Relief for local businesses as government now moves to unveil tax relief and fiscal measures for businesses on the receiving end of coronavirus outbreak

An Informal greengrocer popularly known as Mama Mboga selling her vegetables.
  • On Wednesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta said the treasury is preparing undisclosed tax relief to traders and homes under a fresh bailout for coronavirus-hit businesses. 
  • Local bankers have also agreed to offer individuals relief on their personal loans should they encounter challenges and allowed small and medium enterprises to restructure their bank debts at no cost
  • Fears of contracting the disease have slowly grind the country to a halt.

Local businesses hard hit by coronavirus ripple effects are heaving a sigh of relief after the Kenyan government signaled it would come to their rescue and try to cushion workers and businesses from the economic slowdown triggered by the virus outbreak.

On Wednesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta said the treasury is preparing undisclosed tax relief to traders and homes under a fresh bailout for coronavirus-hit businesses. The fiscal measures including tax relief will be unveiled in coming days .

"What we are dealing with primarily is a health crisis. But unfortunately, this is a health crisis that is bound to have financial and economic impact," said Mr Kenyatta.

"We are also looking at other areas where from a fiscal point of view, we want to see what we can also do to support our people during this difficult time. In due course, we shall brief you."

Kenyatta’s sentiments come after bankers have agreed to offer individuals relief on their personal loans should they encounter challenges and allowed small and medium enterprises to restructure their bank debts at no cost

Fears of contracting the disease has slowly grind the country to a halt. Social and economic activities have been cancelled and postponed indefinitely with malls and restaurants closing down due to lack of customers.

Businesses on the firing line

The service and hospitality industry are among the biggest losers and most will require a helping hand to get back on their feet. With the public urged to stay at home. Orders cancelled and flights being suspended and overseas clients postponing their travel plans local businesses are bound to feel the heat.

Kenyan flower farms are now on the receiving end after Europe, which is the country’s major market but is now the epicenter of COVID-19, cancelled most of its orders.

Case in point is Maridadi flower farm in Naivasha where over a million stems of roses, which were destined for Holland withered in their dump composite site as the heap, rose by the day.

The Ministry of Tourism has since set aside Sh 500 million ($5 million) for its post Coronavirus (Covid-19) recovery plan to cushion its sensitive tourism industry which is also on the receiving end.

Coronavirus latest updates

On Thursday, China marked a major milestone in its battle against the coronavirus pandemic as it recorded zero domestic infections for the first time since the outbreak emerged, but a spike in imported cases threatened its progress.

There were no new cases in Wuhan -- the central city where the virus first emerged in December -- for the first time since authorities started publishing figures in January, according to the National Health Commission.

Meanwhile, confirmed coronavirus positive cases in Kenya have since risen to seven.

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