Majority Leader Aden Duale discusses with CS Henry Rotich after receiving him at Parliament present before tabling the 2017/18 budget /UPESINEWS
BY NAMULOMNGO PETER & KORIR JUMA,NAIROBI,30TH MARCH 2017-After a length period of high cost of living standards in the country Kenyans can at last afford a smile after the 2017/18 budgets estimates were presented in parliament by Treasury CS Henry Rotich on Thursday.Perhaps the most sweet news to Kenyans is the announcement that all maize and wheat imported from outside the country will not be subjected to tax thus making the cost of maize and wheat flour to go down.
The estimates also had good news to those who are 70 years and above as government will form January next year start paying them monthly stipend to cater for their needs.Initially the plan used to benefit only those who had attained retirement age of 60.The opharn have been allocated 9.2 billion shillings to go towards ensuring that they do have access to basic needs and school fees.As the country draws close to the August 8th Elections the independent Electoral and boundaries commission has been allocated ksh 21.4 billion bringing to ksh 4o billion the amount allocated to the poll body to date.
In order to create enabling environment in the manufacturing sector in the country so as to increase job creation to the youth the CS announced the tax shall be waived within the entire sector.Many industries rainging under manufacturing sector have also benefited from the estimates with Sh1.6 billion been allocated for leather and textile industries with the modernization of Rivertex East Africa Limited taking Sh450 million.
Further, Rivertex will benefit from an export credit facility from India worth $30 million to enhance its capacity.
Members of parliament listen to the 2017/18 budget estimates presented by Treasury CS Henry Rotich
Special economic zones are also being rolled out through which tax and capital incentives will be provided to local industries to stimulate economic productivity.
Sh18.3 billion has been apportioned for an empowerment programme geared towards stimulating entrepreneurship among the youths.
The government has also invested in upgrading sports, arts and learning facilities including a new national library in Upper hill Nairobi to ensure youths are fully engaged in activities that will enhance their skills.
“In order to constructively engage the youth, the government will complete a new library and fully operationalise the Kenya Film School,” said Rotich.
The new library is costing the government Sh2.4 billion and has the capacity to accommodate 5,000 readers at a time.
THOSE WHO LOST.
Betting companies have suffered the biggest blow as they will now have to bear 50% tax on all machines bought,this automatically translates to higher costs of buying the same machines and therefore it is likely to discourage buying of the same due to prohibitive costs.Rotich attributes the move to the negative consequences the industry has caused to young Kenyans.
In a presentation to Parliament’s Labour and Social Welfare Committee last month regarding the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming (Amendment) Bills 2016, KRA Commissioner General John Njiraini told MPs the fast-growing industry has helped expand the tax base.
He said eight of the 25 licensed betting companies had paid a total of Sh4.7 billion in the financial years 2014/2015 and 2015/2016.
He said other taxes from the industry such as PAYE, VAT and income tax are projected to more than double by the end of the current financial year 2016/2017 from Sh1.2 billion last to about Sh3.4 billion.
Ksh 291 billion goes to the county government to facilitate smooth running of services .The 2.6 trillion budget will however start being implemented on July 1st 2017 the official time the other East African states will also start implementing theirs. Normally the budget estimates in all the East Africa states is read on the same day in the month of June,but in Kenya this came earlier due to the ongoing preparations towards the August 8th Elections.
THOSE OF THE CONT RALLY VIEW
In as much as majority of Kenyans may consider the 2017/18 budget favorable leaders from the opposition hold a different view. Those who spoke to UPESINEWS after the CS had finished reading the budget feel that it was not a mwanachi friendly.Kiminini member of parliament chris Wamalwa said the move buy government to waive tax on maize and wheat from outside kenya will kill kenya farmers especially in western part of the country and the North rift.The MP was of the view that the government could have find a way to empower local farmers by ensuring that the maize produced in kenya get to cereals boards across the country and farmers are given better prices.His view was also echoed by suba mp John Mbadi.