THE YEARS OF ‘COVID CAPTURE’ CALL FOR VIGILANCE

Author: Cameron Dunstan-Smith

Governments and corporates must ensure delivery of vital goods and services to protect citizens and equip state facilities. 

The Covid-19 pandemic is the most challenging global economic disaster the world has witnessed in a generation. The pressure on individuals, governments and corporations is taking its toll, with the impact felt at macro and micro levels.

Unfortunately, as the call goes out for governments, corporate citizens and the person in the street to pull together to fight this pandemic, bad actors inevitably seize opportunities to unlawfully enrich themselves from government and corporate coffers.

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DO’S AND DON’TS FOR E-COMMERCE DELIVERY PERSONNEL, COURIERS AND COURIER COMPANIES

Authors: Rohan Isaacs and Tatum Govender

Although the country is moving to level 3, more and more suppliers had already turned to online or telephonic sales to get their businesses starting up again. This is because these types of sales were largely permitted during level 4, in terms of directions issued on 14 May, and because consumers feel more at ease ordering online rather than shopping in-store. More people have also become accustomed to shopping online. Directions issued by government impose numerous obligations on suppliers, couriers and consumers, which are additional to those already imposed in other laws.

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DO’S AND DON’TS FOR ONLINE AND TELEPHONIC RETAILERS

Authors: Rohan Isaacs and Tatum Govender

Although the country is moving to level 3, more and more suppliers had already turned to online or telephonic sales to get their businesses starting up again. This is because these types of sales were largely permitted during level 4, in terms of directions issued on 14 May, and because consumers feel more at ease ordering online rather than shopping in-store. More people have also become accustomed to shopping online. Directions issued by government impose numerous obligations on suppliers, couriers and consumers, which are additional to those already imposed in other laws.

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DO’S AND DON’TS FOR CUSTOMERS OF ONLINE AND TELEPHONIC RETAILERS

Authors: Rohan Isaacs and Tatum Govender

Although the country is moving to level 3, more and more suppliers had already turned to online or telephonic sales to get their businesses starting up again. This is because these types of sales were largely permitted during level 4, in terms of directions issued on 14 May, and because consumers feel more at ease ordering online rather than shopping in-store. More people have also become accustomed to shopping online. Directions issued by government impose numerous obligations on suppliers, couriers and consumers, which are additional to those already imposed in other laws.

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WEBINAR: POST-COVID-19: RE-IMAGINING THE SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA MINING SECTOR

Thursday 21 May 2020, 15.30 – 16.45 CAT

A lot has been said about the mining industry’s current travails and what mining companies must do to survive. The question remains: what do we do after the lockdown? We find ourselves at another kairos moment in the World’s history – an important crossroads where we are afforded a brief opportunity to reflect on what a post-COVID-19 world should look like.

In this webinar, Patrick Leyden (Director, Herbert Smith Freehills) will moderate the discussion between Peter Leon (Partner and Co-chair of the Africa Practice Group, Herbert Smith Freehills), Olivier Binyingo (Director, Herbert Smith Freehills), Fiona Perrott-Humphrey (Senior Mining Adviser, Rothschild) and Peter Attard Montalto (Director – Global Lead, Capital Markets Research, Intellidex) who will consider what the sub-Saharan Africa mining sector may look once the current lockdown period ends.

They will also indicate what steps sub-Saharan countries should take now to ensure that their mining sectors are placed on the correct trajectory to maximise future growth and development.

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If you have queries about the webinars or the registration process please contact webinars@hsf.com.


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This webinar will be recorded so please register and you will automatically receive a link to the recording when it is ready.

All Herbert Smith Freehills webinars are recorded and are available for you to listen to again. Please contact webinars@hsf.com for a full list of archived events.

COVID-19: PRESSURE POINTS: EXACERBATING AFRICAN ECONOMIC INSTABILITY (AFRICA)

Countries in sub-Saharan Africa were dealing with a myriad of economic and other challenges prior to the outbreak of Covid-19 and these will continue to impact on the outlook of countries in the region.

The pandemic will further exacerbate the challenges faced by the region, speakers participating in international legal practice Herbert Smith Freehills’ ‘Sub-Saharan Africa: The dynamics that matter right now’ webinar, on May 14, indicated.

The outlook in light of the Covid-19 pandemic for sub-Saharan Africa was noted as being grim, as is the case for most countries in the world, given the shock to the global economy.

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COVID-19: PRESSURE POINTS: A CONSIDERATION OF FACTORS THAT MAY INFLUENCE MERGER CONTROL INVOLVING DISTRESSED FIRMS FOLLOWING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC (SOUTH AFRICA)

Authors: Nick Altini, Leana Engelbrecht and Sandhya Foster (with research assistance from Lauren Paxton)

It is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic is already having a far-reaching impact on local, regional and global economies, with many firms facing severe financial constraints due to the limitations and government interventions introduced to tackle the global pandemic.

As humanitarian efforts are, generally, being placed ahead of commercial economic interests some firms are severely impacted by the economic slowdown and it is likely that the financial and economic impact of these interventions will have a long-lasting impact on businesses.

In the wake of this, it is probable that many firms will be placed in a distressed position and will explore merger opportunities as a means of avoiding business rescue, or even liquidation. Similarly, firms with more robust balance sheets will doubtless seek acquisition targets in friendly or hostile takeovers. Consolidation in many sectors is inevitable and will take place through a blend of attrition as a result of the lockdown and mergers where either or both firms seek to merge in order to survive in a far more Spartan market than that which existed before.

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SA’S FATE IS IN ITS OWN HANDS, NOT THE IMF’S

Author: PETER LEON

Short-term relief will not be enough if the government does not jolt the economy into life with breathtaking reforms.

It will be many months before we are able to assess the extent to which the Covid-19 pandemic has damaged the global economy. An unprecedented supply and demand shock has already led to a projected 16% unemployment rate in the US, the world’s biggest economy, with 26-million unemployment claims last week alone. This is four-and-a-half times more than the February 2020 unemployment rate. If this continues, the US unemployment rate will reach levels not seen since the Great Depression in 1934.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) believes the global economy will contract 3% in 2020 — the worst global recession since the Great Depression. Dramatic reductions in supply and demand, falling commodity prices, outward capital flows and declining global growth all contribute to this. The fragility of many economies is evident, with developing countries suffering from an unhappy combination of a health, financial and fiscal crisis. SA is no exception.

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COVID-19: PRESSURE POINTS: NAVIGATING THE COVID-19 REGULATIONS AND THE ROLE OF COMPETITION LAW IN COMBATTING THE IMPACT OF THE PANDEMIC (SOUTH AFRICA)

Authors: Stewart Payne and Natasha Rachwal, with supervision by Nick Altini and Leana Engelbrecht

Following the declaration of a national state of disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act No. 57 of 2002 (as amended), the concerning escalation in the number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in South Africa prompted the National Coronavirus Command Council to enforce a nationwide lockdown for 21 days which came into effect from midnight on Thursday, 26 March 2020.

These developments have been accompanied by the expedited publication of numerous regulations aimed at combatting the outbreak of COVID-19 and mitigating its anticipated impact on the already strained economy. In particular, emphasis has been placed on enabling both the public and private sectors to act swiftly in responding to the healthcare crisis.

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NIGERIA’S ECONOMY REACTS TO COVID-19

Author: Ifeoluwa Ogunbufunmi, Banwo & Ighodalo

On a daily basis, we all see the “breaking news” stirred by the global pandemic, COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and its catastrophic ripple effect on world economies. The leadership of many countries, including Nigeria, are grappling with this unprecedented challenge, all eager to do their best to manage the unforeseen downturns in several economic activities.

Most sectors have been affected by the impact of COVID-19 — Tourism, Oil & Gas, Financial Services, Manufacturing, Trade, Sports, Entertainment, Health; the list seems endless. Pro-active and strategic leadership has to be the order of the day.

In the past week, notable policies, restrictions and changes have impacted Nigeria’s economy as result of COVID-19. As at Wednesday 25 March 2020, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control confirmed 46 current cases and one confirmed death from COVID-19.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently issued new policy measures and set up some intervention funds to cater to heavily affected sectors of the economy. The new policy provides a one-year moratorium extension on principal repayments for all CBN intervention facilities. Participating financial institutions have been directed to provide new amortisation schedules to all beneficiaries of the intervention facilities. Accordingly, interest rates on all applicable CBN intervention facilities have been reduced from 9 percent to 5 percent per annum. The moratorium extension and interest rate reduction both have a back-dated effective date of 1 March 2020.

The CBN also established a N50 Billion Naira (~$135 Million United States Dollars) targeted credit facility through the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) Microfinance Bank applicable to households and small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs). The credit facility will be extended to hoteliers, airline service providers, health care merchants, and other businesses adversely affected by COVID-19 in Nigeria.

More credit has also been extended by the CBN to pharmaceutical companies intending to expand and/or open drug manufacturing plants in Nigeria as well as healthcare practitioners intending to expand and/or build first-class standard health centres in the country.

The CBN has also granted Nigerian banks the requisite leave to consider temporary and time-limited restructuring of the tenor and other terms of subsisting loans to businesses and households, particularly in the Oil & Gas, Agriculture and Manufacturing sectors of the economy.

In addition, the CBN’s Loan-to-Deposit Ratio (LDR) policy, which has proved successful in improving availability of credit facilities and reducing interest rates, has laid the foundation for the CBN’s further support to specific industries and the extension of additional incentives to maintain the capacity of banks to direct credit to individuals, households and businesses.

In furtherance of the above policies, the CBN has also issued guidelines for the implementation of the N50 Billion Naira targeted credit facility and provides for eligible participants, activities covered, funding, participating financial institutions, loan limit and tenor, interest rate, collateral requirement and repayment modalities.

On Friday 20 March, the CBN also adjusted the price of the official exchange rate by 15 percent from N307/$1 to N360/$1. This adjustment was necessitated by the global crash in oil prices. Depreciation at the “market determined” Importers & Exporters (I&E) window (the official market where foreign exchange is traded between banks, the CBN, foreign investors and businesses) is now at 5 percent, having moved from N360/$1 to N380/$1.

In the light of the speed at which COVID-19 is spreading, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has also placed immediate restrictions on all international flights into Nigeria, with the exception of emergency and essential flights. All airlines are required to submit passenger manifests to the Port Health Authorities prior to the arrival of essential and emergency flights into the country. The Federal Government of Nigeria has also temporarily suspended the issuance of visas-on-arrival.

Without a doubt, the current impact and aftermath of COVID-19 across the world will be unprecedented. The comfort is that there is a commitment to have all hands on deck to manage the outcomes.

 

Banwo & Ighodalo is a leading Nigerian law firm situated in the prime commercial district of Ikoyi, Lagos Nigeria; with regional offices in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja. The firm is structured as a partnership, currently comprising over 90 lawyers; with the following five core practice groups: Corporate, Securities & Finance; Energy & Natural Resources; Litigation, Arbitration & Alternative Dispute Resolution; Shipping, Aviation & International Trade; and Intellectual Property & Information Technology. The firm undertakes work for public and private companies, governments, Nigerian and foreign investors, financial institutions, foreign law firms and international consultancy firms.


For more information, please contact Ifeoluwa Ogunbufunmi or your usual Banwo & Ighodalo contact:

Ifeoluwa Ogunbufunmi