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KIGALI, May 12 (Xinhua) -- Rwanda's financial system has demonstrated its strengths and resilience amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, its central bank said on Wednesday.

The financial sector assets continue to grow despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, said John Rwangombwa, the governor of National Bank of Rwanda at a news conference in Rwandan capital city Kigali, citing an assessment by the bank's Financial Stability Committee.

The country's financial sector remains profitable, liquid, and well-capitalized, despite COVID-19 pandemic challenges, said Rwangombwa.

As of the end of March, total assets grew by 22.5 percent compared to 14.5 percent growth recorded in the same period last year, he said.

The regulatory measures taken to combat the impact of the pandemic on financial institutions have also been crucial in safeguarding the sector's soundness and stability, he noted. - Xinhua

Vehicles travel along a road in Jinja, Uganda, on Friday, July 10, 2020. Engineers at Chinas CHTC Motor Co Ltd, a subsidiary of state-owned Sinomach Automobile Co Ltd., trained Kiira Motors workers, and late last year the first two prototypes of the Ugandan e-bus, called the Kayoola EVS, were completed at a military facility 115 kilometers north of Kampala. Photo Bloomberg

 

(Bloomberg) -- Ugandan lawmakers approved spending plans of 44.7 trillion shillings ($12.6 billion) for the year through June 2022, about 714 billion shillings smaller than the current budget, partly on lower external funding, according to information from the nation’s parliament.

The government will draw at least 200 billion shillings from its petroleum fund to help finance the construction of roads in its oil-rich region as companies, including Total SE, prepare to start production early 2025. - Fred Ojambo, Bloomberg News

An employee arranges a display of smartphones at a Safaricom shop in Nairobi. , Photo Simon Maina/AFP via Getty Images

 

(Bloomberg) -- The Kenyan government signaled caution on relinquishing more control over companies part-owned by the state including Safaricom Plc, the nation’s biggest firm by market value.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange has said it’s in talks with officials over the sale of additional stakes in already publicly traded state companies, a program expected to raise as much as 300 billion shillings ($2.8 billion).

But any such decision over Safaricom is only possible if matched by other key shareholders, Stanley Kamau, acting director general of public investments and portfolio management at the National Treasury, was cited as saying by NTV.

The Kenyan government and U.K. carrier Vodafone Group Plc -- along with its South African unit Vodacom Group Ltd. -- each hold 35% in the mobile-banking pioneer that accounts for almost two-thirds of the Nairobi market’s capitalization.

“Given the strategic and security issues around Safaricom, we would not want to go below Vodafone,” Nairobi-based NTV quoted Kamau as saying.

“If Vodafone is willing to go 10%, we can go 10%,” Kamau said. “But I don’t think we’d want to get diluted as the government on Safaricom.”

A decision to attach conditions to possible divestments represents a pushback by Kenya’s government over losing sway over companies that contribute the biggest dividends to state coffers.

Kenya State Firms’ Stake Sales May Raise as Much as $2.7 Billion

While the state is open to slashing its stake in the nation’s biggest power producer -- Kenya Electricity Generating Co. -- to 60% or close to half from 70% currently, it doesn’t intend to become a minority shareholder in the loss-making Kenya Power and Lighting Co., according to Kamau.

“Given the strategic nature and monopolistic tendency of KPLC, I’m not sure we would want to move away from 50% and move to about 45%, where the government loses control on a monopoly,” Kamau said.

The government won’t privatize Kenya Pipeline Corp., which manages fuel distribution from the port city of Mombasa to the rest of the country and four neighboring countries including Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. - Bella Genga, Bloomberg News

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