Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Forex reserves drop after State’s external payments


Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge. FILE PHOTO | NMG


  • CBK data shows the foreign reserves dropped to $8.627 billion (Sh935.25 billion), enough to cover 5.23 months’ worth of imports, from $8.838 billion (Sh957.86 billion) the previous week.
  • In a media briefing Wednesday, CBK governor Patrick Njoroge said that the regulator has continued to make periodic external payments on behalf of the State.

How to tap potential of fast rising gig economy


Digitally connected workspaces can help Kenya's gig economy overcome some of its biggest drawbacks. FILE PHOTO | NMG


  • The report indicates that fluctuation in income from week to week is a cause for frustration for 60 percent of gig workers in the country, and that is attributable to traditional ways of doing business.
  • Gig economy is a term used by economists to refer to jobs that are based on short-term, temporary and flexible independent contractual agreements.

Kenya in African digital pact to ease movement of goods TrucksCovid

TrucksCovidTrucks loaded waiting to cross the Malaba border. FILE PHOTO | NMG


  • Kenya, a signatory to Africa’s Free Trade Area agreement now has a regional platform that facilitates faster clearance of goods at border points.
  • Other signatories are Burundi, Djibouti, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Malawi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
  • RCTG-Carnet is an international customs and export-import system used to clear customs in participating member states without paying duties and import taxes on merchandise that will be re-exported within 12 months.

Kenyans abroad can now track relatives’ health in real time


Goodlife Pharmacy CEO Amaan Khalfan. FILE PHOTO | NMG



  • Diaspora Kenyans can now determine the quality of healthcare their relatives back home receive and pay for it via a recently launched mobile app, Diaspocare.
  • Former banker Peter Kamunyu, who is Diaspocare’s business development manager, said the new platform arose from the need to enhance healthcare for Kenyans, especially the elderly whose children are living abroad.

Why boards need to hire humble CEOs



  • Many of our most famous CEOs of Kenyan banks, investment companies, and real-estate development firms subscribe to bombastic and egotistical leadership styles.
  • An influential research study by Amy Ou, David Waldman, and Suzanne Peterson found significant evidence that the level of humility in the top executive of a firm comes with measurable positive organisational benefits.

Treasury reopens long-term bonds in Sh50 billion sale


Central Bank of Kenya (CBK). FILE PHOTO | NMG



  • The government is targeting to raise Sh50 billion from the two-tranche bond issue, intended for general budgetary allocation.
  • The bond will be on sale until October 13, with CBK having opened the offer on September 28.
  • The CBK said that the 20-year paper will carry a coupon of 10 percent, while the 25-year has a coupon of 13.4 percent, which is on the higher end of the yield curve.

Are we ready for a global reset?


While some people waited for normalcy, others are moving on into a new world. AFP PHOTO



  • While some people waited for normalcy, others are moving on into a new world.
  • We are gingerly opening the economy and possibly schools to experiment if learning will take place.
  • Some parents have set aside schooling until it is safe for their children to go back to school.
  • In the meantime, online learning innovations are getting better and promising to leave no one behind.

Allianz buys into Jubilee Holdings

German global insurer and asset management company, Allianz, has acquired controlling stakes in the General Insurance segment of Jubilee Holdings' businesses in five countries.


Banks restructure Sh1.1 trillion loans

Banks have restructured loans worth Sh1.12 trillion or 38 percent of the total loan book by end of August due to the coronavirus-induced economic hardships that have hurt the borrowers’ ability to repay.

Magoha hints learners will not repeat classes after schools reopen


Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) George Magoha. NMG PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE



  • Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) George Magoha has hinted learners will not repeat classes even as he steered clear on the exact school reopening dates.
  • The CS told Parliament Wednesday the strategy in place will ensure that the academic year is recovered.
  • This is in contrast to his July declaration that 2020 is considered a lost academic year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Auditor General puts Kemsa boss on the spot over Sh7.6bn fraud


Kemsa CEO Johan Manjari. FILE PHOTO | NMG



  • The Auditor-General wants suspended Kemsa chief executive officer Johnah Manjari held to account over breach of procurement law and diversion of Sh7.6 billion meant for Universal Health Coverage (UHC) towards purchase of Covid-19 related items.
  • Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu wants the suspended Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa) held responsible over seven counts of violation of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015.

Banks get CBK's nod to start blacklisting loan defaulters at CRBs


Banks get CBK's nod to start blacklisting loan defaulters at CRBs


CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge. FILE PHOTO | NMG


  • CBK governor Patrick Njoroge Wednesday gave the banks the green light to blacklist borrowers who have defaulted in the wake of the coronavirus economic fallout.
  • But the defaulters look set to appear in the books of Kenya’s three CRBs — Metropol, TransUnion and Creditinfo International—from January after the expiry of the 90-day notice.
  • The CBK announced the suspension of CRB listing for loans that were defaulted after April 1, and the relief was to last for six months to September 30.

Kemsa rejected price discounts on Covid-19 kits


Kenya Medical Supplies Authority offices, Industrial Area, Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG



  • A forensic audit by the Office of the Auditor-General found that Kemsa officials chose to pay Sh4,500 for a pack of 50 face masks, way above the Sh3,183 quoted by suppliers — a variation equivalent to 41.37 percent.
  • A report tabled in Parliament said Ms Gladlab Supplies Limited had on April 9,2020 offered to supply Kemsa with surgical face masks with ear-loops at a discounted price of $30 (Sh3,183) per box of 50 pieces, down from an earlier quote of Sh4,750.

Safaricom, NCBA split on cutting M-Shwari charges


NCBA branch in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG


  • The bank said there were no immediate plans to cut the fees linked to M-Shwari, adding that it’s focused on making the digital loan competitive relative to similar products in the market place.
  • This contradicts an earlier statement made by Safaricom that it was keen to the cost of M-Shwari cut as part of a larger plan that will see more features added on the M-Pesa platform, including insurance and wealth management.
  • NCBA runs the M-Shwari app in partnership with M-Pesa and offers a maximum of Sh50,000 loan for up to 30 days with a "facilitation fee" of 7.5 percent on credit regardless of its duration.

Jubilee Holdings sells stake to German firm at Sh10.8bn

Jubilee Holdings Chairman Nizar Juma.

File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Allianz will acquire controlling stakes of between 51 per cent and 66 per cent in Jubilee’s short-term insurance units in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Mauritius.
  • Jubilee will receive Sh7.75 billion of the cash proceeds while the rest will be invested in the operating businesses.

Why these economists want broke governments to just print money

Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge displays new notes on June 3, 2019.

Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Modern Monetary Theory suggests that Governments reliance on taxes for revenue is rather limiting leaving the Government with only debt options.
  • In such a model taxes then start becoming a tool to regulate against inflation rather than one that is primarily the source of Governments revenue.

Milk prices go up amid supply fall

Consumers will start paying more for milk starting this week following a decision by New KCC to adjust upwards the price of some of their products.

File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • In the latest review, a half-litre packet of milk will now cost Sh46 from Sh43 previously.
  • This marks the first major rise in cost since 2018 and sets stage for other processors to follow suit.
  • The shortage has seen milk deliveries to processors drop by 40 per cent.

This is how to bribe a politician

Former South African president Jacob Zuma during hearing over 16 corruption charges. He allegedly accepted monthly bribes from a security firm.

File | AFP

What you need to know:

  • We learn that, in South Africa, expensive birthday gifts are popular bribes for politicians.
  • A house for a politician in a faraway place, like Dubai, also does the trick in South Africa.
  • There are other very East African things that have not yet emerged at the Zondo Commission.
  • No testimony has emerged yet of politicians getting plots of land.

Madaraka Express resumes full service

Madaraka Express train attendants wait for passengers on August 8, 2020.


What you need to know:

  • The firm released a new schedule for the trains that shuttle between the two counties.
  • Afristar will now have trains leaving Nairobi and Mombasa at the same time in the morning and two other trains leaving in the afternoon.

Uhuru lands in Paris, witnesses signing of three key deals

President Uhuru Kenyatta and French President Emmanuel Macron (left) when they met in Paris, France on September 30, 2020. 

Courtesy | PSCU

What you need to know:

  • Mr Kenyatta arrived in Paris on Tuesday evening. 
  • Among the agreements reached is a public private partnership (PPP) for the construction of the Nairobi-Nakuru-Mau Summit highway signed between KeNHA and Vinci Concessions.
  • The highway is one of the largest PPP projects in Eastern Africa.

Tanzania: Import Bill for July Down


THE total import of goods and services decreased to 9,687.4 million US dollars in the year ending July from 10,185.8 million US dollars in the corresponding period a year earlier.

Tanzania: Zanzibar Current Account Deficit Narrows


THE Zanzibar current account deficit narrowed to 34.3 million US dollars in the year ending July from 58.4 million US dollars in the corresponding period last year, mainly on account of increase in exports and official transfers.

Tanzania: Yes Politics Now, but Economy and Development Require Work

PichaAS political temperature mounts ahead of the October elections with political parties trying to woo voters, Tanzanians should think far off the box --more importantly that there is life after elections.

With that in mind, the business community learns that Tanzania is a country that favours one to be a billionaire just like the fifth phase government has been preaching.

Tanzania: Dit Urged to Support Informal Innovators


Minister for Education, Science and Technology, Prof Joyce Ndalichako, has encouraged the Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT) to introduce special programmes for supporting innovators from the informal sector to develop their creations to commercialization level.

Tanzania: NSSF Collects Sh441 Million At Dar's 'One Stop Jawabu'

Dar es Salaam — The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) has collected arrears amounting to Sh447 million in two weeks at the Temeke District exhibition dubbed 'One Stop Jawabu'.

Tanzania: Unfinished Business of the Beijing Platform - Gender Equality

SEPTEMBER is mentioned as an exciting month for women and all gender advocates, as people celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

Tanzania: EALA to Address Members' Financial Remittance On Time

The newly launched East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Strategic Plan is set to emphasize on the need of partner states to honour their financial obligations.

Tanzania: Blood Bank Centre Mobilises Blood Donation in Region


A DODOMA-based Regional Blood Bank Centre is planning to run a special campaign that will educate and sensitise communities on the importance of building a culture of donating blood.

Tanzania, Burundi Plan for Railway and Refinery


After last week's maiden tour of Tanzania, where Burundi's President Evariste Ndayishimiye met Tanzanian President John Magufuli in Kigoma, the two countries agreed to build a railway to transport minerals from Gitega.