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Legislators open inquiry into oil pipeline leakages

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Economy

Legislators open inquiry into oil pipeline leakages

KPC acting Managing Director Hudson Andambi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

MPs have opened an inquiry into frequent leakages, spillage and siphoning of petroleum products along the Sh48 billion Mombasa-Nairobi oil pipeline that is less than a year old.

The National Assembly’s Energy Committee made the decision after an MP claimed that the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) wants to procure a Sh2 billion ($20 million) oil leak detection system after rejecting an offer of Sh400 million ($4 million) by the contractor who built the 450-kilometre line.

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KPC acting Managing Director Hudson Andambi failed to disclose the amount of money needed to install the detection system but said a budgetary request has been made to the Treasury.

“We have requested a supplementary budget to install the leak detection system in the financial year 2019/20. The leak detection system was not part of the scope of works done by Zakhem International the contractor of the project. It was to be undertaken by another contractor,” he said.

Mr Andambi told MPs that seven people had been arrested in the Mlolongo incident where super petrol was siphoned. The stations are in Ruiru, Kibichoi and Kiambu.

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Nigerian lender gets nod to acquire 100pc stake in Moi-linked Transnational Bank

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PATRICK ALUSHULA

By PATRICK ALUSHULA
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Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has given nod to a top Nigerian lender to acquire Transnational Bank, a mid-tier lender associated with the former president Daniel Moi and his associates.

CBK governor Patrick Njoroge announced on Friday that he has given green lights to the deal coming months after the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) also endorsed the transaction.

“The Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury and Planning has also approved the acquisition of up to 100 percent of the issued share capital of Transnational Bank Plc by Access Bank Plc,” Dr Njoroge announced.

The acquisition will be concluded on February 1 by Nigeria’s Access Bank, extending the mergers and acquisitions in Kenya’s banking sector.

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Dr Njoroge said the deal will strengthen the resilience of Kenya’s banking sector given that Access Bank is the largest lender in Nigeria with an asset base of about Ksh1.61 trillion ($16.10 billion).

Other banks that have been acquired in the last seven years include Fina Bank, Giro Commercial bank, Oriental Commercial Bank, Fidelity Bank, Chase Bank and Imperial Bank.

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The deal will see Nigerian banks deepen their presence in Kenya with United Bank of Africa (UBA) and Guarantee Trust Bank already in the market.

Access, with assets worth Ksh1.17 trillion ($11.7 billion) also has presence in Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Congo, Zambia, China and the UK.

Acquisition of Transnational brings to an end the existence of the 35-year-old Kenyan bank with 28 branches.

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EU warns of WTO challenge if China-US deal creates ‘distortions’ : The Standard

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Nicolas Chapuis raised European Union concerns about the impact of the China-US trade deal on European firms. [AFP / Clement Sabourin]

The European Union will challenge the China-US trade agreement at the World Trade Organization if it creates “distortions” in the market that harm EU companies, the bloc’s envoy to Beijing said Friday.

Ambassador Nicolas Chapuis told reporters the 28-nation EU “will monitor the implementation” of the “phase one” deal that was signed on Wednesday by President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.
“In our opinion, quantitative targets are not WTO-compatible if they lead to trade distortions,” Chapuis said. “If it were to be the case, we will go to the WTO to settle this matter.”
He said that during a meeting at the Chinese foreign ministry, he was given “formal assurances that in absolutely no way would European businesses be affected by the US-China deal”.
The WTO’s principle of most-favoured-nation treatment says countries cannot discriminate between trading partners.
Under the deal, China agreed to import an additional $200 billion in US products over two years, above the levels purchased in 2017, including an additional $32 billion in agricultural goods.
Beijing also pledged to improve protections of US intellectual property.

For More of This and Other Stories, Grab Your Copy of the Standard Newspaper.  

The US has pledged to slash in half tariffs of 15 percent that were imposed on about $120 billion worth of Chinese consumer goods such as clothing in September.
But punitive border taxes will remain on two-thirds of more than $500 billion in imports from China.
Paul Tan of Rajah & Tann law firm in Singapore, who specialises in international dispute resolution, told AFP the deal “may not violate WTO rules because the type of goods being bought from the US could be different from other countries’, or even unavailable”.
“I don’t think the trade deal reversed the increase in tariffs on US goods after the trade war broke out, for example, so I doubt this could be read as more preferential treatment,” he said.
China’s agreement to buy more from the US in effect cushions some of the impact from increased tariffs over the past two years, he added.
He noted, however, that such bilateral trade deals seem to be the US administration’s preferred method of developing economic relations with its major trading partners, rather than through the WTO — meaning further trade disputes with the US will have to be resolved outside the global trading system.
Kerstin Braun, president of Stenn Group, said on Thursday: “With a weakened WTO and the general trend away from multilateral trade agreements, we’re only going to see more trade squabbles.”  

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Google parent Alphabet valuation hit Sh100 trillion : The Standard

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Google parent firm Alphabet is now worth some USD1 trillion based on its stock market value, becoming the fourth tech firm to reach that milestone. [AFP/File / DENIS CHARLET]

Google’s parent company Alphabet saw its value reach USD1 trillion (Sh100tr) for the first time Thursday, becoming the fourth US tech company to hit the milestone.

Shares in the online giant rose 0.76 percent for the day to reach the trillion-dollar mark at the close of trade.
The Silicon Valley group joins Apple, which first reached USD1 trillion (Sh100tr) in 2018 and on Thursday showed a valuation of some USD1.38 trillion (Sh139tr); and Microsoft, now valued at some USD1.26 trillion (Sh127tr).
Another tech titan, Amazon, rose above the trillion-dollar mark in September 2018 but has since declined to a value of around $930 billion (Sh93.8 trillion).

SEE ALSO :Mobile firm sponsored the first Africa-China internet economy summit

Google is the leading online search engine and produced the popular Android mobile operating system.
Alphabet, formed as a holding company in 2015, has a number of other units working on “moonshot” projects including Waymo on autonomous cars and Verily for life sciences.
The company announced last year that Google chief executive Sundar Pichai would also assume the CEO functions at Alphabet, raising speculation on whether a fresh reorganization is planned.

For More of This and Other Stories, Grab Your Copy of the Standard Newspaper.  

Pichai’s promotion enabled Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to step away from daily operations at the company.  

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