NEARLY HALF OF KENYA’S FACTORIES PLAN LAY-OFFS OVER NEXT SIX MONTHS ON POLITICAL TENSIONS

NAIROBI, About 47 per cent of factories in Kenya may cut jobs over the next six months following lower than expected sales which have resulted from the current political tensions gripping the country since campaigning began before the Aug 8 general election and which have continued as electioneering continued after the Supreme Court ordered that a fresh presidential election be held.

The Kenya Association of Manufacturers said in its Third Quarter Barometer report released here Monday that its survey of manufacturers also indicated that 31 per cent of manufacturers expected to maintain their workforce while 22 per cent projected expanding their labour force, primarily through hiring sales and marketing professionals as well as skilled and semi-skilled workers.

Up to 64 per cent of industrial manufacturers forecast zero or negative revenue growth, with only two per cent expecting positive revenue growth in the next six months, according to the report.

Half of industrial manufacturers projected a negative outlook for the next three months while 23 per cent maintained a positive outlook. The report said new orders would take a dive with 56 per cent of the manufacturers forecasting a decline in 3rd quarter.

Britania Foods Limited chief executive officer Robert Kagundah said: The confectionery industry as a whole has felt the impact of the slowing down economy primarily driven by a significant reduction in consumer spending on non-essential goods and services, the availability of cheap imports and the higher prices of raw materials used for manufacturing. Operations have been scaled down across the manufacturing sector to reduce overheads while meeting declining consumer demand.

The economic outlook for the next 6 months was equally dispiriting with 47 per cent of manufacturers maintaining a pessimistic stance and a further 39 per cent stating they were uncertain. Only 14 per cent of the manufacturers surveyed were optimistic about the economic performance of the country in the next six months.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK