7 interesting things that made the news this week (29th Sept – 5th Oct)

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Didn’t have time to catch up with all of the week’s news stories? Relax, follow Herbusiness summary and commentary of the most interesting things that made the news headlines in Kenya.

IMF pleased with Kenya

If you don’t want government to government loans from China, here is your alternative. Which means meeting a ton of compliance. Kenya has done so and can now renegotiate for the IMF Precautionary Facility. We have met other conditions they set like austerity measures and widening the tax base – your fuel VATs and what not. Analysts concluded that these moves will improve Kenya, IMF relations. There is still more to be done like rethinking that interest rate cap and rethinking income tax in this country. Oh no, no complaining. That is what responsible spending feels like.

Where does your tax go?

Let’s be done with public finance for the week. It is now known just how squeezed Government revenue is. Over half of all money collected by the Government at the beginning of the current financial year – July, August – has gone towards debt repayment. That is 57%. That is sh.118.08 billion. Recurrent expenditure absorbed sh.113.23 billion. So, yeah, maybe MCAs have to go. But we keep devolution. And let’s be honest. Our Government is not a champion of responsible but if it’s financing development with debt, isn’t revenue a secondary concern? In context?

Condoms

Perhaps old-heads are onto something. Perhaps the old days were better. Nowadays you have to wear a condom every time (sigh). The church, though, says condoms are not even moral. Kakamega Diocese Bishop, Joseph Obanyi said, “…the use of condoms is not part of the agenda of the church.” He was speaking at a Bishop “Universal Health Coverage Mobilization and Financing Framework” meet in Mombasa. These comments were made over measures to curb resurgence of HIV/Aids. Over a million Kenyans are infected. The church was clear that it’s placing its bet on abstinence, faithfulness and ARVs. Other parts of it were nice. Dr. William Ringera reminded us that, “Faith-based facilities did a lot even before Government started to talk about HIV.” Ah, the good old days before prosperity gospel.

Melania Trump

The US First Lady finally arrived in Kenya. This was her third stop in her 4-country Africa tour. She is on a trip to promote health and education. She was received by, counterpart, Margaret Kenyatta.

Margaret Kenyatta has her own Beyond Zero thing going. I’m sure they’ll get along fine.

Government now in charge of school meals

Kenya finally took over school feeding program duties from the World Food Programme (WFP). This process began in 2009. The event was held at Aremiet Primary School in Isiolo County. Education Principal Secretary, Dr. Kipsang was present and promised that the sh.2.4 billion allocated will be used well. He also broke it down, “A large amount will go to the home grown project with sh.10 per pupil.” The home grown project stimulates local food production. WFP Country Director, Annalisa Conte was also present. This program takes care of 1.6 million pupils.

Land reforms issue brought up

Imagine thinking a country can develop without a strong agriculture sector. Imagine thinking a strong agriculture sector can happen without enough land reforms. Maybe these motivated Amos Muchiri. He filed a petition at Nyeri High Court questioning how much land individuals can own. The petition was against the Speaker, Attorney General, Lands Cabinet Secretary and Director of Surveys Kenya. As per his lawyer, “It is provided in mandatory terms that National Assembly shall enact legislation to prescribe minimum and maximum land holding acreages in respect of private individuals.” The law should have been passed by February 2012. His stance, therefore, is that all land subdivisions, registrations since are unlawful. 

Mombasa tour bus

Mombasa County announced a headline-making Public-Private Partnership (PPP) deal this week. A company acquired a bus that will be used to improve the tourism experience in Mombasa. It’s a luxury double-decker sightseeing bus. The official unveiling will follow.

The company revealed: Our rates for local tourists start from sh.3000 and USD 35 (sh.3500) for international tourists. The rates are per individual. Booking should be done at least one day to the date of the tour.

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