Help us recoup from Covid-19 shocks, Juja SMEs urges government
As COVID-19 moves from a health crisis to an economic crisis, small businesspersons from Juja in Kiambu County have petitioned the government to help them weather the storm by supporting their recovery efforts.
The small entrepreneurs believe that for the country to resume its economic stature, small businesses must be supported to resume operations after stalling for months since the global pandemic hit the country.
Led by Charles Kimani who produces Khaki packaging bags in small quantities at Witeithie village, the young investors urged the government to reduce their operating taxes, provide a conducive business environment and give them enough funding to restock their businesses.
They said that well supported small and medium enterprises can not only be a solution to staggering joblessness but can also help the government better its economic growth for valuable developments.
Kimani said that their businesses went under as a result of the pandemic, saying that for them to resume operations, the government must make efforts towards supporting the course saying that most of them are willing to help the country recover again.
“Most of us who operate small businesses are starting from scratch and only the government can help us recoup. We not only need financing but information through training besides subsidies and reduction of taxes,” said Kimani.
His sentiments were echoed by Mary Wangari, a fruit vendor who insisted that the government has a major stake in boosting the economic transformation of its people by offering the right environment for businesses to thrive.
“We are ready to get back to business if the government also gets serious on helping us get there. Kenya is a country whose economy can grow very fast with a conducive environment,” she said.
According to a World Bank report released last year, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play a major role in most economies, particularly in developing countries. With most of them accounting for the majority of businesses worldwide and are important contributors to job creation and global economic development.
The SMEs represent about 90% of businesses and more than 50% of employment worldwide.
Before the onset of Covid-19, Kenya was one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, with an annual average growth of 5.9% between 2010 and 2018 and with a GDP of $95 billion.
However, Kenya continues to face significant challenges to sustainable and inclusive economic growth, which have been exacerbated by COVID-19’s economic disruptions, alongside long-running challenges including corruption and economic inequality.
Small businesspersons maintain that a solution to Kenya’s problems is tagged on recovery of their investments and rooted for urgent interventions by the government to make it happen.