Sunday, October 4, 2009

EAC to end all capital movement restrictions

Saturday, 03 October 2009

KAMPALA, UGANDA - A report signed by the five EAC ministers reveals that some member states still have restrictions on capital acquisition and movement, which they say they will eliminate by 2015.

The restrictions include purchase of foreign securities, stock market involvement, purchase of government bonds, lending and borrowing from abroad.
East African Business Week compiled a list of restrictions on the free movement of capital and dates for their elimination.

The schedule shows that purchase of foreign securities by Tanzanians is permitted if shares are acquired externally but the Bank of Tanzania must be informed. The elimination date for this restriction is December 31, 2009. In Kenya and Uganda, residents are permitted to purchase foreign securities but in Burundi residents are not allowed to purchase the utilities without authority of the central bank. This is to be eliminated by December 31, 2014.

In Rwanda the central bank must approve purchasing of foreign securities. Elimination date is December 31, 2009.

In Tanzania foreigners are allowed to participate in the local stock market up to 60% of shares of primary or secondary issues. Kenya allows them to purchase a maximum of 75% of shares and defines a local investor as a citizen of the EAC. There are no restrictions on non-residents purchasing primary or secondary issues in the stock market in Uganda and Rwanda. There are no specific regulations in Burundi because there is no stock market yet and the financial market plan is currently at its inception stage.

Residents in Tanzania are not allowed to participate in foreign initial public offers (IPO's) but this restriction is to be eliminated by December 2010.

Kenyans can freely participate in foreign IPOs. Ugandans and Rwandans can buy foreign IPOs with central bank approval.

Sale or issue of securities by foreigners is permitted in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda while in Rwanda it requires central bank approval. Elimination date is December 31, 2009.

The sale of stocks abroad by Tanzanians requires prior approval from the Capital Markets and Securities Authority. Elimination date is December 31, 2012. Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda have no restrictions on the sale or issue of securities abroad, but approval is required in Burundi.

Tanzania bars foreigners from government securities. Elimination will be by December 31, 2012. There are no restrictions for non-residents to purchase corporate, government bonds and any other debt instruments in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Burundi.

Kenya, Uganda, Burundi do not restrict selling of issue of bonds and any other debt instruments by non-residents. Tanzania prohibits non-residents from selling or issuing debt securities on the local market but will eliminate this by December 31, 2015.

Rwanda requires approval from the central bank and plans to eliminate this by December 2009. Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda do not prohibit foreigners from selling or issuing of bonds and other debt instruments abroad. In Tanzania, they are not allowed to sell or issue debt securities abroad. Elimination date is by December 2012.

The report says Kenyans and Ugandans are allowed to purchase or sell money market instruments abroad.

Tanzania will eliminate restrictions on purchase or sale of money market instruments abroad by 2015 while Rwanda allows it under the regulatory framework.

It is only in Tanzania where non-residents are not allowed to sell or issue collective investment schemes in the domestic market.

Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda are still drawing up the legislative framework for selling or issuing of derivatives and other instruments by foreigners while Uganda does not have restrictions. However, Kenya's non-residents are allowed to sell or issue derivatives and other instruments locally. Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda allow borrowing offshore but Tanzania and Burundi have restrictions. Tanzanians are not allowed to lend money abroad but in Kenya it is subject to regulations and Uganda to prudential requirements. Rwandans can lend money abroad but in Burundi it is subject to central bank's approval till 2014.

All the five countries do not have restrictions on inward direct investments but some have restrictions on outward direct investments.

Tanzania does not allow outward direct investment, Kenyans and Ugandans are free but In Rwanda and Burundi the central bank's approval is needed their citizens.