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Kenyatta unveils Sh53.7bn relief package to boost virus-hit economy

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NAIROBI, Kenya, May 23 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has rolled out an 8-point stimulus program valued at Sh53.7 billion to jumpstart the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged sectors across the country.

The program focuses on key sectors among them infrastructure, education, health, agriculture and tourism.

Other sectors that will benefit from the 8-point stimulus programme include the SMEs sub-sector, environment and manufacturing.

“To combat the effects of this downturn, my administration has had to take additional measures. Today I am happy to announce the rolling out of my 8-point stimulus programme amounting to some Sh53.7 billion. The injection of this money into the economy will stimulate growth and cushion families and companies as together we navigate our way out of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Kenyatta said.

In infrastructure, the government has set aside Sh5 billion to hire local labour to repair infrastructure which have been affected by the ongoing rains.

Kenyatta says the money will be used to rehabilitate damaged access roads, foot bridges and other public infrastructure.

“We are convinced, with the use of local labor and local construction materials, in line with our “Buy Kenya Build Kenya” Policy, we will stimulate and support micro and small business enterprises.”

The government will also spend Sh10 billion to employ over 200,000 youths, to work under the National Hygiene Programme as a way to cushion them during coronavirus pandemic period.

Kenyatta said 26,000 young people have already been employed and are expected to ensure that the country remains clean and green post coronavirus.

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Other big winners of the program include the education sector which will receive Sh6.5 billion to hire 10,000 teachers and 1,000 ICT interns to support digital learning countrywide.

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The program will also support the improvement of school infrastructure, including the acquisition of 250,000 locally fabricated desks.  Kenyatta said the aim is to get thousands of Kenyan graduates off the bench and into action while the government supports local artisans and builders businesses.

During the presidential address, Kenyatta also revealed that the government is spending Sh250 million every week to support the vulnerable groups in the country who have been worst hit by the impact of coronavirus.

The Head of State said the government opted to use the cash transfer program as opposed to the traditional form of relief of providing physical foodstuffs.

He noted that the initiative has gone a long way in breaking cartels who have over the years diverted the foodstuffs for their own personal selfish gains.

But even as the government continues to provide the funds to the most affected families, President Kenyatta reminded them of the importance of being compliant on following the necessary measures aimed at preventing the spread of the virus.

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Kenyatta spoke during a nation address when he revealed that 31 more people had tested positive for coronavirus bringing the total number of infections in the country to 1,192.

“As of this morning, we have cumulatively tested 57,650 samples, out of which 1,192 persons have tested positive for the Coronavirus disease, with 50 of our compatriots having so far, succumbed,” he said.

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