Geoffrey Muli has been appointed an interim Managing Director of Kenya Power effective May 17, 2022.

He takes over from Rosemary Oduor who has also been serving in an interim capacity since August 2021.

“The appointment of Geoffrey Muli takes effect on May 17,” Kenya Power said in a statement.

Muli holds a Master of Business Administration (Strategic Option); Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and is currently pursuing a PhD in Business Administration (Strategic Option).

Prior to his appointment, he was the acting General Manager in charge of Regional Coordination in the Company.

Kenya Power has been searching for a substantive MD since the unceremonious resignation of Bernard Ngugi in August 2021.

The utility firm kicked off the search for a new Managing Director in January and was expected to receive applications from the interested candidates by end of February.

It registered a Ksh.3.8 billion net profit in six months to December 31, 2021, on the back of ongoing reforms that were initiated by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

On January 7, it effected the 15 percent reduction of power tariff in the country.

The Ministry of Energy said it would effect the remaining 15 percent reduction in powering tariff before the end of the first quarter of 2022. But this is yet to be materialized.

With Muli in action, Kenya Power is hopeful to maintain its positive financial results, as it plans to increase the coverage of the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project, which presently covers 6,718 or 80 percent of large power customers to full coverage by the end of 2022.

Standard Chartered Bank Kenya’s Q1 net profit in 2022 surged by 16 percent to Ksh.2.7 billion from Ksh.2.3 billion in Q1 2021.

This has been anchored on strong net interest incomes, financial markets, and wealth management.

“Our first-quarter performance was strong despite volatile and challenging market conditions underlying business momentum. Asset quality remained resilient in the first quarter however we continue to remain alert to the challenging external environment,” said Kariuki Ngari, Standard Chartered Bank CEO.

Net interest income increased 7 percent to Ksh.4.9 billion due to higher asset volumes and lower customer deposits cost of funds.

Operating expenses were up 9 percentKsh.3.5 billion from Ksh.3.2billion attributable to increased investment spending on transformational digital initiatives including partnerships.

Loan impairment declined by 121 per cent reflecting the impact of a release in management overlays, primarily relating to COVID-19.

Kenya National Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) agreed to build an ecosystem with Digital lenders in the country to provide credit solutions to small businesses.

Addressing the stakeholders during the 5th Small and Micro-Enterprises (SMEs) financial inclusion dialogue, Julius Opio, KNCCI Chairman said it will help businesses get access to finance through digital lending from micro-enterprise entities to small and medium enterprises.

“What we are doing today is to build an ecosystem on a digital system whereby businesses can get services going beyond just M-Pesa transactions.  So what we have come up with is to look at various opportunities and challenges that are faced when it comes to digital lending using the digital platform,” said Opio.

This, according to Ronal Meru, Director at KNCCI Nairobi said this would be achieved by regulating the digital lending sector.

“Before we used to have rogue digital lenders who would be very intrusive in terms of how you do your lending but now with what we have come up with we have lenders fully vetted making sure that there are no intrusive digital lenders in the market,” said Meru.

Safaricom SMEs and Channel Regional Manager Stephen Karanja present at the event reaffirmed the telcos commitment to provide SMEs with credible information, financial inclusion to accelerate digitisation of businesses as well as to bridge the trade financing gap.

 “SME is a big thing in this country and as Safaricom we are moving to be a technology company by 2025 and we want to help the SMEs to be digital and to be able to use digital platform to be able to help them raise their businesses.”

The forum also looked at how private sectors can develop and adopt  blockchain technology when it comes to providing services.

According to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Digital Credit Providers (DCPs) must to apply for an operational license in the country and warned no extension will be granted.

In March, CBK gazetted the digital lenders regulations paving way for their oversight and supervision. The regulator issued them a six-month period to comply.

“…is to remind all currently unregulated DCPs that have yet to apply for licensing, that they now have four months to the September 17, 2022, deadline.”

The CBK digital credit providers’ regulations 2022 proposed the licensing and oversight of the DCPs, which were previously unregulated amid a backlog of crime-related proceeds that thrives through digital lenders.

It mandates CBK with the role to  control  high-interest rates, unethical debt collection practices, and the misuse of personal data by some digital lenders.

Hilton Hotel has announced its plan to open a new hotel in Nairobi, hardly a month after it announced that it would wind up its business at the iconic Hilton Nairobi.

The new outlet has been named Kwetu Nairobi, Curio Collection a move the firm said will be to reaffirm its commitment to the hospitality market in Kenya.

Speaking during the East Africa Development Forum in Nairobi  Hilton Development, sub-Saharan Africa Managing Director, Andrew McLachlan said Curio Collection will create more than 100 local jobs once opened.

“This incredible new hotel will set the standard for upscale hotels in Nairobi as part of our Curio Collection by Hilton brand. Our Kenyan-based Development Team is looking forward to meeting with the East African hotel owner and investor community in Nairobi this week as we grow our hotel portfolio in this dynamic market.”

Located at the junction of Peponi Road and Kitisuru Road in the Westlands Business District, it will offer 100 guest rooms across five distinct buildings.

The much-anticipated hotel will feature stylish boutique interiors as well as several dining venues, bars and ten meeting rooms.

The East Africa Development Forum hosted by Hilton aimed at showcasing its significant opportunity in East Africa to develop hotels as part of the company’s portfolio of four brands present in the market.

In April 2022, Hilton announced the closure of the historic Hilton Nairobi, laying off an unspecified number of workers, underlining the troubles of hotels in the wake of COVID-19 travel slump.

The Kenyan Government has a 40.57 stake in the hotel and has exist enjoyed its stay in the capital city for the past 50 years of operation.

According to the MPC Hotels Survey of January 2021, employment in the sector continues to recover towards the pre-COVID levels, averaging 57 percent in January 2021 compared with 53 percent in November 2020 and 37 percent.

The hotel market in Kenya, however, benefited from an increasing number of foreign tourists as travel advisories were lifted and the country enjoyed a period of peace and security.

This registered a 53.29 percent growth in 2021 following a 34.76 percent increase in revenue which translated to Ksh.169.7 billion, from Ksh.102.9 million in 2020.

The  Curio Collection by Hilton is expected to open in late 2022.

Kenyan government losses more than Ksh.85 billion every year, thanks to illicit brew that has stormed the market due to expensive legitimate brews.

Beer distributors in the country say illicit brews in the county account for 490 million litres that is being consumed every year.

According to Maina Gikonyo, the Managing Director of Rwathia Distributors, this trend is likely to get worse due to the government’s decision to increase excise duty on alcoholic beverages.

The Finance (Amendment) Bill, 2022, which is currently before the National Assembly for consideration, proposes an increase on Excise Duty on beer by 20 percent and on locally manufactured glass by 25 percent.

There is also a proposal to impose a 15 percent Excise Duty on advertisements for alcohol.

“We need the government to decide if their intention is to increase the cost of indulging in what they refer to as “a sin” or maximise tax revenue collections,” said Gikonyo.

The taxes will result in an increase in prices that are likely to drive down demand for legal alcoholic beverages and affect a sector that is yet to recover from the coronavirus effects.

Since the onset of the pandemic on March 13, 2020, the number of alcohol dealers in Kenya has sunk to 32,000 from 40,000 – translating to a loss of Ksh.7.2 billion in personal income.

In 2015, the government increased the tax on sorghum-based beer, destroying a value chain that resulted in the loss of lives when Kenyans could not cop with expensive legitimate liquor.

However, beer distributors have called on legislatures to reconsider the Bill to help them recover from the shocks of the pandemic.

“…we make an appeal to the Executive and the Members of Parliament to reconsider a proposal to increase taxes on three areas that affect our ability to continue doing business and contribute to the Kenyan economy.”

Global Center on Adaptation CEO Patrick Verkooijen has welcomed President Uhuru Kenyatta as the Global Champion for the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP) at the high-level bilateral meeting hosted by the President at State House on May 16.

President Kenyatta is expected to carry forward his bold leadership on climate adaptation in Kenya in mobilizing the global community to honor their commitment of doubling global climate finance.

Kenyatta said that the world is confronting multiple global shocks that are seriously affecting economies.

“Africa, indeed the world, is confronting multiple global shocks that are reverberating through our economies. The catastrophic drought in Kenya, exacerbated by climate change, is threatening lives and livelihoods, and needs an immediate response. Many African nations, including Kenya, have already suffered losses of three to five percent of GDP because of the present climate threat,”  said President Kenyatta.

President Kenyatta has been one of the key driving forces behind the AAAP, launched by the President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) Dr. Akinwumi Adesina and CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) Dr. Patrick Verkooijen to mobilize US$25bn for climate adaptation in Africa by COP27.

The African Union (AU) has endorsed AAAP’s two financing mechanisms, including the AAAP Upstream Financing Facility hosted by GCA, which has already influenced US$3bn in investment for adaptation in Africa since its inception in 2021.

The AfDB administers the second financing mechanism through the climate set aside under the ADF-16 replenishment, which builds on the AfDB’s firm commitment to finance US$12.5 billion, half of the AAAP investment target.

“I am deeply honored to continue working alongside President Kenyatta for Africa to build forward better by financing a greener, more resilient, and prosperous continent that puts people in the driving seat. Adaptation is not only possible, it makes economic sense. Investing in climate adaptation is good for our health. Good for our planet. And good for our economies,” said Dr. Patrick Verkooijen.

Dr. Verkooijen also said that “the cost of action is not zero. Integrating resilience into agriculture and food systems in Sub-Saharan Africa will cost US$15bn annually. But the cost of inaction is more than ten times more, estimated to be US$200bn annually.”

President Kenyatta is set to address other global leaders during GCA’s Annual Meeting on June 16, 2022, which marks a key milestone ahead of the Africa Adaptation Finance Forum convened by GCA, AfDB and the African Union in September 2022.

Twiga Foods have launched a Ksh.1.16 billion investment plan dubbed ‘Twiga Fresh’ to help supply informal retailers and urban consumers with lower cost, better quality and safe food.

The new subsidiary, focused on modern and commercial farming, is aimed at scaling the efficient production of domestic horticultural staples such as onions, tomatoes and watermelons.

Twiga Chief Executive and Co-Founder Peter Njonjo said the company will continue to work with smallholder farmers in addressing the challenge of food security.

“We will continue to run the B2B e-commerce business under Twiga, focused on building a one-stop supply chain solution for informal retailers, delivering both Twiga and non-Twiga owned products. Twiga Fresh, in addition to our growing range of private label products, will ensure we drive growth in customer numbers and broaden the basket size by offering quality produce at a discount against prevailing market prices,” said Njonjo.

For the last few months the retail business and consumers have experienced difficulties  as disposable income has taken a beating from both the COVID-19 and the increasing commodity inflation caused by the war in Ukraine.

This has forced Kenyans to decry the high cost of living as the food prices have gone up impacting pressure into their pockets.

According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) Economic Survey 2022 released late April, inflation rose to a four-year high of 6.1 percent up from 5.4 percent the previous year.

This was the highest cost of living recorded in the country since 2017 when it hit eight percent.

The increase is mainly attributed to increase in the prices of fuel and food items.

To launch the Twiga Fresh line of products, the company shall sample one million Kilograms of fresh produce to customers under their 21-day promotion christened  “Bidhaa Freshi na Safi” that commences on  May 23, 2022.

The company also stated that there is limited investment in revolutionizing the productivity and modernization of food production in Africa, leading to a significant growth in the importation of basic food, making food security an increasingly elusive goal.

Twiga Fresh in the long term will be funded through debt in partnership with Development Financial Institutions, focused on primary agriculture and food security.

The High Court has issued temporary orders barring Milestone Games Limited from using the “Sportpesa” trademark pending the hearing and determination of a petition before it challenging the alleged fraudulent allocation of the trademark to the firm.

Judge Dorah Chepkwony directed that Milestone Games Limited and Sportpesa Global Holdings Limited be restrained from using the trademark until the matter before the court is determined.

“That a temporary injunction be and is hereby issued restraining the 4th and 5th Defendants whether by themselves, their officers, agents, servants, proxies and/or any other person acting under direction, control or authority from using the trademark number 74874 under Class 41 known as “Sportpesa” pending the hearing and determination of this application,” she directed.

This follows the filing of a suit filed by Asenath Wachera Maina – a shareholder of Pevans East Africa Limited – which has accused former Sportpesa CEO, Ronald Karauri, and former Sportpesa company secretary, Robert Macharia, of “irregularly, fraudulently and unlawfully” assigning the trademark to both Milestone Games Limited and SportPesa Global Holdings Limited.

Ronald is vying for the Kasarani MP’s seat as an independent candidate in the August 2022 general elections.

Maina has accused the duo of assigning the SportPesa trademark to the two firms “without the approval of shareholders of PEVANS contrary to the express provisions of section 158 of the Companies Act No. 17 of 2015.”

In a witness statement, she stated that on June 2, 2020, Ronald Karauri executed a deed of assignment which transferred the Sportpesa trademark from Pevans Limited to Sportpesa Global Holdings Limited (SGHL)  at a fee of Ksh.14.4 million (GBP 100,000) which was offset by amounts Pevans purportedly owed SGHL.

She states that, thereafter, Robert Macharia irregularly appointed himself the agent for SGHL and applied for registration of the Sportpesa trademark, after which she states that both Ronald and Robert signed forms requesting the registration of the Sportpesa trademark to SGHL which were lodged with the registrar of trademarks on the September 14, 2020.

She states that the registrar then issued a certificate of registration of assignment of the Sportpesa trademark to SGHL on the  following day (September 15, 2020), adding that “curiously, the effective date of registration was retrogressively registered to be the June 22, 2020.”

She adds that on the October 26, 2020, SGHL issued a notice indicating that Milestone Games Limited had been granted a five-year non-exclusive licence over the Sportpesa trademark.

She wants the court to expunge the assignment of the Sportpesa trademark to SGHL stating that the assignment was done fraudulently.

In October 2020, the Betting Control and Licencing Board (BCLB) had written to Milestone Games Limited prohibiting the firm from using the trade name “Sportpesa” arguing that the name belonged to Pevans East Africa Limited, and that continued use of the name would create confusion to the general public as the name the Board had approved was different from the name the firm wished to adopt.

In December 2020, the Board cancelled the firm’s operating licence for having altered its shareholding structure after being granted the licence in a bid to stop the Board from conducting due diligence on the shareholding of the firm.

Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) collected Ksh.1.45 trillion in ten months to April 2022 from Ksh.1.1 trillion in April 2021.

This represents a 22 percentage point jump, signaling a continued recovery of revenue collection by KRA.

The exchequer has since raised tax goal for KRA by a further Ksh.33 billion to Ksh.1.74 trillion from a mere Ksh.1.71 trillion.

Treasury CS Ukur Yatani outlined new tax measures this fiscal year to include 16 percent levy on cooking gas, raising of excise duty on airtime and data to 20 percent from 15 percent.

He also introduced a 20 percent duty on fees and commissions earned on loans as well as a 7.5 percent tax on gambling wins.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) last month backed Kenya’s “important tax policy measures”, arguing they have resulted in “strong” collections.

“These resources bring resilience that will allow cushioning part of the impact of the sharp increase in global energy and fertiliser prices on households and businesses while still remaining within the authorities’ fiscal targets for FY2021/22,” said IMF Mission Chief to Kenya Mary Goodman.

Kenyans borrow Ksh.6 billion every month from the Co-operative bank mobile money platform, translating to Ksh.200 million daily on average.

In 12 months to December 2021, the lender says customers on its e-wallet platform borrowed a total of Ksh.71.2 billion.

The transaction was supported by the lender’s strong command of the customer base on mobile banking who have surged to 5.3 million.

Over 144,000 customers have taken up the MSME packages the bank rolled out in 2018, Over Ksh.42.5 billion has been disbursed to MSMEs through the bank’s E-Credit solution.

This is compared to its peer in the digital space like Fuliza, whose quick loans surged by 43 percent to Ksh.502.6 billion in 12 months to April 2022 from Ksh.351.2 billion.

This was supported by 6.9 million Kenyans who enrolled on Fuliza from 5.9 million as of March 2021, a 16.4 percentage point increase.

The bank has 561 ATMs distributed across the country with over 26,000 Co-op Kwa Jirani agency banking terminals.

It expects its digital banking to expand further following a Ksh.372 million investment in South Sudan. It operates four branches in the country.

It entered the South Sudan market in 2013 with a Ksh.1.5 billion investment portfolio. South Sudan government controls 49 percent shares while the bank itself commands 51 percent shares.

Co-op Bank reported a net profit of Ksh.16.5 from Ksh.10.8 billion in 2020.

Its total assets grew to Ksh.579.8 Billion, an eight percent growth from Ksh.536.9 billion in year 2020.