Discipline, focus key to economic recovery
National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani yesterday tabled what has been termed Corona Budget coming at a time when the economy is struggling because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Under the theme: “Stimulating the Economy to Safeguard Livelihoods, Jobs, Businesses and Industrial Recovery”, the 2020/21 budget aims to cushion vulnerable citizens, stop job losses and guide economic recovery post the pandemic.
In a nutshell, Yatani’s Budget is about cuts in spending and focus on immediate area to catalyse economic recovery.
The budget was prepared against a background of a contracting global economy occasioned by the outbreak of the coronavirus, which has disrupted most aspects of human life.
The economy also suffered other shocks including recent locust invasion and floods in many parts of the country.
Measures to contain the pandemic, including ban on international travel and closure of borders, curfews and cessation of movement in some counties have greatly disrupted business.
Cognizant of the magnitude of the multiple challenges, it was prudent for Yatani to put in place intervention measures in addition to the economic stimulus packages to spur growth.
Some of these measures include injection of cash and provision of additional disposable income to the people and businesses.
To achieve the recovery goal, it was critical to lower income and corporate taxes and provision of Sh13.1 billion to settle pending bills owed by ministries and State departments and another Sh100 billion for payment of VAT refund claims.
Also taken care of are the vulnerable in society, particularly, the urban poor, who will get an additional Sh10 billion to boost the on-going cash transfer programme.
Treasury has set aside Sh56.6 billion to cater for the Eight-Point Stimulus Programme.
The target sectors are infrastructure (which includes Kazi Mtaani programme that targets to employ at least 200,000 youths), tourism, education, supporting SMES, agriculture and food security, manufacturing and improving water and sanitation facilities.
Yatani also stressed the need for fiscal discipline to stem wastage and corruption to safeguard the meagre public resources.
For Kenyans, it is a call to hard work and belt-tightening to ride the turbulence as the economy steadies up to growth trajectory.