Former Cabinet minister and founder of Carbacid Investments James Maina Wanjigi has stepped down as the company’s non-executive director after a 49-year tenure, bringing to a close the longest directorship in a Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm.
Mr Wanjigi, 86, became a director of Carbacid in 1970 and later served as the firm’s chairman between December 2001 and 2016.
Carbacid said Mr Wanjigi had opted not to offer himself for re-election at the annual general meeting held on Tuesday, leading to his replacement by Edward Achieng Musebe, who was appointed as a non-executive director.
Ahead of his retirement, Mr Wanjigi sold a large portion of his shares in Carbacid, which has in recent years suffered increased competition in its mainstay carbon dioxide business.
Mr Wanjigi has since reduced his holdings to 3.8 million shares worth about Sh42 million from the peak of 12 million (Sh130 million) in 2015, based on Carbacid’s current share price of Sh10.9.
His son, Jimi Wanjigi, holds two million shares worth Sh22 million in the company. Most of the Wanjigis’ multi-billion-shilling family fortune, however, is held privately through the holding company Kwacha Group.
The senior Wanjigi joined high profile politics in 1969 when he was elected MP for Kamukunji in Nairobi. He later held several ministerial portfolios, including for agriculture and public works in the administrations of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel arap Moi.
Mr Wanjigi chaired the Presidential Committee on Unemployment whose 1983 report to then President Moi had many recommendations, including Kenyanisation of the economy and promotion of work ethic.
Political, business disputes
Other recommendations comprised seemingly offbeat issues such as measures to encourage patriotism and rein in population growth. The Wanjigis have over the years been embroiled in major political and business disputes.
The senior Wanjigi lost a multi-million-shilling property in Lavington estate in 2014 after it was auctioned in a dramatic sale that sucked in businessman Michael Matu (the chief executive of NSE-listed Olympia Capital).
On the auction date (June 3, 2014), Mr Wanjigi moved to take back the property by sending his representative (Jesse Wanyeki), who made the top bid of Sh36.1 million at 12:30 pm.
The auctioneer, Garam Investment, told Mr Wanyeki and other bidders that they had not reached the reserve price and that the auction was still open. At about 3:30 pm, Mr Matu arrived with a deposit of Sh1.8 million to back his Sh37 million bid which the auctioneer promptly accepted, sparking protests from the other bidders. A court case later ordered Garam to conduct a fresh sale and Mr Matu, who told the Business Daily that he failed to buy the property in the second auction, was refunded his money.
The Wanjigis have also recently had to contend with the prosecution of Jimi and his father on allegations of illegal gun ownership.
The duo has termed the move as harassment by the government in response to their support for the opposition Nasa coalition in last year’s General Election.
Other individuals, who have served for decades as board members of companies listed on the Nairobi bourse, include former Attorney-General Charles Njonjo, who retired from CMC Holdings in 2012 after 40 years.
World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021
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.
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.
Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans
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.
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.
Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets
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.
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.