yikes (Photo: Matwana Matatu Culture)

7 interesting things that made the news this week (20th Oct – 26th Oct)

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.

County revenue

The Budget Implementation Report 2017/2018 revealed that only 3 counties met their revenue targets. Tana River, Kwale and Migori counties, infact, surpassed their revenue collection targets. The total “own-revenue” target for the 47 counties was sh.49.22 billion but only sh.32.49 billion was realized. Around one-third of this was by Nairobi, which collected revenues of sh.10.11 billion. Agnes Odhiambo, Controller of Budget, advised counties to “implement strategies” leading to better results. Counties should work long term by facilitating economic activity.

Nairobi county revenue

Nairobi collects over 3 times the revenue of the next best county. They deserve to be highlighted. The county plans to implement some plans from the Kidero tenure by passing a revised Finance Bill 2018/2019. Expectation, by Sonko and his people, is that parking fees in the CBD will be increased to sh.400. Matatus will have to pay sh.250,000 a year for space (they are not leaving?), while boda bodas and tuk tuks part with sh.1000 and sh.1500 monthly to access the CBD. Trailer and lorry operators will also live with increased fees. That’s not all. Garbage collection fees will be revised by neighborhood (what is social inclusion? hehe). There will be three tiers to this monthly charge; sh.100, sh.300 and sh.500, depending on where you live.

Nairobi County will also tighten screws to get more from outdoor advertisers. Ads without permits will result in hefty fines. Lastly, the county plans to spend sh.300 million to buy uniforms for the inspectorate staff. According to the Development Plan, outlined by Business Daily Africa, this move will “improve county image and employee satisfaction.”

Agriculture decline

Agri-processing declined by 4.18% in the last 12 months. This is what the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) found, as reported by Business Daily Africa. One reading from this is that Kenyans are consuming more of, cheap, imported food products. Local industry players are also struggling because of non-payment of deliveries and Government barriers, because why not? The Government is into stringent inspection of food-based raw materials coming into the country.

M-Pesa Foundation Academy now open

President, Uhuru Kenyatta was the main guest during the official opening of the M-Pesa Foundation Academy. It’s a mixed boarding high-school, located in Thika, for the brightest of economically disadvantaged students. The students will benefit from holistic learning methods.

M-Pesa Foundation Academy
Photo: M-Pesa Foundation Academy

The school will draw students from all over the country, around 4 per county. Application forms will be issued yearly and those who best qualify, based on measures such as academic excellence and critical thinking, will make the final list every December.

Parents avoiding national schools

The original national schools are challenged by congestion. This is despite the fact that 85 other schools were upgraded to national status, at a cost of sh.6 billion. By words, is what parents feel. Auditor General, Edward Ouko revealed a public perception that the upgraded schools do not meet requisite standards. Kenyans, therefore, opt to enrol their children in the original national schools. But students suffer from congestion in different ways, like eating meals in shifts. In any case, the new national schools are not admitting students from all over the nation as is expected, for the status. Mr. Ouko revealed, “for instance, 10 out of 18 schools sampled admitted more than 40% of their students from their own counties.”

Michuki rules are back

Don’t ask why they ever left in the first place. This is Kenya, get used to it. Matatus now have 2 weeks to comply with all the Michuki rules. Remember them? yellow line, seat belts, crew uniforms, etc. It’s all coming back. The directive was given in a joint statement by the Transport and Interior affairs secretaries, James Macharia and Fred Matiang’i respectively. There was a threat or warning for all of us. “Any PSVs, drivers, transport companies, passengers and any other relevant parties that fail to comply will be firmly dealt with in accordance with the law.” Are you ready to pay sh.500 “instantly” for not having the seat belt on?

Mwalungaje Elephant Sanctuary

Kenyans in a few villages of Kwale county were terrorized by 52 elephants that strayed from Mwalungaje Elephant Sanctuary. Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) confirmed that crops were destroyed but no injuries were reported. Luckily for everyone, the elephants have now been driven back. KWS County Community Warden, Edward Karanja said, “I can for sure confirm that the task to drive back the herd of elephants went on without a hitch.”

Mwalungaje Elephant Sanctuary
Photo: Safari Now

He did also say the elephants were just following their traditional migration routes, in search for pasture. Human – Animal conflict for space is usually zero-sum, right?