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Petrol prices down, diesel edges up in ERC review

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A petrol station in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Nairobi motorists will have a Sh2.21- relief on a litre of petrol at in the latest price revisions by the Energy Regulatory Commission.

ERC also announced a Sh0.39 and Sh0.29 increase in the price of a litre of Diesel and Kerosene respectively in the revisions that also included the 16 per cent Value Added Tax.

Director General Pavel Oimeke was however keen to point out the possibility of further revisions on the tax that has been a subject of debate including an intervention by President Uhuru Kenyatta who yesterday proposed that it be halved.

“The prices are inclusive of Value Added Tax at 16 per cent in line with the provisions of the VAT Act 2013. Nevertheless, the commission shall publish new prices whenever the rate of VAT is varied by law, “Mr Oimeke wrote in the price revision notice.

Nairobi motorists will now purchase a litre of petrol at Sh125.59, diesel at Sh115.47 and Kerosene at 97.70.

ERC gives monthly price revisions considering the weighted average cost of imported refined petroleum products, with the landed cost of petrol said to have dropped 2.33 per cent while that of diesel climbed 0.40 per cent in the month of August.

Kerosene price per litre was however increased despite a 0.60 per cent drop on its landed cost, perhaps to tame adulteration of fuel for which crooked businessmen use it to increase margins.

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Before the VAT was loaded on 1st September, super petrol was retailing at Sh113.73 while diesel which is also used in heavy machinery and power generation was retailing at Sh102.74 per litre in Nairobi.

The marginal fall in petrol prices may come a relief to motorists who were already overburdened by the heavy taxes on fuel and ERC’s announcement may quell jitters even as parliament resumes next week to consider the proposal by president Kenyatta to cut the VAT to 16 per cent amidst public outcry

A higher revision of the petroleum product prices could have worsened the uproar.

Petrol, Diesel and Kerosene have carry a heavy load of levies and taxes raising hundreds of billions for the government in revenues. Over Sh60 billion was raised from the consumption of these three products in the first six months of 2016 alone according to the official data for example.

The levies include, road maintenance levy (Sh18 per litre on both diesel and petrol), petroleum development levy (Sh0.40 per litre on all the three), petroleum regulatory levy (Sh0.05 per litre on kerosene and Sh0.12 per litre on petrol and diesel) as well as railway development levy Sh0.50, Sh0.52 and Sh0.51 on every litre of petrol, diesel and Kerosene respectively.

With another 16 per cent VAT added on a litre of all the products, the burden is heavier.

High fuel costs affect transport which is the third weightiest factor after food and Housing, water and electricity in measuring inflation according to the Kenya national Bureau of Statistics which put August inflation at 4.04 per cent, favorably low compared to July’s 4.35 per cent.




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Kenya listed among Sub-Saharan Africa countries with high potential for Islamic Banking

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NAIROBI, Kenya, May 8 – Kenya has been listed as one of the countries with a high potential for Sharia Finance, an Islamic banking model with several restrictions and principles that do not exist in conventional banking like interest fees.

Middle East, Africa, India, and Jersey Finance Director Faizal Bhana said Sub-Saharan Africa’s share of global Sukuk issuances is only a mere 2 percent, despite an Islamic population of more than 200 million people.

Sukuk are financial products whose terms and structures comply with Islamic law, with the intention of creating returns like those of conventional fixed-income instruments like bonds.

“When you are coming to Africa, the story is very different. Africa is home to 250 million Muslims in Sub-Saharan Africa. At the moment, the penetration for Sharia compliance finance across the continent is 21 countries providing Islamic Finance services,” he said.

Speaking to Capital Business, he revealed that the Islamic Finance industry has a compound annual growth of 11 percent since 2006, with assets worth multi-trillion shillings.

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“We need to look to all forms of financing. And Sharia compliance financing is one form and because of its links like sustainability and ethical, for government, it is an easy win,” he said.

He said there is a need for regulators to provide enabling legislation for Sharia finance services and more so for sovereign and corporate issuance of Sukuk.

The common practices of Islamic finance and banking came into existence along with the foundation of Islam.

However, the establishment of formal Islamic finance occurred only in the 20th century.

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Currently, the Islamic finance sector grows at 15-25 percent per year, while Islamic financial institutions oversee over $2 trillion.

Islamic finance strictly complies with Sharia law. Contemporary Islamic finance is based on a number of prohibitions that are not always illegal in the countries where Islamic financial institutions are operating like paying or charging interest, investing in businesses involved in prohibited activities like gambling.

Due to the number of prohibitions set by Sharia, many conventional investment vehicles such as bonds, options, and derivatives are forbidden in Islamic finance.

The two major investment vehicles in Islamic finance are equities and fixed income instruments.

 

 

 

 

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CMA okays Crown Paints’ rights issue to fund expansion

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Crown Paints head of sales Bhavesh Gandhi and CEO Rakesh Rao during the company’s launch of all-weather paints at the Trademark Hotel, March 1, 2020. [David Gichuru, Standard]

The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) has given the nod to Crown Paints Kenya Plc to raise Sh711.80 million from shareholders via purchase of additional shares.

The regulator, in a statement yesterday, said it had approved the firm’s bid to issue and list 71,181,000 new ordinary shares on the Nairobi Security Exchange (NSE).

“The rights will be issued on the basis of one new ordinary share for every one existing share,” noted CMA.

The additional funds raised will boost the company’s financial flexibility to navigate through a tough business environment brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It would also boost the firm’s growth strategy according to the information memorandum.

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“The group’s management plans to use the rights issue funds to facilitate the development of new products, retiring of current facilities and funding regional expansion,” CMA said in a statement.

Wyckliffe Shamiah, the CMA chief executive observed that the disclosures made on the rights issue comply with the capital markets regulations and will enable investors to make an informed decision.

Mr Shamiah noted that the regulator had reviewed the application for exemptions from complying with Regulation 4 of the Capital Markets (Take Over and Mergers) Regulations, 2002 concerning the intention of the company’s major shareholders, who have undertaken to take up their full rights entitlements.

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“They are also willing to take more than their initial entitlements subject to availability during the rights issue,” said Shamiah.

Crown Paints is expected to make bi-annual updates to CMA on the use of the proceeds of the rights issue.

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Branch buys local micro finance bank

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The deal gives Century Microfinance Bank a much-needed lifeline. [Courtesy]

Branch International Ltd has acquired microfinance lender Century Microfinance Bank in a move that gives the financial technology (fintech) firm a stronger presence in the country’s financial sector.

According to regulatory filings published by the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK), Branch has acquired 84.89 per cent of the issued share capital in the microfinance bank.

The deal has been approved by the market regulator.

“The Competition Authority has authorised the proposed transaction as set out herein on condition that the acquirer and the target will each maintain the terms agreed with the borrowers in respect of all loans existing in their loan books at the time of the acquisition,” explained CAK in a notice in the Kenya Gazette.

The deal will further give Century Microfinance Bank a much-needed lifeline, coming in the wake of depressed earnings due to disruption from digital lenders and recently, the Covid-19 pandemic.

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According to Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data, the micro-lender recorded Sh348 million in assets as of the end of December 2019, a 19 per cent drop from Sh431 million in 2018.

The firm also recorded Sh326 million in liabilities for the year ended December 2019 with customer deposits sitting at Sh256 million during the period under review. The lender made Sh82 million in total income in 2019, the majority of it from interest on loans, fees and commissions.

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Brach International, one of the leading fintech players in the Kenyan market has over the years increased its user base across the region to more than three million.

The firm says it has disbursed more than Sh35 billion in loans, the majority of which it lent to users in its African markets in Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania. In 2019, Branch secured Sh17 billion in the new financing and a partnership with Visa to issue virtual pre-paid debit cards to its users.

The acquisition of Century Microfinance Bank will allow the fintech firm to deploy more solutions to grow its digital and physical foothold in the Kenyan market.

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