Connect with us

Featured

Cheaper power way to expand consumer base

Published

on

Loading...

By RAJUL MALDE
More by this Author

Electricity forms a sizeable chunk of the cost of manufacturing in Kenya. Yet the cost of power has been on the rise in recent times. For the local industrial sector to thrive, we must urgently tame this trend.

Happily, the government has proposed rebates allowing manufacturers to deduct 30 per cent of their electricity expenses from taxable income. In April, Peter Munya, the Cabinet secretary, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, announced that the regulations would soon be gazetted into law. Local manufacturers have since been waiting with bated breath for the new rules.

The government needs to speed up the gazetting and execution of the new rules so that consumers and manufacturers can benefit from the change. This is because the new regulations will address the perennial challenge of the high cost of industrial power while injecting a sense of predictability into the country’s electricity tariff regime.

Not only will this trim down production costs, but it will also make Kenyan goods more competitive. Notably, the government and the local industry have been pushing for a ‘Buy Kenya, Build Kenya’ model to spur uptake of domestic goods and commodities.

This is in a bid to increase the manufacturing sector’s share of the gross domestic product (GDP) as captured in the government’s ‘Big Four Agenda’ through creating a large and growing domestic market for local industry. Besides the ‘Big Four’, that is also envisioned in the Kenya Vision 2030 blueprint.

However, for the ‘Buy Kenya, Build Kenya’ model to succeed, local goods need to be more affordable. Reducing the cost of electricity is one sure way of slashing the price of Kenyan goods, therefore making them more attractive to consumers in the country.

Commendably, the government and private power producers have invested significantly in green energy in the form of geothermal, wind and solar. This was expected to dramatically reduce the cost of electricity, something that has been slow in coming.

Instead, the country continues to rely on unreliable hydroelectricity, which is prone to the adverse effects of erratic weather patterns, and, consequently, expensive thermal power to bridge the electricity deficit.

Manufacturing has been identified as a core pillar of the Big Four. For Kenya to acquire industrial economy status, it needs a vibrant and competitive local industry.

Loading...

But that cannot happen when some manufacturers are relocating to neighbouring countries such as Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania, which have moved to reduce power tariffs significantly. This simply amplifies the urgent need to tame the high and unpredictable cost of electricity in Kenya.

Escalating electricity bills affect not just industries, but also consumers as they tend to erode the latter’s purchasing power. When consumers cannot afford even the basic commodities like cooking oil, soap and so on, local manufacturers suffer. They have nobody to sell their goods to as they often have to pass the surging production costs to consumers.

This, in turn, spawns a vicious cycle, where manufacturers cannot sell their goods and consumers cannot afford them.

To reverse this situation, we have to entrench fiscal and policy incentives to promote local industry. This includes long-term measures to keep electricity tariffs low and stable. A more predictable electricity pricing model, coupled with incentives such as the proposed rebate, will go a long way in enhancing the efficiency and competitiveness of local industry.

Reducing electricity fuel cost charge and removing the fixed cost charge are also welcome measures to significantly enhance the competitiveness of local industry. Needless to emphasise, that will make locally produced commodities more affordable and attractive to consumers.

The government needs to move with speed and put in place the proposed regulations so that the benefits can be seen by consumers in the form of affordable prices for locally manufactured goods. Previously, we have seen situations where such noble initiatives are delayed or not implemented at all. This only hurts consumers and businesses.

The benefits of a growing manufacturing sector to the rest of the economy are real. It will provide a robust base for value addition to agriculture, create thousands of jobs and, more importantly, cement Kenya’s strategic position as the regional economic hub — powered by a competitive, vibrant and sustainable manufacturing sector.

Comments

comments

Loading...
Continue Reading

Featured

Numbers waiting to return keep growing

Published

on

Loading...

By DIANA NDINDA

Yesterday, I told you how ecstatic I was when I learnt that there was a WhatsApp group rallying stranded Kenyans like me, who were yearning to go home.

Not only did I learn that there was a group, but I also joined it. The relief of being in a community of Kenyans brought together by a similar goal was indescribable. I felt at home. I no longer felt as if I was alone in the world.

I could tell from the number of people requesting that their friends be added to the group that we were quite a number.

From that moment on, I began checking my phone every few minutes for any progress. Every new text message brought with it renewed hope of going home soon. The new additions to the group and a few familiar names also gave me confidence.

I would excitedly share with my family and friends every time there was a new development. And sounding even more excited than I was, they would encourage me to hang in there because like me, they could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

By this time, my church back in Kenya, Kahawa West Baptist Church, where I sing in the choir, had learnt of my plight and had got in touch with the Baptist community here in Lagos and requested them to offer me any help they could rally.

The support from the Baptist community in Kenya and the one here was overwhelming. They prayed for me, called and texted me and even contributed money to support me.

CHRISTIAN FAMILY

The comfort of having my church community organising prayers specifically for me and even fasting so that a way could soon be found for me to return continued to encourage me.

Loading...

Different people would check on me and even offer to visit, but we agreed that social distancing was important to prevent possible exposure to coronavirus.

As if this support was not enough, many from the Baptist community here in Nigeria were willing to host me in their homes.

Unfortunately, they lived in other towns, and due to the government regulations, I couldn’t travel there.

This wholesome and unconditional support from individuals that I had never met showed me just how important being an active member of a church community is.

Meanwhile, the numbers in the group grew, with the admins regularly updating the list. With each new name, the joy in my heart was palpable.

The sole aim of the group was to rally as many numbers as possible, and everyone who knew a stranded Kenyan would contact them and have them join us.

By the evening of May 21, we hit the 50 mark. The celebration in the group came alive with everyone ready to pack their bags in preparation for the long-awaited trip home.

The effort to put Kenyans stranded in Nigeria together, which had started on April 1, was finally starting to bear fruit.

As I write this, we are at 67 and growing, and we can’t be happier as we look forward to coming home.

Ms Ndinda is Research Manager, Transform Research Africa Ltd. She is stuck in Nigeria, where she has been since March 21. MONDAY: Our representatives, who are in talks with KQ and the Kenyan Embassy in Nigeria, inform us that the repatriation process had been initiated, but will take about two weeks.

Comments

comments

Loading...
Continue Reading

Featured

Unity of Kenyans is paramount

Published

on

Loading...

By GICHU KIHORO

Our mind is one of the most fascinating phenomena discernible in nature. While it is the base for all of our perceptions, we know very little of how it works exactly. 

 There are several ways for us to tackle this matter, including from a neuroscience or philosophical perspective. Yet, one of the most interesting ways was developed by Sigmund Freud, more than a hundred years ago.

PSYCHOANALYSIS

 He called his technique psychoanalysis, and he analysed the most inner desires of the mind through its subconscious and implicit exclamations.

As such, he used dreams and slips of the tongue to understand what his patients really desired, deep down. These gave him straight, unfiltered insights into their minds.

 Language is a very important part of this, and every word we use has a distinct meaning.

Sometimes, while we are not consciously aware of it, our mind knows much better. It is aware of the nuances, history and context of every word we use, even if on the surface of it we pay little attention to the words we are choosing.

Loading...

 It is interesting to take a closer look at which words we, our family, our elders and our national leaders use, and how we use them.

Especially in difficult times like these, well-chosen words can make all the difference. After all, there are many famous examples in history where a speech, or even a sentence, could lift a whole nation to unknown heights. 

Yet, words can also have the opposite effect. Lately, I have heard much talk about “revenge”.

Politicians, factions, parties, even governments want to take “revenge” on their rivals. Apart from the distinctly violent tone, which reminds of a past that should stay buried for ever, the word itself points to the past.

Etymologically, revenge stems from “to claim or avenge again”, indicating a never-ending circle of violence.

 PEACE AND UNITY

 This is something we believed and hoped to be a thing of the past. After decades of strife, we elected leaders who understood that peace and unity are, above all else, what Kenya needs, and what its leaders need to strive for.

President Uhuru Kenyatta especially made it his mission to embrace former foes, and political rivals for a better and more prosperous future for Kenya.

This is the spirit we need, the spirit responsible for all the strides we have taken towards becoming a medium-income economy by 2030. This is the spirit we need to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic.

 The coronavirus provides the world with challenges which it has not seen in at least a century.

Around the world, many countries have taken extraordinary steps to keep their citizens safe and healthy.

The health of Kenyans in the government’s top priority. To defeat the deadly virus, we need to remain united.

 INFIGHTING

All of these attributes contribute to a nation which is optimistic and hopeful about its prospects in the long term. We can’t afford infighting, division and strife to distract us while the world is facing the Covid-19 crisis.

We need to focus on important issues, not ridiculous topics such as appointments to meaningless titles of unimportant outfits.

Rahm Emanuel, one of US President Barack Obama’s top advisors, is known for his statement to “never let a good crisis go to waste”. Us Kenyans should also use this crisis to take a second, better look at our leaders, political and elsewhere. Which ones are the leaders trying to position themselves better for the future, and which ones are the leaders trying to position Kenya better for the future?

The dividing line runs between those pursuing unity and peace, and those stifling and dividing the country.

 These trying times should be used by all of us to sift through and choose the leaders who have our, and not theirs, best interests in mind. Leaders who first and foremost care about peace and unity in Kenya. Leaders which will live up to our national motto and be committed to “Harambee”sprit!

Mr Kihoro is a Research and Data expert. [email protected]

Comments

comments

Loading...
Continue Reading

Featured

All of a sudden daily Corona broadcast updates are not a hit

Published

on

Loading...
NERIMA WAKO-OJIWA

By NERIMA WAKO-OJIWA
More by this Author

Last weekend Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that the dusk-to-dawn curfew had been extended by a further 21 days. This was one of the many times that we have received communication from the government—for more than 60 days running, including weekends—whether from the ministry of Health or the cabinet secretary informing us of new Covid-19 cases, deaths and recoveries.

In the beginning, we would anxiously wait for the announcement to be made—would it be was it 3pm or 4pm? People would literally wait by their TVs or even radios to listen to government plans on combating the virus.

One of the things I remember keenly about living in the US was that in times of tornadoes, we would get warnings just before one was observed to be near our homes. The first time I ever heard a tornado warning siren was during the wee hours of the morning and it was raining heavily, it was such a heavy downpour with thunderstorms but even through that noise, I heard the siren wailing.

It was unnatural, combined with a constant voice from loud speakers that were stationed all over campus on poles that looked similar to street lights.

The longer I stayed in the US, I began to realise that the noises change depending on the severity of the storm.

Loading...

My first year, any siren would scare me to the basement as it was where we were all advised to go, and each building had access to one. But the longer I stayed, I understood the sirens, and sometimes there was no tornado that struck. I did notice that, I grew less afraid.

Advertisement

Once I took a walk to the library, another time a group of friends and myself went shopping, because we were able to calculate that we had a few hours before a tornado actually hit our city, the sirens had become part of my life.

And that is the thing about fear or living under the unknown. Fear can start out with anxiety and caution. But when you are surrounded by danger, as human beings, we begin to think adaptation— that life must simply go on. How can I adapt to this new sense of normal, especially when it is not sustainable.

All of a sudden, the coronavirus press conferences are not as watched by people as they used to be—as you may not find sanitisers in some matatu’s or at some buildings, and masks are now worn under one’s chin.

So it is not surprising reports indicate that youth are emerging as superspreaders of the virus because they are active and asymptomatic.

Nerima Wako-Ojiwa, executive director, Siasa Place @NerimaW

Comments

comments

Loading...
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Loading...
Advertisement
Loading...

Trending