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Budget to ensure wholesome economic growth for Kenya

COMMENTARY
By Dennis Waweru | June 27th 2015

NAIROBI: Things are looking up for the Kenyan economy and one needs not look further than the 2015/2016 budget to know why. In the budget statement read out by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, Kenya’s economic take off is more assured and solidified. The proposals outlined not only sealed loopholes which have delayed our prosperity but also built on our successes putting the country on assured trajectory of success. In the last one year, insecurity has presented the most formidable challenge to the very foundations of the economy. It was therefore in order to see security scooping the highest allocation of Sh224 billion, an upward of Sh27 billion from last year’s budget.

The billions will modernise our military, make our forces more mobile, insure our police, afford our forces more decent houses and get them proper tools to effectively tackle modern security threats. Our increasing electricity output was offered a major boost through announcement of plans to connect at least one million Kenyans in the year 2015. It is not enough to merely generate more electricity. It is a different story when that electricity is taken up to create more wealth.

The reduction of connection charges from Sh35,000 to Sh15,000 was a masterstroke that will revolutionalise this country, right from the grassroots. While the last mile connectivity takes up Sh1.5 billion, transmission will gobble up Sh21 billion, rural electrification Sh14 billion, street-lighting Sh4.5 billion. Just imagine the potential of a thriving cottage industry in remote villages across all the 47 counties.

There’s no letup in financing infrastructure programmes. Sh58.5 billion was allocated for expansion of ongoing road construction, Sh26.7 billion for road maintenance, Sh42 billion for foreign financed roads and for the popular Road Annuity Programme. Significant investments were in expansion and modernisation of our ports for ease of movement of goods. But the mover of the goods was not forgotten either. The allocation of Sh1.3 billion for purchase of new ferries will put paid to residents’ agonies and anxieties. In terms of food security, the rollout of the 100,000 acre Galana-Kulalu irrigation project is coming along well. Huge investments in water supply and distribution will not only improve our food security prospects but also improve our heath standing. National Irrigation Board will get a whopping Sh10.3 billion separate from the Sh3.5 billion Galana funding.

The requirement of a minimum of 40 per cent local at the procurement and supply stage is another master stroke. The expansion of this to cover road works, railway works, airports and other ports and harbours, works and materials for generation, transmission and distribution of energy will transform lives.

To position Kenya as an industrial hub for the region, the Jubilee administration has required suppliers to establish manufacturing or assembly plants here. This will further suck in the unemployed youth. Finally on health care, the budget supported the leasing of equipment idea with a Sh4.5 billion allocation. To top the fair share of county allocations, the national government has set aside Sh27.3 billion conditional grants to support devolution. It can only get better.

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