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CA Threat To Rogue Telcos Like Safaricom…

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The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) is eyeing imposition of steeper penalties on telecommunication operators that offer poor quality voice, data and messaging services.

The regulator made the announcement yesterday as it unveiled a new monitoring system, procured at a cost of Sh400 million, that will track network performance and customer experience.

The move means that the CA will soon impose steeper fines on offending telcos when they cause disruption to consumers, noting that current penalties were too lenient.

“We are going to recall our regulations before the end of the year so we review,” said director-general Francis Wangusi.

“The (current) penalty could be very low and therefore they don’t feel the pinch.”

The CA levies a fine equal to 0.1 per cent the gross annual revenue of a firm for failing to meet these standards.

The quality of voice services offered by mobile operators Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom Kenya worsened in 2016, setting up the operators for a hefty fine.

Telcos were last year collectively fined Sh311.6 million for poor services with market leader Safaricom taking the heaviest hit. The telco giant was fined Sh270 million while Airtel and Telkom were fined Sh26.6 million and Sh14.9 million respectively.

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Mr Wangusi said the new system would analyse the rate of dropped calls, call connection time as well as voice and data quality.

He also allayed fears from a section of privacy lobbies that it could be used by the State to spy on Kenyans.

“I don’t think that the quality of service equipment is going to monitor what people are talking,” said Mr Wangusi.

“In any case 44 million Kenyans making so many trillions of calls when do we have the energy to be able to monitor all of them and for what purpose? That is not there.”

The new system was procured from French firm Rohde Schwarz through its local partner Broadband Communication Networks.

Before the adoption of 0.1 per cent of gross revenue rule, previously firms were fined a flat rate of Sh500,000 which the communications regulator at the time deemed too lenient.

The regulator also plans to install another software, the Device Management System, that would give it unfettered access to consumer data held by telcos. The plan, however, is in limbo after a court in April declared the move unconstitutional.

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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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