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EDITORIAL: Blanket ban on 14-seater matatus is not practical

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A mass revocation of the PSV licences has the potential of grinding the country’s chaotic transport system to a halt and occasioning massive losses to the economy. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Commuters could face yet another transport crisis following the National Transport and Safety Authority’s (NTSA) decision to deny 14-seater matatus 2019 operating licences.

Legal Notice 179 of December 31, 2014 stopped the licensing of passenger service vehicles (PSVs) with carrying capacity of fewer than 25 from January 1, 2016, but it was delayed until January 1, 2019 to enable industry players to comply.

The High Court has since issued temporary orders stopping the NTSA from blocking 24 out of nearly 200 14-seater matatu saccos from renewing their operating permits.

This leaves a majority of the saccos facing the risk of being delicensed.

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Whereas the implementation of the Legal Notice from January 1, 2019 could be long overdue in addressing congestion in our cities, there is need for the sector regulator and the Ministry of Transport to exercise extreme caution to avert a transport crisis similar to what was witnessed when the Nairobi City County unilaterally banned all matatus from accessing the Central Business District on December 4.

It must not be lost to the ministry and the NTSA that majority of Kenyans depend on nearly 37,000 14-seater matatus to commute on a daily basis.

It is also critical that thousands of investors who operate the vehicles on various routes across the country are given time to repay loans they owe to lenders.

A mass revocation of the PSV licences has the potential of grinding the country’s chaotic transport system to a halt and occasioning massive losses to the economy.

We strongly recommend the need for proper stakeholder involvement ahead of implementation of the Legal Notice in order to guarantee an orderly phased-out approach in the delicensing of the 14-seater matatus across the country.

A planned phased-out approach will help NTSA and the ministry in its aspiration to fix congestion in major cities of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Eldoret as well as time to rein in on matatu madness.

A phased approach should act as a stop-gap measure to allow 14-seater operators to comply with the law.

The NTSA could, for example, ban the licensing of newly imported 14-seater matatus, but allow the old vehicles to continue operating for one or two years.

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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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