Anti-graft body lauds Kenya’s Covid-19 fight, urges for economic stimulus plan
By Japheth Ogila
| June 2nd 2020
An anti-corruption body, Institution of Governance and Public Policy, has urged the Government to set the economy on the recovery path after being hit by Covid-19 pandemic.
The body said the country needs to embark on economic recovery plan beginning with setting up measures needed to curb the further spread of the virus.
The director of the organisation Dr Godwins Agutu argued that the economy will even take more hits if no remedial mechanisms are sought
“The Kenya GDP could shrink by 5 per cent if the worst-case scenario of the spread of Covid-19 is realised. the value based on statistics of the loss ranges from USD 10-50 billion driven largely by the fall in domestic consumption demand,” he said.
While addressing the press, Dr Agutu urged Kenyans to follow the directives issued by health officials and the mitigating skills employed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
He commended the government for not considering a complete lockdown which he said would have brought all economic activities to a standstill.
Agutu has urged the government to incorporate informal sector people through a sensible combination of social distancing measures and additional fiscal measures that provides them with immediate comfort and security.
“The informal sector employs 84 per cent labour force, these are workers with no stable income earnings, are not covered by formal safety nets such as pensions or any form of wage protection,” said Agutu.
According to Dr Agutu, Kenya seems to be in a good position for recovering her economy. He touched on some of the measures President Uhuru had announced to shield Kenyans from the financial pinch.
“The Government further announced an income tax waiver for low-income earners, these measures are not only aimed at spurring the demand for goods and services but also have a significant effect in buoying public expenditure,” added Agutu.
The other directives which he lauded include the reduction on corporate tax rate from 30 per cent to 25per cent which he said would help in clearing pending bills which will go a long way into improving liquidity in a local business.
He, however, challenged the government to resort to more aggressive testing and even seek international support to win the coronavirus war.
“The current crisis endeavours the government to keenly address the state of public healthcare and the state of the devolved health sector,” said Agutu.
The Union wants the government to direct Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) to start the manufacture of Covid-19 test kits to ease the testing burden at the state facilities.
The Union says that the government need to expand solid safety nets because a prolonged fall in domestic consumption demand will jeopardise the economy.
“Fiscal measures introduced by the Government will play a role in supporting poor families across the country especially at a time where the regular healthcare infrastructure is already under strain,” added Agutu.
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