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Multi-billion Galana churns out Sh35m maize in a year

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Economy

Hamadi Boga
Agriculture PS Hamadi Boga (Left) with Administrative Secretary Kello Harsama before Senate committee on September 12. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG 

The government produced a paltry 22,000 bags of maize currently worth Sh35.2 million from Galana-Kulalu irrigation scheme despite spending Sh7.3 billion in the Israeli-backed food security project, Parliament heard on Wednesday.

The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) told the Senate that it is holding 40,000 fifty- kilogramme (kg) bags of maize received from the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC).

The bags of maize translate to 22,000, 90kg bags that were harvested in the financial year 2017, currently worth Sh35.2 million at current market price of Sh1,600 per bag.

Kenya is partnering with Israel to develop 10,000-acre model farm in Galana-Kulalu irrigation scheme.

The Sh7.3 billion project covers about one million acres of land and targets crop production on 10,000 acres in Kilifi and Tana River counties.

On August 2014, the National Irrigation Board (NIB) signed a Sh14.5 billion contract with Israeli firm Green Arava Ltd to pilot a project in the Galana-Kulalu scheme.

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As at March this year, only 5,000 acres, out of the targeted one million acres, had been put under crop.

The NIB early this year cancelled an invitation of bids from investors who could start production on the 10,000 acres whose infrastructure has been building since 2015.

“As NCPB, we are holding about 22,000 of 90kg bags of maize that was harvested from Galana in the last crop season.

“We are yet to pay them (ADC). We have agreed that we will delay payment to ADC and pay the smallscale farmers first because it’s a government entity,” Mr Alvin Sang, the acting NCPB managing director told the Senate ad-hoc committee that is investigating why farmers who delivered maize to the NCPB have not been paid.

The team is also probing the quantity of duty-free maize imported into the country during the duty-free window that was to end in October but was extended to December 2017.

A total of 10.5 million bags of 90kg each were imported in a period that saw the government spend Sh11.5 billion to purchase 3.6 million bags of 90 kgs.

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei sought to know the amount of maize that the NCPB had received from Galana.

“We want to know the amount of maize that was harvested from the multibillion-shilling project in Galana-Kulalu. Can you provide us with the figures of bags harvested?” Mr Cherargei asked crops principal secretary Hamida Boya.

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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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