For any economy to reach maximum potential, energy production has to be optimum.
Its importance is depicted by the huge sum of money countries spend on producing energy for businesses, households and to power the nation.
No nation thrives without energy and that made Kenya’s ambitious target nine years ago a welcome idea.
In six years, Kenya has moved closer to seeing all its households have electricity supply through optimal geothermal energy production.
Since that same period, production has been three times higher than its previous best. From a previous figure of 198 Megawatts (MW), the country has produced 672MW and has provided electricity for 500,000 households.
The Menengaï Geothermal Development Project, with $108 million in funding from the African Development Bank, has helped to add another 105 MW of geothermal production capacity to the national electricity grid, with three private companies involved in the process.
For the project, 50 wells were targeted for the generation of maximum steam to produce more than 100 MW. Also, 49 wells had been drilled through the end of November 2019, generating a capacity of 169.9 MW.
Kenya is aiming higher than its estimated capacity and the results have been overwhelming. In addition to the wells and energy , CO2 emissions are expected to be reduced by 600,000 tonnes from 2022.
The Menengaï Geothermal Energy Project saw 94 staff members receiving training in drilling, contracting and financing, as well as health and safety management.
Women Powering Kenya’s Energy
Not less than 44% of trained members are women. In addition, 249 staff members of the Geothermal Development Society, including 93 women, received group training. The construction of the power plant benefits about 500,000 Kenyans, including 70,000 in rural areas of the country, as well as businesses and industries. More than 600 jobs have been created.
“The ultimate goal of the project was to help Kenya overcome severe electricity shortages caused by variability of hydropower generation, which forced the country to resort to expensive backup thermal production between 2011 and 2012, and which continued through 2018,” according to a Bank project completion report.
The dream, which was conceived in 2011 is on its way to becoming a reality and the country hopes to soon power its neighbouring African countries.
The adoption of the Low-Cost Electricity Development Plan for 2011-2031 was seen as a very ambitious plan for the country but work has gone into the belief.
The development plan was updated in 2017 as power generation capacity rose from 1,227 MW in 2010 to 3,751 MW in 2018.
While the nation is yet to meet its local demands, it is charting an exemplary course in the generation of geothermal energy.
Ex-Judge, Hamuth, Appointed to Lead Mauritius Oil Spill Probe
Mauritius has appointed Abdurraffeek Hamuth, a former judge, to lead an inquiry into the circumstances in which a Japanese-owned vessel, the Wakashio, entered its waters and spilled hundreds of tonnes of oil.
The MV Wakashio, owned by Nagashiki Shipping and chartered by Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), ran aground on a coral reef off Mauritius on 25 July 2020. It was carrying 4,000 tonnes of oil before it split into two on 16 August.
Former Judge Hamuth and his assessors will investigate the cause and extent of the damage caused by the bulk carrier.
Testimonies at the inquiry are expected to reveal how the hull of the vessel cracked.
About 15 people have so far confirmed their participation, including opposition leader, Arvin Boolell, maritime safety expert and social activist, Bruneau Laurette, along with government officials and crew members.
Captain Sunil Kumar Nandeshwar and his assistant Hitihamillage Subodha Janendra Tilakaratna were arrested after the vessel sunk.
In September 2020, an expert witness told a court in Port Louis that the captain of the MV Wakashio, Nandeshwar, had been drinking before the accident.
According to the expert, the Voyage Data Recorder (VDR), which took an audio recording in the ship, confirmed suspicions of a birthday party a little more than an hour before the ship ran aground and that the Capt Sunil Kumar Nandeshwar, had consumed alcohol.
Capt Nandeshwar was also aware that the depth under the ship was decreasing considerably, the court heard.
The court heard that the ship’s voice recorder did not record any call with the Mauritius National Coast Guard.
Kenya Revenue Authority Report KSh 2Billion Excess in December Revenue Collection
This is the first time since the onset of the Covid19 pandemic that the agency surpassed its revenue collection target.
The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has reportedly collected KSh166 billion revenue in December 2020, which pointed to excess in revenue collection by KSh 2 billion.
The revenue collection signified 3.5% higher than the KSh160 billion collected in the corresponding period in 2019, according to a statement on KRA’s website.
This is the first time since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic that the agency surpassed its revenue collection target. The government agency attributed the increased revenue collection to enhanced economic conditions since the easing of covid-19 restrictions. Efforts by the agency to increase tax compliance also contributed to improved revenue collection.
KRA’s Customs & Border Control (C&BC) Department collected the highest ever monthly revenue collection of Ksh 60.777 billion in December, representing a 40.9% growth in the revenue collected from the same period in 2019.
Governments efforts to lower exemptions and remissions also yielded results as the tax exemptions and remissions in the customs department fell by 39.3% in December 2020, thereby boosting revenue collection by KSh3.34 billion.
Domestic Taxes had the best performance rate of 91.1% in December, since the onset of Covid-19 in Kenya in March 2020. KRA says that Pay As You Earn (PAYE) taxes hit 99.8% of the set target while Withholding Tax exceeded the target by Ksh 725 million. Corporate taxes also reached 93.5% of the set target.
The Revenue Authority is optimistic that the recovering economy and efforts to increase tax compliance will boost tax revenue collection in 2021. In addition, the introduction of the digital services tax, minimum alternative tax, and voluntary disclosure program will boost KRA’s revenue collection goals.
Museveni Defeats Bobi Wine To Re-emerge Ugandan President
Incumbent Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni has been announced as winner of the country’s Presidential election.
The electoral commission of Uganda announced the final results of the election on Saturday, 48 hours after the polls.
Museveni won 5,851,037 votes (58.64%) of the votes to emerge winner of the election. Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine) won more than 3 million votes and over 34% of he votes.
It is Museveni’s lowest votes tally in 6 elections and the lowest since he had 59% in 2006 against Kizza Besigye.
The Presidential election was marred with trouble-ridden campaigns with an opposition candidate, Bobi Wine having some of his supporters killed.
Prior to the election, internet was shut down in Uganda while CSOs and NGOs were not allowed to observe.
United States observers were also not granted accreditation.
More than half of the 18m people who registered to vote in Uganda participated in the election.
Bobi Wine has since rejected the results, as he accused Museveni of riggin the election.
Security operatives have since surrounded Bobi Wine’s house, as they failed to allow local and foreign journalists into his premises.
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