Kenya: Covid-19 - How the Virus Has Affected Taxi Business in Meru


As coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the country, Mr Humphrey Ntoribi M’Magana’s taxi business is almost collapsing.

These days, he says he is not in a hurry to wake up at 5am because he knows there will be no client waiting for transport to Meru town and its environs, thanks to the virus.

“Before the virus struck, I could make at least Sh5,000 per day but not any more these days,” says Mr M’Magana, 45.

The taxi driver says he makes less than Sh1,000 per day.

“If you get Sh1,500, you are lucky,” said Mr M’Magana who is not planning to abandon his taxi business to start a grocery shop.

And just as he was negotiating rent charges with his landlord, he was slapped with a six-months’ rent of Sh18,000 which he could not afford.

However, he used his car logbook to apply for a Sh40,000 loan at Momentum Credit Micro Finance.

“I was about to sell my car but thank God I used my log book to apply for a loan and this has changed my fortunes,” he said.

Mr M’Magana is not alone. He is among a growing group of taxi drivers in Meru town, Nanyuki and Isiolo towns who are using their car log books to boost their businesses which have been hit hard by Covid-19.

“The pandemic has been a blow to taxi drivers. Taxi trips have dropped by 90 per cent. The business is down, the extra cost of sanitising my vehicle has become a big struggle,” Mr Joseph Gitonga told Nation.

Like other taxi drivers in Isiolo town, he has used up to 60 per cent of his car’s value to get a loan.

“The flexible loan terms by Momentum Credit, micro finance of up to 18 months has given me opportunity to jumpstart my life and I’m now doing livestock farming,” said Mr Abdi Ahmed, a trader in Isiolo town.

Meanwhile Momentum Credit employees were feted for pushing credit sales to Sh148 million in the month of October.

The more than 100 employees received cash rewards during the official opening of the company’s 12th branch in Meru Town on Friday.

The new branch will also serve Laikipia and Isiolo counties.

The firm’s Insurance Premium Finance Manager Odipo Otieno said that the insurance business in Kenya has been expanding.

“People are waking to realisation that it is important to insure their lives, vehicles, houses, and other moveable properties,” said Mr Otieno.

He announced the company’s intention to venture into the health insurance.

He said Meru being a critical commercial centre in the Eastern region, the new branch would unlock the potential in the three counties.


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