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UHURU'S BUDGET THE BIGGEST IN HISTORY KSHS.997 BILLION

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Denzel Musumba

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The Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta will Thursday afternoon read a Sh997 billion budget, setting a new spending record in the country’s history. Budget estimates for the 2010/2011 financial year released on Wednesday show the government will spend Sh110 billion above last year’s Sh867 billion, representing an increase of 12.5 per cent. This puts pressure to raise more revenues from either borrowing, selling its stakes in businesses and, most probably, increasing taxes. According to the documents, Sh675 billion will go into recurrent expenditure, up Sh68 billion from the previous year, mainly to pay salaries for government workers. At a time when economic recovery has slowed down, growing only 2.6 per cent in 2009 even as the budget kisses the one-trillion-shilling mark, the government will come under critical focus over its spending priorities. Development expenditure, a pointer to areas the government seeks to stimulate, has ballooned from Sh258 billion to Sh321 billion, with most of the cash funnelled into sectors seen as key to economic growth, including agriculture, water and irrigation. “If urgent measures are taken to stir private investment through subsidies, then for sure we shall experience high return in terms of growth.” Overall the Ministry of Education is the biggest beneficiary in terms of budgetary allocation, taking a combined Sh140.5 billion, Sh131 billion in recurrent expenditure and Sh9.5 billion in development expenditure. It is followed by Roads, which gets Sh104 billion, up from Sh80.2 in the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30. The government has been sprucing up the road network over the past three years and more allocation is expected to accelerate projects to ease transport costs for business.

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