Uhuru bets big on infrastructure to build a Kshs. 13T economy – Kenya Broadcasting Corporation

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President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to hand over instruments of power after the August 9 General Election amid economic rebound after a sluggish growth over the last two years on account of coronavirus pandemic.
After almost a decade in charge, President Kenyatta leaves behind a Kshs. 13.5 trillion economy which has grown two and a half fold compared to Kshs. 5.3 trillion recorded in 2013, a 155% increase.
Over the nine year period, the administration has managed an average annual growth rate of 4.7%.
Maneuvering through the pandemic
While the Jubilee Administration desire to achieve between 7-10% annual GDP growth rate has fallen short, the COVID-19 pandemic punctured growth as the economy contracted by 0.3% in 2020 only to bounce back to 7.5% in 2021.
The rebound was supported by the Economic Stimulus Programme rolled out in 2020 by National Treasury to ease effect of the virus on the economy.
“This COVID-19 pandemic is not only a health crisis, it is fundamentally an economic crisis. Jobs have been lost, businesses have closed and the economy is on a go-slow,” said President Kenyatta.
The programme amounting to Kshs. 74.3 billion has been crucial in supporting sectors affected by the pandemic such as SMEs, tourism, agriculture, manufacturing and providing employment to more than 200,000 youth under the Kazi Mtaani programme.
Among the support received by the government include a three-year credit facility amounting to Kshs. 275 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for budgetary support and COVID-19 vaccines purchase.
However according to the National Treasury, Kenya’s economy is expected to stabilize at 6% this year.
Key growth areas
Following the rebasing of the economy to accommodate new sectors previously uncounted for, Kenya has moved from a low income economy to a lower middle income economy with the increase in income per capita.
Under the Jubilee Administration, Kenya’s income per capita has increased 92.1%, from Kshs. 127, 065 in 2013 to Kshs. 244, 099 by 2021.
With focus to reduce the rate of unemployment in the country which was deemed a ticking time bomb, the regime which had promised to create 1.3 million jobs annually which cumulate to 6.5 million jobs has managed to create 5.1 million jobs in both formal and informal sectors according to figures released by the National Treasury.
The target to create a more vibrant Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) in sectors such as industrialization, manufacturing, agriculture, fisheries, marine services, ICT among others to drive growth has also led to increase in private sector lending which increased from Kshs. 1.5 trillion in 2013 to Kshs. 3.1 trillion.
Similarly, Kenya has also recorded an exponential growth in Diaspora remittances which in now the number one foreign exchange earner.
In a decade, annual Diaspora remittances has grown by an estimated 300% from Kshs. 112.3 billion in 2013 to Kshs. 456.3 billion by the close of April 2022.
Kenya’s investment climate has also been deemed favorable under the Jubilee Government as Foreign Direct Investment (FDIs) increased to a high of Kshs. 75.1 trillion in 2017 compared to Kshs. 56.7 trillion in 2013.
With reforms at the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to seal revenue leaks, ordinary revenue collection has more than doubled from Kshs. 800 billion in the financial year 2012/13 to Kshs. 2 trillion in the financial year 2021/22.
However, while the administration has expanded Kenya’s bilateral relations with various countries, exports have risen by just Kshs. 226 billion compared to imports which increased by a massive Kshs. 800 billion between 2012 and 2021.
Official data indicate that total exports have increased from Kshs. 517.8 billion in 2012 to Kshs.  743.7 billion In 2021.

On the other hand, imports surged to Kshs. 2.2 trillion last year from Kshs. 1.4 trillion in 2012 as trade deficit widened to Kshs. 1.4 trillion last year compared to Kshs. 856.7 billion in 2012.
Nonetheless, massive investment in human capital, infrastructure, energy, agriculture, security and health has left a huge public debt stock which economists say could lead Kenya to debt distress.
Latest data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) indicate that upon his exit in August, President Uhuru Kenyatta will leave Kenya with total public debt amounting to Kshs. 8.4 trillion compared to Kshs. 1.4 trillion registered when he took over from the late President Mwai Kibaki in 2013.
Of the total public debt currently, Kshs. 4.2 trillion constitutes domestic debt while another Kshs. 4.2 trillion being external debt.
The increase in pressure to meet debt obligation has been attributed to increase cost of living amid revenue pressure coupled with coronavirus pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war which has pushed inflation to 6.47% in April, the highest since 2017 on account of increased prices of food and fuel.
However in a bid to realize a faster annual growth rate, the Jubilee government embarked on increase infrastructure spending as a way of catalyzing trade and positioning Kenya as a competitive regional and global economy.
Infrastructure
The Kshs. 477 billion Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) has been a flagship project under President Uhuru Kenyatta leadership aimed at increasing regional and international trade by facilitating faster movement of good and people.
Construction of the 578.8km of track whose contract negotiations begun in 2011 was completed in June 1, 2017 under phase one with phase two from Nairobi to Naivasha being completed in 2019.
To date, the railway has cut the time it takes to transport goods from Nairobi to Mombasa to just three days while passengers now take four hours to travel from Mombasa to Nairobi.
SGR has since hauled 17.6 million tonnes of cargo and ferried over 6.5 million passengers between 2018 and 2021.
Rehabilitation of the existing metre gauge railway by the Kenya Defense Force (KDF) at a cost of Kshs. 1.5 billion has also seen the reintroduction of cargo and passenger services between Nairobi and Kisumu and Nairobi and Nyahururu.
The government has also constructed additional 10, 500km of road network across the 47 counties in a bid to facilitate movement of goods and people.
The Nairobi Expressway which commenced operation in May 2022 is perhaps the crown jewel of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration.
The 27km road is among modern road networks constructed or completed under the regime with others being Kenol-Muranga road, Southern Bypass, Western Bypass, Dongo Kundu Bypass, Mombasa –Kwa Jomvu dual carriage, Nairobi-Moyale highway, Kisumu-Kakamega highway and Kisumu-Kisii-Isibania highway.
Other infrastructure projects completed under the administration include the 2nd container terminal at the Mombasa port, three berths at Lamu Port, Terminal 1 at JKIA and Isiolo Airport.
Energy
With a promise to generate 5000 megawatts of power, President Uhuru Kenyatta has managed to oversee the installation of 3,900 megawatts of power compared to 1,300 in 2013.
Investment in green energy sources such as geothermal, wind and solar energy has seen the number of households connected to electricity jump to 8.3 million compared to 2.3 million in 2013.
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