How Jubilee used the budget to hoodwink voters

Opposition law makers have slammed Jubilee administration for misrepresenting what the reality is on the ground.

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As a way to showcase what it has achieved for the time it has been in power, Treasury secretary Henry Rotich read to parliament a budget statement that evoked mixed reactions, especially from the National Super Alliance (NASA) camp.

Earlier during the State of the Nation Address, President Uhuru Kenyatta took pride in the completion of mega infrastructural developments including the Standard Gauge Railway.

Mr Rotich yesterday also added a voice to Uhuru Kenyatta’s saying they have had significant positive spillover effect on the majority of Kenyans.

Citing the successful completion of Phase I of the Mombasa-Nairobi standard gauge railway (SGR) set for commissioning on June 1, Rotich said: “the movement of goods and people around the country has been made cheaper and more effective through expansion of roads, seaports and airports.”

He added: “On the SGR, after going over a century without a modern rail, we have in three years constructed a modern railway that will have significant positive spill-over effects on the economy.”

Despite a recent controversy on whether actually 5.2 million households have been connected to the national grid through the Last Mile Connectivity Project or not, Rotich maintained that the number of electricity users has tremendously increased, as compared to the previous administrations’ efforts.

“More of our farmers now have access to subsidised fertiliser and seeds, enabling them to increase productivity, earn more income and indeed make Kenya more food secure, reflecting our investment in security, the tourism sector, which was shrinking by 4.6 per cent in 2013 but is now expanding at the rate of 15 per cent and creating jobs for our youth and women,” he said.

Many Opposition members of parliament have criticised the budget saying it did not reflect the reality on the ground, rather hoodwinked voters.

Kiminini Constituency MP Chris Wamalwa, who is also the deputy minority whip, criticised the government’s decision to import duty free maize, arguing that such a move will hurt Trans Nzoia County farmers who are the main producers of the commodity in the country.

The tax free imports, however, are only set to be in use for the next four months.

Jobs for the youth

The twist in the budget, which ought to cow the youth into voting back the administration is the allocation of funds in a scheme to  have more support on August polls.

Interns hired by government organisations will also be entitled to a Sh25,000 monthly stipend, according to a policy published last year.

‘‘This programme targets a total of 70,000 youth, aged between 16-29 years, who are unemployed with up to Form Four level education, and will avail (sic) training and work experience to them,”  said Mr Rotich.

National Treasury gazetted the regulations for the apprenticeship plan in the second half of last year aimed at imparting job market skills.

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