The Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA) has announced plans to set up 15 additional Virtual Weighbridge Stations (VWS).
The move seeks to boost efficiency in the monitoring of commercial vehicles. It will also raise the number of Virtual Weighbridge Stations to 25, with KeNHA having begun operations of such stations last year.
Areas mapped out for the stations include Salgaa, Yala, Mukumu, Malaba, Kitale, Mulot, Kajiado, Emali, Masii, Malili, Kibwezi, Mwatate, Nuno, Bondo and Sabaki.
The stations, which do not require physical manning will collect and transmit data for analysis to the control centre located in Mlolongo, Athi River.
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Trucks step on highspeed weigh-in-motion sensors with independent scales that transmit the average weight to the computers.
From the system, one can know the speed of the truck and length. The CCTV cameras also capture its number plates and overview of the whole vehicle.
For example at the Mlolongo station when trucks hit above 3,500kg (limit stipulated by law) they are given a green light but when they fail they are flagged off to the station for further checks. A police chase car is sometimes on standby to pursue those who don’t comply since their details have been captured and can be flagged down at any other weighbridge.
There are huge penalties for such behaviour, including fines of up to Sh1.5 million as stipulated in the East Africa Vehicle Road Control Act 2016.
KeNHA Deputy Director Road Asset and Corridor Management Muita Ngatia told Financial Standard last week that virtual stations are cost-effective, help with the protection of roads from premature damage caused by overloading and are also protecting the freight businesses from unfair competition caused by overloaders.
He said the bids for their installation and management would soon be put out. KeNHA spent Sh514 million on the ten stations after it entered a three-year contract with Avery East Africa Ltd (AEA).
The 10 stations began operations late last year. This followed a three-year contract between KeNHA and Avery East Africa. AEA would install, integrate and maintain. They are located on the Southern Bypass 1, Southern Bypass 2, Sagana, Yatta, Kamulu, Kaloleni, Ahero, Eldoret, Mayoni, and Laisamis.
The control centre at Mlolongo is manned 24 hours with “advanced analytical capabilities”. “No, there is no contract with anyone. We will soon be advertising for the same for bidders to express interest after which the bids will be evaluated before award,” he said.
The contract expires next year and Ngatia said it would procure another three years with the company. “The contract for the ten virtual stations is for three years (2017-2020) at Sh514 million. Upon expiry, KeNHA will procure another three-year management, operation, and maintenance contract,” he said.
Overloading of trucks is one of the major causes of damage to roads. The stations aim to also protect pavement and bridge structures against premature damage.
KeNHA says this will lead to better data collection which in turn informs the planning and improvement of road designs. Furthermore, the stations are more cost-effective.
Since inception, the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of weighbridges have been improved.
However, KeNHA says crafty transporters are posing a challenge with some concealing number plates with pieces of clothing, mud and even going extreme by removing the plates altogether.
This prevents the cameras on the station from capturing the number plates. Ngatia further said the virtual stations are placed on locations that are hard to avoid with a major challenge being that trucks also branch off from main highways to hidden routes when they near the station then join the highway after bypassing the station.
Muita said cases of overloading have reduced since operationalisation of the gadgets in October last year — mostly buoyed by transporters knowledge that they are being monitored.
“For example, around 2010 the Northern Bypass overload was in excess of 60 per cent but as we speak today compliance is over 90 per cent,” he said.
Muita said the few cases were mostly from local transporters ferrying construction materials such as sand, adding that KeNHA had initiated self-regulations through asking truckers to form saccos. He said the State agency will not do away with static weighbridges but would play a complementary role with the virtual ones.
There are 11 static weighbridges at Mtwapa, Mariakani, Dongo Kundu, Isinya, Juja, Mlolongo, Gilgil, Suswa and Webuye. The five on the northern corridor at Dongo Kundu, Mariakani, Mlolongo, Gilgil and Webuye have a high-speed weigh-in-motion scale.
“There is a whole difference between static weigh stations and virtual in that the static is manned or operated while the virtual are remote but collect and transmit data to the control centre.
“The static stations will continue being maintained as such, including others that will come up downstream across the road network,” said Ngatia. “The virtual and static play complementary roles, thus the need to keep and enhance both,” he added.
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.