Editorials

Politicians shoud spare business election shocks

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Summary

  • The political class should spare the country bad behaviour ahead of the 2022 polls because the economy cannot afford another set of disruptions when the shocks of the Covid-19 pandemic disruptions still lingered.
  • Electioneering should not be a messy affair if everyone played by the rules and stayed ethical in their campaigns and vote tallying. The culture of chaos and tension around elections in this country should stop.
  • The State should also support enterprises during these tough times by reviewing punitive tax regimes that risk wiping out the little that is left of investments.

A majority of company chief executives in Kenya have cited high taxation and political noise ahead of the 2022 General Election as posing the biggest threat to the growth of businesses in the next one year.

The top executives surveyed by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) said that they were also concerned about the high cost of doing business and reduced consumer demand for goods and services in an economy that has seen thousands lose their jobs or suffer wage cuts.

Fourteen percent of those surveyed cited the cost of doing business and higher taxes as their biggest concerns. Meanwhile, 12 percent cited political uncertainty, with reduced demand and factors related to the Covid-19 pandemic at 11 percent each.

These concerns by the business leaders matter and should be addressed for the sake of steadier recovery from the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The political noise particularly deserves urgent attention because the country risks a serious economic slump if we don’t break the now predictable five-year cycles of madness during electioneering.

Although the country has somehow previously survived economic slumps around elections, it finds itself in a unique situation this time around because the 2022 polls coincide with a pandemic period in which most sectors of the economy remain crippled.

The political class should spare the country bad behaviour ahead of the 2022 polls because the economy cannot afford another set of disruptions when the shocks of the Covid-19 pandemic disruptions still lingered.

Electioneering should not be a messy affair if everyone played by the rules and stayed ethical in their campaigns and vote tallying. The culture of chaos and tension around elections in this country should stop.

The State should also support enterprises during these tough times by reviewing punitive tax regimes that risk wiping out the little that is left of investments.

An extraordinary moment such as this requires extraordinary action on sensitive matters such as taxation to safeguard the survival chances of businesses.

The State is better off bending backward momentarily to keep businesses afloat than killing them altogether through high taxation in a pandemic period.