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LETTERS: Ward level disaster management plan needed

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LETTERS: Ward level disaster management plan needed

drought
Turkana’s Nakoret village residents affected by drought line up to get a share of relief food. PHOTO | SAMMY LUTTA 

Lately, the media have been awash with reports and images of drought effects on livelihoods in Turkana and East Pokot. There was a swift response with food support to affected regions if only to alleviate the suffering to the vulnerable. However, the politicisation of the crisis, facts distortion and outright backlash directed towards public officers and partner agencies portrayed a bad image on our attitude.

There lacks character in criticising others opinion and goodwill gestures while we offer no alternatives. We need to collectively reflect on the plight of the affected communities and prioritise measures of alleviating their suffering.

Drought requires a concerted multi-agency approach between the national government, county authorities, partner agents and local communities to arrest its impact before degenerating to emergencies. Providing timely, reliable and credible information and data on the true position on the ground informs action. Often during droughts, movement of livestock in search of pasture and water far away from homesteads is a common occurrence in arid and semi-arid (ASAL) regions, depriving those left behind, mainly children, lactating mothers, elderly and disabled people access to milk and income from the sale of livestock to buy basic commodities.

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Again, the elderly and the disabled benefiting from cash transfers, often are unable to access this support in the event their caregivers have moved with the livestock. Regardless of unfolding situations, the first line of response in case of a crisis is county authorities.

Use of monthly technical reports released by drought authorities can be a critical decision-making tool to inform timely action by mobilising ward administrators, chiefs and their assistants and Nyumba-Kumi leaders in affected areas to intervene before things get out of hand. Unfortunately, the majority of these officers in ASALs rarely dwell within areas of deployment.

They moved into towns upon employment where life is comfortable and bearable. I won’t be surprised if some of them learned of ongoing drought crisis from the media just like the rest of us. Ironically, support extended to affected communities is done for publicity. Similarly, support targeting is skewed and rarely gets to those who need it most.

The absence of a disaster risk management framework, infrastructures and institutional structures down to ward level, hinders timely response to disaster risks in ASALs. Also, some affected areas are inaccessible posing difficulties for food deliveries as well as other essential support like medicines.

The deaths toll narrative was a misconceived approach that diverted attention from real issues triggering knee-jack reactions to the affected. Let’s always be alive to the spirit of Article 43 of our Constitution, Vision 2030 second Medium-Term Plan (MTP II) 2013—2017 and the Sustainable Development goal number two on zero hunger for all.

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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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