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MULWA: Time to plan for health needs after retirement

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At the moment, more and more people are living
At the moment, more and more people are living on to a ripe old age. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Life after retirement comes with special health-related challenges. The advanced age and less active lifestyle predispose retirees to certain illnesses and conditions, whose management is costly.

Unfortunately, this is also the time when many of these persons, having exited active service, have significantly less income. Medical insurance, which could come in handy at such times, considering its catalytic value in social and economic development, is sadly inaccessible to majority of the 1.7 million people aged 65 years and above in the country, according to the Kenya Economic Survey 2018. Even those who had a cover during active service typically bid it farewell when they retire, leaving them dependent on settling bills out of pocket.

In the rare occasion that a retiree can afford, and wants medical insurance, securing it becomes dicey as well. Insurers are generally unwilling to cover this age group because of the assumed elevated risk; and even when they do, most offer limited cover whilst charging high premiums, to enable them absorb this supposed peril.

This ends up locking out many of the senior citizens, who have to shoulder the burden of exorbitant medical bills. This is not only totally out of reach, but also heightens stress on these individuals, further affecting their life expectancy. It is in old age that medical care is most needed. Research estimates that well over half the cost of healthcare during a lifetime is spent after hitting 60 years of age. Without a proper plan to cater for this need, families often have to bear the huge burden of their older kin, depleting savings and investments; and occasionally the society is drawn in to support them through fundraisers.

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All these point towards need for proper planning for healthcare in retirement, similar to the focus that is usually directed towards sustaining income during this same phase of life, in the form of pension. While a bankable pension investment assures one of maintaining their working-class lifestyle even in retirement, this can be disrupted by the unfortunate event of deterioration in health and the attendant high costs of medical care.

At the moment, more and more people are living on to a ripe old age. According to the World Health Organisation, the global average life expectancy as at 2016 was 72 years, a 5.5 years’ increase since the year 2000.

Even in Africa, where life expectancy is still about 10 years less than the global average, it still represents a growth of 10.3 years since the year 2000, a trend mainly attributed to stronger healthcare systems. This longevity in life means many years in retirement, hence the obvious need for proper measures to make it comfortable.

This important demographic should not be overlooked, as the country engages on delivering universal healthcare coverage, one of the government’s pillars under the Big Four Agenda. Senior citizens deserve, and should be supported to enjoy, sound health and the peace of mind that should illness strike, paying for medical attention will not be a worry. Specific measures need to be put in place to cater for this demographic, and built into the universal healthcare programmes being rolled out in the counties. As people begin thinking of their health post-retirement, it is incumbent upon industry players to get innovative in creating and delivering solutions that cater for health needs of this population.

TOM MULWA, Group Managing Director, Liaison Group.

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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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