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More needed to jump-start economy

By The Standard | January 19th 2020 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Majority of Kenyans say 2019 was a tough year economically. They feel life was unbearable after the economy slumped forcing several companies to retrench thousands of workers. Other companies have issued profit warning. Figures from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics show that nearly all economic sectors reported slow growth while some were in the negative.

Apart from construction and tourism, other sectors posted a slowdown over the nine months to September 2019 compared to a similar period in 2018. Construction was driven by investments in infrastructure by the government as opposed to the real estate sector, which too suffered challenges including difficulties in accessing credit.

Earnings from tea, fruits and vegetables, as well as sugar cane, declined over the period. It was an admission by President Uhuru Kenyatta that Kenyans were hurting when he recently unveiled a stimulus package saying the plan was to increase the money in the pocket of the farmer. He came up with a raft of measures to grow earnings for farmers in the coffee, tea and dairy sectors.

But there is need to move beyond rhetoric and boost all sectors. Despite promises to cut cost of power, it is still high, which has for long been an impediment to investment. Further, the government should pay promptly for services and work rendered. And businesses, small or large need affordable loans. How this is managed will determine if the common man’s pocket will be better off soon.

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