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China firm contests Sh700m tender to furnish MPs offices

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Parliament in session:
Parliament in session: There has been a shortage of offices for MPs. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A Chinese firm is locked in a tendering dispute with the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) over the Sh700 million deal to furnish MPs’ offices amid allegations that the winning bidder forged documents.

China Jiangxi International Kenya has petitioned the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB) to block the award of the tender to local firm Nightingale Enterprises Ltd citing breach of laws.

The local firm is alleged to have submitted irregular bank statements, provided referee companies that were related to it, quoted works it never performed, and listed an architecture firm not registered in Kenya, documents filed before the review board show.

The Chinese firm reckons the PSC did not do adequate background check on Nightingale Enterprises as demanded by law.

Nightingale Enterprises had bid Sh665.1 million while China Jiangxi’s offer was Sh699.6 million for the interior fitting of the 26- storey building, which is being built by the Chinese firm for Sh6 billion.

“The procuring entity has acted in contravention of the law…as it awarded the tender to a bidder which did not submit a tender proposal that conformed to all eligibility and mandatory requirements,” said Jiangxi International through its lawyer.

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“The procuring entity be compelled to conduct a proper due diligence on Nightingale Enterprises strictly in accordance with the criteria set out in the tender.”

The PSC has, however, denied the tender did not meet the set criteria including authentic bank details, adding that the Chinese firm has misunderstood the procurement procedure.

The commission says China Jiangxi took part in the tender but was unsuccessful because it submitted a higher bid compared with Nightingale Enterprises.

Separate documents, filed by a whistleblower through lawyer Munyalo Muli before the board, questioned the authenticity of the bank statements provided by Nightingale Enterprises, adding that the firm did not undertake a multi-billion shilling contracts in Zambia it quoted to show its competence.

The firm is also said to have quoted independent referees that were related to it.

“A search at e-Citizen platform reveals that those companies share the same postal address as Nightingale Enterprises and therefore could not credibly verify the worthiness of the alleged successful bidder,” said Mr Muli.

The lawyer also said Nightingale lined up an architectural firm – Octa Architects — that doesn’t appear among firms licensed to operate in Kenya by the Board of registration of Architects and Quantity Surveyors.

The 26-storey office block is expected to accommodate MPs who have no offices and the expanded number of staff.

The PSC is spending millions of shillings to hire offices for MPs and Senators who did not secure space at Parliament Buildings.

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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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