Kenya earmarks over 500 mln USD to stimulate growth amid COVID-19
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday announced an economic stimulus package totaling 53.7 billion shillings (about 502 million U.S. dollars) to cushion citizens from economic shocks triggered by COVID-19 pandemic.
Kenyatta said during a televised address that the new funding will support the revival of key economic sectors like agriculture, manufacturing and tourism that have experienced a downturn due to the pandemic.
"The injection of this money into the economy will stimulate growth and cushion families and companies as we navigate our way out of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Kenyatta.
He said the latest economic stimulus program will cover eight broad areas that include infrastructural upgrade, hiring of new teachers and health workers and support for small businesses that have suffered from COVID-19 related disruptions.
Kenyatta said the government will pump 50 million U.S. dollars to support rehabilitation of roads and bridges, generate jobs for the youth and enhance their resilience to social and economic shocks linked to the viral respiratory disease.
He said an additional 30 million U.S. dollars will be set aside to provide seed capital to small and medium-sized enterprises that are struggling due to an economic downturn triggered by COVID-19 pandemic.
"The liquidity of these enterprises has been adversely affected by the pandemic and we look forward to providing them with affordable credit to enable them to resume operations," said Kenyatta.
He said the new stimulus program will also support hiring an additional 5,000 health workers alongside the expansion of public hospitals and upgrade medical research institutions in order to strengthen COVID-19 response in the country.
Kenyatta said the government has set aside 30 million U.S. dollars to support the distribution of fertilizers and seeds to more than 200,000 small-holder farmers reeling from negative impacts of COVID-19 pandemic.
"This intervention is meant to cushion farmers from the effects of adverse weather, and to secure food supply chains in the post-COVID-19 period and into the future," said Kenyatta.
He said that capital injection into tourism and horticulture sectors has been prioritized to boost their revival after weeks of a shutdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Xinhua)