In what has been referred to as ‘Uhuru’s last budget’ all eyes were set on Ukur Yatani, Cabinet Secretary of the National Treasury as he tabled the much-awaited 2022/23 budget.
Kenyans were interested in the immediate measures the Ministry would be focused on that could signal an improved cost of living, and protect livelihoods, and vulnerable individuals, who are already burdened by the unbearable cost of basic commodities.
Kenyans wanted to hear more in terms of the measures the Ministry of Finance was going to undertake towards improving economic resilience and speeding up economic recovery, on the back of 73.6 percent of Kenyan households reporting worsened livelihoods last year compared to 2019.
While unveiling the 3.3 trillion budget in Parliament today, the CS Ukur Yatani focused on grand projects and hefty send-off perks for politicians as ordinary Kenyans grapple with hunger pangs, expensive food, and fuel, and unemployment.
“We are on our own, the present government has failed us. Everything has doubled but our salaries remain the same.” A concerned Nairobi resident said.
Treasury CS Ukur Yatani, in his budget proposals, said that the government has mobilised resources to support various sectors of the economy. He, for instance, mentioned that since the inception of the e-citizen platform and Huduma Centres, the government has collected over Sh80 billion in revenues.
The CS proposed abandoning debt ceilings in favour of a debt anchor system. He proposed anchor be set at 55pc of debt and that Finance Ministers be required to report to Parliament whenever Kenya crosses this threshold.
“Kenya’s debt carrying capacity is rated moderate and the overall public debt is sustainable.” CS Ukur Yatani.
The Budget is the last under the Jubilee administration and is an increase from the Sh3.1 trillion approved in June for the financial year 2021/22. The CS, however, noted that the economy grew by 155% from the value of 5.3 Trillion in 2013 to 13.5 Trillion in 2022. The 2022/23 budget is premised on an expected ordinary revenue collection of Sh2.1 trillion, which will be supported by a recovering economy marking an Sh342 billion increase from the projected Sh1.8 trillion to be collected by the taxman this year.
The CS Ukur Yatani has allocated Ksh.146.8B to the healthcare sector to support the various programs aimed at improving healthcare outcomes and enhancing the realization of UHC.
And to curb gambling, gaming, and alcohol addiction, the CS has proposed the introduction of a 15% Excise duty on fees charged by TV stations, print media billboards, and radio stations for the advertisement of these activities.
The CS Yatani asked the parliament to amend the Kenya Revenue Authority Act and have KRA which has recently gained some notoriety for its newfound aggressiveness, be renamed from Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to Kenya Revenue Service(KRS). He said this was part of the authority’s transformational journey to become customer-centered.
As economists and financial experts continue to analyse the winners and losers, and who gets what in the 3.3 trillion budget, the sad reality is: Wanjiku is upset!