Jobs and cost of living top fears among Kenyans - poll - Beaking Kenya News

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Friday, 1 January 2021

Jobs and cost of living top fears among Kenyans - poll

 

Kenyans are not worried about contracting coronavirus as much as they fret about the prospects of unemployment and the skyrocketing cost of living, according to a new poll.

Instead, the Infotrak survey reveals Kenyans are anxious about joblessness and access to health care.

The pandemic, which has made life unbearable for a large of the population, is a distant fifth in a list of pressing national priorities they expect President Uhuru Kenyatta's administration to give urgent attention this year.

As at Wednesday, the country had recorded 96,251 confirmed corona cases, 78,475 total recoveries and 1,667 fatalities.

Some 667 patients are admitted in various health facilities countrywide while 3,214 patients are on home-based care and isolation.

According to the ministry of health records, 30 patients are in the intensive care unit.

Despite the ravaging effects of the virus that was first announced in Kenya in March, Kenyans did not consider the respiratory disease a major issue of concern.

The research findings released on Thursday had unemployment rated as the major concern at 18 per cent followed by the high cost of living which polled 13 per cent.

A Kenya National Bureau of Statistics report shows that the rate of joblessness doubled between April and June to 10.4 per cent from 5.2 per cent in the same period last year.

KNBS’second quarter Labour Force Report shows the number of unemployed increased to 4,637,164 between April and June compared to 2,329,176 in the same period last year.

The more than two million out of work shrank the number of people in active employment to only 15,870,357.

In 2019, 17,790,800 Kenyans were actively employed in the same quarter. In the January to March period, some 17,586,961 had jobs.

After unemployment and cost of living, Kenyans listed the ability to access health care as number two concern at 10 per cent followed closely by corruption at seven per cent.

The study by Infotrak Research and Consulting shows that an overwhelming majority – 95 per cent of those interviewed – felt 2020 was the most difficult year in their lives.

The study commissioned by Infotrak had 800 respondents with 3.5+/- margin of error and 95 per cent level of confidence.

It was conducted between December 27 to December 29, 2020, across 24 counties in the former eight provinces.

With some at it for years, struggles with rent and food are nothing new

About 44 per cent of those who said 2020 was the most difficult year cited financial instability as the biggest reason for their response.

With 24 per cent having lost their jobs, 21 per cent had their business collapse, while two per cent either lost a friend, colleague or relative to the pandemic.

Coast region — whose economy is dependent on tourism — led in the number of those cursing 2020 with 72 per cent saying they experienced extreme difficulty, followed by Nyanza region with 64 per cent.

Coast experienced unprecedented closure of hotels following the outbreak of the pandemic which led to flight restrictions from major tourists countries.

A number of hotels, including three five-star beach facilities, closed last in the last ten months at the Coast due to the coronavirus, which has paralysed the global aviation industry.

The tourism sector largely depends on the aviation industry.

A record 62 per cent of Nairobi residents listed 2020 as their worst year, 61 per cent respondents from Western and Eastern also admitted to having experienced extreme difficulty navigating the year that corona wreaked havoc in the country.

The situation slightly dropped in Northeastern (60 per cent), Rift Valley (59 per cent) and Central Kenya (54 per cent).

The year also had many people confessing to not celebrating the festive season as they used to, with 77 per cent saying they were unable to spend the festive as they have in the past.

“A total of 61 per cent failed to celebrate this festive period as they would have liked due to financial constraints,” Infotrak’s Walter Nyabundi said when he released the research findings.

Despite the ravaging effects of the pandemic, 61 per cent of those polled were very optimistic that the New Year will be better than 2020.

Optimism for the New Year was highest in North Eastern, with 70 per cent of the surveyed respondents in that region stating they were optimistic about 2021.

Nairobi had 67 per cent optimism level, followed by Central 65 per cent and Rift Valley 61 per cent.

Coast, Western and Nyanza regions recorded the lowest hope for 2021 with 55 per cent, 57 per cent and 58 per cent respectively.

Majority of respondents (27 per cent) who were optimistic of a better 2021 expressed confidence that the country’s economy will improve while 15 per cent were upbeat that citizens will get vaccinations against Covid-19.

“Asked why they think that 2021 will be better than 2020, 14 per cent said their finances will improve, while 10 per cent stated they will get a job and nine per cent strongly believed their business will expand and grow,” Nyabundi stated.

However, 36 per cent of respondents expressed fears that the economy will worsen with 15 per cent were fearful that Covid-19 will continue to take lives and destroy livelihoods.

A further nine per cent of those not optimistic about the New Year cited the Building Bridges Initiative referendum, saying it is likely to divide the country with another eight per cent linking the law change drive to heightened ethnic tensions and rivalry.

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