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Mombasa goes digital to nab rates defaulters

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A section of Mombasa
A section of Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Mombasa county government has launched a digital platform that will help track defaulters who owe the county millions of shillings in unpaid land rates.

Work on the digital network began in earnest last Friday with the installation of metallic labelling plates on all buildings in the city for ease of monitoring.

The plates have quick response (QR) codes with information on the buildings.

The range of information in the QR codes includes the plot number, name of building owner, status of land rates payment and when the building was last painted.

Edward Nyale, the county Land Executive, said the current manual system of information management had made it difficult for the county government to track down land rates defaulters.

In March, the number of defaulters in the county stood at 30,000, but Mr Nyale said that number had significantly reduced in recent weeks as a number of property owners rushed to make payments ahead of the digital system launch.

“With the QR code our officers will be able to know the land defaulters and deal with them according to the law. We are using technology to consolidate most of our services to ease our work,” he said.

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Transport, Infrastructure and Public Works Executive Tawfiq Balala, whose department is working with the Land counterparts to establish the digital platform, said the system will be fully operational in two months’ time.

Mr Balala said that will happen when ongoing labelling of buildings in the central business district (CBD) is done.

The labelling is being done using numbers and street names.

The initial phase of the programme will cover the CBD starting with the main roads such as Moi Avenue, Digo Road and Nkrumah Road. “It will be of no importance if we let the new look fade away without maintaining it. Our aim is to make Mombasa the most beautiful city in Africa,” Mr Balala said.

Building owners are now required to paint them in November of every even year, meaning that the next round of painting should happen in 2020.

Mr Balala said the beautification programme will be done alongside introduction of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system that should help de-congest the city.

The Mombasa county government in March ordered owners of residential and commercial buildings in the CBD to paint them white and blue. The property owners were also required to clean and refurbish all walkways near their premises.

Constructors have been repairing the pavements with red bricks, and the county government has announced that such paths will in future be paved with blister tactile surface.

The purpose of the blister surface is to provide a warning to visually impaired people, who find it difficult to know where the footway ends and the carriageway begins.

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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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