Sh2b recovered from graft to be used to fight Corona
Seth Onyango @SethManex
President Uhuru Kenyatta has ring-fenced Sh2 billion recovered from corruption proceeds to cushion deprived Kenyans during the unfolding coronavirus pandemic.
He also mopped up all government travel expenditure budgets in a move designed to buttress a raft of tax measures he announced a fortnight ago to cushion salaried employees from the economic fallout of the virus.
The Head of State said the funds recovered from graft will be wired to support poor urbanites and other most vulnerable members of our society.
“Our war on corruption continues to bear fruits. As we scale up our intervention to this pandemic, I have directed the National Treasury to use Sh2 billion of recovered corruption proceeds in supporting the most vulnerable in our society,” Uhuru stated.
Kenyans in slums like the populous Kibera, Mathere, Mukuru slums and other informal settlements would be given first priority.
Uhuru also appealed to landlords and other property owners to reduce rents for tenants to help them brave through the pandemic.
“I direct the National Treasury to appropriate all domestic and international travel budgets for all State agencies within the executive, the judiciary, the legislature and the county governments and to re-allocate them to combating Covid-19,” he said in an address from State House.
Counties and the national government officials spend more than Sh15 billion in both domestic and foreign travels each year.
In 2017, the two-tier government blew over Sh27 billion on local and foreign trips, defying austerity drive that aimed to cut non-essential spending and free cash for development.
With Uhuru’s directive, Treasury is expected to mobilise more than Sh5 billion toward the national coronavirus management kitty.
At the same time, Uhuru said cash mobilised from voluntary and forced salary cuts of senior government officials will go towards purchase of masks and other safety equipment for the needy.
“Every shilling we save in salaries and allowances is one we shall use towards face masks, medical supplies and specialised equipment, to support the most vulnerable members of our society through provision of water and food items and in support of any other initiatives needed by our Nation in this war against Covid-19,” the President said.
“To that end, I direct the Nairobi Metropolitan Service, to not only continue but expand their provision of free water to all our informal settlements.”
On March 26, announced sweeping tax cuts to cushion households and companies from the crippling effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
His tax stimulus options mainly target low-income earners, and include cuts in Pay as You Earn (PAYE), value-added tax (VAT), turnover tax (TOT) and corporate tax.
He had directed the National Treasury to offer a 100 per cent tax relief for individuals with a gross income of up to Sh24,000.
Treasury was also ordered to reduce the Value Added Tax from 16 per cent to 14 per cent.
Turnover tax rate was also lowered from the current 3 per cent to 1 per cent for all Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
Yesterday, Uhuru announced appropriation of an additional Sh10 Billion to the elderly, orphans and other vulnerable members of the society through cash-transfers by the Ministry of Labour.