This year’s financial budget stands at 3.074 trillion shillings a 10.83 percent increase compared to last year’s budget which totaled to 2.77 trillion shillings. Presenting this year’s budget proposals in parliament under the theme ‘creating jobs and transforming lives’ National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said the 2018/2019 budget is an opportunity to boldly confront the challenges the country faces in creating job opportunities for the youth and to benefit everyone. While acknowledging the ballooning national debt the CS said priority has been given to manufacturing, enhanced food security and affordable housing, as the government targets creation of 800,000 jobs.
Buoyed by improved political environment, the CS said his ministry plans to accelerate economic growth past the current 5.6% while at the same time ensuring that public debt remains sustainable. He added that the economy is expected to grow by 5.8% this year sustained by investor confidence, improved agricultural output due to good climate, public investment and improved demand for exports due to favorable global trends. Among the sectors targeted to stimulate the economy include tourism, which continues on a recovery path largely due to improved security in the country and effective tourism promotion strategies, as well as the adoption of zero based budget approach to reduce government expenditure as well as support the Big Four Agenda.
He cited the completion of the first phase of Standard Gauge Railway as a great milestone saying Kenyans are now enjoying cheaper and faster travel between Nairobi and Mombasa. He also said Security hasbeen substantially improved throughout the country through strategic investment in police and military modernization.
At the same time, Rotich said the government has made education more inclusive and sensitive to the country’s skill demand by expanding the free education programme to include free day secondary education. On the increased illicit trade, the CS said a multi-agency team is working to identify and destroy counterfeit goods in the country to curb illicit trade that is robbing the country billions in revenue.