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Youths in Eastleigh have complained that they will suffer for the next two weeks due to the lockdown. /MOSES MUOKI.

Corona Virus

Youth to reap big from Uhuru’s Sh53.7bn stimulus package for COVID-19

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 23- The government is planning to spend Sh10 billion in employing over 200,000 youth, to work under the National Hygiene Programme, in measures aimed at cushioning them from the effects of coronavirus.

Infections in the country from the virus hit 1,192 on Saturday after 31 new cases were confirmed.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said the virus has severely battered the country’s economy, hence the need to revive it by pumping money into various sectors.

“Currently during the trial period which we have been executing over the past few weeks, we have engaged a total of 26,000 young people and hopefully with the passage of the budget that we have presented before Parliament we want to increase that number to 200,000,” the president said in an address from State House.

He said the billions to be released to the economy will heavily benefit the youth who will be employed in various sectors.

“A young population is indeed much better equipped to fight coronavirus but it is also worrying because during a pandemic like the one we have the sheer energy of the young generation must be directed into constructive deeds so that it is not directed into misdeeds,” he said.

The program focuses on key sectors among them infrastructure, education, health, agriculture and tourism.

Other sectors that will benefit from the 8-point stimulus programme include the SMEs sub-sector, environment and manufacturing.

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“To combat the effects of this downturn, my administration has had to take additional measures. Today I am happy to announce the rolling out of my 8-point stimulus programme amounting to some Sh53.7 billion. The injection of this money into the economy will stimulate growth and cushion families and companies as together we navigate our way out of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Kenyatta said.

In an address to the nation from State House on Saturday, the president said he is keen to see the revival of the tourism industry and has set aside Sh2 billion to support the renovation of facilities and the restructuring of business operations in the tourism industry.

Hotels in tourism destinations across the country remain closed since March when the country confirmed its first case of coronavirus.

During the presidential address, Kenyatta also revealed that the government is spending Sh250 million every week to support the vulnerable groups in the country who have been worst hit by the impact of coronavirus.

The Head of State said the government opted to use the cash transfer program as opposed to the traditional form of relief of providing physical foodstuffs.

A further Sh1 billion has also been set aside for flood control measures after devastating effects caused by heavy rains across the country.

“And to mitigate the impact of deforestation and climate change, and to enhance the provision of water facilities, my administration will rehabilitate wells, water pans and underground tanks in the Arid and Semi-Arid areas,” he said, setting aside Sh 850 million.

The government also intends to engage 5,500 community scouts under the Kenya Wildlife Service at a cost of Sh1 billion.

Additionally, he said, support will be made available to approximately 160 community conservancies at a cost of Sh1 billion.

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There is also Sh3 billion set aside for the supply of farm inputs through e-vouchers, targeting 200,000 small scale farmers, with a further, Sh 1.5 billion allocated to the flower and horticultural producers to access international markets.

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