Business News

Clear outstanding taxes or be prosecuted, Nakuru traders warned

Published on Thursday, April 24, 2014 - 14:56

Businessmen in Nakuru County should remit outstanding levies to avoid arrest, county secretary Joseph Motari has warned. 

In a public notice issued on Tuesday, those without receipts showing clearance of respective county taxes will be prosecuted. 

“The business community is advised to pay all appropriate dues now to avoid the ongoing enforcement actions, including arrest and prosecution,” said Motari in the notice. 

All the payments are to be made through banks identified to collect revenue on behalf of the county government. These include Equity Bank, National Bank of Kenya, Kenya Commercial Bank, Family Bank and Cooperative Bank. 

Motari said the payments should be made upon obtaining bills or the invoices from the sub-counties revenue offices. Business permits can also be collected from the respective sub-county licensing offices. 

The revenue collected include the business permit levies, land rates and outdoor advertisement charges. 

This directive comes after the High Court in Nairobi nullified the Kiambu County Finance Act illegal.

Judge George Odunga said the gazettement of the bill was null and void since input from members of the public was not incorporated in formulating the bill.

In the judgement delivered at the Milimani law courts on Thursday last week, Odunga said the Act violated the constitution by not involving public participation to draft such a bill.

Report any signs of maize disease, director urges farmers

Published on Thursday, April 24, 2014 - 11:58

Maize farmers in Nakuru County have been urged to be on high alert and report any signs of the maize lethal necrosis disease (MLND) to agricultural extension officers.

The county director of Meteorological Services, Peter Njuguna, said due to the changing weather patterns, there is a likelihood of pest and disease prevalence in the county.

Speaking during a technical environmental committee meeting in his office, Njuguna said the unpredictable weather patterns were likely to increase diseases and advised farmers to have adequate pesticides to control them.

He said tomatoes and potatoes may experience blighting, black rot in cabbages and rust in wheat during this rainy season.

Njuguna also cautioned that low lying areas may experience flash floods and leaching of fertilizers from lake catchment areas.

He said water logging was likely to occur may lead to low harvests.

The director added that the current rains may prolong and interfere with the harvesting of crops like tomatoes, potatoes and cabbages.

Naivasha farm owners now agree to sell land to KenGen

Published on Thursday, April 24, 2014 - 08:12

Ngati farmers in Naivasha have now agreed to sell part of their land to power producing company KenGen.

Last week, more than 500 members had opposed the move, saying they were not informed of the sale of the portion at Maiela location in Naivasha.

After the signing of an agreement between the farmers and KenGen officials, the company is now free to buy more than 3,000 acres of land from the farmers.

The sale comes after a study established that the region has high potential for geothermal power.

The chairman of Ngati farm, Patrick Karanja, said they have struck a deal to sell 3,093 acres of Narasha land.

Mr Karanja said that 581 members will benefit from the deal.

Nakuru farmers to benefit from county's irrigation projects

Published on Monday, April 21, 2014 - 06:43

Nakuru’s department of irrigation plans to establish nine small-scale irrigation projects in the county to boost farm production, a county executive officer has said.

The projects, costing Sh100 million, will benefit over 1,000 farmers in five constituencies – Gilgil, Rongai, Bahati, Njoro and Subukia. 

“Completion of these projects will enable farmers irrigate their crops during the drought season and hence boost their agricultural productivity,” said John Kagunda, the Nakuru County irrigation officer.

During an interview with our citizen reporter, Mr Kagunda said the projects will irrigate 1,200 acres of land under small-scale farmers.

“We will have high food production because many potato, maize and wheat farmers will be able to carry out their farming activities throughout the year without depending on the rains,” he said. 

He, however, encouraged farmers to start water harvesting on their land to increase water for use during the dry season. 

Fake money circulating in Nakuru town, police warn

Published on Friday, April 18, 2014 - 11:43

M-Pesa and other business operators in Nakuru have been warned of a cartel dealing with fake currency in the town.

The operators have been asked to be cautious when transacting to avoid the fake notes. Police said the cartel is using the M-Pesa agents to change the fake currency.

Nakuru OCPD Bernard Kioko gave the warning following the arrest of six people in possession of Sh100,000 in fake notes this week.

It is alleged that the suspects are among those who have been conning people in the town and dealing in the fake currency business.

The police boss has asked the public to confirm the genuineness of the currencies they deal with and also volunteer information that would lead to the arrest of suspects.

Naivasha airstrip to be rehabilitated

Published on Friday, April 18, 2014 - 08:33

Air Kenya will rehabilitate the defunct Karagita Airstrip in Naivasha in a bid to improve tourism and flower exports.

The airstrip stopped operations 10 years ago under the management of Kenya Airways. Air Kenya has already presented a proposal to the Nakuru County Governor Kinuthia Mbugua to revive the strip.

Governor Mbugua said rehabilitating the air strip will be beneficial to the county as it is expected to ease transportation problems.

“I am positive about the proposal and I am still going through it. I think it (the rehabilitation) will boost tourism as visitors can fly into the town. Transporting flowers from the farms will also be easier and much faster,” the former Administrative Police commandant said.

Hotel owners in the town have welcomed the move, saying that tourists opt to travel to Mombasa due to the availability of air transport.

Moses Warungu, a hotel manager in the town said, “With the air strip, we can even be ranked the first tourism destination next year. We lose so many customers due to the fact that only road transport serves Naivasha.”

Joseph Wanyoike, a fish farmer in the town, said the move will improve business as he will be able to transport his products out of the town easily.

“Sometimes I get orders to supply my fish as far as Mombasa and I have to use road transport from here to Nairobi which is very slow. My fish goes bad at times,” Wanyoike added.

Naivasha is Kenya’s second tourism destination after Mombasa and the first in conference tourism.

NEMA suspends sand mining in Nakuru

Published on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 14:58

The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) has suspended sand harvesting in most parts of Nakuru due to heavy rains being experienced in the county.

NEMA said it is risky for sand miners to continue with their work during this time of heavy rains as cases of landslides are likely to be experienced.

Wilfred Osumo, NEMA’s Nakuru County director, told journalists on Tuesday that the decision to suspend mining activities was reached after consultations with the county leadership.

“We have reached a decision to suspend all sand mining activities in Rhonda Ng’ambo and other mining centres as landslide cases and quarries caving in are likely to be experienced this rainy season,” he said.

The director further said that mining activities will remain suspended until miners put in place measures to protect the environment.

County Commissioner Mohammed Birik supported the suspension, saying it is a safety measure to avoid calamities.

He said that sand miners will resume their work once rains subside and after getting proper mining documents from NEMA and the county government.

New website to report employers to union launched

Published on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 06:58

Workers in Nakuru can now report their employers for any breach in the labour and wage law.

This comes after the launch of a new website named ‘Wage Indicator’ by the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) and the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu).

The website will enable employees file complaints against employers who do not comply with labour laws on minimum wages. During the Labour Day celebrations last year, President Uhuru Kenyatta increased the minimum wage by 14 per cent from the previous Sh11,995 to Sh13,674 with the new rates taking effect immediately.

At the time, the President’s directive to have minimum wage increased was not welcomed by the FKE with chairman Erastus Mwongera calling on Kenyatta to break the tradition.

He said, “Continued annual review of minimum wages amounts to over compensation of labour at the cost of capital and the consumer.”

FKE chief executive Jacqueline Mugo said the national website, wageindicator.org, has been fully endorsed by the Industrial Court of Kenya.

Using the platform, workers will fill specific details on the form after which Cotu and FKE will follow up on the matter.

The website provides information on a number of issues regarding labour laws and wage indicators, including a comparison of wages from various countries as a way of benchmarking the country’s own minimum wage.

Bar owners warned against selling alcohol to underage consumers

Published on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 14:27

Keringet police have been directed to arrest and revoke licences of bar owners selling alcoholic drinks to underage consumers.

While issuing the directive at a baraza yesterday, Mr Elijah Kinyanjui, the Keringet sub county deputy commissioner, said he was aware of clubs and bars that were selling alcohol to children.

“We want to tell such bar owners that their days are numbered. We will not tolerate it and they must face the law,” he said.

Kinyanjui added that there were some bar owners in Keringet town who disobey the Mututho laws by opening their bars before the recommended time. He warned those businessmen that they risk being arrested and arraigned in court.

Under the infamous Mututho laws, passed as the Alcohol Drinks Control Act in parliament, it is illegal to have bars open before 5 pm and beyond 11 pm.  Persons under the age of 18 years are not allowed to touch alcoholic drinks, the Act says.

Stray animals to be impounded and owners fined, Nakuru governor warns

Published on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 10:24

Wandering domestic animals in the Nakuru Central Business District (CBD) will be impounded and their owners fined, Governor Kinuthia Mbugua has said.

While issuing the directive on Friday, Mbugua said the animals have hampered the county’s efforts to keep the town clean.

“We will impound animals straying in town as we want to keep our county clean,” the former Administrative Police commandant said.

The governor, who spoke while inspecting installation of streetlights at Naka estate, said animal owners will pay hefty fines if they do not heed the directive.

He further asked traders and Nakuru town residents to adhere to the county by-laws as they seek to keep order.

Mbugua also said they are committed to ensure safety of every resident and called on them to embrace security initiatives being introduced by the county and national governments.

Consumers to pay more for petrol

Published on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 06:49

Motorists are set to pay more for a litre of petrol after the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) yesterday announced new pump prices for the next one month.

In a press statement sent to newsrooms, ERC says that motorists will have to pay Sh0.55 more for a litre of petrol. In the new pricing, petrol will retail at Sh114.16 starting today.

However, the cost of diesel and kerosene has dropped by Sh1.05 and Sh0.75 respectively.

A litre of diesel will from today cost Sh103.82 down from Sh104.87 while consumers of kerosene will pay Sh83.16 a litre from Sh83.91.

The new prices will be in place for one month after which they will be reviewed.

A section of Nakuru town residents who spoke to our reporter said they expected fuel prices to reduce significantly this month. Amos Kamau, a matatu driver, said that increase in pump prices has made ordinary citizens to suffer. He called on the government to reduce fuel prices in order to cushion Kenyans from harsh economic conditions.

Photo of the day: State offices still closed over rent arrears

Published on Sunday, April 13, 2014 - 10:17

Three weeks down the line the ministry of Tourism offices in Nakuru town still remain closed over rent arrears.

Hotelier says tourism steady despite terror threats

Published on Friday, April 11, 2014 - 07:47

The recent terror attacks in the country have not had far-reaching effects on the tourism sector, the Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers has observed.

Ken Korir, the association’s Rift valley chapter chairman, yesterday said it has been the trend for tourist numbers to decline between March and June.

However, during the Easter vacation, Mr Korir said most Nakuru hotels register high bookings.

Korir, who doubles up as the manager at Sarova Lion Hill Hotel in Nakuru, revealed that his hotel is already fully booked for the season.

He said media reports on terror threats should not be a cause for alarm for tourists, adding that the few incidences reported have been handled well by the government.

Korir noted that existing tourist markets in America and Europe have continued to thrive while emerging market of China has also been doing well.

County govt to take over building of Nakuru markets

Published on Friday, April 11, 2014 - 06:18

The Nakuru County government will take over the construction of the stalled Free Area market that has been under the State, Governor Kinuthia Mbugua has said.

Mbugua on Wednesday said the project, previously under the Economic Stimulus Programme, stalled because the contractor had not yet been paid.

Addressing traders at Free Area, Kinuthia said the county government officials will today meet experts behind the project for a takeover.  

He regretted that the project, alongside a hawkers’ complex in Nakuru town, had taken long to complete but assured traders that the county government will clear both tasks in time.

Kinuthia also said the executive will be pushing for an amendment to the Finance Act with a view to reducing license fees that traders pay to the authorities.

NSSF to pay Karuturi farm workers Sh8.7 million

Published on Thursday, April 10, 2014 - 11:40

The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) will pay Karuturi Flower farm workers Sh 8.7 million once the receiver manager has cleared all the debts owed to creditors, an official has said.

Speaking during a sensitisation forum held at Lakeside Tourist Hotel in Naivasha, NSSF’s Naivasha branch manager, Betty Chirchir, confirmed that workers will be paid their dues for the last one year.

She revealed that NSSF was already in talks with the newly appointed manager of the flower firm, Ian Small, to see how workers can be paid their money.

“We expect that by the end of June this year, the receiver manager will have cleared all the debts that the company owes,” Ms Chirchir said.

Chirchir also appealed to the citizens to embrace the provisions in the new NSSF Act on contributions, saying the fund is only asking for a very small portion compared to other countries across Africa.

The Act provides that six per cent be contributed by the employees while the other six per cent is by the employer on pensionable earnings. The pensionable earnings include allowances and commissions that do not keep fluctuating, only sparing the citizens of bonuses which are never predictable.

Other bank officials present during the forum include Vincent Nyaga from Eldoret, Joseph Kitonyi from Nakuru, Paul Kibet from the head office and Caroline Karuri, the regional manager.

Leader urges youths to utilise Youth Fund for growth

Published on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 07:46

Kuresoi South youths have been urged to form membership groups to benefit from public funds set aside for development.

Speaking to youths in Tinet, area Member of County Assembly (MCA) David Males stated that they can easily benefit when they are in groups.

“The government is yet to offer grants and loans through various organizations such as the National Youth Fund. Form groups, set out the development agenda and I will help you,” said the MCA

At the same time, the ward representative urged the youths to exploit business opportunities available instead of relying on white collar jobs which may not available.

“The government may not employ all of you. Therefore explore business opportunities so you can also participate in job creation,” added the councilor.

In his remarks, the youth leader, Ken Maritim said they are ready to form the groups and make a wise investment option. He urged the leaders to be visiting them frequently in the grassroots and advise them on how they can venture into businesses.

Nakuru farmers urged to venture into rabbit rearing

Published on Monday, April 7, 2014 - 05:03

Small scale farmers in Nakuru have been challenged to venture into rabbit farming to boost earnings.

The relations manager of Consortium Limited, Caroline Jebet, on Friday said rabbit farming has benefits that can improve the living standards of residents.

Addressing farmers in Nakuru town during a sensitisation programme, Jebet said that rabbit farming is easy to start and can be used to eradicate poverty and fight unemployment.

Jebet said, “We want to encourage farmers to try rabbit farming as it has good returns,” adding that Nakuru County has a favourable environment that supports many types of animals and crops.

In order to ensure farmers have tips on rabbit farming, Jebet revealed that Consortium Limited, which deals with rabbit farming, will soon set up a branch in Nakuru County.

Nakuru County government to revive tomato factory

Published on Monday, April 7, 2014 - 04:46

The Nakuru County government will spend over Sh20 million to revive a tomato factory in Subukia, Governor Kinuthia Mbugua has said.

Speaking in Naivasha, the former Administrative Police commandant said his government will help revive the factory which was once major source of income for tomato farmers in the area.

“We expect to employ more than 3,000 youth from the area who will oversee the preparation and cleaning of the tomatoes,” the governor said.

He revealed that the revival of the Pan African vegetable factory in Naivasha is already underway as earlier promised.

“We expect to finish the project before the end of the year and create job opportunities for about 100,000 Kenyans,” he noted.

In support of this, Naivasha MP John Kihagi added that agriculture formed the backbone of the area’s economy.

“Majority of the residents here depend on growing food like maize and onions for their daily living. We hope to support them in every way we can,” he said.

The factory, which will oversee the canning and exporting of tomatoes, will serve more than 100,000 farmers in the area.

PSV owners decry shortage of digital speed governors

Published on Saturday, April 5, 2014 - 10:21

Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) owners in Nakuru town have decried the shortage of digital speed governors as they rush to install the gadgets as directed by the government.

Nakuru PSV Sacco’s chairman Njoroge Bumasu said the gadgets are not available in the market and that PSV owners have been forced to keep their vehicles off the roads.

“We have been forced to keep our vehicles away because there are no speed governors,” he said, adding, “The public will continue to suffer until the government intervenes.”

The chairman noted that they support the move to install the gadgets but urged the government to give them more time to comply with the new traffic rules.

Transport has been paralyzed since Monday in Nakuru town as PSV owners rush to acquire the gadgets. However, the few available public vehicles are charging exorbitant fares.

On Thursday, Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau said the new rules will be fully enforced. In a press statement, the CS warned that PSVs defying the order to install the gadgets will be arrested and prosecuted.

The new traffic rules are meant to reduce the rising cases of road carnage.

Mbugua pledges support for textile industry

Published on Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 08:54

By Ann Mwangi

Nakuru Governor Kinuthia Mbugua has said the county assembly will enact investor-friendly by-laws to create an attractive working environment for industrialisation.

Speaking in Nakuru town yesterday after touring Bedi Fabrics factory, the governor said there is need to support textile industries in the county and ensure the existing ones are sustained and taken as flagship projects to benefit the region.

Bedi Fabrics has been singled out as having the potential to supply all Nakuru institutions with uniforms and employ 1,000 people directly and more than 50,000 others indirectly.

Currently, the company is contracted to make uniforms for Disciplined Forces/ Services in seven countries, including Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Kinuthia promised to ensure that the factory gets constant supply of electricity and water since these are the commonly needed commodities in the factory.

 

This story was submitted by by Ann Mwangi

Rongai school embraces ICT-supported learning system

Published on Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 08:44

By Ibrahim Akid

As the adoption of technology picks in schools, the Vanessa Grant School in Nakuru’s Rongai area has designed and implemented Information Communication and Technology (ICT) supported education curriculum.

This curriculum is to help promote acquisition of knowledge and skills by average secondary school students to excel in national examinations.

Sammy Kimani, the school’s director of studies says, “When ICT is used appropriately especially in computer and internet technologies, it opens up new ways of teaching and learning for teachers and students alike.”

This, Kimani quips, has enabled slow learners in the last three years to better understand and appreciate abstract concepts in mathematics and sciences.

Using teacher-generated power-point presentation slides, Mr Kimani noted that lessons are now easier to present in class, and have boosted the school’s efforts to adequately cover and finish the secondary school syllabus in time before the students sit their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations.

This development is in line with the government’s 2006 National Information and Communications Technology Policy that encourages the use of ICT in schools to improve the quality of teaching and learning.  

The school’s teachers received training from volunteers drawn from Australia and England in a bid to make class lessons visually appealing, interesting, and easy to interpret concepts that ordinarily appear too technical to be easily understood.

Kimani disclosed that the use of ICT has helped to support new instructional approaches and make hard-to-implement teaching methods such as simulation or interactive learning more interesting to learners.

 

This story was submitted by Ibrahim Akid

Nakuru's pyrethrum growers to receive free seedlings

Published on Monday, February 17, 2014 - 11:34

Struggling pyrethrum growers in Nakuru have a reason to smile as the Nakuru county government has decided to set aside Sh120 million to revive the agricultural project.

Sh20 million will be used to purchase 10 million seedlings which will be distributed to the farmers free of charge.

Nakuru county governor Kinuthia Mbugua, who is a former Administrative Police commandant, on Thursday said that his government was giving priority to enterprises that would help generate wealth for residents. He said this move would also help generate employment opportunities for the jobless youths.

The governor said that pyrethrum farmers earn peanuts due to exploitation by middlemen and therefore investing in value addition will correct the problem.

Pyrethrum growing was once very popular among Nakuru, but farmers abandoned the crop due to non-payment of their deliveries, which often ran into millions.

Sh192 million to build Nakuru roads

Published on Saturday, February 15, 2014 - 15:14

At least Sh192 million has been put aside for the construction of roads in Nakuru County, Roads executive Maina Kairo has said.

Speaking in Nakuru on Thursday, Mr Kairo said most of the money will be used to purchase road construction machines, which will be helpful in the improvement of road networks in the county.

“We are in advanced stages of bringing in this road construction machines as we want to improve our road network in county,” he said.

According to the official, the machines will be distributed in all major towns in Nakuru by the end of this year.

“Before the end of the year we want to have repaired one or two roads per ward because we have money in place to carry out the projects,” he said.

Kairo revealed that the only reason why road works have been delayed is because the national government is yet to release any money to the county.

“We had not received any money for the projects from Treasury but I am glad we have some funds that can help us start construction of roads.”

He dismissed claims that there are irregularities in the issuance of road construction tenders.

NAKURU COUNTY | Development News and Discussion

Published on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - 14:07

Plans are underway to construct an airport in Nakuru County to provide an alternative landing base for Nairobi flights during an emergency.

Nakuru Governor Kinuthia Mbugua said he had held meetings with Kenya Airports Authority’s (KAA) management to assess the viability of an airport in the area.

The facility could be used for international flights in case of an emergency like the recent fire tragedy at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

The governor said the county had started sourcing for land where the facility could be set up. “The Kenya Airports Authority will send a technical team to assess its viability,” he said.

Land sold

County officials are already sourcing for land in Naivasha which is only 70 kilometres from Nairobi and is home to some of the best hotels.

The governor revealed the development when he hosted Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau in his office Wednesday.

Previous plans by the Government to construct an airport near Nakuru town failed after environmentalists cautioned the site was on a bird migratory route.

A 625 acre piece of land had already been acquired for the planned construction and Sh250million allocated by the Government for preparatory work in the 2011/2012 fiscal year. Kamau said the land earmarked for the airport should be sold and the funds used to construct the new proposed facility. He however said the ministry should be consulted to conduct studies on the viability of the project before new land is acquired.

“Environmentalists were right and you should sell the land and use the money for the construction of the facility in a different area,” he added.

The Governor noted that airstrips in the area, including one in Njoro with a 1.4 kilometre runway, were in poor state and require renovation.

Construction of an airport in the county, which is only two hours from Nairobi, will be convenient for travellers who mostly rely on facilities in Eldoret, Kisumu or Mombasa in case of an emergency.

The county government had initiated discussions with KAA over the project before the fire tragedy at JKIA, which led to the suspension of international flights at the country’s main airport.