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Coca-Cola, Others Commit $1.5M To Kenya’s Economic Recovery4 minutes read

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The Coca-Cola System in Kenya, in partnership with County Government of Laikipia; Women Enterprise Fund (WEF); Absa; and Amref Health Africa in Kenya, has launched a Kshs 125 million – about $1.5m – initiative to support small and micro business outlets across the country.

The fund is expected to help the businesses recover and reopen after the COVID-19 impact on the economy that saw most of them lose revenue and close.

The support is targetting 18,000 trade outlets across the country who will receive personal protective equipment including masks and face shields, handwashing jerrycans, sanitizers, and garden furniture to enable them to enforce the required social distancing.

They will also be provided with communication and awareness materials related to COVID-19 safety and precautions.

Speaking during the launch in Nairobi, Phillipine Mtikitiki, Vice President and General Manager, Coca-Cola East & Central Africa Franchise commended the Kenyan government for taking proactive steps to control the spread of the virus.

She said, “Over the last few months, we have been focusing on the health and safety of our employees and communities. We are now extending our support to local economies and micro-small businesses. The closure of the economy at the time was the correct action to take to curb the spread of the virus, and we commend the Government of Kenya.

“To help those who have always been at the heart of our social fabric but had to temporarily close, we as a system, have committed Kshs 125 million towards supporting our trade partners and waste collectors, eateries, restaurants, bars and kiosks”.

Under the initiative, the traders and their staff will also benefit from COVID-19 health and safety training provided by Amref Health, to help them adhere to business opening and operating guidelines as per government directives. Absa, the financial business partner will facilitate access to business loans to the traders that require working capital to revive their enterprises, including restocking.

While speaking at the event, Absa Regional Corporate Director for East Africa, James Agin, explained that under this partnership, the bank shall support affected businesses across the entire value chain with revolving short-term working capital financing to bridge any cash flow challenges between stock purchase and receipt of payment from their customers.

“We will offer small and medium businesses unsecured loans of up to 10 million shillings which is the highest in the market, as well as LPO financing and invoice discounting of up to 50 million shillings amongst other benefits. We will also offer insurance and asset-based financing. This will allow the distributors and retailers the flexibility to accept extended payment terms from manufacturers as well as increase their credit should they require it,” he added.

“We are delighted to be part of this noble initiative that will contribute to ensuring that our economy starts to grow again and that businesses comply to national health and safety guidelines. Our role in this initiative is to empower traders with the knowledge that enables them to operate safely while ensuring they maintain a safe space for their customers. This will be done through an easy to understand training curriculum and application of a set standard of operating procedures,” said Dr. Meshack Ndirangu, Amref Health Africa in Kenya Country Director.

The initiative has partnered with the County Government of Laikipia’s Economic stimulus programme to provide trade finance to the county’s distributors and retailers. Hon. Ndiritu Muriithi, Governor, County Government of Laikipia, emphasized: “The retailers under this CocaCola scheme operating in Laikipia are eligible for business loans to help them restock and accelerate recovery from COVID-19 pandemic and will benefit from County Government of Laikipia’s interest cost subsidy of up to 5%. The county has already committed Kshs 123 million to the Economic Stimulus program, of which Kshs 73 million will cater for the interest cost subsidy.”

Eng. Charles Mwirigi, WEF CEO, underscored: “to complement the efforts by Coca-Cola, the Fund has committed over Kshs. 2 billion to provide affordable and relevant loans to support women traders besides business skills training to enable them to bounce back from the impact of Covid-19 pandemic.”

Small traders and waste collectors across the country have experienced unprecedented losses occasioned by the effects of the Coronavirus that continues to spread across the world. These losses have subjected households and families, and our environment to numerous challenges.

“We will continue to prioritise initiatives that support our traders as they reopen for business and we are already rolling out some initial support that will be augmented by what we are officially launching today. The response from our trade partners has so far has been very positive, and we hope that in the coming months they will regain consumer confidence and record more business,” said Xavier Selga, Managing Director, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa – Kenya.

“Many people and our environment has suffered during this pandemic. Investing back into the ‘small giants’ of our country, those micro and small businesses that are the backbone of Kenya’s resilience is the least we could do. And we are humbled and honoured to be joined by other like-minded organisations to bring their services and skills to support those who need it most. Together, we believe we can emerge stronger and create a better-shared future’, concluded Mtikitiki.

East Africa Business News

Uganda Establishes First Free Zone at Entebbe Airport

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The government of Uganda through the Uganda Free Zone Authority (UFZA) has finalised plans to establish the first public free zone at Entebbe International Airport. The free zone is projected to boost export-oriented investment in the country.

The project will be implemented by the National Enterprise Corporation (NEC) on a five acre piece of land acquired from the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) at the Entebbe International Airport premises.

Under the arrangement, the project targets sectors which include food processing, mineral processing, warehousing, storage and simple assembly, where all operators in the public free zone will process their products for onward export through Entebbe International Airport.

The development of the Public Free Zone projected to cost UGX 48billion will, on completion house seven production units and trade houses such as offices of the Uganda Free Zones Authority, Uganda Revenue Authority, and other government offices to promote enterprise. The Government of Uganda (GoU) has already awarded UGX 12.5 Billion for the first phase of the project.

Speaking at the site handover event, Hez Kimoomi Alinda, the Uganda Free Zones Authority Executive Director, said the project is expected to contribute cargo volumes, create hundreds of direct jobs and significantly improve Uganda’s exports.

“On completion, the project will support increased production quality assurance and value addition to commodities that are widely produced by the masses to improve household incomes, create employment and eliminate poverty as well as improve the value of Uganda’s exports,” he said.

Alinda was speaking while handing over the site for the construction of the Entebbe International Airport Free Zone at which he said they had acquired five acres from the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority for the development and contracted National Enterprise Corporation, the commercial arm of the UPDF for the construction.

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Somali Petroleum Authority Appoints Independent Directors

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The Somali Petroleum Authority (SPA) has announced the appointment of six Independent Directors to its Board, each representing a Member State and one Independent Director representing the Federal Government – following the approval of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers.

The announcement follows the appointment of Ibrahim Hussein as Chairman and Chief Executive of the SPA, representing the Federal Government, and is in line with the provisions of the Petroleum Law.

The Board will oversee all the SPA’s activities to ensure that it develops a sustainable and competitive industry in the interests of all Somali people, in keeping with its mandate.

The newly appointed Board Members to the SPA are Asha Osman Ahmed, Vice Chair and Board Member representing Banadir Regional Authority;
Ibrahim Ahmed Layte, Board Member representing Hirshabelle State;
Abdulkadir Aden Mohamud, Board Member representing Galmudug State;
Ibrahim Abdulkadir Mohamed, Board Member representing South West State; Ahmed Haji Abdi, Board Member representing Jubaland State;
Abdihafid Ali Dirir, Board Member representing Somaliland State; and
Mahad Mohamed Sh. Hassan, Board member representing the Federal Government.

There are nine positions on the Board of the SPA representing seven Members States and two representing the Federal Government. The Board focuses on the SPA’s long-term objectives and priorities to be one of the world’s leading petroleum authorities, promoting the development of a sustainable oil and gas industry. Specifically, the Board will ensure that the regulatory and fiscal regime being developed will apply the principles of equality, openness, accountability, transparency and non-discrimination in the interests of all the Somali people. The Board is committed to upholding the highest standards of health and safety for people in all activities relating to the exploration of petroleum in Somalia, as well as maintaining world-class environmental standards. Moreover, the Board will work to maintain sound risk management, internal control systems and reviews on the efficacy of these annually.

In June 2019, The Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources announced details of the Petroleum Ownership Management and Revenue Sharing Agreement between the Federal Government and its Member States, which delivers by far the highest percentage of potential revenues from the industry to non-Federal institutions of any comparable agreement. The structure of the Board, with seven of its nine members representing the Member States, will underpin the SPA’s commitment to develop the petroleum industry in the interests of all the Somali people.

Commenting on the appointment Ibrahim Hussein, Chairman and Chief Executive, said: “We are very excited to welcome new colleagues onto the Board of the newly established SPA, as together we work to develop the country’s petroleum industry. The structure of our Board will ensure that all the Member States are able to help shape the development of the industry in the interests of the whole country. The SPA is committed to rigorous standards of corporate governance in order to achieve our goal of attracting international investment to maximize the economic recovery of the country’s oil and gas reserves. This will enable Member States to significantly increase investment in education, transport, agriculture and healthcare infrastructure.”

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Anonymous Didn’t Hack Our Website – First Bank

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Anonymous, an online network known for launching cyberattacks against government institutions, has reportedly hacked the website of First Bank of Nigeria Limited.

But the financial institution has denied the hack.

A visit to the bank’s website at 01:30pm showed that it had been brought down completely.

In a string of tweets, Anonymous confirmed bringing down the bank’s website while alleging that the bank deducted money from the accounts of customers who are in support of the #EndSARS campaign.

Anonymous also accused the bank of instructing its staff not to join the #EndSARS campaign.

It stated, “Now #ENDSARSOPPRESSION Official website of First Banks Nigeria has been taken #Offline. You remove money from users because they support #EndSARS.

“We #Anonymous have taken-down your website in support of #EndSARS

“You will pay for your actions. you should have expected us!

“Enjoy your server taken down. no money is gone.”

Anonymous, however, said it would restore the website after it “keep it down for some time”.

However, First Bank said the website was never brought down in the first place.

The bank said, “Our attention has been drawn to the tweet making the rounds on social media on shutting down the FirstBank website following a false tweet that the Bank prevented staff from joining the ongoing protests in the country.

“As the largest banking institution in Nigeria, it is not unlikely that we may be seen as a target in circumstances such as these. This is rather unfortunate as we believe far-reaching reform is necessary and we have said as much on a number of occasions across our platforms.

“In the process of change, some pain will be borne by all and some anger may well be misdirected. We understand this as a part of the process of the struggle.

“”We have a large staff strength and an even larger customer base who may be affected by any disruption and this would be a pity as a number are also contributing in many ways to ensure that voices are heard and required action is taken.

“We have been consistent in our message on the need to end all brutality and carry out necessary reforms. We will continue to lend our voice accordingly.”

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