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‘Bei ya Ukweli,’ know which supemarkets are ripping you off



Nobody would purchase an item for a higher price if they knew all the prices for that product sold by different people at various locations, unless it is extremely urgent. That is gradually becoming a reality in Kenya, where young people are utilising the power of social media to help citizens make informed purchase decisions.

A Twitter account that started sharing comparative prices for various household consumables four weeks ago is now gaining tremendous traction on social media.

‘Bei ya Ukweli’  (the right price) has wowed Kenyans at how it has been able to collect price data at major supermarkets, analyse it using simple tools and publish on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for free to make it easier for consumers to make decisions about where to purchase goods at an affordable price.

Anthony Wairegi, a 21-year-old fourth year IT student at Strathmore University, told the Nation that the initiative, which began as an academic project for a team of five, has even drawn the attention of statistics and Big Data companies, because of its simple model.

“We are three IT students from Strathmore University and two from the University of Nairobi studying Finance. When we released the first report, we received enormous feedback on Twitter. It gave us the impetus to go deeper into the field to collect this data,” says Wairegi, the project lead.

He adds that initially they received protests from supermarkets but by striking consent with Naivas, Carrefour, Quickmart and Chandarana, Bei Ya Ukweli managed to highlight what the retailers are charging for fast-moving goods.

Huge impact

In their social media post on February 5, a tray of eggs was retailing at Sh395 at Chandarana Adlife, Sh429 at Naivas Moi Avenue, Sh430 at Quickmart Tom Mboya and Sh383 at Carrefour Mega. The online price reporting has had an instant impact, forcing some supermarkets to reduce their prices, putting the spotlight on the role of the Consumer Protection Department of the Competition Authority of Kenya that has left shoppers exposed to greedy businesses.

A shopping basket containing 23 items among them maize flour, cooking oil, sugar, milk, rice, sanitary pads, soap among others totalled Sh5,309 at Chandarana, Sh4,903 at Naivas, Sh5,265 at Quickmart and Sh5,090 at Carrefour on January 29. But after the Twitter post, the totals were reduced, underscoring the influence the initiative is having on retailers.

“Since we started doing supermarket price checks three weeks ago, prices of basic goods have come down by six per cent on average,” Bei ya Ukweli tweeted on February 18.

On February 17, the team published its findings on the prices of various over-the-counter drugs sold by Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), Nairobi Hospital, MyDawa app and Goodlife Pharmacy, compared to prices in the Central Business District.

For Accu-Chek Performa test strips used in the control of diabetes whose price in CBD chemists is Sh1,335, AKUH charges at Sh2,073 (55 per cent higher), Nairobi Hospital Sh3,000 (125 per cent more), MyDawa at Sh2,275 (70 per cent increase), while consumers part with Sh2,930 at Goodlife (119 per cent).

“This is eye-opening. We have lacked a platform to compare prices for a long time,” said Charity Muthoni, a South B resident.

Consumer protection

The team has also shared about how much it will cost you to purchase everything needed to make a bedsitter room adorable, and going further to publish the prices of items in a two-bedroom house.

The idea, first mooted by Antony and his friend Mercy Otieno, has received support from individual financiers in the banking, telecoms and regulation sectors, enabling the team to hire 40 data collectors across the country.

Theirs is the blend of using legacy data collection methods, modern analytics and reporting skills where they rely on social media for dissemination.

Their followers on Twitter have been flooding their inbox with requests to conduct price comparisons about mobile data, smartphones, TVs, fridges, laptops, cars and even rent in various estates.

“We are now moving faster to register it as a business. For a better economy, consumers must be protected. This is our goal,” said Anthony.


Congo, Technip Energies Ink Cooperation Agreement During Invest in African Energy Forum in Paris



Congo’s Ministry of Hydrocarbons signed a cooperation agreement with French energy services provider Technip Energies during the Invest in African Energy Forum in Paris. Signed by Minister H.E. Bruno Jean-Richard Itoua and Technip Energies COO Marco Villa, the deal will see the parties expand cooperation on capacity building in the fields of onshore and offshore energy developments at a time when the Central African country is looking at expanding its energy market.

As per the terms of the agreement, Technip Energies will provide its expertise to strengthen both the Ministry’s and the national oil company’s capacities regarding energy transition principles, including liquefied natural gas (LNG), zero carbon energy solutions, and decarbonization.

More specifically, the deal covers areas such as process engineering (including oil and water treatment facilities and gas processing facilities); offshore and onshore platforms and installations (including semi-submersible rigs, LNG trains, fertilizer plants and refineries) and conception development for an offshore oil and gas field (including technical studies, cost estimation and economic analysis, engineering, execution and management of an floating production, storage and offloading unit and floating LNG).

“Signing the deal in Paris is symbolic. Technip Energies is essential to developing capacity in my country at all levels. It is essential for the country to have skilled people and experts which is why we are proud to have signed this deal, as it will help us develop capacities. We hope that this partnership will give more space to Technip Energies in the Congo and we will continue to give incentives to companies to work with Technip Energies and come into the country,” stated H.E. Minister Itoua.

Apart from enhancing capacity in project design and development, the agreement allows Congo to harness Technip Energies’ proficiency in health, safety, and environmental studies. The French energy service provider will facilitate personnel training in all aspects of development, utilizing their expertise in the aforementioned areas.

“This is an important step for our presence on the continent and I can assure you that we will fulfil our commitments. It is part of our strategic commitment to be close to the country from the concept phase to the end of the development,” added Villa.

The deal follows a series of advancements seen across the country’s LNG market including the inauguration of the 3 million ton per year Congo LNG project by Eni in April this year. As the country moves to establish itself as both a regional hub and global exporter, the deal lays the foundation for the expansion of the domestic LNG market on the back of private-public cooperation and capacity building efforts.

During the AEW 2023 conference Congo’s emerging status as a global LNG producer will be on display. Through various panel discussions, networking summits and investment forums, the event will connect potential investors and project developers with Congolese opportunities. Join AEW 2023 and be part of the African energy renaissance.

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Fuel prices may hit Kshs200 a litre soon



By Wanja Waweru

If Parliament approves a proposal by President William Ruto’s administration to quadruple Value Added Tax (VAT) on petrol in a scheme that might make Kenya have the highest prices in the region, pump prices will almost surpass the Sh200 per litre threshold.

According to a Business Daily analysis, if MPs supported the proposal in the Finance Bill to raise VAT to 16 percent, a litre of Super would cost Sh13.51 more after the increased taxes, while a litre of diesel would cost Sh12.40 more.

The predicted increase in VAT revenue will bring the total to Sh128.98 billion yearly, or Sh10.7 billion each month.

However, the collections are based on crude oil prices around the world and fuel use.

On Sunday, President William Ruto justified the proposal to double the value-added tax (VAT) on petrol by arguing that Kenyans pay lower taxes than people in comparable countries and that increased levies will raise the much-needed money to finance development initiatives like the construction of roads.

“We are not overtaxing ourselves. But to balance it out, as we add eight percent on the same fuel, I have removed the Railway Development Levy (two percent) and Import Declaration Fee (3.5 percent),” Dr Ruto said on Sunday evening in a joint television interview.

He said the government is targeting an extra Sh50 billion from the additional taxes.

“To further balance it out I have removed the eight percent VAT on gas and other taxes to try and even the budget.”

The anticipated increase in VAT collections from fuel will come at a cost to homes and businesses that will be grappling with a fresh rise in inflationary pressure.

Consumers are currently paying Sh182.70 per litre of Super, Sh168.40 for diesel while a litre of kerosene costs Sh161.13 — the highest in Kenya since the State started regulating pump prices.

A scrutiny of the Finance Bill, 2023 shows that Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is the only fuel from where Import Declaration Fee (IDL) and Railway Development Levy (RDL) will be removed.

Based on the official monthly consumption figures from the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) currently collects an estimated Sh64.5 billion from VAT on diesel, Super, and kerosene.

Given that fuel prices have a substantial impact on the price of products and services in Kenya’s diesel-run economy, the doubling of VAT will cause the country’s pump prices to diverge even more from those in the rest of the region, causing additional pain for customers.

After Uganda and Rwanda, Kenya now has the third-most expensive petrol in East Africa.

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Kate Actress: I once returned money to a brand that needed my influencer services



In order for a collaboration between an influencer and a business to succeed, Kenyan actress Catherine Kamau, also known as Kate Actress, has said that an influencer’s responsibility is to build trust between a marketer and its customers.

Kate called out brands that frequently change their influencers, saying this does not earn them any trust with their stakeholders who feel they are inconsistent.

She was speaking during a Twitter Spaces conversation about the impact of influencers in driving brand stories, which was moderated by Social Media & Content Marketing Expert Janet Machuka.

“For me to remain authentic, I’ve learnt how to say no to brands I feel that maybe don’t align with my values. I have learnt how to hold brands accountable. As an influencer, you are not here to sanitize brands. I’ve had to return money to some brands because I realized they wanted me to sanitize them in some ways and I’m not for that,” Kate said.

“I think it’s just about building trust between you and your TA. If you can put them on a retainer, those that you think are giving you conversions or the visibility, I mean, it’s up to you,” she further explained.

One of the major influencers in the nation right now is the actress. For many years, she has served as the nation’s face of numerous companies, and whenever people see her, they immediately connect her with the company she has been endorsing and influencing.

She has represented Harpic cleaning goods in Kenya for the past 12 years. She was selected as the spokesperson and brand ambassador for L’Oreal, a French-owned multinational firm, in April 2022 for their famed Nice and Lovely body lotion. She has been actively associated with the enormous Netflix streaming network recently.

Aside from having some of the movies she acted in streaming on the platform, Kate has been influencing for Netflix and is among a handful of Kenyan actors and influencers who participate in Netflix events around Africa, including Netflix film premiere  events and lavish social events in South Africa as was the case with the premiere  of Queen Charlotte, a prequel to the world renowned Bridgerton series.

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