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Tough Times as HELB Runs Out of Money to Loan 140,000 Students - Money Weekly
Tough Times as HELB Runs Out of Money to Loan 140,000 Students - Money Weekly
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Tough Times as HELB Runs Out of Money to Loan 140,000 Students - Money Weekly

Sheila Brenda Andoi
March 23, 2023

In this week’s edition of Money Weekly, we take a look at what has been happening in the money world. Student’s financing in tertiary institutions takes the lead after the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) says it does not have enough money to lend to 140,000 students. The government is also seeking to create 100,000 new jobs in the leather industry, while traders are struggling to secure maize imports due to increased prices. There have been lots of developments.

As we do every Thursday, here's our weekly summary of the top news from the last seven days that could impact your money.

140,000 Students Fail to Receive HELB Loans

A significant crisis in student funding for higher education institutions is on the horizon after it was discovered that HELB does not have enough money to lend to 140,000 students.

On Wednesday, March 23, HELB informed Parliament that it had run out of money, requiring parents and guardians to look for other ways to cover their children's tuition.

Parents will also have to dig deeper into their pockets to cater for housing and living costs for students in universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions.

HELB informed the MPs that students would have to wait longer for their disbursements as the lender awaits Treasury to release Ksh5.7 billion. 

“Currently we have 140,000 students in TVETs and universities that we have not been able to fund to the tune of Ksh5.7 billion because we have run out of money, from the Ksh4.5 billion budget that we had presented to Treasury,” HELB CEO Charles Ringera stated.

HELB also disclosed that it did not provide funding for 75,000 students during the previous fiscal year due to the National Treasury’s delays in releasing Ksh3 billion.

The majority of first-year students, according to Ringera, would have to find alternative means of paying for their tuition, housing, and maintenance due to the delays.

Each student whose loan request is granted receives between Ksh35,000 and Ksh60,000 per year. 

Ksh8,000 of the total approved loan is sent directly to the university as tuition. The remaining amount is sent to the beneficiary's bank account; usually in two equal installments - half of it for each of the two semesters. 

According to Mr. Ringera, a request to use a supplemental budget to cover the current financial shortfall was turned down.

In the 2021/22 fiscal year, the organisation received Ksh14.8 billion to finance students’ higher education needs. 

HELB is designed to be a revolving fund, where recipients who have finished their education pay it back to assist new students.

Read Also: To Drop Our or Not? Balancing School and Work - Adalla Alan

Government Seeks to Create 100,000 New Jobs in the Leather Industry.

Through the implementation of the Kenya Leather Development Policy, the government hopes to create an additional 100,000 jobs in the local leather industry.

The Cabinet addressed the yet-to-be-implemented policy on Tuesday, March 21, 2023. Given that Kenya has Africa's third-largest animal herd, the policy's goal is to increase commerce in leather and related goods in the country.

Earnings from livestock and products grew to Ksh161.6 billion shillings in 2021, according to official statistics. In the same year, 11.5 million cattle, goats, and sheep were slaughtered, providing local leather tanneries with much-needed raw materials.

The Cabinet noted that the program was a crucial economic driver under the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA). 

Read Also: Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs and Careers in 2023

Traders Struggle to Secure Maize Imports Due to Increased Prices

Traders have been unable to acquire maize imports due to high prices in the international market. This has made it difficult to ship in the produce at the government-restricted price of Ksh4,200 for a 90-kilogram bag.

On the international market, a tonne of maize has reached $420 (Ksh54,978), which translates to Ksh6,000 to buy and bring a 90-kilo bag to Kenya. 

This has put Kenyan traders in a difficult position because the government had restricted pricing to a maximum of Ksh4,200 per 90-kilo bag.

Last week, a ship carrying maize from Ukraine docked at the Port of Mombasa, but it was later found that it had ferried yellow maize instead of the white one consumed in Kenya.

The development suggests that the imports, which were meant to lower the high price of flour, will have little impact in cushioning Kenyans from the high cost of living.

Read Also: Inflation is Your Biggest Enemy in 2023: 6 Smart Ways to Invest Your Money

Food Costs May Decrease as Wheat Imports Arrive.

The cost of rice and wheat flour may decrease over the next few weeks as a result of the arrival of 30,000 tonnes of Ukrainian wheat at the port in Mombasa.

Five grain ships are expected at the port, and this one is the first.

The shipment is a part of Volodymyr Zelenskyy's "Grain from Ukraine" (GfU) humanitarian program.

For Kenyans who have been struggling with high grain prices. The imports come as a relief, with inflation rising in February for the first time in four months due to increasing pressure on food and cooking gas prices.

Andriy Yermak, Head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office and Chairman of the International Coordination Group for the Prevention of Hunger (ICGPH), indicated that the shipment would help alleviate the famine that is affecting different parts of the country

“Today’s shipment to Kenya cements our ongoing commitment to tackle forced famine across Africa’s most vulnerable nations,” said Yermak.

Read Also: 5 Ways to Cope with Financial Loss

Kenyan Tea Exporters Profit from the Weak Shilling

Kenya's tea exporters have benefited from the weak shilling, earning more than $1.32 billion (KSh171.7 billion) from the commodity, at a time when East African importers have been battling with a dollar shortage that has driven up the cost of basic commodities.

The Tea Board of Kenya (TBK) reported that shipments rose to $1.07 billion (KSh139.21 billion) in 2022. The average cost of tea leaves at the Mombasa tea auction jumped 18.6% last year to $2.49 (KSh324) per kilogram.

The weakening Kenyan Shilling against the US dollar as well as increased pricing was attributed to the rise in export earnings.

Kenya depends on the export of tea, tourism revenue, remittances from the diaspora, and horticulture supplies to earn foreign exchange. The earnings in turn pay for imports and debt servicing, many of the payments being made in dollars. 

Read Also: KRA Clarifies Tax Policy on Mitumba Imports

Safaricom, M-Pesa Among Most Loved Brands by Women in Kenya

Safaricom, M-Pesa, Airtel, Equity Bank, and Naivas Supermarket were among the top five most preferred brands among Kenyan women.

This is according to a recent analysis produced by BSD Group and Ipsos, which elaborates on women's consumer behavior across the country, based on research conducted between February and March 2023.

According to Chris Githaiga, managing director of Ipsos Kenya,the study sought to close the knowledge and insight gap in comprehending the female consumer market.

According to Mr. Githaiga, 78% of adult women's income is spent on household expenditures, and 97% of adult women play a significant role in the acquisition of goods or services utilized in their homes.

As per the report, the full list of the top 100 brands loved by women are;

  1. Safaricom
  2. M-Pesa
  3. Airtel
  4. Equity Bank
  5. Naivas
  6. Samsung
  7. Nice and lovely - Body care products/Lotion
  8. Softcare-Sanitary products
  9. Gotv
  10. NHIF
  11. Co-operative Bank
  12. KCB Bank
  13. Amara
  14. Ramtons
  15. Fanta
  16. Menengai - Home cleaning products/Bar soap
  17. Coca-Cola
  18. Always
  19. Arimis
  20. Toyota
  21. Family Bank
  22. Netflix
  23. Ariel
  24. The Aga Khan Hospital
  25. Brookside
  26. Nice and lovely - Hair products and equipment
  27. Dstv
  28. Delamere
  29. Toss
  30. M-Shwari
  31. StarTimes
  32. Ketepa
  33. Sun King
  34. Quickmart
  35. Ajab
  36. Pembe
  37. Mount Kenya
  38. KOKO
  39. TipTop
  40. Broadways
  41. Nice and lovely – Cosmetics
  42. Raha Premium
  43. One Acre Fund
  44. LG
  45. Daima
  46. Korie Rice
  47. Sawa
  48. Khetia’s
  49. Nivea - Body care products/Lotion 
  50. Minute Maid
  51. Dola
  52. Dumuzas
  53. Russia hospital (Jaramogi Odinga Hospital)
  54. Mercedes
  55. MEPHI Hospital Kilifi
  56. Kilifi District hospital
  57. Ndovu
  58. Zoe - Body care products/Lotion
  59. KCC
  60. Asis International
  61. Von
  62. K-gas
  63. Geisha
  64. MEWA Hospital
  65. Sony
  66. Emusanda Health Centre
  67. Jogoo
  68. Dettol
  69. Kabras
  70. Gracies Yoghurt
  71. KCB M-Pesa
  72. Telkom
  73. Supa Bread
  74. Venus
  75. Blue Band
  76. Lido - Body care products/ Bathing soap
  77. Kiirua hospital
  78. Kibos Sugar
  79. Men-Gas
  80. Avena
  81. Lato
  82. Jamaa
  83. Lido - Home cleaning products/Bar soap
  84. Nivea - Fragrances for women
  85. Consolata Hospital
  86. Moi teaching and referral hospital
  87. Pampers
  88. Matunda hospital
  89. Paul's Bakery
  90. Menengai - Body care products
  91. Mea (Agriculture Equipments)
  92. D. Light
  93. Mary hair salon
  94. St.Thomas Maternity Hospital
  95. My Girl
  96. Pumwani Hospital
  97. Post Bank
  98. Unaitas
  99. Daawat
  100. Makunga Hospital

Read Also: 5 Smart Ways to Monetise Your Personal Brand

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Sheila Brenda Andoi is a communicator, journalist, editor, and writer passionate about human-interest stories. You can find her on Twitter @sheilaandoi

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