NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 31 – Thirdway Alliance party now wants the government to establish a stimulus package that includes suspension of loan repayments and rent for a period of four months, so as to cushion cash-strained Kenyans against harsh economic times amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Ekuru Aukot-led party also wants the government to foot the bills of any Kenyan subjected to mandatory quarantine within the country.
In a statement issued by Secretary General Fredrick Okango on Tuesday, the party also urged the government to avail home test kits to the public to ensure early detection in part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
While lauding the government’s dusk-to-dawn curfew, the party urged the government to adjust the time and have the curfew begin at 9pm as opposed to 7pm as is the case currently, “so as to allow Kenyans enough time to settle back at their houses without unnecessary confrontation with law enforcers.”
In implementing the curfew, Thirdway wants Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai to take immediate action against officers who use excessive force.
As part of measures announced to cushion Kenyans against the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, President Uhuru Kenyatta last week ordered a hundred per cent tax relief for persons earning a gross monthly income of up to Sh24, 000.
President Kenyatta also ordered for the reduction of income tax rate (Pay-As-You-Earn) from 30 percent to 25 percent.
The National Treasury was ordered to effect the reduction of the VAT from 16 percent to 14 percent, effective April 1, 2020.
Thirdway and other economists however feel measures undertaken by the Head of State are inadequate following projections that confirmed coronavirus cases may rise to 10,000 by April 30.
Kenya currently has 50 confirmed coronavirus cases with the Ministry of Health saying 1,211 people who came into close contact with patients who have tested positive are being monitored.
Nairobi remains the epicenter of the infections leading with 34 cases, followed by Kilifi with 6. Kitui registered its first case on Monday.
Kenya’s Director General Public Health Patrick Amoth said current projections indicate about 1000 cases will be recorded by the end of the first week of April, 5000 by mid- April and potentially 10,000 by April 30, “in the absence of any drastic interventions”.