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.
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.
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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).
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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;
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