Congratulations Mr President for relief measures
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Wednesday evening update on coronavirus went beyond confirmation of numbers and measures to tame the virus—he moved to cushion many vulnerable Kenyans from the impact of the pandemic.
Kenyans have been facing tough times since the first case of Covid-19 was confirmed in the country two weeks ago. The anxiety is real—and it keeps growing with every confirmed new case.
Like elsewhere, Kenyans are bearing the socio-economic adversities of the highly contagious virus.
Movement and many economic activities are gradually grounding to halt and starting today when the 7pm-5am curfew kicks in, things are likely to move from bad to worse, especially for a country where most people live from hand to mouth and has massive youth unemployment.
This is why the President’s intervention measures that come in the form of tax relief, more money to the elderly and easing access to loan facilities for medium and small-scale enterprises, is not only timely, but most welcome.
In particular, his proposals on tax relief for low earners, reduction of Pay As You Earn burden for all workers, pay cuts for senior government officials and hiring of more medical professionals to help combat the pandemic will have immediate impact.
And because these measures need legislation, it is critical that the National Treasury expedites the process by tabling them in Parliament.
Hopefully, the measures will come into force soonest to cushion Kenyans even as the curfew starts.
It is also comforting to learn that although the infections, which had hit 25 by Wednesday, keep rising, it is not all gloom.
One patient has been confirmed to have recovered. This, coupled with the assurance from the Health Cabinet Secretary that most of the cases are stable and will hopefully soon be discharged from hospital, is good news.
However, that shouldn’t be a licence for Kenyans to adopt a laissez-faire attitude to life. So far, for a sizeable part of the population, it is business as usual. This is disheartening.
To overcome the killer virus, we must all adhere to the safety guidelines such as washing and sanitising of hands, social distancing and working from home when possible.
Let’s keep safe and follow advice by the experts to flatten the curve.