Ensure EU donation is put to proper use for Covid-19

Tuesday, June 9th, 2020 00:00 |
European Union. Photo/Courtesy

The financial goodwill to Kenyans during the Covid-19 pandemic continued with the European Union giving an additional Sh7.8 billion to strengthen Kenya’s measures against the virus.

The money, which is meant to mobilise resources to fight the pandemic and provide capital for SMEs which have been hurt the most during this crisis, are a godsend.

It will also help cushion the most vulnerable Kenyans, with women and the elderly being the main target.

The package of financial health and social support measures for vulnerable Kenyans, through a mix of emergency response and longer-term support, is part of a Sh25 billion package by EU.

This boost comes after President Uhuru Kenyatta announced a Sh53.7 billion economic stimulus programme to revive the economy.

The economy has been driven to its knees as a result of measures taken to slow the spread of the virus.

Thousands of Kenyans have lost their jobs and most businesses are struggling to stay afloat.

The virus hit the country as it was contending with flooding and a desert locust invasion.

EU’s gesture must, therefore, not be taken for granted. It is a sacrifice by these countries since no country has been spared the pandemic. 

Every single shilling must go to outlined projects and the bureaucratic tendencies which stymie growth must stop.

Those responsible for the absorption must take cognisance of the fact that more people are getting into desperate situation.

Nothing should stop the trickle down of these finances to the recipients in the shortest time possible.

It appears that half of the funds will benefit the health sector and the socio-economic sector, unfortunately, Sh3.6 billion will go towards supporting efforts in these sectors through government budget support.

Members of Parliament who have been accused of slowing down the uptake of such funds by delaying the passage of bills must read the mood of the nation and pass such bills expeditiously.

The good news is that vulnerable families in informal settlements will benefit directly through a Sh1.2 billion cash transfer programme which means the impact will be instant with a Sh2.4 billion package helping jobs.

More importantly, short-term working capital to SMEs will go a long way to help investments gear up for recovery from the pandemic.

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