President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) has unveiled a Sh53.7 billion eight-point economic stimulus package to alleviate the effects of coronavirus pandemic on the economy.
Addressing the nation from State House Nairobi, Uhuru said the funds would to infrastructure, education, SMEs, health, agriculture, tourism, environment and manufacturing to cushion the economy against coronavirus.
The stimulus package is in addition to the Sh10 billion set aside to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and Sh30 billion in the budget for the aid of vulnerable communities.
Below, the program at a glance
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- To address the challenges brought about by the ongoing rains and floods, Sh5 billion has been to rehabilitate infrastructure with directions that local labour and material must be used in the repair of access roads and footbridges.
- Sh6.5 billion allocated to the Ministry of Education. This will be used to hire 10,000 teachers and 1,000 ICT interns to support digital learning and acquisition of Sh250,000 locally fabricated desks.
- Sh10 billion to fast-track payment of outstanding VAT refunds and other pending payments to SMEs. Another Sh3 billion will be used as seed capital for SME Credit Guarantee Scheme.
- 5,000 additional healthcare workers with diploma and certificate level qualifications will be hired on a one-year contract. Sh1.7 billion will be set aside for the expansion of bed capacity in public hospitals.
- Sh3 billion will be directed to the supply of farm inputs through e-vouchers, targeting 200,000 small scale farmers. Sh1.5 billion to assist flower and horticulture producers to access international markets.
- Soft loans will be issued to hotels and related establishments through Tourism Finance Corporation (TFC). Sh2 billion to support the Hotel industry; Sh1 billion to engage 5,500 community scouts and Sh1 billion for 160 community conservancies.
- Sh850 million will go to the rehabilitation of wells, water pans and underground tanks in the Arid and Semi-Arid areas. Sh1 billion for flood control measures and, Sh540 million for the Greening Kenya Campaign.
- To enforce the 'Buy Kenya Build Kenya' push, the Government will direct Sh600m to the purchase of locally manufactured vehicles.
Uhuru also urged Kenyans to comply with measures put in place by the Ministry of Health to flatten the curve of infections.
“It is true that the rate of infections may indeed surge upwards if we fail to comply with the protocols issued by the ministry of health," he said.
Sh250m weekly disbursement
He said the government had been disbursing Sh250 million weekly to help vulnerable families that have been affected by the virus and flooding in various parts of the country.
"The pandemic has had a negative impact on Kenya's economy with many people stripped of their dignity and thrown into financial ruin, unable to feed their families or afford rent."
President Uhuru said the government opted to send the money directly to the vulnerable families due to loss of more than half of relief resources sent to families affected by calamities, in the past, to brokers and logisticians.
"Through this process, we have managed to bypass brokers and cartels that used to dominate the sector," said President Uhuru.
Secondly, the government has been able to catalyse local economies through the money sent to the families by injecting Sh250 million weekly into the local economy.
"Money in the hands of a family restores dignity for it give people power to make economic choices in their local spaces and not depend on lining up, waiting for food relief - This helps us build the economy from the bottom up," said President Uhuru.
Kazi Mtaani Initiative
Uhuru said the Government will engage the youth in the Sh10 billion national hygiene programme.
The programme will see most jobless youth engaged in restoring public hygiene standards.
"So far, 26,000 young people have been involved in the programme. Following approval of the budget, that number is expected to rise to 200,000," said President Uhuru.