Strategies to revive tourism bearing fruit, says Balala

Despite a series of hurdles, tourism continues to pick up steadily, with the country banking on cruise ships to return the sector to its former glory.

Tourism cabinet secretary Najib Balala said the country is beginning to reap the fruits of aggressive efforts to boost the sector.

He said a total of international arrivals for tourists in January to September 2017 by air and sea were 723, 174 compared to 657, 438 in 2016.

Interior minister to chair a new committee of all CSs.

President Uhuru Kenyatta Tuesday appointed Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i to chair a committee mandated to supervise all government projects, including the Jubilee government’s legacy-driven ‘Big Four’ agenda.

Dr Matiang’i will chair the newly constituted National Development Implementation and Communication Committee, and will be deputised by his Treasury counterpart Henry Rotich.

The team will comprise of all the Cabinet Secretaries, Attorney-General Paul Kihara, and Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua.

Dr Matiang’i, long-seen by analysts as President Kenyatta’s Mr-Fix-It, will in the new position effectively be the prefect of his colleagues, and will report directly to the President.


Why Kenya is now at the crossroads

The direction the country takes could lead to the attainment of Vision 2030 or stagnation in every sector. The country faced similar choices immediately after independence. Kenya’s founding fathers drew up development plans that were the envy of the developing countries. ALSO READ: MPs warn investors against sabotaging Uhuru agenda Unfortunately, they did not implement the plans that would have transformed the economy from an agrarian to an industrial one. Instead, the development blueprints were allowed to gather dust while the leadership spent its time politicking and accumulating wealth and, in the process, impoverishing the majority of ordinary people. This explains why it is heartbreaking to watch leaders root for a plebiscite at the time when they should concentrate on the Big Four agenda. Perhaps, the time has come for the President to stamp his authority and remind the merchants of poverty that the success of the Big Four will benefit the entire country. This means none of the leaders will be allowed to wreck it by premature electioneering that could also slow the anti-graft war. The hope is that President Kenyatta may also be persuaded to take the right turn by implementing three key policies. First, cut government expenditures by rationalising ministries, departments, and agencies even when this means denying political friends promised jobs. Political will If this proves difficult to implement mid-term, then the passage of the legislation would make these cuts mandatory after the next elections. This may be easier because the Government Owned Entities and the National Sovereign Wealth Fund bills were drafted four years ago. But there was no political will to get them enacted and implemented. The President needs to stamp out all wasteful expenditures in all public institutions. Public employees should understand times have changed and they too need to change. Those who fail to change with the times be shown the door to act as a deterrent to others. The State must also pay attention to sealing the tax evasion loopholes that routinely allow big corporates to deny the country huge amounts of money annually.  This is borne out by a recent report by Global Financial that showed Kenya lost more than Sh90 billion from the importation and export of only five commodities in 2013 alone.
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Kenya Railways imports special SGR engines

Kenya Railways Managing Director Athanas Maina told The Standard yesterday that the locomotives are being transported by heavy duty trailers to Mtito Andei and Emali from where the laying of the rail track will start.

The Chinese contractor, China Road & Bridges Corporation (CRBC), announced that laying of the track between Nairobi and Mombasa will begin in two places in November. Officials say the exercise will start from Mtito Andei’s Kathekani area towards Mombasa while the other works towards Nairobi will start from Emali.

The MD said that all, save for only five per cent of land on the entire rail track corridor from Mombasa to Nairobi, has been procured. On the issue of land around the Nairobi National Park, where the SGR will pass through, Mr Maina said a joint team from Kenya Railways and the Kenya Wildlife Service has started reviewing various aspects of conservation on the project.

CPI and Inflation Rates for August 2015

Kenya National Bureau of Statistics hereby releases Consumer Price Indices (CPI) and inflation rates for August, 2015. These numbers have been generated using data collected during the second and third weeks of the month under review.
The CPI increased by 0.21 per cent from 160.57 in July 2015 to 160.90 in August 2015. The overall inflation rate stood at 5.84 per cent in August 2015

August inflation eases, offering Kenya’s economy much-needed kick

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) says overall inflation rate slowed down to 5.84 per cent in August, down from 6.62 per cent a month earlier. This now becomes the lowest inflation since February. The lowest inflation this year was recorded in January where the cost of living stood at 5.61 per cent
This was mainly due to favourable weather conditions, which prevailed in recent months and the main reason for decreases in prices of several food items
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IFC invests Sh5 billion in Turkana oil

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has thrown oil exploration in Northern Kenya a much-needed lifeline with the injection of Sh5 billion in Africa Oil, one of the majors operating in the region.

The Canadian explorer said the IFC, World Bank’s private sector lending arm, made the $50 million investment in a private placement that will see the lender secure a 6.83 per cent stake in the explorer.

The new funds will go towards exploration in Lokichar where its partner Tullow Oil has in the past struck a series of promising wells.

Safaricom injects Sh14M seed capital for young entrepreneurs

Safaricom foundation has partnered with Junior Achievement Kenya and ‘hand in hand’ . Eastern Africa to empower the youth with entrepreneurial skils and seed capital to start their businesses. Safaricom foundation has set aside 14 million shillings towards a revolving fund those with no access to micro credit as a pilot in seven counties for a period of one year.

Flower exports rise by 12 per cent

Kenya’s cut flower exports rose by 11.7 per cent during the first quarter of this year to 136,601 tonnes. This was a remarkable growth for the sector at nine per cent in volumes and 18 per cent in value compared with the same period last year. Vegetable exports, however, declined by 3.3 per cent from 16,600 tonnes to 16,1000 tonnes during the period under review. The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector on the other hand, expanded by 4.4 per cent compared with 2.2 per cent last year. This growth was reflected in the increased use of agricultural inputs during the quarter.

According to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (Knbs), the country’s horticultural sector earned Sh100.8 billion last year, a six per cent growth in comparison with Sh94.7 billion earned in 2013. Kenya remains one of the top three exporters of cut flowers in the world. The major markets are the EU, America, Australia, Russia, and Japan. Ngige said increased demand for fertiliser, a key input for agriculture sector, was notable as reflected by its import which grew by 18.4 per cent from 224,000 metric tonnes in first quarter 2014 to 265,9000 metric tonnes in the first quarter of this year.

Kenya’s first oil export expected in October 2022

Kenya’s push to start oil production by 2017 will be delayed by at least five years going by the detailed design and construction timeline for the proposed crude oil pipeline connecting Uganda and local oil fields to Lamu. The Toyota Tsusho design released yesterday shows that the flow of the first oil is expected in October 2022 at the earliest. This will come after the commissioning of the oil pipeline in the last quarter of 2020.

Barclays unveils Sh30bn credit line for SMEs

Small and medium enterprises would soon have easier access to credit as more banks pledge financing commitments to the business segment.
Barclays Bank of Kenya has stepped in with a Sh30 billion loans commitment to SMEs. Barclays Managing Director Jeremy Awori said the bank would continue to support the sector as part of its plan to help in accelerating economic growth and providing market-specific products