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Why Kisii town is a new gem for real estate developers: The Standard

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Silky tarmac has replaced potholes in a road upgrade programme that has opened up the outskirts to investors

Property investors are scrambling to put up housing developments in Kisii town and its environs, attracted by good road networks and security.

Boosted by billions of shilling from the dispora that have spurred rapid growth of the region’s economy, Kisii is not just an agricultural town any more but a gem for investors in varied sectors.
The region is famous for its production of food, especially bananas and avocado, but population pressure has led to intensive demarcation of land.
Real estate agents say the rising demand for land that is hardly available has led to a huge spike in prices.

SEE ALSO: Institute wants Sh50b revolving fund for housing recovery

Evans Mbaka, a land dealer in the town, says buyers are attracted by the availability of water, electricity and passable roads.
“For the first time in more than 20 years, Kisii County is having major roads being undertaken by both the county and national governments,” he says.
Skyrocketed
Construction of the 90-kilometre Kisii-Isebania road at a cost of Sh8.6 billion has, for instance, led to the skyrocketing of land prices along the corridor.
The multi-billion-shilling project was identified by East Africa Community Master Plan 2012 and is being funded by the African Development Bank in conjunction with the Kenyan government. 

SEE ALSO: The peculiar habits of Kenyan home buyers

The project that started three years ago has more than 15 access roads and has resulted to jostling for space in the outskirts of Kisii town.
Numerous investors who had bought land outside the town years ago are now setting out to develop the parcels.
The road project has seen some investors in the hotel and hospitality industry move outside Kisii town and put up facilities in some of the serene areas in the outskirts.
Silky tarmac has replaced potholed roads, and with it the price of land has shot up.
Between Nyamataro and Nyambera, less a kilometre from the Central Business District, the price of an eighth of an acre that was selling at Sh500,000 about 10 years ago is currently selling at Sh4 million.

SEE ALSO: From a mjengo job to owning a real estate business

Egesa, along the Kisii-Kisumu road, which was previously shunned by land buyers, has in the recent past seen development of several gated communities. Here there is no more land for sale.
A 25 by 100 feet piece could go for Sh5 million. An investor has put up a multi-million-shilling hospital there – Nairobi Women Hospital.
Nyanchwa, Getare, Suneka, Mosocho and Nyakoe are becoming the next destination for high-end housing developments.
Duncan Siman, the chief executive of Siman Property, says land prices have gone up by 70 per cent.
“The opening up of businesses such as hardware shops and general stores is a sign of growth in the real estate,” he says, adding that returns on real estate in the town are at peak.

SEE ALSO: Ruai, Mathare squatters seek to seize KBC land

“Kisii was deemed rural some 15 years ago but the booming real estate development is unparalleled.”
One of the fastest growing economies in Western Kenya, Kisii accounts for 60 per cent of total money circulating in the region.
Central Bank of Kenya has already built a money clearing and forwarding centre in the town that is due for opening soon.
Steady growth
The steady and consistent growth of financial, hospitality and health services in the town can be attributed to a number of factors including the increasing demand for socially responsible investment.

SEE ALSO: Enough with these unscrupulous real estate developers

Kisii Governor James Ongwae says the county and national governments have implemented key projects in water, agriculture and transport that will spur economic growth in the area.
“We have readily available human capital. The peaceful co-existence of our people has given us a lead in attracting key players in the economy,” he says.
Richard Nyabwari, a resident of Nyabioto area along the Kisii-Migori road, says devolution has brought about expansion of urban areas. 
“We even have non-locals buying land in the outskirts of Kisii town, which was not the case few years ago,” he says.
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Why Kisii town is a new gem for real estate developers
Why Kisii town is a new gem for real estate developers

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  • Dealers say prices have shot up by at least 70pc in 10 years
  • Silky tarmac has tarmac replaced potholes in a road upgrade programme that has opened up the outskirts to investors

Eric Abuga
Property investors are scrambling to put up housing developments in Kisii town and its environs, attracted by good road networks and security.
Boosted by billions of shilling from the dispora that have spurred rapid growth of the region’s economy, Kisii is not just an agricultural town any more but a gem for investors in varied sectors.
The region is famous for its production of food, especially bananas and avocado, but population pressure has led to intensive demarcation of land.
Real estate agents say the rising demand for land that is hardly available has led to a huge spike in prices.
Evans Mbaka, a land dealer in the town, says buyers are attracted by the availability of water, electricity and passable roads.
“For the first time in more than 20 years, Kisii County is having major roads being undertaken by both the county and national governments,” he says.
Skyrocketed
Construction of the 90-kilometre Kisii-Isebania road at a cost of Sh8.6 billion has, for instance, led to the skyrocketing of land prices along the corridor.
The multi-billion-shilling project was identified by East Africa Community Master Plan 2012 and is being funded by the African Development Bank in conjunction with the Kenyan government. 
The project that started three years ago has more than 15 access roads and has resulted to jostling for space in the outskirts of Kisii town.
Numerous investors who had bought land outside the town years ago are now setting out to develop the parcels.
The road project has seen some investors in the hotel and hospitality industry move outside Kisii town and put up facilities in some of the serene areas in the outskirts.
Silky tarmac has replaced potholed roads, and with it the price of land has shot up.
Between Nyamataro and Nyambera, less a kilometre from the Central Business District, the price of an eighth of an acre that was selling at Sh500,000 about 10 years ago is currently selling at Sh4 million.
Egesa, along the Kisii-Kisumu road, which was previously shunned by land buyers, has in the recent past seen development of several gated communities. Here there is no more land for sale.
A 25 by 100 feet piece could go for Sh5 million. An investor has put up a multi-million-shilling hospital there – Nairobi Women Hospital.
Nyanchwa, Getare, Suneka, Mosocho and Nyakoe are becoming the next destination for high-end housing developments.
Duncan Siman, the chief executive of Siman Property, says land prices have gone up by 70 per cent.
“The opening up of businesses such as hardware shops and general stores is a sign of growth in the real estate,” he says, adding that returns on real estate in the town are at peak.
“Kisii was deemed rural some 15 years ago but the booming real estate development is unparalleled.”
One of the fastest growing economies in Western Kenya, Kisii accounts for 60 per cent of total money circulating in the region.
Central Bank of Kenya has already built a money clearing and forwarding centre in the town that is due for opening soon.
Steady growth
The steady and consistent growth of financial, hospitality and health services in the town can be attributed to a number of factors including the increasing demand for socially responsible investment.
Kisii Governor James Ongwae says the county and national governments have implemented key projects in water, agriculture and transport that will spur economic growth in the area.
“We have readily available human capital. The peaceful co-existence of our people has given us a lead in attracting key players in the economy,” he says.
Richard Nyabwari, a resident of Nyabioto area along the Kisii-Migori road, says devolution has brought about expansion of urban areas. 
“We even have non-locals buying land in the outskirts of Kisii town, which was not the case few years ago,” he says.
[email protected]

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Fares rise up to 67 percent as bus services resume

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Fares rise up to 67 percent as bus services resume

Commuter fares on key long-distance routes have risen by up to 67 percent as public service vehicles (PSVs) resume operations.
Commuter fares on key long-distance routes have risen by up to 67 percent as public service vehicles (PSVs) resume operations. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Commuter fares on key long-distance routes have risen by up to 67 percent as public service vehicles (PSVs) resume operations under the tight social distancing rules meant to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

A spot check showed that passengers travelling to Mombasa from Nairobi are now paying Sh2,000 compared to Sh1,200 previously while those headed to Kisumu from the capital city are parting with up to Sh2,100 against an old rate of Sh1,500.

On the Nairobi-Nakuru route, commuter fares have jumped to Sh700 from Sh400, an increase of 67 percent.

“The fares have increased mainly because we are carrying less passengers. We have no option but to double our prices to help cover operational costs,” said an official of Dreamline Bus Service, who spoke to Business Daily in confidence.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday lifted restrictions on movement into and out of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area, and Mombasa and Mandera counties — paving the way for a conditional resumption of PSV operations which had been suspended since March to contain the spread of the virus.

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As part of conditions set for resumption of public transport in an out of the three counties, PSVs operators have been compelled to operate under strict health directives, including leaving some seats empty.

The Transport ministry, for instance, demands that a 14-seater PSV carry only 10 passengers, a 33-seater 18 passengers and a 51-seater 30 passengers. This includes the drivers and the crew.

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PSV operators are also required to obtain special permits to enter Nairobi, Mombasa and Mandera, which have been marked as Covid-19 hotspots.

Easycoach managing director Azym Dossa said the bus company would raise its commuter fares by between 25-50 percent when it resumes operations later this weekend or early next week.

A 50 percent rise will see Easycoach charge Sh2,100 on the Kisumu-Nairobi route from Sh1,450 before its fleet was grounded in April with the cessation of movement out and in of the capital.

It will charge Sh1,875 on the Nairobi-Eldoret route if it opts for maximum fare rise from the previous Sh1,250.

“We consider this a good gesture by the State. We have actually recalled our drivers in preparation for the resumption of operations either on Sunday or Monday,” said Mr Dossa.

At Mololine services, passengers are paying 1,800 to Kisumu, Sh1,600 to Eldoret and Sh800 to Nakuru. The operator previously charged Sh1,200 to Kisumu, Sh1,000 to Eldoret and Sh500 to Nakuru.

ENA Coach is charging Sh1,500 to ferry passengers to Kisii, Kisumu and Homa Bay as well as Awendo and Rongo, up from Sh1,000, representing a 50 percent increase.

Mash East Africa is charging Sh1,800 to ferry passengers to Mombasa and Malaba, up from Sh1,200 — an increase of 50 percent. It is charging passengers Sh2,000 to ferry passengers to Malindi from Sh1,400, an increase of 40 percent.

The easing of movement restrictions is set to offer relief to inter-county traders who had been dealt a blow given the economic dominance of Nairobi and Mombasa.

Nairobi accounts for 21.7 percent of the country’s output, and influences economic activities in the neighbouring counties of Kiambu, Machakos and Kajiado and even beyond.

Disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic have battered the economy, with the Treasury projecting growth to slow to 2.5 percent this year from 5.4 percent last year.

Although many businesses have resumed, their operating hours remain restricted by a nationwide night curfew in place since March to help curb the spread of the virus.

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From Classroom to CEO – Business Daily

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Profiles

From Classroom to CEO

Wambui Mbarire has a passion for retail.
Wambui Mbarire has a passion for retail. PHOTO | COURTESY 

Wambui Mbarire has a passion for retail. She can share insights on the sector that has seen increased activity over the past decade in Kenya, from supermarkets, fashion stores to restaurants.

Part of her role as the CEO of Retail Trade Association of Kenya has been creating a bridge with various stakeholders and giving a voice to retailers.

DOREEN WAINAINAH caught up with her in between her meetings on Zoom to discuss more on how, she, a former teacher, became the voice of retail and why pre-marital mentorship is important.

What did you study in school?

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I’m a graduate teacher. I then did CPAs at Strathmore University then I deviated from finance to human resources. I later got into management and I’ve been in it for 15 years, working in different organisations including Retrak for the past seven years.

What made you transition from teaching, into accountancy and later on management?

Teaching requires a lot of patience. I was young and still not very patient. (Laughs). So I started doing accountancy when I was still teaching. As I grew, I realised I was a people person and that is how I moved into management.

What have been some of the highlights of your career?

Let’s see…in my accounting career, I managed to move the various companies I worked in from manual systems (technology) to system based systems. There are two companies I know that I played a key role in transitioning them to very professional systems.

In my last seven years (at Retrak), it has been bringing the retail sector together. Outside agriculture, our next best biggest sector is retail.

Do you ever see yourself going back to teaching?

The thought crossed my mind. What I was sure about is that I wouldn’t go back to teach in high school. I was pretty young and I had no patience. If I were to go back I would probably teach younger children or adults. But perhaps in retirement.

I enjoy cooking, I do a lot of walking and I like to travel with my children. I also talk to young women looking to go into marriage.

Marriage is a threatened institution that has many challenges but from my own experience, I realise if we were told the things to talk about and to look forward to before entering that covenant, we’d have fewer challenges.

It’s kind of talking to my younger self on the things I would have done differently as I transitioned into marriage.

What then do you say is the secret to a happy marriage?

I usually start this conversation with a lot of people when they’re going for marriage counselling. Marriage counselling as I know it, unless it has changed, focuses mainly on how to run finances, about sex, and its importance in marriage. But that is not what is key.

What is key is understanding each other’s backgrounds because you will become the person your father or the person your mother was in very many aspects. And, when you become a wife, you can only be the wife your mother was and his expectation of you is to be the wife his mother was. But you’re not his mother and you grew up in a different environment, so you are not unless you’re told or unless it’s a discussion you had, you wouldn’t know what he expects you to do and those are the things that trigger fights.

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For example, his mother cooked all meals but in your home, you had a househelp who cooked. When you get married, you will have no problem with your househelp cooking most of the time yet he will have a very big problem when you don’t cook.

Have you expanded your cooking repertoire this Covid-19 period or added new items to your menu?

Definitely. I have added extra weight due to that. There are some dishes that I want to try that I’ve never cooked. Prawns and seafood.

I want to try them before we resume our busy lifestyles. I have also tried to do a bit of urban gardening. I have planted mint and coriander in my backyard, in a bottle.

How has it been working from home?

Because everyone is at home, my husband included, people tend to think you are at home and not at work. So being on the laptop the whole day kind of irritates the people who think you are home yet you are not at home.

When I’m having work calls, my daughter sometimes keeps asking “mum, mum, what time will it end?” and she will hang around my door waiting. Children think that there is no way you can be at work yet you are home.

Do you find it very different watching your partner at work rather than the person you know at home or after work?

Perhaps in time management or being structured in the stuff he does now. Though he is in business in FMGC (fast-moving consumer goods) so he works in and out of the home. I guess he now understands my work more.

How do your friends describe you?

My friends call me mother hen. Because I fuss about everyone and I am very concerned about people and their welfare all the time. I am the peacemaker.

Somebody the other day said my face is too serious.

What is your drink of choice? Do you take wine or brandy or whisky?

Interestingly, I’ve never been a drinker. Not even through university. I have a friend who tells me I missed all the vices of campus and that they will catch up with me in old age.

I usually have challenges if I am out and somebody asks ‘what will you drink?’. But in my group of four close friends, there is one friend I will point to and say ‘Ask her.’ She’s a brandy person so we end up drinking brandy. But you will not find me pouring myself a glass of wine in my house.

What are some of the things that are still on your bucket list that you’re hoping to tick off in the next 24 months?

Doing more outdoor activities with my children. There are things that I think we should have done by now that we haven’t done, like visiting local sites within Nairobi or Kiambu and going to places like Kitengela Glass or Browns’ Cheese.

Second, I want to do a financial management course. It might be late in my life, but I want to.

But weren’t you in accounting?

You know school was meant for passing exams. I don’t know whether that has changed. Do you use the stuff you learned in school?

Then I would like to find a way to formalise my girls’ mentorship project, go into consultancy …I hope to do that in the next 24 months.

What is one thing you say, ‘I would change this if I had a chance’?

Save better, invest better. When you are younger, you spend money on all the wrong things. It is important to strike a balance. Put away some money as saving or towards a retirement plan. Employment gives you false security. You forget that your employer has no obligation to keep you employed.

What’s your retirement plan?

Teaching young women aged between 18 and 30. I will group them in various age brackets and have different discussions with them.

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Stima Sacco picks insider for acting MD

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Stima Sacco picks insider for acting MD

Gamaliel Hassan, the newly appointed acting Stima Sacco chief executive
Gamaliel Hassan, the newly appointed acting Stima Sacco chief executive. PHOTO | COURTESY 

Stima Sacco has appointed Gamaliel Hassan as acting chief executive following the expiry of the term of its managing director Chris Useki.

Mr Hassan is the chief manager for strategy and business.

Mr Useki served in an acting capacity from October 2016 when the former boss Paul Wambua resigned until his appointment was in August 2017.

“I took over as the acting chief executive at Stima Sacco on July 3, following the expiry of the term of Mr Useki last month,” said Mr Hassan in an interview with the Business Daily Thursday.

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Mr Hassan, a certified public accountant will double as the chief manager strategy and business.

The 131,616-member sacco grew its net income in 2019 by 3.9 percent to Sh881.6 million compared to Sh848.8 million in the previous year.

Turnover grew 22 percent to Sh5.63 billion in 2019 up from Sh4.60 billion in 2018.

Lending increased by 15 percent from Sh24.94 billion to Sh28.62 billion.

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