By Nsunjo Erica
Kenyans have been registering over 326 businesses on a daily basis in the three months to September in an essence of striving through the COVID-19 survival race that pushed dozens into unemployment.
Data from the companies’ registry shows that the number of business names registered between July and September jumped 95 percent to 29,941 compared to a similar period last year.
The 95 percent rise in business registration in the quarter to September is substantial compared to the 4.3 percent recorded in the same period of 2019 and 3.7 percent in 2018.
The COVID-19 period that has been characterized by pay cuts and the mass layoff of workers pushed thousands of Kenyans into self-employment in businesses such as farming and grocery, baking, mobile money agency, transport and art, and craft.
According to stats, Kenyans registered an additional 9,649 companies between July and September translating to an average of 326 new registrations daily,
“The number of registered businesses went up significantly starting the month of June this year. There may have arisen a need for individuals who may have lost their means of earning a living to register a business to engage in some form of entrepreneurial activity for their sustenance,” Business Registration Services (BRS) Director-general Kenneth Gathuma said.
According to DG Kenneth, registration of private companies also increased by 28.2 percent to 15,681 in three months to September, compared to 12,236 in a similar period last year.
Economic analysts said the increased registration especially of single-owned businesses and small partnerships are a reflection of survival attempts by people displaced from formal jobs after the closure of companies due to the pandemic.
Following the structural changes in the economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the formal sector has been hit hardest which has pushed many more into self-employment for survival after pay cuts and the mass layoff of workers by companies.
Most of the measures imposed by the government to combat the spread of COVID-19 have contracted Kenya’s economy by nearly 5.7 percent in the second quarter of this year, the deepest in nearly two decades, economists.
The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) estimated that over 1.72 million Kenyan workers lost jobs in three months to June alone, the numbers must have tripled as the pandemic keeps biting even harder.
The KNBS stats further indicated that the number of people in employment fell to 15.87 million between April and the end of June compared to 17.59 million in the previous quarter. Young people have been hit hardest by job cuts compared to those aged above 35 years in an economic setting that was plagued by a freeze in recruitment due to poor corporate earnings.