East Africa’s national budgets skewed to fix tighter times ahead

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The iconic national treasury briefcases with their conspicuously imposing respective national emblems demonstrated a showcase of ownership, their 2019-2020 contents squarely seem to spell-out on the need to fix the tighter times ahead.

While Kenya’s national budget for the 2019-2020 summing to Ksh 3.02 trillion exceeded those of Tanzania Tshs.33.1 trillion ($14.3 billion), Uganda (Sh1.08 trillion) and Rwanda’s Sh316 billion combined, it according to the National Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Henry Rotich focused more on creating jobs, transforming lives and harnessing the country’s Big Four agenda.

The government of Tanzania expects to spend Tshs.33.1 trillion ($14.3 billion), which comparatively is the second largest national budget in the 2019/2020 financial year. In 2017/2018, Dr. Phillip Mpango, Tanzania’s Finance and Planning Minister had a Tsh 32.5 trillion ($14.1 billion).

The Kenya government’s Big Four development plan, which inclines on President Uhuru Kenyatta’s dream of transforming the country riding on concerted action of eliminating barriers of rendering to the nation Universal Healthcare, Manufacturing, Affordable Housing and Food Security.

The Kenya government’s Big Four development plan, which inclines on President Uhuru Kenyatta’s dream of transforming the country riding on concerted action of eliminating barriers of rendering to the nation Universal Healthcare, Manufacturing, Affordable Housing and Food Security.

Matia Kasaija, Uganda’s finance boss projection amounting to Ksh 1.08 trillion (UGS 40 trillion) was third followed a distant fourth of Ksh 316 billion (RWF 2.87 trillion) estimated by Uzziel Ndagijimana’s their Rwanda ministerial counterpart.

Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda’s 2019/20 national budgets put together totaled to Ksh 2.82 trillion, about Ksh 200 billion less compared to Kenya’s budget.

Kenya slightly decreased its national spending that was Ksh 3.07 trillion in the 2018/19 FY. Uganda did the opposite as it increased its spending from Ksh 860 billion in 2018/19 FY to KSh 1.08 trillion. Rwanda equally saw its budget increase to Ksh 316 billion in 2019/20 FY from KSh 287 billion in the previous fiscal year.

Kenya’s Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology emerged the biggest gainer in the 2019/2020 financial year. With an allocation of Ksh 450 billion on the country’s Big Four Agenda which has ICT cross-cutting components, the ministry of ICT got an additional Ksh23 billion in expenditure.

In Kenya, ICT received an overall allocation of Ksh3.2billion for the Digital Literacy Programme, Ksh2.9 billion for Government Shared Services Ksh2.8 billion for National Optic Fibre Backbone Phase II expansion and Ksh1.1 billion for Installation of an Internet Based 4000 Network.

According to Rotich, the projected ICT expenditure will help create more jobs as it transforms the lives of Kenyans. ICT in this regard received an overall allocation of Ksh3.2billion for the Digital Literacy Programme, Ksh2.9 billion for Government Shared Services Ksh2.8 billion for National Optic Fibre Backbone Phase II expansion and Ksh1.1 billion for Installation of an Internet Based 4000 Network.

The CS set aside Ksh7.2 billion for the on-going construction of Konza Technopolis Complex and another Ksh 5.1 billion to support the Konza Data Centre and Smart City Facilities project.

In Uganda, the 2019/2020 budget themed ‘Industrialisation for job creation and shared prosperity’ was structured along six major thematic areas including harnessing key growth sectors of Agriculture & Agro-Industry, Tourism, OiI, Gas, and Minerals; enhancing private sector growth and development; promoting human capital development; strengthening public sector investments and others.

Having identified ICT sector as one of the primary drivers to achieve desired growth towards actualising the middle-income status the government allocated the sector Ush 123 billion and a related sector; Science and Technology Ush 159 billion.

Uganda’s enabling ICT policy environment has facilitated a ground for significant growth in areas of mobile communications, computer applications, information processing, storage and dissemination as well as financial inclusion using mobile telephony platforms, e-finance, global connectivity and online trade.

According the finance minister, Uganda’s enabling ICT policy environment has facilitated a ground for significant growth in areas of mobile communications, computer applications, information processing, storage and dissemination as well as financial inclusion using mobile telephony platforms, e-finance, global connectivity and online trade.

In the FY2017/18, the ICT sector real GDP (at constant prices) was UGX 6.04trillion compared to UGX 5.58trillion in FY2016/17. Similarly, ICT sector nominal GDP (at Current prices) increased from UGX 2.01trillion in FY2016/17 to UGX 2.67trillion in FY2017/18.

The Ugandan government takes into account that contribution of ICT sector activities to the real national GDP accounted for 9.8 percent in FY2017/18 compared to 9.6 percent in FY2016/17.

In addition, the ICT sector activities contribution to nominal GDP improved from 2.2 percent in FY2016/17 to 2.6 percent in FY2017/18. The sector’s contribution to Government revenue totaled Ush 946.4bn (6.5 percent) of total Gross Revenue collection in FY2017/18. [UBoS in NITA-U Statistical Abstract 2018].

Under competitiveness, the sector contributes through reduction of the cost of doing business by investing in infrastructure (Transport, ICT, Energy) and improved access and dissemination of information to citizens and the economy in general.

This can be achieved through reduction of costs of doing business (to lower the cost of bandwidth by investment ICT infrastructure) while acknowledging the role of both the private sector and government. The cost of bandwidth is projected to reduce from USD 300 per Mbps per month (2016) to USD 50 by 2020. The cost has since dropped to USD 70 per Mbps per month since 2017.

Besides, ICT plays a crucial role towards improvement of the public sector management through effective and efficient delivery basic services. This can be attributed to enhanced usage and application of ICT services in Government, business and service delivery to improve operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.

In Tanzania, Dr. Mpango said that in the next financial year, the government plans to spend Tshs.20.9 trillion ($9.08 billion) in recurrent expenditure which will include financing of this year’s civic polls and preparation of the for the general elections slated for next year.

In Tanzania, Dr. Mpango said that in the next financial year, the government plans to spend Tshs.20.9 trillion ($9.08 billion) in recurrent expenditure which will include financing of this year’s civic polls and preparation of the for the general elections slated for next year.

Development expenditure for the period 2019/2020 is expected to reach Tshs.12.2 trillion ($5.3 billion) whereby Tshs.9.7 trillion ($4.2 billion) will be from internal revenue collection while Tsh2.5 trillion ($1.08 billion) is expected from external revenue sources.

Under wealth creation and employment, the sector has tremendous potential to increase job creation through ICT research, development and innovation; improved productivity as a result of the introduction of more efficient and secure business process support by ICTs, and marketing of excess inventories and supply chain optimization and revenue growth resulting from extended market coverage.

The Kenya Government’s ICT budget spending amounting to Ksh 22 billion on ICT Related Areas it has committed to covers all the sectors of the economy.

Among the six major areas the government is lined to spend billions in the ICT sector on the following initiatives: –

Installation of an Internet Based 4000 Network Ksh 1.1 billion whereas Ksh 3.2 billion is lined for Digital Literacy Programme. This program was initiated by the government in 2013 and targeted at public primary schools for them to use digital technologies in learning.

An expenditure of Ksh 2.9 billion for Government Shared Services has as well been projected and purposed for the maintenance of such systems like the Government Data Centre, Government Common Core Network, Centrally Hosted Email, Network Operation Centre, Shirikiana Shared Services Platform, Microsoft Cloud Shared Services and the Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (IFMIS).

On the government’s allocation for National Optic Fibre Backbone Phase II expansion is an average of Ksh 2.8 billion. This is an initiative to ensure connectivity in all of the 47 counties in Kenya. It involves the government of Kenya, the Chinese Government, Ministry of ICT, Huawei and Telkom Kenya. Phase 2 involves building 1,600km of fiber linking 47 county headquarters and an additional 500 km for military use.

An estimated spend of Ksh 7.2 billion is lined for the ongoing construction of Konza Technopolis Complex. This project was commenced last year as a Ksh 39 billion infrastructure project that involves the design, development and construction of phase 1 roads, parks, subservices, water treatment plants, sewage treatment plants, automatic waste collection system and public buildings like a fire department and police station.

An allocation of Ksh 5.1 billion to support the Konza Data Centre and Smart City Facilities project has as well been routed to Konza’s smart city. It shall involve collecting data from the connected urban services from the various smart devices and sensors embedded in the urban environment. The data centre will be constructed by Huawei.

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