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Efficiency, SGR seen driving growth at Mombasa port

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Shipping & Logistics

 Mombasa port
A section of the Mombasa port. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Co-ordination Authority (NCTTCA) has predicted faster business growth at the Port of Mombasa occasioned by efficiency and the standard gauge railway (SGR) cargo haulage.

NCTTCA member states are Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan. Its ‘‘13th Northern Corridor Transport Observation Report’’ for the period September 2017 to September 2018 predicts an increase in business at East Africa’s busiest port.

The study on activities at the port sees prospects of further business boom in future, with Uganda topping East Africa countries with the largest import transit.

The report indicates that cargo throughput at the port between January and September 2018 increased to 23.2 million dead weight tonnes (dwt), up from 22.7 million dwt over the same period in 2017. The NCTTCA study was unveiled at Nyali Sun Africa Beach Hotel in Mombasa recently.

The report says Northern Corridor member states largely import from China, India, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, whereas the US and Pakistan provide market for their exports.

For the period April-September 2018, total intra-regional trade was valued at $2 billion (Sh204 billion). Uganda and Kenya were the leading for both net imports and exports.

Addressing participants at the hotel, NCTTCA executive secretary Omae Nyarandi said the increase was 2.1 per cent when compared to same period in 2017.

“Growth in volumes shows expansion of trade in all transit countries except Rwanda which witnessed a decreased of eight per cent. Burundi’s volume grew five-fold when compared to 2017,” Mr Nyarandi said.

He said that Uganda remains the top destination for transit imports accounting for over 80 per cent of traffic through Mombasa port. “Another notable trend is the rise in the number of twenty foot-equivalent units (TEUs) handled as transshipment cargo that rose by 40.1 per cent. Kenya remained the largest destination for imports at 293.740 TEUs and origin for exports at 74,149 TEUs. This trend indicates the increasing importance of the Port of Mombasa in the region,” he added.

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The report further notes a variability in cargo dwell time over the period under review with the month of June 2018 recording the best cargo dwell time of 53 hours, whereas August 2018 recorded the poorest dwell time of 114 hours.

“This performance is still way below the port charter target of 72 hours dwell time and 48 hours international benchmarking standards,” said Mr Nyarandi.

“Data shows improved ship turnaround time, vessel waiting time before berth and vessel productivity (gross moves per hour).

“This improved performance is attributed to an increase in the number of container handling terminals and investment in both shore and off-shore equipment, whereas improved productivity has been occasioned by the improved investment and utilisation of ship yard equipment,” Mr Nyarandi said.

He said that cargo haulage by the SGR has been improving with tonnage growing to 1,662,824 million tonnes between April and September 2018.

“Road conditions have greatly improved. The total length of bad roads for the entire corridor road network was at 64 per cent in 2014 and reduced to 40 per cent as at September 2018,” he said.
Some factors identified as causes of high transport costs include road tolls, multiple border charges and poor road conditions.

“The elimination or reduction of non-tariff barriers (NTBs) will go a long way in improving trade facilitation among the member states. Member countries have put an effort in initiatives geared towards boosting intra-regional trade,” he said.

The private sector, led by Mombasa Port Corridor Charter steering committee chairman Gilbert Langat, welcomed the report. Mr Langat said issues affecting trade at the port were being addressed by both the private sector and government agencies.

He said that although the SGR has done a lot in ferrying cargo form the port, it has not addressed logistical challenges facing the sector. “The SGR, like any other venture, has faced many teething problems and has not lived up to addressing all the logistical issues although it has increased cargo haulage capacity,” said Mr Langat.

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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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