Covid-19 has affected businesses in Kenya. Things have never been the same since the month of March. Businesses have shut down and people have lost jobs.
Currently, there are no official stats of how many businesses have been shut down as a result of Covid-19. Before Covid-19, stats indicated that at least 1,000 SMEs failed daily in Kenya. With Covid-19, the numbers might be double.
Bars, hotels, clubs, schools, and the transport sector have either shut down or greatly affected by the ongoing pandemic. WHO has already told the world to stop talking about post-coronavirus because the virus might never go away.
How are Kenyan banks supporting SMEs affected by Covid-19? During the advent of the pandemic, the government and citizens called on Kenyan banks to have mercy on SMEs and individuals who had taken loans from them and defer some of them.
Almost all banks agreed to negotiate with businesses and individuals and extended their loan payment period by up to between 3 and 12 months. Some of the banks such as the Absa Bank of Kenya have restructured all their loans to give a breathing space to SMEs.
Absa Bank of Kenya also announced plans to start paying SME suppliers within 7 and 14 days rendering a service. Most SMEs have been complaining about delayed payment of suppliers by banks and government agencies.
Even with uncertainty about what the future holds, some banks are still giving loans to SMEs running specific businesses during this period. Banks are also partnering with other players in donating sanitizers, cash, and other products to the vulnerable in society.
Today, Friday, May 15, 2020, in a series of online chats organized by Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), the CEO of Absa Bank of Kenya Mr. Jeremy Awori is breaking down on how SMEs are being supported during this pandemic.
To be part of the chat, click on this link, register then have an opportunity to interact with top bank CEOs in Kenya.