Newspaper Summaries

Daily Nation

Radical proposals to reform schools: Students in secondary school will specialise in the subjects they wish to pursue in tertiary institutions should the radical reforms contained in the latest curriculum review proposals take effect. In a new structure of subjects prepared by Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), learning areas have been divided into three categories — arts and sports; social sciences; and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem). The curriculum developer also proposed that a pupil spend two years in nursery school, six in primary, three in lower secondary and three more in upper secondary — totalling 14. The proposal of subjects will be presented to the National Curriculum Reforms Conference soon, following postponement of last week’s meeting.

Kenya Airways cancels flights as workers stay away: National carrier Kenya Airways was last evening counting the huge cost of a go-slow by outsourced staff as workers snubbed a meeting to solve a simmering pay dispute. The carrier, known as KQ by its international code, was in the morning forced to cancel at least six flights due to a lack of sufficient cabin crew, and by the afternoon, the disruptions, mainly affecting its African routes, looked set to mark the start of what is likely to be a turbulent week for the management team. It was yet another patch of turbulence for the airline to navigate even as it braced itself for a pilots’ strike tomorrow to press for the resignation of chairman Dennis Awori and chief executive Mbuvi Ngunze on claims of mismanagement.

Raila warns against second Eurobond: Opposition leader Raila Odinga has warned international lending institutions and investors against participating in a second International Sovereign Bond (Eurobond) proposed by Kenya. In the cautionary statement issued Sunday, Mr Odinga said the government had proposed to issue the bond to be listed on the Irish Stock Exchange by last Friday. The statement warned that the government had failed to account for the first Eurobond issued on June 24, 2014, that raised $2 billion “for general budgetary purposes, including the funding of infrastructure projects and repayment of a $600 million syndicated loan that was maturing in August 2014”.

The Standard

Varsity fees shocker for parents, students: Public universities may be forced to increase fees by Sh8, 000 to shake off financial constraints that have left them broke. The 32 universities want annual fees paid by students increased from Sh16,000 to Sh24,000, and the Government to also raise the average contribution per student to Sh250,000, from an average of Sh129,058. They argue the current funding model is outdated and blame it for the financial stress that has seen a majority of public universities sink into huge debts with negative working capital as detailed in a recent parliamentary watchdog report. But in the meantime, to help the struggling institutions, the Government is being pushed to increase its annual capitation by Sh10 billion by next year.

Treasury borrows Sh226 billion in six months flat: In a period of six months this year, the Jubilee government acquired a foreign debt of Sh226 billion. With that, Kenya’s total foreign debt has reached over Sh3 trillion, the highest in the region. A document tabled before the National Assembly last week showed that during the six-month period, the country signed 18 loan agreements to finance various projects, including Sh60 billion from the Chinese ‘to ease the cost of doing business’ in the country, and a Sh20 billion syndicated facility to help revive the troubled national carrier, Kenya Airways (KQ). The Treasury’s report was tabled just a month after the UN warned that Kenya is among African countries whose debt burden is unsustainable.

KQ finally back in the sky: Kenya Airways (KQ) faces further turbulent times.Airline finally resumes cancelled flights but pilots insist strike still on from tomorrow. Yesterday, the airline had cancelled five flights to various African countries as go-slow by its outsourced staff begun to weigh on its operations. And last evening, the airline announced that operations had returned to normalcy adding that 67 flights had taken off “from the around the network as at 4pm Kenyan time.” The flight cancellations were occasioned by a strike by at least 500 employees outsourced by KQ through Career Direction Ltd (CDL) who began work boycott last Friday.

The Star

Listen to my side as well, Machar tells Kenyan MPs: After surviving 37 days on the run with South Sudan government soldiers shooting and detonating bombs at him, former vice president Riek Machar is appealing to Kenyan MPs not to condemn him unheard. Machar is in South Africa, from where he said in a telephone interview that the most important thing now is for regional heads of state to restart the political process that collapsed, leading to a return to fighting between President Salva Kiir’s supporters and those loyal to him. A group of Kenyan MPs on Wednesday said they would bring a motion to ban Machar from Kenya, deport his relatives and freeze his assets.

Munya gives Sh1.3 trillion counties’ spending update: Despite reported cases of mega corruption in counties, governors have said devolution has had positive achievements since its inception in 2013. The 47 counties have so far received approximately Sh1.3 trillion for both recurrent and development expenditure. On Friday last week, Council of Governors chairman Peter Munya said there is positive change in all the devolved functions. Addressing journalist at Parliament Buildings after appearing before the Senate Public Accounts Committee, he admitted there are cases of corruption in the counties. He said the county governments have built 1,566 new health centres and dispensaries, which now number to 10,032 from 8,466 in 2012. The CoG chairman, who is also the Meru Governor, said the devolved units have employed 428 new doctors and 2,283 nurses .

Pilots, state meet as KQ cancels 5 flights: The government is this morning meeting the Kenya Airline Pilots Association and Kenya Airways management to resolve the stalemate between the airline and its pilots, a day before tomorrow’s planned strike. Labour Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie on Friday wrote to the two parties, where she also appointed a five-member committee to resolve the standoff. KALPA has called for the immediate resignation of Kenya Airways CEO Mbuvi Ngunze and chairman Ambasador Dennis Awori. In Her letter, Kandie said the call for resignation of KQ top bosses cannot be termed as a trade dispute to be subjected to conciliation process as stipulated in section 76 of the labour regulations Act, 2007, to warrant the contemplated action.

Business Daily

Shock as consumers pay for fake electricity connections: Rogue contractors are taking advantage of long customer waiting periods to illegally connect applicants to the national electricity grid, putting lives and property at risk in a syndicate that is also costing Kenya Power millions of shillings. Technicians behind the dodgy scheme are said to be stealing prepaid meters from Kenya Power and siphoning wooden poles from treatment centres to connect households located near transformers, with fake electricity. Tens of thousands of households have belatedly woken up to the reality that they were conned into illegal connections after their meters failed to recharge and load tokens – because they are not registered in Kenya Power’s systems.

KQ reschedules flights as contract staff start go-slow: National carrier Kenya Airways was yesterday hit by a fresh round of turbulence after its outsourced employees went on a go-slow, causing the cancellation of at least six flights. KQ, as the airline is popularly known, said in a statement that morning flights to Arusha, Juba, Harare, Maputo, Moroni in the Comoros and Mombasa were cancelled, while those destined for Cape Town and Johannesburg had been delayed. Kenya Airways said the cancellation of flights was occasioned by the strict safety regulations that the airline is required to maintain.

Kenyans pay higher for South African goods on stronger rand: The South African rand’s 14.5 per cent exchange rate gain to the dollar this year compared to a one per cent gain for the Kenya shilling is exposing local importers of SA goods to higher costs. At the same time, the rand has appreciated by 16.8 per cent in exchange rate to the shilling year-to-date, with one rand now the equivalent of Sh7.10 compared to Sh6.08 in January. The dollar is the main trading currency for Kenya and while the shilling-dollar exchange rate has remained stable this year, the rates for the country’s key trading partners on the continent have been more volatile.The stronger rand means that Kenyan importers have to fork out more in dollars to purchase goods from Africa’s most industrialised state with Kenya counting South Africa as its largest source of imports on the continent. Kenya National Bureau of Statistics data show that in the first six months of the year, Kenya imported goods worth Sh22.9 billion from SA.

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