Betting firm Betin last Friday announced that it would be closing down 500 retail outlets, rendering another 2,500 Kenyans jobless.
The firm said in a statement that the government’s hard stance left it with no option but to issue its staff with redundancy notices.
They will join thousands of Kenyans who have lost their jobs since July in a wave of layoffs by companies seeking to remain afloat.
Things are unlikely to get better after the government announced that it will ban the import of second-hand electronic gadgets effective from January next year.
According to Mr Ayub Macharia, the Director of Environmental Education in the Ministry of Environment, Kenya has been used as a dumping ground for electronic waste from developed countries.
“We are putting in place strict regulations to deter imports of obsolete electronics, and the move to ban imports of old electronic gadgets will be contained in the Extended Producer Responsibility Regulations,” he said.
The move will make the importers and sellers of electronic gadgets, including television sets, radios and mobile phones, responsible for disposing them when they have outlived their usefulness.
“The sellers of the non-biodegradable equipment will have to adhere to a deposit return scheme,” he said.
This means that a certain fee will be added on top of the gadget price, which buyers will either get back when they take back the product, or top up to get a new product.
Mr Macharia added that the regulation will be in full force by March 2020.
He accused government offices and parastatals of holding the largest consignment of e-waste in the form of television sets, fridges, and electric cables.
According to Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Centre (WEEE) General Manager Boniface Mbithi, Kenya generates over 44,000 tonnes of electronic waste every year.
The gadgets end up polluting the environment as they are not properly disposed of. “The e-waste is more because we do not have a framework to capture the data. Our institution only collects 25 tonnes monthly though we have a capacity of 100 tonnes,” he said.
Among the firms legally licensed to recycle e-waste are Simonet Kenya, EWIK, Sintmund and WEEE centres; Safaricom PLC and the Communication Authority of Kenya serve as collection centres.