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Kenya Airways considers operating commercial drones to diversify revenue source

The Kenya Airways, commonly known by acronym KQ, is apparently considering operating commercial drones as it seeks on more ways to generate revenue, especially after the current pandemic dried most of its revenue streams coming from passengers. According to the carrier’s chief executive officer Allan Kilavuka, KQ is looking for new ways to stay afloat and unmanned Aerial vehicles seems like a potential option worth considering.

The carrier is considering commercial drones as it embarks on limiting reliance on passenger travel which has been adversely affected due to the current pandemic. The Chief Executive officer acknowledged that passenger travel is currently contributing more than 85 percent of its revenue with cargo coming in second at 10 percent.

Kilavuka said the company was exploring ways on how they could commercialize drone operations in the country by engaging various partners in the segment. He further said the carrier had necessary personnel with skills to start the project but pointed out lack of enough capital could be playing a role on current status.

Notably, this announcement comes at a time when the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority has unveiled various raft measures pertaining to legalization of drone operations in the country. Kenya’s National Assembly has already passed a bill regarding the same after rejecting an earlier one.

Parties interested in operating drones in the country have already started filing applications with KCAA, according to the director general Gilbert Kibe. There are various categories that applicants can consider including recreation, filming, media and photography among others.

Telkom customers to livestream SuperSport channel with a free Showmax Pro mobile subscription

Telkom Kenya customers will now be able to live stream sports via the SuperSport channel with a free Showmax Pro mobile subscription in a deal inked between the two companies. Subscribers of the two firms will get up to 10 hours of SuperSport streaming everyday for a month in either of the Telkom Kenya’s 30GB or 45GB data plans. This comes just a few months after major international sporting events resumed after a short break necessitated by the current pandemic.

In the deal, customers from the two companies will get data deals from Telkom Kenya that include a month’s subscription of ShowMax Pro mobile. Subscribers will only need to get either 30GB or 45GB data plans from Telkom Kenya to access a month of Showmax pro mobile streaming.

Multichoice Kenya, the owner of Dstv and Showmax unveiled the Showmax Pro service that includes current Showmax entertainment as well as additional content in music, live sports from SuperSport that airs major tournaments like Premier league games, Serie A games, including other events such as athletics, boxing and marathons.  

Available offers and price

Both current and new customers on the Showmax Pro mobile plan can take advantage of the offer by opting for either of the two plans;

  • Telkom Kenya’s 30GB bundle plus a month’s Showmax Pro Mobile subscription for KSh1500. Users can stream Showmax Pro Mobile for up to 10 hours per day on a mobile device with a 1GB daily allocation.
  • Telkom Kenya’s 45GB bundle plus a month’s Showmax Pro Mobile subscription for KSh2000. Subscribers can watch Showmax Pro for up to 15 hours per day, on a mobile device with a 1.5GB daily allocation.

 Speaking on the deal, Telkom Kenya’s Managing Director of Consumer Division Steve Okeyo, indicated the partnership was well worth it for the telco and was inline with the new strategy announced a month earlier. Okeyo further said the deal will allow the mobile service provider to provide additional value to subscribers while addressing a growing demand in content solutions.

How to get a free ShowMax Pro mobile subscription with Telkom data bundles;

There are a couple of things that should be noted;
  • This offer is only available to Telkom Kenya subscribers and can only be accessed by purchasing bundles via MPESA or T-Kash.
  • The offer is valid from 16 October 2020 until 16 January 2021.

To get showmax pro mobile free subscription;

  • On your Telkom phone, Dial *544# then select Showmax Bundle
  • Followed by Buy via Mpesa.
  • Proceed to select your bundle.
  • Enter your Telkom number.
  • You should receive an STK prompt shortly requesting to enter your Mpesa PIN.
  • You’ll then get text message notification from Mpesa, followed by an SMS from Telkom with your bundle details, and an additional one with the Showmax Pro Mobile voucher.

Safaricom out to support e-waste management efforts from the informal sector

Kenya’s largest mobile service provider – Safaricom has announced plans to support the informal sector in management of the electronic waste. The announcement was made just a day before the international e-waste day on 14th October, where the telco made its intentions to support regulators and the informal known. E-waste has become a major concern especially in the developing world which gets a huge chunk of used electronics from the waste as well as Asia due to their price.

In practical sense, buying a used electronic device like a phone or computer from the west is preferred as a cost-efficient way to own one but in most cases, African countries do not have a competent waste management plan. And while some manufacturers such as Apple strive to use recyclable materials, some counterfeit products from China do not undergo necessary check to ensure everything used to make them is recyclable.

Safaricom strategy is to employ a sustainable business model targeted at creating more employment opportunities and linking the sector to possible markets for their products. Additionally, the telco plans to involve regulators in supporting the informal sector acquire licenses necessary to increase their capacity as well as fostering transparency in waste management activities.

Speaking on the initiative, Safaricom’s Chief Executive Officer Peter Ndegwa said the integrated waste management program had worked with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Center in Nairobi to collect more than 1,200 tons of e-waste. Ndegwa also stated the company had involved government bodies including the Environment Ministry, Communications Authority and the National Environment Management Authority in its efforts. Ndegwa concluded by acknowledging the importance of letting in more participants from various stake holders necessary to tackle the e-waste menace.

In the initiative, 100 electronic waste handlers as well as 15 electronic repairers will be trained on best practices in the industry and proceed to be licensed by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA). The initiative will also seek to improve the health and safety practices among informal workers in the sector.

According to a 2020 report by the Global E-Waste Monitor, there were a record 53.6 million metric tons of e-waste generated worldwide in 2019, astounding 21 per cent increase in just five years. The report further predicts that e-waste would reach 74 metric tons worldwide by the year 2030. In essence, this puts e-waste as the fastest growing domestic waste stream partly due to increased use of electronic devices, short life cycles and fewer repair options.

The iPhone 12 Mini set to become the best value iPhone from the announced trio

When Tim Cook took to the stage in a pre-recorded event that was streamed live and announced a series of new iPhones, something that really caught my mind was when Apple introduced a mini iPhone to replace the iPhone 11. In many ways, the iPhone 12 mini is very close to the top-rated iPhone 12 Pro than what we saw on the 11. It comes with a similar OLED panel, except for the size, something that contradicts its immediate predecessor.

Why the iPhone 12 Mini is the best value from the series

The iPhone 12 mini impressed us on just how much it borrowed from the pricier alternative. In a nutshell, it packs almost everything that an average consumer would need that is also available on the premium model. In fact, I literally found it hard to distinguish the two models were it not for the size when Apple unveiled the trio in an online event.

The model ushered in a new era that actually Apple used the “mini” moniker for the very first time when referring to iPhones. In the past, Apple had used the mini phrase to name some of its iPads which basically referred to a smaller version of the main model and in this case, it couldn’t be any true. The iPhone 12 mini is the lightest, smallest and slimmest model of the trio.

Favorite for people who love small phones

The small phones niche has been neglected for most of the time since we started seeing almost bezel less devices, Apple had previously unveiled “SE” models to cater for this group but something that wasn’t quite right was its continued use of previous technologies such as a Touch ID instead of facial recognition found on its newer models.

The new iPhone 12 mini’s size compares to the current iPhone 12 SE 2020 or the iPhone 8 if that makes any more sense. The size is almost equal except Apple reduced the bezels and utilized a notch to put a 5.4-ich panel on the device instead of a 4.7 found on the iPhone 8. This makes it ideal for people who prefer smaller iPhones like I do and probably eliminates the need to have an SE, unless for cost reasons.

Similarities with the premium model

As earlier indicated, there are a ton of similarities between the iPhone 12 Mini to the 12 Pro that what you’d say between iPhone 11 and 11 Pro max. the display panels are almost identical except for the size and both do carry a 5G radio. They also came with the same A14 bionic processor, MagSafe wireless charging support and the same Ceramic Shield front and Glass back.

The main difference come in photography with the Pro model having more options and superior image processing capabilities. We are yet to establish when this particular model will be available here in Kenya but at least we have an Idea of how much it’ll cost with US pricing starting at USD 699 (equivalent to about Ksh. 72,000).

How to pay for the Kenya ferry services using MPESA on your mobile phone

Just recently, the Kenya Ferry Services and Safaricom inked a deal in which customers would be able to pay for services offered using MPESA. The deal targets motorists who have to pay every time they use ferry services and since MPESA is widely used, payments will be simplified removing previous hiccups such as requiring to have exact change and of course handling cash.

MPESA has managed to graduate into becoming a household name with almost every business now allowing customers to pay via the mobile wallet. Because of its simplicity and enormous adoption across the country including private and government sectors, MPESA enjoys more than 90 percent of the market share and agents can be found just about any corner of the country.

Speaking on the deal, the Kenya Ferry Services Managing Director Bakari Gowa said the solution would allow customers to pay via MPESA acknowledging the firm’s intention to change with times and serve customers better. Gowa further said the deal would increase speed and efficiency as they move to automate most functions of the ferry services including issuance of passes.

Safaricom’s Chief Executive Officer Peter Ndegwa on his part acknowledged how MPESA had managed to convince Kenyans and become the most preferred payment method owing to its speed convenience and simplicity. Ndegwa also highlighted how MPESA had enabled Kenyans to keep themselves safe by shunning handling cash and instead using cashless option to complete their transactions.

Ndegwa also pointed out the company was We are delighted to forge the partnership with the Kenya Ferry Services to enable payments that are quick, easy and on-the-go as customers interact with the ferry services. The Kenya Ferry Services carry over 300,000 pedestrians and more than 6,000 vehicles daily across the Likoni channel.

How to pay for Ferry services using MPESA

  • On your phone, dial *721# then press “Call
  • Choose between Ferry pass for Mombasa to Likoni or Likoni to Mombasa
  • Select Vehicle type from the options i.e., 1 for Car
  • Then Select the amount from the menu depending on whether the vehicle is loaded, empty or towing
  • At the moment Kenya ferry services charges Ksh. 120 for an empty car, Ksh. 180 for a loaded one and Ksh. 300 for towing
  • Confirm the transaction

Kenyan CRBs drop 337 digital lenders from forwarding names of defaulters for backlisting

Kenyan credit reference bureaus have barred 337 unregulated digital lenders from forwarding names of defaulters for blacklisting. This comes a few months after Kenya’s financial sector regulator – the CBK unveiled new guidelines outlining how names of defaulters should be forwarded to the bureaus. According to the CRBs, only 2,254 firms have been allowed to forward names, a significant drop from previous 2,332 as of September last year.

In the wake of the current pandemic, the central bank of Kenya issued new regulations governing circumstances under which someone was to be forwarded for blacklisting. The guidelines included delisting of people with less than Ksh. 1,000 in defaults. Some lenders reacted by increasing the minimum amount someone would be required to borrow such as M-Shwari while others ceased operations altogether.

Unregulated lenders have been accused of misusing the credit information sharing (CIS) mechanism and even resorted to unscrupulous ways to force borrowers to pay back loans. The most notable means used by these lenders included shaming borrowers by sending text messages to contact of the person instructing them to inform borrowers to pay.

Pre-covid-19 period experienced a surge in number of digital lenders in the country. Kenyans were wooed with quick loans that didn’t necessarily require any form of security and in return borrowers were to pay back at exorbitant interest rates. This led to most people in the country becoming slaves to lenders, you’d repay back with the assumption to take another loan at least increasing the repayment period.

In a statement, the CBK attributes their withdrawal to numerous complains from the public over misuse of credit information sharing. Digital lenders such as Tala and Branch were barred from Metropol, TransUnion and Creditinfo International.

Millions of Kenyans had been blacklisted as defaulters following economy crunch where job cuts and near stagnant wages exposed thousands of people to debt traps. Last year alone, more than 2.7 million Kenyans had been blacklisted as a result of loans less than Ksh. 1,000.  

How to withdraw money from unaitas sacco account to MPESA using a phone

Members of the Unitas Sacco can withdraw money from their accounts to MPESA using a USSD code right on their mobile phone. The organization started off as a deposit taking savings and credit cooperative but has since introduced more services to be at par with most financial institutions.

And like any other financial institution, Unaitas members faced interruptions during the pandemic period and most services have since been moved to online as well as mobile banking where you don’t have to visit their branches but rather access services right on their mobile devices.

How to withdraw money from Unaitas Sacco account to MPESA using a mobile phone

  • On your mobile phone, Dial *493# then press call
  • Enter your credentials to login, your National ID number followed by Mo-Cash PIN.
  • From the menu, select Withdraw Option
  • From the next window, choose account number you intent to withdraw from.
  • Then put the amount to be withdrawn and confirm the transaction.
  • You should receive a text message from MPESA momentarily

Digital tax defaulters to face huge fines instead of earlier recommendations to be barred

Foreign and local companies that fail to comply with Kenya’s digital tax requirements will now face huge fines instead of earlier recommendations that indicated they could be barred from operating in the country. According to new regulations published by the treasury cabinet secretary, Kenya seems to have softened its stance from earlier recommendations that could have restricted any foreign or local company that failed to comply with new digital tax requirements.

Companies that fail to remit digital taxes amounting to 1.5 percent and VAT will now face fines rather than being blocked from operating in the country. In the new proposals that are expected to come into effect starting January 1, 2021, firms that don’t comply with the stipulated taxes will face cash penalties equivalent to double the amount expected in taxes or Ksh. 100,000 fines. This is according to disciplinary measures outlined under the Tax Procedure Act Kenya.

In the provisions, an entity that fails to comply with the regulations shall face penalties prescribed under the Act or the Tax Procedures Act, 2015. If the current regulations are anything to by, this will effectively mean the government has relaxed earlier proposals in a gazette notice dated September 25, 2020. In addition, the government has also dropped earlier requirement to have digital firms register with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) within 30 days, they’ll now be expected to register within six months.

Other provisions include having foreign firms availing details for registrations such as their official websites, certificate of incorporation, tax identification number issued to the supplier, postal address, name of the person handling the tax affairs of the supplier, email address and phone numbers.

The new regulations were unveiled in the Finance Act 2019 to increase KRA’s scope of colleting revenues from all perceived businesses including those without a physical presence in country but engaging in e-commerce.

There have been speculations on how the government intents to enforce these regulations given that most of targeted companies such as Netflix do not have a presence in the country. Rumors doing rounds also indicate that digital tax may not impact American companies after all, with an imminent trade deal between the two countries.

Taxable downloadable content includes mobile apps, e-books, movies, music, games and tickets. The government is also targeting subscription-based media such as News, magazines, journals as well as viewable content and audio.