Kenya: 61% of Kenyans Unable to Pay Rent Over Virus-Triggered Economic Downturn - KNBS

Nairobi — The economic meltdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on livelihoods with a new study by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) projecting as much as 61 per cent of Kenyans were unable to pay their rent in May.

The study conducted May 31 and June 6 also indicated 62.2 per cent of respondents were unable to afford bus fare with 19.4 per cent opting to use boda boda as an alternative means of transport.

The report released on Thursday by Cabinet Secretary for Treasury Ukur Yattani indicates only 0.7 per cent of Kenyans residing in rental houses had received a rent waiver or relief from landlords.

"To overcome the financial distress caused by the pandemic, majority (41.9 per cent) of the households had cut on financial spending on commodities they could do without while 14.8 per cent took a loan from a friend/relative/neighbor. Notably, 36.7 per cent did not take any measure to overcome the financial distress caused by the COVID-19," the CS pointed out.

Only 18.4 per cent of respondents said they had received financial support from relatives or friends.

"A higher proportion (22.9 per cent) of female-headed households received cash transfers/remittances from relatives or friends compared to 16.9 per cent of male-headed households," Yattani said.

Respondents were interviewed through Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews approach.

The slowed economic performance is largely attributed to far-reaching COVID-19 containment measures imposed on April 6, including banning of inter-county travel, which resulted in closure of most transport and tourism-linked business.

President Kenyatta on July 6 lifted travel restrictions into and from Nairobi, Mombasa and Mandera county with domestic flights scheduled to commence on July 15 in a bid to reinvigorate the economy.

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