Category Archives: NSSF Kenya

NSSF and SME’s Part II

This weekend, the National Social Security Fund ran an advertisement in the newspapers clarifying amounts that employers and employees will pay now that  changes to the NSSF act are legal.
Earlier media, and social media, reports had NSSF taking as much as 12% of an employees earnings. But the NSSF ad introduced the phrase pensionable salary on which the deduction is based – so it’s a percent of Kshs. 18,000 (pensionable salary) and so if someone earns Kshs. 100,000 ($1,175 per month) and their employer has no current pension scheme, their deductions are: 

Tier 1
Kshs 360 from employer
Kshs 360 from employee

Tier 2
Kshs 720 from employer 
Kshs 720 from employee

So total payment for that employee, that an employer will remit to the NSSF is Kshs 2,160 – and not Kshs 12,000. This still amounts to a payment that is five times what a typical company was making to the NSSF last year (Kshs 400 per month, per employee)  

From a note at Alexander Forbes Financial Services: The effective date (of the NSSF Act) was 10 January 2014, literally giving employers no time to apply for the opt out. They thus will have to remit both Tier 1 and Tier 2 contributions to NSSF until the opt out is granted…also that these amounts  will increase each year for the next 5 years.

EDIT – Jan 21: The Government has deferred the commencement of the new NSSF Act to the end of May 2014. This means that the contributions to the fund will be made at the old rate.  Read more.

Kenya SME Options after the 2013 NSSF Bill

The new NSSF Bill enhances the level of mandatory retirement savings to be made by, and on behalf of, an employee. It classifies the contributions made towards retirement savings into various tiers for which each tier has a different treatment. For instance, the first tier must be contributed into the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) while the second tier may be contributed to a private retirement fund if certain requirements are met.
To illustrate, in year 1, the contributions to NSSF will increase from Kshs 400 (Kshs 200 each done by the employer and the employee) to Kshs 720 (Kshs 360 each done by the employer and the employee).
The balance of the 12% of earnings (6% each done by the employer and the employee) may be contributed to a private retirement fund subject to conditions detailed therein.
Thus, there are various options available for an employer seeking a retirement solution. E.g. for an employer with a staff base of 10, setting up one’s own retirement fund may not be prudent due to time and cost considerations. It is instead advisable that they consider joining an already existing retirement fund under an umbrella arrangement or under a personal pension plan. They are further encouraged to use a fund that is registered by both the Retirement Benefits Authority and approved by the Kenya Revenue Authority. A list of umbrella funds and personal pension plans registered by the RBA can be found at their website.
Lastly, Alexander Forbes has a wealth of experience in structuring retirement solutions that are customized to suit the needs of an SME – and that between our umbrella fund (the Alexander Forbes Retirement Fund) and our personal pension plan (the Alexander Forbes Vuna Pension Plan), we can find an exciting solution for SME’s. We are also pleased to meet with companies and talk further through the changes to the NSSF Act and its impact.
Adapted from Angela Okinda of Alexander Forbes

Urban Inflation Index: July 2013

There is much debate about an upcoming VAT bill and the current government budget deficit, separation of powers, and transfer of funding responsibilities to devolved governments (even as some entities like road contractors, and teaching & health unions prefer to deal with the central government. This weekend, County Governors floated a proposal for the country to hold a new referendum, which will be the 6th Kenyan public vote in 12 years, to decide on an increase in the allocation of funds to counties from the current 15% to 40%.
The  VAT Tax Bill (PDF) seems to tax everything at 16% with only a few exemptions. Exclusions from the tax will include;  
  • Supplies to the red cross, emergency relief, personal goods brought in by travelers, supplies to international and regional organizations, supplies to multilateral and bilateral donors, supplies of to diplomats and governments, oil prospecting, international air travel, and bottled water makers. 
  • Services in sectors like banking, insurance, education, medical, agriculture, local transport, residential, stock brokerage, sports, arts & plays, mobile airtime, and gambling. Even though they are exempted here, banks are passing on a new tax to their customers amounting to 10% per transaction while Kenya Airways management has said that the airline will shut down if the bill is passed as it will affect operations by increasing the cost of jet fuel, aircraft purchase/leasing and landing/ parking fees.
  •  Petrol, Kerosene and Natural gas are exempt but only for the next 3 years.  

On to the index that compares prices to a year ago and three years ago. 
Gotten Cheaper
None really 
About the Same 
Mobile Communications:
Communication costs are largely unchanged with slight variations in promotions for voice and data usage. The big moves are in mobile and card payments with companies seeking to increase their awareness and become the preferred payment platforms for ordinary Kenyans such as by using Safaricom’s Lipa Na M-pesa and Equity Bank’s Beba Pay and PayPal channeles. 
More Expensive
Staple Food: A 2kg pack of (Unga) Maize flour, which is used to make Ugali that is eaten by a majority of Kenyans daily, costs Kshs. 104 compared to 118, a year ago. But this is 46% more than the Kshs. 71 price of three years ago.
Beer/Entertainment: A bottle of Tusker beer is Kshs 200 (~$2.3) at a local pub, up from 180 last year and 160 three years ago. There have been two recent price hikes, but this may have more to do with EABL’s management and procurement outlook, and the price may go up more with future taxes. 
Fuel: At Kshs 109.52 per litre (~$5.73/gallon), petrol prices in Nairobi are slightly cheaper than the Kshs 117.6 per litre a year ago but about 20% more than the Kshs 90.9/litre  of three years ago. Petrol, Kerosene and diesel prices are set by the government and even with the prospect of oil discovery, the major retailers are going through some turbulent times with both listed Total and Kenol reporting losses. 
Foreign Exchange: 1 US$ equals Kshs 87.15 compared to 84.25 last June and  80.6 three years ago  in March.
Other food item: A 2 kg. Mumias Sugar pack is Kshs 250, which is up from Kshs. 237 a year ago, and Kshs 200 three years ago.
Factors likely to affect the the cost of living include:
– Consumers are likely to see an electricity cost increase due to debts for generation of hydro power.
– The National Social Security Fund is proposing  a 4400% increase  in monthly contributions (for the highest earners) from Kshs 400 per month to 18,000 (~$210)

 – A new 1.5% levy on all imports was effected on July 1, to fund a future standard gauge railway between Mombasa and Kisumu. 

Reading the Tea Leaves at KPLC

The on going rights issue closes on today (22/12/10) after a month and a half of the balance sheet restructuring program.

Background: CEO Joseph Njoroge said its necessity began with the 1999-2002 power-rationing period when the company incurred heavy trading losses of Kshs 15.9 billion. The debt was converted into equity for the government (GoK) and preference shares for the government and what became Kengen – and which Kengen transferred back to GoK prior to their IPO.

Preference share burden: There was a five-year moratorium on dividend, but the preference shares have continued to be perceived by lenders and investors as debt – with fixed annual payout. This distorted the value of ordinary shares, creditworthiness of KPLC, and would be a burden on cash flow to meet as seen when the moratorium ended with a payment of Kshs 1.25 billion ($15.6 million) to holders of 7.85% preference shares in 2010

New balance sheet will have a level playing field and enable the company to access more funds after the redemption of preference shares in three steps by (i) issue of 76 million new ordinary shares (ii) ordinary share split 1 to 8 (iii) a (December 2010) rights issue to shareholders entitled to buy 20 new shares, for every 51 they own, at a ~20 per share with GoK renouncing its rights – to raise a net amount of ~Kshs 9.1 billion ($114 million)

Underwriter: KPLC sought an underwriter and got Centum and Equity Bank to underwrite the issue by 50%.

Retain GoK control: from a current 40% ordinary shareholding, GoK stake will 69% for short period, but as they are renouncing their rights, on conclusion it will be 50.1% and still remain a parastatal. GoK can also ‘count on’ no.3 shareholders – the National Social Security Fund who own 8%

Reading the Barclays Tea Leaves

Barclays Kenya just published their 2008 annual report; what does some interesting points about the banking sector.

Barclays Peek
– Is the second largest bank in Kenya behind KCB, but still tops in profit – with Kshs 8 billion ($100 million) before tax. Has 126 billion ($1.58 billion) in deposits, loans of 108 billion ($1.35 billion) and total assets of 168.5 billion shillings. It would probably reclaim the number one status from KCB, but KCB shareholders will next month absorb the assets of S&L, their mortgage subsidiary
Shariah Banking Barclays launched La Riba in 2008 – and in 2008 they managed to mobilize over 2 billion in new la riba deposits to stand at 3.3 billion ($41 million) at end of year, but gave out just 19 million in loans
Customers They have a popular Business club – with over 10,000 members some of whom were flown to Dubai, China and Holland. Barclays had 930,000 customers in 2008 (2007 was 580,000) – compared to Equity Bank’s 3.3 million customers, and 60,917 shareholder 60, 917 (up from 58,945 in 07)
Staff cutback? Employees in 2008 reduced by 16% – as group had 5,571 at December 08 compared to 6,900 in December 07. In 06 they had 2,197 (but it appears in 2008, they shed the part time staff whose numbers reduced from 4115 to 1698)
No thanks Agriculture. Agriculture is referred to as the backbone of Kenya’s economy7, but Barclays estimate their exposure to the sector to be just 1% of loans. Private industries account for 44%, with 10% each to manufacturing and to transport & communications sectors.
Asset finance reduced?? Assets under financial lease decreased slightly – still at 6.1 billion
Gloabl crisis / External Impact? a 1% or decrease in interest rates would impact profit about 5%, but there’s no impact from strength/weakness of Kenya shilling (bank only does business in Kenya)
– Directors: the three directors who were appointed at previous times are up for re-election on May 15; Brown Ondengo (2003), Jane karuku (2003), and Paul Phemngorem (1998). Barclays (UK) parent, with 68.5% of the vote, will pretty much determine who will remain or leave the board. No other shareholder has more than 1%, with the next largest being Kenya’s national social security fund (NSSF) with 2%
Cheaper to borrow overseas than the NSE: The bank received subordinated debt in the form of a tranche of NSE listed bonds of 2 billion shillings (3,078b) repayable over 5 years – at 10.36%. They also borrowed 1.25 billion from their Barclays parent; BBK in the form of a 10 year loan at just 2.39%
Pension Funds gloomy outlook The Barclays staff pension scheme with 44% equity investments was down 13% in value (to Kshs 7 billion), compared to a gain of 6% in 07