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Treasury fails to launch planned M-Akiba bond

Tuesday April 5 2016

A man checks his mobile phone. Insurance products on the portal include Comprehensive Motor Insurance, Third Party Only Motor Insurance, Individual and Medical Insurance, Travel Insurance, Golfers Insurance, Mobile, SME and Corporate Insurance. FILE PHOTO |

A man checks his mobile phone. Insurance products on the portal include Comprehensive Motor Insurance, Third Party Only Motor Insurance, Individual and Medical Insurance, Travel Insurance, Golfers Insurance, Mobile, SME and Corporate Insurance. FILE PHOTO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP.

OTIATO GUGUYU
By OTIATO GUGUYU
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The National Treasury has once again failed to introduce the mobile phone-based bond, months after President Uhuru Kenyatta agreed to a law guiding the sale of the Sh5 billion mini-securities.

The government in January said it would introduce the bond by the end of March after the planned sale in October last year was derailed by volatile interest rates.

It initially planned to start selling the Sh5 billion five-year bond in October but prevailing interest rates, which had risen to 22 per cent for short-term government paper, meant that the Treasury had to shelve the offer until lower rates come into play.

T-Bill rates traded at 8.965 per cent last week, offering the State an opportunity to borrow cheaply from wananchi in a market hitherto restricted to high net worth investors.

The M-Akiba bond was to be sold at minimum denominations of Sh3,000 through the mobile money platforms.

TWITTER

“There should be an element of information to tell retail investors what the bond entails, what the coupon means. I think they have to embark on that journey before they actually float it to get healthy subscription,” said CfC Stanbic Bank Regional Economist Jibran Qureishi.

The twitter account set up by government @m_akiba2015 last posted information about the bond on November 20, 2016.

“Financial inclusion in, for example, the US, is 93.6 per cent, Germany at 98.7 per cent. M-Akiba 2015 will assist push these percentages. M-Akiba is for all Kenyans so long as they have a mobile phone and some money available for investment #M-Akiba2015,” reads the post.

Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich said it is the ideal time to float the M-Akiba bond given the prevailing interest rates.
“Everything is ready we are just waiting for President Uhuru Kenyatta to launch M-Akiba. The rate will be slightly lower than the prevailing market rate but I will let the President make the announcement when he launches it,” said Mr Rotich.

Yesterday, Mr Rotich failed to respond to questions on the delay, saying he was in Paris accompanying the President.
Legislators are also demanding a response from the Treasury following the delay.