President Uhuru Kenyatta unveiled an 8-economic stimulus programme at State House on Saturday 23rd May 2020
The president said to cushion the economy the government has been injecting Sh250 million shillings each week to vulnerable families giving them the power to make economic choices in their local spaces and not depend on lining up to receive food donations.
He said the government is concerned about the young people despite their population which is 70 percent being better equipped to fight the Coronavirus.
“During a pandemic like the one we have, the sheer energy of our young population will fight the virus alright but in the process, their energy could also be misdirected,” he noted.
As the government fights this virus, the President revealed that the young people are being engaged in the National Hygiene Programme under the Kazi Mtaani Initiative and through the programme, the government will spend Sh10 billion.
“Currently, during the trial period the number of youth engaged were 26,000 and we intend to increase that number to 200,000 youths, across the country,” the President said.
He pointed out that the 8-Point Economic Stimulus Programme, amounting to a total of Sh53.7 Billion will stimulate growth and cushion families and companies as the country navigates its way out the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first element of the 8-point programme will focus on infrastructure and Government intends to rehabilitate access roads, footbridges and other public infrastructure and set aside Sh5 billion to hire local labour for undertaking.
“The use of local labour and local construction materials, in line with our “Buy Kenya Build Kenya” Policy, will stimulate and support micro and small business enterprises,” he said.
He said the second element of the stimulus programme, will be on education sector and revealed that the Ministry of Education has been allocated an additional budget of Sh6.5 Billion.
“I know the anxiety weighing on the minds of parents and their children in regard to when schools will re-open. We will in the very near future, be communicating,” he noted and announced the hiring of 10,000 teachers and 1,000 ICT interns to support digital learning.
The programme, the President added will also support the improvement of school infrastructure, including acquisition of 250,000 locally fabricated desks in order to get thousands of our graduates off the bench and into action while local artisans and builders businesses are supported.
The third element of the programme will target Small and Medium Enterprises whose liquidity has been adversely affected during the COVID pandemic
The government has allocated Sh10 Billion to fast-track payment of outstanding VAT refunds and other pending payments, the President said and noted that treasury has released Sh30 Billion towards payment of pending bills in the roads sector.
In addition, the president said will inject Sh3 Billion as seed capital for the SME Credit Guarantee Scheme with the intention to provide affordable credit to small and micro-enterprises.
Health is the fourth target of the 8-point stimulus programme and the government will be hiring 5,000 healthcare workers with diploma/certificate – level qualification for a period of one year, to enhance the COVID-19 response.
The stimulus programme will also set aside Sh1.7 Billion for the expansion of bed capacity in public hospitals with President Uhuru encouraging the Ministry of Health to utilize Jua Kali Sector in this endeavour.
The fifth element of the stimulus programme will focus on agriculture and on that note the government has prioritized Sh3 billion for the supply of farm inputs through e-vouchers, targeting 200,000 small scale farmers.
Under this programme, the government has also allocated Sh1.5 billion to assist flower and horticultural producers to access international markets, in a period of shortage of flights into and out of the country.
Tourism is the sixth area of target for the stimulus programme and according to President Uhuru, it is the sector that has suffered the most because of restricted movements, and termination of international flights.
“To jumpstart this important sector, and protect its players from heavy financial losses, my administration will provide soft loans to hotels and related establishments through the Tourism Finance Corporation (TFC), and a total of SH2 Billion will be set aside to support the renovation of facilities and the restructuring of business operations by actors in this industry,” he noted.
The tourism component of the stimulus programme will also engage 5,500 community scouts under the Kenya Wildlife Service at a cost of Sh1 billion with additional support made available to approximately 160 community conservancies at a cost of Sh1 billion.
The seventh element of the stimulus concerns is the environment and the government will rehabilitate wells, water pans and underground tanks in the Arid and Semi-Arid areas by setting aside Sh850 million, a further Sh1Billion for flood control measures and another Sh540 Million for Greening Kenya Campaign.
The Eighth and final element of the stimulus programme is manufacturing that will enforce the policy on “Buy Kenya Build Kenya”, and to this end, President Uluru’s administration has set aside an initial investment of Sh600 million to purchase locally manufactured vehicles and this is expected to sustain the operations of local motor vehicle manufacturers, and the attendant employment of workers.
President Uhuru urged the August House to consider, on a priority basis the Budget Proposals to anchor the 8 – Point Economic Stimulus Programme in order to release the money to Kenyans who are in need.