Kenyan businessmen call for partial re-opening of the economy amidst Covid-19 pandemic


The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) has called on the government to gradually and partially re-open the country to preserve the economy and support health response.

Speaking on Wednesday during a virtual meeting with the government through the office of the National Development Implementation and Communication Cabinet Committee (NDICCC), KEPSA Chief Executive  Carole Karuga reiterated that COVID-19 is the new normal and every effort must be made to ensure there is continued economic activity in the country while upholding measures to safeguard the health of its people.

Karuga urged the government to develop a practical recovery strategy that balances health, economy and societal needs with the support of the private sector.

“Coronavirus is the new global reality. We are working hard to protect our people and curb the spread whilst, getting the economy on a recovery path through ensuring both formal and informal sectors resume to normalcy,” Karuga said.

She recommended a phased opening of the economy, starting with the reduction of the curfew hours for non-essential services and sectors including retail sectors.

This measures, she says,  will allow for more economic activity and workforce productivity – particularly the micro, small and medium enterprises.

The body has also called for re-opening of government offices that are either closed or at limited capacity, especially the Land registry and the Judiciary to continue serving essential government services to businesses, re-assess and review the inter-county travel ban, re-open sporting events under controlled atmosphere as well as re-opening learning in schools.

“The unprecedented scale of the pandemic means that the return to work will need to be gradual and phased, and heightened caution is necessary to prevent further waves of infection. It is also important to ensure that the burden of COVID-19 prevention is not placed disproportionately on SMEs, who are already struggling to stay in business,” KEPSA Chairman Nik Nesbitt said.

. The private sector also reaffirmed its commitment to the Government’s efforts to curb and contain the disease through observing social distancing, the wearing of masks, and practicing proper hygiene.

On his part, Interior Cabinet Secretary, who chairs the NDICCC, Fred Matiang’i said that the public and private sectors should explore ways to deal with the reality of Covid-19.

“This is a shared responsibility and a comprehensive recovery plan will be rolled out, which includes the eight-plan stimulus package recently announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta, as well as the Private Sector’s interventions that are geared towards keeping our economy going,” Matiang’i noted.

“All the proposals presented by KEPSA will be consolidated into a white paper of private sector protocols as government considers easing containment measures,” Matiang’i said.

The CS, however, warned about a rush opening saying that other economies that have recently re-opened have witnessed a spike in infection rates.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta extended  a 21-day of the country’s nationwide dusk-to-dawn curfew as well as  a ban on travel into and out of Nairobi Metropolitan Area, the counties of Kilifi, Kwale, Mombasa and Mandera to the 6 June, 2020, the same date the curfew is expected to end.


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