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Daystar Power raises $4m from SunFunder for rapid buildout in Nigeria

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Daystar Power, a commercial and industrial (C&I) solar developer,  has raised $4 million from SundFunder to provide solar power and energy efficiency solutions for businesses in the commercial, industrial, and agricultural sectors in Nigeria.

Daystar Power says the funding will result in significant reduction of power costs, diesel consumption and pollution in Nigeria.

SunFunder, a solar finance company providing debt capital to solar enterprises in emerging markets, invests up to 3MWp of C&I projects for clients including top tier financial institutions and other small and medium-sized enterprises will mitigate 102,410 tons of CO2 emissions annually.

According to Rim Azirar, Investment Officer at SunFunder, “We are delighted to support Daystar’s growth with a project finance-like structure that can support the company’s strategy for rapid buildout in Nigeria, through their highly scalable business model.” 

Daystar’s mission is to provide an African sustainable energy solution that results in a minimum 20 % reduction in energy costs and 50% reduction in diesel consumption for end users.

According to a recent study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Nigeria has the largest potential for C&I solar in Africa because of the scale of the opportunity for diesel replacement. Daystar is a pioneer in the market, offering end-users increased reliability as well as lower energy costs through solar and storage systems.

Christian Wessels, co-founder and executive of Daystar Power, comments: “We are happy to partner with SunFunder in our mission to bring clean, continuous and affordable power to West African businesses in support of their growth and environmental goals. The support of SunFunder enables the beginning of a new phase of accelerated growth for our company.”

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In October, Daystar Power announced it had installed its 100th solar energy system in Nigeria since it was founded in 2017. In May the same year, it raised EUR 500,000 via Trine for captive power installations in Togo & Senegal. The amount was a debt round raised via crowdfunding site Trine, a Swedish investment platform to finance solar power systems.

In April, Daystar Power entered Ghana after raising $10m for West Africa expansion. The Ghana office was its second branch in West Africa with an office in the Ghanaian capital of Accra.

In March, Daystar Power received 10 million US Dollars for expansion of solar power operations in West Africa. The $10 million USD investment was led by Verod Capital Management and Persistent Energy Capital LLC.


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How To Limit Distractions When Working From Home

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Now that most people are working from home increasing productivity can be quite a challenge especially when you’re not used to it.

However, your employer still expects their work done and on time regardless of your work environment. One of the biggest challenges when working from home can either be the number of people around you or entertainment. It takes a certain level of commitment and discipline to actually work from home especially when you’re not accustomed. But these tips will definitely help you if you’d like to limit distractions.

1. Create a Dedicated Office Space

You might not have an office in your house but you can definitely create one. It could be on your bed or a small corner in your sitting room but all in all you need to have a space that is dedicated to just working. If your home is big enough to accommodate an entire room dedicated solely to work, you’re one of the lucky ones. If not, simply establish an area where you can use your computer, talk on the phone, and keep important documents stored.

2.Create a Daily To-Do List

Setting priorities is important at the office and infinitely more so when working from home. Without a boss peering over your shoulder or colleagues to bounce ideas off of, it’s up to you to put your to-do list in order. It can help you stay on track and avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Quickly jot down what needs to be done during a particular workday, then number each item in order of priority. When the day is done, immediately transfer anything you didn’t accomplish to the next day’s list to ensure that nothing slips through the cracks.

3. Explain to your family

Even if you don’t have kids, you may have to communicate your need for a quiet working environment to your significant other. If your spouse or partner works in a more traditional setting, the idea of a home office may seem casual to them, resulting in noise and disruptions when you’re trying to concentrate. Set ground rules for your workspace, such as knocking before coming into your office or respecting quiet time between certain hours.

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4. You need to stay on task

Keep your phone away and only look at it when need be. Keep relevant tabs open on the computer and everything else that needs to be closed never open it.

Checking your email is a necessity when you’re telecommuting, especially if it’s your colleagues’ favorite method of communication. However, constantly clicking on that email tab can impede your own projects and disrupt workflow.

5. Be very organized

When you’re working from home, your job can actually become more stressful. Suddenly, you’re battling between home and work life, and a cramped schedule can disrupt your workflow. That means you have to do everything you can to optimize and organize your home office. Structure your day like you’re at the office and give yourself deadlines to complete your projects.

6. Set Office Hours

Use your office hours to guide you. This means that you should still wake up early enough and end your day when you’ve actually completed your tasks which greatly depends on you.

7. Use earphones

Earphones are great for limiting distractions. Think of all the at-home noises that can disrupt your concentration. A ringing phone, a loud TV, kids playing, the doorbell, and even regular conversations can cause you to lose your train of thought or become frustrated. And, since it’s not feasible (or fair) to expect all noise to simply stop when you’re working, earphones are the next best thing.


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Kwara launches free Pronto digital banking platform for SACCOs

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Kwara, a digital banking platform in Kenya has today launched “Kwara Pronto” a digital banking software for SACCOs at risk during the Coronavirus pandemic. The platform will allow SACCOs to continue business operations and serve their customers amid the social distancing measures for the next three months.

Due to government-enforced restrictions on movement and social distancing measures during COVID-19, SACCOs are unable to operate at full capacity. As a result, members face challenges applying for loans, transacting and accessing their funds.

The new Pronto product will enable both BOSA and FOSA SACCOs to quickly and easily go digital. They simply need to provide minimum mandatory KYC requirements. And a snapshot of financial data, all of which are protected under NDA. Staff can work remotely, process the high volume of incoming loan requests quickly, disburse funds, and easily get in touch with members. Members, in turn, can begin to transact digitally and view their finances and loan eligibility in real-time. Eligible SACCOs will also get a free website to enhance their digital presence.

Kwara is offering access to an essential version of its core digital banking platform. Which will enable SACCOs who qualify to bring their operations online, at no cost, for the next 3 months. This is an effort to enable SACCOs and their members to keep transacting while observing social distancing.

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“The COVID-19 crisis will inevitably disproportionately impact the financially vulnerable, who rely heavily on SACCOs for access to fair loans and a safety net when they need it,” said Kwara CEO Cynthia Wandia. “Traditionally, SACCOs rely on face to face interaction to serve their customers. Today they are facing significant challenges trying to operate in this new environment. Our platform is designed to kickstart their digital transformation. We are offering an essential version of our platform for free.  SACCOs can continue serving the members that need them and get through these difficult times.”

“The Kwara core banking platform is stable and secure, with incredible dedication and commitment in providing support to its clients. I commend them in making an effort to focus on helping SACCOs keep issuing loans through this time,” said Kenya Bankers SACCO Chief Information Officer Steve Biko, of the company’s clients.

Kwara serves more than 27,000 SACCO members via SACCOs. Including Kenya Bankers Sacco Ltd in Kenya and has over Ksh 8bn in assets under management on its platform.

 


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KRA assures taxpayers of support as country faces global health challenge

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Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has assured taxpayers and the general public that it will continue supporting them as the country faces a global health challenge. Individuals and businesses will access KRA services which the authority will facilitate timely payment of taxes

In line with the Presidential directive to mitigate the effects of COVID – 19 to the Kenyan economy through; KRA has implemented the reduction of Personal Income Tax top rate (PAYE) from 30 per cent to 25 per cent. 100 per cent Tax Relief for persons earning up to Ksh. 24,000.

Also, KRA has facilitated the reduction of Resident Corporate Income Tax rate from 30to 25 per cent and reduction of Turnover Tax rate for SMEs from 3 to 1 per cent.  Including Immediate reduction of VAT rate from 16 to 14 per cent, lowering of Central Bank Rate (CBR) to 7.2 per cent and lowering of Cash Reserve Ration (CRR) to 4.2 per cent.

Also, the Central Bank of Kenya to offer flexibility to banks on loans that were active as of March 2020 to maintain liquidity levels. KRA will facilitate expedited payment of VAT Refunds by allocating an additional Ksh. 10B. And finally setting up a fund to which players in the Public and Private Sector are contributing in support of Government efforts.

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Whereas all efforts will be made to facilitate payment of taxes.  KRA will decisively handle any matter that pertains to deliberate non-payment of taxes. In the event that a taxpayer is not able to honor the agreed payment plan. Taxpayers will provide proof of transactions in response to VAT inconsistency reports. And appreciates that is not tenable in the current environment.

To mitigate this, KRA has deferred the physical submission of documents and appearance. Taxpayers will be duly notified of when they can appear in person. In the interim, taxpayers are advised to submit evidence of transactions through [email protected]

KRA is also calling upon citizens to play their constitutional role and pay all taxes due. And support the Government in the provision of critical services.


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