whistleblower had also leaked emails to the EFF, which provide evidence of irregularities associated with the tender.

Chinese, Canadian and American companies made bids for the tender, which allegedly became irregular once Trillian and Regiments Capital – well-known affiliates of the controversial Gupta family – became advisers to Transnet on the tender.

According to Malema, these companies, including the Canadian Bombardier and America's General Electric, were involved in a corrupt bidding process which was influenced by the advice of the Gupta family, already linked to several suspect deals involving state tenders.

Finance ministers promise brighter days ahead

The front page of regional paper the East African reads like a finance minister's wish-list. Yesterday was, you'll understand, budget day for most nations in the zone.

"Tanzania to introduce clearing fee for mineral exports," reads the main headline.

Then there's "Rwanda budget to increase aviation sector spending", followed by "Tanzania scraps car licence fees," and "Uganda to boost spending by 10 percent to support growth."

Tanzania plans to introduce a one percent clearing fee on the value of mineral exports for the financial year, the finance minister annoiunced yesterday, part of government measures aimed at getting a bigger share of revenues from the country's natural resources.

Rwanda meanwhile plans to raise government spending by seven percent in the 2017/18 fiscal year. Finance Minister Claver Gatete told Parliament that 17 percent of the budget will be funded by donors with the rest coming from internal revenue and borrowing.

More than one billion euros, that's nearly two-fifths of the total budget, will be spent on development projects, an increase of 44 percent from the current fiscal year.

The cash will be used for promoting export products and agriculture and for the expansion of state-run airline RwandAir, completing the construction of a new airport and renovation existing facilities.

Tanzanian motorists have a classic good news-bad news situation. The country has abolished the annual motor vehicle licence fee.

Finance minister Philip Mpango told parliament in Dodoma during the budget speech yesterday that the government will instead increase the petroleum levy. Vehicle registration fees are also set to rise.

Uganda will increase spending by 10 percent in the fiscal year starting next month to eight billion euros to support flagging economic growth.

The country is estimated to have expanded by nearly four percent in the fiscal year to the end of this month, well below an initial forecast of 5.5 percent, mainly due to drought and sluggish private sector credit growth.

Matia Kasaija, the Ugandan finance minister, said reforms in key sectors like farming and financial services would help the economy to attain faster growth.

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