It’s official Kenya is experiencing one of the worst periods of recession since independence.
The Kenyan shilling is on a suicide mission against the dollar,business are cutting costs and we may soon see job cuts or hiring of more temporary staff by corporates.
And everything,literally everything from the packet of milk we use for breakfast tea to the matatu we take home from work ,we will have to pay more for .
First the good news…..
Some businesses and industries that will not get affected by the recession are the food industries,health and medical practitioners,hospitals included,alcohol manufacturers and those who sell cosmetics.
People will always eat,recession or not,and fast food chains especially its a home run,fast food is always cheaper than the healthier stuff.
People will get sick and they will need medical attention,and even with the cost of drugs increasing as a result of the poor performance of the shilling,well these are people who will not be losing their jobs soon.
Alcohol manufacturers,whether Mututho laws are enforced or not will sell their brews as people seek to forget the harsh economic times they are living in.
It may not be surprising if we see many more people turning to cheap liquor,as the brands on the higher end of the market become unaffordable.
And women…they will want to look good,no matter the beating the shilling is taking and those in the business of selling cosmetics and sprucing up images will definitely be getting more clients.
Churches will also reap from this as people seek divine inspiration and consolation for the harsh economic times they are going through.
People want to look good and feel good all the time if not most of the time and a shilling that is heading south will not deter them.
Now to the bad……
As more people lose jobs,we may see an increase in petty crime as people turn to alternative but illegal forms of supporting themselves.
The price of things will definitely go up,from groceries,to school fees to medical costs will rise and t is time we prepared ourselves for the long haul.
The real estate industry that was growing by leaps and bounds will feel the effects of this the most .With building materials going up,not too many people will be looking towards owning a home.
Am sure even the land agents who had subdivided farmland for sale will see a dip in their profits and people may decide to hold onto their cash as they study the performance of the shilling.
The Nairobi stock exchange is the best place to be if you are a long-term investor but it is a nightmare for anyone thinking short-term.
Share prices are at their lowest,volumes are down and everyone is just watching and waiting for things to pick up…maybe after the elections.
And the really ugly…
Things are gong to get worse,with an election looming next year,everyone is to preoccupied with building alliances rather than the economy.
Sometimes it would seem it would be more interesting to watch paint dry than watch the forex numbers coming in.
Now to some more good news…..
For companies that are seeking to reap from this crisis and still maintain their customers,the best way to go about is offer great bargains.
Make people feel they are getting the best value from their shillings.
And with this am thinking especially for supermarket chains and retail stores offer customers great deals on items that feature daily on people’s shopping lists especially if they are buying in large quantities.
discounts for items bought on wholesale will get you customers and push up your volumes .
After all what you need are numbers.
Give discounts to your loyalty card holders,after all you do not want merchandise sitting on your shelves ,you want it to move.
For the shoppers like me look at the way you can cut costs in your spending,eat out less,cook more at home.
Look for bargains and discounts.
Readjust your preferences and check out if they are cheaper alternatives to the products you use,from margarine to rice to detergent the choice now in Kenya is wide,save a few shillings.
Have any ideas on how we can weather out the recession,please share….