Africa Briefs

11 September 2019 | Ekonomie
SA miners' wage talks go to abitrators

South Africa's main platinum mining union said it had formally declared that wage talks with Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) and Sibanye-Stillwater were deadlocked, raising the possibility of strike action if the issue cannot be resolved.

The formal declaration means the talks are now being overseen by internal arbitrators.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) demanded in June a monthly basic wage hike of about 48% but talks broke down and it said last month that it was disappointed by a wage offer for workers at Lonmin, which was acquired by Sibanye this year.

Higher prices for precious metals and a weaker rand currency have boosted profits at the world's top platinum miners and emboldened the union to seek higher wage demands.

The industry is still reeling from a 2014 strike that cost billions and forced firms to cut jobs and close mines after a supply glut weighed on platinum prices. – Nampa/Reuters

Mozambique’s debt swap plan approved

Creditors holding 99.5% of Mozambique's Eurobond support its debt restructuring proposal, the country's government said in a statement on Monday, paving the way for an overhaul of part of its heavy debt burden.

Mozambique said in May it had agreed a restructuring deal "in principle" with the majority of holders of the US$727 million notes maturing in 2023 after a hidden debt scandal in 2016 prompted the International Monetary Fund and foreign donors to cut off support, triggering a currency collapse and a default on the country's sovereign debt.

One of the world's poorest countries, Mozambique is also trying to restructure other chunks of its debt, which has seen its debt-to-GDP ratio hit 113%, IMF data shows.

For the Eurobond overhaul, it needed the consent of at least 75% to push through its planned restructuring and in a statement on Monday the government said it expected settlement to "occur on or around 30 September 2019."

The restructuring will see the issuance of $900 million of new bonds maturing in 2031. – Nampa/Reuters

Egypt overhauling tax procedures

Egypt hopes to boost feeble foreign direct investment (FDI) by automating and simplifying customs and tax processes, finance minister Mohamed Maait said on Monday, acknowledging that much still needed to be done.

Egypt is coming out of a three-year IMF-backed reform programme that helped stabilise the economy after the turmoil that followed a 2011 uprising, and growth rose to 5.6% in the financial year that ended in June. But barring the oil sector, FDI has been falling.

"I have to be very honest. [There is] a lot of work we have to do in order to make us more attractive to foreign direct investment," Maait told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the Euromoney Egypt conference.

The government is working on a bill to unify tax procedures, Maait said. Changes to income tax would be procedural, and no changes would be made to overall tax policy or tax rates, he added.

Automated customs procedures are already in place at Cairo airport, Maait said, and are being developed at Port Said. – Nampa/Reuters

Malawi's economy to grow 5% in 2019

Malawi forecasts its gross domestic product (GDP) will expand by 5% in 2019 and by 7% in 2020 as the return of rainfall after severe drought boosts agricultural production, finance minister Joseph Mwanamvekha said on Monday in an annual budget speech.

Malawi's economy is largely reliant on sales of tobacco, tea and sugarcane, and has seen growth slow in recent years due to an El Nino-induced drought, electricity shortages and political uncertainty. – Nampa/Reuters

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