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Over 3.6M Kenyans Filed their Tax By the 30th June Deadline

The growth in the numbers show positive progress in tax compliance, a move that will eventually drive the country towards economic self-reliance

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Over 3.6M Kenyans filled their tax returns by the 30th June deadline, The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has said.

In a statement to the newsroom on Monday, Deputy Commissioner Marketing and Communication KRA Grace Wandera said the number of citizens filing their returns increased with more than 400,000 up from 3.2 million recorded by June 30 last year.

“The growth in the numbers show positive progress in tax compliance, a move that will eventually drive the country towards economic self-reliance,” she noted

Notable this year was a significant reduction of long queues which used to be the order of the day as the deadline for filing returns approached when last minute Kenyans rush to file their returns. This is change is attributable to the efficiency of the iTax platform and increased awareness undertaken by the taxman to encourage early filing of returns.

On sight assistance extended to both individuals and organizations countrywide has also been cited as a contributing factor to the efficiency witnessed this year.

Those who failed to file their 2018 returns by yesterday’s deadline will be charged an automatic fine of Ksh 2,000 or 5% of the tax due, whichever is higher for individuals and Sh20,000 or 5 per cent of tax due, whichever is higher for corporates.

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Finance

9 Tips On How To Rise Majestically From Debt Into Financial Independence

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The financial scene is littered with fallen soldiers. They entered the battle field with an intention to conquer, but they got waylaid, cornered, outwitted and finally broken. I am talking about money. I am talking about borrowing. These soldiers did not go down without a fight, they were courageous and gallant. In the last battle, they needed support, they needed urgent emergency help. It did not arrive on time. This article is a last-minute support for you who is struggling with debt, but it also provides vital cautionary skills for those just entering the financial battle field.

How Do You Get Into Debt?

More often than not, a need arises out of the blues and impulse tells you that it must be satisfied now even if you do not have the resources to do so right away, leaving you with no option but to borrow. We humans are wired to be lazy and to take the easy way out, therefore instead of thinking of alternative solutions to meeting the arisen need, we think of the fastest way out, which usually turns out to be borrowing.

You borrow because you did not have an emergency kitty in the first place, and most of the time your expenses are always ahead of your income.

Once you have borrowed, your need is met, leaving you momentarily satisfied, but soon this bubble is busted, for the lender comes knocking, demanding to collect more than what was lent to you, in the name of interest.

On the first attempt by the lender to collect money from you, you may turn him away successfully, but he will come back stronger each time and the pressure will mount till you are forced to borrow elsewhere.

There is a real awkward positive correlation between urgency to borrow and interest rates, hence each new lender will notice your desperation and charge you more. This    increased interest is an additional expense on your already miserable income verses expenses situation.

And the cycle continues till you are buried in the heap of debts and become a statistic of this deadly dragon called borrowing on the financial mine field. The stigma from society does not help the situation either and most individuals would rather keep quiet than talk about their financial difficulties.

How do you avoid this and majestically rise out of this heap and trod the financial landscape like a colossus again in less than six to twelve months? Below are some tips to include in your plan, in addition to personal focus and resilience while handling debt.

  1. You Are In A Shit Hole, Stop Digging Deeper.

You have debt, big or small it is still a debt that you must service. However, on the other hand, life must continue, and needs will keep jumping at you out of the blues.

Before borrowing again, it is important to ask whether the arisen need is a matter of life and death. Can you postpone this need or must you have it now?

If a need is not life and death, good judgment dictates that you postpone it and find better ways of financing like saving and or working for it.

  1. Calculate Borrowing Costs And Use The Information To Your Advantage.

To borrow, you must be aware of a few important concepts like the difference between annual and monthly interest rates, principal and interest repayment amounts, and even the difference between lenders such as shylocks, Sacco’s and Banks.

How are interest and monthly repayments calculated, what is the difference between simple and compound interest and what are the consequences of defaulting on your repayments?

If you must wait for your financier to calculate any of the above financial parameters for you, you are still a toddler in matters borrowing and you should not be borrowing, but rather joining a financial education class to grow your capability in this matter.

Knowing your borrowing costs is extremely important because the nature of the lender and the interest rate increases your risk to default significantly. If you borrow from a shylock at a rate of 20% per month, your repayment to him will be double in less than 4 months. It means if you borrowed Ksh100k, you will pay him Ksh200k in 3 months. Compare that to borrowing from a bank at 14% per annum!

This information provides an opportunity to identify friendly and cost effective lenders where you can swap expensive debt for cheaper debt.

  1. Make Your Payments On Time

If you are delaying or missing on your bills and loan repayments, this is exactly a red flag symptom that you are struggling with debts and expenses.

Unlike expenses which you can avoid by stopping to consume completely, debt is a fixed outflow till you have completely repaid it.

Calendarize your repayments and set reminders a week before payment date.

  1. Prioritize Which Debts And Bills To Pay First

Start with the most expensive debts and pay your most needed bills. Cancel subscriptions that you do not need and where a lender allows you to pay a minimum amount, consider utilizing that facility to reduce on the risk of defaulting on other repayments.

Defaulting debt is expensive as it comes with late payment fees and penalties plus additional interest charges that you would rather avoid now.

  1. Know Who And How Much You Owe

This should be the first tip right? Do you have a list of your lenders and how much you owe them? In Chinua Achebe’s book titled “Things Fall Apart”, Unoka, a borrower, had drawn lines on the wall as a record of his debts.

The longer lines indicated lenders whom he owed more and the shorter ones those whose debts were little. He is reported to have used these lines to taunt his lenders when they came to collect by showing them that their lines were shorter hence they should wait till he has paid the longer lines which represented bigger and more important borrowers.

  1. Recognize And Appreciate The Danger In Borrowing

In a state where you are pressured by a need, be it physical like hunger or external like school fees, you are not reasoning with your head, but rather, you are looking at the problem at hand and trying to resolve it with the most minimum mental effort.

You stupidly count yourself lucky because there is a lender willing to bail you out, yet you are welcoming yourself into a debt trap, which will take you years to overcome, because your income is not going to grow overnight for you to afford to handle the repayment and the interest thereof, especially where you have borrowed for consumption purposes.

  1. Use A Budget To Manage Your Expenses And Debt Repayments Wisely

Maintaining a budget helps you allocate enough money to cover all your expenses month by month. By having an annual budget and tracking it on a monthly basis, you can take early action like borrowing or saving if it looks like you won’t have enough money for your bills in any future period.

A budget also helps you plan to utilize any   extra money you have left optimally after expenses are covered. You can use this extra money to pay off debt faster.

  1. Keep Your Lenders Close

These guys have financed you, but they may not necessarily be your friends. Most of the time they are profiteers who will do anything to recover their funds from you. Take the case for Jona.

Few months ago, Jona borrowed money from a shylock who promptly started collecting 20% interest from him after 30 days of advancing the money. The shylock kept pushing Jona for interest payment every other month till Jona started borrowing from his colleagues and friends to repay the shylock.

The situation got worse when the colleagues started demanding their payment till he could not afford food for his own family. His wife herded their son and left him for a neighbor (I guess the neighbor could buy food and meet her financial needs).

Jona got into depression and couldn’t continue being productive at work at the rate he’s expected. His boss quickly put him into a performance management program meaning that he could not access bonuses, pay increments, loans or advances, compounding his money woos.

In his state of depression, Jona has not been able to keep up the pressure and he no longer receiving calls as he does not know which lie or promise to give to his lenders.

Both the shylock and colleagues have been agitated and have continued to chase and load interest on the uncollected amounts. Colleagues have made it obvious to other staff that he owed them, compounding Jona’s stigma.

The shylock had, after realizing that he could no longer collect the repayments, promptly wrote to Jona’s employer and kept reminding the employer that Jona had not paid him. He continuously sent auctioneers and police to Jona’s office till the employer decided enough was enough and last month, Jona got sacked to face the unfamiliar world of hustling.

What’s next for Jona?

By being in constant touch and communication with your lenders, you can avert some   extreme actions from the lender by negotiating for time and as well as forgiveness or reductions on interest.

  1. The Fundamentals Of Borrowing

Why are you borrowing? Are you borrowing to spend or to invest? If you are borrowing to spend on luxuries and entertainment, you are effectively living beyond your means and this is a recipe for debt problems.

Borrow to finance life and death needs.

Borrowing is a very effective way of building capital because it’s the only way that owners of capital share this economic resource with owners of ideas, who then use these funds to convert the ideas into useful products and services for sale at a profit, effectively redistributing wealth and capital within the populace and reducing poverty.

By borrowing wisely, you can bridge the timing gap between income and expenses and get continuous business operations, because lack of working capital means no production in business.

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Funding and Raising Capital

100 Women To Win Funding of Up to $85,000 from Invest2Impact Competition

The competition is set to start on July 11 and end on November 13.

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100 women entrepreneurs from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia are set to get funding to the tune of up to $85,000 from a funding competition dubbed Invest2Impact.

Invest2Impact, an initiative from Graça Machel Trust in partnership with FinDev Canada and other finance institutions from the U.K., will see women from each of the participating countries compete for the fund. Only 20 women will be selected from each country.

The initiative was launched on Thursday at an event in Nairobi, Kenya where Graça Machel has visited tghe country to amplify women-led businesses.

Speaking during the event, Graca noted that the decision to focus on women entrepreneurs was made because of the significant contribution that they make to their economies.

“Empower a woman and a whole community will thrive, empowering women benefits everyone and is essential for communities to thrive. Research shows that increasing women’s involvement leads to improved financial management and more sustainable, thriving communities,” she said.

When women-led enterprises are empowered to achieve their full growth potential, they contribute to more job creation, enhanced regional trade, and spur more activity among budding entrepreneurs.

“Through our numerous engagements with women across the continent at the GraçaMachel Trust, we have witnessed the rise of African women who are not content running businesses for subsistence purposes only.

“Some are venturing into sectors that are traditionally male-dominated where their numbers are still small; some are bent on improving their technical knowledge and capacity to tackle even greater challenges impacting the business landscape; and some are engaging in regional trade to maximise their growth potential. The female segment cannot be generalised as ‘niche’ or ‘predictable’,” Mrs. Machel said.

Businesses whose focus are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals; seeking to reduce poverty, increase access to health and education services, reduce hunger and increase food security, promote gender equity, create decent working conditions for their employees and spur economic growth, have a greater chance of being considered for the funding.

Participating women will also benefit with business development services, mentorship programs, new networks and business visibility through partnerships.

To qualify, a business must be led by a woman or women owning at least half of the share-holding and have assets or revenues in excess of $50,000 (Sh5 million). The business must also have been in operation for at least three years and a minimum of five employees.

The Invest2Impact will categorize participants into four “tracks”: 2Xcelerate, 2Xcrowd, 2Xcapital and 2Xcatalyse.

25 finalists will compete for cash prizes of Ksh.8,749,900 ($85,000), recognition at a gala winner’s event and participation in the Invest2Impact funding readiness program.

For the 2Xcrowd track, 25 businesses will receive customized, tailored support and mentorship to implement an Africa or global crowdfunding strategy.

2Xcapital will see 25 applicants who are selected from the Invest2Impact participants benefit from access to funding programs. It is targeting smaller businesses that seek funding less than Ksh.308,700,000 ($3million).

In the final category, 2Xcatalyse, 25 female entrepreneurs will be selected to attend a major international expo, conference or event in their industry sector with sponsored travel, attendance fees and promotional material.

The Invest2Impact competition which will be on an online application portal will open to the public on Monday July 18 and will remain open to applicants for two months.

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Finance

Mobile Loan Firms To Set Up Real-Time Credit Sharing System To Tame Defaulters

At the moment, over 400,000 people have been blacklisted for defaulting on loans of Sh200 and below.

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In a bid to tame mobile loan defaulting from one mobile lender to another, twelve firms under the Digital Lenders Association of Kenya (DLAK) are working on a real-time Credit Information Sharing System (CISS) to allow members access real time access to customers borrowing history.

“The real-time credit information system will help us see just how much indebted a customer is, and we hope other lenders to contribute the information,” says Tala East Africa Country Manager Mr. Ivan Mbowa .

Currently, mobile lending firms in the Association have been withholding credit information about their clients who often proceed to secure loans from other lenders after defaulting with multiple others.

As reported by Capital Business, Mr. Mbowa’s sentiments come against the backdrop of a study conducted by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) showing that 16.6 percent of digital borrowers take up a loan to pay for another, entangling them in a vicious cycle.

At the moment, over 400,000 people have been blacklisted for defaulting on loans of Sh200 and below.

According to a directive issued by the Central Bank, digital lenders have been asked to operate as normal loans where a customer will be considered to have defaulted after six months.

The directive also requires that all financial institutions must forward customers’ information to CRB every day to ensure that information is up to date and those who have resumed servicing their facilities are not listed as defaulters. Capital Business added to its reporting.

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