by Bedah Mengo
NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- When he borrowed
some 5,000 shillings (50 U.S. dollars) six months ago from a
digital lender to settle an urgent matter, Joseph Ndungi was
confident that he would repay the loan on time.
the bulk of it in the following weeks and forgot about the
little balance, despite getting some reminders from the lender.
The jobless graduate still owes the digital lender 3 dollars
and this amount has seen him blacklisted by a Credit Reference
"I was shocked the other day when I learnt my name had been
listed as a defaulter.
"This complicates matters for me because I may never take
another loan or get some services," said Ndungi, 28, who
believes the debt was little to warrant the action.
His pain is shared by thousands of other citizens who have
been listed as defaulters for failing to repay micro digital
Some 2.7 million Kenyans have been listed in CRB for failing
to repay digital loans, with a majority of them having loans
worth 2 dollars and below, according to the Central Bank of
The listing comes with a huge price that include being denied
loans by other lenders or any post-paid services like pay TV.
Once listed, one has to repay the loan in full plus the
accrued interest and a penalty of 22 dollars to clear their
It is a pain that many citizens are realizing too late as
digital lenders cash in on increased demand for their services.
There are at least 50 digital lenders in the east African
nation, a majority of whom offer loans that range from 5 dollars
to 100 dollars.
Up to 7 million Kenyans are hooked to digital loans as they
are multiple and repeat borrowers, according to a recent joint
survey by the central bank, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics
and Financial Services Deepening-Kenya.
Interest rates on the loans start from 10 percent to 20
percent per loan taken, with frequent borrowers paying through
The stiff rates are among the reasons the government has
blamed for the high number of people listed as defaulters.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i noted that majority
of the Kenyan youth have ended up being listed as defaulters
after borrowing cash to engage in sports betting.
Those who win their bets repay the loan taken but a majority
lose the money, therefore default on payment leading to the
Bernard Mwaso of Edell IT Solution noted that digital loans
have increased the number of those blacklisted as defaulters
"Before the loans, there were about a million defaulters
listed by the bureaus and these had taken money from banks,
micro-finance institutions and cooperative societies and failed
to repay. Before one was listed, it took some time with banks
making a follow up but with digital loans, the number of loan
taker has increased as much as the defaulters thanks to mobile
phone convenience," he said, adding this is the downside of the
On July 7, the central bank asked banks to ensure that they
only list defaulters with CRB after six months of failing to
repay a loan, but this directive does not apply to non-formal
banking institutions like the digital lenders, some of whom
blacklist loan takers after two or three months.
Kenya seeks to integrate
payroll management system to curb wastage
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya launched a report on Tuesday, recommending
strong measures to automate and integrate payroll management
system in the public sector to mitigate wastage and fraud.
Dalmas Otieno, vice chairperson of Kenya’s Salaries and
Remuneration Commission (SRC), said effective automation will
help curb wastage through human resource processes and payroll
"We also recommend a review of key policy issues on
institutionalization and standardization of performance
management practices across the public sector and harmonization
of retirement benefits schemes across the public service as key
in addressing public wage bill management," Otieno said.
The report conducted by SRC notes that such measures coupled
with regular internal and external payroll audits will help
identify inconsistencies and non-compliance in management of
The report also calls for improvements of public sector
performance through harmonization of public sector human
resource policies, such as recruitment, promotion, career
progression, performance management, and training.
The report was based on a study made by the SRC in
conjunction with the World Bank’s Kenya Accountable Devolution
Program in 70 state corporations and 32 county governments.
Kenya National Bureau of
Statistics 2019 national census will start on August 24
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya has announced that its 2019 national census
will start on August 24.
Zachary Mwangi, director general of the Kenya National Bureau
of Statistics, told a media briefing in Nairobi that last week
the government held discussions with the United Nations
Population Fund which has been tasked to mobilize funds from
"However, if we are not able to raise funds from
international partners, the government will fund the census
through use of domestic resources," Mwangi said.
"The questionnaires as well as the enumeration areas will be
uploaded on the mobile devices for data collection," he added.
According to KNBS, over 50 percent of the 165,000 mobile
devices to be used for the counting exercise have already being
assembled locally with the rest to be ready by end of July.
Mwangi said that preliminary results for the population
census will be released after three months and final figures
after another three months.