NAIROBI, KENYA: The majority of Kenyans were able to pay rent on the agreed date with landlords last month despite the biting effects of coronavirus.
A new survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows that approximately 59.8 per cent of those who usually pay rent on the agreed date were able to pay rent for the month of April on time.
Overall, 30.5 per cent of households were unable to pay rent on the agreed date with the landlord. The survey results, on the other hand, shows that at least 21.5 per cent of the households in Kenya who usually pay rent on the dates agreed with landlords were unable to pay rent for the month of April.
The main reason for the households’ inability to pay rent for the month of April was the reduced income or earnings, temporary loss of job, delay in income.
According to the findings, the proportion of households who have received any waiver or relief from landlords on rent for the month of April stood at a paltry 8.7 per cent.
The novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID) that was declared a pandemic by World Health Organization (WHO) this year has ravaged many countries in the world. A number of measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus have been introduced across the world. In Kenya, the measures introduced by the Government include banning of all passenger flights, temporary closure of restaurants and bars, dusk to dawn curfew, cessation of movement in and out of some high-risk areas among others.
The uncertainty caused by the disease in various sectors of the economy has led to the introduction of measures, by business owners, geared towards ensuring their businesses remain afloat. The enterprises have had to delay investments, purchases of goods, and the hiring of workers, while others have resorted to salary cuts for their employees, temporary layoffs and some have resorted to total closure. This continues to have knock-on effects on incomes, particularly for informal and casual workers.
In order to respond to the crisis and to cushion Kenyans from the adverse effects of the COVID-19, the Government of Kenya established a National Coordination Committee on the Response to the Corona Virus Pandemic (NCCRCP).
Among the working groups of the NCCRCP is the National Economic and Business Response Working Group whose tasks include conducting a Household Economic Impact Assessment aimed at providing data that would facilitate the formulation of appropriate strategies to respond to socio-economic effects of the disease.
The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics was tasked to undertake surveys to provide the required information.
Labour force participation rate of the population age 18 years and above in the seven days preceding the survey was 56.8 per cent. About two in three (65.3%) males were in the labour force while slightly more than half (51.2%) of the females were found to be outside the labour force in the reference period. Almost half of the respondents who were absent from work said that it was due to lockout or stay away instructions as guided by the Government and/or employers. Nine out of ten persons who were absent from work due to stay away or lockdown were not sure when they would be returning to work.
Overall, there has been a 51.7 per cent increase in the cost of transport. Migori County recorded the highest increase while Turkana County recorded the least at 77.2 and 24.4 per cent respectively.