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Uhuru Kenyatta's Sh25b stimulus package for youth, artisans and farmers

NATIONAL
By Macharia Kamau | October 21st 2021

 

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses the nation during the Mashujaa Day (Hero's Day) celebrations at the Wang'uru stadium in Mwea, Kirinyaga County, Kenya October 20, 2021.[Reuters, Monicah Mwangi]

The government is set to spend Sh25 billion on a stimulus package to support businesses and individuals as it seeks to reduce the impact of Covid-19 on the economy.

This will be through additional funds to the Kazi Mtaani programme, which previously employed thousands of young people in clean-up exercises targeting public spaces across the country.

The third phase of the programme, which will be implemented from next month, will be aiming at putting Sh10 billion in the pockets of young people.

The stimulus package is also expected to benefit livestock, tea, coffee and cane farmers. It will also engage masons, carpenters, plumbers and other artisans in the construction of 10,000 new classrooms and 50 new medical facilities across the country.

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday unveiled the new stimulus programme and at the same time directed the Petroleum and Energy ministries to bring down the cost of fuel and electricity by December 24 this year.

Among the sectors that the interventions will cover include agriculture, health, education, drought response, policy and infrastructure. Others are financial inclusion, energy and environmental conservation.

“With significant progress registered in the containment of Covid-19, I believe that it is now time to shift our focus from survival to co-existing with the disease. In that regard, my administration will be rolling out the third financial stimulus programme designed to accelerate the pace of our economic growth and sustain the gains we have made,” said the President when he addressed Kenyans during this year’s Mashujaa Day celebrations.

“(These) measures should inject an additional Sh25 billion into our economy. These new initiatives complement the ongoing State interventions that are expected to sustain recovery within the year’s growth rate projected to be at six per cent.”

Uhuru announced that the stimulus programme would be rolled out effective November 1.

The Kazi Mtaani initiative has so far been rolled out in two phases. It provides a form of social protection for youth whose prospects for employment dwindled following the outbreak of Covid-19 last year.

Opportunities for youth

“Noting the success of Kazi Mtaani programme and its effect in enhancing opportunities for the youth across the country, I direct the National Treasury to allocate Sh10 billion for the third phase of the Kazi Mtaani programme,” the President said, adding that the programme would cover more than 200,000 young people.

It will be rolled out in all counties, with priority given to densely populated areas.

The President also directed Treasury to set aside Sh8 billion for the construction of 10,000 classrooms in different schools across the country. This is expected to create additional learning space for an estimated one million students who will be transiting to junior secondary next year.

Uhuru further directed that local contractors be given the jobs of constructing the classrooms “so as to provide further stimulus to the local economy.”

“The payments for the construction of the said classrooms will be remitted directly to the contractors in their respective sub-counties,” the President said.

The government has also set aside Sh3.2 billion for the construction of 50 level three hospitals. These, the President said, will be put up in areas that do not have adequate medical facilities, as well as in densely populated areas where existing facilities are stretched. The facilities will be a boost for the universal health care programme, a pillar of Jubilee’s Big Four agenda.

The National Treasury has also been directed to set aside Sh1.5 billion to cushion livestock farmers from the devastating effects of the ongoing drought. The money will go towards acquisition of livestock by the government through the National Livestock Off-take Programme and will mostly be focused in arid and semi-arid counties, which have been heavily affected by the drought.

The President also directed the National Treasury and Agriculture ministries to look into mechanisms of reducing the cost of animal feeds.

“To secure a reduction in the prices of animal feeds, I order and direct the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, jointly with the National Treasury to issue within seven days a framework that will facilitate the reduction of the cost of animal and chicken feeds,” he said.

President Kenyatta also announced that the government would set aside Sh1 billion for fertiliser subsidy for smallholder tea farmers and another Sh1.5 billion for the maintenance of government-owned sugar factories, and payment of farmers’ arrears.

The coffee sub-sector will also get Sh1 billion, which the Agriculture ministry will use to conclude reforms it has been undertaking in the industry.

At the same time, the President noted that the high cost of energy could erode the economic gains made so far made. He directed the Energy ministry to ensure implementation of recommendations expected to cut power prices by a third.

Uhuru also directed the Petroleum ministry to put in place measures to stabilise retail fuel prices by Christmas Day.

“I order and direct that the ministry of Petroleum and Mining, jointly with the National Treasury, shall develop by December 24, 2021, a framework for stabilisation of petroleum prices, so as to cushion Kenyans against the turbulence caused by the volatility in fuel prices.

“The ministry of Energy shall secure the full implementation of the Report of the Presidential Taskforce on Review of Power Purchase Agreements, that establishes a pathway for the reduction of electricity prices by 30 per cent by December 24.”

Covid 19 Time Series

 

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