Kenyans had mixed views on the Sh3.02 trillion Budget presented in Parliament Thursday by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich.
Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria regretted that a huge chunk of the budget goes to recurrent expenditure.
“In a budget of Sh3 trillion, half of it goes to people who are employed by government (recurrent expenditure), salary, mandazi, travel and flowers,” Mr Kuria said.
He added: “In a country of 50 million people, civil servants are not more than one million. We have to ask ourselves, for how long are 49 million people going to carry the burden of one million?”
Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority advisor Mohamed Wehliye said the projected numbers are always rosy.
“Ignore them. Look at the actuals. Treasury, in every budget, will tell Kenyans that the budget deficit is 5-6 percent and projected numbers will even go down further. But look at the actuals. Almost hitting double digits. Disastrous!” Mr Wehliye said.
Route to Food Initiative faulted the budget for “not being reflective of the political prominence and commitment that food security has been given under the Big 4 Agenda.”
Government spending on agriculture and food security, according to the alliance, remains inadequate, poorly targeted and incapable of leading to the realisation of the right to food for majority of Kenyans as per the Constitution.
“Kenya continues to fall short on its commitment made in the Maputo Declaration of spending 10 percent of its budget on agriculture. Moreover, budgetary allocations that would support the constitutional obligation to progressively realise the right to food are not evident,” said Layla Liebetrau, Route to Food Initiative’s project lead.
This year’s budget allocation for agriculture is 2.53 percent of total voted expenditure, which is down from 3.5 percent in 2016/17.
Agriculture and food security has been allocated Sh72.3 billion of the Sh3 trillion budget, which is touted as the biggest that the country has had since Independence.
In Kisii, boda boda operator Godfrey Omwenga, said the requirement for insurance cover for the riders and their passengers is punitive to the industry.
“We in the boda boda sector are likely to suffer immensely in addition to the tribulations we have been subjected to recently by our security forces in their bid to ensure we comply with traffic regulations,” said Mr Omwenga.
But, Ms Jane Mokeira, lauded the move on boda boda saying it will restore sanity in the sector.
Kisumu County Boda Boda Riders Cooperative Union chairman Willis Aketch said accident victims including boda boda riders have been forced to dig deep into their pockets due to lack of insurance cover.
In the budget, the CS Rotich proposed to amend the Insurance (Motor Vehicle Third Party Risks) (Certificate of Insurance) Rules to require all passenger-carrying boda bodas and tuk-tuks to have an insurance cover for passengers and pedestrians.
Mr Bramwel Litunya, a sales agent in Kisii took issue with the move to tax services like security, cleaning and fumigation, catering offered outside hotel premises, transportation of goods, sales promotion, and marketing and advertising services.
Mr Litunya said the taxation will kill small business enterprises.
“This is likely to oppress the small entrepreneurs who is struggling to make ends meet,” he said.
However, Mr Anthony Mokaya, who works in Kisii, lauded the move to protect the timber and furniture industry from proliferation of cheap finished timber products and to enhance local production.
The CS proposed to retain an ad valorem rate of import duty at 25 percent with corresponding specific rate of import duty on the products.
“This will enhance local and quality production of timber,” said Mr Mokaya.
The Government banned the logging of trees to stop deforestation.
However, manufacturers who use raw timber to manufacture furniture and other products are affected by this measure as they now lack adequate supply of raw timber.
“To address their plight and at the same time protect our forests, I have proposed to reduce import duty on raw timber from 10 percent to 0 percent,” said Mr Mokaya.
Reported by BRIAN OKINDA, VICTOR OTIENO, and RUTH MBULA.