School feeding program that made Governor Sakaja cry gets Sh1.2 billion in City budget

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja weeps during a visit to Roysambu Primary School.

On June 20, Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja broke down in tears, in the Presence of President William Ruto and other dignitaries in Roysambu Primary School.

This was during the groundbreaking ceremony of kitchens that will be used to prepare food for learners in public schools under a school feeding program dubbed Dishi na County.

Later, the Governor defended himself for shedding tears in public saying that he gets emotional whenever he remembers the struggles of some children who go to school while hungry.

While the Governor’s tears elicited hot debate, he can now smile. The school feeding program was among the biggest winners in the County’s Sh42.3 billion budget for Financial year 2023/2024.

County Executive Committee for Finance Charles Kerich who delivered the budget said the school feeding program will encourage students to attend school leading to an increase in enrollment.

“I have allocated Sh1.2 billion in the recurrent budget for Public Primary Schools and ECD centres feeding and Sh500 Million in development for the construction of kitchens and serving sheds,” Kerich stated.

“The program will improve the nutritional status of the learners and also encourage students to attend school leading to an increase in enrollment, performance and transition to higher levels of education,” he explained.

It is estimated that once the program takes off about 250,000 children in public primary schools and public Early Childhood Development centres will be fed.

Already, the groundbreaking of the construction of central kitchens have been witnessed in 10 sub-counties.

Last week, some activists faulted the program citing that the County should instead focus on building schools so as to ease congestion.

Former County Executive for Education Janet Ouko for instance advised Governor Sakaja to use the funds to build eight schools each year and only Sh100 million can be spent on each.

Ouko said Nairobi only has 205 public primary schools and at least 3,000 non-formal schools are highly concentrated in Kibra, Mathare, Mukuru, Kibagare, Kiambiu, Maili Saba and Kawangware.

In line with the education sector, Sh857 Billion was allocated for the provision of bursaries to needy students.

Out of this, Kerich told the Assembly that Sh7 Million will be allocated to every ward and the balance will be available to sponsor all continuing students under the Executive Scholarship Programme.

In order to bring services closer to the residents, Sh400 Million was allocated for construction of Borough offices, Sub-County and Ward offices.

“The Boroughs will ultimately reduce the time taken for Nairobians to get the services and ultimately the cost of doing business,” Kerich stated.

For years, traders have been losing millions due to fire outbreaks in City markets, among them Gikomba market.

“I will also be requesting that this house approves Sh120 Million towards construction of fire stations in Kangemi and Gikomba,” he added.

However, the Assembly committee for Finance slashed the allocations in some sectors among them the tree planting exercise whose budget was reduced by Sh554 million.

The allocation for the construction of Dandora Market was reduced by Sh25 million while the allocation for the refurbishment of the City Hall Annex under the office of the County Secretary was slashed by Sh77 million.

To raise revenue, Kerich said the County intends to continue using the digital pay service platform for convenience and broadening our revenue base.

He said the introduction of sectional properties rates targeting individual houses on a block of apartments will increase rates income by approximately

“We intend to restructure the Single Business Permits codes by introducing new parameters (hyper, mega, large, medium, small and mini) for classification of business in order to enhance fairness and compliance,” he explained.