Press Review: Today’s top stories at a glance

Today is  Wednesday, March 1, 2023.

You can read the Daily Nation e-paper here:

Here is a quick look at what is making headlines.

EACC probe Matiang’i’s wealth

Former Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i is under investigation by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) over his wealth, according to a letter filed by EACC CEO Twalib Mbarak.

The commission is seeking certified copies of Declaration of Income, Assets and Liabilities forms for the years 2012 to 2022 that were filed during his 10-year tenure in Cabinet.

This comes after the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) summoned Matiang’i over an alleged police raid at his house, although the High Court later barred the DCI from commencing any criminal investigations against Matiang’i.

In a separate development, the Immigration Department has revealed that Matiang’i left the country a week before he was summoned by the DCI.

Majority of Kenyans believe country is heading in the wrong direction, survey shows

A recent survey conducted by Infotrak has revealed that 62 percent of Kenyans believe that the country is heading in the wrong direction. The main reason cited for this belief is the high cost of living, which was cited by 73 percent of respondents.

The survey, which covered 2,149 respondents across eight regions in the 47 counties, was conducted between February 21 and February 24. It also showed that only 22 percent of Kenyans believe that the country is headed in the right direction, with peace in the country, living in harmony, and the executive’s working being cited as the main reasons for their optimism.

Other issues of concern to Kenyans include unemployment, quality of education, agriculture, insecurity, and poverty.

Interior CS Kithure Kindiki ranked top performing CS, survey

According to a report by Infotrack released on Tuesday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki has been ranked as the top-performing ministry head. The survey was conducted between February 21 and 24, 2023, through Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews (CATI), and covered all 47 counties and eight regions.

Out of a sample size of 2,149 people, 27 percent believe Kindiki has performed the best in the first 100 days in office.

However, the survey also revealed that a quarter of Kenyans, 21 percent, believe none of the Cabinet Secretaries have performed well since their assumption into office.

In addition to the top-performing ministry head, the survey also ranked the Ministry of Information, Communication, and the Digital Economy as the best-performing ministry in the first 100 days of the Kenya Kwanza regime, with an overall performance rating of 54 percent.

On the bottom of the ranking is Njuguna Ndung’u’s Ministry of National Treasury, which was ranked at 35 percent, tying with Davis Chirchir led the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum.

Parliamentary Committee rejects purchase of Telkom shares and maize subsidy

The House Budget and Appropriations Committee has recommended the rejection of two payments made by the National Treasury in the run-up to the August 2022 general election. The payments, worth KES 6 billion to Helios Investments and KES 4 billion for a maize flour subsidy, were made without parliamentary approval.

The Treasury had cited Article 223 of the Constitution, which allows for emergency spending, as justification for its actions.

However, the committee claimed the payment to Helios was not an emergency and called for further inquiry into the payments. The committee also recommended a review of Article 223 of the Constitution, which it claimed had been subject to abuse in the past.

Cabinet greenlights IMF-supported debt limit policy to reduce debt

Cabinet approves plans to replace the current debt ceiling of KES 10.0 trillion with a debt anchor at 55.0 percent of the size of the economy. The move comes in response to calls from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and is aimed at reducing Kenya’s debt burden and promoting sustainable economic growth.

The cabinet has approved the proposal and sent it to parliament for consideration and approval. The new policy seeks to prevent future generations from inheriting excessive debt and is in line with global best practices on debt limit policy.

According to the Central Bank of Kenya, the country’s public debt stands at KES 9.15 trillion, equivalent to 75.6 percent of GDP. The proposed debt anchor of 55 percent of GDP is expected to help Kenya improve its fiscal sustainability in the long run.

MPs receive KES 2.9 billion for Constituency Development Fund

Members of Parliament (MPs) have been allocated KES 2.9 billion for the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF), providing relief after months of protests over delays in disbursement. The funds will be divided equally among the country’s 290 constituencies, with each receiving KES 10 million.

The Budget and Appropriations Committee has now prepared a report on the mini-budget, which was tabled for approval in the National Assembly. The report was supported by the National Assembly Majority Leader, Kimani Ichung’wah, who urged the MPs to exercise their oversight role to ensure the funds are utilized prudently.

The allocation of funds follows protests by MPs threatening to block the passage of the Supplementary budget for the year 2022-2023 if the NG-CDF was not factored in.

The NG-CDF Board Chief Executive Committee, Yusuf Mbuno, revealed that the exchequer had so far released KES 10 billion to the constituency fund kitty. The MPs hope that the remaining funds will be released by March 31.

Kenya Power’s proposal to bill in dollars opposed by regulator

Kenya Power’s proposal to bill some electricity consumers in dollars has been opposed by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA). The regulator argued that Kenya Power is already fully compensated for foreign exchange losses in current bills.

EPRA added that compensation for fluctuating currencies is already included in monthly bills through foreign exchange surcharges. Kenya Power had requested that customers whose revenues are in dollars and euros should pay their bills in those currencies to protect against exchange rate losses. EPRA argued that such a move was unnecessary and could result in double compensation for Kenya Power.

The regulator also highlighted the burden of a weak shilling on electricity users and urged the government to implement interventions.

Bank loans hit 52-month high due to CBK rate hikes 

The cost of bank loans hit a 52-month high in December, largely due to rate hikes by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and rising yields on government paper. According to CBK data, the average lending rate rose to 12.67% in December from 12.22% in May 2022 when the banking regulator first raised rates in nearly seven years.

The increase in lending rates could hobble corporate investment and put home loans and other loans out of reach for many individuals. Bankers say that rising rates on government debt securities are forcing banks to return large-scale deposits from cash-rich firms and high-net-worth investors, which ultimately increases the pressure on lending rates because deposits from large savers influence the pricing of loans.


FKF partners with gaming firm Mozzart Bet for KES 60 million FKF Cup sponsorship

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has signed a three-year partnership deal with a gaming firm Mozzart Bet worth KES 60 million to sponsor the FKF Cup. The partnership aims to promote football in Kenya and provide opportunities for young players to showcase their skills.

Under the agreement, FKF Cup champions will be awarded KES 2 million, the second-placed team will receive KES 1 million, and KES 750,000 will be given to the third place finishers. The fourth-placed team will receive KES 500,000.

The FKF CEO expressed his gratitude to the gaming firm for partnering with the federation, saying the deal marks the first step towards rebuilding the football brand, after the lifting of the FIFA suspension. The FKF Cup will begin this weekend.





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