The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) has backed plans by the President Uhuru Kenyatta to reopen the economy, saying that the move will ease members’ cash flow problems.
Lobby’s president Richard Ngatia said plans were underway to ensure employees are provided with protective gears such as face masks and hand sanitisers as economy reopens.
“KNCCI implores upon President Uhuru Kenyatta to gradually reopen the economy,” he said, adding that the lobby would ensure hospitality industry employees were tested for Covid-19 before being allowed to resume work.
“However, if a total lifting of the curfew and ban on movement is not tenable, we passionately appeal to his excellency to extend the curfew hours from 7pm to 10pm,” he said.
Mr Ngatia also urged traders to embrace aggregator business model through ferrying of goods to complement cargo transporters to limit people movement.”
This will not only supplement government efforts to contain the virus from spreading but also safeguard resuscitation of the general economy without opening the virus floodgates and triggering a spike,” he said.
On Saturday, President Uhuru Kenyatta hinted at a possibility of relaxing measures to curb the virus.
The Government of Kenya (GoK) undertook a raft of measures in response to the Covid-19 pandemic to curb the transmission of the coronavirus since the confirmation of the first positive case in the country on 12 March 2020.
These measures included the cessation of movement from the larger Nairobi metropolitan area, Mandera county, coastal counties of Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale. The government also directed a nationwide curfew from 7pm to 5 am with the movement of essential goods and service providers exempted from the curfew, which has affected operation of businesses in the country
Also, the government rolled out economic measures to mitigate against the adverse effect of the coronavirus on the economy. It has adopted an expansionary monetary policy by reducing the cash reserve ratio to increase liquidity of KShs 35.2 billion to commercial banks for further lending.
Its counterpart and the biggest trading partner, Uganda, plans to start easing strict lock down measures from June 2. President Yoweri Museveni announced recently that authorities plan to distribute face masks to all citizens, six years old and above.
He is quoted saying that public transporters will also be allowed to restart operations but at half their capacity, while shops in buildings that are not crowded will reopen.
Uganda’s government joins other African countries in easing restrictions that were introduced to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The measures in some countries have brought economies to their knees and raised the risk of hunger and social distress.
The East African country has enforced measures for almost two months to help reduce the spread of the virus outbreak by prohibiting movement of vehicles except for cargo and essential services.
Schools and places of worship were closed, and a nighttime curfew was introduced by the government.
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