President Uhuru Kenyatta has advised boda boda operators to develop a strong saving culture so as to avoid being misused by selfish individuals.
The Head of State cautioned the riders against allowing themselves to be misused by others for personal gains and challenged them to work hard knowing that it is through hardwork that they can prosper.
“If you don’t respect yourself and depend on handouts you will end up being people who are usable and disposable,” the President said.
To win the trust of investors and the masses, and to succeed in their business, the President advised the operators to embrace a culture of integrity and dignity.
“Your own personal integrity, the way you handle yourself, the way you handle the resources and assets of others will create an ability of those that you lead to trust you.
“The more they trust you, the more they will save, the more chances that they will become together with yourselves successful entrepreneurs in this country who are able to shape and transform our economy through hard work,” President Kenyatta said.
The Head of State spoke Friday at Pumwani Social Hall in Majengo, Nairobi County where he presided over the launch of the Boda Boda Investment Scheme.
The scheme is aimed at giving opportunity to the operators to save and invest for their future by making a daily contribution of Kshs 50. Members of the scheme will benefit from discounted rates from various service providers.
For instance, the riders will enjoy a Shs 3 and Shs 10 discount on a litre of super petrol and a kilogram of cooking gas respectively from Rubis Energy which has a network of 310 petrol stations spread across the country.
The President also spoke about the challenges facing SACCO’s in the country pointing out that lack of trust is biggest undoing for most of the self-help arrangements.
“The truth is there has been a problem, especially with SACCO’s. A person contributes every day but at the end the leader runs away with the money. And it is someone’s money which they have worked for it and they trusted you as their leader,” the President said.
To make the new outfit sustainable, the Head of State advised the leadership of the new Boda Boda Investment Scheme to adhere to the leadership principles of dignity and trustworthiness.
“To be a leader you have to sometimes make difficult decisions which are not popular. You have to consistently endeavour to build trust between yourself as a leader and those that you lead. Because if there’s no trust why should somebody put their money with you?” the President posed.
On the importance of the boda boda sector to the Kenyan economy, the President said the service is a “silent economic miracle” and termed the sector as a sleeping economic giant because of the huge amounts of money handled by the operators on a daily basis.
“With an average daily earning of 700 shillings a day, the sector’s annual earnings are estimated at 357 billion shillings. Every single day, boda boda operators collect 980 million shillings,” the President noted.
He said the boda boda sector had grown into a multibillion industry within a very short duration adding that, if well managed, it had the potential to make even more money.
To illustrate his point, the President said the 1.4 million known riders in the country collect an average of Kshs 180 million daily, which amounts to Kshs 6.8 billion in a week and Kshs 27 billion every month.
Despite the impressive collections, the Head of State regretted that boda boda operators continue to suffer economic hardships because of the disorganization in the sector.
President Kenyatta therefore lauded the formation of the investment scheme and pledged continued Government support to the sector which he applauded as a key mover of the Kenyan economy.
Speaking to residents of Pumwani and Majengo who turned out to bid him farewell after the launch, the President urged Kenyans to read the BBI report for themselves without undue influence from self-seeking politicians.
The Head of State urged Nairobi residents to support the Nairobi Metropolitan Service and its Director General Mohamed Badi as the state agency accelerates service delivery in the city.
Cabinet Secretary for ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs Joe Mucheru and the Chairman of the Boda Boda Association of Kenya Kevin Mubadi also spoke at the launch event.