MPs now want a freeze on new projects under the industrialisation ministry.
The National Assembly Departmental Committee on Trade, Industry and Cooperatives reckons the freeze would free up funds to finance the completion of several stalled projects, most of which are over 70 per cent done.
Speaking when the six members of the committee visited the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI) in Kisumu on Friday, the chairman Kanini Kega said this was the surest way of making the sector productive.
“It makes little sense to initiate new projects when those that have sunk billions of taxpayers’ money are rotting away unable to live up to their potential to drive up industrialisation,” he said.
New projects, he warned, were bound to face the same plight.
The committee has pledged to push for the release of the Sh3.2 billion needed by the research and business incubation institute to be fully functional.
Facilities such as KIRDI, the Kieni MP said, are key launch pads for small enterprises which in turn create jobs while helping the Government to realise its industrialisation dream.
KIRDI is constructing an excellence centre in Nairobi’s South B. The facility, which will house the Industry, Trade and Cooperatives Ministry, stalled in 2013 after sinking over Sh2 billion.
The Kisumu facility has also stalled and needs Sh800 million to complete.
“We are going to push for the funding of these projects either in the supplementary budget or in the 2019/2020 budget,” said Mr Kega.
He said Parliament would also root for increased allocation to the ministry, adding that it is an important pillar of the economy and one of the implementing agents of the State’s Big Four agenda. The sector gets a meagre one per of the annual budget.
KIRDI Chief Executive Officer Prof David Tuigong said underfunding was to blame for the low impact the agency has had on the economy.
The institute, for example, he said, gets Sh1 billion from the Exchequer, half of which goes to recurrent expenditure.
The manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP has been shrinking steadily since independence. The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics estimates that manufacturing has been contributing to a less than optimal 10 per cent per annum to GDP in the past 10 years.
The Government estimates that manufacturing shall contribute about 15 per cent to GDP by 2022 as a Big Four legacy agenda.
Among the key projects undertaken by the ministry include a leather tanning and processing industry in Kisumu at a cost of Sh1.9 billion
Currently, the Industrialisation ministry is also constructing a leather industrial park on a 500-hectare land at Kinanie in Machakos County, hosting tanneries and value addition facilities.
So far, the ministry has given the Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) the go-ahead to build the park in Athi River, 35 kilometres from Nairobi and 17km off the Nairobi-Mombasa Highway. The leather industry generates Sh10 billion annually to the Treasury and is projected to earn 10 times more by exporting more finished products to the regional and global markets.
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.