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Portland cement records Sh1.2b after tax loss : The Standard

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East African Portland Cement premise in Athi River, Nairobi (PHOTO: Standard)

NAIROBI, KENYA: Trouble at the East African Portland Cement continues to widen with the cement maker reporting a Sh1.2 billion loss in half-year financial results ended December 31 2018.

The company on Wednesday attributed the loss to a difficult business environment, sluggish market and production challenges.
“The first half of the year reflected a difficult business environment on the backdrop of increased input prices, a sluggish market as well as production challenges arising from a tight working capital position. This affected our ability to effectively provide the product sufficiently to customers,” Sheila Kahuki, EA Portland Cement company secretary said.
During the period under review, the company’s sales revenue decline by 55 per cent over the same period in the prior year leading to an increase of 66 per cent in loss from operating activities.
Finance costs declined by 53 per cent owing to restructuring of finance facilities. The current liabilities exceed current assets by Sh7.3 billion.
The company is banking on President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda to make money.
“Future market outlook remains positive with the unveiling of the Big Four Agenda by the National Government where affordable housing and manufacturing are among the top priorities. The competitive environment is expected to result in subdued cement prices in the near future,” she said.
The producer of Blue Triangle brand, which has largely been missing in retail outlets is however optimistic that it will continue to reap from reductions in administrative expenses due to the ongoing staff rationalisation and outsourcing of non-core administrative services.
The company’s secretary further applauded the government for its continued support in helping the company remain afloat.
“Despite the depressed results, the board remains confident in realisation of its turnaround efforts and takes cognisance of government support in concretising initiatives for working capital” She said.
Late last year, Cabinet approved the sale of 900 acres of land belonging to the cash-strapped company to Kenya Railway to fund its activities.
The company’s books have deteriorated rapidly over the past one year with the auditor general Edward Ouko saying last year that the firm cannot pay its debts.

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East African Portland Cement



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KPA Begins Search for New Managing Director

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The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has begun the search for a new Managing Director, following the resignation of Daniel Manduku on 27th March 2020, who is currently under investigation for corruption.

After the resignation, the Authority’s board of directors appointed Engineer Rashid Salim as the MD in an acting capacity.

In an advert signed by the board chairman, Joseph Kibwana, interested applicants are required to send in their applications on or before 24th April 2020.

The successful candidate will serve on contractual terms for an initial period of three years, subject to renewal based on performance.

See Also:

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KPA Remits KSh18.7 Billion to Treasury in Special Dividends

Macharia Irungu Appointed KPC Managing Director

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Poll: 81pc of staff working from home unproductive

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Economy

Poll: 81pc of staff working from home unproductive

A woman working from the comfort of her house
A woman working from the comfort of her house. PHOTO | COURTESY 

About eight in 10 Kenyans believe that working from home is ineffective, a survey conducted by Consumer Insight Africa has revealed, even as employers increasingly ask their staff to work from home in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, which has drastically changed the way business is conducted.

The poll released Thursday shows that 81 percent of Kenyan workers interviewed are of the view that working from home is unproductive.

Only a meagre two percent felt productive working from home while three per cent of the 1,083 respondents said their productivity had remained the same. The survey was conducted between March 28 and 31.

This looks set to hurt the overall productivity of companies at a time when over 50 percent of staff in many firms are working from home to reduce the probability of spreading the virus which has infected 184 people and killed seven in Kenya. Another 13 have been reported as having fully recovered.

The findings also upend the ongoing thinking that working from home not only benefits employees by eliminating their daily commutes, but also increases productivity and leads to healthier lifestyles.

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It is viewed as a win-win situation that both workers and employers welcome on account of its flexibility and for its potential to improve work-life balance for employees.

“For 81 percent of office goers, working at home was ineffective with a skew to females and those in business,” says the Consumer Insights Africa poll released on Thursday.

About 85 percent of the female workers said they were unproductive while working remotely compared to males at 80 percent.

Self-employed workers offered a worse verdict on working from home with 85 percent saying they were unproductive compared 79 percent for those in employment.

Kenya has suspended international passenger travel, closed schools indefinitely, closed bars and golf clubs and imposed a daily dusk-to-dawn curfew as well as banning public gatherings to curb the spread of the virus that has infected 1.5 million people globally, killing close to 90,000. Another 34,000 have recovered.

On Monday, the government also barred movement into and out of the four counties most affected by the virus, including Nairobi, Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi. Restrictions for Nairobi started on Monday and in the coastal counties on Wednesday evening.

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Tougher restriction on movements look set to hurt Kenya’s economic output, which analysts led by management consultants McKinsey & Company expect will shrink by five percent in what will represent a $10 billion (Sh1 trillion) loss if the coronavirus pandemic is not contained.

Sectors such as tourism and horticulture, the two leading sources of foreign exchange, have already been hit hard by the ban on international travel. The outbreak has also disrupted supply chains and local production.

Kenya’s economic growth is expected to slow down to three percent or less this year from an earlier forecast of 6.1 percent due to the economic shocks of the novel coronavirus, according to Treasury estimates. This is expected to lead to job cuts as well as under-employment.

Consumer Insight Africa says 21 percent of those polled have seen their incomes drop to zero since Kenya announced its first case of coronavirus on March 13. Another 61 percent have seen their income drop while 17 percent of those interview said their pay has remained unchanged. Only one percent of those polled have seen their income rise, reflecting the impact of the virus on workers’ pay.

A reduction in incomes invariably leads to depressed consumer spending and ultimately hits firms’ sales, not to mention a reduction in income tax collections.

Kenya announced tax cuts on March 25 including on corporation, personal income and sales levy for small and mid-sized traders, to protect the economy against the coronavirus

The tax changes, to be debated in Parliament on Tuesday, are geared at lowering the cost of basic goods while providing workers with additional income for spending to boost consumption.

Of the respondents who said their productivity had dropped as a result of working from home, 41 percent said they were spending more time watching pay TV and movies. Another 34 percent increased their spending on entertainment. On age distribution, more young employees said they were working remotely compared to their older counterparts. Some 86 percent of workers under 25 years said they were on out-of-office duty while 77 percent of those aged above 35 said they were working from home.

A lower productivity is a double loss to companies that have invested in tools like laptops and internet data to ease remote working.

As people disperse to their homes to work and study because of the coronavirus pandemic, taking their laptops and company data with them, cyber security experts say hackers will follow, seeking to take advantage and infiltrate corporations.

Many workers are moving their employers’ data from professionally-managed corporate networks to home Wi-Fi setups protected with basic passwords.

Some organisations are loosening restrictions to allow employers to access work-critical information from their home offices, heightening the risk of information being leaked or data being compromised.

Working from home might expose employees to lower-tech threats too, including theft or loss of electronic equipment or plain human error by employees adjusting to a new environment and way of working.

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AfDB Unveils $10 Billion Package for COVID-19

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The AfDB (African Development Bank) has unveiled a $10 billion COVID-19 Response Facility to governments and the private sector, that seeks to enable regional member countries to mitigate impacts of the global pandemic.

Africa is facing enormous challenges in responding to the coronavirus pandemic effectively. The African Development Bank Group is deploying its full weight of emergency response support to assist Africa at this critical time. This Facility will help African countries to fast-track their efforts to contain the rapid spread of the virus.

Akinwumi Adesina, AfDB President 

The funding will be distributed as follows:

  • $5.5 billion for sovereign operations in AfDB countries
  • $3.1 billion for regional operations for member countries of the African Development Fund
  • $1.35 billion for private sector operations.

Already, the bank successfully sold a three-year $3 billion bond as part of its efforts to offer financial supports to countries and businesses fighting against the global COVID-19 pandemic. Thereafter, it became the first bond from AfDB to list on London Stock Exchange, and the largest to be admitted to London’s Sustainable Bond Market.

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Early this week, AfDB approved a $2 million emergency funding for the World Health Organization (WHO) to help African countries fight the COVID-19 pandemic impacts.

See Also:

AfDB Sells $3 Billion “Fight COVID-19” Bond

Africa to be Hit Hard by COVID-19, Says McKinsey

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