Parliament resumes on Thursday after the Christmas recess amid tensions sparked by 2022 succession politics. During the session, focus will be on MPs as they discuss Treasury’s draft Budget Policy Statement (BPS), which places huge emphasis on investing in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda amid concerns over the ballooning public debt which currently stands at Ksh5.3 trillion.
The draft 2019 BPS reaffirms the priority policies and strategies outlined in the Big Four Action Plan which aims to create jobs by raising the share of manufacturing to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 8.4% to 15%, enhance access to affordable housing by building 500,000 new units, ensuring that the country is food secure and realising Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the country, all by 2022.
National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale has already hinted that the government might adopt a more careful approach this year after ruffling heads with its Ksh 3.1 trillion budget in the last financial year.
“More than ever before, this budget will not be an ambitious budget. It must be very realistic and some projections must be very realistic based on what is happening now in terms of revenue,” said Duale in an interview with a local TV station on Monday.
The BPS statement shows that Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich will be working with a deficit of Ksh583.6 billion with the ministry planning to borrow from domestic and foreign creditors to plug the shortfall.
“To finance the fiscal deficit in the FY 2019/20, domestic borrowing is projected at Ksh271.4 billion, foreign financing at Ksh306.5 billion and other domestic financing Ksh5.7 billion,” reads part of the statement.
Funding for the four pillars is likely to be a key talking point by the MPs as President Kenyatta plans on leaving a sound legacy as he exits the scene in 2022.
According to the BPS, to enhance the manufacturing sector, the government has advanced funds to 15 agro-processing projects and is setting up leather and textile plants across the country.
The government recently launched the pilot phase of the Universal Health Programme in four counties namely, Kisumu, Machakos, Nyeri and Isiolo with the plan being to test the viability of the programme in these counties. The observations drawn from that will be used to guide the countrywide rollout of the universal health programme
To enhance food and nutrition security, the government has aligned all policies under the agriculture sector towards increasing food production, boosting smallholder productivity and reducing the cost of food.