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Treasury CS Yatani warns of uncertain economic future as COVID rages on

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Kenya’s road to economic recovery still hangs in the balance due to uncertainty around the COVID-19 virus, delays in vaccination programmes, increasing debt levels and rising inflationary pressures.

With the slow pace in the inoculation process, emergence of variants, increasing debt levels and rising inflationary pressures, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatan expressed concerns that Kenya still has a long way to go.

However, due to global measures put in place, Kenya is still hopeful of rising from the economic ashes it has experienced in the last one year, but will take time.

On the domestic front, the prospects for Kenya’s economic recovery will center on the progress of the vaccination effort, macroeconomic stability and implementation of the projects under the “big four plan.”

“We remain hopeful that our economy will rebound to above 6.0 percent over the medium-term from a growth of 0.6% in 2020,” said CS Yatani.

Yattani spoke during the launch of the financial year 2022/23 and medium-term budget preparation process.

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He said the government would prioritize healthcare, private sector, ICT, manufacturing, tourism and transport among the projects to ensure the country’s swift economic recovery.

“In the next three financial years, we shall therefore be pursuing an investment-led economic recovery strategy (ERS) that will focus on restoring the economy to a strong growth path, creating jobs and economic opportunities across all regions of the country with a view to tackling social and income inequalities.”

With Kenya’s debt hitting a historic Ksh.7.71 trillion, Yatani further called on the elimination of wasteful expenditures, a position shared by the budget and appropriation committee Chairman Kanini Kega.

“We’ve said it before but because of the challenges of COVID, some of these measures we’ve not been able to meet but this time, we are very optimistic that we want to contain expenditure to reasonable levels so that we don’t not put pressure on the budget process.”

“I hope the sector working groups will developer a criteria of sharing the available resources in this light all public resources should be allocated to programs and projects that are responsive to the needs of our citizens and that have an impact on our economy.”

With the next year’s polls beckoning, coupled with the effects of the pandemic, the government is cautiously approaching the electioneering period to avert a possible economic downturn.

“Our country is not going anywhere and our people are not going anywhere. Wherever they are they have lives to live beyond elections and therefore we have a unique opportunity to transcend beyond this election as not only united but also making sure that our economy is not affected in any way.”

The sector working groups will now review their sector budget performance for the last three years before making and presenting their estimates that are to be presented to the ministry by January 15, 2022.

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