How Government Lockdowns are Continuously Affecting the Kenyan Economy
The one month extension of curfew in Western and Some parts of Nyanza region did not come as a surprise to many Kenyans. However the effects in relation to the lockdown is what makes players in the economy to continue wailing. The western corridor of Kenya, which harbours the gates to the west of Africa…with which most landlocked countries such as Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, and South Sudan among others depend on are currently becoming economically squeezed. Businesses in the zone continues to register a continuous reduction in units unlike what has been in occurence uniformly throughout a production process, which in turn reflects back negatively to the country’s Gross Domestic product. The citizenry is tired, disappointed more so with the whole push and pull scenario which eventually falls back to the Micro, small and medium sized businesses (MSMEs). MSMEs do not have budgets for marketing, picketing or campaigning like their mainstream corporate counterparts who on most times are able to negotiate with the government.
On 29th June 2021, President Uhuru Kenyatta while on his address to the nation on the state Covid-19, issued a notice of lockdown extension to the recently disease red zones in the counties of Kisumu, Siaya, Homa-Bay, Migori, Busia, Kakamega, Vihiga, Bungoma, Kisii, Nyamira, Kericho, Bomet, and Trans-Nzoia.
The lockdown which is now going to stay up to 31st July, 2021, will break the economic power of Western and Nyanza region. The two blocs which can be characterized by high number of major exports routes to neighboring countries, large percentage of self-employments due to high activities in farming and fishing, dusk to dawn service businesses such as the ‘Boda Boda’ and on road small businesses, already has a dying hype in productions.
However much of the farming in these regions can be termed as a silent businesses, most inputs and farm materials are imported. Farmers depend on the routes to get their gardens on the go. These are the businesses that will later in the year feed the Nation. Many MSMEs rely on the food crops from western Kenya to meet their raw materials for business.
With a practical example, Maize which still remains to be the staple food for most Kenyans a huge heap of it originates from western and Nyanza blocs. At the moment, as we surpass half the year mileage silos are being emptied for the next harvest which is beckoning in the coming August and September. The chain required to make sure the silos are emptied requires every small business-prenuer who some act as loading staffs, brokers, inventory, transport among others.
With the curfews, the time process has been cut down. The system has been left to move slowly. This therefore pays back to the per Capita income. According to the law of economics, the lower the income received per head, the lower standards of living the society has.
When circulation time has been cut by the government in such kind of a scenario, it is not the government fighting the pandemic but also an indirect war is being ensued to the economy. The pandemic has caused havoc in the country with different zones hard hit this year, yet the stability of the economy has maintained a blind 5% receptability.
Addressing the Nation, the president noted, “that all persons coming into the country must be in possession of a negative Covid-19 PCR Certificate, acquired no more than 96 hours prior to arrival into the country; with the PCR Certificate also having been validated under the Trusted Travel platform for those travelling by air.”
This is not happening on the ground per say.
MSMEs are suffering the burden of their tranquillity in business. In the series done by CrystalPerk Mombasa Magazine, “How Brands are Born”, it has been evident that small businesses sprouted rapidly during the pandemic. The series which has hosted many brands just in Mombasa relatively portrayed that at least 65% (also World Bank Statista of April 2021) of businesses in Mombasa that are active were Covid-19 babies.
The translation can also go to the zoned areas, since the aggressiveness in the Kenyan market has been the same ever since independence. The government needs to ease its way of acting towards the MSMEs, if the lockdown and curfews are necessary then from the expenditure budget a planned estimate should be drawn into a pool where these small businesses will receive loans with lowest or considerable interest rates for their performance to continue in an upward trajectory in production.
The MSMEs should also try maximize on the less share given either in time or funding. The country needs these small businesses, with accurate measures as supported under the big four agenda, Vision 2030 will be a toothpick for the remaining simple difficulties in the nation, however with the continuous lockdown the economic performance levels of different areas in the country will fall immeasurably.