By Samuel Ouma
Kenya Government aims at creating 800, 000 jobs through creation of conducive environment to manufacturers, enhancing food security and provision of affordable houses according to 2018/2019 financial year budget.
While presenting the budget on Thursday, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said 2018/2019 budget is an opportunity to alleviate the challenges the country faces in creating job opportunities for the youth.
The total budget amounts to Ksh.3.07 trillion ($307 billion), 10.83% increase compared to last year’s budget which stood at Ksh. 2.77 trillion ($277billion).
According to Rotich the economy is expected to blossom by 0. 2% from 5.6% due conducive political environment, good climate and improved demands for exports.
High income earners are among the beneficiaries of the much anticipated budget by being spared from paying more taxes.
“I had proposed to introduce a higher tax band of 35% on income above ksh.750000 ($7500) per month, and an increase of the capital gains tax from 5-20%. However, during the public consultation on the bill, members of the public raised concern on the bill, and were of the view that the higher rates were not appropriate at the time,” said Rotich.
In a bid to make the local products more competitive in Eastern Africa and globally, import duty has increased from 25-35% on iron ore and steel, paper and paper products.
Mobile phone service providers have been slapped with an increase in excise duty from 10-12% on fees charged on money transfer.
”For the government to get a fair share of revenue from these financial activity and to finance critical government programmes I propose to introduce a Robin Hood tax of 0.05% of any amount of half a million or more transferred through banks or other financial institutions,” reiterated Rotich.
Ksh.115.9 billion ($1159 million) has been allocated for infrastructure, ksh.19 billion ($1900 million) less compared to 2017/2018 budget. Sh.74.7 billion ($7470 million) will be used towards construction of phase 2A of the Standard Gauge Railway, Sh.2.7 billion ($ 270 million has been allocated to the Mombasa Port development project while the remaining amount will be used for the expansion of Airports and Airstrips, roads, support the exploration of geothermal, wind and solar resources, exploration and distribution of oil and gas and electricity projects.
The National Police service has reaped Ksh.29.8 billion ($2980 million) to facilitate its services. Ksh.6.5billion ($650 million) is meant to cater for medical insurance for the police and prison’s officers, Ksh.1.5 billion($150 million) construction of police houses, Ksh. 8.9 billion ($890 million) to enhance security operation, Ksh.6.4 billion ($640 million) allocated to the Criminal Investigation Services and Ksh.5.1 billion ($510 million) to the office of Attorney General.
The government has set aside Ksh.59.4 billion ($5940 million) and Ksh.13.4 billion ($1340 million) to cater for both free primary and secondary education. University Education has received Ksh. 91.1 billion ($9110 million), Higher Education Loan Board got Ksh.9.6 billion ($960 million). Ksh.16 billion ($1600 million) will go to technical Institution and Ksh.5 billion ($500 million) will be used to hire teachers to curb the shortages in the public schools.
Tourism which is the backbone of the Kenyan economy has been allocated Ksh.1 billion ($100 million) for marketing and promotion of tourism activities, less ksh.1.7 billion ($170 million) in the previous budget.
Mining and geographical mapping are among the few sectors which got small allocation of funds at Ksh.509 million ($50900) and Ksh.500 ($50000) respectively.