Auctioneers have raided IMAX Theatre at 20th Century Plaza in Nairobi’s Mama Ngina Avenue over a Sh8 million rent arrears as measures imposed to stem the spread of covid-19 took a toll on entertainment businesses.
The closure of entertainment joints, restaurants and ban on social gatherings hit Imax Theatres hard. A requirement that directed people to work from home has affected businesses in the CBD that rely on after-work traffic.
Ideal Auctioneers went for the theatre equipment on Wednesday and left the premises clean in a bid to raise the money owed by the managers of the cinema, Arfa Afra Limited.
The auctioneers took retractable seats, projectors, TV sets, power back-up units, roof and wall mounted speakers, POS, printers and computers, and other items from the kitchen and bar.
“The order for sale of the property by our clients (landlord) are over accrued arrears over a period amounting to more than Sh8 million,” Mr Paul Githirwa from Ideal Auctioneers explained.
President Uhuru Kenyatta in April urged property owners to be considerate and reduce rents or defer payment to help tenants cope with the tough economic environment brought by the covid-19 pandemic.
But data from the survey conducted by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) in May showed that only 8.5% of property owners had offered rent reliefs in April.
A third of tenants in Kenya said they were not able to pay their rents in April and 21.5% of the defaulters reported that they always been able to pay their rent.
The figures clearly highlight the effect that the pandemic has had on families and their incomes.
Kenya has began a phased reopening of businesses/ economy to help the families that have lost their livelihoods due to prolonged closure.
Forex exchange earning industries that is worst hit is also expected to begin picking up and save the government that is straining to combat the virus. Austerity measures have failed.