DEFINING MOMENT

Uhuru's stimulus package will safeguard economy

We are masters of our own destiny.

In Summary
  • At the end of this pandemic, we will either be regretting the actions we did not take or celebrating those that we took.
  • The country depends on each one of us, even as we look up to government for guidance

A little Boy quite tired out with play, stretched out, and fell sound asleep close to the edge of a deep well. Fortune came by, and gently waking him said, “My dear Boy, believe me, I have saved your life. If you had fallen in, everybody would have laid the blame on me; but tell me truly, now, would the fault have been yours or mine?”

The moral of the story is that we are masters of our own destiny.

“If we did not take strong and immediate steps, the damage to our people’s lives and our economy, our country would have been far worse than the current difficulties that we are going through now.”

These were the words of President Uhuru Kenyatta last Thursday as he gave his fourth address to the nation on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Unlike the previous statements that communicated the measures the government was taking to tame the spread of the virus, this one was different. The difference this time was that the President was communicating the measures put in place to safeguard the economy.

As we are all aware, the pandemic has slowed down the global economy and Kenya has not been spared, with growth projected to fall below two per cent this year.

In his address, the President mentioned a couple of things that will help reboot the economy even as he prepares a post-corona economic recovery plan.

He announced that the national government was supporting counties with Sh5 billion specifically to cushion the most vulnerable people, and to protect our healthcare workers.

But even as we take care of the economy, let us not forget to take care of ourselves. We must adhere to all the directives that have been issued by the Ministry of Health to stop the spread of the virus. We will be of no use to a vibrant economy if we are sick or dead

The government has also identified needy households in Nairobi that will be the recipients of the weekly Covid-19 Support Stipend. This money will go a long way to ensure that people have money and this helps in cash circulation in the economy.

The President also said his government was in talks with various large economies to suspend our debts owed to them in the interim. Other than this, the President urged MPs to pass the reduction in taxes that he proposed when this crisis started.

Key among these proposals is PAYE reduction to 25 per cent and the cutting of corporate tax to 25 per cent. These two help in that salaried Kenyans will be able to have more money to spend ensuring that the economy remains vibrant despite the slowdown, while the reduced corporate tax will ensure most business stay afloat.

Away from what the national government is doing, all Kenyans should ensure that they support these efforts in ensuring that we succeed in keeping the economy running. A number of governors such as Kitui’s Charity Ngilu are working hard to ensure that the local economies keep running.

Through the Kitui Textile Company, Ngilu is ensuring that the country has a good supply of face masks as well as protective clothing, with the same being witnessed in Mombasa with Governor Hassan Joho.

All must be done to safeguard the economy and also ensure that Kenyans, especially the low-income earners, are cushioned. We must commend the corporates and individual Kenyans that have come out to contribute to the Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund.

The Fund started by the President has already received more than Sh1 billion, which can be used to cushion the most vulnerable in society. With this group catered for, the government can concentrate on how to cushion the larger economy.

At the end of this pandemic, we will either be regretting the actions we did not take or celebrating those that we took. The country depends on each one of us, even as we look up to the President and his government for guidance.

But even as we take care of the economy, let us not forget to take care of ourselves. We must adhere to all the directives that have been issued by the Ministry of Health to stop the spread of the virus. We will be of no use to a vibrant economy if we are sick or dead.