Nearly half of Kenyans have cut household spending over COVID-19 distress

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A currency dealer counts Kenyan shillings at a money exchange bureau on September 19, 2018 in the Kenyan capital Nairobi. (Photo by SIMON MAINA / AFP) (Photo credit should read SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)
A currency dealer counts Kenyan shillings at a money exchange bureau on September 19, 2018 in the Kenyan capital Nairobi. (Photo by SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)

About 41.9 percent of Kenyan households have cut their budget in order to cope with COVID-19 related financial distress, says a government report released on Thursday.

According to the survey on socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on households, 36.7 percent of respondents did not take any measures to overcome the financial distress caused by COVID-19.

“Almost a quarter (24.1 percent) of the population aged 18 years and above who were servicing a loan had successfully renegotiated repayment terms,” says the report by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

The objectives of the survey include measurement of the impact of COVID-19 on health, labor market, transport cost and housing.

The study is also aimed at assessing the awareness of COVID-19 and the appropriate protective measures.

In Kenya, a number of measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus that have been put in place by the government since the first COVID-19 case was confirmed on March 13 include banning of all passenger flights, temporary closure of restaurants and bars, dusk to dawn curfew, cessation of movement into some high-risk counties.

The report notes that 18.4 percent of households have received cash transfers or remittances from relatives or friends since the first case was confirmed in Kenya.

Among the households that received cash remittances, 80.2 percent reported that the amount received had reduced compared to the period before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Out of these households, 40.9 percent reported a lot of reduction in the amount received. Only 6.7 percent of the households reported an increase in the amount received,” KNBS said.

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