2018 May Just Be A Year in Disguise: What Should Kenyans Do?
2017 is gone. 2018 is here. Many Kenyans danced with joy and they waved goodbye to 2017. According to a research that had been carried out by TIFA, many Kenyans wanted 2017 done and gone. They wished it away saying they will never wish to have such a year again.
2017 proved to be a challenging year to most Kenyans. It is during this year that the country, for the first time in history, held two general elections in one year. Everything came to a standstill and all efforts were directed to the do-or-die elections.
It is during 2017 that widespread political demonstrations were witnessed across the country. Property worth billions of shillings were destroyed. Tens of people were killed and hundreds others left nursing injuries.
It is during 2017 that the SME sector almost came to its knees. The private sector, 90 percent of which makes up the SME sector in the country almost vanished as it was left at the mercy of unending political season.
According to KEPSA, the private sector lost more than 700 billion shillings in a period of four months that Kenya was politicking. The economy in general lost more than 1.8 trillion shillings.
It is during 2017 that mass laying off of employees by various companies was witnessed. According to a report released by Kenya Bankers Association, more than 2083 bankers were left jobless as most financial institutions consolidated their operations on mobile in a move to cut on their costs.
The implementation of the interest capping law made matters worse for Kenyans. Proponents of the law though that the law would enable many Kenyans have access to affordable loans from financial institutions. Instead, the law denied many Kenyans access to money. Banks became cautious in issuing their loans. The SME sector started choking and the few available Sacco’s could not support them.
What 2018 holds for SMEs in Kenya
The dreaded 2017 is now over. The much anticipated 2018 is now here. But, according to economic experts, 2018 might just be another 2017 in disguise. 2018 might be the perfect example of a forest that has changed with the monkeys remaining the same.
The weatherman has already warned on a prolonged drought in this year. The country is already at the mercy of a prolonged drought with more than 3.5 million Kenyans at the brink of dying from thirst and starvation.
Most companies are likely to let go of their employees as the environment to do business continues to be tougher with each passing day. A research done by Sochin Limited indicated that 80 percent of businesses are likely to turn to technology and social media to enhance their sales and operation and, in the process, rendering thousands of people jobless.
During this new year, the new tax laws have started taking effect. The sport betting industry is the first casualty with a 35 percent tax on their earnings. Already, nettings firms such as SportPesa have started withdrawing their sponsorship for various teams and activities as a result.
The government has announced the withdrawal of free maternity services to expectant mothers. All expectant mothers are now required to register with the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) before being allowed to receive “free” maternity services from public hospitals.
Every indication point to the fact that 2018 is going to be a tough year. With Kenyans foreign debt standing at 54 percent of the GDP with the possibility of it hitting 60 percent, shall start longing for 2017 soon or live under the falsehood that 2019 will be better once 2018 is over.