Press Review; The day’s top stories

Friday, November 11, here is what is making headlines.

Cabinet approves rollout of Hustler Fund in three weeks

President William Ruto’s Cabinet has approved a plan to reduce the cost of living, with the planned Hustlers Fund to be launched in three weeks.

According to the Cabinet, the fund would target informal and unstructured firms that are considered undesirable to mainstream financial institutions.

Personal Loans, Micro Loans, SME Loans, and Start-Up Loans will be among the items offered by the fund, which will be introduced gradually.

Ruto presided over the inaugural Cabinet meeting of the country’s fifth administration Thursday, November 10 at State House Nairobi.

The meeting was also dominated by initiatives to address the country’s mounting humanitarian needs as a result of the drought that has devastated areas of the country, as well as attempts to halt the country’s ever-increasing cost of living.

Safaricom’s net profit falls by 10%

Safaricom’s net profit fell 10% in the half-year to September due to the costs of entering the Ethiopian market.

The telco also ascribed the drop in results from the six-month period between April and September to a review of the mobile termination rate (MTR), which cut the amount it charges its competitors for cross-network calls. MTR was cut from 99 cents to 58 cents.

Safaricom’s revenues increased by 4.8 percent to Sh153.4 billion during the period, owing to rising M-Pesa and data earnings.

Safaricom PLC CEO Peter Ndegwa said at an investor event on Friday that the company has invested $598 million in Ethiopia operations and is encouraged by the early uptake of services in the new market.

Safaricom Ethiopia generated Sh98.3 billion in total revenue during the first month of operation.

Safaricom reported that Kenya’s net income increased by 0.6% year on year, boosted by a 4.6% increase in general revenue.

M-PESA revenue increased by 8.7 percent, while mobile data increased by 11.3 percent during the same period.

Fourth police Inspector General sworn-in 

The fourth Inspector General of the National Police Service  Japheth Koome, is to be sworn into office at the Supreme Court, in a ceremony to be presided over by the Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court, Lady Justice Martha Koome.

Koome takes over the leadership mantle of the National Police Service from Noor Gabow who has been serving in an acting capacity.

Uhuru’s government spent KES 37B in the last months of his administration

The government’s spending on non-essentials such as travel, hospitality, and training increased by more than KES 37 billion as the country was preoccupied with campaigning, elections, and the transition to the new leadership.

According to National Treasury data, between the last three months of former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s reign and September, civil servants spent KES 193.2 billion on operations and maintenance votes, which include domestic and foreign travel, hospitality, training, renting non-residential spaces, and vehicle maintenance.

Spending on the products increased from KES 155.6 billion in the same period last year (July to September), highlighting the burden placed on taxpayers as the country experienced difficult economic conditions characterised by a high cost of living.

According to the Treasury report, in addition to increasing by 24.2%, the KES 193.2 billion in spending exceeded a target of KES 167.7 billion on elections for the three months. This means that civil servants exceeded their aim by 15.2 percent.

Spending on recurring activities, which includes salaries and pensions, increased by KES 52.7 billion in the three months, while government development spending fell from KES 117 billion in the quarter to September 2021 to KES 98.4 billion.

MPs threaten a boycott if Treasury does not disperse NG-CDF funds

Members of Parliament have threatened to boycott house business if the National Treasury does not release the National Government Constituency Development Funds.

Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi has stated that he will introduce a motion to prohibit MPs from conducting any business until the NG-CDF is disbursed.

Wandayi recalled the second quarter of the fiscal year when no money was distributed to the constituency.

“If this house adjourns without a clear indication of when these funds will be disbursed, we stand the risk of going all the way up to the last quarter of the last financial year,” he stated.

“I dare say and this is not an empty threat, failure to do that I will be moving the MPs to refrain from talks of recess or any business until the money hits our counties,” Wandayi said.

Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wa told MPs that he will engage National Treasury CS Njuguna Ndungu on the issue, while pleading with lawmakers to form NG-CDF committees to avoid it being used as an excuse to postpone disbursement.

“There is nobody in the executive who should imagine that you are doing any MP a favour by disbursing NG-CDF, the funds go directly to the people, our people are not waiting for us to go on recess, they want us to go and process their bursaries for term one school fees” Ichung’wa said.

Speaker Moses Wetangula directed Ichung’wa and Budget and Appropriations Committee Chair Ndindi Nyoro to meet with the Treasury Chief Secretary and give a statement before the House on November 15, 2022.

Former Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani stated that cash will not be disbursed to the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) after the Supreme Court pronounced it unlawful.

Tax collection fell by KES 13B in Q1

The Kenya Revenue Authority’s collections from consumer and income taxes fell short of the target by KES 13.9 billion in the first quarter, a setback to President William Ruto’s aggressive revenue mobilisation plan.

According to preliminary figures issued by the Treasury on Thursday, the taxman received KES 459.5 billion from worker and company profits as well as consumption taxes, which included excise duty, value-added tax (VAT), and import duty.

This was 2.94 percent, or KES 13.9 billion, less than the Treasury’s KES 473.2 billion tax target for the three-month period ending September 2022.

The underperformance is expected to increase pressure on the taxman, who previously recorded a surplus collection and boasted of exceeding tax targets by more than kes 140 billion in a year.

Ruto, who took office in September, has made it clear that implementation of his administration’s plan for “rapid and inclusive socio-economic transformation” of the economy depends on a “robust revenue growth rate and a well-managed budget deficit”.

Sports

United trumps Villa in Carabao Cup

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has warned Alejandro Garnacho that if he wants to have a long-term effect at Old Trafford, he must maintain a positive attitude and lifestyle.

The 18-year-old cameo assisted United in defeating Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup, securing a home fourth-round tie with Burnley next month.

Villa took the lead twice in the second half, following a desperate first, thanks to goals from Ollie Watkins and a Diogo Dalot own goal.

And, while Ten Hag praised Garnacho for his performance against Villa, the Dutchman’s words came with a clear warning.

“It depends on his approach, on his attitude,” said Ten Hag. “If he keeps his attitude and wants to improve every day and when he is doing the right things in his lifestyle, it is possible.

“You can see he has capabilities and can contribute to attacking football. Also he has something, he can break open a compact defending line.

“All teams that want to attack, that want to play in opponents’ half, they need players like that. He can outplay them and also in the final decisions he can do the right things.”

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