EDITORIAL: Save small businesses from imminent collapse


EDITORIAL: Save small businesses from imminent collapse

The Central Bank of Kenya. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The revelation by Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Patrick Njoroge that about 75 percent of SMEs will collapse by end of June if they don’t get capital injection is worrying.

It is our hope that the State will step in and provide some lifeline to small traders to see them through the pandemic.

Big businesses are likely to survive the Covid-19 pandemic, but small businesses that are critical to this economy will succumb.

Most small businesses are struggling to pay salaries, rent and utility bills. And with uncertainty of how long the global crisis will last, some have already closed shop.

Three months into the crisis, small businesses have not received any substantial support from the government. The result is that the remaining, which are still operating, will now be forced to suspend operations or close permanently.


This will render tens of thousands of families that rely on them for income unemployed. Already, employees sent on unpaid leave are struggling to make ends meet.

Small and medium-sized enterprises had employed 15.05 million Kenyans at the end of last year, according to data by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, making them the biggest employer.

A survey conducted by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) on the impact of Covid-19 on households and individuals showed that about a third (30.5 percent) of Kenyans struggled to pay rent in April. Majority of them are people who are out of work as a result of the pandemic.

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa), in a report released early this month, said that 81 percent of enterprises across all sectors have been impacted by Covid-19, calling for fast injection of funds to help them remain afloat.

The survey on 2,466 businesses across the country found that 45 percent of the enterprises had by April temporarily closed in efforts to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus. Small businesses are an important part of this economy as they bring goods and services closer to Kenyans. They are needed at this time also to help Kenyans access essentials critical to fighting this health pandemic.

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