THE Energy Regulation Body (ERB) has recorded a 78 percent increase in the number of licences issued to 64 organisations in the first quarter of this year. Last year during the same period, the ERB issued 36 licences. This has been driven by the increase in demand for energy products and services on the backdrop of the supply challenges. ERB manager – public relations Kwali Mfuni said of the 64 licences, 21 were construction permits, nine export of butane, which is a colourless gas with a faint petroleum-like odor, and seven for solar, transportation and importation of lubricants. Read more
‘72 per cent of Zambian businesses are unable to raise funds due to COVID-19’
Highlight results of a survey on the financial impact of COVID-19 on Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) conducted by FSD Zambia in collaboration with BFA Global show that Zambian businesses critically need working capital, with 72 percent of businesses unable to raise funds. According to a statement issued by FSD Zambia head of communications, Eneyah Phiri, the lowest income segments are particularly vulnerable to the economic impact of COVID-19 and the resulting economic slowdown. “The research, which was aimed at understanding the economic situation from the perspective of MSEs, shows that about 40 per cent of MSEs are seeing a significant decrease in revenues,” he said. Mr Phiri said the survey was also designed to assess MSE digital readiness as a method to limit the impact of COVID-19. “Despite these odds, most MSEs foresee continuing operations. They are confident that their business revenue is enough for the same level of production and are optimistic about recovery,” he said.
FOUR irrigation schemes are earmarked for development in Serenje on a 2,000 hectares land under the US$31.13 million Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP), a financial intermediary fund hosted within the World Bank Group. According to the African Development Bank (AfDB) website, GAFSP provided the grant to Government through the Agriculture Productivity and Market Enhancement Project (APMEP) programme. The funds were disbursed through AfDB, which is also providing technical expertise. APMEP is developing irrigation schemes, intensifying agricultural mechanisation, promoting conservation agriculture, crop diversification, enhanced aquaculture and livestock development in Zambia as part of an integrated agriculture value chain development under the Ministry of Agriculture. Read more
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS NEWS
Nigeria Moves to Capture Illegal Gold Sales to Increase Reserves
Nigeria plans to stem illegal gold exports worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year to boost the country’s foreign reserves. The program will regulate production by informal miners that currently provides no income to the state, said Fatima Shinkafi, executive secretary of the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative. As much as 18 tons of gold leaves Nigeria illegally every year and is shipped to Dubai, Shinkafi said in an interview. PAGMI’s plan is to shift most of that production, which is extracted by so-called artisanal miners and sold to middlemen, into a supervised supply chain that ends with bullion in a central-bank vault.