To ensure business continuity, having an emergency plan is essential. In the current situation, it is vital to react as fast as possible in order to mitigate against impact and other risks and to prepare organizations for the further escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the scenarios that may unfold.
This disruptive business environment emphasizes the need for businesses to put in place robust business continuity plans (BCPs), which anticipate a broad range of events that could create severe disruption for the business.
The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) has been in the forefront in proposing both short and long term measures to support the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) particularly at the County level to continue with their business activities with minimal interruptions and ensure sustainability. To lessen the risk of business discontinuity, KNCCI lead by its President Mr. Richard Ngatia today held a virtual discussion with its selected County chairmen (Mombasa, Narok, Nyandarua and Bungoma) and in absentia, H. E Dr. Wycliffe Wangamati; Governor Bungoma County to discuss:
- Intervention measures and mechanism adopted to ensure Business Continuity
- Policies effected to enhance Business Sustainability
- Market intervention and protection of the value chain aggregators
- Cross boarder challenges
- Rent and Labour Protection measures
- Intervention Measures and Mechanisms adopted by the Counties to ensure Business Continuity
- Installation of sensitization and fumigated booths for Mombasa – Likoni Ferry users.
- Sensitization of business communities on sanitization, social distancing, masks wearing and hand washing.
- Fumigation of open air markets
- Digging of boreholes to ensure free and efficient water to the communities.
- Policies effected to enhance business sustainability
The county chapters have each in their own capacities collaborated with County governments to:
- Waiver fee on all taxes for the hotel Industry and transportation (Mombasa)
- Implementation of food relief programs; Mombasa chapter in collaboration with Mombasa County Government has launched a Household and nutrition program to help provide food of nutritional value to vulnerable groups affected during this pandemic. On the other hand, Bungoma chapter in collaboration with the Kenya Red Cross Society of Kenya and the County Government of Bungoma has a fundraising kitty (Donating in kind) to help distribute food to its community.
- Extension of single business permits and licenses to small business traders and public service vehicles providing essential goods and services.
- Cross Boarder Issues
- Contributing to this, KNCCI Mombasa chapter chair Mr. Mustapha stated that the chapter has collaborated with the County Government to streamline the movement of essential goods and services in and out of Mombasa. The County has also ensured that all medical equipment and PPE s are given first priority at the port of Mombasa when it comes to clearance.
- In Bungoma, the chapter through the County Government has ensured that the Uganda boarder remains operational to allow provision and constant flow of essential goods and services.
- Rent and Labour Protection Measures
On the issue on rent to pay or not, the County chapter chairmen suggested that for this to happen:
- The national government should waiver all taxes for landlords for at least size months or a year.
- Banks to temporarily stop charging interests and also delay principal charges on all loans owed by the landlords.
- Actions to Support SMEs
- Encourage SMEs to adopt e-commerce
- Banks and other online lenders to roll over loans owned by SMEs to June 2020 to allow SMEs continue doing business.
- KNCCI Women in Business Contribution
In her remarks, Women in Business chairperson Ms. Nato stressed that;
- Women be appointed to the response committee at each county.
- Women be involved in the identification process of vulnerable groups that needs support during this pandemic.
- Nato said that the WIB committee has come up with “Support a tailor to support a retailer” initiative to support the fashion industry and retailers by producing masks that are in return distributed to small business owners.
H.E Governor Dr. Wycliffe Wangamati: County Government of Bungoma statement National Economic and Business Response
- Need to cushion employees on possibility of loss of income.
- Increase Disposable Income to Kenyans. Actions are as below:
- 100% Tax relief for persons earning gross monthly income of up to Ksh. 24,000
- Reduction of P.A.Y.E from 30% to 25%
- Reduction of Corporation tax from 30% to 25%
- Reduction of Turnover Tax from 3% to 1% for all MSMEs.
- Need to cushion and support the elderly, orphans and other vulnerable members of society.
The government to give an additional 10 billion to the elderly of which Ksh. 8.5 have been disbursed.
- Need to increase access to credit for business: the government has temporarily suspended listing with Credit Reference Bureau.
- Resource Mobilization: Need to facilitate the functioning of the National Response to COVID-19 committees. All coordinated National Response Committees to provide their resource requirements. This has been done by successfully establishing a COVID-19 response fund and so far funds collected amount to Ksh. 1 billion.