Boda Boda operators at the mercy of pandemic as loan default rise

Hundreds of motorcycle operators risk losing their motorcycles for failing to service loans due to the financial crisis caused by Covid-19 pandemic.

Financial institutions have started reclaiming the motorcycles in Nyandarua and Nakuru counties as the situation worsens due to the review of curfew hours in five ‘red counties’ a move that has rendered hundreds of the youths jobless.

A senior manager from one of the financial institutions termed the crisis as serious saying already tens of motorcycles have been repossessed due to none payment of loans.

“We have tens of motorcycles in our yards which are facing auction as their owners have failed to pay their loans on time,” said the manager.

In Naivasha where there are more than 2,000 operators, financial institutions have started repossessing motorcycles

One of the operator’s leaders Simon Kimani attributed their woes to the ongoing curfew which had reduced their operational hours.

He said that before the pandemic hit the country, over 2,000 operators were working for 24 hours on a rotational basis.

“The curfew saw all night services suspended meaning a loss of revenue for our members and now this has been reviewed to 8am meaning more losses,” he said.

Kimani admitted that many of the operators had no other source of livelihood apart from the motorcycle which had been reclaimed by the financial institutions.

According to Sammy Kuria the chairman of motorcycle operators in Kinangop, over 4,000 youths were employed in the sector as riders.

He added that over 50 percent of them were servicing their loans using their earnings which had dropped sharply since the lockdown and curfew were introduced.

“Over 100 operators have seen their motorcycles seized by the banks for non-payment and we fear that many more could follow suit in the coming days,” he said.

The MCA Lakeview ward in Naivasha Simon Wanyoike Wanango admitted that the issue had been raised with his office on several occasions.

He praised Nakuru county government for lowering monthly charges for the operators adding that financial institutions should also review their repayment conditions.

“We have hundreds of youths who feed their families through the motorcycles and with the current lockdown and new curfew hours it has become near impossible to operate,” he said.

Wanyoike admitted that the current pandemic was a double-edged sword in the county affecting hundreds of people who are in hospitals and paralyzing businesses in all the sectors.



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