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Why your favourite imported brands are not on the shelves

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Consumers are set to face rising commodity prices as a result of delays in the clearing of goods at the Mombasa port

Confusion at the port of Mombasa, as well as insider sabotage designed to topple efforts to remove counterfeit goods from Kenyan shelves, is the reason some of your favourite imported brands constantly go missing from shops.

The multi-agency team charged with cleaning up operations at the port has imposed a 100 per cent verification process on imports.

Consumers are also set to face rising commodity prices as the resulting delay in clearing goods makes some products scarce.

The delays, which result in expensive demurrage charges on the imports, are then passed down to the consumers, who will have to dig deeper into their pockets to pay for the goods.

Major manufacturers like Coca-Cola, which imports industrial sugar, and East African Breweries have previously reported the delays, which stakeholders say can be minimised if not avoided entirely.

Although senior Trade ministry officials were not available for comment on the practicality of the process and how it could be managed to minimise the market inconveniences it was causing, their juniors involved in the verification said some forces were out to make the process messy and allow for an influx of illicit products.

“We have planned to sample only certain products classified as high-risk but some people resorted to sampling everything and taking time to verify them, which is not good for the market. As a result, there is a public outcry on insufficient supply. They hope to use that to justify their opposition to the verification,” said an officer, who requested anonymity.

Efforts to get comment from Deputy Head of Public Service Wanyama Musiambo, who also heads the multi-agency team on illicit goods, were in vain as he did not answer text messages and calls.

However, the delays are avoidable because Kenya appointed inspection agents in the regions where the goods are imported from in 2005.

Under the Pre-Export Verification of Conformity to Standards, goods are assessed in the country of origin to ensure their compliance with the applicable Kenyan standards.

Last week, Trade Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya applied breaks on destination- inspection of goods entering the Kenyan market without a pre-export verification.

“I have granted the last authority for destination inspection. All importers are notified that with effect from today, January 23, 2019, no requests for destination inspection will be received by the minister,” Mr Munya said.

Kenya appointed Bureau Veritas S.A, Intertek International Limited, China Certification and Inspection (Group) Inspection Company Limited (CCIC), Cotecna Inspection S.A and Swiss-based SGS, stationed in various parts of the world, to carry out the inspection on behalf of Kebs.

The pre-export verification was meant to facilitate the smooth flow of commodities into the country and has been lauded for increasing efficiency and curbing tax evasion.

Mr Munya’s directive, which should essentially hasten the clearing of goods at the port, will however worsen the delays when the goods are subjected to fresh inspection upon arrival.

Importers are allowed up to four days to clear goods from the port, beyond which one begins to be penalised via demurrage charges.

The verification process, which takes up to 30 or 40 days in some cases, is said to have caused losses. Some consumer products are said to be expiring at the port.

The Kenya Association of Manufacturers has been vocal in calling for an extension of the free days’ allotment, to allow for the extended clearance period.

“The four days’ free period should be increased to 15 days or aligned with cargo clearing agency service charters. The current cost of demurrage is very high as a result of failure by agencies to perform within their service level agreement. Today, the private sector has been left exposed and bears all costs [caused] by intervening agencies’ inefficiency. In [the] event of delays, the response agency/party should take responsibility,” KAM said in a statement.

Source: Daily Nation

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Kenya Airports Authority responds to Sonko’s JKIA toilet rant

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The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), has explained why toilet facilities at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) are in a poor condition.

This after Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, who arrived in Nairobi on Thursday morning from London, ranted on social media about the pathetic state of the facility’s washroom.

A statement shared on their Twitter handle, KAA said that the washrooms at the airport are the way they are due to vandalism which is currently being experienced at the airport.

VANDALISM

They also said they have commissioned a contractor who is on the ground and is systematically repairing and replacing the faulty equipment.

“Our attention has been drawn to concerns on social media relating the washrooms at JKIA. These cases are as a result of vandalism which we are unfortunately experiencing at the airport,” KAA’s statement read.

“We currently have a contractor on the ground who is systematically repairing and replacing the defective equipment. We apologize for any inconvenience caused but assure all airport users that we strive for customer satisfaction,” the statement further read.

HARSH CRITICISM 

KAA came under harsh criticism from Kenyans after Mr Sonko shared a video capturing the urinal in the men’s washroom with exposed cables with no appropriate water flashing mechanism.

Mr Sonko vented on how he had to connect two wires that were visible from the area that is supposed to have the flush button, for water to come out.

He also claimed that he was electrocuted while answering a short call in the toilets.

source:nairobinews

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City residents adopt carpooling concept to beat jams, steep fares

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This informal means of transport has its downsides, but is useful for many in Nairobi

Would you share a private car with a stranger headed in the same direction and share the costs instead of taking a taxi or matatu? Well, it seems some Nairobi residents are increasingly adopting carpooling to save themselves from the high cost and bad driving habits of matatu drivers.

At Car Wash, a sprawling middle-class neighbourhood in Kasarani, residents share a ride every morning, saving money and time spent in traffic, and arriving at work in style and more comfortably.

They are also escaping a desperate situation: the dire lack of public service vehicles (PSVs). The few that ply this route often leave them stranded on the busy highway with no connecting vehicles into the estate.

Car Wash estate is located between the Roysambu and Githurai 45 neighbourhoods, on the outskirts of Nairobi.

Isolated between two major highway exit points, the area has no dedicated PSVs and so residents created a carpooling scheme.

Carwash residents board private cars as several private cars line up to pick commuters on the way to town.

Ms Judy Mugo is a resident of Kasarani. She lives at a place called Seasons, which is closer to Mwiki Road than it is to Thika Road.

Late for work

For her commute to town, where she works as a customer care agent with a bank, she opts to walk hundreds of metres to Car Wash. Her aim? To ride-share with the residents there.

“Before carpooling, I used to be seated in a matatu at 5.30am. Then I would arrive in town very early and idle around waiting for the bank to open,” says Ms Mugo.

But if Ms Mugo decided to leave her house late, she would always get to town late for work.

“It takes more than an hour to access town via public means and you pay Sh80 while it takes me a maximum of forty minutes in a private car and I pay Sh50.”

Victor Mwaura, a young businessman based in Ngara, has also ditched matatus and depends solely on carpooling rides to get to work.

Private car owners who spoke to the Sunday Nation said the motivation behind ride-sharing is simply to help distraught residents.

“I live in Kahawa Sukari. I decided to start sharing my car when I saw the number of people stranded by the roadside,” says Timothy Odhiambo, who often stops to pick up residents on his way to town.

It has been one year since he started sharing his car with Car Wash residents.

“I pick up passengers daily on my way to town for business. I do it out of kindness,” Mr Odhiambo insists, “The Sh50 they pay as fare does not make much financial sense to me.”

His sentiments are shared by Stephen Njenga, a businessman based in Westlands, who picks up passengers at least thrice a week, depending on his schedule.

Carwash residents board private cars as several private cars line up to pick commuters on the way to town.

The ride-sharing concept here is disorganised as passengers scramble for cars. This puts off some drivers, who drive off never to stop again.

Mr Odhiambo claims to have stopped picking up passengers for some time after losing his side mirror in the scramble.

Ms Mugo wishes passengers would queue up to board.

Ride-sharing is widespread in the US and western countries but it is still a relatively new concept in Kenya.

“The concept here is informal but is more common upcountry, where a person going to the city will stop at the matatu stage and pick up a passenger or two,” says Ms Kellie Murungi, senior consultant at Lattice Consulting, a boutique finance and strategy advisory firm.

But the Car Wash example perhaps points to a country that is ripe for organised carpooling.

Former Kiambu County executive committee member for transport Nancy Njeri, now the transport planning manager at the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, said carpooling is a good concept that the government should promote and encourage.

source:Sunday Nation

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Why Ipsos-Kenya sacked analyst Tom Wolf

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Sacked Ipsos analyst Tom Wolf says he is still in the dark over the exact reasons that led to his axing from the leading market research firm.

After more than a decade as the corporate face of Ipsos Kenya (previously Steadman and Synovate), this past Monday, Dr Wolf announced that his contract had been terminated effective March 31.

“This is as a result of the decision made by Ipsos in Paris that Ipsos-Kenya should not include ‘political’ survey results in its public releases for the foreseeable future … on the basis of this decision, it was judged that my position as a research analyst had become redundant. I was therefore given notice, which took effect on March 31 this year. I am thus no longer associated with Ipsos,” he had said in a statement.

In an interview, Dr Wolf said his sacking came as a surprise and no plausible reason has been given to him for the decision. But he admitted having been given several months’ notice.

“I can tell you that I have never received from Ipsos in writing or even verbally any major criticism of my work. On the contrary, it was often praised, by both local and global Ipsos management. However, on several occasions, we were advised that we were releasing ‘too much’ information to the media at a time thus swamping them with data, and that my presentations to the media were at times ’too academic’.

“I am not saying my work is perfect, not at all. But no one ever questioned the core of what we were doing,” he said.

Dr Wolf’s sacking and the apparent shift in policy by Ipsos with regard to political surveys in Kenya has caused consternation as to what could have led to such a shift.

But Ipsos Kenya CEO Aggrey Oriwo told the Sunday Nation there is no change in policy that he is aware of.

“Ipsos has no intention of disengaging from political polling in Kenya. We will get back to tracking voter’s intention as we get closer to the next election. We do a lot of polling in Kenya on many issues. As always, we will continue to release it to the media on a regular basis,” Mr Oriwo said.

Two years ago, the government of Egypt ordered Ipsos’ office in Cairo closed amid criticism from pro-government talk show hosts and state-aligned newspapers for “sympathising with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, links to foreign intelligence agencies, labour law violations, and tax evasion, all of which it denies,” Reuters reported in July 2017.

The sacking of Dr Wolf came after an unusually long period during which none of its national household surveys have been released.

Ipsos Kenya last released its survey data on September 19, 2018, some seven months ago.

“All I can say is that Ipsos was known for doing three to four surveys per year and releasing some of the results to the public through the media, while other results were client-privileged. But I am not revealing anything confidential when I say that this recent period is the longest without any such release since I started working for Steadman in 2005,” Dr Wolf said.

But Mr Oriwo rejected reports that the firm’s global headquarters has been embargoing survey results and blocking their release.

“This report is false. We have a central polling group that supports our polling worldwide. The decisions about how and when we do political polling in Kenya is ultimately made in Kenya with global support and oversight. The decision about what polling is released is made cooperatively by our Kenya and global polling team,” he said.

Mr Oriwo also said he was not at liberty to discuss Dr Wolf’s exit from the polling firm.

“As for Dr Wolf, this is a private matter and we do not discuss staff/personnel issues in the media,” he said.

Dr Wolf also questioned Ipsos’ silence on his sacking though he was “a fairly well-known figure” and for many years the public face of Ipsos in Kenya.

“Ipsos’ silence and my departure from work have made me extremely sad. Granted, it has given me a useful income and I have to enjoy being in the limelight somewhat. After teaching in high school at the Coast in the 1960s and later at the University of Nairobi, I find it quite stimulating to stand before journalists during our briefing and helping them to analyse survey results, and as you know, I also often privately complain to them when I feel their published interpretations are incorrect,” he said.

“I have also found participation in various TV and radio interviews and panel discussions most challenging in a positive way.”

Failure by Ipsos to announce his exit, he says, is what prompted him to issue a statement.

“The main reason I issued a statement to the media about my departure was that Ipsos was silent and I already had been out of work for over a week. Mind you, there was no discussion with me before I left as to how to make this public.

“In the absence of any guidance as to what the company was going to do, given that I have become a fairly well-known figure, I thought it was proper for me to tell the public. Even my colleagues in the office were unaware of what had happened until I issued my statement,” he said.

source:nation.co.ke

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