At the beginning of the year, we highlighted key projects the government needs to undertake in a bid to spur the ICT sector in 2016. Among the projects we highlighted included the M-Akiba bond. M-Akiba is a project formulated by the government through Treasury Mobile Direct Programme aimed at allowing investors to invest in government securities through mobile devices. The program has delayed several times owing to volatility in the interest markets with launch dates previously set for March, June and even July all rescheduled to the disappointment of investors.
At one time, Members of Parliament questioned the continued delay, with some threatening to sanction treasury officials for failing to comply with a presidential directive to launch the bond. In September, local paper Business Daily quoted the CS Finance stating that the bond was set to launch in October. However, for the umpteenth time, the launch of the bond has been delayed with the PS Treasury telling the paper that the bond will launch towards the end of November. This time, the delay has been attributed to the final touches to the core technology on which the platform will run. The platform will be managed by the Nairobi Securities Exchange, the Central Depository and Settlement Corporation, the Central Bank of Kenya and telcos.
The paper states that the primary infrastructure for the dealership has been finalised with work on the secondary trading infrastructure still ongoing. Through M-Akiba investors would purchase government securities for Kshs. 3,000 compared to the current Kshs. 50,000 threshold through their phones. Investors could invest as much as Sh140,000 for the income tax-free bond. To invest potential investors needed to have a valid ID, dial *889# and follow the prompts and then purchase their bonds. We certainly hope there will be no future delays this time.