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Agents, Importers Facing High Costs of Clearing Cargo – KIFWA

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The Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (KIFWA) has said clearing agents/importers are facing high costs at the Mombasa Port and Inland Container Depot Nairobi (ICDN) due to the pile-up of cargo.

“Since the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) withdrew importers nominations to their preferred CFSs, there has been a big pile-up of cargo at both the Mombasa Port and ICDN and thus making importers/clearing agents pay colossal port storage/marshalling charges besides huge shipping line demurrage. This translates to high costs of goods clearance leading to a price increase of basic commodities to Kenya,” KIFWA said in a statement.

The Association also highlighted the fact that the crackdown on counterfeit and contraband goods is causing huge delays at the cost of importers. KIFWA is, therefore, requesting the government to address the challenges contributing to the high costs “for the benefit of Kenyans.”

Challenges Importers Face

KIFWA noted that free storage has been reduced from eleven to four days while it takes a longer time for ICDN designated containers to arrive in Nairobi. Additionally, average dwell time averages twelve days with every container passing at the ICDN averaging ten days of storage and re-marshalling charges.

The Association is, therefore, faulting KPA for denying importers the chance to transfer containers to nominated CFSs arguing that the Authority “loses nothing when importers nominate to CFS.”

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KIFWA has also criticised the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) for imposing penalties on change of place of clearance by importers, using several units to carry out the same verification processes, and delaying the time it takes to process entries whose taxes have been paid by importers.

“Online request processing messages are ignored altogether,” KIFWA added.

Issues with KEBS/Port Health/KEPHIS

According to KIFWA, KEBS rejects Certificates of Conformity (COC) issued by their appointed inspection agents at the countries of origin. Upon cargo arrival, goods are re-inspected and are often failed, creating a contradictory scenario. In addition, the inspection process also requires lab tests further delaying the process at the importers’ cost.

The Association surmised that KEBS is using incompetent inspectors at the countries of origin, a situation that is hurting the importers at the end of the day.

Moreover, KIFWA observed that the several bodies are conducting the same lab tests on food commodities further increasing the costs for importers.

“The Standards body continually delays local inspection and uploading of local COCs even on exempted industrial raw materials,” KIFWA stated. “Due to the recent arrests of KEBS inspectors, fear has crept in decision making leading to slow cargo release processes.”

Obscure Operations at the Kenya Maritime Authority

KIFWA criticised the Kenya Maritime Authority for failing to arbitrate in the maritime industry and for favouring multinationals at the expense of small local firms.

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World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021

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World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.

“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.

He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.

The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.

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People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.

For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.

Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.

“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.

ALSO READ:Global Economy Plunges into Worst Recession – World Bank

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Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans

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The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.

“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”

According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.

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Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans

The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.

Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.

Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.

SEE ALSO: Central Bank Unveils Measures to Tame Unregulated Digital Lenders

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Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets

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NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options. 

This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.

The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.

The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.

The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).

The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.

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The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour;  Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).

The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.

Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”

He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.

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