Farmers will pay hefty fines of up to a half a million shillings among a raft of other punitive measures and levies should proposed dairy industry regulations be adopted.
The a half a million shilling fine relates to contraventions, including selling of milk to hawkers. The regulations force farmers to pasteurise their own milk or send to a milk cooling facility if they lack capacity.
Yesterday, Kenyans read mischief in the proposals. A lot of them took to Twitter and other social media platforms to throw barbs at the Kenya Dairy Board (KDB) which they accused of hatching a plot to turn the milk industry into a preserve of the large processors.
Experts, however, say that the attempt at formalising the dairy industry — by the dairy board — might have come off in bad light, especially given that some sections of the proposed rules are ambiguous.
Experts say some of the proposals were aimed at helping to streamline the industry, but the approach and lumping together of the regulations had come out in a bad light.
Evidence of quality assurance
For example, one of the regulations on traceability of milk requires that all milk for sale be clearly marked.
“Dairy produce which is placed on the market or is likely to be placed on the market shall be adequately labeled or identified to facilitate its traceability,” reads part of the regulations.
A section of another set of regulations reads: “All operations and activities along the milk value chain including milking, milk collection, transportation, processing and distribution on which evidence of quality assurance is required to be observed under this Regulations, shall have all such evidence recorded and the records thereof processed and maintained in accordance with this Part.”
In the Dairy Produce Traceability Information Sheet, every player along the supply chain are required to provide ‘Lot Number’ and ‘Batch Number,’ requirements that small-scale holders would struggle to provide.
Timothy Njagi, a research fellow with Tegemeo Institute, an agricultural policy think tank, agreed that the government’s intention is to have all milk formalised.
However, he regretted that they are too vague and susceptible to misinterpretation. “I don’t think whoever drafted them had the small-holder farmers in mind,” said Njagi, adding that of all the many regulations – 12 – not one addressed the issue of market concentration.
Kenya Dairy Board Managing Director Margaret Kibogy has come out saying that some of these are only suggestions the milk regulator has received during a forum to review Dairy policy and regulations developed in the 1990s.
“The proposed regulations do not in any way attempt to create any monopoly or stifle the dairy sector but are meant to enhance and promote sustainability of the sector to the benefit of all stakeholders,” Mrs Kibogy said.
She said the draft was developed by experts in government, private sector, development partners, milk producers, traders and processors since 2016 culminating in a national stakeholder forum held in June 2017 at Kalro headquarters.
County governments also gave their input and another draft was presented in March.
“During and after the forum, a lot of comments have been received by the secretariat and are being considered and inputted into the document. The comments are highly commendable and encouraged by the Board as they provide useful enrichment to the document,” Kibogy said.
“It is noted however that some of the comments made through various media outlets are misrepresentations,” she said.
The Dairy Board boss said the regulations are meant to ensure consumption of safe and quality milk.
She added that views are welcome to the board to update the old policy in line with the liberalised nature of the sector and to respond to increasing incidences of malpractices in the milk trade.
The new regulations are also meant to respond to demands on quality and safety, new technology and help farmers access markets.
But the remarks came after comments had spread all over social media.
Some Kenyans on Twitter pointed to regulations prohibiting selling of milk to neighbours and which give buyers overwhelming power to decide the price of milk based on quality and not the quantity of the milk.
The buyers may also be given a free hand to import milk whenever they feel there is a shortage which would flood the country with cheaper milk at the expense of the farmer given the global prices and corporate valid motivation for profit.
“Processors are free to import milk at any time there is inadequate milk for the local market. They will determine when the milk is not enough,” a section of the rules states.
This comes when the Kenyan market has had unique challenges of pricing and dominance by Brookside Dairy, which in the recent past bought out some of its competitors.
The Government-controlled New Kenya Cooperative Creameries (New KCC) has been struggling to find its footing in the market, and farmers have in the recent months been forced to sell their milk at what they say is below cost.
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.
Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets
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.
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.