The fishing sector in Lamu County is facing a set of challenges threatening to bring it to its knees.
This is causing concern among the residents as fishing contributes more than 50 percent of Lamu’s economy.
For the past seven years, the sector has suffered immensely due to a night fishing ban imposed by the government following increased Al-Shabaab attacks and kidnappings of fishermen and tourists.
Although the State lifted the ban in May 2017, fishermen say they are still being harassed when they go to the sea at night.
Major fishing destinations and hubs such as Mkokoni, Kiwayu, Ndau, Kiunga and Ishakani on the border of Lamu and Somalia are the most affected.
Fishermen who talked to Shipping & Logistics on Monday said apart from being denied access to the ocean at night, they are subjected to security harassment even during the day — a move which they say has forced some of them to quit the trade.
Lamu East alone has about 6,000 fishermen. But due to the harassment, only 3, 000 fishermen have remained in the trade.
“Our sector is dwindling almost on a daily basis. We fear the sector will die if something is not done. They said the night fishing ban has been lifted but the truth is that they don’t allow us to go to the sea at night,” said Mr Mohamed Ali who is the chairman of the Faza Beach Management Unit (BMU).
“Once you are spotted you are always arrested, molested and harassed by security agencies.”
The fishermen are now urging the government to change strategy including escorting the fisher folk as they venture to the sea at night. Mr Ahmed Islam, a fisherman in Kiunga, says fish is easily caught at night when they are unable to see properly as opposed to daytime when they are eyesight is strong.
“Instead of banning us from fishing at night, they should organise us into groups and then escort us to the sea at night. Our appeal is for us to be allowed to fish at night since that’s the time you can make a good catch rather than during daytime,” said Mr Islam. Another key challenge facing the industry is the lack of modern fishing equipment by most fishermen. Local fishermen have for decades depended on traditional fishing methods and equipment.
The fishermen say for the trade to grow and expand, there is need for the county and the national governments to intervene and give them modern tools that will enable them match their competitors especially those from Somalia and Tanzania who have been invading the local fish market.
Mr Ali says modern fishing gears will enable them to carry out their trade on the high seas.
“We are concerned. Our fishing sector is now crumbling. We urge the county government through Governor Fahim Twaha to improve the fishing infrastructure in this region to boost the trade. They boat us few boat engines but those aren’t enough. Most of us still use the traditional tools and methods and that’s why there is nothing much in terms of profit,” said Mr Ali.
“We especially worry about Somalia fishermen who seem to have everything needed for deep sea fishing and we can’t match that and definitely we can’t compete in the same market and win.” In Lamu West, most of the artisanal fishermen have already been forced to abandon the trade following the ongoing dredging activities for the construction of the first three deep sea berths at the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) Corridor Project.
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.