Why construction industry needs to embrace human resource management

Human resource has been described as the most essential resource in an organization since it is the human aspect that makes sure that all other resources work optimally (or not).

In the construction industry, the concept of human resource management is not as well defined and improved as in other mainstream and formal industries.

For every industry to grow there has to be continuous improvement of efficiency in resources usage. There has to be capacity building to empower all the stakeholders to be better and to do better.

Every construction site has labour, whether mechanized systems are employed or not and also regardless of the magnitude of mechanization. This therefore makes it necessary to direct enough attention and resources towards human resource management and development in construction.

How many times have you commissioned a site and you only know the contractor out of an average of 20 craftsmen in your premise? How many times have you thought of the fundi who helps the mason build your wall as a resource that could be improved through training and empowerment using fringe benefits such as insurance facilitation?

As a contractor, how many times do you think of your fundi as a resource that could benefit from  remunerations other than their daily wages?

Human resource management is a critical part of project management. A client who is building should be keen to know how well the resources are being utilized through-out the project. A contractor on site must be very hands on when considering the usage of resources in any individual project because this has a direct effect to the quality of his deliverables, his profit margins and eventually his reputation as contractor.

Imagine a contractor solution that comes in to help you conveniently manage your human resources on the job site; having the  proper knowledge of the people working on your projects, including their skills and skill level will increase a their capacity to function as a developer. Even as an independent Home Owner managing their own project, this knowledge brings then confidence in getting the right talent for every job. We live in the age where information is more powerful than anything!

There is no more need to imagine that solution. The iBUILD app  is here to revolutionize the human resource management aspect in the construction industry. It is a one stop shop where you have an elaborate and detailed list of all the fundis on your site, their skills, their reviews and recommendations from other contractors as proof of their capabilities. The iBUILD mobile app also allows you to digitize your day to day operations by running and managing timesheets. For every worker you hire through the iBUILD app, a timesheet is generated that helps you manage their working hours as it keeps records of the amounts due to each of them according to the hours worked. At the end of the day, it gives you a summary of who was on site and how long they worked and how much is due to them! iBUILD then provides the best tool of all- the ability to upload time sheets directly to the payment gateway and pay all of your workers through the iBUILD wallet. Straight from the contractor wallet into the worker wallets. And there is more! Workers can cash out of their wallets directly into their Mpesa accounts. Contractors will have a permanent record of who gets paid what amount, and who worked on which projects for how long. Workers are rated every time they are paid and contractors will never have to remember which workers performed well and which did not- it all becomes part of the permanent transaction history. Organized details, and historical knowledge all at your fingertips so that you minimize mistakes and continue to hire and manage the best talent for your projects.

What the App is able to achieve

You can even save your favorites for easy access to contact and hire them for new projects- all directly through the app.

As a Home Owner or developer, you are able to see the work profiles of all the people involved in your site. This puts the control back into your hands!

Marlowa Okwogo of Marvin Interiors Inc. is a company that specializes in interior installations and external façade finishes in Nairobi and Kisumu Counties. Marlowa has been using the new technology from iBUILD  to manage his fundis on site. He sent out a posting for some positions he needed urgently filled and within 6 hours he had a number of qualified applications. He was able to review and hire, all through the app. One worker in particular was named Charles. He has been managing these workers along with Charles through the timesheet on the app, as well as paying them and it has increased efficiency and accuracy and using the e-wallet in the app, the contractor no longer has to deal with all of that cash.

Mr. Marlowa was especially impressed by the convenience and the ability to keep better records. He can revisit these records in his project detail on the app at any point for referencing purposes. Charles, on the other hand appreciated the convenience of being able to get work to do right from the comfort of his home- without standing for hours on street corners. He is no longer just at home or roaming around. He has found consistent work and has started building his portfolio in the construction industry. He is now able to show tangible evidence through his profile on the app of the history of all his jobs and total hours he has worked and he has aa separate record of the payment dates and amounts he received.  This gives Charles the ability to qualify one day for a loan of his own and to help him to grow and scale his career in to the future!

The Kenyan development agenda requires that, as a country, we must be ready to improve our efficiency in all sectors. We must begin to add value to what we produce and what we build. The  iBUILD app is at the fore front to champion the ability of the construction industry to maximize efficiency and quality.  This improves production and scalability in the delivery of their products and services and it also improves the construction sector as a whole.  As acceptance for finance technology grows in the construction industry, so will the value that is ultimately delivered to customers in the form of increased production, greater choice, and lower prices due to increased efficiencies and better project management.

Read Also: Kenya mulls over new road construction method

Emerging Trends of Islamic Banking and Finance Industry in CIS Countries

The total volume of Islamic Banking and Finance has been exceeded $2.6 trillion globally. The growth of the Islamic banking and finance volume in different continents and regions is continuous with the positive node but sometime its vary region to region.

Due to the reason, about 2,500+ Islamic banking and financial institutions are working in every region including both Muslims and non-Muslim countries. In the current era, Islamic banking and finance started in 1960s from Egypt and Malaysia and dramatically spread over the Middle East, Africa, Europe and other regions.

The growth of this phenomenon swiftly increased in Middle East, South and East Asia whereas, in some regions, the growth of the industry was comparatively slow as in Northern African (Tunis, Morocco, Algeria etc.), Central Asian and Balkan countries. But keeping in view the Islamic banking and finance industry initiative was taken very late in Commonwealth Independent States (CIS) countries and its growth indicate that CIS countries are the emerging Islamic banking and finance market for near future.

The delay for Islamic finance initiative in CIS countries may count in many folds, it would be due to Russian influence in CIS countries, mind set of Russian block and limited relations with International Banking and Financial Markets were few hurdles for the development of Islamic Banking and Finance in CIS, but recently, unstable Russian relationship with Europe and sharply decline of oil prices compelled Russia to get benefit from the best financial alternative, which is definitely Islamic banking and finance. The recently friendly Islamic Banking policies of Russia geared-up Islamic banking and finance industry in CIS countries, and now they opened for Islamic Banking and Finance industry aggressively.

In 1992 the CIS organization was established. Total Muslim population of CIS countries is estimated 75 million which is a good news for growing Islamic banking and finance industry. CIS countries’ list consist of 10 countries which includes Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Russia, Armenia and others.

In CIS countries, the Islamic banking and finance market can be divided into three parts. At first, there are countries (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan) where the pace of Islamic banking and finance industry is satisfactory and these countries want to promote it as sustainable financial alternative. Secondly, there are countries (Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Russia) where the Islamic banking and finance industry exist with low growth rate. At final, there are countries like Armenia, Ukraine, and Belarus etc. where there is no initiative taken so far. However, overall Islamic banking and finance position in CIS countries is encouraging.

Islamic finance leader in CIS countries

If we want to determine the Islamic finance leader in CIS countries, the credit goes to Kazakhstan where the Islamic banking and finance was started in 1992 but the growth was not phenomenal. After the recent financial crises in 2008, Islamic banking and finance again get a momentum in Kazakhstan with appropriate support of government institutions. Currently, 1 full-fledged Islamic banks and 4 Islamic banking windows are operating in the country. Takaful, Islamic leasing (Ijarah) and Islamic micro-financial institutions are also growing in the country, Kazakhstan also exercised Islamic Agricultural Finance product in the country with the financial assistance of Islamic Development Bank. The recent establishment of Astana International Financial Center (AIFC) caused innovation in Islamic financial market which would be positive sign for Kazakhstan to get eminent regional positioning in Islamic Banking Industry.

Azerbaijan comes after Kazakhstan where the Islamic finance history is as old as in Kazakhstan but unfortunately, Islamic finance industry in Azerbaijan could not get the attention of government as much as was in Kazakhstan. Although there is no full-fledged Islamic bank in the country but 4 Islamic banking windows are working in the country with limited Islamic Banking Regulations. Whereas, under ICD- IsDB funding support, one Islamic leasing company offering Ijarah products to its clients while couple of Bank/Microfinance Institutions also utilizing ICD-IsDB funding for Islamic Banking and Finance.

Uzbekistan secured its positive position for Islamic finance industry in CIS countries after considerable initiatives taken by the new president H.E. Shavkat Mirziyoyev. Three Islamic banking windows are operational and accepting deposits on Shariah bases. Few Islamic leasing companies also offering Ijarah services, but it is predicted that after proper Islamic Banking and Finance regulations, Uzbekistan can supersede other regional countries in the race of Islamic Banking hub for Central Asia.   Kyrgyzstan is the only country in CIS where the Islamic banking law has been approved from the parliament in 2011 and one conventional bank is in the process to be full-fledged Islamic bank in near future.

Russia is also one of the biggest player of Islamic Banking and Finance in the CIS countries with having significant Muslim population, Russia has been trying to promote Islamic Banking since long but unfortunately did not get significant success but in recent Govt. led initiative to support Islamic Finance will play a vital role for the development of Islamic banking, Islamic Finance, Sukuk and Takaful in Russia but also in other CIS countries as well.

The most important factor of the growth of Islamic banking and finance industry in CIS countries is the Islamic Development Bank’s support whereas, ICD – IsDB also has huge investment portfolio for Islamic banking and Islamic leasing avenues in CIS countries including Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan etc.

The writer has started putting his research, advisory, consultancy and capacity building services in CIS countries for Islamic banking and finance industry from 2006. In this connection he has conducted various capacity building and training workshops and conferences. He is hopeful that the volume of Islamic finance industry will increase by 100% in next five years which also will strengthen global Islamic finance industry. AlHuda CIBE is going to organize one more Islamic banking and finance conference of its kind in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on 2nd May 2019. The CIS Islamic Banking and Finance Forum will gather the CIS Islamic finance industry specialists and stakeholders on a single platform to promote Islamic banking and finance in the region.


(Mr. Muhammad Zubair Mughal is the Global CEO of AlHuda Center of Islamic Banking and Economics since 2005 and eminent writer of Islamic Banking and Finance, he can be contacted at  Zubair.mughal@alhudacibe.com )


How East African businesses are going to lead the AFCTA

The apex body for East Africa’s businesses, East African Business Council has urged regional CEOs to opportunities arising from the EAC regional integration process.

This takes place even as the council in collaboration with TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) launched the regional programme on Public-Private Sector Dialogue (PPD) for Trade and Investment from 2019 to 2023.

According to EABC Chief Executive Mr Peter Mathuki said “The project aims to enhance advocacy and dialogue on transport and logistics, trade facilitation, customs & tax, standards, and NTBs at regional and country level. In addition, the programme extends beyond the EAC and incorporates the COMESA, COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) and  Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).”

“Public-Private Dialogue can facilitate the trade & investment climate reforms by promoting better diagnosis of investment climate problems, transparency and inclusive design of policy reforms making policies easier to implement. TMEA launched this new partnership with EABC to galvanize and facilitate trade and investments in the EAC,” said Mr. Allan Ngugi, Ag. Director Private Sector Advocacy TMEA.

For businesses in the region to grow and expand within and beyond the EA, there is a need for technical and financial support to EABC in a bid to advocate and input substantive issues affecting the business community in regard to policy formulation and implementation in the region.

According to Mr Mathuki businesses should proactively engage the East African Community through EABC given the proximity advantage that the EAC and EABC Secretariat are located in Arusha. He noted there is a need to remove Non-Tariff Barriers and embark on trading proactively with the neighboring countries even before venturing outside the continent.

“Let’s spur business within ourselves as the EAC bloc,” said Mr Mathuki.

According to the CEO, EABC is keen to enhance dialogue and partnership between the private and public sector; hence EABC will spearhead the programme in close collaboration with the all national and regional sectoral private sector associations in the EAC.

Speaking at the recently concluded CEO Round Table Meeting Mr. Charles Omusana from the EAC Secretariat informed the CEOs on initiatives and programmes that support businesses growth and Investment the EAC Secretariat is working on such as the review of the EAC CET.

He noted, “It is the right of the private sector to demand a better and improved business climate in the region.” He further urged the CEOs to give input on the EAC Private Sector Development Strategy that will be developed.

The Chairman of Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA) Arusha Mr. Walter Maeda welcomed closer collaboration between TCCIA and the East African Business Council in a bid to support SMEs to take advantage of the opportunities availed by the  EAC regional integration process.

“Request for waiver of duty from the Import Commissioner for EAC Originating Goods takes 7 days, this delays business and intra EAC Trade” Mr. Amani Temu  from Taha Fresh elaborated one of the obstacles to cross border trade. Among other issues, affecting businesses is the recent notice on no conditional release for imported goods by the Tanzania Bureau of Standards, which subjects imported goods from the EAC Partner States to inspections causing delay.

The steel industry in Arusha is calling for the review of East African Harmonized Standards on hot-rolled steel plates of less than 1mm as the plates are an important raw material for their industries.

“Mutual Recognition of Standards is important to businesses, such protectionist administrative measures are NTBs which hinder intra EAC trade, “ said Hon Mathuki

The CEO Forum in Arusha also agreed to consolidate issues affecting businesses at the ground and through the support of EABC they are keen to engage the EAC Secretary General and Council of Minister for a quick resolution.

This comes at an opportune time when the EAC integration process is marking 20 years in November 2019  since the signing of the Treaty, it is important that the private sector and government dialogue and ensure that protocols and policies work on the ground for EAC businesses. In addition, Article 7 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC states on people-centered and market-driven cooperation as a principle to govern practical achievements of the objectives of the EAC integration process. Further Article 128 emphasizes on strengthening of the private sector as a key partner in the EAC integration.

“Barriers to trading across borders such as multiple product standard inspections, bureaucratic trade procedures delays business transactions and increase the cost of doing business. EABC will evaluate and monitor EAC policies to ensure they work for businesses at the ground level and create momentum for accelerating the policy reforms related to business and investment climate in the EAC ” said Mr Mathuki.

The programme seeks to contribute to the reduction of transport (road, rail, and air) cost and time along transport corridors by 10 per cent and increase the efficiency of logistic services. Furthermore, it will increase the export capacity of East African businesses and enhance customs and other trade-related agencies efficiency by reducing time to process trade documentation.

It will enhance dialogue on customs matters such as tariffs, taxes, levies, Common External Tariffs, and import/export tax incentives. It will also look at Harmonization of East African Standards, counterfeit and sub-standard issues as well as Non-Tariff Barriers,” said Mr Mathuki.

“The operationalization of the Single Customs Territory has contributed to the reduction of delays in cargo clearance in the Northern Corridor, the turnaround time of goods transiting from Mombasa to Kampala has been reduced from 18 days to 4, and goods from Mombasa to Kigali, from 21 days to 6.2, “ said Mr Mathuki.

According to the World Trade Organization to the Central Corridor turnaround time between the port of Dar es Salaam and Kigali (or Bujumbura) has been reduced from over 20 days to 6.

WorldBank’s Ease of Doing Business report (2018), EAC is ranked at 149 out of 190 in the ease of trading across borders.  In the region, the time it takes to export is at an average of 76.hrs which is too high compared to 12.5 hours in OECD High-Income Economies. The cost to export outside the region is at an average of USD427.8 compared to 139.1 in OECD High-Income economies.

The export documentary compliance in the region takes 80.2hours and cost USD 170.2 while in OECD High-Income economies is at 2.4hrs and USD35.2 respectively.

TMEA will continue to play a critical role in facilitating ease of doing business in the region and the continent.


ALSO READ: EABC celebrates 20 years of doing business in the region

How to earn through online forex trading

Nairobi School of Forex Trading – a local Forex training institute, last year November held its first Forex trading conference in Nairobi.

The forum which was graced by online forex traders and financial institutions was described as a key indicator that online Forex trading is taking shape among Kenyans.

Online Forex Trading can be defined as speculation of currencies whereby a person trades on one currency against the other with the anticipation of making profits. One makes profits by buying a currency that gains value in a buy trade and selling a currency that its price drops in a sell trade. Losses occur when the opposite happens.

According to Silah Obegi – An automated Forex trading expert and also Director at Nairobi School of Forex, Online Forex Trading can act as an investment vehicle for creating secondary income for most individuals at the same time it can be a main source of income for those who take it seriously as a full time job.

“Forex can be compared to the stock/share market and you may equate a currency for a country to a stock for a company, political situation of a country to corporate governance of a company and economic data of a country to financial statements for a company. Using this comparison, the approach to trading Forex is partially the same as shares trading hence a Forex trader can easily become a stock trader and vice versa” says Silah.

Mr Silah opines that there are different approaches to trading the Forex Market that one needs to follow, they include:

Technical Analysis

This is the most favored approach for most traders, it involves analyzing the past and recent currency price trend behavior to predict where the price may move going forward. This trading approach encompasses various individual trading methods to detect trading opportunities.

 Fundamental Analysis

This kind of approach involves analyzing currency inflows and outflows of a country usually influenced by the Central Bank’s currency decisions, geo-political situation and economical news and data. When a country has solid monetary policies, stable political situation and positive economic news then its currency is likely to gain value. The opposite is also true.

Automated Trading

This is also referred as Algorithmic Trading. This involves writing your trading ideas to a computer program called an algorithm used to partially or fully make trading decisions on your behalf. A trader would usually rent a cloud server with a hosting service provider, activate the automated trading systems and let them trade on your behalf. When these systems spot a trading setup, they execute a buy or sell trade and manage the trade according to the set rules until it closes with minimum to no human intervention.

Online Forex Trading is regulated by the Capital Markets Authority under Capital Markets (Online Foreign Exchange Trading) Regulations, 2017. The regulation clearly stipulates the requirements for conducting the Online Forex Trading business in Kenya covering Forex Brokers, Money Managers and Introducing Brokers. Under the regulation Forex Brokers are required to maintain a minimum paid up capital of between Ksh 30 million and Ksh 50 million while Money Managers are required to maintain a minimum paid up capital of Ksh 10 million among other requirements.

Before embarking on Forex Trading, one needs a firm grasp of the Forex markets, understand how to do analysis using various approaches and make profitable trading decisions.

The Nairobi School of Forex Trading offers value-add services for Online Forex Trading in Kenya including a comprehensive course for both retail and institutional clients. The Forex Trading Course equips beginners with adequate tools and skills necessary to trade in a profitable, consistent and sustainable manner. The directors have a combined experience of over 20 years and they have trained over 100 students in their offices and over 1000 through seminars and hackathons in Nairobi.

The training program takes 2 months available in morning, afternoon and evening classes, 2 hours per session, 3 days a week. Topics covered include introduction to Forex Trading, local and global Forex regulation, selecting a broker that meets your trading needs, navigating the trading platforms, various trading analysis (technical, fundamental and sentimental), automated trading, money management, risk management and formulating a trading plan among other topics.

Mr Silah says that “By the time our students complete the course, they already have a full understanding of the Forex markets and know how to make informed and profitable trading decisions. We have also developed over 25 automated trading tools to complement manual trading by our students.”

He adds that during the training period, students learn and practice on demo accounts which allows them to have a feel of the real markets with virtual money. However, there is usually a huge gap when transitioning from demo trading to live trading due to the emotional attachment associated with real money. To bridge this gap, the school has introduced learning and practicing on KSh 50,000 ($500) live accounts powered by Meta Capital Limited and EGM Securities. The practice live accounts are opened with EGM Securities under Meta Capital and the students are given login details to the accounts to practice with. The students keep 50% of all the profits they make during the training period, giving them the motivation to make careful trading decisions. In-case of losses, Meta Capital absorbs the losses and replenishes the trading accounts for the subsequent students. “This will ensure that our training program becomes as effective as possible and our students know how to trade with real money by the end of the course” added Mr Silah

Mr Silah comments that “At the moment we have 2 training centers located in CBD and Westland’s with monthly intakes for morning, afternoon and evening classes. We are determined to ensure that we equip our students with the most outstanding skills and tools necessary to master Online Forex Trading. We are also keen on strategic partnerships with the industry stakeholders that will ensure we remain the most established and trusted Forex Trading Academy in the region” concludes Mr Silah.

Also Read:The Tanzanian forex business under scrutiny