7 interesting things that made the news this week (8th Sept – 14th Sept)

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.

Banks fined for abetting corruption

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) fined 5 banks for enabling embezzlement of National Youth Service (NYS) funds. The looting of NYS billions involved schemes of dubious procurement. CBK faulted the banks involved for failing to report large transactions or avail supporting documents. The banks were called out for inadequate customer due diligence. A statement read, “CBK announces the conclusion of the first phase of investigation of the banks that were used by the persons transacting NYS funds.” KCB, Equity, Standard Chartered, Diamond Trust Bank and Co-operative Bank were fined shs. 149.5, 89.5, 77.5, 56 and 20 million respectively. CBK is assuring you that there will be a second phase of investigation to determine criminal culpability of both institutions and individuals.

Nairobi City County revenue

A comparison of revenue generated in the first 10 months under Kidero and Sonko was done. It was found that Sonko’s leadership, in Nairobi County, has raised sh.1 billion less. Governor Sonko has overseen revenue generation of sh.8.8 billion compared to his predecessor’s sh.9.8 billion, in a similar duration. This revelation was followed by Sonko signing into law the Nairobi City County Outdoor Advertising and Signage Control and Regulation Bill 2018. The new law will result in stricter enforcement against advertising defaulters and increase in advertising rates. The law will also regulate spacing and clutter of billboards, signposts and other advertising postings in the county. We hope one day the city will be able to raise money through municipal bonds, instead of relying on Wakulima market and such.

Police reforms

The new Persian blue uniforms stole the show. Probably, as the President intended since he said the new uniforms will make law enforcement officers “more visible.” Other areas of reform were in command, housing and training affecting the Administration Police, Kenya Police and Directorate of Criminal Investigations. Some specifics; 12 senior police positions were scrapped, integrated into police Geo boundaries and placed under unified command. Training colleges were also renamed. A refresher training will be conducted for police to understand the new structure and functions.

Pitch Agrihack winners

Pitch Agrihack is an initiative to support young agripreneurs in capacity building and with grants. A call for application was made in April 2018. It’s a result of the collaboration between the Technical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). A Kenyan startup, Illuminum Greenhouses, emerged winner in the ‘Early Stage Category’. This was alongside startups from Benin, Nigeria and Jamaica. They qualified for grants of between sh.570,000 ($5,700) and sh.870,000 ($8,700). Two startup from Ghana and one each from Nigeria and Togo got larger grants as ‘Advanced Category’ winners. CTA Director, Michael Huilu commented on achievement of the winners. He said, “They are shining a light on the hope that will greatly improve rural lives and make agriculture attractive and profitable to youth.”

Finance Bill

No reprieve. President, Uhuru Kenyatta did not assent Finance Bill 2018. The bill was a move to postpone the 16% VAT on petroleum products to 2020. The tax is a recommendation of IMF, an alternative lender to China who require these kinds of compliances before financing. The Bill returns to Parliament where MPs can amend it. They can also force it into law if two-thirds of them vote for the Bill as it is.

SDGs Index 2018

The inaugaral SDG Index and Dashboards Report assessed how far countries are from achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDG were agreed upon in 2015. There are only 12 years left to meet them.

The index found that no country is on track to achieve all goals. Kenya is ranked 119, which is ahead of other East African countries but way too low. Kenya’s aggregated score was 56.8 out of 100. Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia are top 3 in Africa. They scored 67.9, 66.3 and 66.2 respectively. The top 3 countries globally were all Nordic. Sweden (85), Denmark (84.6) and Finland (83) topped the index. You can check the whole list and further break down on the official website.

Kitengela has had enough…

Residents of Kitengela, 279 landlords to be precise, have moved to raise sh.39 million to build a sewer line. A resident was quoted saying, “We decided not to wait any more for government but to do it for ourselves.” Big fail for county leadership – that’s what you’d hope they think. The sewer line will cover 45 km to join Athi River Sewage System in the neighboring county. It will replace septic tanks as the means to handle waste.