INFLATION

Uhuru directives not for bigger portion of citizenry

Majority of Kenyans in inform,al sector, tax waiver not helping them

In Summary

• Prices of basic items like pharmaceutical products and food should have been subsidised. 

• Most Kenyans live on a hand-to-mouth basis. 

Traders in Malindi town.
INFORMAL SECTOR: Traders in Malindi town.
Image: ALPHONCE GARI

President Uhuru Kenyatta's directive on curfew and others to contain coronavirus only have a silver lining for the haves in the country. 

The proportion of the employed with a payslip and not in the informal sector against those who live from hand to mouth like hawkers and small kiosk owners is heavily unbalanced. How is the 100 per cent tax waiver for people earning below Sh24,000 helping cushion the majority of Kenyans from the Covid-19 effects? 

Again, how will the total deduction of two per cent VAT (16-14 per cent) make the flour, fuel, utility bills and transport affordable? I expected a zero VAT on foodstuff as the majority of the population will be put out of jobs. 

Pharmaceutical supplies could also have been subsidised for the time being. This could have gone a long way on cushioning the poor mwananchi against possible hunger and diseases. 

As it stands, the status quo still exists for the normal Kenyan. Expect to cough more for the flour and transport even if the ripple effect will reach the hawking or SME sector.

This could just be the beginning, but the President's advisers are failing him on reasonable matters affecting Wanjiku. 

Then, Covid-19 testing should have been made compulsory for all people in Kenya. Testing kits should be distributed all over the country and testing made free and mandatory like the highly hyped Huduma Namba.

Recovery wards and centres should be fully funded by the government. This could have helped mitigate the further spread of the virus more than the 7pm -5am curfew as declared by the President.

But the best news is that Uhuru and DP William Ruto have voluntarily agreed to take an 80 per cent salary cut to contribute towards the fight against the virus.

Several other officials have given up a part of their pay in efforts to contain the disease. 

 

Nairobi