Category Archives: Homegrown

Kenya Agri Exports to the EU take a Hit?

An ad in the September 22 Nation newspaper  has a statement by the European Union addressed to exporters from the East African Community on changes to the tariff regime starting on October 1 owing to the failure of the two sides to sign an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)

There was also an article in the same paper showing that a draft has been agreed to, and that a final EPA may be signed and effected in time, but others say it is too late for this.

The new rates, while still subsidized compared to what other nation suppliers pay to export to the EU, are still a blow considering that some exports will no longer be duty-free.

EU Agri

EU newspaper ad

While some like tea, coffee beans & carnations will remain duty-free, Kenyan exporters will pay subsidized rates  of 4.5% on tilapia exports (compared to a normal EU rate of 8%), 2.5% for roast coffee (not 7.5%), 10.9% for mixed vegetables (not 14.4%), and 5% for roses and cut flowers (not 8.5%) between November and May – which includes the crucial Valentine’s Day period when some flower farms can earn half their revenue.

This caps what has been a tough year for Kenya’s  exports of tourism, tea and coffee which have all been adversely affected, and now this.  The recently released Economic Survey 2014 showed total exports declined by 3% from Kshs 518 billion in 2012 to Kshs 502 billion in 2013 (as per the Devolution Cabinet Secretary).

Kenya will  qualify for the preferential (GSP) tariffs, while Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Tanzania are currently considered under “least developed countries” and most of their exports to the EU will qualify for a unilateral 0% tariff.


NBK and Econet restructure

National Bank: was the first bank to release half year results with assets up 25%, deposits up 22% and profits up 35% from June 2006. The big transformation comes from Kshs. 20 government bond plan which have now been absorbed in the bank’s financial statements. What does it do? While government securities are up 6X (from Kshs. 3.96 to 23.57 billion), it also chops 2/3 of loans off their books (drop to 27.34b to Kshs. 7.34 billion). The restructured balance sheet also helped profits as NBK reduced provisions from Kshs. 1b last June to Kshs. 350m at this half year.

But NBK is not out of the woods yet. While the gross non performing assets from 34b to a more manageable Kshs. 5 billion this is still about 75% of NBK’s loan book which, as the MD mentioned at the AGM many cases are still stuck in court.

Econet: After three years of being persona non grata, Econet has been given the green light by the government to roll out operations and its network. In the three wasted years that Econet has wrangled with shareholders and the government, much has changed. Celtel has engaged super-profitable Safaricom in a war for customers even as Telkom wireless has become a viable alternative to an extent that the need for a third mobile operator may have passed. Also what happened to anyone who applied for jobs there? For Econet, not going to be easy to assert themselves and with networks so expensive and unless they get new shareholders and partners with investment resources and regulatory muscle.

Equity muscle: strong back to get heavy hitters like the Minister of Finance, the Central Bank of Kenya and the Nairobi Stock Exchange to come to your defense. Econet should talk to them

Investor outreach: Following in the steps of the Suntra – Postbank partnership, stockbroker Ngenye Kariuki has partnered with K-Rep bank to offer stockbroking services at the banks branches.

Happenings in North Eastern Kenya: The Kenya Revenue Authority sets up shop at Wajir Airport as the Kenya power & lighting company plans to open up stations in Mandera, Wajir, and Garissa.

Who needs e-mail? : The postal corporation of Kenya plans to increase the cost of corporate mail boxes and sending most letters (small/mid size envelopes), to reflect the increased cost of doing business.

Takeovers: James Finlay takes over Homegrown (flowers), and Krystalline Salt acquires the Mombasa salt works company

Government pork : Jaindi Kisero points some out uncertain projects that are going to be funded by tax revenue including 1.3billion to purchase a ranch in Nyeri District to settle squatters, 400 million to settle hawkers, 200 million to purchase shares in De La Rue, Sh 140 to buy shares in Panpaper, 641 million for coffee debts, 664 million for pyrethrum debt, and 15 billion for Telkoms’ tax arrears

Teachers over-borrowing: The Teacher Service Commission (TSC) has told banks it will stop allowing check-off loans. They fear some teacher have over-committed themselves i.e. borrowed so much that they take home less than 1/3 of their salary after all deductions are made. (One teacher is not happy about the change)
Universities: Two new universities to open soon – KCA University at Ruaraka and Presbyterian University at Kikuyu. Also both Kenya Methodist University and University of Nairobi will open campuses in Mombasa as Kenyatta University opens one in Kitui

– MP Jakoyo Midiwo has sued to wind up the Kenya Times (Media Trust)
– Former managing director of Mugoya, James Mugoya Isabirye, is wanted by the Kenya police. The receiver manager has also offered a generous reward
– Why does the High court have a summer vacation (from 1 august to 15 September)?

Action Aid: head of finance Somalia
Equity bank: credit managers, bank managers. E-mail by 28/7
First community bank: IT product specialist, audit offer, business relationship officers, corporate relationship assistants, private banking officers, credit administration officers, trade finance assistant managers, tellers, head tellers, customer service representatives. Apply to by 30/7
Knight Frank: senior valuer, property manager, residential sales manager, site acquisition agent. Email by 27/7
– Sub editors at the Nairobi Star newspaper: Apply to by 31/7
Spencon: head of internal audit, senior internal auditor, internal auditor, business analyst, marketing & communications assistant, group contracts manager, contracts manager, IT/ERP professionals. E-mail by 10/8