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Publishers get reprieve on Sh5bn books for new syllabus

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Lawrence Njagi, the Kenya Publishers' Association chairman
Lawrence Njagi, the Kenya Publishers’ Association chairman. PHOTO | NMG 

Book publishers are counting on continued piloting of Kenya’s new Competence Based Curriculum (CBC) to save the Sh5 billion investment they have made in printing books before a recent reversal of the plan to fully roll out the new syllabus in January.

Kenya Publishers Association (KPA) chairman, Lawrence Njagi, yesterday said Education secretary Amina Mohamed had clarified that piloting the new curriculum would continue till 2020, allaying fears that publishers would incur huge losses with the indefinite suspension of the 2-6-3-3-3 curriculum.

Ms Mohamed had earlier said the new curriculum will not be rolled-out in January, sparking panic and protests from parents and publishers, who had invested in the programme.

“The ministry has assured us that piloting will go on for the next full year. We have not received orders from the government, but we are looking forward to getting them,” Mr Njagi sai.

He added that some 14.8 million books for Grades 1, 2 and 3 and pre-primary 1 and 2 estimated to be worth Sh5 billion, have been printed.

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Publishers are said to have distributed at least 400,000 books countrywide in readiness for the programme.

Besides, many private schools had compiled and sent parents book-lists for January, and some parents have actually purchased the books.

Mr Njagi urged the national and county governments to move with speed and provide the funds for provision of books to public schools.

Primary schools are under the national government while the counties are in charge of early childhood education.

The publishers last Saturday met with Ministry of Education officials, including Ms Mohamed, to save the programme that had been thrown into disarray with the shock announcement that its full implementation had been moved to January 2020.

Ms Mohamed on Saturday announced that the CBC National Pilot would be extended for one more year to allow alignment in implementation, particularly, intensive in-service teacher training.

Full rollout of the new curriculum for pupils in nursery school to Class Three was to start in January as the piloting continued in Class Four.

Kenya Literature Bureau (KLB), Jomo Kenyatta Foundation (JKF), Focus, Oxford University Press (OUP), Moran, East African Educational Publishers (EAEP) and Story Moja were contracted by the government to print books for all public schools.

The deal is part of the government’s plan to supply textbooks directly to schools and ensure a 1:1 textbook to student ratio.

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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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