Reports that employers are planning to lay off more workers due to the negative impact of Covid-19 are disheartening.
Every effort should be garnered to forestall what is fast turning into a labour crisis.
The Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) says in the last five years, the private sector created more than 200,000 jobs but the coronavirus pandemic has wiped out more than 80 per cent between March and July.
A labour survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics showed that close to 1.7 million people lost their jobs in the three months, pointing to the negative effects of the Covid-19 containment measures.
To address this impending labour crisis comprehensively, the government should take a systematic approach rather than piece-meal or knee-jerk reaction that seem to characterise numerous past policy decisions.
- 1 631 new cases as positivity rate up
- 2 Schools won't close amid rising infections, says Magoha
- 3 1,700 inmates test positive for covid-19
- 4 Unprepared school heads worried as infections spike
Covid 19 Time Series
The Sh56 billion economic stimulus package is a good starting point, but more needs to be done.
Some experts, including the Parliamentary Budget Office, a team of experts that advise MPs on the budget process, have called for an expansive stimulus package. While injecting more money into the economy in a bid to create jobs is critical, a few shillings being sunk into a few profitable areas will spawn a lot of economic activities which translate into more jobs.
That is why it is important that the monies that have been earmarked for stimulating the economy, be strictly used for the intended purposes.
To some people, the best option is to fully reopen the economy so that all its wheels can begin rolling. While that is desirable for the economy to roar back, it has its own risks.
Numbers coming from Afya House indicate that the pandemic is far from being defeated. Only once did the infection cases drop below 100. Moreover, the country has continued to report more fatalities.
Like other countries that reopened their economies, Kenya is likely to face a second wave of infections if it does not tread carefully on the plan to ease the containment measures.
There is a fine between protecting jobs and saving lives. But as it has been said before, this is a false dilemma. It is still possible to save lives and livelihoods. The challenge isn’t insurmountable.