Self-employed Kenyans are bearing the brunt of disruptions on incomes brought by the Covid19 pandemic, a new survey shows.
The survey by Consumer Insight also explains that on the flip side, a significantly lower proportion (76 per cent) of those in employment in the ordinary sense had their income impacted since the outbreak was first reported.
“Almost all self-employed Kenyans are earning less or no income,” the survey reported.
An intermediate report of the study released earlier in the week had indicated that incomes for four out of every five Kenyan households had shrunk.
With the growing likelihood of stiffer measures or even a total lockdown, a huge proportion of households could starve owing to the diminishing incomes, especially for those who earn a daily wage.
Almost every sector of the economy has taken a hit as the Government takes measures to curtail the spread of the coronavirus.
While the survey did not indicate which sectors were worst affected for the self-employed, it is easy to pick out operators of eateries as among the hardest-hit following the decision to ban gatherings.
In Nairobi, specifically, most of the restaurants including the informal ones have closed and the few remaining which happen to be the high-end eateries only serve takeaway meals.
Besides the directive to ensure social distancing, the uncertainty associated with the pandemic means consumers are unlikely to spend on non-critical services such as grooming which would mean less income for workers in the beauty sector.
Consumer Insight also found out that two out of three of the respondents had either cut back on spending on services or suspended the spending altogether.
Heath Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has already cautioned hairdressers about the risk their work involves in helping the virus spread.
Reduced movement has also meant that incomes for boda boda operators, who are often self-employed, are hurting.
Employers in various sectors have taken measures that have involved slashing their workers’ pay in an attempt to survive the tumult associated with the pandemic.
Kenya Airways and several media houses, for instance, have announced pay cuts of up to 75 per cent for their workers.
The research was conducted in the last four days of March, before directives banning movements.