Budget: CS says Kenya’s debt is sustainable as Kshs 450.9 billion is set aside for Big Four agenda

Treasury CS Henry Rotich (centre) and PS Kamau Thugge (right)
Treasury CS Henry Rotich (centre) and PS Kamau Thugge (right)

Treasury CS Henry Rotich has presented the budget estimates for the financial year 2019/2020, with the expected government budget expenditure set at Kshs 2.8 trillion, coupled with domestic and external redemptions of Kshs 250 billion which bring the total figure to Kshs 3 trillion. The figure presents 25.7% of the GDP. The budget deficit is Kshs 607 billion and the CS said they’ll finance this through domestic and external sources.

The Big Four Agenda as got a huge chunk of the allocation, with Kshs 450.9 billion set aside for the Big Four enablers and drivers. 47.8 billion has been set aside for activities and programs geared towards implementation of Universal Healthcare. Kshs 2.9 billion has been set for doctors, clinical officers, nurses internship program, and more than Kshs 25 billion for medical and research institutions like Kenyatta National Hospital, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and KEMRI.

In the manufacturing sector, CS Rotich said the government will support different programs including the textile industry. He zeroed in on the Rivbatex industry in Eldoret, which is projected to provide employment for over 3000 employees. Kshs 1.1 billion will be used to support the textile industry, while Kshs 1.7 billion will be used to support the growth of SMEs in the manufacturing sector. The Affordable Housing program is also among the government’s big agendas, with Kshs 10.5 billion allocated for social housing and construction of affordable housing units, including housing units for police and Kenya prisons, among other allocations.

In the area of food security, the government will continue its support to different agriculture ventures including irrigation projects. Kshs 3 billion has been allocated to the coffee cherry revolving fund, while a further Kshs 700 million will cater for pending debts by sugarcane farmers. Kshs 1 billion will be set aside for crop diversification, and Kshs 7.9 for ongoing irrigation projects.

However, the CS noted that Kenya is handling its debt issue well, saying that the government is meeting its debt service obligation promptly with no accumulation of debt arrears. “Public debt is within sustainable levels and the debt burden is set to decline over the medium term as we implement the fiscal consolidation plan,” said Rotich. He said the loans borrowed are used for infrastructural development.