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Kajiado land compensation row threatens SGR works

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SGR construction at Suswa
SGR construction at Suswa. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A land compensation standoff pitting the National Land Commission, Kenya Railways Corporation and land owners in Kajiado County has deepened, signalling a possible delay in completion of the second phase of the standard gauge railway (SGR).

The controversy took a new twist this week after some landowners in Oloolua accused the commission’s valuers of including non-existent features in targeted plots to inflate the prices and fleece the public of hard-earned cash.

“My semi-permanent three-bedroom house has been changed into a bungalow with a swimming pool in compensation forms. These discrepancies are in turn causing delays in compensation yet many of us need the money to move our families,” said John Kimani, a resident of Oloolua.

The 120 kilometre Sh150 billion project is currently 77 per cent complete. NLC

acting chairperson Abigail Mbagaya said there are 1,093 parcels of land earmarked for compensation between Syokimau and Ngong, but it had been difficult to move the families without paying them.

Mrs Mbagaya said land acquisition for this section of the SGR has faced multiple challenges from valuation to authenticity of owners.

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“The National Land Commission is entitled to help in land acquisition for government projects but compensation issues as stipulated in the Constitution have been a daunting task, especially in populous Kajiado North Sub-county. We urge land owners to be patient as we iron out the grey matters,’’ said Mrs Mbagaya.

Kenya Railways engineer in charge of infrastructure development Maxwell Mengich said he was still optimistic that project will be completed on time.

“If the land compensation issues are resolved with speed, the contractor has enough manpower and resources to complete this phase of the project as planned,’’ Mr Mengich said.

The protracted land compensation standoff has forced the Chinese contractors working on the project to skip the Ongata Rongai-Ngong stretch of the railway line pending resolution of the issues.

The first section of the railway’s phase two cut across the Nairobi National Park to Ongata Rongai in Kajiado North where it came to a temporary halt in the populous Olekasasi, Limpa and Ololua estates as landowners battled authorities for compensation.

Construction work then moved to the Ngong tunnel, which took 23 months to complete.

The Kajiado North sub-county segment will host two railway stations at Kambi Moto and Embul Bul shopping centres.

Kajiado North MP Joseph Manje Tuesday asked the government to speed up compensation and clear the way for the project to proceed.

Work on the Ngong-Mai Mahiu, Suswa and Nachu segment of the railway is ongoing.

The section is the first of three segments that make the second phase of SGR construction, which is expected to terminate on Kenya’s border with Uganda at Malaba.

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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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