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Kenyans express mixed expectations on 20/21 budget set for reading on Thursday

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 10- Kenyans have expressed mixed expectations for the 2020/2021 budget that Cabinet Secretary Treasury Ukur Yatani will deliver to the public on Thursday this week, at a time when the country is combating the coronavirus pandemic.

The pandemic has led to massive job loses, a slowdown in economic activities, increased expenditure in the health sector and reduced revenue collections.

Amos Wangui who is a trader along Kenyatta avenue said he doubts if traders will receive any relief from this year’s budget even as businesses continue shutting down while others send their workers on unpaid leave.

 “Coronavirus disease has greatly affected the country’s economy and therefore I don’t think there is going to be anything new in the budget to support businesses,” said Wangui.

Musa Wakulima has been a shoe shiner at one of the Nairobi-based buildings along Moi Avenue for the last five years.

He said he is looking forward to see how treasury will intervene for distressed Kenyans.

“In this coming budget I expect to hear how the budget is going to empower Kenyan people after the virus because we are in problems, no financial support, our kids are stuck at home and we have nothing to eat,” said Wakulima.

For Dominic Omondi who owns a restaurant along Dubois road in Nairobi, his request to the government during the unveiling of the 2019/2020 budget is to see the removal of taxes on small scale businesses.

“I don’t expect the government to continue taxing small scale traders, they cannot compare us to huge businesses that are already established while for us we are just starting,” Omondi explained as he continued to serve food for his clients. 

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Kenya’s 2020/2021 budget is currently estimated at Sh.2.733 trillion for the total expenditure and net lending with recurrent expenditure accounting for Sh1.8 trillion while development spending accounts for the balance of Sh584.9 billion.

The government also unveiled the post-COVID-19 Economic Stimulus Programme worth Sh53.74 billion.

In March President Uhuru Kenyatta outlined various tax breaks aimed at cushioning Kenyas against coronavirus effects.

Financial analyst Reginald Kadzutu says he expects CS Yatani to revised his budget policy statement that he shared In February.

“If the treasury is going to read the same budget policy statement then this is just going to be an exercise since such authorities as KRA have missed their revenue targets due to the impact  of COVID-19,” Kadzutu told Capital Business.

On the other end, another Sh.904.7 billion has been set aside for public debt servicing.

The counties are expected to receive Sh369.8 billion in the new budget, while Parliament and the Judiciary will get Sh37.7 billion and Sh18 billion, respectively.

But the Budget and Appropriations has proposed an additional Sh49.6 billion rises in this year’s budget.

Budget financing will come from internal revenue mobilization with an additional Sh1.62trillion from ordinary revenues, Sh249.1 billion from ministerial appropriations in aid, and Sh36.1 billion as grants.

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