Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Wednesday, October 18, 2023.
Twiga Cement’s acquisition of Tanga Cement hits snag as tribunal nullifies FCC’s move
The Fair Competition Tribunal (FCT), in its October 16, 2023, ruling, nullified the decision by the Fair Competition Commission (FCC) of February 28, 2023, to allow Scancem International D.A, trading as Twiga Cement, to acquire 68.33 per cent of the shares of Afrisam Mauritius Investment Holdings Limited in Tanga Cement PLC.
FCT made the ruling in a case between Mr Peter Hellar, a Tanzanian citizen, and FCC, its Director General William Erio, Scancem International D.A, its Chief Executive Officer Hakan Gurdan, and the company’s leading counsel in the acquisition process, Mr Fayaz Bihojani.
In his application, Mr Hellar prayed that FCT summons the respondents for the alleged contempt of court by violating the Tribunal’s judgment of September 23, 2022, that quashed FCC’s decision of April 6, 2022, which allowed Twiga’s acquisition of Tanga Cement.
In its 2022 ruling, FCT prohibited the proposed merger, arguing that the post-merger effect would create a position of dominance in the relevant market as the combined market shares of the merging firms at the time would exceed the statutory threshold of 35 per cent.
Full story here.
EACOP nears investment decision after Tanzania settles disagreements with Chinese funders
Standard Bank Group Ltd has revealed that the controversial US$4 billion crude oil pipeline to link Uganda and Tanzania has overcome a key hurdle that delayed a final decision.
Kenny Fihla, the chief executive officer for the lender’s commercial and investment banking unit, was quoted as saying that negotiations can now conclude after Tanzania settled a disagreement with some Chinese funders on a separate matter.
“That’s where the delay was because of the historical dispute between the Tanzanian government and some of the Chinese funders, which had nothing to do with the project, but it needed to be resolved to enable an agreement on the pipeline,” Fihla said in an interview.
“We’re told that the agreement has been reached.”
Fihla explained that Standard Bank, one of three key financial advisors for EACOP, as the pipeline is known, can only decide whether to invest as much as US$100 million after project developer TotalEnergies SE, China’s CNOOC Ltd., Uganda and Tanzania have to agree on the financing structure.
The bank is also awaiting the completion of an environmental and social impact assessment study, Chief Executive Officer Sim Tshabalala said last week.
“The data-gathering process and response is close to finality,” Fihla said. “If we’re comfortable with that, we’ll say yes, but if we’re uncomfortable with that, we’ll either require further studies, or we’ll say no.”
The 1,443-kilometer (897-mile) pipeline should start transporting oil in 2025 and ferry 246,000 barrels daily at peak, according to a project website.
TotalEnergies has a 62 per cent stake in the planned conduit that, once complete, will be the world’s longest heated pipeline.
State-owned Tanzania Petroleum Development Corp. and Uganda National Oil Co. each have a 15 per cent interest, while the rest is owned by CNOOC. The project will be funded on a 40:60 equity-debt ratio, according to UNOC.
The bank has come under heavy criticism from environmental groups, citing potential damage to the habitats of endangered wildlife species and displacement of at least 118,000 people.
As many as 260 civil society organisations have asked lenders, including Standard Bank, not to participate.
BoT warns of possible US Dollar counterfeit notes in the market
The Bank of Tanzania has issued an alert to Banks and foreign exchange bureaux to take precautions against counterfeit US dollar notes.
“The Bank of Tanzania has received information regarding the seizure of a large amount of US Dollar counterfeit notes in one of the foreign countries which were destined to Africa continent,” reads part of the statement sent out to banks and exchange agents.
The warning comes as the country is still taking a toll on a dollar shortage crisis, a situation that has forced banks to ration available resources for a few traders, especially importers.
While it’s yet to be clear which report the Bank was referring to, in June 2023, $100 bills worth USD 1 billion were reported seized by the Turkish security forces.
Turkish authorities reported that the fake notes were planned to be sent to African countries. Six people including one Ghanian and three Swedish nationals were arrested.
In response to the ongoing dollar shortage, the country has taken several steps including commencing a gold purchasing program and issuing a directive that limits unwarranted outflow of dollars from the economy.
Another development is the new regulation for foreign exchange bureaux in the country, the regulations set a more attractive ground for the entry of new capital in the market, especially by recognizing foreign investors as well as introducing a new model which categorizes bureaux businesses in three classes.
On October 18, 2023, the Bank also released a new code of conduct for the retail foreign exchange market. The code objective is to set standards and best practices for retail market participants.
Remote consultations can boost healthcare access in Tanzania, study finds
A new report published in The Lancet Global Health has found that, with appropriate training and funding, remote consultations can improve access to healthcare in low- and middle-income countries, including Tanzania.
Randomised controlled trials in Nigeria and Tanzania found that remote consultations improve health care coverage for people with diabetes, high blood pressure and respiratory conditions without compromising patient safety or the trustworthiness of consultations.
In March 2020, high-income countries responded swiftly to the coronavirus pandemic by replacing face-to-face healthcare with remote health consultations. This approach reduced the risk of COVID-19 transmission for patients and healthcare workers.
However, middle- and low-income countries faced barriers to implementing remote consultations, including a shortage of devices and a lack of electronic records, digital infrastructure and training.
The trials demonstrated that these challenges can be overcome and that remote consultations can be successfully rolled out in middle- and low-income countries.
In 2020, a team led by researchers in the Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care at King’s College London adapted an existing evidence-based e-learning training course for remote consultations to be piloted first in Tanzania and then fully trialled in Tanzania and Nigeria.
Prof Jackie Sturt, lead author of the study, said that remote consultations not only improve access to healthcare during pandemics but also reduce travel time for patients who may need to travel long distances to see a medical practitioner face-to-face.
“We are currently working with policymakers in ten sub-Saharan countries to roll out REaCH training for safe and trustworthy remote consultation,” said Prof Sturt. “This has the potential for countries to meet sustainable development goals through increasing universal health coverage.”
On his part, Prof Senga Pemba, co-investigator for REaCH and Head of the Public Health Department at St. Francis University College of Health and Allied Sciences in Tanzania, said that the team observed that there are a lot of informal remote consultations going on in various countries.
“The REaCH training, which is freely available online, will significantly help to formalise remote consultations in these countries,” Prof Pemba said.
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