To what extent is the County Government a taxing master?

County governments’ authority to collect business taxes.

The Constitution of Kenya creates a decentralized system of governance and administration. In order to exercise the decentralized powers and duties, county governments are authorized to raise their own revenue. Whereas the national government still collects a significant part of revenue, the Constitution and other laws have outlined the taxes, levies and fees that county governments can collect. Broadly speaking, county governments may impose entertainment taxes, property taxes and any other taxes they are authorized to impose. The taxes, levies, fees and charges target local residents and their businesses.

In the business context, the national government is in charge of functions such as the registration of business entities. On the other hand, county governments can issue and levy charges for licenses such as business permits. The amount of fees charged for a permit depends on the nature of the business, the size of its office and the number of employees.

County governments issue trade licenses for diverse economic activities including distribution services. Manufacturers and distributors are required to pay for distribution licenses in each county where they distribute, offload or supply goods and services.

In addition, county governments are empowered to collect cess fees, also referred to as infrastructure maintenance fees. This is a form of tax charged on fishing and agricultural products as well as extractives such as quarry products as they move across county borders. It is levied by the county from which the goods are produced and is collected at the source or during transportation of the products at designated roads. A transporter is required to produce evidence of paying cues in the county of origin. However, the transporter or trader has to pay market fees to access or sell the goods in the destination market. This is referred to as a market levy.

County governments are also authorized to charge fees on outdoor advertising. For instance, a county government can levy fees for the external branding of motor vehicles. The fees are charged on branded vehicles belonging to a business based in the county or that drive-in or through the county. In enacting laws, counties must follow the Constitution and ensure that the taxes, fees and levies charged will not impact national economic policies and economic activities negatively. Moreover, where a fee is to be charged on a service, the law requires that the fee should not exceed the cost of providing such service.

Sailing To The Ceiling?

Implications of the cost of fuel prices in Kenya.

Over the past three months, Kenyans have felt the heat of ever-increasing fuel prices. The prices have shot up on the account of the growing demand for oil as economies shake off the impact of the COVID- 19 pandemic and the more recent Russian-Ukraine war. The Kenyan shilling has also weakened against the dollar implying that fuel importers will use more shillings to import the same volumes of oil. This led to oil vendors withholding products from the Kenyan market while diverting fuel to neighboring countries in a bid to compel the government to track their payments as well. The Kenyan government had partially withdrawn the fuel subsidy sending diesel and petrol prices to an all-time high since October last year.

With historic heights, the super petrol and diesel prices shot by sh. 5.50 signaling the increase in the cost of basic goods and services hence having a direct impact on the Kenyan economy. The energy and petroleum Regulatory Authority (APRA) set the new retail prices at sh.150.12 for a litre of super petrol and sh. 131 for diesel. This single-handedly shows that there will be tough times for households and motorists given that fuel is the key determinant of the basket of goods and services used to measure inflation. When the fuel prices increase a larger share of the household’s budget is likely to be spent which leaves less to spend on other goods and services. For businesses, whose goods must be shipped from place to place the shipping prices will be much more expensive therefore increasing the prices of goods. This price has also shifted the growth of the economy through its effect on supply and demand for goods and services brought about by the production costs increasing slightly higher than expected.

Despite the increase in fuel prices the government committed to pay marketers an estimated sh. 14.39 billion as a subsidy to prevent further price escalation. The subsidy has come under increased pressure as the state struggles to compensate for the high deltas amid the global rally in crude prices. Apart from straining the government finances, higher fuel prices drive up inflation which sees lots of economic policies not being implemented. The inflation rate is expected to rise by 50%   in the coming months with prices of commodities’ becoming unsustainable.

Six Pillars Of Self-Esteem – Nathaniel Branden

We’ve reached a moment in history when self-esteem, which has always been an important psychological need, has also become a supremely important economic need. Identity, competence and worth are key, especially with the turbulence of our times as it is a dangerous time in history not to know who we are or not to trust ourselves. Self-esteem fully realized is the experience that we are appropriate to life and its requirements. It is the confidence in our ability to think and cope with the basic challenges of life and in our right to be successful and happy. Self-esteem has two interrelated components: A sense of basic confidence in the face of life’s challenges (self-efficacy) and a sense of being worthy of happiness (self-respect). To have high self-esteem is to feel confident and appropriate to live. When self-esteem is low, we are often manipulated by fear.

The 6 pillars of self-esteem according to Nathaniel are: The practice of living consciously that is living responsibly toward reality. It entails an active mind, an intelligence that takes joy in its function, being in the moment without losing the wider context, reaching out (rather than withdrawing) to relevant facts, interpretations and emotions. The practice of self-acceptance. Self-acceptance simply means to be on my side or for me. Self-acceptance entails compassion; being a friend to self. Self-esteem suffers if we are in a rejecting relationship with our physical being. The practice of self-responsibility. Self-responsibility is not only essential but also a manifestation of self-esteem. What one needs to know is the difference between what is within their control and what is not.

The practice of self-assertiveness. Self-assertiveness is honouring my wants, needs and values and seeking their appropriate expression in reality. It is tested by what we stand for, not what we are against. The practice of living purposefully; to live without purpose is to live with the mercy of chance because we have no standard by which to judge what is and is not worth doing. The practice of personal integrity. When our behavior is congruent with our professed values when ideals and practice match, we have integrity. Perseverance and courage are necessary for the road map to building good self-esteem. The energy for this commitment can only come from the love we have for our life. This love is the beginning of virtue. The seventh pillar of self-esteem!

Business Systems That Win By EinsBrand Digital

In May 2022, iGrand Business Plans Limited launched Dira La Biashara App 1.0 as part of its commitment to democratize access to business support services. The App has so far been rated as user-friendly, navigable and with real solutions for anyone in business, working or aspiring to be either. In this month’s column, I would like to use this space to give credit to EinsBrand Digital. The agency that supports website, Application and Systems development at iGrand Business Plans Limited. EinsBrand is the agency behind the beautiful brand that iGrand is becoming. It is Gideon, the Creative Lead of EinsBrand who thought through the whole process of designing and developing the Dira La Biashara App.

Whether you have already started the entrepreneurship journey or are planning to start, the first thing you will want to do is to be recognized by a brand and to be found on digital media platforms. This requires a combination of skills to achieve winning results. You will want intelligence to be communicated in art and ideas to be visualized. First, you need a brand architecture that will help you conceptualize the brand you are about to build, or the website, system or application. Concept building is a work of art and the artist must be creative enough to help your brand stand out. Second, you need a designer who can visualize the concept in a drawing before the developer picks up the work of making your website or App. At EinsBrand, these skills are present in one team and they have a proven record of handling clients professionally and with a great understanding of branding and website needs of different categories of businesses.

iGrand Business Plans Limited has an existing working relationship with EinsBrand Digital to help customers implement their Social Media, App and Web presence strategies. This relationship thrives on the need to have marketing plans, web, App and systems plans built by iGrand Business Plans and implemented by EinsBrand Digital. EinsBrand Digital has previous and current customers from different industries and has successfully helped brands to grow from scratch to wide recognition. Save the contacts for EinsBrand Digital in your phone or mailing list for business correspondence, referrals or related queries. Reach the Creative Lead via or connect via social media platforms. EinsBrand is also available on WhatsApp business via +254 732 338 840.

Connecting Kenyan Businesses To The African Market

Hosted by Ajira Digital on 25th February 2022

According to statistics, 93% of all online interactions start on such engines. 81% of customers research things online before they buy them. 84% of today’s customers think a website makes one’s business more credible than companies that only have social media profiles. These statistics reveal what was the main theme of this webinar as Hasnain Noorani the Founder and Managing Director of Pride Group, taught how Kenyan business owners could expand to the African market.

Tapping into the African market calls for growth in businesses. The secret to this growth lies in understanding the buyer problem; where purchasers are too busy to get to shops and hence end up relying on the same sellers due to lack of knowledge. CV is the solution to the buyer problem, the acronym stands for Communication and Visibility. These two, according to Hasnain, are key ingredients for growing any business. Communication calls for meeting as many people as possible and having one’s business card(s) during those conversations – networking.  Visibility involves rigorous activities in social media pages – branding. A dynamic and very active website is also key to visibility. Bill Gates says “If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.”

The pandemic provided a wake-up call to digitizing business i.e. digital methods of delivering products and services. Digitization reduces cost, automates business processes and reduces the reliance on manpower. Having an impact requires an online presence. No business in this era can successfully achieve optimum success without online sales. After all, how else will other business people in the African market get to know what one does? The challenge when it comes to visibility is that business owners have websites that are static and not updated, others lack the technical knowledge to operate the website, others find it time-consuming and expensive to maintain others are simply not connected to updated technology.

Differentiating between online existence and online presence is key. Online presence is what all business owners should aim at as it is the silent salesperson that deeply explains what one does. A good online presence is what attracts a valuable audience, not followers. Performing Search Engine Optimizations (SEOs) too is helpful.

Although there are limited platforms for the African market to showcase various businesses online, Amazon, Alibaba Group and are examples of platforms that have utilized the e-commerce business revolution.

Mental Health; A glimpse at eating disorders

An eating disorder (ED) is a mental disorder defined by abnormal eating behaviours that negatively affect a person’s physical or mental health. There are three main types that include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating. Other EDs include pica, rumination, avoidant/restrictive food intake disorders, and night eating syndrome. Having an ED and being on a diet is not the same thing, but frequent dieting can be a curtain-raiser in developing an eating disorder. EDs are often associated with preoccupations with food, weight or shape, eating anxiety or consequences of eating certain foods. Behaviours associated with eating disorders include restrictive eating, avoidance of certain foods, binge eating, purging by vomiting or laxative misuse or compulsive exercise. These behaviours are often driven in ways that resemble an addiction. Common risk factors include gastrointestinal disorders, a history of sexual abuse, and being a dancer or gymnast.

EDs are highly prevalent globally. They affect several million people at any given time, most often women between the ages of 12 and 35. Anorexia and bulimia occur nearly ten times more often in females than males.  Research published in May 2019 on PubMed showed an increase in prevalence rates of eating disorders escalating from 3.5 % between 200-2006 to 7.8% for the 2018-2018 period. Many factors can influence the development of an eating disorder. These factors can be biological, psychological, and social. Individuals who are struggling with their identity and self-image can be at risk, as can those who have experienced trauma. EDs and mental illness are stigmatized hence some people with EDs are secretive or ashamed and often conceal them.

Assessing for an ED is simple. If the way you eat and think about food interferes with your life and keeps you from enjoying life and moving forward, you may be experiencing disordered eating. EDs impose severe health complications such as anxiety, depression, acid reflux, low blood pressure, organ failure, amenorrhea and infertility, and stroke on. Individual. Both anorexia and bulimia increase the risk of death. Recovery from an ED is guaranteed when professional help is sought. Seeking help soonest is paramount, as prolonged suffering may delay recovery from treatment.  EDs are mostly diagnosed by a physician and help sought from a therapist for counselling, a registered dietitian on healthy eating strategies and healthy weight management, and sometimes taking medications (e.g., antidepressants). Recovery from EDs may take time (about 5 years), and therefore requires patience and consistency.

Giving Visibility To Cooperatives

Shaping The Cooperative Sector’s Image

Over the last five years, many sectors in Kenya have been adapting to a recent shift that has seen many large, medium and small entities change how they do business. Policy changes have made more youth interested in being entrepreneurs and business owners and this has caused a rapid rise in the number of youth-led businesses. It is this growing market that is ripe for the picking as far as Cooperatives are concerned.

This tech-savvy crop of entrepreneurs and business owners are looking for solutions that are readily available within the Cooperatives movement. They are open to saving and securing financing through Saccos and are also more than willing to join collaborative spaces and unions that address their collective issues. Yet, very few of these new target markets are part of the Cooperatives movement. Instead, they opt to look for financial services in banks and collective representation in business hubs. Why is this?

Well, the reason is simple! This demographic is attracted by who is most visible and the attention they give to utilizing art, style, and creativity in their brands. This is what most banks and serious corporations have been utilizing recently to get these customers. Almost every major bank and corporate entity has rebranded in the last five years and some have gone the extra mile to set up youthful entities for their businesses that deviate from the primary serious corporate feel to a more appealing trendy side.

So, what can Cooperatives do to become more visible and attractive to the youthful target audiences that we are seeing today? They have to master the art of Trendiness. Youthful trends are colourful, suave, vibrant and energetic. They are unapologetically fashionable and free, creating an aura of complexity and fun. Any Cooperative that speaks this language is bound to attract its fair share of this new market.

The entire Cooperatives sector has to revamp its image. Any entity in this sector has to change its brand image and outlook to one that is trusted by a younger demographic. To do this, Cooperatives have to lose those old boring branding elements and embrace a vibrant and youthful look that tells young people, “We see you and we hear you!”

Therefore, Cooperatives have to ensure they are visible and attractive brands first since their branding is the first point of contact they have with customers.

Economic Ramifications Caused By Political Campaigns.

Kenya is a country that has been hard hit by a history of post-election violence most notably in 1992, 1997, and post-2007. This trend has caused a lot of investors to shun investing in the country during the electioneering seasons. The message of peace is being spread all over but one question still stands, what next after August 9th? A study conducted on the country’s economic data shows a trend in hyperinflation during elections. During such times, economic growth dwindles affecting the livelihoods of millions. Evidence of this observation is the inflation rates in the following pre-election times; 2012 inflation was at 9.38%, 2016 at 6.32%, 2021 at 6.11%, and currently the inflation rate is at 7.21%. 

The heated political season is typically accompanied by a rapid slowdown in economic activities. Sectors that have traditionally suffered the most damage are those that heavily rely on government patronage. Agriculture, infrastructure, and the manufacturing industry are top in this list. On the other hand, the sectors that benefit the most are the sectors that are not highly dependent on political goodwill such as the service sector with an exception of banking. Kenya’s current high voltage politics has disrupted commercial activities leading to a reduction in revenues for many businesses. Additionally, with politicians pushing for water-tight regulations and higher taxes, it becomes harder for companies to operate legally and effectively. In some cases, this can lead to widespread corruption and dishonesty within business circles and criminal activity such as money laundering.

Political campaigns in Kenya are run on heavy financial budgets leading to the circulation of money from politicians to fund political activities. For instance, in the financial year 2014-2015, The National Alliance (TNA) Party received USD$866,679, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party USD$848,239, and the United Republican Party (URP) USD$273,688 based on their numbers in parliament. The presidential candidates can use up to 5 billion Kenyan shillings in political campaigns and in addition, they are not restricted from holding fundraisers to get more cash for the campaigns. This usually comes in at a time when there is an increased level of inflation and in my opinion, some of this money could be re-invested in creating job opportunities for the youth and unemployed. Nonetheless, one way to mitigate the effects of a heated political season is to diversify investments into sectors that are less polarized by politics.

The Making Of Kenya’s First Diaspora Bank

Kenya is known for a good number of things on the global map. The country’s tourism sector has enjoyed prominence thanks to white and sandy beaches on Kenya’s coastline, annual wildebeest migration across the Mara River, Snowcapped Mt. Kenya, hot springs and lakes of the Rift Valley, a sizable share of the World’s second-largest freshwater lake and host to humanity’s cradle land in Turkana. Lately, Kenya’s main export has shifted from Agricultural produce and tourist services to Labour. Various reports by the World Bank project Kenya as a leading economy in Africa by 2030 not for oil or precious stones but for its highly sought-for labour in the global market.

According to a CBK Survey published in December 2021, Diaspora remittances to Kenya have increased tenfold in the last 15 years hitting an all-time record of USD 3,718 million. This is more than 3% of Kenya’s GDP. Remittances flow into the country to majorly meet needs in food, healthcare, education and housing. Most Kenyans who live abroad left in pursuit of jobs and higher education. Other reasons for leaving include marriage and diplomatic duties. Most Kenyans living in Asia take up jobs demanding fewer skills while those in Europe and Oceania have to work longer to save and send money to the country.

In sending remittances, most people use formal channels and over 60% of those who send money to transact monthly at higher transaction charges that would be avoided through the creation of a more favourable platform. Such a platform needs to be as convenient to use as banks, money transfer companies and mobile operators but affordable as Hawalas and secure as Credit Unions. This is the intelligence being used by Suleiman Shahbal, owner of Gulf African Bank, to set up and run a diaspora Bank. Suleiman Shahbal and his support team are working around the clock to register Kenya’s first diaspora bank within the 3rd Quarter of 2022. Having successfully disrupted Kenya’s banking landscape with Islamic banking products and procedures through Gulf African Bank, Mr Shahbal is convinced that opportunities in diaspora banking are his’ to grab. To register a bank in Kenya, one needs a number of licenses and approval from regulators among them the Central Bank of Kenya, Capital Markets Authority and Competition Authority. He also needs to deposit a cash reserve with the Central Bank of not less than 5.25% of total domestic and foreign currency liabilities.

More Than A Professor, Bitange Ndemo

Many might know of his works, but little about the person. We know of a certain permanent secretary in late President Mwai Kibaki’s government whose brain and work placed Kenya on the global map as a FinTech giant. While in government, he initiated the development of undersea cables into East Africa and later began the Kenya Open Data initiative. The man is a professor of entrepreneurship and associate professor at the school of business, University of Nairobi. He is Professor Bitange Ndemo.

In the Bible, great kings like David were supported by valiant men who were brave at war and courageous on the battlefield. In Prof. Ndemo, President Kibaki found a man of valour who helped greatly in creating an Empire in Kenya that many nations admire. Prof. Bitange Ndemo, unlike King David’s men of valour, didn’t support the president through spear or javelin. He instead applied his high intellectual gifting, rich professional network and understanding of evolutionary trends in business and ICT to run his portfolio as a permanent secretary.

Professor Ndemo is a corporate titan aside from his accomplishments in academia. He sits on the board of Safaricom PLC and in many other boards as an advisor. Some of the organizations that bank on Prof. Bitange Ndemo’s wealth of knowledge and expertise in business and ICT include UNCDF’s better than Cash Alliance, OECPD panel of experts on Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain, World Economic Forum Blockchain Council, UNESCO NEXTEXPLO Forum, Global Learning Council, Research ICT Africa and UN Global Pulse. Prof. Ndemo needs no introduction in many other companies, forums, councils and research classes as he is widely quoted, used as a point of reference or sought to advise without exactly being admitted to those boards.

The great professor is a widely published author and speaker on many forums across the world. He is a PhD holder in Industrial Economics from Sheffield University in the United Kingdom and holds a series of degrees in business administration, accounting and finance. Prof Bitange Ndemo is also a columnist on Business Daily and The Nation Newspapers. His footprint in global conferences, digital conferencing platforms, TEDx Talks, Engage Talks and University Lectures have created a huge impact on governments and the private sector. Prof. Ndemo has inspired change and transformation in Urban Planning, Financial Access through FinTech and the captainship of large corporations. The man has widely influenced policy making through his disruptive thinking, research and contributions in to corporate sector dialogues.