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EDITORIAL: Unnecessary financial burdens hurt taxpayers

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Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. FILE PHOTO
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Supreme Court’s finding that the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAC) must pay a private airline Sh1.3 billion for irregularly suspending its licence, though representing the true workings of the wheels of justice, is worrying.

It is only the latest reminder of the high cost that the Kenyan taxpayer continues to bear because of arbitrary, and often illegal actions of senior bureaucrats drunk with power of high office.

In this particular case, KCAA was found to have withdrawn the airline’s operating licence following a 2003 air crash without due process.

The airline, after failing to persuade the regulator to refrain from the punitive action, went to court in pursuit of justice. The High Court found that the airline’s licence had been illegally suspended. The Court of Appeal upheld the judgment after the KCAA appealed. KCAA moved to the highest court in the land seeking a reversal of the award. It did not succeed.

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For starters, at the core of this case that took more than 10 years to get through the justice system, was KCAA’s refusal to give the airline a copy of the official report of a commission of inquiry that investigated the crash.

It defied the court order and kept the report to itself. It was assumed that the report formed the basis upon which the regulator took the punitive decision. But alas! That appears not have been the case.

That is not enough. The reason this agency is going to pay the private airline so much money is the stubbornness of its officials. Wallowing in some false bravado that they cannot be challenged while acting in their capacity as regulators, KCAA drew out the legal battle through the entire court system attracting heavy legal fees it has now been ordered to pay the plaintiff.

And as the courts clearly stated, merely declaring that a decision has been taken in public interest does give public officials grounds for arbitrary action.

It is time government officials became conscious of the fact that the taxpayers can no longer put up with these unnecessary financial burdens.

Perhaps it is time to bring into force the constitutional requirement that public officials who cause loss of funds be made to pay for it whether they are in or out of office.

That way bureaucrats apply some diligence and thoughts before taking any action that is out of tune with the law.

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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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