Business News Highlights

Accountants Institute supports Treasury’s move to review income tax law

The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) has backed the Treasury’s bid to review the Income Tax Act, saying it will ease tax administration in the country and benefit taxpayers. Julius Mwatu, ICPAK’s National Vice Chairman said on Wednesday that the initiative was long overdue. He noted that Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich had earlier identified the review of the Income Tax Act as a priority reform to be completed by September 2015. He added however, that it is doubtful that the new Income Tax Act will be enacted in this financial year.

Mwatu said that the move has been identified as a policy intervention intended to actualise the realisation of the Sh1.3 trillion revenue target in the Financial Year 2016/17. He was speaking on the sidelines of ICPAK’s Annual Tax Conference in Mombasa. The Vice Chairmen also called for more effort in streamlining the iTax platform to ensure efficiency.

Nairobi County in move to support over 1.6 million Jua Kali artisans

Nairobi’s County government will in the near future, put up street lights in every corner of the County in a bid to make the Jua Kali sector a 24 hour economy, Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero has said. Speaking when he held bilateral talks with Jua Kali sector leaders this morning, Kidero affirmed that the County government would also help the sector in terms of innovation, access to affordable funds, sales and marketing of their products, among other measures. He said all the promises he has made will be accomplished once the national government clears the debt it owes the county.

Kidero noted that he will be consulting other stakeholders to put up a training institute to help artisans not only make useful products, but also aid them in promoting and marketing their goods. He was responding to National Chairman of the Jua Kali sector, John Muhoro’s request to the County government to support the sector. He had urged the government to help artisans access affordable loans.

Equity Bank partners with PayPal to speed up rate of cash transfers

Equity Bank and Safaricom have announced the signing of new deals meant to make transfer of funds to PayPal account holders faster and easier. The agreement signed by Equity Bank, Kenya’s largest lender, means customers can now cash their PayPal accounts in three days from the earlier transaction period of eight days.

PayPal said in a statement that the cash transfer company had worked closely with Equity Bank to make a few changes towards a faster and simpler withdrawal service. Money withdrawn from a user’sPayPal account will now reach their Equity Bank account in three business days instead of eight. Safaricom clients will also benefit from a service dubbed “Xoom” from Paypal, which enables them to access money from their mobile phones.  Previously, money sent to Kenya from the diaspora came via remittance companies like Moneygram, Western Union and WorldRemit services that are hard to access for people living in rural areas. The new service will enable easier and faster transfers.

Government invites bids for expansion of Nairobi-Mombasa highway

The planned expansion of the Nairobi-Mombasa road into a six-lane super-highway is expected to begin within the next two months. The government has already began inviting bids for the project. Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Secretary, James Macharia said the government planned to build the road through a Public Private Partnership (PPP), but fell short of indicating whether it will be Kenya’s first pay -for- use highway as has been suggested.

Expansion of the two-lane road into a six- lane modern highway should offer relief to motorists on the busy highway that links Kenya’s capital Nairobi to the port of Mombasa. Mr Macharia said his ministry would soon make the framework for the partnership public. He added that the road would begin with a 12- lane highway on Mombasa island before narrowing into a six-lane highway to Nairobi. The 485-kilometre highway is part of the Great North Road that moves more than 50 per cent of all goods traded in East Africa.

Asian healthcare giant opens Sh252 million facility in Kenya

Columbia Asia, one of the largest and fastest-growing healthcare companies in Asia, is expanding its operations to Africa to serve a rising demand from the continent’s middle class for affordable, modern and efficient healthcare facilities. The company’s first facility in Africa – a 5,300-square-foot multispecialty clinic and diagnostic center – opened this week in Nairobi, which is home to more than three million people and in the midst of a surge in foreign direct investment.  The clinic is operating under a new brand, Columbia Africa.

The new clinic specializes in family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, gynecology, general surgery, orthopedics, ophthalmology and dental care.  The facility offers health checks, as well as telemedicine to allow patients to consult with specialist doctors at Columbia Asia hospitals. The investment worth Sh252 million ($2.5 million) is located on G-02 Ground Floor, Park Place, 2nd Avenue Parklands, Off Limuru Road.


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