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Thadeus Onono, a tinsmith makes loads of iron sheet boxes at his stall in Kibuye juakali market in Kisumu on January 09, 2020. [Denish Ochieng', Standard]

The economy generated 843,900 new jobs last year despite a cash crisis that saw several businesses send workers home.

The latest estimates from the Treasury show that an additional 3,000 new jobs were created in 2019 over those in the previous year, shrugging off an economic slowdown that has been characterised by massive layoffs. In 2018, the economy created 840,600 new jobs, according to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

Official employment numbers for 2019 are yet to be released by the national statistician, but the Treasury seems upbeat about the numbers.

Musa Kathanje, the micro and fiscal affairs director at the Treasury, said the jobs were created in the informal sector.

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Its bullishness on job creation contrasts that on economic growth. The Treasury expects the economy to grow by 5.6 per cent in 2019 compared to 6.3 per cent in 2018.

Economic growth declined to 5.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2019 compared to growth of 6.4 per cent over a similar period in 2018.

Ukur Yatani, who was confirmed on Monday as the Treasury Cabinet Secretary, yesterday said the government would implement programmes and institute measures aimed at addressing the challenges of income inequalities and unemployment to make growth more inclusive.

Economic growth averaged 5.6 per cent for the the five years between 2014 and 2018, outperforming the average growth rate of five per cent for the period between 2007 and 2012.

Speaking when he launched a three-day public hearing on sector budget proposals for the 2020-21 financial year, Mr Yatani said he would soon table in the National Assembly the 2020 Budget Policy Statement, which details the measures to shore up revenues.

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He said his team would keep a keen eye on public debt, reiterating that they would like to replace it with cheap concessional loans.

“We are not only paying attention to this development of debt levels, but keenly examining the size and nature of public debt with a view to considering debt re-profiling and improving overall debt management,” the CS said.

He added that allocations to ministries would not be based on previous years’ budgets.

On project implementation, Yatani said his team would enhance monitoring and evaluation to ensure timely completion and realisation of value for money.

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Kenya National Bureau of Statistics Economy State
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