OVERALL economic performance is unscathed from last Saturday's shocking terrorist attack on the upmarket Westgate Mall, Treasury has reiterated. Cabinet secretary Henry Rotich said there has been no significant drag effect on the economy expected to expand by 5.6 per cent this year from last year's 4.6 per cent.
He nonetheless admitted the chilling incident has had isolated minimal disruption in services and, wholesale and retail sectors. Businesses at the Mall fall in these sectors. "The overall contribution of economic activities at the Mall form an insignificant part of wholesale and retail, hotels and restaurants as well as financial intermediation sectors," he said in a statement on Thursday.
The deadly siege has pulled down beaming multi-billion investments and disrupted business operations leading to unprecedented loss of hundreds of jobs. Federation of Kenya Employers said yesterday it was waiting for clearance from state's security agencies before assessing the mall's cumulative loss including jobs.
The employer's lobby however wants government to reconsider arming private security companies to back up the police service. Chairman Erastus Mwongera said there was adequate capacity to train private security officers under public-private partnership.
"Training can be done on short term basis so we arm our private security companies, like it's done in Tanzania, to fully secure our country, protect people and businesses," he said. Mwongera said employers would fully cooperate with the government in enforcing security measures across the country.
"If security worsens, it means employers have to beef up surveillance which is an additional cost that is not good for the economy," he said. "But there is need for public education through community policing and training of workers in sensitive areas like airports, seasports and borders. "
Rotich said the attack has strengthened government's resolve to prioritise projects aimed at enhanced security of people, investments and property.
"The government is even more resolute to build a strong and broad-based pro-poor economy," he said.
He backed economic policies and structural reforms to bolster resilience in the economy and foster broad-based growth.
Macroeconomic fundamentals remains sound and solid, he added, citing stable exchange rates and stock markets.
"Kenyan economy just like the spirit of our people is unshaken," he said. "Market players are upbeat about the economy and investor confidence is buoyant."
Owing to the "buoyant" investor confidence, the planned debut issue of Sh131 billion ($1.5 billion) sovereign bond this financial year ending next June remains on course, he said.
Principal Secretary for Commerce and Tourism Ibrahim Mohamed said on Wednesday that tourism sector-Kenya's second foreign exchange earner- has not been affected.
Mohamed said there were only ten cancellations out of 750 registered delegates for the three-day international Ecotourism conference that ended yesterday and the two-day African Hotels and Investment conferences that kicked off on Tuesday.
"We are going to have additional growth in numbers once we put our marketing strategies in place, " the PS said. "This is an isolated incident, it's a worldwide problem and many people understand it."