Business highlights – South Africa denies reports that strict immigration laws are targeting Kenyans

Kenyans to pay more for basic goods as economic growth slows down

  • The price of basic consumer goods is set to rise as Kenya’s economic growth has been downgraded yet again.
  • The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) is projecting that Kenya’s economy will grow by 5.7 per cent in 2017, slowing down from last year’s 5.9 per cent.
  • This, says the regulator, is due to the adverse effects of the prevailing drought.

CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge said on Tuesday that the growth in the first quarter of 2017 will be depressed, with Kenyans being forced to spend more on basic necessities such as food and water.

The Governor said that the economy grew by 5.9 per cent last year, only slightly lower than the official government expectation of six per cent.

READ ALSO: World Bank impressed as Kenya’s economic growth continues despite challenging global environment

The Governor said Kenya expects a growth of 5.7 per cent this year, taking into account the adverse effects of drought in the first quarter.

He explained that macroeconomic stability in inflation, adequate reserves, additional investment in infrastructure and private sector investment, and consumption will contribute to this growth.

However, Njoroge added that the country still faces some headwinds, most significantly external shocks linked to policies of the new US administration and the Brexit negotiations.

South Africa denies reports that new strict immigration laws are targeting Kenyans

  • South Africa has denied reports that its amended visa law and immigration regulations for passengers travelling with children under the age of 18 are targeting Kenyans.
  • Under the new legislation, children below 18 years are required to produce an Unabridged Birth Certificate in addition to their passport, when exiting and entering South African ports.
  • High Commissioner to Kenya, Koleka Anita says an office has been opened to tackle immigration challenges that have arisen.
  • South Africa has, however, remained noncommittal on whether the law will be relaxed.

Minors travelling with single parents will have to produce an affidavit in which the absentee parent gives consent for the child to travel, a court order granting full parental responsibilities, or legal guardianship of the child, or the death certificate for the deceased parent.

Anita said the law is meant to curb human trafficking. The South African Department of Home Affairs says 30,000 minors are trafficked through South African borders every year, 50 per cent under the age of 14.

READ ALSO: Uhuru secures review of immigration rules to allow more Kenyans work in Botswana

South Africa’s new regulation set visa processing fees at Ksh4,200, and takes five days. South Africans can get a Kenyan visa for free.

Uber to compensate drivers for three-day app malfunction

  • Online taxi hailing firm, Uber has pledged to compensate drivers who suffered losses in the wake of a three-day application malfunction that lasted up to Monday.
  • Uber said a technical glitch that has since been rectified caused the malfunction.
  • The hitch made it impossible for drivers using the firm’s technology to go online.

The malfunction left most Nairobi drivers on the Uber platform out of work as customers competed for the few taxis that were available.

The service malfunction comes after reports of cases where the driver devices would stall mid-trip or fail to end a trip when the command is triggered.

The glitch also comes months after Uber started rolling out a new application in Kenya that is supposedly set to improve customer experience.

READ ALSO: Uber inks deal with BRANCH to provide exclusive loan package for drivers

Uber says that about 68 per cent of customers have updated to the new application and is expecting to get to the rest of the users before end of April.

The new version of the app, which was unveiled globally in November, comes with additional features including the ability to more precisely mark pick-up and drop-off locations.

Nakumatt clashes with NSSF over construction of Hazina Trade Centre

  • A case filed by regional retailer,Nakumatt Supermarkets has held up construction of the Hazina Trade Centre Office Tower.
  • Nakumatt moved to court under a certificate of urgency to block the NSSF from building a 40-storey building.
  • The retailer claims it could lose business if the project’s contractor went ahead with the works.

National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Managing Trustee, Antony Omerikwa told the National Assembly’s Public Investments Committee on Tuesday that judgment has been pending since July last year.

PIC chairman Adan Kaynan demanded to know why the NSSF management had failed to pursue the matter.

The committee is probing several investments undertaken by the NSSF including the proposed construction of Hazina Trade Centre. Mr Olago Aluoch (Kisumu Town West) said the delay of the ruling could escalate costs of the project, considering what Nakumatt is claiming in lost business.

READ ALSO: NSSF asset value grows to Sh172 billion on sustained economic growth

MP, Muthomi Njuki said both parties appear to be disinterested in pursuing the matter in court.

Mr Omerikwa, who was accompanied by NSSF Chairman, Gideon Ndambuki, told MPs that Nakumatt secured an injunction against the extension of the building which houses the supermarket chain.

He said the NSSF board had constituted an ad hoc committee that worked on how to settle the case out of court. He added that the fund was to make a counter offer to Nakumatt but the court case had delayed the resolution.

Safaricom partners with KARA to boost neighbourhood security

  • Safaricom is set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Kenya Alliance of Resident Associations (KARA) to beef up security in neighbourhoods.
  • The move is part of the service provider’s ongoing effort to promote sustainable cities and communities.
  • These developments come less than two years after the first phase of Safaricom’s national surveillance system went live in 2015.
  • The system now makes it easier for the police to pick out suspected criminals in the streets of Nairobi and Mombasa.

The Ksh14.9 billion National Surveillance, Communication and Control System, which was launched in late May, 2015, links all security agencies, making it easy to share information and direct operations. The project involved connecting 195 police stations in Nairobi and Mombasa to high-speed (4G) Internet to ease communication.

Upon completion, the system will be operated by the national police service under the expertise of a core team comprising senior officers from the National Police Service and communications experts.

READ ALSO: Safaricom partners with NGOs to improve livelihoods of refugees

Under the deal signed with the government, Safaricom committed to undertake the full cost of delivering the Ksh14.9 billion project (exclusive of taxes) to the government.

Safaricom’s deal with KARA is set to be signed on Thursday, Frbruary 2, 2017.

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