Shortly after the Supreme Court annulled President Uhuru Kenyatta’s August 8 win, the Matatu Owners Association (MOA) said its members were losing Sh75 million daily as a result of the heightened political activities.
Matatus are not known to feature on Kenya Revenue Authority’s (KRA) list of top taxpayers but the MOA chairman Simon Kimutai insisted that members generate Sh300 million per day or Sh109.5 billion a year.
The entire transport and storage services generated Sh994.7 billion in 2016, according to teh Kenya National Bureau of Statistics but it is unlikely that MOA members alone accounted for 11 per cent of the output.
But probably taking a cue from MOA, the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) came days later to claim that private businesses had lost about Sh700 billion between July and October.
The idea of losing such an astronomical amount of money in four months was equally outrageous but Kepsa cited frequent disruption of transport and industrial operations.
In a world full of lies, the business press seeks refuge in numbers. Data has a way of obliterating claims. The KRA’s July-December revenue performance released this week appears to belie the claims put forth by the business community.
The six-month revenue grew by Sh62.5 billion to Sh712.2 billion, up from Sh649.7 billion the previous year when Kenya had no stormy politics.
Tourism, seen as a sensitive sector also tells no story of disruption. The official 2017 performance data released on February 9 shows a record high earning of Sh120 billion after a total of 1.475 million tourists visited the country or 9.82 per cent higher than 2016 arrivals.
And what about capital markets? Data released by fund administrator Zamara on February 7 shows pension returns doubled to 18 per cent in 2017 on the back of soaring equities.
The average returns for schemes from equities investments rose to 30.4 per cent compared to -9.6 per cent in 2016 when the capital market was in a bear run.
In short, Kenyan economy may have adapted to the culture of political pluralism in more subtle ways than business leaders are able to fathom.