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Kenya Secures Sh10bn Loan from the Exim Bank India for Agriculture

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The Export and Import Bank of India has offered a loan facility of Sh10 billion to the Kenyan government to mechanize agriculture. According to the Cabinet Secretary of Agriculture Mwangi Kiunjuri, the funds will be used to buy tractors for small-scale farmers for hire and high-quality potato and pyrethrum seedlings.

The funds will be used to purchase and distribute 11 million high-yield potato seedlings and 26 million pyrethrum seedlings.

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The loan facility is part of the government’s efforts to achieve the agenda on food security with small-scale farmers being encouraged to amalgamate their farms to benefit from economies of scale and enable easy mechanization.

“By making farms large through amalgamation, it becomes easy to use the technology that is adaptable today,” said the MP of Tigania West Kanyuithia Mutunga.

The government is also calling for companies to set up technology and innovation hubs at the grassroots to enable farmers to adopt modern farming practices.

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US economy regains more private jobs in April: survey

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WashingtonUnited States , May 5 – US private firms added 742,000 jobs in April, according to a survey released Wednesday, fewer than expected but nonetheless the fourth consecutive month of gains as the economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The data from payroll services firm ADP bolsters the case that the world’s largest economy is regaining positions after the wave of mass layoffs that started in March 2020 when the pandemic shutdowns began.

The job gains were spread nearly equally across firms of all sizes, but concentrated in the service sector, particularly leisure and hospitality — which was hit hardest by the pandemic’s business restrictions.

“The labor market is recovering and job growth is set to accelerate over coming months as the economy continues to move closer to a broader reopening,” Rubeela Farooqi of High Frequency Economics said.

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But the overall increase in private hiring fell short of the 810,000 economists had expected.

The ADP report is considered a preview of the Labor Department’s employment report, due out Friday, which is expected to show a blowout surge of a million public and private sector jobs in April as well as a two-tenths drop in the unemployment rate to 5.8 percent.

The US economy has been regaining jobs and the unemployment rate has declined over the past months as Covid-19 vaccines have helped businesses return to normal and rehire, aided by massive government stimulus spending.

ADP said the service sector added a total of 636,000 positions last month, 237,000 of which were in leisure and hospitality, while trade, transportation and utilities added 155,000. The information sector saw a small decline of 3,000 jobs.

Goods-producing firms added 106,000 jobs, including 55,000 in manufacturing, while the construction industry gained 41,000, the report said. Natural resources and mining accounted for the balance.

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Bar owners urge Uhuru to extend operating hours

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Bar owners urge Uhuru to extend operating hours


President Uhuru Kenyatta. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Bar owners Tuesday asked the government to extend operating hours to help their businesses recover from Covid-19 pandemic losses. 
  • Bar, Hotels and Liquor Traders Association (BAHLITA) at a press briefing said the continued stay of Covid-19 containment restrictions has ravaged their businesses– forcing bar and restaurants to shut as those still in business shed jobs.
  • BAHLITA members said that the two hours from 5 pm they are allowed to operate is not enough to make meaningful sales. 

Bar owners Tuesday asked the government to extend operating hours to help their businesses recover from Covid-19 pandemic losses. 

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Bar, Hotels and Liquor Traders Association (BAHLITA) at a press briefing said the continued stay of Covid-19 containment restrictions has ravaged their businesses– forcing bar and restaurants to shut as those still in business shed jobs.

BAHLITA members said that the two hours from 5 pm they are allowed to operate is not enough to make meaningful sales. 

President Uhuru Kenyatta in his Labour Day address allowed bars to operate until 7 pm instead of 9 pm as was the case before they were closed on March 29.

“While the resumption of operations by bars is welcome, we would like to ask the President to consider increasing the hours of operation,” BAHLITA secretary-general Boniface Gachoka said.

“An extension of a number of hours would enable us to resume business in a more complete manner and facilitate the resumption of business by the more than 15,000 bars that have been forced to shut down completely due to the vagaries of the pandemic.”

The lobby also asked county governments to waive taxes and licenses for the struggling sector. Already, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Embu, and Machakos have given operators waivers. 

“We are pleading with the counties that are around and also the national government that we only pay one license that is the liquor license,” BAHLITA chairman Simon Njoroge said.

Restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19 have affected the sales of alcohol in the country.  

East African Breweries (EABL) #ticker:EABL posted a three percent drop in net sales for its first half-year ended December as sales were pummeled by the closure of bars. 

The company, which dominates the regional alcohol market with Tusker beer among other brands, turned to electronic commerce last year to prop up sales.

It set up an online distribution platform to deliver alcohol to homes and partnered with delivery firms like Glovo to reach customers directly.

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President Kenyatta announces a raft of incentives to woo Tanzanian investors

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NAIROBI, Kenya, May 5 – President Uhuru Kenyatta today announced a raft of incentives aimed at wooing Tanzanian investors to Kenya including the lifting of work permit and visa requirements.

The President said his Administration will do all in its power to eliminate all non-tariff barriers for Tanzanian investors coming to do business in Kenya.

President Kenyatta spoke Wednesday in Nairobi during the Kenya-Tanzania Business Forum, also addressed by visiting Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

President Kenyatta cautioned Tanzanians and Kenyans against competing with each, and instead focus on creating a conducive environment for businesses to thrive.

“We would like to see many investors from Tanzania coming to do business in Kenya. And I want to say this, Tanzanian investors are free to come and do business in Kenya without being required to have business visas or work permits. The only thing you will be required to do is to follow the laid down regulations and the laws that are in place,” President Kenyatta said.

At the same time, President Kenyatta gave an ultimatum of two weeks to concerned state agencies to clear the jam of trucks at Namanga and Holili border crossings to allow free flow of trade.

He also tasked the ministers of health from both countries to move with speed and streamline Covid-19 containment protocols required for traders to cross the borders unhindered.

“I want to announce two directives and I want them done this week and next week. All concerned ministers please move with speed and unlock the jam in Holili, Taveta and Namanga border points. On Covid-19 certificates, please let the health ministers sit and agree on modalities. If the certificate is issued in Tanzania let those people be allowed to come to Kenya and vice versa,” President Kenyatta said.

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President Kenyatta challenged the private sector to explore and seize opportunities accorded by bilateral and multilateral agreements available to East Africans such as the Africa Continental Free Trade Area and the EAC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) to grow their investments.

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“The private sector should look beyond our borders and seize opportunities accorded by the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, which came into effect on 1st January this year, and the older, but still important EAC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

“The East African Community, through the East African Customs Union and East African Community Common Market Protocol, has opened our borders and unlocked opportunities for the free movement of goods, services, and investments across the EAC borders. This has paved the way for trade to thrive, new opportunities to emerge and trade to increase,” President Kenyatta said.

He observed that although the two countries boast of a vibrant and entrepreneurial private sector, trade between the two countries has not thrived to the expected levels going by the decline in volumes of trade in recent years.

“Total trade was valued at Ksh. 60.4 billion in 2012 and Ksh. 58 billion in 2020, indicating a slight decline. In the years 2016, 2017 and 2018, total trade was valued at Ksh. 47.5 billion, Ksh. 45.6 billion and Ksh. 47.5 billion, respectively. This reflects challenges in the trade regime, which we should urgently address,” President Kenyatta said.

On her part, President Suluhu outlined reforms being undertaken by her administration to enhance ease of doing business, and welcomed Kenyan private sector to invest in Tanzania.

“The private sector is key to driving growth, that will deliver these jobs, transform labour market, open up opportunities and unleash entrepreneurial spirit,” President Suluhu said.

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