The Treasury is preparing undisclosed tax relief to traders and homes under a fresh bailout for coronavirus-hit businesses that will also allow personal borrowers who get into difficulties to extend their loans for up to a year.
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday said fiscal measures including tax relief will be unveiled in coming days to cushion workers and businesses from the economic slowdown triggered by the virus outbreak.
This came after bankers agreed to offer individuals relief on their personal loans should they encounter challenges and allowed small and medium enterprises to restructure their bank debts at no cost
Fears of contracting the disease have slowed down social activities in the country with malls and restaurants taking a hit, setting the stage for job cuts and reduced pay.
Lockdowns and entry bans imposed around the world to fight coronavirus has hit Kenya’s horticulture and tourism, which generated combined hard currency Sh260 billion last year.
Kenya has seven confirmed cases of Covid-19, and the government has imposed measures aimed at reducing its spread, including banning public gatherings and closing schools indefinitely.
Kenya is dealing with a health crisis
“What we are dealing with primarily is a health crisis. But unfortunately, this is a health crisis that is bound to have a financial and economic impact,” said Mr Kenyatta.
“We are also looking at other areas where from a fiscal point of view, we want to see what we can also do to support our people during this difficult time. In due course, we shall brief you.”
Treasury officials remained tight-lipped on the planned tax relief in an economic environment where the government has been battling below-target revenue collections, prompting budget cuts on non-essential items like travel.