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Senior citizens go for 6 months without stipend

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Senior citizens go for 6 months without stipend

The government has attributed the delay to an
The government has attributed the delay to an ongoing update of the payment system for the cash transfer scheme that was launched a year ago. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Senior citizens who are entitled to a bi-monthly stipend from the State have now gone for six months without the allowance, which has accumulated to arrears of Sh12,000 for each of the beneficiaries.

The government has attributed the delay to an ongoing update of the payment system for the cash transfer scheme that was launched a year ago.

State Department of Social Protection principal secretary Nelson Marwa in an interview yesterday said the Treasury will begin disbursement of the cash after updating account details of the beneficiaries. The government had given a similar promise in January after the payout delayed by four months.

“A payroll for the beneficiaries with bank accounts has already been forwarded to the Treasury for disbursement of funds. We are likely to begin paying the money next week,” said Mr Marwa.

Senior citizens will each receive the entire Sh12,000 arrears.

The stipend, considered a non-contributory social pension for those aged over 70, will be limited to beneficiaries who have opened bank accounts.

The senior citizens are entitled to Sh2,000 per month, which is paid every two months in a lump sum of Sh4,000.

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The Social Protection Department, which is mandated to oversee implementation of the enhanced Older Persons Cash Transfer (OPCT) programme, says the scheme currently covers 523,000 people.

Kenya Commercial Bank #ticker:KCB , Equity Bank #ticker:EQTY , Co-operative Bank #ticker:COOP and Post Bank — have been selected to disburse the transfers.

The last payment was made in September for the July to August cycle.

“The beneficiaries will now receive payments for the September-October, November-December and January-February payment cycles all at once,” said Mr Marwa.

Delays in releasing the funds have been blamed on the switch to an account-based model where funds will be sent directly to beneficiaries’ bank accounts as opposed to the old card-based system where banks relied on customer verification documents — mainly ID card and passport — and signatures to confirm their identities.

In the account-based model, the intended beneficiaries are required to register their biometrics such as fingerprints with banks for use in withdrawal of the stipend and guard against fraud.

“Now there is no room for fraud or cartels because the money is wired direct to the senior citizens’ bank accounts,” said Mr Marwa.

The Treasury allocated Sh6.7 billion to kick-start the programme in January 2018, covering the first half of the year to June. The scheme under the Inua Jamii plan was a key plank of the Jubilee election campaign promises.

The ‘Inua Jamii 70 years and above cash transfer programme’ is an enhancement of the previous cash transfer initiated in 2012 targeting individuals aged above 65 and living in extreme poverty.

The cash transfer comes with a free medical cover through the National Hospital Insurance Fund.

The government has, however, not yet made good its promise to also pay the NHIF premiums.

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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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