The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic global health crisis has so far manifested in over 184 countries. Globally, over 400,000 cases of the virus have been reported. In Kenya, it has been 12 days since the first confirmed case of Coronavirus, with 28 confirmed cases as at 25th March 2020.
In his presidential address, President Uhuru had some good news: numerous other suspected cases have been found to be negative after rigorous testing and the country today registered one recovery of the patients.
“This is a clear indication that we can and we will beat the virus,” he said. “Many more persons, both Kenyans, and foreigners, remain under close monitoring under either self-quarantine or compulsory-quarantine; measures which we have taken to ensure the safety of all our People.”
Covid-19 Tax Cuts
In order to protect jobs for our people and to provide some certainty for both employees and their employers, the president made the following a number of order aimed at cushioning Kenyans from the economic effects of the virus by increasing disposable income and reducing the tax burden. He literally robbed himself and the government with Covid-19 tax cuts and salary reductions to pay Kenyans.
The president gave 100 % Tax Relief for persons earning gross monthly income of up to Ksh. 24,000 and reduced Income Tax Rate (Pay-As-You-Earn) from 30% to 25%.
Resident Income Tax (Corporation Tax) reduced from 30% to 25%; while turnover tax rate falls from the current 3% to 1% for all Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
Meanwhile, Uhuru ordered the National Treasury to immediately reduce VAT from 16% to 14%, effective 1st April, 2020, in a move that will bring down the cost of living by lower prices of goods and services for both individuals and businesses.
Goodies for vulnerable groups
To boost Covid-19 tax cuts, President Uhuru ordered the release of additional Ksh10 billion to the elderly, orphans and other vulnerable members through cash-transfers by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, to cushion them from the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Can’t repay loan? Relax
In what will be a popular move, the president directed the temporary suspension of the listing with Credit Reference Bureaus (CRB) of any person, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMES) and corporate entities whose loan account fall overdue or is in arrears, effective 1st April, 2020. This is in anticipation that many borrowers will likely have problems paying up due to low, or no, income.
Pay pending bills
All Ministries and Departments have been asked to pay at least of Ksh13 billion of the verified pending bills, within three weeks. Similarly, and to improve liquidity in the economy and ensure businesses remain afloat by enhancing their cash flows, the private sector is also encouraged to clear all outstanding payments among themselves within the same period.
Kenya Revenue Authority shall expedite the payment of all verified VAT refund claims amounting to Ksh10 billion within three weeks; or in the alternative, allow for offsetting of Withholding VAT, in order to improve cash flows for businesses.
Spend more on health
Ksh1.0 billion from the Universal Health Coverage kitty, be immediately released strictly towards the recruitment of additional health workers to support in the management of the spread of COVID-19.
To share the burden occasioned he said his government has offered a voluntary reduction in the salaries of the senior ranks of the National Executive, as follows: President & Deputy President – 80%; Cabinet Secretaries – 30%; Chief Administrative Secretaries – 30%; and Principal Secretaries – 20%.
Stay home, senior
He ordered all State and Public Officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above, serving in Job Group S and below or their equivalents, take leave or forthwith work from home, excluding personnel in the security sector and other essential services.
Good night y’all
To further tighten control on movement and interactions, the main ways in which the virus is spread, the National Security Council a daily curfew effective Friday, 27th March, 2020, from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., except for Medical Professionals, Health Workers, Critical and Essential Services Providers.
That with immediate effect, the management of the Kenya Ferry Services is vested in the National Police Service, the Coast Guard and the National
“Our nation shall prevail, the aspirations of our destiny shall stand,” President Uhuru says. “Together we shall be victorious, Pamoja tutashinda. We can and we shall defeat the Coronavirus Pandemic.”