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Flydubai says Boeing 737 MAX remains integral to future strategy

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FILE PHOTO: A Flydubai plane is pictured at the Dubai Airshow November 8, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah/File Photo

DUBAI (Reuters) – Middle Eastern carrier flydubai said on Thursday the Boeing 737 MAX, grounded after two fatal crashes in five months, remained integral to its future strategy.

State-owned flydubai is one of the biggest customers of the MAX aircraft, having ordered 250 of the new model narrowbody jets since 2013. It currently operates 13 MAX 8 and MAX 9s.

“We recognise this is a unique and complex situation underpinned by safety and regulation. There are a number of procedural factors that our experienced teams are working through,” an airline spokeswoman said.

“Flydubai continues to work closely with its regulator and Boeing and we value our long-standing relationship with these partners. Our MAX aircraft remain an integral part of our strategy for the future.”

The 737 MAX is banned from flying in most countries following an Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday that killed all 157 people on board.

A different type of 737 operated by flydubai crashed in Russia in 2016, killing all 62 people on board. That incident remains under investigation though a preliminary report suggested pilot error was to blame.

The preliminary report did not state any conclusions, said the flydubai spokeswoman.

Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Mark Potter

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Second-round M-Akiba bond issue a letdown again

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By JAMES ANYANZWA
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The Kenya government’s attempts to boost national savings through its retail market bond dubbed M-Akiba failed to excite the market for the second time in a row posting a 21 per cent undersubscription.

The government reopened the mobile-based infrastructure bond hoping to raise Ksh250 million but only managed Ksh197 million ($1.97 million), accounting for a 79 per cent subscription rate.

The bond, which was listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange on March 12, has a duration to maturity of 18 months and will be redeemed on September 7, 2020.

The proceeds of the bond issue were meant to settle total interest payments valued at Ksh12.38 million ($123,800) for investors who bought into the initial tranche of Ksh150 million in March 2017.

The Central Depository and Settlement Corporation Ltd has so far paid out, on behalf of the government, a total of Ksh59.67 million ($596,700) in interest to M-Akiba bondholders since the first issue.

The government is targeting investors with as little as Ksh3,000 ($30) in investment capital to purchase the bond and benefit from an annual rate of return of 10 per cent paid after every six months, implying that such an investor would receive Ksh150 ($1.5) through his phone after six months and a total of Ksh300 ($3) in a year.

But according to Financial Sector Deepening Kenya, some investors feel that the Ksh3,000 would be better allocated to alternative savings groups or investment opportunities that could provide quick returns or access to credit.

Although the M-Akiba bond was launched with the aim of promoting a national savings culture and reducing the government borrowing costs, this is yet to happen. The government had set a target to raise Ksh1 billion ($10 million) through the M-Akiba bond but last year the issue failed after a successful pilot project.

The government had put M-Akiba bond worth Ksh1 billion ($10 million) on offer, with hopes that the issue would sell out and even allowed a green-shoe option of Ksh2.8 billion ($28 million), that in case of oversubscription it could take up a massive Ksh3.8 billion ($38 million.

However, the government managed to raise only Ksh247 million ($2.47 million) of the targeted Ksh1 billion ($10 million).

Over 300,000 people registered on the M-Akiba platform but only 5,988 purchased the M-Akiba $2.47 million, less than a quarter of the Ksh 1 billion ($10 million) on offer.

It was a three-year bond with a coupon rate of 10 per cent paid semi-annually and a tax-free status in line with other infrastructure bonds.



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Uhuru visits Africa’s biggest fish freezing factory, says Kenya will copy Namibia’s example

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He said African nations should work together and learn from the examples of countries like Namibia, which has implemented progressive measures to develop its fisheries sector/PSCU

, WALVIS BAY, NAMIBIA, Mar 23 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has said African countries must take stronger steps to benefit from their immense marine resources.

He said many nations including Kenya gain almost nothing from their sea resources including fish.

The President said it was disappointing that foreign nations are benefiting more from the abundant fish in the territorial waters of many African countries.

He said African nations should work together and learn from the examples of countries like Namibia, which has implemented progressive measures to develop its fisheries sector.

The Kenyan leader spoke when he toured Seaflower Pelagic Processing factory in Walvis Bay, Namibia, which has the distinction of being the biggest fish-freezing factory in Africa.

The factory was set up recently at the cost of $40 million (about Sh4 billion) through a partnership between the Namibian Government and a private investor.

The factory freezes 600 tonnes of fish on a daily basis and has created jobs for 700 people.

President Kenyatta instructed Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri and Trade and Industry CS Peter Munya to immediately take steps to learn from the Namibian experience so that Kenya can have a similar factory.

Namibia’s Vice President Dr Nangolo Mbumba and Fisheries Minister Bernhardt Esau said the Government embarked on strengthening fishing in order to give Namibia a food security guarantee.

Vice President Mbumba said Namibia and Kenya are united by true friendship that started when Namibians were fighting for freedom.

“When SWAPO was fighting for freedom, the first vehicle it ever owned was bought by Kenya. We will also never forget the role played by the Kenyan contingent of UNTAG which remained behind at the cost of Kenya to protect Namibians until the country was stable,” said Vice President Mbumba.

President Kenyatta toured the fish factory after visiting the headquarters of Namibia port authority, Namport, also in Walvis Bay.

“We are here to learn from how Namibia is benefiting from its blue economy even as we continue to support and partner with them in various other fields,” said President Kenyatta.

The port of Mombasa and Walvis Bay are similar because they serve many nations in the interior of Africa.

The President was taken on a tour of the port and shown how the Government is reclaiming land from the sea to enable the port to handle ships with bigger capacity.

To enhance its efficiency in serving neighbouring landlocked countries, Namport has assigned dry ports to the different nations so that they can manage their own cargo.

President Kenyatta said Kenya would study the idea of dry ports for neighbouring countries that depend on the Port of Mombasa for their imports and exports.

“That kind of arrangement can let them manage their own cargo and our job will be to be efficient port owners,” said President Kenyatta.

He said the port of Mombasa and Namport would partner in the areas of efficiency enhancement, and the bridging of management and administration gaps that lead to corruption with the aim of improving service delivery.

The President said mismanagement and other malpractices at the ports create inefficiencies, which in turn affect economies of many countries that depend on these ports as gateways into their countries.

The Namibian Government has already requested guidance from Kenya in the setting up of a single window system for processing and clearing transit cargo across many borders. The system allows importers to input data once which is then used by all countries through which the goods pass on their way to their destinations.

President Kenyatta said Africa would only succeed when all nations agree to collaborate to achieve progress.

“If Africa succeeds Namibia has succeeded and if Africa succeeds Kenya will also have succeeded,” said President Kenyatta.

President Kenyatta is on a State Visit to Namibia and was Friday hosted at State House, Windhoek, where he held bilateral talks with President Hage Geingob.





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Transfast upgrade to facilitate inter-Africa transfers : The Standard

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The firm is set to unveil new modes of money transfer that seek to guarantee users much convenience at lower cost.

Global money transfer and payment firm Transfast has revealed plans to re-engineer its platforms to allow Kenyans and other East Africans to send money both across and outside Africa.

This is even as transaction times are set to be radically adjusted to allow for much efficiency and further cost reductions.
The far-reaching changes were announced as Transfast recently met with East African business partners to build its network strength in Africa by partnering with a number of banks and other institutions.
New on the list of 18 partners was Postbank Uganda and Tanzania’s NMB Bank. Others were Ecobank Rwanda, Safaricom, Commercial Bank of Africa, as well as Guaranty Trust Bank Kenya.
Gulf African Bank and Kenya’s payment solutions provider PI Consulting, also came on board as Transfast agents.
“As we seek to be a leader giving the best service across the globe, we are looking to invest heavily is upgrading our systems to facilitate transactions at very affordable rates,” said Transfast Eastern Africa Regional Manager Daniel Muchika.
Further, he said the firm is set to unveil new modes of money transfer that seek to guarantee users much convenience at lower cost.
“We are also working at supporting freelance work around the world through integration partnerships with as many job platforms,” he said.
Transfast is a growing international money transfer and cross-border payments company headquartered in New York with additional offices in the UAE and the Philippines.
Founded in 1988, the company is a provider of multi-currency, cross-border payments solutions for consumers and businesses around the world.
Remittances are processed through its direct-to-bank network, and the company offers over 350, 000 cash payout points across 130 countries.
In Africa, Transfast operates in over 30 countries where the company’s bank network covers up to 90 per cent of adult bank account holders in those nations.
Transfast has crossed the 45,000-location mark in India with more than four million customers globally.
To date, the platform is on record for having processed about $8.5 billion worth of transactions.

TransfastMoney transfer





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