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Uhuru signs controversial Finance Bill into law

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President Kenyatta (sitting) during the sighing
President Kenyatta (sitting) during the sighing into law of the Finance Bill 2018. Present during the signing at State House, Nairobi, were Deputy President William Ruto, National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale and Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. PHOTO | COURTESY
 

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday signed into law the Finance Bill 2018, which was passed by parliament amid protest by a section of law makers on Thursday.

In twitter post on Friday, President Kenyatta, who on Tuesday whipped Jubilee Party Members of Parliament into backing his recommendations on the Finance Bill, vowed to ensure prudent use of financial resources.

“I have signed into law the finance bill 2018. I give my commitment that I will ensure proper utilisation of public resources for a better Kenya. I will not relent on the war against corruption,” he said.

With the victory, Mr Kenyatta now has the legal mandate to levy the new taxes he hopes will raise the Sh130 billion he needs to keep his spending plans on track.

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The President  intends to raise Sh17.5 billion from eight per cent VAT on petroleum products, Sh9.8 billion from the “kerosene adulteration” tax while imposition of Sh20 per kilogramme of sugar confectionery, including white chocolate, will raise Sh473 million.

He has also succeed in pushing through the 1.5 per cent levy for the National Housing Development Fund that is expected to generate about Sh57 billion a year.

Under the Housing Development Fund plan, an employer and employee are separately required to contribute 1.5 per cent of the monthly basic salary so long as the sum of the employer and the employee contributions does not exceed Sh5, 000.

He also expects to raise Sh20.2 billion from the 12 per cent excise duty on fees charged for mobile money transfer services, the 15 per cent excise duty on telephone and internet data services and the 20 per cent duty on fees charged for money transfer services.

Mr Kenyatta also signed into law the Coast Guard Bill 2018, which marks an important milestone in the management and enforcement of laws in Kenya’s internal and territorial waters.

The Coast Guard Act 2018 establishes the Kenya Coast Guard Service, which will be responsible for enforcing maritime security and safety, pollution control and sanitation measures as well as prosecution of offenders.

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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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