Safaricom roots for post-Covid support to SMEs

Safaricom is rooting for more support for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises to cushion them against COVID-19 pandemic.

CEO Peter Ndegwa noted that merchant activities have remained significantly low in the tourism industry, restaurants, retail and wholesale sectors, a reflection the coronavirus hit.

“We have seen on Lipa na M-PESA that merchants’ activities are down,” Ndegwa said.

He was speaking in an interview with Classic FM on Wednesday.

The telco has more than 173,000 Lipa na M-PESA merchants countrywide in all major sectors.

He however noted that they are ready and willing to SMEs as they believe that is the heart of this country

On Tuesday May 26th while speaking at a United Nations Global Impact forum on helping SMEs survive the pandemic, he noted that although this is a health crisis, it is a bigger socio-economic crisis. “This is how Bonga for Good was started. Both individuals and enterprises had accumulated them hence an opportunity to spend it, including donating them the Bonga Points”, he asserted.

Read also Customers redeem sh200 million bonga points

Moreover, he urged companies to look at the bigger picture. “We cannot lose focus on sustainability due to a short-term crisis. It is an opportunity to bring purpose in life” – Peter Ndegwa.

The comments reflect a government and private sector consultative meeting on Covid-19 Containment Measures report that acknowledged the gravity of the pandemic. It noted that in the travel and tourism industry, 3.1 million jobs are at risk including hotel employees, pubs and restaurants, tour operators, airlines, and travel agents etc.

In the same industry, 2.3 million employees have been sent on unpaid leave. Hotel employees are on 50 per cent pay and most businesses considering redundancies from June onwards.

In the healthcare sector, 20,000 jobs at risk due to financial distress, on addition to pay cuts being implemented. It asserted that big losses in health-related SMEs are taking place. This includes smaller hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centres. This is because patients are not seeking treatment due to restricted movement and fear for safety at health facilities. There is also a 40 per cent loss in revenue due to canceled elective surgery, reduced medical follow ups & unpaid debts (NHIF/private).

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