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Kenya paid China Ksh29bn to ease debt repayment standoff

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Kenya wired Sh29.86 billion to China in the quarter to September 2021 to ease a standoff over debt repayments that delayed disbursements to projects funded by Chinese loans.

According to Treasury documents Kenya paid the billions .

This is when Chinese lenders, especially Exim Bank, had opposed Kenya’s application for a debt repayment holiday.

Kenya asked for an extension of the debt repayment moratorium from bilateral lenders which started 2021 .

China postponed the repayments in January, helping Kenya temporarily retain Sh27 billion that was due for six months ending June 30.

This is because the opposition from Chinese lenders forced Nairobi to drop its push for extension of the debt repayment holiday.

Kenya plans to spend a total of Sh117.7 billion on Chinese debt in the period.

According to budget documents Sh24.7 billion is in interest payments and almost Sh93 billion in redemptions.

The G20 countries rescheduled payments of Sh32.9 billion in principal and interest due between January and June to the next four years with a one-year grace period.

ya sought an extension of the debt relief from G20 countries to December, eyeing additional savings of Sh39 billion.

The Director-General Public Debt Management Office at the National Treasury, said the response to Kenya’s request for the G20 relief had been positive.

The Treasury report shows repayment to other major bilateral creditors has remained low, signalling a temporary freeze.

While China is a G20 member and a signatory to the deal, a large proportion of its loans to Kenya has been made on a commercial basis.

This is by government agencies, quasi-public corporations and by state-owned banks such as China Development Bank and Exim Bank of China.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration has largely taken loans from China since 2014 to build roads, bridges, power plants and the standard gauge railway (SGR).

The dataset compiled over three years by AidData, a US research lab at the College of William & Mary — comprises 100 Chinese loan contracts with 24 low- and middle-income countries.

It uncovered several unusual features, including confidentiality clauses that prevent borrowers from revealing the terms of the loans,.

Informal collateral arrangements that benefit Chinese lenders over other creditors and promises to keep the debt out of collective restructurings called as “no Paris Club” clauses.

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Kenya’s tourism revenue hit Sh146 billion in 2021

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Kenya’s tourism revenues had an increase of about Sh58 million in December 2021, compared with the same period in 2020, to reach Sh146 billion.

According to Najib Balala the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, this increase was due to an increased number of tourists in 2021 by about 302,617 to reach a total of 870,465 tourists.

The sector earned Sh88.6 billion in 2020, when travel restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19 hit the tourism industry.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the figure stood at Sh164 billion but the forecast in 2022 is higher.

The United States was the leading source market for tourists into the country having registered 136,981 arrivals ahead of Uganda 80,067 and Tanzania 74,051.

Other top source markets in the calendar year included the United Kingdom, China and India.

Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) meanwhile netted Ksh.1.5 million from park visits as a million Kenyans toured wildlife allied facilities again having fallen below 700,000 in 2020.

International arrivals are expected to top the one million mark again this year with the inbound receipts projected at ksh.172.9 billion.

“We will probably see a recovery by 2024 but not a full recovery as previously expected.

Success will be dependent on how we mitigate the Omicron variant now. So far, we have been resilient,” added CS Balala.

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UK firm to build a new city worth Sh29B next to Nairobi CBD

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Plans to upgrade Nairobi Central Railway Station have begun after Kenya made a deal with the United Kingdom to modernize the station.

January 18 the UK High Commissioner to Kenya shared design plans for the new railway station, terming it as one of her favourite projects in Kenya.

Atkins Global UK-based firm is behind the new Nairobi Central Railway Station design as well as the larger Railway City project which is expected to cost Sh29 billion.

“UK firm Atkins Global has been appointed to design Nairobi’s new Central Train Station and associated public realm, which will provide the centerpiece of Nairobi Railway City,” said UK’s Minister for Africa.

Railway City will take up the land surrounded by Haile Selassie Avenue, Uhuru Highway and Bunyala Road.

The new Railway City is expected to reduce congestion in the CBD and expand Kenya’s capital by building mixed-use commercial developments, hotels and intermodal facilities.

The project will be implemented in phases for 20 years, with the first phase expected to be complete by 2030.

Matatus currently operating around Kenya Railways Central Station will be removed by end of this month. This will facilitate works on Nairobi Railway City,” 

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KENHA Demolishes about 300 kiosks built on road reserve in Homa Bay.

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Kenya National Highways Authority demolished 300 kiosks to give way for the expansion of the road.

Local traders in Kendu Bay old Town, Karachuonyo Constituency, Homa Bay County have suffered heavy losses.

They demolished the kiosks because the traders were accused of encroaching the road reserve where they constructed their Kiosks for business activities.

The traders expressed concern that their business structures had been torn down without a word of warning from the authority.

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Naivasha SGR/MGR transshipment link goes operational.

They asked the Homa Bay County government to intervene so they could find an alternative site at which to carry out their business activities.

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