Chamber seeks more support for traders

Tuesday, April 28th, 2020 18:34 |
KNCCI president Richard Ngatia.

George Kebaso @Morarak

The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) wants more support and incentives extended to small-scale businesses, to mitigate the impacts of Covid-19.

KNCCI president Richard Ngatia said the body, in conjunction with various businesses, has embarked on developing an online shopping platform to facilitate orders and deliveries for small business enterprises as social distancing guidelines take a toll on supply chains.

“This is good news for more than 20,000 members of KNCCI with some being corporates pooling a total of over 16 million individual traders across the country,” he said.

Since the breakout of coronavirus in the country in early March, businesses have been on the receiving end. He said this calls for creativity and innovative interventions.

“Kenyan business has slowed down and counties such as Nairobi that contributes 21.7 per cent of the GDP has taken a hit calling for support for SMEs to remain afloat,” he said during the first Webnet meeting with international business support across the globe.

He told the conference that measures have since been taken to cushion business during this time that has created trade uncertainty.

“This includes provision of personal loans by Kenya Bankers Association to improve purchasing power amidst reduced disposable incomes,” he said.

Other measures taken are extension of loan repayment deadlines.

“This is aimed at lifting the pressure off businesses as Comprehensive Business Agreements between trade unions and employers are suspended for 12 months,” said Ngatia.

Enhance supply

The KNCCI boss applauded the government for allowing local enterprises to manufacture Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) as one way of enhancing supply in the midst of increased demand across the global market.

“It is a good lesson for us to establish our own capacity to manufacture homemade equipment at a time like this when even with finances, one can hardly get supplies due to demand from every corner of the globe,” he said.

It will also help to safeguard thousands of jobs, Ngatia observed.

Speaking at the conference, Gabriele Sabato—who is the chief executive of Wifsefund London—supported government efforts to social distancing saying it is working for England.

The moderator of the session, Federica  Sambiase, who is the chief executive of Working Capital Associates said the pandemic has spread its fangs across all business.

She called for innovation as well as creativity, praising airlines that have converted their passenger planes into cargo transport vessels such as Kenya Airways.

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