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Pollution Starts and Ends With A Clean Environment

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The world environment day was held on the 5th of June 2019. The day, which is observed in most parts of the world, seeks to reflect on interventions taken on matters environment. In 2019, the focus was on beating air pollution. In Kenya today, the levels of pollution continue to rise amidst increased industrialization, infrastructure development as well as growing activities in the construction sector. The National Environmental Management Agency (NEMA) has time and again been in the mainstream media advocating for observation of the requirements to ensure safe and clean environmental interventions.

Their stand is based on the challenges at the grassroots level where communities in areas with heavy industrial action including Baba Dogo, Syokimau, Athi River, Dandora and even Industrial Area have continued to complain about air pollution. In the case of Syokimau, there has been a great increase in habitation with many urban populations moving in the area that is within the precincts of the capital city. However, the area of residence is not all that rosy! Fumes of burning metal increase in the evening while in some areas the fumes from industrial and motor smoke are increased in the morning.

Globally, air pollution is a crisis that affects not only the environment but people’s health in addition to affecting global warming. Research in China, for example, found that children who grew up in polluted areas risk having reduced intelligence or developing symptoms of asthma. Already, there has been evidence of pregnant women in polluted areas losing their babies to miscarriages or having the babies prematurely as a result of long term exposure to air pollution. In other cases, the presence of low birth weight has been reported.

But how can we beat air pollution?

A suggestion from the World Health Organization indicates that this will be achieved through managing industries, transportation, waste and burning of fossil fuels. This requires both individual and corporate effort in line with WHO as well as MDG7 that has to do with natural resources base and ecosystems sustainability.

The latter will help to meet people’s food requirements and other environmental, social and economic needs. Climate change, increased water scarcity, and conflicts over access to resources all pose challenges to environmental sustainability and food security.

Bearing in mind the environmental pillar of the Optiven Foundation, this is what drove the team to reach out to the community in Ngatataek, Kajiado County on 5th June 2019. The team of over 20 staff joined the community to clean up the market area and rid it of the marauding dirt that was making it an eyesore.

The exercise provided an opportunity for partnership with the local community including scouts and girl guides from the Ngatataek Boarding School, the local administration, and the business community of Ngatataek area. At the end of the event, tonnes of garbage, mainly plastic and other waste were transported to a garbage dump and burnt symbolically to encourage the community to be self-aware of the need to protect the environment.

Speaking when he rolled out the cleaning exercise, Mr. George Wachiuri, the Chairman of the Optiven Foundation called on the community and specifically the business owners of Ngatataek to be involved individually to ensure that the area is rid of garbage and plastic in particular. Wachiuri singled out the status of Machakos County and urged the local administration to borrow a leaf and make Ngatataek a model green city in the near future. His sentiments were echoed by local leaders led by Mr. Daniel Kupai, the Senior Chief of Ngatataek who reminded the community that a clean environment will serve their families well and keep the environment clean.

Kupai was speaking shortly after welcoming the team from Optiven Foundation and the residents of Ngatataek to the cleanup exercise, during which he reminded them that air pollution is a result of improper waste management. He thanked the Optiven Foundation for accepting to donate garbage bins in the next three months that will help alleviate the behavior of open dumping.

Speaking at the same event, ODM Nominated Member of the County Assembly Grace Munei encouraged the community to teach their children cleanliness for a greener cleaner city in the future. The team was speaking at Ngatataek market shortly after hosting Mrs. Mary Wachuka – a trustee of the Optiven Foundation who donated sanitary towels to over 200 girls at Ngatataek Primary School.

She advised that supporting girls ensures that none stays at home because of having their periods – a key incentive to ensure education for all. Mrs. Wachuka further encouraged the pupils to focus on education in order to be competent in the corporate world and be transformers in their own society. She was accompanied by over 30 employees of Optiven Group who also participated in a tree planting exercise at the school grounds.

Mr. Wachiuri also took time to empower the boys at the schools during which time he reiterated that the youth at the grassroots level are lacking mentors to help them be better citizens. He donated footballs to the boys to enable them to use their energies and time appropriately while urging other corporate organizations to follow suit.

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PMC Estates Limited’s Wonderful Solution that is Easing Landlords’ Stress

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PMC Estates Limited has launched a campaign that is meant to ease stress for landlords

PMC Estates Limited, one of the leading property letting and management companies in Kenya has launched a solution-oriented campaign dubbed ‘Landlord Bila Stress’ which is aimed at partnering with landlords and property owners in helping them to manage their rental properties with much more ease.  The initiative will see landlords take advance rental payments against their managed properties.

“Landlords can now take advantage of this advance payment and direct the funds to any of their priority areas including construction, mortgage or loan repayments or for their personal needs. The advanced funds shall then be recovered over an agreed period of time through rent collections,” says Peter Kariuki, PMC Estates Managing Director.

The firm, which specializes in professional letting and management of both residential and commercial properties in Kenya, has introduced this initiative to further empower investors in properties to grow their wealth through mutual partnerships that will propel social and economic prosperity.

The ‘Landlords Bila stress’ initiative will provide a great opportunity which translates that landlords will no longer have to wait for the month to end in order to access cash. The landlord will also have an opportunity to access more cash than what the property is generating on any given month.

“This PMC Estates solution will offer landlords an opportunity to get customized financing to further help them improve the standard of their property, which will in-turn have a ripple effect on the rental value leading to more income,” says Kariuki.

He notes that PMC Estates shall not only commit to finance facelifts, improvements, repairs and renovations to ensure the landlords earn more from their investment but that the firm will also carry out a thorough inspection of the property to offer the owner, a detailed proposal with budgets on the needed works to be done.

“This is already happening with our current happy landlord partners and we are keen to enlist more property owners to take advantage of this great opportunity,” notes Kariuki.  The company will also be holding Landlord empowerment forums in various satellite towns in the country to sensitize property owners on how they can take up and enjoy the incentives being offered

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Sh1,000 Notes Abroad to be Exchanged in the Country, CBK Says

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Patrick Njoroge, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor, has urged those with the old Sh1,000 notes that are out of the country to exchange them in Kenya before the October 1st deadline elapses.

The Governor dismissed permitting conversion of the old currency outside the country, adding that the CBK had alerted all foreign banks to cease recognition of the old notes.

He further said that banks outside the country will not be receiving any new notes to aid in conversion, contending that this would defeat the process of demonetization.

“If you have the Kenyan currency and you happen to be outside the country, there is only one way to get value for it before October 1. You have to take a trip here and go through the procedures outlined in the Gazette notice and subsequent releases,” said Dr. Njoroge when speaking at a press briefing yesterday.

“You cannot convert it to any other currency out there since this would defeat the process of demonetization.”

Earlier this month, notices were issued from the Bank of Tanzania and the Bank of Uganda discontinuing the conversion of the old currency in their banks. In addition, they have directed their countries’ banks to apply more stringent due diligence processes to all currency flows.

The procedures to be followed for currency conversion by locals will also be followed by those coming into the country.

Dr. Njoroge has warned that measures have been put in place to thwart any efforts to clean illicit money in nations involved in significant financial transactions with Kenya.

After the East African Community allowed free movement of goods and people across member states, the Kenyan shilling is frequently used in business transactions in neighbouring countries.

The result is that this money comes back home through those trade routes and official currency repatriation mechanisms between central banks of countries in the Community.

He also said that the deadline will not be extended, arguing that an extension would create a loophole for those seeking to clean their dirty money to do so.

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Safaricom and Equity in Deal to Offer Loans to Contractors

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Safaricom contractors that may find themselves short on cash will now be able to access as much as Sh200 million in unsecured short-term loans following a deal between the telco and Equity Bank. This will help the contractors to maintain cash flow positions before receiving payment for their services.

The firm wrote a letter addressed to its business partners in which it said that the aim of the deal is the creation of a more procurement-ready business. The main beneficiaries will be Safaricom dealers, suppliers, and agents.

In the fiscal year ended March 2019, Safaricom had 440 dealers, 156,000 M-Pesa agents, and 1,164 suppliers.

“We are pleased to inform you of our partnership with Equity Bank which will offer our partners financing solutions linked to purchase orders and invoices,” said Francis Murabula, Safaricom’s head of supply chain management, in the letter.

He is asking the dealers, suppliers, and agents for consent to share their information including contact details, invoice and purchase order information to enable loan processing for potential firms.

Contractors will be able to borrow from Equity before or after they fulfill their contractual obligations with Safaricom.

The terms and amount of the loan applied for will depend on each company’s credit rating.

Therefore, for a contractor to qualify for an unsecured loan of up to Sh200 million, they have to be using unpaid accounts for goods and services that have already been provided to Safaricom as their collateral.

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