Economists want State to spend more on agriculture, manufacturing

Written By: Regina Manyara/Margaret Kalekye


Economists want the government to increase budgetary allocations for agriculture and manufacturing to anchor realization of two agendas of the government’s Big Four Plan.

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They also argue that past budgetary allocations have not been commensurate to the two sectors’ contribution to the economy.

The volume of output of the manufacturing sector grew 4.9 per cent in 2016 on account of increased production of tea, wearing apparel, pharmaceutical products and basic metals.

On the other hand, agriculture slowed from a growth of 7.2 percent in 2015 to 4.4 percent in 2016 occasioned by insufficient rains during the short rains.

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The budget presentation is slated for mid June this year.

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The economists called for zero rating of input and output of local registered textile and apparel manufacturers to bridge the current uneven field between those at EPZs and other manufacturers.

Kenya Industrial Estates, approved 325 projects and advanced loans worth 165.3 million shillings in 2016, with Formal employment in the manufacturing sector marginally rising by 1.8 per cent to 300,900 persons accounting for 11.8 per cent of the total formal employment.

Counties have been urged to play an active role in driving the big four agenda.

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Jubilee agenda

The Jubilee government plans to create 1.3 million manufacturing jobs by 2022.

The government also seeks to raise the share of manufacturing sector from nine to 15 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2022, expand food production and supply.

On textile, the government is targeting the development of cotton production using hybrids, which will have three times the production yield and give incentives to investors to build modern ginneries and textile manufacturing plants.

On food security, the government targets to produce 2.76 million bags of maize, potato, rice and feeds in 52,000 acres by the end of this year, with an additional 70,000 acres targeted under public-private partnership for the listed crops, cotton, aquaculture and feeds production.

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It also aims to reduce post-harvest losses from 20 to 15 per cent, waive incentives on cereal drying equipment, silos, fishing and aquaculture feed, targeting, among others, two million bags of maize.

Further, the government aims to establish 1,000 SMEs at production level, provide credit to over 20,000 individual farmers, construct a shipyard and increase domestic fishing fleet by 68 vessels in the Coast.



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