Category Archives: Kenya parliament

Kenya’s Money in the Past: Kalonzo Musyoka

Excerpts from his recently published official biography – Against All Odds. 

Background

  • – He worked at customs department at the port of Mombasa where he was disgusted by the bribery he saw. He did his pupillage at Kaplan & Straton. Later he got a Rotary Club scholarship to study business management at Cyprus and he was poached to work at Manu Chandaria’s Comcraft in the legal department.
  • Lost the 1983 election and came fourth. But when the MP was shot two years later by a policeman, occasioning a by-election, Kalonzo reluctantly entered that and won.
  • He has always been touched by the poverty he saw when he grew up and launched the Kalonzo Musyoka Foundation in January 2006 which worked with Shelter Afrique to launch affordable housing for rural women in Kitui.

Cabinet & Economic Intrigues

  • KANU era: Mwingi is one of the fastest growing towns in Kenya because of the water it gets from Kiambere-Mwingi. But that was only after he fought off powerful forces after he secured $116 million from the Italian government – a powerful voice who wanted it to go to the National Water & Pipeline Corporation but Kalonzo steered it to TARDA so it did not become a white elephant.
  • CHOGM The Commonwealth Summit in New Zealand which was attended by Mandela was almost overshadowed by ‘Bull of Auckland’ incident. But Kalonzo explained the incident to officials there so that it did not reach the media there or affect the ongoing summit. But it did leak afterward in the Kenya media.
  • When Tony Blair praised him before President Moi after the 1997 CHOGM, he knew had lost his Foreign Affairs docket – and after the elections, he was moved to the Education & Manpower ministry.
  • In 1998 he fled teachers striking outside his office by hiding in his wife’s car. He then got Mulu Mutisya and elders to negotiate a settlement with teachers union (KNUT) and the strike was called off the following day.
  • Moi was shocked at the excesses of Mobutu when they visited Gbadolite – his hometown and said “River Ubangi could generate electricity for all of Africa.
  • South Africa: After Kenya had in 1963 turned down an ANC request to set up a base in Nairobi, Moi worked hard to mend fences with South Africa after Mandela was freed, and Mandela thanked Moi for $1 million that Kenya gave to ANC during apartheid struggle. Mandela also made a secret visit to Nairobi when he fell ill on a flight in April 1990, then returned for an official visit in July.
  • NARC: Free primary education was Kalonzo’s brainchild as education minister. When Kibaki became the NARC candidate in 2002, Kalonzo gave the campaign team all the papers and policies that he had written – including on FPE that was soon implemented by the new government. 
  • MOU breach: Happened when Kibaki moved Kalonzo from Foreign Affairs to Natural Resources. All NARC summit leaders had a choice of their ministerial dockets – and he had chosen Foreign Affairs, Raila had taken Roads & Public Works and Moody chose Home Affairs. 
  • Jubilee: After beating back a “feeble” Musalia (for president) effort, Uhuru and Ruto turned on to him; and his reunion with Raila started the day Uhuru and Ruto returned from the ICC hearings and after (vice president) Kalonzo had met them at the airport and driven around Nairobi with them.

The book is available to buy here.

KQ Restructuring extended to Banks and Shareholders

This week Kenya Airways (KQ) announced the next phase of their restructuring, with a focus on their balance sheet.

While shareholders have been aware of the erosion of their equity at the airline, the reality may still be a shock.  A Business Daily story quotes a Genghis Capital report which projects that the airlines 78,000 shareholders will be several diluted as the airline has to put some equity back on its balance sheet. In the process of conversion and providing guarantees,  the airline’s largest shareholder, the Government of Kenya, will increase its stake to 41% as that of KLM will reduce to 19%.

The support confirmed by the Cabinet included conversion of the Government of Kenya loans into equity, and provision of contingent guarantees subject to parliamentary approval in exchange for material concessions to be provided as part of the financial restructuring, which would secure future funding of the company and would more importantly NOT require Government to provide CASH as part of the restructuring.

And coming on board as new shareholders will be several commercial banks (possibly as many as 11 banks) who will own 34% of the airline after they swap some loans for equity. Kenya Airways principal bankers are Citibank, Standard Chartered, Barclays, Equity and National Bank. Some of the main facilities are aircraft loans secured from Citibank NA, Citi/JP Morgan, African Export – Import Bank/ Standard Chartered Bank as well as an engine loan from Co-operative Bank. Some banks who had advanced different short-term facilities to the airline, up through their 2015 financial year include Equity Bank, Jamii Bora, KCB, CBA, I & M, Chase, National Bank, Diamond Trust, Co-operative, NIC and Ecobank.

See also: An investor asks if it the right time to buy KQ shares? 

NSE Shares Portfolio February 2017

Comparing performance to a year ago, this portfolio is down 50% mainly due to shares sales, while the while the NSE 20 share index is down 28% from February 2016.

The Stable

Atlas ↓
Bralirwa (Rwanda) ↓
Centum ↓
CIC Insurance ↓
Diamond Trust ↓
KCB ↓
Fahari  REIT↓
Kenya Airways ↑
NIC ↓
NSE ↓
Stanbic (Uganda) ↓
TPSEA ↓
Unga ↓

  • In: None
  • Out: Barclays, Equity, Kenol.
  • Increase: None
  • Decrease: Diamond Trust.
  • Best performer: Kenya Airways (up 12% from a year ago)
  • Worst performer(s): NIC, CIC, Diamond Trust, NSE (all down ~45% from a year ago)

Summary:

  • Another quarter when everything in the portfolio is down. Sold lots of shares after the banking law change.
  • Unexpected Events: (1) The Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) was assessed as the  worst- performing stock market so far in in 2017 so far according to Bloomberg – down 7% since January 1. While many believe it is due to the upcoming Kenya election, Bloomberg analysts trace the NSE portfolio decline to the devaluation of Egypt’s currency by 48% In November 2016,  which resulted in some frontier market investors blocks switching over from Nairobi to Cairo.
  • Still unable to sell portfolio shares in Rwanda (Bralirwa) and Uganda (Stanbic)  – those markets are easy to enter, but harder to exit.
  • Looking Forward to: (1) Bank results in February 2017 (2)  launch of the long-promised and always-postponed M-Akiba bond – a mobile money treasury bond.

Kenya Tax Changes in 2017

Tax changes that become effective on January 1, 2017, as a result of the finance bill signed  by the president on 13 September 2016

  • PAYE brackets have been expanded by 10% and the relief also increased by 10%. (now Kshs 15,360)
  • VAT on service charge has been removed, provided that the service charge does not exceed 10% of the price of the service
  • A taxpayer can apply for a refund of overpaid tax within a period of 5 years from the date which the tax was paid. Any amount not refunded within 2 years will accrue interest rate of 1% per month.
  • Withholding tax on winnings from betting and gaming has now been abolished and replaced by a betting tax of 7.5% on the gaming revenue,  lottery tax at 5% on the lottery turnover, a gaming tax at 12% on gaming revenue and a prize competition tax at 15% on the cost of entry to a competition

Extracts from a report by the Grant Thornton Kenya team.

How banks are innovating around interest rate caps

With the capping of interest rates at 4% above the CBK rate comes an opportunity for banks to innovate and protect their income streams. They can do this through increased focus on mobile-based short term credit facilities as well as non-funded income streams.

More people can now afford loans. However, banks are reluctant to offer loans to existing customers who previously met their criteria. More requirements need to be met by customers in order to access the same services. Customers now have a tough time accessing credit cards and (un)secured loans. Perceptions on risk determine who gets the facility with riskier clients getting the short end of the stick.

An F-Type Jaguar at RMA Motors, Kenya

An F-Type Jaguar at RMA Motors, Kenya

Fixed and call deposit facilities are also now accessible to fewer people. New requirements such as that you need to hold an account for a certain amount of time with the bank in order to access fixed deposit services are restricting customers. Long tenures for fixed deposits have also been halved. Call deposits have been put on hold in some cases.

Banks are moving towards shielding themselves from the risk of default that will be brought about by a flood of people who can now afford to take out a loan. Collateral will become a requirement for credit facilities that did not have this requirement before. This is based on the real assumption that there will be a significant degree of default from this windfall.

Banks have also started investing more in Treasury Bills that are risk free and offer roughly the same return that they would by loaning funds to individual customers. This may be a short term move as banks wait for the waters that have been stirred up to settle. It is telling that the 364-day T-Bill is getting the most attention.

Mobile applications that increase accessibility and convenience for bank customers are currently not a significant source of funds. However, they offer an opportunity for lenders as they try to leverage on the volume of loans they have the potential to advance. MShwari-type loans could be the answer to protecting the banks’ funded income. More banks will be willing to join in advancing MShwari-type loans. This will keep people with low credit quality within the formal banking industry. Since most of them are from the unbanked population, they will be afforded some protection from predatory lending by shylocks as has been feared. Only people from selected (read known and established) companies are able to access the same loan facilities that were available to everyone. Likewise, entrepreneurs classified as less risky won’t see a significant change in their access to the facilities that they are used to. Banks have had to cut down on staff that was needed to sell credit facilities. With MShwari-type loans, some of these jobs can be saved.

More focus will be given to non-funded income streams that exist such as prepaid cards. Prepaid cards are touted as a secure way to carry cash. KCB and NIC Bank are two institutions that have put a lot of effort in making these cards mainstream.

Bankers also have the option of contesting this legislation using KBA. They can do this if they can prove that the new rates are making their business unprofitable. This could see interest rate revisions on new and existing credit facilities once in a while. An unseen consequence of this is the Monetary Policy Committee might lose its independence since they have to take into consideration bankers.

In summary, more focus will be given to customers who meet new requirements set by banks. Innovations will also be necessary to drive income growth going forward. After all, operating in white water creates opportunities in making great leaps.

Newton Kibiru, Business Development at Grant Thornton Kenya