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Bangladeshi steel maker to open Sh6.5bn factory

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Big ticket infrastructural projects including
Big ticket infrastructural projects including the multi-billion Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) have driven up demand for steel products in the country. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

One of the largest steel makers in Bangladesh is set to open a Sh6.5 billion ($65 million) factory in Kenya.

Bangladesh Steel Re-Rolling Mills Ltd (BSRM) announced the local venture to be known as BMS Steel Limited.

It is backed by a consortium of unnamed Kenyan, Mauritian and UAE investors.

The plant will have a production capacity of 400 metric tonnes of steel a day.

“The company has informed that the board of directors has decided to make equity investment of Tk. 39.00 crore (approximately) equivalent to $4.67 million (representing 18 per cent) in BMS Steel Limited a new joint venture company, formed in Kenya along with investment partners from Mauritius and United Arab Emirates,” said the Dhaka Stock Exchange-listed steel firm in a local regulatory notice.

The exact location of the plant is however not disclosed.

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“The investment partners have operations in Kenya and other countries in Africa. BMS Steel Limited will set up a manufacturing facility with total investment of about $65 million to produce 0.40 million metric tonnes BMS bars and sections per year.”

The new entrant is expected to take the battle for local production and sale of steel products to local players’ doorsteps.

Big ticket infrastructural projects including the multi-billion Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) have driven up demand for steel products in the country. Local steel manufacturers include family-owned construction materials manufacturer Devki Group, Kilifi-based Jumbo Steel Mills, Nairobi based Tononoka Steel, Apex Steel Mill Corporation, Steel Makers Ltd and Prime Steel Ltd.

In August this year, Jumbo Steel Mills completed construction of a Sh1 billion factory that was expected to create more than 500 direct jobs for locals of Kilifi’s Rabai sub-county.

Managing director Indravadan Patel said then the facility would produce 150 metric tonnes of steel a day. Earlier in July this year, Devki Group said it plans to inject Sh45.5 billion in the region’s first raw steel production plant, seeking to exploit locally sourced iron ore.

Kenyan steel factories rely on industrial steel imports as well as scrap metal to manufacture TMT bars, steel tubes, angles bars and barbed wire nails among others.

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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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