Government enlists support of the private sector to fight Covid-19

Written By: Claire Wanja
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She complained that despite the government announcing that each hotel employee would be tested at a fee of Sh1, 000, hotels are being charged Sh3, 000 per employee.

The  government  is  enlisting  the  support  of  the  private  sector  in  optimizing  the effectiveness of the COVID-19 spread containment measures in the country.

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Interior Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Fred  Matiang’i  has said the demands of the Public  Health Act  and  the  relationship  between  current  containment  measures  and  the  regulatory environment will determine the success of the country’s economic recovery plan.

Speaking during a virtual  consultative meeting  with private sector  players, Dr. Matiang’i  referenced  the  World  Health  Organization  that  the  novel  coronavirus  could  become endemic  in  the  human  population  and  reiterated  that  it  is  no  longer  going  to  be  a government-only affair to live with the virus.

“Responsibility  is  going  to  be  shared,  and  this  is  now  shifting  to  individuals  and corporates.  It  is  important  that  the  private  sector  players  identify  protocols  they  can effectively  enforce  themselves.  This  is  the  right  time  to  think  about  pumping  more resources  into  training  and  capacitating  regulatory  agencies  in  the  private  sector  in anticipation of a possibility of living with the COVID-19,” he said.

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Cabinet  Secretary for  Industry, Trade and Cooperatives  Hon. Betty Maina  lauded  various private  sector  initiatives  in  partnership  with  the  Government  towards  mitigating  the effects of the pandemic adding that the proposals from the sector will be factored into the country’s recovery plan. She also said the government will continue supporting the sector to cushion them from the shocks of the pandemic.

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The National Treasury has already  disbursed  Kshs.  10 billion  handed  to  the  Kenya Revenue Authority to effect the new VAT refund scheme. More than Kshs. 30 billion has also  been  released  to  settle  pending  bills  to  keep  enterprises  afloat  in  the  face  of  the current crisis.

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The  private  sector  has  been  instrumental  in  the  war  against  the  current  pandemic  with many  players  chipping  in  with  cash  donations  and  in-kind  contributions  to  the  Kenya Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund.

Other  stakeholders  are  directly  and  indirectly  involved  in  the  distribution  of  essential supplies  and  other  initiatives  with  a  view  to  strengthening  healthcare  capacity,  which Health CAS Dr. Mercy Mwangangi said should be sustained alongside other containment measures to effectively manage a possible surge in the number of infections.

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With approximately 5.1 million jobs currently at high-risk of being lost, the private sector players  have  undertaken  to  implement  general  standard  operating  procedures concurrently  with  sector-specific  measures  and  fronted  various  requests  for considerations with a commitment to ensure health and safety upon return to work.

Through  sub-sector  representatives  led  by  KEPSA  Chief  Executive  Officer,  Carole Karuga,  industry  players  applauded  the economic  and health measures introduced so far to prevent the further spread of the virus and  acknowledged the support provided by the government towards business sustainability and continuity.

Dr. Matiang’i  asked them to formally present their proposals to the  Command Center on the  Coronavirus  Pandemic  by  Tuesday  next  week  for  consideration  ahead  of  the finalization of the country’s economic recovery plan.

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