The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) has reaffirmed its commitment to the governments effort in combating the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement to newsrooms, KEPSA noted that it has been at the forefront in coordinating the private sector response and complementing the government’s efforts towards combating the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy, general health, and social wellbeing of Kenyans.
“We would like to affirm the government’s position, reiterated by the Health Cabinet Secretary Mr Mutahi Kagwe on private sector’s partnership through KEPSA on the vaccine initiative. We have partnered with the government through the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a bid to support the government in shouldering the burden of vaccinating Kenyans,” KEPSA noted.
This will accelerate the pace of vaccinations and get the country closer to herd immunity by the end of the year and get the economy to rebuild back better.
KEPSA is also coordinating the private sector to raise funds and work through the government to increase the number of vaccines in the country and vaccinate the employees, their families and part of the community as the government reaches the rest of the public.
The government has been very categorical that no vaccines will be sold in the country by any entity and KEPSA will strictly adhere to this directive by not procuring or selling any vaccines. KEPSA will support the government in its efforts to get enough doses for the country.
So far, 263 Companies have already registered and committed their payments towards this effort. This initiative is open to all private sector companies.
“We thank all those who have participated in the first phase including business associations such as British Chamber of Commerce Kenya, Kenya Flower Council, European Business Council, Agriculture Sector Network, Kenya Healthcare Federation, Kenya Association of Manufacturers and many more who have mobilized their members in earnest to participate in this initiative.” KEPSA added.
The private sector umbrella body is currently working closely with the Ministry Of Health to discuss the mapping of the locations for the vaccination initiative.
All vaccines will be procured, stored and distributed by the Ministry of Health and administration will be done in concert with the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council to deliver the vaccines into people’s arms according to the national guidelines. We will continue to work with the Ministry of Health and other ministries to mitigate the effects of Covid 19 on the economy and society.
Last year KEPSA partnered with Mastercard Foundation to launch a fund to provide loans to up to 400 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) whose businesses have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Fund was created through support from the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program and is targeting businesses that find it difficult to access financing from formal lending institutions such as banks and micro-financers. Priority will be given to businesses run by women and young people.
KEPSA will carry out the screening of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to ensure they meet the criteria for eligibility to access the loans. Loans will range in size and maybe up to Ksh 2 million ($18,190).
“These are bad times for everybody and a situation likes this hits MSMEs the hardest. They already operate in a difficult environment, and research has shown that most MSMEs last two years, and you can see how such a situation would pan out for them.” KEPSA’s CEO, Carole Karuga said.
The CEO also noted that the fund and the accompanying programme is intended to strengthen the MSMEs capacity, and KEPSA would provide technical support, such as helping the businesses adopt digital solutions. In addition to screening the MSMEs, KEPSA will roll out a virtual SME Hub and create a business recovery hub to support the SMEs by offering business development services.
“Covid-19 has affected my business negatively in terms of work consistency and revenue and as a result fewer working hours for my virtual employees. As a business that relies 90% from the outsourcing transcription work, clients are cutting cost and my service offering is top of the list to be cut. Through business development services, the solution would be to remodel the business to offer skills that will be in demand now and beyond the pandemic,” says Frida Mwangi, Founder KaziRemote Limited.
KEPSA and the Mastercard Foundation intend for the programme to help maintain jobs and
livelihoods, identify new business opportunities for women and young people, reduce gender-based Violence, prioritize the health and safety of employees, communities, and healthcare workers and ensuring business and supply chain continuity.
Mastercard Foundation Regional Head Eastern and Southern Africa, Daniel Hailu said, “MSME’s are the backbone of the economy and they need support more than ever. Through the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience program, we are working with our partners to deliver tailored support to MSMEs that helps them sustain their activities and continue to provide opportunities for dignified work.”