In my view, the government should mitigate the problems arising from the coronavirus pandemic by setting up a fund to support the companies that are going to be disrupted.That is the first step they should take to save jobs. I’m sure many companies will shut down and we don’t want a situation where people are losing their jobs.
We also want the government to see how they can encourage those providing essential services to have a 24-hour work plan in shifts and ensure employees wear protective gear because there are certain services that must be provided.Employees who are not in critical service sectors should listen to the instructions they have been given. Those few days you are being told to stay at home are the days that are going to see the prosperity of this nation. SMEs, MSMEs and our private sector should rest assured that we are doing everything possible as the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry to make sure that there is inclusion in finance.We have engaged all the financial institutions to make sure they accommodate you.Walk to your banks – be it Cooperative Bank, Equity Bank, Absa, Sidian Bank, Standard Chartered or any other bank that you are working with – they have come up with packages to make sure your businesses survive. This includes skill training, management of finance and management of your business.
Therefore do not imagine that once you go home, things will not continue. Banks are doing everything possible. You have heard the initiatives like being able to transact as much money on phone so you can transmit to your staff to keep your business going.You will get loans via your phones and you will not need to go to a bankThere is this Inuka programme through the Stawi app where you can access loans of between Sh5,000 – Sh250,000 for MSMEs. For the SMEs, these banks are also coming to secure your business.KNCCI members can also access credit for periods between 60 to 180 days to import goods from UAE markets. We have signed a partnership with Etihad and Sharjah Chamber of Commerce,You don’t have to go to Sharja, come to us. We shall do due diligence and within 10 days you will access the amount you are looking for, not in cash but in the form of products. You shall get very good rates and it is interest-free.
Ngatia is the President, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry