Sunday, Jul 5, 2020
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247 people have tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19), raising the total number of coronavirus cases in Kenya to 7,188.

The cases are out of 4,147 samples that were tested in the past 24 hours, according to the Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rashid Aman.

“Our cumulative samples tested so far now stands at 180,206. From today’s cases 242 are Kenyans while 5 are foreigners, & 164 are males, and 83 females. The youngest is a one year old infant while the oldest is 100,” Said Health CAS Aman.

Two more COVID-19 patients have succumbed to the virus as death-toll hits 154, CAS Aman said, adding that 39 have been discharged after recovery, raising total recoveries to 2,148.

Out of the July 3 update, Nairobi is leading with 153 cases followed by Mombasa with 35.

Other Counties leading in the coronavirus cases include; Kajiado 15, Busia 12, Kiambu 12, Uasin Gishu 4, Machakos 4, Garissa 4, Murang’a 2, Nakuru 2, Siaya 2, Lamu 1, and Nyamira 1.

Mombasa cases are in Mvita 17, Likoni 6, Changamwe 4, Kisauni 3, Jomvu 3 and Nyali 2.

Kiambu cases are in Kiambaa 6, Ruiru 3, Thika 2, and Kikuyu 1 while Uasin Gishu cases are in Ainabkoi 2, Kapseret 1 and Turbo 1.

Kajiado cases are in Kajiado East 10, Kajiado North 4 & Kajiado Central 1 while Busia cases are in Teso South 8, Teso North 2 and Matayos 2.

Machakos cases are in Athi River and Garissa cases are in Daadab 2 and Garissa Township 2.

Russians voted in a new constitution that will see President Vladimir Putin stay in power till 2036.

Nearly 78 percent of Russian voters officially approved the amendments to the country’s constitution.

The Russian Electoral Commission announced Thursday after all the ballots were counted. According to the commission, as reported by the BBC, there was no case of fraud reported. But the opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, had otherwise to say.

“This vote is a forgery, but above all it is a public declaration of what is happening in the country: Vladimir Putin, together with a group of his corrupt friends and colleagues, has illegally taken power and wants to remain Russia’s leader for life,” Nalvany protested.

Other amendments in Russia’s current constitution include generally popular measures such as establishing a minimum wage and pension allocations based on the cost of living, changes which Russians saw vital.

President Putin, aged 67, has been in power for two decades as President and is currently the longest-serving Russian or Soviet leader since Joseph Stalin.

Putin’s leadership

On 9 August 1999, Putin was appointed one of three First Deputy Prime Ministers, and later on that day, was appointed acting Prime Minister of the Government of the Russian Federation by President Yeltsin.

Later on that same day, Putin agreed to run for the presidency after Yeltsin announced that he wanted to see Putin as his successor.

On 31 December 1999, Yeltsin unexpectedly resigned and, according to the Constitution of Russia, Putin became Acting President of the Russian Federation.

He will be the longest serving Russian President as he is expected to rule the Russian Federation for the next 16 years, with two re-elections in waiting within that period.

By Daisy Okanga | Professor Isaac Macharia has been appointed as the Chair of the Equity Group board. 

He takes over from David Ansell who did not offer himself for re-election at the 16th Equity Group’s Annual General Meeting on June 30, 2020.

David Ansell is a long-time global banker. In Africa he served as Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director at Ecobank Transnational Inc. and as the Regional Director for Citibank in Kenya.

Dr. James Mwangi, Managing Director and CEO of Equity Group paid tribute to David Ansell saying, “I have personally gained much insight from David’s leadership and especially from his immense knowledge and expertise in asset liability and risk management. David will always be a valued member of the Equity family.”

Prof. Macharia joined Equity Bank Kenya Board in 2015 and became the Chair in 2017.

He led the Equity Bank Kenya Board in donating Ksh 300Million to match a similar amount donated by the family of Dr. Mwangi and Ksh500 million from Mastercard Foundation towards a mobilisation effort by Equity Group Foundation (EGF) that raised a total of Ksh1.1 billion when the prevailing COVID-19 crisis was declared a global pandemic.

 “I thank David Ansell for his capable and adept leadership of the Board. During his tenure, the Board has been guided to support the Company and its goals to achieve excellence in both profitability and purpose and it has exceeded expectations,” said Professor Macharia.

David Ansell has retired after serving the Board diligently for nine years.

Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) has suspended the trading of Kenya Airways Plc share effective July 3. 2020.

The suspension which will stay in force for three months is due to the imminent buyout of Kenya Airways by the government.

“Notice is hereby given on the suspension from trading of Kenya Airways Plc shares.” Said NSE adding that “this follows the publication of National Management Aviation Bill 2020 on June 18.”

Kenya Airways applied for the suspension from trading and closure of its register, until the resolution of its future is determined, according to the statement from the NSE,

NSE presented the application to the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) pursuant to section 11(3)w of the CMA Act for approval.

KQ Takeover Bill

The bill to nationalize KQ was tabled Tuesday before National Assembly by the Chairman of the Transport Committee, Pokot South Member of Parliament, David Pkosing.

Under the Bill, the government, which owns 48.9 percent of KQ, is expected to buy out the remaining holders of 51.1 percent of the shares and form an Aviation Holding Company to run the national carrier and Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), which manages airports in the country.

An Aviation Holding Company has been formed to run the national carrier and Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), which manages airports in the country.

The bill followed last year’s adoption of a report by the August House to re-nationalise KQ in a bid to revitalise the loss-making national carrier.

KQ will, as a new outfit, carry a new share capital of Ksh.7.5 billion upon nationalization should the August House approve the Bill.

In its May financial year report, KQ dipped further into a full year net loss of KSh. 12.985 billion in the year ending December 2019 compared to KSh. 7.558 billion reported in the previous year.

The airline blamed the loss on a 12.4 percent increase in operating costs, following an increase in its fleet operation costs.

This, the airline said was associated with a 15 percent increase in capacity deployed to offer increased connectivity between city pairs and investment in new routes.

Its total revenue increased by 12.4 percent to Kshs.128.317 billion in 2019 from Kshs.114.185 billion in 2018.

The government has extended a debt amnesty to state-owned sugar mills that will see the government write off Ksh.58 billion owed by the sugar companies.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary, Peter Munya said the government will also write off Ksh4 billion owed by the sugar mills in taxes.

This as the government begins the process of leasing 5 state-run sugar mills to private investors in order to revive the sugar industry.

CS Munya also announced a ban on the importation of brown sugar into the country, adding that all import licenses have been cancelled in a bid to protect the local sugar farmers.

This comes four months after the government received a sugar taskforce report that made various recommendations which include the introduction of a sugar levy that will be charged on consumers so as to raise revenue to assist farmers to develop their sugarcane crop.

The taskforce report, Chaired by Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya also proposed the gazettement of new rules on sugar importation, amendment of the agriculture and food authority act, and the crops act as well as a review of the taxation regime in the sugar industry in order to enhance investor incentives.

By Daisy Okanga | The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has reported that M-Pesa’s market share has grown to 98.8 percent with 29.1 million registered active subscribers as of March 31, 2020.

According to the report, M-Pesa is also facilitated by 202,102 mobile money agents countrywide.

Airtel money took the second position with a 1.1 per cent share of the market and T-Kash from Telkom came last with 0.05 per cent.

Equitel was not included in the report as CA previously cited that the service was more of a banking product, and stopped reporting all transactions associated with it.

The report was released for the third quarter of the 2019/20 Financial Year, which indicated that total data subscriptions in the country dropped by 0.7 percent to stand at 39.3 million from 39.6 million subscriptions reported in the second quarter for the period under review.

This is mainly attributed to the decline in the number of mobile subscriptions posted by Telkom Kenya Limited during the quarter as a result of measures taken by the company to scale down on investments.

Safaricom’s mobile data subscriptions also declined during the period under review following stiff competition from other operators such as Airtel Networks Limited.

Subscriptions connected through radio technology also declined during the quarter to stand at 804 from 1,690 subscriptions.

The telco recorded the highest market share in mobile data subscriptions at 68.8 percent whereas Equitel recorded the least market share at 0.4 per cent.

SMS and data volumes remained high within the One Network Area member countries as compared to other countries, due to the low roaming charges.

By Daisy Okanga | The Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Tourism & Wildlife, Najib Balala,  has reduced Park entry fees to all Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) game parks and reserves which will take effect from July 1, 2020.

At the same time, KWS has given a one-year moratorium to lodge owners in its parks and reserves, for rent payment starting July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021.

In the new changes, residents and citizens will now enjoy the same rates. Park entry fees for domestic tourists – citizens and residents, in Premium Parks like Nairobi National park, have gone down by 47 percent .

CS Balala made the announcement at KWS headquarters, attributing the drastic reduction in fees to the current economic crisis arising from the COVID 19 pandemic.

He called on owners of the lodges to use savings from the moratorium to improve on visitors’ experience and grow their businesses.

The CS also called on Kenyans to take advantage of the affordable park entry fees to sample the beauty of Kenya’s flora and fauna.

During the announcement, CS Balala also offered a discounted fee at 50 percent on filming, for both local and international producers filming in parks and reserves. He urged producers to utilize the availed window to grow their businesses as well as market Kenya.

KWS parks and reserves have been urged to adhere to the officially launched “Magical Kenya Tourism Health and Safety Protocols” as they refurbish their facilities.  

By Daisy Okanga | Public hospitals in the country have started to receive locally manufactured Personal Protective Equipment (PPES) for use by healthcare workers dealing with COVID-19 patients.

So far, 68 public hospitals have been identified by the Ministry of Health that will receive PPEs for up to 18 months.

Kenyatta National Hospital and Mbagathi Hospital Infectious Diseases Unit received locally manufactured PPEs valued at Kshs.3,191,370. In the consignment were disposable gowns, surgical masks, N95 respirator masks, nitrile gloves, head/hair covers, shoe covers, and gumboots.

Kenyatta University Teaching and Referral Hospital had earlier received their first consignment of PPEs valued at KShs 3,822,080. The distribution and last mile delivery are being handled by Fargo Courier, an independent logistics service provider selected on the basis of their infrastructure and their robust and automated logistics capability, to deliver the PPEs across the country.

Speaking during the handover of the PPEs, Chairperson of the Kenya COVID-19 Fund Board Mrs. Jane Karuku, gave an assurance that the funds received at the Board were being well utilized through a governance structure that includes independent auditors.

She expressed confidence in the board members skills, expertise and commitment to ensure that the mandate of the Board is well executed with transparency and efficiency. She thanked the various Board committee chairpersons who are doing commendable work.

Dr. James Mwangi, who Chairs the Health Committee of the Kenya COVID-19 Fund Board was confident that medical supplies value chain was taking shape.

“We are very delighted to witness the last-mile delivery of the PPEs to the public hospitals for use by our health care workers. We can now say with fulfilment that the medical supplies value chain is taking shape. In just a few months, we have seen local manufacturers rise up to produce PPEs, many of them for the first time. They have quickly adapted their capabilities through capacity building and strong commitment.” Said Dr Mwangi.

About six manufacturers have already attained national and international quality standards for the medical grade PPEs proving that local solutions exist even for global problems, said Dr Mwangi adding that “as a nation, we have what it takes to fight this pandemic. It is important to build a reservoir of PPEs to sustainably equip our frontline medical workers.”

Professor Isaac Macharia, the technical lead on the Health Committee of the COVID-19 Fund Board, and a renowned ENT specialist said the initiative gave the manufacturing sector an opportunity to improve on the locally manufactured PPEs.

This initiative has given the medical fraternity, through the Health committee of the COVID-19 Fund Board the opportunity to work closely with the local manufacturers in improving the quality of the PPEs.”

“This is the first time that we are having the opportunity to co-create medical equipment to ensure quality standards. We believe that this collaboration will play an important role in the development of a health supplies ecosystem in Kenya that meets national and international quality standards. This initiative will also help to support the realization of a robust manufacturing sector which is part of the President’s big four agenda.”

Prof Macharia commended the various medical professional associations who have teamed up to facilitate psychosocial and case management training for over 50,000 health care workers dealing with COVID-19 with financial support of KShs 85 million from COVID-19 Fund Board and Equity Group.

Fifteen out of 83 students who arrived in Mombasa from Sudan have tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19).

This is according to Mombasa Chief Health Officer Khadija Shikely.

The students had been stranded in Sudan since March after international flights were stopped to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

They were flown back on a special discounted Kenya Airways (KQ) flight following negotiations and financial sponsorship by the Mvita Member of Parliament, Abdulswamad Nassir.

This follows an announcement by the Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rashid Aman where 268 people tested positive for coronavirus in Kenya, bringing the total number of cases to 6,941. The cases are out of 2,704 samples that were tested in the past 24 hours.

Coronavirus cases are spreading through local communities, according to CAS Aman as 259 of the total cases were Kenyans whereas nine are foreigners.

Twenty patients were, however, discharged from the hospitals in the country, bringing the total recoveries to 2,109.

Unfortunately, the country also lost three patients who succumbed to the virus, raising the death toll to 152.

Nairobi recorded the highest cases of the coronavirus with 175 cases followed by Dagoreti at 44.

Out of the cases reported, Health CAS Rashid Aman said the youngest person to be infected with the virus was a 1-year-old infant while the oldest is 80 years old.

By Daisy Okanga | Jumia is establishing pick up stations where one can get information on the company’s platform.

The pickup stations in different stations are as a result of constraints that have been caused by the coronavirus pandemic, this is according to Jumia’s Managing Director Sam Chappatte.

The constraint enforced on the global economy by COVID-19 has made E-Commerce an essential service to consumers in urban, remote and rural areas.

“Pickup Stations are existing shops in our local neighbourhood that apply to become pickup stations. At the heart of this model is community,” said Chappatte.

“In the last few months, e-Commerce has played an important role in the economy. Shopping online is safe, convenient & gives people easy access to essential products. The Government has quickly recognised this, encouraging restaurants, shops & supermarkets to get online & provide home delivery options for their customers,” he added.

Jumia, which boasts as the largest e-commerce in the country, tend to boost the shop owners by training them on e-commerce, customer service and bookkeeping, key ingredients for a successful business.

As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the country, the past two months have exhibited an upsurge contactless order of commodities and goods, as Kenyans stay at home to suppress the spread of the virus.