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Micro, Small and Medium Entrepreneurs Need Innovative Support for Quicker Recovery

When MSMEs thrive, the ripple effect snowballs and is more widespread, inclusively, and sustainably across the economy. Jobs are protected and quality of life enhanced for more households, among other economic benefits.

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Joshua Oigara.PHOTO/KCB

By Joshua Oigara

The COVID-19 pandemic has largely been framed as a public health crisis, over one and a half years since it hit Kenya. However, its economic impact has been severe and widespread. The effects have been felt across the economy, significantly afflicting all sectors and households.

In all this, irrespective of industries, the Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs), have been particularly hard hit by reduced customer footfall and disruptions in supply chains, among other biting effects of the pandemic. The widespread job losses and income cuts have also meant depressed demand for MSMEs’ goods and services, due to reduced purchasing power.

This has left MSMEs struggling and barely surviving. A survey by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) in October 2020, indicated that about 64% of the MSMEs surveyed had experienced a high or very high negative impact on their businesses from COVID-19. These included loss of customers, liquidity challenges, high cost of operations, inability to pay salaries, and reduced labour productivity.

The MSMEs’ typically limited liquidity, financial flows and reserves, has left them more vulnerable, compared to the larger corporates. Thus, the pandemic, like any other shock, is guaranteed to throw them off balance in a very short time, effectively putting their survival in jeopardy.

This is cause for concern, considering the integral and strategic role that MSMEs play in the economy. This ranges from creating employment opportunities to supporting value chains across industries. It is, therefore, important that these businesses are cushioned from such negative effects, are supported to ride the wave of the crisis, and are enabled to succeed.

When MSMEs thrive, the ripple effect snowballs and is more widespread, inclusively, and sustainably across the economy. Jobs are protected and quality of life enhanced for more households, among other economic benefits.

Of all the kinds of support that businesses require to cushion themselves during such rough patches, the financial kind ranks top. This effectively puts the financial services sector, particularly, in the driver’s seat, to protect these businesses from the harsh effects of the pandemic.

Throughout the pandemic, banks have gallantly stepped up to the frontline, cushioning the economy. Across industries, businesses and individuals have had their loans restructured to give them more time to repay among other measures.

However, there is need for banks and other players in the sector to go the extra mile in protecting MSMEs, the lifeblood of the economy. With the uncertainty surrounding the fast-evolving pandemic, it is still unclear how long it will be here, or the form and shape that it will take. A business-as-usual approach will not cut it for the situation that businesses find themselves in presently.

The recently launched credit guarantee scheme by the National Treasury and seven local banks is one such innovative approach towards unlocking credit for MSMEs. This assurance from government will enhance banks’ confidence to lend to businesses, on flexible terms.

Basically, the participating commercial banks will independently review the ability of the businesses to repay the loan and determine applicable interest rate based on risk of default. The Treasury will guarantee 25% of the loan in case of defaults while the Bank will take up the balance under third-party credit risk mitigation scheme. This initiative is a sure game changer for the MSMEs as they seek to stay afloat in the wake of the economic crisis.

Besides, this will go a long way in supporting rural-based businesses to flourish, touching on a vast majority of the Kenya’s population. This will contribute significantly towards driving sustainable and inclusive growth that leaves no one behind. The rural population is still locked from certain advantages and opportunities that the urban population and large businesses enjoy. Access to credit facilities is one such factor.

The challenge for the banking industry now is to design concessional loans for businesses, with much more favourable terms. Though in dire need of working capital to stay afloat, the normal terms may not be suitable for businesses. Adequate financing is critical to not only help them weather these tough times, but also put them in good stead to recover and build back better. This is for example the inspiration behind KCB Bank’s new, discounted MSME loan that comes with the options of being either secured or unsecured.

Alongside such innovative financing, businesses also need training and advisory support to weather effects of the pandemic. In the unfamiliar territory that businesses are increasingly finding themselves in, opportunities for continuous upskilling, puts them in good stead to effectively deal with the situation and thrive.

It is such out-of-the-box support that could be the difference between MSMEs staying in operation or struggling and eventually having to fold, at a huge cost to the economy. These may just be the straws that businesses clutch on to weather the pandemic.

The pandemic has been a wake-up call for banks to rethink their business models and sharpen their priorities to create opportunities for MSMEs to navigate the crisis.

The writer is the KCB Group PLC Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director.

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Nakuru

List of newly elected MCAs in Nakuru County

The following are the Nakuru County elected MCAs following the 9th August General elections. The United Democratic Alliance party (UDA) got the most number of seats at 39

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The new County Asssembly of Nakuru chambers

The following are the Nakuru County elected MCAs following the 9th August General elections. The United Democratic Alliance party (UDA) got the most number of seats at 39. The Jubilee party managed 6 seats, while the Safina party won 1 seat. Seven of the MCAs were elected as independent candidates. Out of the 55 elected MCAs, 8 are women.

Naivasha Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. Maiella – Gituku Jane Wanjiru (UDA)
  2. 2. Naivasha East – Stanley Karanja (UDA)
  3. 3. Maai Mahiu – Eliud Kamau Chege (UDA)
  4. 4. Biashara – Elijah Mwaura (UDA)
  5. 5. Viwandani – Mwangi Muraya (UDA)
  6. 6. Lakeview – Alex Mbugua (UDA)
  7. 7. Hellsgate – Virginia Gichanga (Jubilee)
  8. 8. Ol’Karia – Peter Wanjala Palang’a (ODM)

Gilgil Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. 9. Gilgil – Rose Njoroge (UDA)
  2. 10. Malewa – Francis Mungai Kuria (UDA)
  3. 11. Eburru Baruk – Michael Gathanwa (UDA)
  4. 12. Elementaita – George Nene (Safina)
  5. 13. Morendat – Peter Njoroge (UDA)

Subukia Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. 14. Subukia – Isabella Makori (UDA)
  2. 15. Waseges – Elijah Murage (Independent)
  3. 16. Kabazi – George Talam (UDA)

Bahati Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. 17. Bahati – Grace Mwathi (UDA)
  2. 18. Kabatini – Leah Ng’ang’a (Independent)
  3. 19. Kiamaina – Paul Waweru Warege (Ka Wambui) (UDA)
  4. 20. Dundori – James Gathuita Mwangi (UDA)
  5. 21. Lanet Umoja -Mwangi Ngarama (UDA)

Nakuru Town East Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. 22. Nakuru East – Anthony Kamau (UDA)
  2. 23. Menengai – Wilson Mwangi (Jubilee)
  3. 24. Flamingo – David Kihumba Muraya (Independent)
  4. 25. Biashara – Fadhili Msuri (UDA)
  5. 26. Kivumbini – Neto Sakwa Alukutsa (Independent)

Nakuru Town West Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. 27. Rhoda – John Macharia (UDA)
  2. 28. London – Benard Gattuso (Jubilee)
  3. 29. Barut – Ben Kirui (UDA)
  4. 30. Kapkures – Robert Ruto (UDA)
  5. 31. Kaptembwa – Peter Kanjwang’ (ODM)
  6. 32. Shabaab – Macharia Wathiai (UDA)

Rongai Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. 33.Solai – Nixon Morogo (Independent)
  2. 34. Soin – Ellibas Naburuki (Degualle) (UDA)
  3. 35. Mosop – Dr. Alex Lang’at (UDA)
  4. 36. Menengai West – Isaac Kiptisya Rottok (UDA)
  5. 37. Visoi – Hellen Chemutai (UDA)

Njoro Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. 38. Njoro – Hezy Ndung’u (Independent)
  2. 39. Nessuit – Samuel Tonui (UDA)
  3. 40. Mauche – Moses Koros (UDA)
  4. 41. Mau Narok – Cyrus Dida (UDA)
  5. 42. Kihingo – Simon Kamau Karanja (Jubilee)
  6. 43. Lare – Phillip Wanjohi (Jubilee)

Molo Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. 44. Molo – Joseph Ngware (UDA)
  2. 45. Marioshoni – Ben Lang’at (UDA)
  3. 46. Elburgon – David Njuguna (Independent)
  4. 47. Turi – John Mwangi Macharia (Jubilee)

Kuresoi South Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. 48. Keringet – William Mutai (UDA)
  2. 49. Tinet – Paul Lang’at Alvin (Drilit) (UDA)
  3. 51. Kiptangich – Rose Mutai (UDA)
  4. 52. Amalo – Robert Lang’at (UDA)

Kuresoi North Constituency UDA MCA nominees

  1. 53. Sirikwa – Emmanuel Lang’at (UDA)
  2. 54. Kamara – Joseph Kipng’etich (Chemutwet) (UDA)
  3. 55. Kiptororo – Alex Bor (Kipyek) (UDA)

 

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Nakuru to host World Bee Day celebrations

The Apimondia Regional Commission (ARC) President, Mr David Mukomana, in a statement, said the three-day program will include technical tours to see beekeeping within Nakuru County and any other areas, exhibitions, seminars and the actual celebrations.

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Bees on a honey comb

Nakuru City will this year host the Regional World Bee Day (WBD) celebrations from the 18th – to the 20th of May 2022.

The yearly event is commemorated to raise awareness about the importance of bees and other pollinators for humanity in food security, global hunger eradication, and environmental and biodiversity conservation.

Under the theme; “Bee engaged: Celebrating the contribution of bees to the environment, food security and income generation to mankind.”

The forum will share knowledge from across the world, and draw the attention of the public and decision-makers to the importance of protecting bees as well as halting the further loss of biodiversity and degradation of ecosystems following the Paris Agreement.

FAO estimates that bees contribute to the pollination of food worth between $ 235 and $ 580 billion every year and that their decline continues to strain food systems.

Intensive farming practices, excessive use of agrochemicals, habitat loss, and adverse effects of climate among other issues have been identified as key hindrances causing the depopulation of bees and loss of colonies.

With such challenges, there is a need to come up with solutions that are resistive to the increasing bee population globally.

According to FAO, Kenya ranks third in Africa after Tanzania which is the largest producer of honey and produces approximately 31,405 tonnes annually while Angola ranks second producing about 23,500 tonnes annually.

As of 2020, Kenya’s production of honey was at 17,801 tonnes, up from 13,877 tonnes the previous year, this is a change of 28.28%.

Speaking during a past apiculture stakeholders’ workshop, State Department for Livestock Production Principal Secretary, Mr Harry Kimtai, expressed concern that new pests and farm pesticides have hit colonies hard.

“We’re collaborating with devolved units to halt the alarming depletion of bee colonies. Bee colony multiplication initiatives include capacity building, beekeeping equipment distribution, and bee bulking,” revealed PS Kimtai.

Despite the potential of honey production and the benefits of apicultural activity, very little income accrues from the activity.

The government in its progress, in the Big Four Agenda on 100% food and nutrition security, is committed to enhancing honey production from 25,000 tonnes to 38,000 tonnes by the year 2022.

Beekeeping offers an alternative source of livelihood and protects biodiversity and should ideally be established away from human interaction with enough bee forage and all-year-round availability of water to provide favourable conditions for beekeeping.

Nakuru County Executive Committee Member for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Dr Immaculate Maina, says that, ‘’bees have become increasingly endangered with one million species facing extinction. Thus, beekeeping should be embraced as an alternative environmentally friendly income-earning enterprise.”

‘’We hope that by hosting this event, we will be able to proactively assist in the opening up of our county by giving marketing opportunities and investment prospects in the apiculture industry,” Dr Maina noted.

“We also anticipate important topics discussed during the three-day forum, such as the role of women in the sector as those most affected by climate change, solutions to save our bee species from extinction, and how we can continue to rely on pollinators to save us from the current climate crisis,” she concluded.

Acting CEO of the Apiculture Platform of Kenya (APK), Mr Frederick Otieno Odera, says that beekeeping has significant potential in Africa to improve rural incomes and diversify livelihoods.

“We hope the commemoration of the National World Bee Day will showcase new technologies and sustainable measures from across the world in the apiculture industry and provide sustainable solutions to save our bees in the current climate crisis,” said Otieno.

The Apimondia Regional Commission (ARC) President, Mr David Mukomana, in a statement, said the three-day program will include technical tours to see beekeeping within Nakuru County and any other areas, exhibitions, seminars and the actual celebrations.

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Governor Kinyanjui drops deputy, picks Kamuren as running mate

The county is a cosmopolitan city and was the headquarters of the Rift Valley province under the old Constitution.

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Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui has dropped his Deputy of five years and named a woman running mate ahead of the August 2022 polls.

Kinyanjui, who is gunning for a second and final term in office, dropped Dr Eric Kipkoech in favour of Ms Franciscar Jelagat Kamuren.

He explained that Kamuren, 47, is an accomplished grassroots mobilizer with a strong passion for community development and was picked after wide consultation.

“Äfter long consultations with diverse stakeholders, I have decided to appoint Ms Franciscar Jelagat Kamuren as running mate for my second term bid,” Kinyanjui said.

The nominee holds a Masters’s degree in linguistics from Egerton University and has served in various capacities.

The governor is seeking to defend his seat via the ruling Jubilee party ticket under the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition.

He is however facing stiff competition from the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) candidate Susan Kihika, who is the current Senator for Nakuru and his appointment is seen as a tactic to woo the women vote.

His announcement comes hours after Kihika unveiled her running mate in a press conference from Nakuru.

Kihika picked David Kones as the man to deputize her after an interview that attracted half a dozen candidates.

The senator, who is a staunch supporter of Deputy President William Ruto was handed a direct ticket.

Nakuru is among the largest counties in Kenya and was recently conferred city status by President Uhuru Kenyatta, making it the fourth city in Kenya after Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu.

The county is a cosmopolitan city and was the headquarters of the Rift Valley province under the old Constitution.

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