The government has donated hand sanitizer worth Sh.38 million to the Boda boda Safety Association of Kenya with a view to boosting the fight against Coronavirus.
Speaking at the Kenyatta International Conventions Centre (KICC) during the handing over ceremony on Monday, the ICT, Innovations and Youth Affairs Cabinet Secretary (CS), Joe Mucheru said the boda boda sector plays a crucial role in the fight against the pandemic, thus the need for government to incorporate them.
Mucheru said that the challenge we are facing is not only on the health sector, but also on the economy and for many people, it was now a choice between the safety of themselves and loved ones, as well as taking care of their homes.
“In order to be able to follow the rules set by the ministry of health, it is important to be able to support everyone and that is why we have decided to provide hand sanitizers and face masks to the boda boda operators who are very important to the economy of the country,” he said.
“Those who assemble the boda bodas are estimating the industry to be worth over Sh. 219 billion and that is just the assembling only and we need to see the industry combine both the health and economic side of it during this Covid-19 pandemic,” he explained.
According to the CS, as a country we are seeing emerging opportunities as a result of the pandemic and youth who are 70 percent of the country’s population should seize the moment to make the country prosper even beyond the deadly virus.
“We now have new ways of working and doing things and in the technology sector we have seen e-commerce growing significantly and in the heart of it are the logistics that the boda boda people provide where they are able to move goods from one side to another in a safe way,” said the CS.
He added that companies like Alibaba in China grew through the Sars epidemic in 2009 and in the same way there are some companies which will emerge as a result of the Coronavirus and as a government they are ready to provide the necessary support.
The Petroleum and Mining CS, John Munyes said that the number of people using boda bodas in a day is so enormous and this should not be affected by the fear that people might contract coronavirus, while using their services.
“I want to commend Kenya Pipeline for delivering these sanitizers to the youth because in every corner of the country they will pass crucial message which will ensure that people are safe,” said Munyes.
He added that they have mobilized 24,000 liters of the disinfectant worth Sh.38 million and they are mobilizing more through the mining fraternity who are going to provide jobs for the youth during this difficult times.
“We have brought down the fuel prices and some people are telling me that by providing lower prices we are getting people out of their homes, contrary to the government’s advisory telling people to stay at home. That is a matter that is still positive, especially to the boda boda people since the sector will be able to grow with the low fuel prices,” explained the CS.
The Boda boda Safety Association of Kenya Chairman, Kevin Mubadi said that they are ready and willing to educate their passengers regarding the adverse effects of Covid-19.
According to Mubadi, since the pandemic begun the association has been playing a crucial role in fighting the virus by availing hand washing stations for their riders and passengers as well as educating other members of the public.
“Our riders have also been providing crucial information to the police with regards to new travelers into the counties, more so after the cessation of movement was put in place,” noted the chairman.
And you tackle the numerous crimes associated with boda boda riders, Mubadi said they have come up with an online registration system that captures personal data of the riders, including where they reside and the stages they operate from, thus making it easy to track those involved in criminal activities.
“The system will also provide the government with real time data of how many boda boda riders are youth and those beyond the youth bracket as well as the specific data on the number of riders in the country,” he explained.
By Joseph Ng’ang’a