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Health, SME Sectors expected to take center stage in 20/21 Budget – Experts

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 11-The Kenyan government should consider allocating more money to the health sector even as the Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani is set to present the country’s spending plan for the financial year 2020/2021.

Head of Research Genghis Capital Churchill Ogutu said that Sh111.70bn monies that was proposed for the sector may not be enough to sustain it being that the country is currently facing the coronavirus pandemic that has increased spending and slowed down economic activities.

“One of the government’s priority should be ideally towards the health sector and in particularly to combat the coronavirus pandemic, this may not be enough,” said Ogutu.

Kenya has been receiving monies under the COVID-19 emergency kitty from international donors, well-wishers, and corporate firms to assist the government in cushioning Kenyans against the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic.

However, it has lacked an oversight body monitoring and accounting for how the monies are being spent which has now raised concerns to the general public.

“The biggest risk that we are seeing in regard to the COVID-19 emergency response fund is that lack of oversight to inform Kenyans how this money is being allocated,” he added.

At the same time, even as all eyes are on Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani experts have also called for the need of the government to create a long-time plan to cushion Small and Medium Enterprises facing coronavirus effects.

President Uhuru in May unveiled a Sh53.7 billion economic rescue packages where Sh3 billion was set aside to fund SME’s.

Speaking to Capital Business, Ernest and Young Tax Expert Simon Njoroge said that even as Yatani may add other stimulus packages towards this agenda, there is need to explore other options ensure continuity of businesses owing to the rising cases of coronavirus witnessed in the country recently.

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“ We do expect more measures to be introduced but frankly we think that as far as COVID-19 is concerned, things will get worse so the money we currently have for SME’s will not be sustainable,” Njoroge said.

Last month, Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge warned that at least 75 percent of Small Medium Enterprises risk closure by end of June due to some of the challenges posed by the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in the country.

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