As Kenyans struggle to cope with the various restrictions brought about by the global Coronavirus pandemic, every effort should be made to ensure that the hurdles they are currently undergoing do not push them farther into a cesspit of unending woes.
With majority of the workforce now working from home as employers move to effect the social distancing rules brought about by the war against the disease, it is worrying to note that some firms have not met their end of the bargain and have either delayed salaries or even laid off staff.
We are combating a deadly and faceless enemy that the world has never encountered before hence the need to ensure that the population is not burdened by more problems like financial challenges and job loss fears.
It is there welcome to note that the saccos’ umbrella organisation, Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives (Kuscco), now wants public institutions compelled to release withheld deductions that currently stand at Sh3 billion to enable them survive the pandemic.
Kuscco argues that ministries, parastatals and private sector employers must release the funds to improve the cash flow so as to enable saccos respond to rising demand for funds by members. It is indeed unacceptable for any organisation to withhold monies that have been deducted from an employee’s salary.
At this trying period, Kenyans need access to funds to meet their day-to-day urgent needs that include food and rent. Denying them their money is not humane at all. It is estimated that 14 million Kenyans are members of saccos. We concur with Kuscco’s call for the government to penalise State agency heads that have deducted money from workers’ salaries, but failed to remit the same.
Kuscco’s plan to compile a list of all errant public entities with a view to shaming the top officials is also a good step. It rightly argues that they are reeling from rising loan demands that they cannot meet, which has even prompted some members to quit the saccos in order to access their savings so as to survive.
Given that the Treasury had given State agencies and other public entities up to June 30 to clear all statutory dues and verified supplier bills, these officials have no reason to hold onto the monies thus they deserve to be punished without fail.