Youths at work in Kiandutu slums in Thika on Wednesday, May 20, 2020
KAZI MTAANI: Youths at work in Kiandutu slums in Thika on Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Image: FILE

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration has unveiled a Sh928.6 billion recovery plan to rescue the economy ravaged by Covid-19.

The government is banking on the Covid war chest to mitigate or reverse effects of the virus crisis that has left an estimated 1.7 million people jobless in the formal and informal sectors.

Unemployment has doubled to 10.4 per cent; the country faced an unemployment crisis before the pandemic hit.

President Kenyatta intends to pump billions into the health, education, security and ICT sectors. Transport and women’s enterprises  will also benefit.

The recovery plan developed by the National Treasury was seen by the Star.

The plan also involves incentivising the private sector, reviving tourism, manufacturing and transport, as well as providing for vulnerable segments of society.

The Treasury says the steps will be implemented in the current and next financial year.

It estimates the economy will grow from the current 2.9 per cent to 5.9 per cent.

Among the biggest winners in this strategy are schools that are set to reopen in January.

The government will spend Sh1.1 billion for masks, soap and sanitisier for primary schools and another Sh1 billion for the same items in secondary schools.

In addition, Sh28 billion will be spent to increasing enrolment in primary schools and another Sh4 billion to recruit teachers.

At least Sh1.2 billion will be spent to expand and refurbish classrooms and ablution blocks; Sh5 billion for WASH programmes and Sh5 billion for meals.

To increase learning space, the state plans to build 100 tuition blocks in extra-county boarding schools countrywide for Sh2.6 billion.

Another Sh20 billion will be for classrooms, sanitation facilities and laboratories for all the other secondary schools.

The government will provide Sh4 billion scholarship grants for learners in boarding schools. It will make Sh1 billion cash transfers for learners in underserved areas.

Additional secondary school teachers will be recruited at Sh6 billion while Sh35 billion has been provided for Helb loans in tertiary institutions.

Universities are expected to receive Sh103 billion capitation grants and Sh1.4 billion for additional hostels to accommodate 8,000 students.

About Sh500 million will facilitate headteachers to implement school health policies and another Sh100 million to train parents in emergency response.

The Education ministry had recommended schools create isolation rooms equipped with basic supplies for temporarily handling students with suspected Covid-19 infections.

The draft Post-Covid-19 Economic Recovery Strategy provides Sh21.4 billion for security, Sh43.1 billion for health, Sh30.9 billion for ICT investments, Sh11.2 billion for SMEs’ support and Sh18 billion for tourism.

Others are agriculture (Sh30.2 billion), manufacturing (Sh23.5 billion), transport (Sh101 billion), financial services (Sh10.7 billion), Water (Sh95 billion), Education (Sh383 billion) and Sh29 billion (environment services).

The government seeks to tax wealthy individuals, remove tax exemptions, expand the donor base, restructure debts and issue sovereign green bond to raise cash to fund the recovery.

On security, the government plans to recruit 5,000 police officers for Sh5.2 billion, purchase 2,000 assorted vehicles and 3,000 motorbikes for regional administrative units at Sh8.6 billion and Sh3.1 billion, respectively.

To increase jobs and income for youth, the cleaning programme, Kazi Mtaani, is to be increased to Sh44 million in the next financial year.

About Sh4.5 billion will be spent on newly gazetted police stations and government administration offices.

President Kenyatta aims to increase clean water to schools, informal settlements, hospitals, prisons and detention facilities.

In this regard, Sh10 billion will be spent to provide clean water to 56 Level 4 hospitals, 434 Level 3 hospitals and 2,576 Level 2 hospitals.

The state will spend Sh2 billion to provide clean water to 500 schools, Sh2 billion to connect 200 prisons and police stations and Sh2 billion for 1,000 markets.

About Sh30 billion will be spent on sewerage projects in 21 towns, Sh4 billion on 200,000 new water connections and Sh6 billion for 350,000 new sewer connections.

Nairobi and Kisumu cities are to get Sh20 billion and Sh10 billion, respectively, for sewerage expansion.

About 74,000 urban poor households will be connected to clean water; Sh3 billion will be provided for community water projects.

The state will spend Sh2.5 billion for small dams and water pans and Sh1.8 billion for dykes.

To cushion the vulnerable, President Kenyatta seeks to provide Sh49,543 billion cash transfers for older persons, Sh20.9 billion for orphans and vulnerable children and Sh4.7 billion for persons living with disabilities.

Another Sh900 million will be provided under the presidential bursary while Sh880 million will be set aside to rehabilitate street families.

The government plans to spend Sh2 billion to compensate workers who die or suffer disability from occupational diseases.

A Sh300 million insurance fund will be created to provide financial relief for persons who lose their jobs, while another Sh2 billion will  establish a migrant workers fund.

The government aims to provide a Sh400 million social security/ pension fund for informal workers and Sh10 billion to cushion vulnerable households from hunger.

The state will also continue with the relief to households affected by Covid19 at Sh10 billion; Sh5 billion of that will be spent this financial year.

At least Sh29 billion will be spent on environmental interventions while health facilities and services will receive Sh43.114 billion.

On health, Sh2.5 billion will go into building 100 new health facilities in 47 counties, Sh500 million will renovate 42 health facilities and Sh4.7 billion will expand Levels 4 and 5 facilities.

The state plans to spend Sh400 million on five cancer centres, Sh800 million for portable clinics and Sh500 million to acquire specialised equipment.

Additional health workers will be recruited at Sh3.75 billion. About  Sh8.4 billion will be spent on free maternity services, Sh4.5 billion for research and Sh9 billion for health insurance for the elderly and PWDs.

To encourage connectivity of schools, county governments  and state agencies, Sh30 billion will be provide for investment in ICT and digital infrastructure.

Of this, Sh919 million will be used for connectivity to public secondary schools and tertiary institutions.

Some Sh400 million will be used to construct 20 studios for youths to harness artistic talent, create employment and generate media content.

The state has also provided Sh700 million to support local films and film hubs and  Sh1.09 billion for fiber cable expansion to government and social institutions.

Also provided is Sh2 billion to interconnect the 47 counties and Sh1 billion for innovation hubs in constituencies.

Sh1.8 billion has been set aside for 94 digital hubs in primary schools and Sh2.8 billion for the same facilities in secondary schools.

The government also intends to spend Sh250 million to pilot digital primary schools set up in four stations and Sh2.4 billion in secondary schools.

Also provided is Sh1.14 billion for internet-enabled learning in all public primary schools and Sh2 billion to train education officials and teachers on remote learning.

Treasury has also budgeted Sh1.5 billion for internet-enabled learning in secondary schools, Sh948 million on e-books, Sh108 million on  training teachers on ICT and Sh870 million to digitise content.

About Sh4.7 billion will be spent to connect 123 health facilities to the internet, Sh149 for cooperatives and Sh1 million to create an e-coop platform.

The President further seeks to provide Sh6.8 billion to increase financial and business support for women’s entrepreneurs.

This will be addition to training 275,000 women in entrepreneurship, 13,500 in value-addition and 1,150 to market products.

About Sh1.7 billion will be provided to top-up loans, Sh2.3 billion for table banking and bursaries by NGAAF and Sh58 million for media campaigns against gender-based violence.

Also provided is Sh50 million for training chiefs, religious leaders and Nyumba Kumi members to speak out against GBV and Sh20 million for mental well-being of survivors.

The tourism sector is set for a Sh18 billion boost, including Sh10 billion  for affordable credit to regulated tourism enterprises, activities and services.

About Sh4 billion will go into tourism promotion and marketing; Sh400 million to promote domestic and regional tourism and Sh1.5 billion to enhance access to e-visas.

Agriculture interventions will take up Sh30.2 billion, part of which will be Sh6 billion for input subsidies to farmers and Sh3.01 billion for tackling locusts.

Some Sh3 billion will be provided for kitchen garden kit support to one million vulnerable households.

Cotton, livestock and pyrethrum farmers are also tipped for support to buy modern machinery and access credit.

Under the manufacturing sector, Sh12 billion is provided for industrial credit to medium and large enterprises and Sh1 billion for equipping industrial research labs.

The state further intends to spend Sh100 million on a national address system and Sh9 billion for railways improvement.

Also provided is Sh10 billion for the 217km Nakuru-Kisumu railway line and Sh9 billion for the 23km Naivasha SGR-Longonot metre-gauge railway link.

In the aviation sector, Sh174 million will be spent on a regional centre for aviation medicine and Sh1 billion to increase sitting capacity of terminals 1B, 1C, 1D at JKIA.