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Companies

Politicians calling for boycott 'imperil Kenyans' futures': Kepsa

Kepsa chief executive Carole Kariuki with association members during a Press briefing on political uncertainty. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Kepsa chief executive Carole Kariuki with association members during a Press briefing on political uncertainty. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya's private sector executives have come out to strongly object to the opposition's call for a boycott of three companies, saying it stands behind the firms and any others that will be targeted in future.

In a tersely worded statement issued Wednesday, industry lobby Kepsa (Kenya Private Sector Alliance) said that all businesses, from giant firms to the corner kiosk, are the engine of Kenya's economy and that attacking them jeopardizes the futures of millions.

"This attempt to achieve political goals by targeting private companies on spurious, non-proven and incoherent reasons adds yet another layer of uncertainty to what has been a fraught year for business, and for the economy," Kepsa's statement says.

A wing of Kenya's opposition Nasa, the National Resistance Movement (NRM), last week called for a boycott of goods and services from Safaricom #ticker:SCOM, milk processor Brookside and edibles manufacturer Bidco.

The coalition said the move was an act of economic sabotage against corporates they claim are affiliated to the current government, even as they threatened to release the names of more firms.

Kenya's private sector, however, is vowing to keep doing business in spite of the the opposition's blacklist and has urged those choosing to boycott to do so within the confines of the law.

"In our context they form an attempt to achieve political goals by intimidating certain companies, in the hope that others will be too frightened to stand by their colleagues. We will
stand by all companies so targeted, and those who may be targeted in future," Kepsa said.

Economy

The lobby had earlier estimated that businesses lost about Sh700 billion during the protracted political period due to numerous disruptions in transport and industrial operations.

Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich said today that Kenya's economic growth outlook has been revised downwards to 5.1 per cent for 2017 from an earlier projection of 5.9 per cent.

He however expressed optimism that it would rebound in 2018 despite the slowdown occasioned by a prolonged dry season and extended poll period, projecting economic growth of over 6 per cent next year.

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