Politics and policy
Rising insecurity hampers rollout of 24-hour economy
Posted Thursday, July 19 2012 at 20:14
Businesses in major urban areas are operating at a lower capacity because of delays in implementing a 24-hour economic policy, thus limiting their ability to create more jobs.
The Nairobi Central Business District Association (NCBDA) estimates that businesses in major towns and cities could create an additional hub for every existing one if they operated round the clock.
“Most businesses in Kenya operate for only eight hours, and those eight hours are also interrupted by meals and unofficial errands.
We are talking about very little time that is dedicated to productivity,” NCDBA chairman Timothy Muriuki said in Nairobi .
The 24-hour economy has delayed partly because of the insecurity that confronts business people and consumers operating at night.
For instance, some supermarkets in Nairobi that had decided to be open for 24 hours have had to revert to normal opening hours because of attacks on establishments and shoppers by thieves.
“Crime is one issue that requires to be addressed urgently if the 24-hour economy is to work,” said Mr Muriuki. Terrorists using improvised explosive devices to stage attacks pose the latest security threat.
Kenya National Disaster Operation Centre deputy director Jeremiah Njagi said community policing should be scaled up to thwart the threats.
“It may be easier for our intelligence agencies to follow foreigners, but when it is our own citizens staging such attacks, we need collaboration of the public to succeed in defeating them,” he said.
The isolated attacks started after Kenyan troops entered Somalia to root out Al-Shabaab militants who were sabotaging the economy by abducting tourists and foreign workers in Kenya.
Creating a 24-hour economy is part of Kenya’s development blueprint known as Vision 2030.
“A fully operative 24-hour economy would enable us to do more with the available space, manpower and technology,” says a 24- hour economy implementation report prepared by the National Economic and Social Council and the Ministry of Nairobi Metropolitan Development.