The government has assured Kenyans that the country’s debt burden is within sustainable limits. While presenting the budget estimates for the 2020/2021 financial year in parliament, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said any deterioration of the debt burden is due to the COVID 19 pandemic which has elevated expenditure pressures. Kenya’s debt currently stands at KShs. 6.7 trillion, an estimated 60{d59e984f9fbc5c09e4ab0305e27bfa5819922b7230cd324f89a660f78358ca33} of its Gross Domestic Product.

The Budget estimates coming at the height of the fight against COVID 19, the National Treasury Cabinet Secretary said the 2020/2021 budget has focused on catalyzing economic activities to provide livelihoods to Kenyans and ensure businesses recover from the effects of the pandemic. He assure that the proposed Ksh 56.6 Billion shilling stimulus package would stimulate the economy, safeguards livelihoods, jobs and businesses and lead to industrial recovery.

CS Yatani said Ksh. 128.3B has been set aside for the Big 4 Agenda drivers and enablers. To this end, the government has allocated some Ksh111.7 billion to the health sector for the 2020-21 financial year. Yatani said out of the amount, some Ksh50.3 billion will cater for employment creation and the Universal Health Coverage agenda of the Big 4 .

Yatani also announced the roll out an 8 point economic stimulus program during this period when the country faces covid-19 pandemic. which he said,aims to Cushion businesses and vulnerable persons.To secure daily wages, 56.6 billion shillings has been allocated to the programme.

Among the measures spelt out in the stimulus programme is the Rehabilitation of the country access road and bridges to generate job with 5 billion being allocated for the same. In regards to youths un-employment 10 billion has been allocated to kazi mtaani programme operating in major towns in the country. Some Ksh 2.1 billion to  secondary and primary schools to recruit local labor. Micro small and medium enterprises facing challenges including high cost of credit among others have been also been  allocated  Ksh 3 billion that will be channeled through credit guarantee scheme.

The fourth theme,  enhance health care where Ksh 1.2 billion has been allocated to employ more health workers to strengthen Universal Health coverage (UHC) and combating coronavirus pandemic. The 5th theme focuses on agriculture and farmers with  Ksh.1.5 billion given to horticulture and flower farmers to shield them from the harsh times.

Tourism which is has been hugely hit by the virus leading to loses of jobs will benefit from, post-COVI D 19 marketing with soft loan of 3 billion availed for restructuring business post-COVID 19. The seventh theme is on environment where 1 billion has been allocated to flood control using local labor. Manufacturing falls as the eighth theme with 600 million being set aside to purchase locally assemble vehicles to sustain jobs.

Constitutional offices the Ethics and Anti corruption Commission EACC and the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions DPP also received an allocation of Ksh3.1b each in the 2020/2021 National budget. Presenting the estimates in parliament, National treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said the Nairobi Metropolitan Services will get a Ksh 26.4b allocation in the 2020/21 budget.

Ksh4b has also been set aside for KCPE and KCSE exam fees waiver, while Ksh 59.4b has been allocated for free day secondary education and Ksh1.8 billion to school feeding programme.

Yatani further castigated companies that continue to declare loses, year in, year out, thereby denying the government revenue. He said these companies are enjoying facilities such as infrastructure whose cost of construction and maintenance is serviced by the government through tax revenues contributed by the Kenyan taxpayers. Yatani has therefore proposed to introduce a minimum tax at a rate of 1{d59e984f9fbc5c09e4ab0305e27bfa5819922b7230cd324f89a660f78358ca33} of their gross turnover, which will be paid by all companies.

Meanwhile online transactions will now attract a 1.5{d59e984f9fbc5c09e4ab0305e27bfa5819922b7230cd324f89a660f78358ca33} digital tax, as government goes after growing the e-commerce in the country. Other services exempted from the Valued Added Tax include propose to exempt ambulance services from VAT. And all individuals who do not pay their taxes have been given a three-year gross period to declare correct taxes and enjoy a waiver without penalties.