Covid-19: We Have Done Much Better Than Expected – President Kenyatta

Covid-19: We Have Done Much Better Than Expected - President Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta giving the Eleventh (11th) Presidential address on the Covid_19 pandemic at State House, Nairobi PHOTO: PSCU

Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta says the country’s economy has fared well in spite of some sectors having been hard hit due to Covid-19.

According to the Head of State, the majority of Kenyans have exercised a reasonable level of civic responsibility in observing COVID Protocols.

“I must admit that we have done better than we expected. For instance, even under COVID, the economy has grown by 4.6 percent compared to 5.5 percent last year,” said Kenyatta in his eleventh presidential address on COVID-19 pandemic.

“The current economic indicators, without doubt, are lower- but definitely far better than we ever anticipated.”

He cited performance in the horticulture sector, whose earnings rose to Ksh 81 billion from January to June from Ksh 76 billion a similar period in 2019.

In a televised address, he extended a nationwide curfew for another 30 days in contrast to his comments.

“This crisis has, however, begun to percolate to the counties. The new frontier of this invisible enemy is increasingly shifting to the counties and to our rural areas,” he said.

He also ordered that bars and nightclubs be shut for another 30 days. However, he directed the development of rules to guide sit-down drinking in public places.

“In the next 30 days, bar owners, in consultation with the Ministry of Health will develop self-regulating mechanisms as part of their civic responsibility to their clientele, in order to allow their resumption,” President Kenyatta said.

Kenyatta allowed hotels with residence or room services to sell alcohol, a month after he banned restaurants from selling beers and spirits.

Kenya shut down bars on March 25.

On Thursday, Kenya recorded 33,016 cumulative cases of the coronavirus, 564 deaths, and 19,296 recoveries.

“Our experts have indicated that levels of positivity rate country-wide have fallen from 13 percent in June to 8 percent in August 2020.

This is very encouraging and it means that, if we keep our civic responsibility high, we have a chance to reach the 5 percent positivity rate recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for total re-opening,” said Kenyatta.

The President’s address was echoed by Ukur Yatani, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary at the Third Leadership Summit in Nairobi where he told members of Parliament that the economy remained resilient, posting a growth of 4.9 percent in quarter two, compared with 5.5 percent at the same time last year.

“The growth was supported by the agricultural output that expanded by 4.9 percent in the first quarter of 2020 compared to 4.7 percent in a similar quarter of 2019,” he said

However, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics findings from a report on the Socioeconomic Impact of Covid-19 survey conducted in June, found that 37 percent of Kenyan households were unable to pay rent in May, with the majority of them – 61 percent – citing reduced incomes.

In the findings, 78.8 percent reported an increase in food prices due to the Covid-19 pandemic while 41.9 percent reduced their spending on non-essential items.

“In the immediate and short-term period, the government interventions included containment measures to prevent the spread of the virus through restricting air travel, encouraging working at home, promoting social distancing measures, and setting up isolation units and quarantine centres,” said the CS.

On the other hand, Kenyatta disclosed that the Government’s Coronavirus Stimulus Package announced in March, has put KSh. 47.8 billion in citizen’s pockets including Ksh 14 billion shillings VAT refunds.