In this year’s Kenya’s budget speech, Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta’s announced that he was amending the Public Procurement and Disposal Act to make it mandatory for government ministries and other public entities to give first priority in tendering to local suppliers.
The move makes suppliers such as Victoria Furnitures Limited managing director Vinod Hemraj Shah a happy man for its cuts costs across all sectors including manufacturing, assembling, agriculture, extracting and mining.
“A few years ago we were into local manufacture of furniture in a very big way and had 600 employees. But stiff competition and preference by many customers for cheaper imported furniture made us cut back and now we only have 300 employees,” he says.
“With this government policy, we intend to aggressively expand our local manufacturing unit and hire more people.” Previously, the Act did not make it mandatory that public entities procure from local companies and this disadvantaged local suppliers.
“The procurement law gives discretion to the procuring entities to apply preferences and reservations in public and disposal in consideration of economic and social factors,” said Mr Kenyatta. “This has led to limited participation by local industries in the procurement process even where economic and social development factors would justify otherwise.”
Experts predict that the policy will promote participation of local industries in driving growth, creating more jobs, and diversifying exports.
Victoria Furnitures doesn’t sell directly to government ministries or institutions, but has customers who buy its products then re-sell to the institutions. Its other major customers are large companies, banks and learning institutions.
While most of its locally manufactured furniture is made from hardwood, imports are mostly MDF board (also called particle board or chipboard) products from the Far East markets of China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Turkey.
Is a Will really necessary
Toiling through toils to acquire the very best of the assets can be lost when people inevitably breathe their last on earth writes Cathy Mputhia as she stresses the need for all to write a valid Will so that the property by law does not devolve to the State.
Most people dread contemplating their own death. Consequently, they fail to draw a Will and occasion hardships to their survivors when they pass-on after acquiring so much assets and wealth.
Writing a Will is however one of the most prudent step one could make for themselves and their families. It really is a very simple way through which one may preserve their wealth beyond the inevitable death.
A Will is a legal document containing a person’s declaration as to their wishes regarding the disposition of their property after they die. For such a document to be legally enforceable, it must conform to the requirements as set out under the laws governing succession. In Kenya, this would be the Law of Succession Act, (Chapter 160, Laws of Kenya).
Be on the safe side
By means of a Will you could almost literally determine the course of his wealth from the depths of their grave. Many are the stories of thriving estates which got dissipated not long after the demise of their patriarchs or matriarchs because of their having landed in the wrong hands. To avoid this, one may appoint a trusted person to act as the Executor of his estate, appoint trustees and or guardians for children who are still minors.
To be on the safe side, one may appoint an alternative executor or guardian just in case the default one is unable to act. He could also give instructions as to how his body is to be disposed of or generally how his funeral is to be conducted. This will definitely reduce the strain death causes among friends and relatives as there will be no need for lengthy funeral committee meetings deliberating on the same.
It is a very shameful to witness relatives squabbling in public over who is to get what as relates to the estate of a deceased. Imagine the anguish his immediate family had to endure over something both foreseeable and avoidable.
The mere appointment of executors or trustees does not mean that the wealth preservation process will be smooth. Indeed for complicated ventures such as investment, trusts or maintenance, they may encounter difficulty and thus a Will may specifically outline what they are to do and even empower them to do that which they would otherwise have been unable to do.
No prescribed format
So who needs to write a Will and how does one go about it? Well, the Law of Succession Act states that anybody who owns free property, is over 18 years of age, and is of sound mind can write a Will. There is no prescribed format for writing a Will but the maker must indicate from the onset that he is drafting one by describing the document as such.
Generally, a Will must be in written form (for an oral Will to be valid, the maker must have died within three months of it) and the Testator, for that is what he who drafts a Will is called, must sign and affix his mark to it or some other person must do so on his behalf in his presence and direction.
This process is referred to as executing the Will. Subsequently, the Will must be attested, which means it be signed in the Testator’s presence by at least two people who must have witnessed its execution. It would suffice if they receive from the Testator a personal acknowledgement of his signature or mark. The attesting witnesses should not be beneficiaries under the same Will, but if they are, their bequests may fail.
People need not fear writing a Will. They are indeed free to revoke or alter it at any time. Furthermore, a revoked Will can still be revived by being re-executed.
Whilst people are free to dispose of their estate as they like (Testamentary Freedom), care should be taken when making a Will to ensure all dependants are catered for reasonably. If that does not happen and an aggrieved dependant goes to Court, the Court has the right to intervene and secure them reasonable provision out of the deceased’s net estate.
However it is always best if one was able to determine how the wealth they have worked so hard for is inherited rather than to let the Courts decide for them. In the West, wills have been used to settle scores with dependents. You find cases of someone bequeathing millions of dollars to their pets.
In Kenya, an aggrieved dependant can petition the court to intervene. However, one must be a dependant for this to happen as testamentary dispositions are an exercise of one’s freedom over their property. In the very unlikely event that one does not have dependants to survive him in addition to their not having left a valid Will, the property will by law devolve to the State.
Clearly, there is no excuse why anyone should not write a Will. It is actually in our own best interests to do so. The legal costs for writing a Will, far out-weighs the costs of not having a Will. One shall disclose to his advocate the assets in his possession and make a list of how he would like to bequeath them.
The tribe-less Tribe Hotel
TRIBE, Kenya’s undisputed hottest name in hotelier industry emerges as an icon to behold following its top-notch hospitable service, robustness in stylish architecture, technology and transport aura.
Two years after its launch, the hotel that knows one tribe in name of hospitality – continues to uphold the inner heart of warmth that has since earned it global prestigious hotelier accolades.
With sensational design mix of cool contemporary and African chic, the four-storey hotel with a glass atrium and more than 800 artworks creates a striking and an ever nostalgic wow owing to the formation that intermingle the modern architecture and traditional African tinge of designs.
Interiors of the hotel’s 137 rooms and suites—decorated in shades of ocher, brown, and beige — convey an urban cool nostalgic environment. With curved walls and headboards the rooms with contemporary and traditional sculptures make that warm wow experience desired in a home.
Volume of modernity
Glass-walled bathrooms in all the rooms speaks volumes of modernity and luxurious glam that so easily jells with freestanding tubs, packets of Kenyan coffee and complimentary mini-bar treats, with sumptuous bedding, wi-fi, mood lighting, floor-to-ceiling mirrors and large LCD televisions.
As this year comes to a close, TRIBE – also distinguished as The Village Market Hotel, has reason to boast of being chosen as one of the world’s hottest new hotels in the global circuit by Conde Nast Traveller in the magazine’s 2010 Awards. In its 2010 Hot List, the publication praised hoteliers for expanding in one of the toughest global economic periods in recent years.
“Showing amazing resilience, the art of hotel innovation is flourishing. We combed through the thousands (of hotels) that debuted in the past year and then bedded down anonymously at the most compelling candidates. A robust 134 properties spread across a record 55 countries won a place on our list with their blend of style, service, technology, and transporting aura,” said the award organizers.
During the judging process 16 hotels in Africa and the Middle East cracked the nod and Tribe – The Village Market Hotel, which is part of Protea Hotels’ exclusive African Pride Hotels’ collection, was the only one chosen in Kenya. It was one of the only six properties in the world to be selected for both the UK and US Hot Lists by Conde Nast Traveler.
Danny Bryer, Sales, Marketing and Revenue Director of the Protea Hospitality Group, said he was delighted with the award. “This award recognizes the quality and luxurious nature of Tribe and the African Pride Hotels brand; Africa’s largest and leading luxury hospitality brand. Our staff members are dedicated to providing world-class service and the entire hotel is a design masterpiece,” he said.
He noted that awards of that nature show the international travel market that the best hospitality services are to be found on the African continent.
Bryer said the hotel was also a testament to successful partnerships between local developers and international brands such as the African Pride Hotel group. “The recipe has worked so well that the hotel has since expanded its top-of-the-range conferencing facility to accommodate 100 people from a previous 30.
Re-setting the standards
Director and Chief of Development Hooman Ehsani said he was delighted. “The response has been good from local and international clientele since the hotel opened,” he noted.
“Tribe is not even two years old, but we have already earned a reputation for re-setting the standards of hotel customer service and accommodation in Nairobi. We’re extremely proud of what we’ve managed to achieve in such a short time, but for us, this recognition is a spring-board for the continued development of Tribe, and the continued growth of tourism in Kenya,” said he.
“From the very initial drawing board stage of design our benchmark has always been the global hospitality industry, and this accolade establishes Tribe as one of the top properties in the World, an achievement we are extremely proud of,” said Mehraz Ehsani, the hotel’s architect.
Offices to crave for
Unlike furnishing a home where relaxation takes place, furnishing the office presents different challenges writes, Lydia Opwaka stressing the need to ensure that the environment remains pleasant.
Decorating an office space can be a delicate balancing act. On the one hand you want your office space to be inviting and pleasant for both employees and visitors, while on the other hand it must remain professional in look and feel.
Here are some helpful tips on how to make your office space a pleasant and productive physical environment. They range from painting, decking the walls to minimising clutter to greening the surrounding and furnishing with care.
If you are going to be using a computer you will want to make sure that it doesn’t take up your whole desk, so you may consider this before buying a desk or the computer. A flat screen for the computer can help to leave you some room.
Color Your World
While painting office walls, pick colours that reflect the spirit of your business. If you work in a traditionally conservative industry such as banking or legal services, you’re better off choosing a neutral colour such as light green, beige, or a shade of white. If your business is traditionally staffed by more creative types such as designers or artists, feel free to go for walls with more visual pizzazz. Whichever tone you choose, be sure to use high-quality paint that will last for a long time, as repainting an office space can be a disruptive event.
Deck the Walls
Bare walls can give an office a dull, unlived-in feel, and that energy can affect the mood of your staff. Warm up your workspace by adding some tasteful framed photos, prints, or paintings to your walls. One creative idea is to invite local artists to display their artwork on your walls. It’s a win-win situation — they get exposure for their work while you get free office decor.
Make Your Office a Green Zone. Adding a few plants and indoor trees to your office setup will make your employees feel less cut off from the outside world, especially in offices located in very urban areas.
Potted plants can help to give an office comfortable ambiance and there are now fake plants available that look exactly like real plants. Real plants never do well in an office environment due to the dry air and lack of sunlight.
However as you may also want to go natural; chose to shop for plants by read their identifying tags to determine what kind of light each needs, and make sure they will thrive on the amount of light available in your workspace. There are also many corporate plant services that will “rent” office plants and take over their care and watering onsite.
Furnish with Care
Office furniture plays a large role in how an office space looks and feels. As furnishing a large space can be very expensive, most businesses tend to rent or lease their office furniture.
Unfortunately, the majority of office furnishings available tend to be very bland and conservative looking. One important rule of thumb is to try to maintain the same style of furniture throughout the office.
Mismatched tables and chairs tend to make any space look rather cheap and thrown together. As with wall colour, try to go for a style in furnishings that reflects the energy of your industry. The move will help you save some money on Office Furniture as you make your space look great without breaking the bank.
Control the Clutter
It’s been said that with a clear desk comes a clear mind. Keep that in mind when arranging your desktop. A framed photograph of a loved one, a telephone, and a computer should suffice.
If there are office supplies you don’t use on a constant basis, tuck them away in a drawer. A chaotic physical environment will soon give way to a chaotic energy in the workplace, and this is rarely good for productivity or progress.
If you are going to have employees working for you will need a break area for them to break in and relax their mind a bit. Fatigued employees make mistakes and can become unproductive. If you are going to be working late nights you might also consider having a coffee pot on a table, so someone can have a cup of coffee if they feel a bit tired.
Another thing that you might consider is to hang some framed prints on the wall with outdoor scenes to give the office a relaxed air. If you are going to have clients visiting your office then you might also consider installing a sofa for them to relax on and provide some magazines for them to read.
It is important to have a video screen available for clients with some promotional material showcasing services or products that potential clients can view while they are waiting. On the floor, consider to throw a rug to soften the look of the extensive tile floor.
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