LETTERS: Technology best option for SMEs during crisis


Embracing ICT is a pivotal aspect in this pandemic and in the future by SMEs. FILE PHOTO | NMG

American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Junior’s quote “You can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward,” is the absolute encouragement one can have during the Covid-19 pandemic.

With some of the research revealing that Covid-19 might be part of our lives, the need to plan for the future arises. The spread of the virus is rampart, affecting every part of the world. A new normal of living is the only prevention. The world is on standstill as the economy is declining.

SMEs, just like other organisations are also affected. With the lockdowns announced in some of the countries, closure of borders and even cessation of movement within the country have heavily affected the sector.

But this doesn’t mark the end of the business. Other alternatives should be incorporated by the SMEs to ensure they continue despite the crisis.

The Government of Kenya tried to cushion SMEs by introducing stimulus measures such as reducing value-added tax and corporation tax.

Apparently, unnecessary gathering is discouraged. Many people spent a lot of time at home. Business industries that had invested in jewellery, cosmetics and other pampering items are facing hard times.

The need to think otherwise arises. Bearing in mind that essential services are permitted to operate even during odd hours, the investors can take the opportunity to invest in them.

Since food is required on a daily basis, it would be better if SMEs could take the initiative to invest in food supply.

However, in this pandemic, businesses must be carried out in unusual manner.

The effort of President Uhuru Kenyatta to heavily invest in technology might be a relief to SMEs if they invest in it. With restriction of movement, using technology to navigate and communicate with other people is the best option to mitigate spread of Covid-19.

Embracing ICT is a pivotal aspect in this pandemic and in the future by SMEs. This could improve the supply chain. The digital economy encourages digital marketing and trading.

Through this, business people are able to sell goods and services, and making orders through internet. Just like the already existing companies such as Jumia, which operates online, SMEs can implement the same mechanism to avoid gatherings and other expenses like buying sanitiser and other detergents to protect their customers.

Advertising the business is done online. Use of social media platforms can heavily boost the commercials.

It is advised not to transact with cash, deploying digital transaction such as e-banking is core to combating Corona virus.

However, the success of digital trading can be effective with the aid of the government. It should provide good conditions and encourage individuals to embrace digital economy via reducing taxation on banking among other measures.

Insurance covers should be enforced among small business holders so that in such times they can be able to sustain themselves.

It will be beneficial for the SMEs investing in food supply, but it will also be a relief for the civilians to access the services at near points.

The initiative can highly contribute towards combating corona virus if the measures provided by the government and World Heath Organisation (WHO) are adhered to.

Covid-19 is like a bend on the rod. It cannot stop us from moving.

Andrew Walyaula via email.