23rd July 2021 Trade & Financial Services Round Up

July 23, 2021 - Reading Time: 5 minutes - By Francis Monyango

StanChart slashes interest rate on fresh mortgages

Standard Chartered Bank of Kenya  has cut the interest rate on new mortgages and waived legal and valuation fees for customers moving existing facilities from other banks in the latest bid to grow home loans.

Borrowers who take up new mortgages in the next three months ending October will enjoy the discounted rate — a cut from the 13.9 percent average that the bank charges currently.

The product is a variable interest mortgage meaning that the rate changes with market conditions such as benchmark lending rates. Customers wishing to transfer their existing mortgages from other banks to StanChart will also enjoy waived legal and valuation fees — usually a stumbling block when one wants to move a mortgage from a bank to another.

Source: Business Daily

Acorn raises Sh2bn for two new hostels

Student hostels developer Acorn has raised Sh2 billion from bond investors to develop two new properties.

This is the latest fundraising for Acorn, which raised Sh4.2 billion through a corporate bond in October 2019.

The real estate developer also raised Sh2.1 billion from investors in March when it split its portfolio into two — a development and an investment trust.

Acorn says the new cash will be used to expand its student hostels assets by adding two more units.

Source: Business Daily

Mortgage defaults hit Sh70bn, auctions jump

Defaults on mortgages jumped 48 percent to Sh70.5 billion in the year to March, pointing to widespread distress in real estate in the wake of Covid-19 economic hardships as property auctions pick up.

Latest Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data shows that mortgages recorded the highest growth in non-performing loans (NPLs) from Sh47.5 billion in March last year, reflecting the struggle by investors to find buyers for their houses amid dwindling returns.

Unpaid mortgages increased by Sh9.1 billion or 14.8 percent in the three months to March, a rise that outpaced other segments like manufacturing (three percent), agriculture (10.7 per cent) and personal loans (three percent) in growth of default on loans, the CBK said.

Source: Business Daily

Kenyan firms on the spot for sharing customer data

More than a fifth of Kenyan companies shared customers’ financial and personal information without the client’s consent in breach of data protection laws enacted two years ago.

A survey by consultancy Ernst & Young shows that 41 percent of firms transferred their clients’ data to third-party service providers.

More than half or 53 percent of these companies did not seek the approval of their customers before sharing the data.

This violates the law that restricts the handling and sharing of personal data firms and government entities obtain.

Individuals in breach risk a maximum fine of Sh3 million or 10 years in jail, while firms risk a fine of up to Sh5 million or one percent of annual turnover.

Source: Business Daily


Govt overspent by over Shs 1.25 trillion in June

In June the last month of the financial year 2020/21, government expenditure exceeded the budget by 25 per cent yet the revenues were below the target by 13 per cent.

The government, in its budgeting had already foreseen that there would be a deficit but did not anticipate it would be higher than expected by nearly 8 times at over more than a trillion shillings.

According to the ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, the fiscal operations in the month resulted into an overall deficit of Shs 1.257 trillion which was higher than the planned deficit of Shs 164.28 billion for the month.

This is attributed to the revenue shortfalls and the higher-than-planned spending during the month. Available figures at the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) show that collections on revenues and grants amounted to Shs 2.176 trillion, representing a shortfall of Shs 424.67 billion or 16.3 per cent against the target for the month.

Source: The Observer

Shs7b plant to stabilise power supply in Entebbe

Umeme has commenced construction of a 20 Megavolt Amperes (MVA) substation in Entebbe to deal with growing power demand.

The construction, undertaken by Giza Systems, an Egyptian firm, will cost $2m (Shs7b) with the substation housed on a piece of land that has been donated by Entebbe National Water Plant under a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two government agencies.  

Mr Johnson Okochi, the Umeme projects investment manager, said at the site handover and ground-breaking ceremony that construction will take five months to complete.

 “All the critical equipment needed for the construction of the 20MVA is already in the country. Once complete, the investment will serve National Water Plant and Entebbe Township,” he said.

Source: Daily Monitor


UCBL, TAWLA provide knowledge on financial services, gender

Uchumi Commercial Bank Limited (UCBL) in cooperation with Tanzania Women Lawyers Association (TAWLA) has staged a one-day seminar to leaders of Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS), Agricultural &Marketing Cooperative Societies (AMCOS) and Women and Youths groups drawn from various districts in Kilimanjaro Region.

The seminar was attended by leaders of SACCOS, AMCOS, Women and Youths groups.

Funded by a nongovernmental organization based in Sweden known as We-Effect this seminar saw participants being exposed to how to address the challenges of starting and running financial services which build the economy of the family (grassroots level) and the challenges of addressing gender inequalities among the leadership, decision making and women empowerment in SACCOS, AMCOS, Women and Youths groups.

Source: Daily News

Zanzibar current account widens

Zanzibar current account balance widened to a deficit of 263.7 million US dollars in the year ending May from a deficit of 40.1 million US dollars registered during the corresponding period last year.

This was largely attributed to an increase in imports of goods, coupled with a decrease in exports of goods and services

Exports of goods and services decreased to 117.3 million US dollars in the year ending May this year from 238.5 million US dollars registered in the corresponding period in May this year driven by the poor performance of exports of cloves and tourism services.

Earnings from cloves export declined to 1.4 million US dollars from 18.3 million US dollars earned in the year ending May last year.

Source: Daily News

Banking sector assets grow by 4 pc

The country’s banking sector assets grew below five per cent last year despite coronavirus pandemic shock thanks to loan book.

The assets grew by 4.1 per cent last year compared to 9.6 per cent in 2019 a report by EY Tanzania issued last week showed.

The report, Tanzania Banking Sector Review 2020, prepared using financial results data of 39 banks and non-bank financial institutions said the industry is “still considered stable and resilient”

The EY Tanzania report said the sector was still considered stable and resilient since banks have more than adequate capital buffers and liquidity.

Source: Daily News


Why Rwanda has to turn to private sector for infrastructure investment

Rwanda needs to significantly mobilise private sector investments in infrastructure to meet development goals in the mid- and long-term, a World Bank report has noted.

The report, Rwanda Economic Update: The Role of the Private Sector in Closing the Infrastructure Gap, observed that the domination of the public resources was unsustainable going forward a risks leading to a surge in debt and cost of living

In previous years, infrastructure investment has been dependent on public investments at over 70 per cent.

Source: New Times


Ethiopia Signs Grant Agreements with African Development Bank

Ethiopia signed two grant agreements with a total sum amount of 118.1 million USD with the African Development Bank (African Development Fund).

Minister of Finance Ahmed Shide and ADB’s Deputy Director-General, East Africa Region Abdu B. Kamara signed the agreements in support of two projects submitted by the Government of Ethiopia.

According to Ministry of Finance, the first project which is known as the Ethio-Djibouti Second Power Interconnection Project received grant funds amounting 71.3 million USD through this financing agreement.

Source: ENA

Ethiopia Reiterates No Harm to Lower Riparian Countries Policy

Ethiopia has reiterated its ‘no harm policy’ on the lower riparian countries with regard to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

In his briefing to the media today, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Dina Mufti said Ethiopia still believes that the GERD will benefit not only Ethiopia but also the lower riparian countries.

The spokesperson noted that Ethiopians are celebrating the second round filling of the dam not because they filled the dam but because the completion of filling ahead of the  scheduled time shows to the world that truth has prevailed.

Regarding Ethiopia’s policy on fair utilization of the Nile River and the GERD, Dina said “We still would like to reiterate and emphasize our previous positions of no harm policy.”

Source: ENA

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