On Wednesday afternoon Treasury Cabinet Secretary Mr., Henry Rotich presented the 2016/2017 budget estimates before the parliament in Nairobi, something that was undoubtedly anticipated in the country, given the high standard of living that has stripped Kenyans of financial stability.
Given that there are general elections in the country next year, this budget is vital to the government as they outlay how they are going to meet their past pledges, set targets and explain to Kenyans not only how financial stakes will be affected but also how their livers will be affected in the coming year.
Vital areas that the CS addressed include the health sector, education and industrialization among others.
The pledges the government made had much to do with the three sectors of health, education and infrastructure, which also includes industrialization in some aspects.
When one delves into the education sector you abruptly come across the elephant in the room, the digital literacy program.
In the health sector, one encounters the successful running of free maternity program among others.
The industrialization sector has been facing a wavy trend and more and more attention has been given to it in the past few years.
Due to the importance of sustaining our local companies and industries, the budgetary plans have taken into account the companies in the country that have had a massive contribution to the economy in the past.
It’s been a challenging few years for Pan Paper mills in Webuye, Kenya airways and Mumias sugar have received massive allocations for the upcoming year. Starting with Kenya Airways, he reiterated that work is being done to ensure its back on track.
“We are working to see Kenya Airways turnaround from its financial problems,” He said, citing that it’s an important asset in tourism and transport.
“Construction at JKIA is also meant to start, in a move that will boost the tourism and transport sector. “We shall commence the construction of the second runway at JKIA and we expect it shall be completed in 2018,” he said.
Industrialization has been a main player in Kenya for long, a spring of employment opportunities and economic stability throughout the years, especially in the former Western province of Kenya, offering a spectacular backdrop for companies that deal with paper manufacturing, sugar processing among others.
As they struggled with corruption cases, debt and mismanagement of resources, hope was steadily fading, but now it seems financial options provided offer a solid foundation for advancement.
Mumias Sugar Company, which has been languishing in uncertainty and in-house wrangles, has received a stable allocation to boost its services as the Cabinet Secretary highlighted the support afforded them through the coming year.
He said, “We acknowledge the role of Mumias Sugar to Western economy and have allocated Ksh. 2 billion for its revival. Pan paper mills was also meant to be revived by the end of August and this is a move that has received positive views throughout the Western region, and he affirmed the role they are meant to play, “Concerning Pan-paper mills, we shall monitor development very closely to ensure policies are undertaken.”
This is undoubtedly something great, especially for the residents of the region; jobs will be created, and the region will be stable again, in a move that is certain to go down well even with the leaders.
In order to ensure the company doesn’t fail again, Rotich said the new owners of the company have put I enough investment to revive it, nevertheless this will ensure stable output throughout the future.
Education is, and has always been a pillar in Kenya, and a chunk of the budgetary plans has been set aside to cater for the wide scope of education in the country.
Many were keen to see what allocation or how much attention was given to education and keen critics were ready to point fingers at the governments, quoting the failed laptop project as a main example of the false pledges made by the Jubilee government.
Some schools within the four counties have already benefited from the pilot programme of the laptop project, for example Kakamega primary and Eshiungo Primary in Kakamega County, and Kitale primary in Trans-Nzoia just to name a few.
This calms down the fears of many who were keen to be part of the program, parents and children included. He said, “Ksh. 1.6 billion has been allocated to stimulus projects that have stalled; upgrading schools, supporting laptop project.”
When it comes to recruitment of teachers, the CS said Ksh. 14.5 billion has been allocated for recruitment of teachers, 14.4 billion for promotion of teachers, and Ksh. 2.5 billion for TTIs.
Examination programs have also been catered for, given that Ksh. 3.2 billion has been allocated to examination subsidy that is KCPE and KCSE examination waiver.
Some schools in Kenya are situated in areas where students and pupils can’t access basic amenities vital in their fledgling lives and this has also been dealt with to some extent in the budget, where Ksh. 540 million has been allocated for girls’ sanitary towels, not forgetting the HELB funds which have been recorded as Ksh. 9.1 billion.
Free education has been around for a while but the sector has received a major boost after today’s budgetary presentation, “Ksh. 32.4 billion has been allocated for free day secondary education,” said Henry Rotich.
The health sector is also a pillar in the country, given that crippled health sector leads to a crippled nation.
He outlined the financial plans to sustain a healthy medical sector,”4.3 billion has been allocated to free maternal services, 4.5 billion for procuring medical equipment,” he said, adding that free maternal services has become a success with maternal deaths reducing significantly.
Ksh 8.8 billion has been allocated to Kenyatta National Hospital, given the bulk of pressure it sustains through the year, and also its status, and Ksh 600 million has been set aside for the National Aids Council.
All in all, the budget session accounted for various sectors, these being the main sectors that will undoubtedly prove to be a major income area and economic pillar in the coming year.