The Kenyan government has set aside Ksh 14.3 billion to be used to acquire the COVID-19 vaccine and boost other containment measures.
During the budget reading, Treasury CS, Ukur Yattani, acknowledged the health crisis that the COVID-19 had triggered in the country.
Triggered economic and health crisis
“The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered one of the worst health and economic crises of our time,” Yattani said, “and in line with the WHO advisory, the government implemented appropriate intervention to save lives.”
Yattani said that the intervention measures allowed the government to strengthen its health capacity, among them getting medical supplies, getting medical equipment, and hiring health personnel.
Yattani said that in the new budget, they would set aside a further 14.3 billion shillings to enhance issuing of more vaccine doses and the second dose too. The figure is double the amount the government put aside in 2020.
“…As at end of May, 2021, about 1 million people had gotten their first COVID vaccine dose,” The CS said, “To facilitate further roll out of the vaccines to create herd immunity, we propose to allocate Ksh 14.3 billion in the financial year 2021-22. This is in addition to Ksh 7.6 billion allocated in the current budget.”
Tax relief for pharmaceuticals
Yattani also said that the new budget also proposed a tax relief on pharmaceutical products and medical products. The move would enhance access to affordable medical care and equipment to manage COVID-19 and other diseases.
The CS said that with the containment measures having adversely affected economic activities, they would focus on health and social expenditure to stimulate economic activities and enhance the ability of the government to respond to emergencies.
The current budget is the highest ever recorded in the country, with the expected expenditure crossing Ksh 3.6 trillion. A big chunk of this budget will be funded through loans, with Yattani saying that tax addition would have hurt Kenyans further.