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Monday, 30 June 2014

KILIMANJARO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT GEARS UP FOR 'BEST' AWARD IN SEPTEMBER 2014

Kilimanjaro — KILIMANJARO is Africa's highest peak but as it turned out last week, even the airport named after the Mountain is also being billed as the continent's highest ranking and best performing international terminal.
Kilimanjaro International Airport was crowned overall winner of the Routes Africa Marketing Awards for the second year running.
KIA managed to beat both its larger busier next-door neighbour, Jomo Kenyatta International (JKIA) of Nairobi and its incountry sibling, Julius Kambarage Nyerere International (JKNIA) of Dar-es-Salaam in getting the international top trophy.
But the best achievement for KIA probably should be the terminal's strength in thrashing the continent giants such as Johannesburg's OR Tambo International and the Cape Town International Airports of South-Africa, Cairo International of Egypt and Casablanca's 'Mohammed V' International of Morocco.
The winners of the 4th regional heat of the Routes Marketing Awards were recently announced during the Routes Africa Networking Evening in Zimbabwe.
Speaking later on at the Kilimanjaro Airport's Waving Bay, meeting room, the Managing Director of Kilimanjaro Airports Development Company (KADCO), Mr Mattijs Smith, expressed his management pride in winning the overall Routes Africa award for the second year in a row.
"This award is a true recognition by our airline customers for strengthening our existing routes and achieving a record growth of 24 per cent in traffic in 2013," stated Mr Smith but reminded that, KIA will again get to contest for the World Throne in Spain next September 2014.
That is where fingers need to be crossed now, because being the overall winner from the African Continent; Kilimanjaro International Airport has been automatically shortlisted for the World Routes Marketing Awards that are to be announced in Chicago this September.
Last year, KIA took the second position on the globe. KIA will thus enter the world's travel ring again, this time contesting against Tampa International Airport, Abu Dhabi International Airport and City Airport Bremen that were announced as overall winners from the Americas, Asia and Europe regions respectively, earlier in the year.
The annual Routes awards are highly regarded as the most prestigious awards in the industry as they are voted for and judged by members of the global airline network planning community.

CRDB BANK UPGRADES SIM BANKING

CRDB Bank Managing Director, Charles Kimei
IN a bid to provide efficient and secure services, CRDB Bank has further improved its SIM Banking to accommodate new features that give customers the conveniences to perform more transactions at any location in the world.
Mobile phones have clearly shown that they can be an effective channel to provide financial services including remittances, savings or even loans.
So, banks have an opportunity to utilise mobile phones to reach out to their customers. This was unveiled at the weekend by the CRDB Bank Managing Director, Dr Charles Kimei, at a news conference on improvement made on SIM Banking.
"CRDB Bank is always seeking to create easy and less cost accessibility to the banking services to its customers," he said, adding this is why the bank is incorporating its services with the fast changing mobile money technology which is the future of the banking sector.
Dr Kimei urged its customers to register with the SIM Banking established in 2008, which gives them best and different options of performing bank transactions at any location.
Currently, over 300,000 CRDB Bank customers are using SIM Banking in its database with over one million customers.
According to Finscope 2013 report, more than 30 million Tanzanians own or use mobile phone but only 12 million use the cellphones to perform money transactions.
Statistics reveal further that the bankable population is around 17 per cent of the 45 million total population. The data offers the banking sector with the huge opportunity to spread its services to the unbankable population in rural areas, thus complimenting the government initiative of financial inclusion.
The CRDB Manager Electronic Banking, Mr Mangire Kibanda, said the bank has simplified the SIM Banking registration where customers register for themselves without visiting the bank branches.

TANZANIA: PPP IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES SPELT OUT

THE government has drawn up strategies for implementation of projects under the public-private partnership (PPP) initiative.
Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office (Investment and Empowerment), Dr Mary Nagu, said recently that Big Result Now would be a yardstick in implementation of the PPP projects.
"The government has already made recommendations for review of the PPP Act of 2010 to enable all PPP projects come under a strong authority to approve and oversee implementation, " Dr Nagu said.
She said the government has also recommended the establishment of PPP Facilitation Fund whose main goal would be to assist government authorities in preparing feasibility studies meeting investment criteria under PPP arrangements.
"It is an undeniable fact that countries globally such as India have put in place this system or arrangement based on its national development priorities," she said, adding that the arrangement is called "viability gap funding".
Dr Nagu said that the viability gap funding would be used to enhance capacity building of both government and private authorities despite the big challenges facing implementation of PPP projects.
According to the Minister, the fourth phase government was committed to implement most of the big projects under PPP arrangements to realize the desired development goals.

TANZANIA: TSHS 10 BILLION SUPPORT EXTENDED TO ARTISANAL MINERS

Mwanza — MORE than 10bn/- will be dished out to small scale miners in the country to support their operations for the next financial year and two third of the allocated amount would be given to artisanal miners in the Lake Zone based miners.
The boost will include purchase of two drilling rigs worth 1.8bn/- which will be allocated to small scale miners in the Lake Zone and another in the South West Zone in Mbeya for exploration of the new mine deposits.
The Commissioner for Minerals in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, Eng. Paul Masanja, told reporters that local participation in the mining exploration among the licensed companies so far was encouraging.
"The fact is that Tanzanians now own 70 per cent of the mining licences, while foreigners possess 25 per cent and the remaining five per cent is possessed in partnership between foreigners and locals," he said.
He said the financial boost and equipment donated to the small-scale miners target to boost them economically, adding that the government will increase more resources to keep supporting them.
Out of the 10bn/- allocated for the small-scale miners, according to Mr Masanja, 5.7bn/- has been donated by the World Bank as subsidy, while the government has set aside 2.5bn/- as loans to 18 groups of the small scale miners.

TANZANIA: KCB BANK OPENS COMMUNITY ACCOUNT

KCB Tanzania's Deputy Managing Director, Mr Godfrey Ndalahwa
IN a move aimed at improving community services in the country, KCB Tanzania has launched community account, a new service that targets institutions with goals to help the society in fields like health, education, religious, municipalities, NGOs and clubs.
KCB's Deputy Managing Director, Mr Godfrey Ndalahwa, said during a function at the weekend in Dar es Salaam to inform customers on services offered including the new community account.
"Today we are gathered here in this short ceremony purposely for speaking with our customers and exchange views on our common business services that we run.
"We have frequently been meeting with our clients in Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Morogoro, Mwanza, Zanzibar and today in Dar es Salaam Region with a major goal of reaching more customers," said Mr Ndalahwa.
Commenting on the new service, he said, "the community account is quite similar to that of a business (current account) but the big difference is that this has focused on helping the community.
Therefore, this does not have any operating deductions and provides all collaborative services for free quite as checks, transfer and importation of money from one account to another in the country (TT).
"The launch of this account goes together with KCB bank strategies on helping the community that surrounds us.
On understanding this, our bank has directed its support to the community through key sectors including education, health, environment, entrepreneurship and supporting various disasters in the country," he explained.

TANZANIA: EPZA WOOS CHINESE INVESTORS

CHINESE business community have been urged to invest in Tanzania's Export Processing Zones (EPZs) and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) that are readily available and awaiting strategic investors.
The Director General of Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA), Dr Adelhelm Meru welcomed the Chinese investors during his presentation at the second Tanzania China business forum held in Dar es Salaam recently. "We welcome you to invest in these potential areas," he told the delegates.
Giving an example, he said that the government has already set aside a total of 22,000 hectares in Bagamoyo and that EPZA encourages investors from China to come and invest in the special processing zone area.
"We envision this to become an industrial and trade centre," he said. He noted that the government in collaboration with the private sector is about to start putting up necessary infrastructure in the designated area and said this was the best time for investors to come and implement their plans.
He said that the biggest port in the country and region will be built in the area and that this will change the outlook of Bagamoyo to the biggest metropolitan centre thriving with businesses and industries.
Under the plan are a modern airport and railway line connecting the central line and TAZARA, all these in a bid to create conducive business environment.
He said that his authority has earmarked EPZ/SEZ sites in 20 regions with 500 - 9000 hectares each in Tanzania and that investors are invited to develop basic Infrastructure in the zones.

TANZANIA: COURT SUMMONS THREE FOREIGN OIL COMPANIES

THE High Court has summoned three foreign companies engaged in gas explorations along the offshore coast of Tanzania to produce their defence documents in the constitutional petition lodged by businessman, Mr Moto Mabanga, to protect his interests in three gas blocks.
According to the summons issued early this week, the three companies, Ophir Energy PLC, Ophir Services PTY Limited and British Gas Tanzania, will appear before a panel comprising judges Shaban Lila, Aloysius Mujulizi and Zaibabu Mruke on July 28, this year.
"You (the three companies) are required to appear in this court without fail and you must produce to that day all the documents upon which you intend to reply in support of your case," reads part of the summons directed to the companies dealing with oil and gas business.
In the petition, Mr Mabanga, a Tanzanian businessman living in South Africa, claims to have been coerced by the three firms (respondents) to surrender his interests in block One, Three and Four to receive undervalued consideration of 7.5 million US dollars.

TANZANIA: TAX BILLS 'ACTION' IN CONTENTION

Tanzanian Finance Minister Saada Mkuya Salum
THE government and the private sector are still at odds over the implementation date for the Value Added Tax (VAT) and Tax Administration Bills, which are scheduled for tabling in the National Assembly in November.
Finance Minister Saada Mkuya Salum maintained in Dodoma yesterday that the proposed act will come into effect on January 1, 2015 as Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) Executive Director Godfrey Simbeye, said that should the bills be approved by Parliament, they should become effective in the 2015/16 fiscal year.
In a statement availed to the 'Daily News' in Dar es Salaam, Mr Simbeye welcomed the postponement of the bills, noting that it will give ample time to VAT-registered businesses to adjust their pricing structures and minimise 'shocks' to final consumers.
Mr Simbeye, however, implored the private sector stakeholders to use the remaining time to consult extensively with the government ahead of the bill tabling in November.
"The decision has been well received by stakeholders especially the private sector as it is seen as a move towards creating a conducive business environment where consultation in the form of Public Private Dialogue (PPD) is one of the main pillars," the TPSF boss remarked, adding:

DISAPPOINTING START FOR DAR TRADE FAIR

THE 38th Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF) better known as Sabasaba kicked off on Saturday with number of both national and internal exhibitors expressing concern over preparations saying they are unsatisfactory.
The fair which lasts for 11 days enjoys the patronage of the Tanzanian business community who use it as a platform for business exchange with international communities.
A number of exhibitors highlighted the delay of basic things like the delay in issuing identity cards and unfinished pavilions.
An exhibitor from Chicago, USA, Mr Jaime Valle president of Montani Cosmetics, Inc pointed out that a number of things are not as per his expectations. He said though the fair has started yet many stalls were still being put together.
He noted that the 11-day business show might be of insignificant help to him should the situation remain the same for the next two or three days. "I have travelled all the way from the US and paid a lot of money to the authorities.
I expected the show to take off on a serious note from day one but as you can see hardly anything is ready," he said. Mr Valle believes everything will turn out and blamed the culture of leaving things at the last minute.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

FASTJET REMOVES LOSS-MAKING FLY 540 KENYA FROM THE FASTJET GROUP


Fastjet Plc, Africa's low-cost airline, has announced that it has signed an agreement to dispose of its holding in Fly 540 Kenya, the loss-making investment it inherited as part of the acquisition from Lonrho Aviation, to Don Smith, a director of Fly 540 Kenya. The agreement wholly removes Fly 540 Kenya from the fastjet group.
All legal and financial ties between the two companies have been dissolved and each group has indemnified one another against any and all liabilities relating to the segregation of the businesses.
"Following a period of complex negotiations, we are delighted to have achieved a successful outcome for all parties. After a thorough and lengthy evaluation of Fly 540 Kenya, we concluded that converting the business into the fastjet low-cost model would not be economically viable,” Ed Winter, Interim Chairman and Chief Executive of fastjet, said.
"Disposing of our investment in Fly 540 Kenya allows us to pursue our priority objective of creating fastjet Kenya as a new entity which will operate to the same low-cost model, international standards of safety, reliability and punctuality as fastjet Tanzania and utilize the same commercial strategy and distribution platforms. Further information on the Company's plans to launch fastjet Kenya will be announced in due course," he said.
Fly 540 Kenya is treated as an investment in the fastjet group accounts as fastjet does not have financial control over it and has not included its losses in the Group consolidated accounts.
Most of the investment has already been written down and the remaining $ 10 million will be written down in the full year 2013 accounts. The disposal, which is for a nominal sum, is a related party transaction under the AIM Rules as it is a disposal to a director of Fly 540 Kenya. The directors of fastjet consider having consulted with WH Ireland, that the terms are fair and reasonable insofar as its shareholders are concerned.

RWANDA BREWER NOW PENETRATES UGANDA

Belgian beer maker Unibra, through its subsidiary Skol Brewery in Rwanda, has introduced two of its brands — Skol and Virunga — to the Uganda market.
Skol has appointed Uganda’s BBM Distributors as its agent to import the malt beers from Rwanda.
Bienfait Biteny, director of Skol Breweries Ltd told The EastAfrican that high beer consumption in Uganda is the key driver for the brewer’s entry.
“Research has shown that Ugandans consumes more beer than any other country in East Africa. We are going to triple our production capacity to 300,000 hectolitres, starting next month, and so the Ugandan market should raise our market share,” said Mr Bitenyo.
According to the recently released WHO Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health 2014, Uganda and Rwanda lead the East African region in pure alcohol consumption per person at 9.8 litres annually; Burundi follows at 9.3 litres; Tanzania at 7.7 litres and Kenya at 4.3 litres per annum.
Search for new markets
Skol’s search for new markets in the region comes at a time when Rwanda’s revenue from beer exports to DR Congo is expected to tumble following the introduction of new taxes by the latter to protect its local industry.
Skol has invested over $15 million in the brewery, including purchasing equipment and packaging for capacity expansion in a bid to triple its production from the current 100,000 hectolitres. The demand for beer in Rwanda is estimated at 1.2 million hectolitres annually.
Philip Mibenge, the general manager at Skol, said that the firm is hoping to capture two to three per cent of market share in Uganda within its first year, in anticipation of setting up a plant in the country once consumption reaches 30,000 hectolitres per year.
“We are also keenly eyeing the South Sudan and Tanzania markets,” said Mr Mibenge.
Source: The East African

KENYA AIRWAYS GETS NEW CEO TO PILOT A MUCH NEEDED TURNAROUND


  • Mr Naikuni is widely credited for growing the company and guiding it through a series of challenges including a staff unrest, tough business environment and the Duala air crash, which the CEO counts as his lowest moment.
  • The incoming CEO takes office at a period that is seen as crucial to the company’s long-term prospects, with his main task being to ensure that the airline gets back into the profit zone and is able to deploy its new planes profitably.
  • With the airline facing assaults on multiple fronts, including from Middle Eastern carriers, the negative effects of travel advisories facing the country and multiple security problems across Africa, its main market, Mr Ngunze has his work cut out.

Kenya Airways has appointed Mbuvi Ngunze as its new CEO, replacing long serving Titus Naikuni, who steps down after 11 years at the helm of the national carrier.
In a widely expected move, the board last week announced it had settled on Mr Ngunze, 56, in a move analysts say paints a picture of a company keen on strategic continuity. He takes over on December 1.
Mr Ngunze has been seen as the most obvious successor to Mr Naikuni since his appointment as KQ’s chief operating officer in 2011 from Lafarge, where he held different positions across its global operations, ending his stay as the head of its Tanzania business unit.
“I am still absorbing the news of my appointment… but I will make my plans known in coming days,” said Mr Ngunze.
Mr Naikuni is widely credited for growing the company and guiding it through a series of challenges including a staff unrest, tough business environment and the Duala air crash, which the CEO counts as his lowest moment.
The incoming CEO takes office at a period that is seen as crucial to the company’s long-term prospects, with his main task being to ensure that the airline gets back into the profit zone and is able to deploy its new planes profitably.

HARD TIMES AHEAD FOR BREWERS IN BID TO MAINTAIN PROFIT MARGINS

Bralirwa, the Rwanda Stock Exchange listed brewer, last week commissioned its $34 million soft drinks plant, which is expected to help boost earnings.
The new plant comes at a time when regional brewers are increasingly facing challenges of higher taxation, growing competition and more financing costs as a result of increased investments. These challenges have seen share prices of the region’s listed alcohol manufacturers drop.
Bralirwa has shed almost half of its value, with the counter now trading at Rwf460 ($0.68) from a peak of Rwf860 ($1.28) at the beginning of the year.
EABL is trading at Ksh280 ($3), having lost four per cent since January. Tanzania Breweries Ltd (TBL) is the best performing counter, having gained 20 per cent since January.
But increased taxation of alcohol by governments across the region is expected to put considerable pressure on margins. For example, EABL says volumes on its Senator beer fell by 80 per cent, following a decision by the government to introduce a 50 per cent excise duty on keg beer.
“The emerging beer market is very price-sensitive. The increased taxes mean that the price of Senator is out of the reach for most in this market and this will affect volumes,” said Kuria Kamau, an analyst at Kestrel Investment bank.
Bralirwa has also suffered from the tough regulatory rules adopted by the Democratic Republic of Congo, with the Rwandan beer maker saying total beer volumes remained flat in the year ending December 2013 at around 1.65 million litres, the same as 2012.
Since the establishment of a brewery just outside Goma in early 2013, DRC has raised the import tariff on beer from $2.9 to $5.74 per crate and introduced a higher charge for quality standard verification, from $0.48 to $0.91 per bottle rack. These increases and the end of Bralirwa’s licence to produce and sell Guinness Foreign Extra Stout last year, have also affected pricing.

KENYAN ECONOMY RECOVERS AS FIRMS TAKE UP LOANS

Kenya’s private-sector borrowing hit a two-year high in the first quarter of the year, driven by falling interest rates and increased credit appetite from the country’s corporate sector.
According to the latest data from the World Bank, private-sector borrowing expanded by an average of 25 per cent in the first four months of the year, well above the Central Bank target of 20 per cent and clear of the country’s 2013 credit growth target of 17 per cent.
The last time credit expanded by 25 per cent was in March 2012.
The growth saw the country’s banking sector extend loans worth Ksh327 billion ($3.76 billion) in the year to April or nearly 2.5 times the Ksh127 billion ($1.46 billion) that the lenders extended in the same period last year.
Private sector credit grew 23.9 per cent in the 12 months to April 2014, compared with 10.5 per cent in the period to April 2013.
The high credit appetite was fuelled by falling interest rates, which have hit a three-year low, and are expected to go down even further as the government keeps out of the local bond market, having raised $2 billion from the international market through a Eurobond. (See video)

Saturday, 28 June 2014

BARCLAYS ALLEGATIONS AND INSIDE THE MURKY WORLD OF DARK POOLS

What is a dark pool?
Banks in the US and Europe created these pseudo exchanges to carry out transactions on behalf of big clients who wanted to conduct huge buy or sell deals without the price moving as the deal was done. The term "dark pool" was coined to sum up the opaque nature of these privately run platforms, which have become one of the main devices banks use to match buyers and sellers away from the main exchanges.
They are computer-driven, and cheaper than sending buy and sell orders through the US's 13 public exchanges. Around 45 dark pools are in operation. The biggest are understood to be run by JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse.
Who benefits?
There are several selling points. The trades tend to be large slugs of shares that would attract the attention of other large shareholders, either spooking them into selling their shares of encouraging them to buy more. Dark pools only report data after a trade has occurred. At that stage, information about the trade has little influence on the price.
In the past investors who wanted to process a big trade would break it up into a number of smaller transactions – but algorithmic traders used computers to spot these trading patterns and prices were effected as they moved in to buy and sell at the same time.
There was also a promise that high frequency traders – dubbed the great white sharks of the investment business in Michael Lewis's new book Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt – and algorithmic traders would also be prevented from participating and incorporating dark pool trading in their computer-driven dealings.
Lastly, there was the price tag. Banks promised to process trades at cheaper, bulk rates compared with rival big exchanges. This price promise has now attracted many smaller investors in search of a cheap transaction.

THE INDEPENDENT, UK: BARCLAYS AND STANDARD CHARTERED SHARES DIVE IN DOUBLE BLOW FOR UK BANKING SECTOR

Standard Chartered hit by new profit decline, Barclays facing allegations of “fraud and deceit”


THE INDEPENDENT, UK: PROFIT WARNING UPS JOB THREAT TO BOSS OF STANDARD CHARTERED


The position of Standard Chartered's chief executive, Peter Sands, was under ever greater pressure yesterday as a profit warning sent the FTSE 100 bank's shares to a three-year low.

A source close to one non-executive director said: "This will accelerate next year's succession" – a reference to a desire in some parts of the boardroom for Mr Sands to make an exit at or before next May's annual meeting.

A Standard Chartered spokesman denied any such plan existed. The emerging markets lender said its first-half profits would be 20 per cent down, hitting earnings for the full-year, because of tougher regulations and low market volatility in its trading business.

WHY BARCLAYS IS IN A PICKLE: MEET THE MARTIN ACT

The suit New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has brought against Barclays, accusing the bank of running its dark pool for the benefit of high-frequency traders, has all Wall Street wondering: What will Barclays do ?
Barclays has 30 days to respond. It has several options, but there is only one likely outcome.
Barclays could:
1. Dispute the facts.
2. Make a motion to dismiss, arguing, for example, the complaint does not make out a cause of action. One it would argue even if everything Schneiderman says is true, it doesn't violate New York law.
3. Settle the case. Which is the most likely scenario.
Why? Because Schneiderman has a very blunt, powerful weapon called the Martin Act.
The Martin Act gives the New York State Attorney General broad powers to bring civil and criminal action against almost anyone that has business that affects New York State.
The Martin Act was originally passed in 1921. Hard to believe, but at the time there were no federal laws to protect investors against fraudulent claims by brokers nor investment advisors.Federal laws were not passed until the SEC Act of 1933.

BARCLAYS SHARES TUMBLE AFTER ALLEGATIONS ABOUT PRIVATE 'DARK POOL' TRADING SYSTEM

Damning allegations that Barclays cheated and defrauded its customers pushed shares in the besieged bank to their lowest levels in 18 months on Thursday and set back attempts by its boss Antony Jenkins to turn around its troubled reputation.
The shares were the biggest fallers in the FTSE 100, at one point losing 9% before closing 6.5% lower at 215p – wiping £2.4bn off the value of the bank.
The fall was prompted by a lawsuit filed overnight by the New York attorney general, Eric Schneiderman. He accused Barclays of "a systematic pattern of fraud and deceit" over the way it operated its "dark pool" private trading system.
Schneiderman said the dark pool – a means by which traders can remain anonymous until they have completed trades and which was publicised in a recent book on Wall Street by Michael Lewis – was used to favour high-frequency traders, contrary to promises made in marketing literature.
"Barclays grew its dark pool by telling investors they were diving into safe waters. According to the lawsuit, Barclays' dark pool was full of predators – there at Barclays' invitation," Schneiderman said.
High-frequency traders use complex computer systems to buy and sell huge volumes of stocks in milliseconds to profit from tiny movements in share prices.
Barclays' new legal counsel, Bob Hoyt – who worked in George W Bush's White House – was in New York to lead an urgent inquiry into the allegations, which come as Jenkins has been pledging to clean up Barclays. The allegations date from 2011 until the present, so include the time Jenkins has been in charge. He was promoted to running the bank in the wake of the Libor-rigging scandal which forced out Bob Diamond and other top executives.

EVEN IF BRAZIL WINS WORLD CUP, IT LOSES: BANKERS

Emerging markets experts at Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley are bearish on investing in Brazil regardless of the World Cup.
"There's no upside for this government, even if everything goes well," Drausio Giacomelli, head of emerging markets research at Deutsche Bank, said Wednesday at the New York Society of Security Analysts Latin American Capital Markets Conference.
"It's not about (if Brazil wins the World Cup), it's about what it exposes: a government that's unable to deliver what they say the people need for education, for transportation, infrastructure in general," he said. "They can give stadiums ... but not what matters."
Brazil plays Saturday against Chile in the first game of the Cup's knockout round.
Giacomelli also criticized Brazil's monetary policy under President Dilma Rousseff.
"Brazil has gotten it wrong since the beginning of the Dilma cycle," he said about the country's recent interest rate hikes. "They put themselves in a situation that is the worst-case scenario for (emerging markets): stagflation-low growth and high inflation."

BULGARIA BANK SYSTEM UNDER ATTACK, SAYS CENTRAL BANK

Queues are forming outside banks including First Investment Bank in Sofia
Bulgaria's central bank has said there has been a systematic attempt to destabilise the country through attacks on the banking system.
It said it would use all powers at its disposal to protect citizens' savings.
Shares in Bulgarian banks fell sharply for the second day in a row.
These is speculation that a run on deposits at the country's fourth-biggest bank, Corporate Commercial Bank, could spread to others.
The central bank took control of Corporate Commercial Bank last week and said its problems were isolated. Economists and Fitch Ratings agency have also played down the risk of contagion, while foreign banks with subsidiaries in Bulgaria insist their operations are safe.
But comments by a deputy from the country's ruling party on Thursday that another bank may suffer a similar fate further hit confidence and left investors rushing to ditch Bulgarian bank stocks.

MAJOR BULGARIAN BANK HIT BY RUN ON DEPOSITS, SECOND IN A WEEK


SOFIA, Bulgaria — A second Bulgarian bank has been hit by a run within the past week, prompting authorities to issue a statement claiming there is no reason for depositors to worry about their money despite reports the financial system is shaky.
First Investment Bank, Bulgaria's third-largest lender, was the target of media rumors on Friday alleging that it was short on liquidity, causing public panic and a run on deposits.
The central bank called the rumors "an attempt to destabilize the state through an organized attack against banks without any reason" and demanded legal action against those spreading "untrue and ill-intentioned rumors." The government said there is "no cause for concern."
Last week, Corpbank was hit by a run, leading the central bank to put it under supervision for three months.

THE NEW YORK TIMES: R.B.S. TO SPEND $1.7 BILLION ON MOBILE BANKING GROWTH

The Royal Bank of Scotland’s headquarters in London.

LONDON — The Royal Bank of Scotland is making a major bet that consumers in the future will do most of their banking on mobile phones or tablets.
On Friday, R.B.S., based in Edinburgh, said it would spend 1 billion pounds, or about $1.7 billion, in its consumer and small-business banking operations through 2017 as part of a more digital-focused strategy.
The bank said it planned to add nearly 100 automated teller machines and transform its branches from locations that are mostly focused on transactions to centers for financial advice and education. It will add 600 additional in-branch teller machines to take cash deposits and checks from consumers.
The bank said it would also upgrade its mobile platforms and roll out wireless service and other new technology, like iPads to log on to its online banking network, at 400 of its branches.
R.B.S. said it expected about half of its customer transactions to come from its mobile applications in the next four years, up from about 40 percent in 2013. Branch transactions are expected to account for only about 5 percent of its business by 2017, compared with 13 percent last year.

THE WASHINGTON POST: THE BANKING INDUSTRY WANTS TO BE JUST LIKE AMAZON

Love Hearts sweets wait to be sorted and packaged on the production line at the Swizzels-Matlow factory in New Mills, northern England February 13, 2012. The sweets were first produced in 1954 as novelty gifts in Christmas crackers and now feature over 200 different messages. REUTERS/Phil Noble (BRITAIN - Tags: BUSINESS FOOD SOCIETY)
It started out as mild infatuation, but now it seems bankers have developed a full-blown crush on Amazon.com.
From Citigroup to SunTrust, banking industry executives are gushing over the Internet retailer's use of analytics to figure out what customers want, a model that bankers see as the salvation for an industry being invaded by more nimble retail, tech and telecom competitors.
Just like Amazon, banks collect vast amounts of information about their clients. Your bank knows what you buy, how much you spend and whether you have anything saved. That kind of intel could be used to anticipate whether you need a credit card, car loan or investments.
It's one thing to simply offer a car loan, Thong Nguyen, the head of retail banking at Bank of America, said at a press breakfast in Manhattan Thursday. "It's more interesting to see that you are on month 33 of your car loan payments...and then present you the opportunity to get a cheaper rate,"
Consumers--whether they are buying a Kindle or opening a checking account--want companies to make products relevant to their individual needs, Nguyen said. There is something to be said for getting an email of feminist reading suggestions from Amazon, after you've finished a Bell Hooks book on your Kindle.
The banking industry is betting that the same sort of tailor-made approach could work for mortgages and credit cards too. The trick will be to do it without appearing creepy or intrusive.

Friday, 27 June 2014

WORLD BANK CUTS 2014, 2015 GROWTH FORECAST FOR KENYA CITING INSECURITY, DROUGHT

The Kenyan economy stands a risk of under-performing owing to deteriorating security and severe drought that has hit the bread basket areas of Rift Valley. East Africa’s largest economy will probably expand an annual 4.7 percent in 2014 and 2015, the World Bank said in a bi-annual economic report
The lender in December forecast expansion of 5.1 percent this year and 5.2 percent next year.
The bank also revealed that the economy performed miserably in the first quarter (January–March) of this year, growing by 2.7 percent compared to 5.7 percent in a similar period last year. “We expect that the economy will grow by 4.7 percent this year (2014),” said John Randa, the Bank’s Senior Economist.
Volatile security Mr. Randa noted that the major downsides to the projected economic growth include the deteriorating security situation in the country, inadequate and erratic rainfall, volatile security situation in the Middle East vis-à-vis oil prices. Others include tightened global monetary conditions, which is feared to create volatility in the forex market and domestic interest rates.
“If these risks persist, then we would not achieve the growth rate we have projected,” he said.
Rainfall was below average in some farming areas during the main wet season from March to May in Kenya, which is the world’s largest exporter of black tea and relies on agriculture to generate more than a fifth of its economic output. The dry weather cut farming yields and led to crop failure in some cases, according to the Kenya Meteorological Department.
Tourism, which is the second-biggest foreign-currency earner after tea shipments, has been damaged by a spate of attacks claimed by Islamist al-Shabaab militants, including a raid on a Nairobi mall in September that left at least 67 people dead.

EXIM BANK TANZANIA THUMPS PWC 5-2 IN FRIENDLY MATCH


EXIM Bank Tanzania FC popularly known as 'Innovation team' thrashed PWC 5-2 in a friendly match played at Karume Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
During the match that attracted several spectators, Exim Bank enjoyed a lion share of ball possession.
The victors broke the deadlock in the 20th minute through Lusajo Adam before Norbert Misana doubled the team's lead two minutes later.
After the break, PWC made changes and it paid off immediately as they pulled level with two quick fire goals in the 47th and 54th minutes of the game.
However, Exim Bank retreated and regained their lead through Misana, who scored twice in the 55th minutes, and the fourth in the 70th minute, before Rogers Timoth sealed the lead in the 85th minute.
Speaking shortly after the final whistle, hat-trick hero Misana said the match was rather easier as compared to their previous matches.
"I think we played much better as compared to PWC. Today our team was very much organised in the midfield and we took a full control of the game. We have played as a team throughout the match.
"We normally, do training every weekend. This trend of training on weekly basis does not only give us the fitness to beat every opponent who come our way but it also put us into a good shape," said Misana.

TANZANIA: FIRM SET TO BUILD 50,000 HOUSES FOR PUBLIC SERVANTS

PUBLIC servants have a reason to smile as they are set to benefit from more than 50,000 housing units to be built by Watumishi Housing Company (WHC).
Speaking to the 'Daily News', WHC Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Fred Msemwa, said the company, which was established last year, was the main implementer of the Tanzania Public Servants Housing Scheme tasked with building 50,000 housing units in phases.
Dr Msemwa said the housing units would be sold to public servants across the country under the mortgage arrangement. "WHC will link up public servants interested in buying the housing units with appropriate banks...the banks will pay for the housing units for the prospective buyer and make monthly deductions from the buyer's salaries," he explained.
The CEO revealed that prospective buyers would not be required to make a down payment before the houses were constructed as was being done by other institutions building and selling low-cost houses in the country.
He said special features that would make the houses more affordable to public servants include affordable interest rates of between 11 and 13 per cent from the banks; the ability to defer payments and pay some amount at the end using pension fund, and a longer repayment period of up to 25 years.

TANZANIA: TURKISH INVESTORS EYE AGRICULTURE, CONSTRUCTION SECTOR PROJECTS

MORE Turkish investments are likely to flow into the country this year, thanks to Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Bernard Membe and his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu's efforts to strengthen bilateral trade.
Mr Membe visited Turkey earlier this year while Mr Davutoglu was in the country earlier this month. The two Foreign Affairs Ministers have boosted trade and investment between the two countries, Turkey and Tanzania Chamber of Commerce Chairperson, Esra Eristi has said.
Ms Eristi told 'Daily News' in Dar es Salaam that Turkish business people are interested in the fast growing construction and agriculture sectors.
"One Turkish construction equipment company has already started selling its products in Tanzania," Ms Eristi who is also Managing Director of Aydin Logistics named the company as Hidromek.
Ms Eristi paid tribute to Minister Membe and Davutoglu for encouraging interaction between local and Turkish business people a move which has greatly helped to boost bilateral trade and investment flows from Ankara to Dar es Salaam.
"We have now formally established this chamber so that Turkish companies operating in Tanzania can have a platform to advance their investment plans," she noted. According to Tanzania Investment Centre records, there were 25 Turkish companies that had invested in Tanzania by last January.