Lamu seafarers have embarked on a special campaign aimed at ensuring members observe maritime rules and regulations in a move meant to reduce marine tragedies.
Through their body, the Lamu Boat Operators Association, the mariners said that the campaign, which is already ongoing in the islands across the Lamu Archipelago, intends to ensure that all boats in the region are fully registered and licensed.
Lamu County in its entirety has over 5,000 boats operating in the more than 35 islands in the archipelago.
A recent report released by the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) Lamu Branch revealed that majority of the sea vessels operating in the Lamu Indian Ocean waters have not undergone due registration and licensing.
According to the report, only 300 vessels from the more than 2000 sea vessels operating in Lamu Island, for instance, had complied with all set standards required for efficient water transport.
Almost 99 percent of Lamu transport and the general movement are done via sea, using the boats, dhows and canoes.
In an interview with Shipping on Tuesday, Lamu Boat Operators Association Chairman Hassan Awadh said the key objective to launch the campaign is to stress to members the need for and the benefits of observing all rules and following the law even as they pursue their trade.
Mr Awadh warned that the association will thereafter not hesitate to punish members who shall be found deliberately flouting the regulations saying such individuals give a bad name to a good business.
A week ago, four passengers were injured after two boats collided in Lamu Town.
The accident is said to have purely been caused by careless driving on the part of the coxswains involved.
Mr Awadh reiterated that the newly launched initiative will also involve personalised checks and even vetting to ensure all those operating in the region are genuine.
He said the association was aware some of its members were clearly disobeying maritime regulations and also engaging in unruly behavior which has subsequently caused many accidents and deaths.
He said the major challenge they face is that of drunk boat operators, adding that they will liaise with the relevant bodies to access equipment that will enable them detect drunk boat operators and stop them from conducting the business in such a state.
“We’ve decided as an association to introduce this special campaign across the region. The initiative is purely to educate and reinforce the message of maritime regulations while at sea. The rules might seem frustrating but they are life saving. We want to boost discipline among our members. I believe lack of discipline among some of our boat operators here in Lamu is the major cause of the many accidents and deaths that have been witnessed. We are ready to punish those who don’t adhere. We are putting the safety of our passengers first because we know they are key in this business,” said Mr Awadh.
Some of the members who talked to Shipping on Tuesday also welcomed the move saying it has come on time.
Mr Aboud Fadhil, a coxswain, said maritime transport is the lifeline of Lamu and that improving its safety is paramount. Mr Fadhil said they were more than willing to cooperate with the association in ensuring proper planning of the water transport sector in the region.
“If we’re equipped with the knowledge concerning maritime transport safety, then we will be in a better place to conduct our daily activities since we will have information on what is expected of us. I am sure by the closure of the campaign, everyone here will be very cautious on matters to do with maritime safety and this alone will help curb careless driving and hence bring down water tragedies in our region,” said Mr Fadhil.
The campaign comes at a time when KMA has embarked on a countrywide campaign to enhance adherence to maritime regulations.
According a recent report by KMA, there is a worrying increase in the number of maritime accidents on the Kenyan territorial waters in recent times.
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.