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Bata eyes military, police boots business

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Alberto Errico
Bata president, Africa, Alberto Errico shows some of the locally sourced leather used at the factory in Limuru. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG 

Bata Shoe Company has invested Sh45 million ($450,000) in a boots manufacturing plant as it seeks to tap into new market created by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive that all military gear should be bought from local manufacturers.

The plant, only a month old, has already produced samples of the “Combat Boot”, and according to Mr Alberto Errico, the company’s president, it has a capacity of producing between 300,000 and 400,000 pairs per year.

The factory, which is using locally sourced raw materials, is based at the Limuru shoe company that has in the past been manufacturing police boots, among other collections of footwear.

Mr Errico said the investment, which has seen the firm hire more than 100 specialists, is part of their diversification plan as they seek to remain relevant in business despite growing competition from second-hand shoes.

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“The investment is in support of the President’s Big Four Agenda because manufacturing is one of the agendas. At the same time, we (Bata) are seeking to tap into the new market which has been created by Head of State’s order that military boots be procured from local manufacturers,” Mr Errico said, adding that they are optimistic about the business prospects created.

In January, the president directed that all boots, leather products and textiles used by disciplined forces be procured from local manufacturers with effect from the current financial year, an opportunity which local manufacturers are eyeing.

This directive, however, is pegged on the requirement that the local manufacturers must meet high standards that will ensure provision of high quality goods and services.

But according to Mr Errico, Bata products are in conformity with the specifications that have been set by military, adding that it will cost a fraction of what tax payers have been coughing to ensure the members of the armed forces have befitting boots.

The new products, not only targets local forces, but also in the region.

According to Mr Errico, they have already sent samples to South Africa and Uganda through their sister companies Bata South Africa and Bata Uganda as they seek to win business from the respective governments.

Mr Errico, who is in-charge of the company’s branches in eight countries in Africa, said to ensure that the 124-year-old multinational survives, they have been pumping an estimated Sh100 million ($1 million) annually in Africa to improve on innovation and technology.

Bata Kenya, he said, remains the major factory, producing a variety of about 30 million pairs of shoes per year.

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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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