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