Kenya: Suspend Loan and Bill Payments, Church Tells State

Second hand clothes on display at a stall in Toi Market in Nairobi.

The Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA), which has announced stoppage of Sunday church services, has called on the government to suspend all loan repayments and interest due to financial institutions as activities in the country grind to a halt in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

This, it said, is due to the economic implications of Covid-19 measures aimed at mitigating its spread.

In a statement signed by Rev Julius Guantai Mwamba, the PCEA church also reckons that all payment of necessary utilities, including water and electricity, should be suspended.

This is in addition to zero-rating taxes on essential commodities such as food and sanitation wares, it said.

To the county governments, the church has asked them to ensure appropriate water and other sanitisation services are provided, especially in places where a majority of Kenyans interact such as marketplaces and bus stations.

"We encourage Kenyans to demonstrate hospitality and unusual kindness by sharing their resources and caring for the most vulnerable," Rev Mwamba said in the statement.

This comes as some countries hit by the pandemic have moved to protect businesses and individuals by suspending payments.

France, for instance, has suspended rent and utility bills owed by small companies in order to help them weather the economic storm caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

The country has also pledged tens of billions of euros in financial aid and mooted the nationalisation of large firms to wage an "economic and financial war" on the coronavirus as most of France's workforce went into lockdown.

PROTECT HEALTH WORKERS

The PCEA church has also called on the government to provide frontline health workers with adequate training and protective gear.

This is in addition to more screening centres across the country, as well as provision of dignified care to those already quarantined.

It is also urging enhanced vigilance at all entry points, including the borders.

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