KEPSA groups its ongoing Agenda into three focus areas for intervention as it rollouts a 24-hour call centre and Covid-19 information portal for businesses
To combat the unfolding Covid-19 crisis that has put a strain on the economy and upended business and social life in the country, members of the private sector have launched a 24-hour call centre and a Covid-19 information portal for businesses to get responses on business and health matters for workers, strengthen supply chains, business initiatives, and economic mitigation. "The call centre and the Covid-19 information portal are open for all the businesses including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and will ensure business continuity," KEPSA CEO Carole Karuga said.
The portal, accessible at www.covid-19.ke, will enable the sharing of information, essential medical supplies and ensure continuity of supplies for local businesses. Businesses can contact the call centre on 1196 for any business inquiry. Attempts will be made to answer all the business questions and provide guidance to relevant materials and contacts.
The Action Plan has been grouped into three categories: health, economy and food production.
Under the health category, the plan ensures that local businesses are manufacturing as many health essentials as needed to contain the spread of Coronavirus. Some of these include masks, sanitizers, disinfectants, and medical products among others. In addition, members have formed initiatives to get ventilators to complement government efforts.
Businesses are also driving public awareness hygiene campaigns and producing and delivering sanitizers and water to the public.
Under the economic category, KEPSA is engaging the government on various economic issues including an economic stimulus package (that has been applied in several countries globally) to ensure minimal job loses, cushion SMEs and to produce the needed health essentials, and financial packages to mitigate the threat Covid-19 poses to food production.
KEPSA was crucial in engaging the government and developed an economic framework to mitigate the economic impact of Covid-19. The government has adopted many of the KEPSA proposed interventions including the tax stimulus for employees, confirmation of VAT refunds and payment of pending bills among others. KEPSA will continue to engage the government on measures to cushion businesses including the informal sector, SMEs and big organizations this week.
Several private sector members are also undertaking different initiatives to tackle unemployment risks. These include flower farms giving flowers to maintain farm jobs, EPZs to produce for the local market and offload to mitumba (secondhand clothes) sellers and other retail among other initiatives.
The Action Plan outlines measures to support new manufacturing businesses to fill emerging gaps in global supply chains; encourage domestic production of essential items that were previously imported; and accelerate the adoption of innovative business models and technologies required during the crisis.
KEPSA has come up with a food delivery framework that will see the private sector come together with other partners to roll out. In the face of this unprecedented crisis, several KEPSA members have launched initiatives to feed their employees, while other members are rolling out innovative feeding programs in the informal settlements in major urban centres across the country.