What you need to know:
- The government has borrowed heavily, with the debt hitting Sh4.5 billion every 24 hours in the first 90 days of the pandemic.
- Also disgusting are businesses taking advantage of the crisis to engage in fraud.
- They have been profiting from the people's misery.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been severely felt in the business sector. The past six months have been quite devastating for most enterprises. However, bearing the brunt of the crisis are the workers, a large number of whom have been laid off and the lucky few, who were retained, have had their salaries slashed.
According to the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE), some 604 firms have declared redundancies. Between March and August, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics indicates that 1.7 million jobs were lost, a rather conservative figure.
There were signs even before the epidemic struck that companies were under severe economic stress and jobs had been lost. The new health scourge just aggravated the problem.
The FKE fears that the worst is yet to come, as the economic decline continues. Last year, member companies declared 7,000 workers redundant. The lockdown to curb the spread of the deadly virus has proved to be a necessary evil. People protected from the virus find themselves unable to meet their daily needs, including food.
The government has borrowed heavily, with the debt hitting Sh4.5 billion every 24 hours in the first 90 days of the pandemic. This is going to put even more pressure on the economy and the government. It is for this reason that the looters of these borrowed funds must not be tolerated.
Also disgusting are businesses taking advantage of the crisis to engage in fraud. They have been profiting from the people's misery.
The government's economic stimulus package, including soft-term loans, is a good idea. There is already some progress in the tourism industry.
However, even as we agree with the FKE that the government should set up a wage relief fund to assist employers during this difficult period and in future, it should also help to rein in its rogue members.