Businesses brace for another round of losses in protests

People run for cover after police threw tear gas

People run for cover after police threw tear gas at protestors in Nairobi, Kenya on January 20, 2023. PHOTO | WILFRED NYANGARESI | NMG

Businesses in Nairobi and other major cities across the country are on Thursday bracing for another day of losses after opposition leader Raila Odinga vowed not to back down on anti-government protests.

The demonstrations, which are entering the third day this Thursday since they started on Monday last week, are becoming costly for enterprises that have to close down while those left open have to deal with the risks of looters and vandalism from some protestors.

In the last two demonstrations, commercial centres including the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD) had to scale down operations with some streets deserted as anti-riot police officers engage picketers in running battles.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has claimed that one day of protests cost the country up to Sh2 billion in business losses while Nairobi governor Johnson Sakaja said his administration’s daily revenue collection was cut to half on account of the unrest.

The private sector lobby group placed the losses at Sh3 billion daily. But there are no official figures on the business and man-hour losses from the demonstrations yet.

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa), in a statement released on Tuesday, implored the political actors caught up in the tussle to review their respective stances to save businesses from bearing the unnecessary brunt of the skirmishes.

In the statement signed by more than 160 organisations, Kepsa also appealed to law enforcement agencies to ensure impartial protection of lives and property.

“The weaponisation of the country’s economic drivers is occasioning unnecessary losses to the tune of about Sh3 billion daily," it said.

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