AUTHOR: SHEM N. OMUGA
YEAR of Publication : 2017
It is rare that you come across a book written by a Kenyan on human resource management, but Shem Omuga had delved into the subject even when his aim was not to give an academic approach to the subject. He writes what can be described as a guide to HR students and practitioners as well as those interested in understanding the issues of people management in organisations.
The book has four chapters though chapter one titled “Welcome” and the introduction can be regarded as the same as they broadly outline the content and note the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) environment in which many organisations are operating.
“It can be observed that the most forgotten and yet important solution to these challenges [VUCA] is talent. Yes, talent because this is the only factor that you cannot fake and the only source of sustainable competitive advantage,” says the author.
The second chapter presents the scenarios of good and bad succession management, giving a concrete idea of how complex the issue is.
The cases of General Electric and Safaricom (former CEO Michael Joseph to the current boss Bob Collymore) are cited as successful ones while that of Enron and Manchester United (in transition from Fergusson to Moyes) are presented as failures in so far as succession planning is concerned.
The all-important question of what would happen if senior management needed to be replaced in one day is asked. The reader might want to hear more of this subject, but the design of the book is such that it is more of a general guide of 90 pages and detailed discussion could be found elsewhere.
The main drawback to this chapter are some factual errors – specifically around the US September 2001 terrorist attack and the shareholding of Vodafone in Safaricom – and unappealing sentence construction. The errors can, however, be corrected when the book goes into the second edition.
The third chapter identifies two types of talent in a firm: high potential (HiPos) and experts or specialist. It dwells on why firms should identify these workers and get the right reward structure and avoid promoting into incompetence. It is noted that most firms are not ready for succession in some critical roles including that of the CEO.
Chapter four discusses the five steps for achieving sustainable talent and succession management using the DIDARR model – an acronym for defining, identifying, developing, assessing and recognising and rewarding talent.
The questions for HR professionals to ask in relation to this include, but are not limited to: what do you have in the talent pool? What are the applicable policies or framework and what is the business strategy?
On the whole, the book while quite valuable as it is, can be improved in a new edition. For example, the last part of the book concentrates on discussing HiPos but it can be extended to have more on the specialist talent while also minimising the editing errors that make the book appear almost self-published.
Kenya to import mitumba after coronavirus pandemic
Kenya is set to lift the ban on imports of second-hand clothes once the Covid-19 pandemic is over, the Industry, Trade and Co-operatives Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina has said.
The Cabinet Secretary last Wednesday announced an immediate temporary suspension of the importation of second-hand clothes as a measure to stop importing the SARs-Cov-2 virus that causes Covid-19 disease.
Ms Maina said the action taken is in line with the conditions as set out by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs).
“The government has suspended importation of second-hand clothes with immediate effect to safeguard the health of Kenyans and promote local textiles in the wake of coronavirus,” said Ms Maina.
“Most of the Mitumba imports come from China and Pakistan, countries which are the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic. The decision is intended to safeguard Kenyans against the spreading of the coronavirus and is therefore a health issue,” she said.
In an interview with the The EastAfrican, Ms Maina said the Kebs will enforce the suspension as we wait for the situation to improve.
“It is a requirement by the Kebs to take such an action in times of an epidemic like the Covid-19,” she said.
A recent study by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the virus can stay longer on different surfaces, including clothes.
Ms Maina, however, said the temporary ban will not in any way affect the policy on Mitumba imports from the US.
Under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, Kenya sold about Ksh40 billion ($400m) worth of textiles and clothing to the US.
“This does not in any way affect our policy on our imports from the US. The decision is strictly an urgent measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus,” added Ms Maina.
World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021
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.
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.
Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans
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.
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.