Treasury must act on economic recovery
Kenya is banking on its most ambitious Sh3.6 trillion budget, which was unveiled last week, to reboot the economy after Covid-19 knocks wrought havoc.
The budget was one of a kind, coming on the cusp of a road to recovery and leveraging President Uhuru Kenyatta’s legacy projects; rebuilding a resilient economy will be a tall order.
As Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said, his priorities include job creation and sustainable growth.
In a raft of measures to improve economic growth from 0.6 per cent this financial year to 6.6 per cent in the next, the government set aside a modest economic stimulus package amounting to Sh23.1 billion to cushion vulnerable citizens and businesses affected by Covid-19.
This is due to limited resources due to significant expenditure demands related to economic recovery, debt repayments, political considerations and pressure on public revenue.
It will therefore be a tough balancing act for the government’s economic and fiscal reforms efforts to create an enabling business environment meant to create jobs and minimise inflationary pressures, as the government moves to ease the cost of living.
With tax revenue targeted at Sh2 trillion, amid surging debt, which has soared way above Sh7.4 trillion, it is no surprise that the government set aside modest amounts to spur employment.
The Treasury set aside Sh3 billion under the Kazi Mtaani initiative for youth empowerment, which aims at creating over 100,000 job opportunities.
Unfortunately, the government once again set only two per cent of the budget to the agriculture sector, which is said to employ more than 60 per cent of the workforce.
Hopefully, the continued support and promotion of the Big Four agenda which was awarded Sh142 billion in the current budget, excites the economy.
Regrettably, once again the minister had to issue another directive to resolve the pending bills issue by 30 June 2021, but going by past proclamations, the CS must use a big stick to make it matter.
It seems that no matter how many warnings are issued, for pending bills to be sorted 100 per cent, Treasury mandarin must ensure offenders meet the full impact of the law.
Indeed, sitting on cash which is supposed to be a stimuli in the economy should be taken as economic sabotage, and the offenders must be treated as such.