Kenya lines up Sh17b economic push - Daily Nation

Kenya lines up Sh17b economic push

Thursday February 4 2010

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta. PHOTO/File

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta. PHOTO/File 

The Kenya government has so far disbursed Sh3.25 billion for the implementation of various projects under the economic stimulus package.

A further Sh13 billion will be released for the construction of schools, horticultural markets, jua kali sheds and public health centres in all the 210 constituencies.

Briefing journalists, at a breakfast meeting held at the Serena Hotel, Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta said more than Sh17 billion will have been released for use before the end of the current financial year under the same programme.

Mr Kenyatta who was accompanied by a number of his Cabinet colleagues, however, said the implementation of the programme, which was expected end in December last year, was delayed due to various logistical problems.

“The development of an implementation framework took longer than expected due to the consultation with relevant stakeholders which partly contributed to the delay in kick starting the implementation of the Economic Stimulus Package,” said Mr Kenyatta.

He said selecting of projects had to be carefully done to ensure those chosen would have a rapid positive impact on the targeted population.

The economic stimulus package, also known as ESP, was launched in July 2009 to spur economy growth, which had almost stalled, due to the vagaries of weather and the after-effects of the infamous post-election violence. The two problems, had impacted negatively on the country’s agriculture-dependent economy, resulting in a decline in food production.

Mr Uhuru said tenders had already been awarded for the construction of public health centres, horticultural markets and jua kali sheds in 170 constituencies, which, he added, will cost the treasury about Sh5.6 billion.

The minister also announced the government was considering extending the ESP in the coming financial year.

“Since the programme’s aim is to spur economic growth through fiscal decentralization and equity in resource distribution, the government is considering including it in the next budget,” Mr Uhuru added.

Agriculture minister, William Ruto, said the stimulus package had helped the ministry reduce the maize production deficit, this year, from six million bags to four million. The country’s annual maize demand currently stands at about 33 million bags.

Mr Ruto expressed optimism that the agricultural sector, which was negatively affected by the pro-longed famine, would register growth saying good harvests were expected in Eastern, Coast and Western provinces.

He said the minister had used part of the stimulus package money to feed the hungry and also subsidise the prices of fertilizers.