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Finance Bill 2016 to lower cost of living, promote use of clean energy

 The Finance Bill 2016, which was signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta, is projected to triple the number of Kenyans using clean energy while reducing the cost of living. The law seeks to waive taxes on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Recent data reveals that more than 87 per cent of Kenyans currently use solid fuels for cooking while a mere 5 per cent use kerosene for cooking, which are all forms of unclean energy according to international standards.

The  new law would halve the number of Kenyans using solid fuel for cooking replacing it with LPG gas as it will be easily affordable and cheaply re-filled. LPG is commonly used in urban areas, with Nairobi accounting for 60 per cent of the market, followed by Mombasa, which accounts for only 15 per cent while the rest is scattered around other growing urban centres with only one per cent usage in rural areas.

Kenya approves Economic Partnership Agreement with EU

 Kenya’s National Assembly yesterday ratified the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with European Union (EU) ahead of the September 30 2016 deadline. The deal was reached after a special sitting dubbed the ‘Parliamentary Committee on Trade, Planning and Finance’ had earlier urged fellow parliamentarians to see that the European Union EPA agreement is ratified by Tuesday. The move would see Kenya secure access to the over Sh125 billion EU export market, safeguard over 4 million jobs as well as secure investments worth over Sh2 billion in floriculture, horticulture, agro-processed products, fisheries, among others.

Only Kenya and Rwanda have signed the deal while other East Africa member state including Tanzania, Burundi, Uganda and South Sudan are still reluctant to sign the agreement. National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale says failure to sign the deal by other EA countries is an economic blow to Kenya as the country might be removed from a preferential list and put on a general system, a move that would see all Kenya’s exports to the EU attract a tax of between 5 and 22 per cent.

E-commerce revolution must include small businesses, says Dr Kituyi

Entrepreneurs and small business must be included in the e-commerce revolution, UNCTAD Secretary General Dr Mukhisa Kituyi has said. Dr Kituyi has stated that the inclusion of entrepreneurs and small businesses in e-commerce would create employment opportunities thus improving the livelihoods of a majority of marginalized people.

Dr. Kituyi was speaking ahead of a high-level forum, titled “Empowering SMEs through e-Trade and Investment Facilitation” at the UN Headquarters in New York yesterday. He confirmed that the forum will look at ways to engage entrepreneurs and small business in the e-trade revolution.

Government to spend Sh3 billion mapping out mineral sites

The government will spend Sh3 billion to map out mineral sites as part of the country’s industrialization strategy. Mining Cabinet Secretary Dan Kazungu has confirmed that the process will begin immediately bsince the required capital was factored in the current financial year. Speaking on Tuesday, he added that the exercise will enable the Mining Ministry to discover all the mineral within the country’s border. He noted that mining is set to become the bedrock for Kenya’s planned industrialization programme. Kazungu was speaking during a tour of gold mining sites in Migori County.

The CS revealed that the money will be spent during phase one of the project.

The drive will begin with Migori, Homa bay, Siaya, Kakamega, Busia and in other neighbouring counties where huge mineral deposits have not yet been unearthed. Kazungu, who was accompanied by Migori Governor Okoth Obado, said engineers will also survey mining sites with a view of making them safer.

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