What you need to know:
- Key pronouncements to women empowerment funds include Sh182.8 million for the Women Enterprise Fund, Sh192 million for Uwezo Fund and Sh10 billion to the Hustlers Fund aimed at increasing access to affordable credit to women.
- Also included is Sh940 million towards the Free Sanitary Towels Programme aimed at improving girls’ education outcomes.
National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u presented the much-anticipated budget policy highlights for the 2023/24 financial year yesterday with a raft of interventions geared towards women’s empowerment and social protection.
Some of the key pronouncements are allocations to women empowerment funds, including Sh182.8 million for the Women Enterprise Fund, Sh192 million for Uwezo Fund, and an additional Sh10 billion to the Hustlers Fund aimed at increasing access to affordable credit to women.
Further, the National Treasury committed to supporting youth, women, and persons living with disabilities through government-funded empowerment programmes that leverage partnerships with private sector organisations.
To increase women’s participation in government procurement opportunities, Prof Ndung’u committed to rolling out an e-procurement system to be used by both national and county governments that would ensure efficiency and transparency in procurement.
“The government remains committed to ensuring access to government procurement opportunities to MSMEs owned by women, youth and persons with disabilities. Access to procurement opportunities is crucial for Bottom-Up agenda.
"For this reason, the government has re-engineered the Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO) portal to enable real-time registering and monitoring,’’ he stated.
The National Treasury also directed procuring entities to ensure prompt payment of successful contracts implemented under AGPO that will increase ease of doing business with the government.
With regards to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) where majority of women work, the National Treasury allocated Sh300 million to MSME manufacturers and directed the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) to exempt MSMEs from merger notifications.
Additionally, the National Treasury aligned with the National Assembly Finance and Planning Committee recommendation to lower the floor for annual turnover tax from Sh500,000 to Sh1 million. However, the ceiling of that tax band has been revised to Sh25 million from the initial Sh50 million.
Prof Ndung’u also allocated Sh245 million to help strengthen prevention of and response to gender-based violence, and Sh3 billion to the Affirmative Action Fund, an area that majorly touches on women.
In the education sector, the Cabinet Secretary proposed Sh940 million towards the Free Sanitary Towels Programme that is aimed at improving girls’ education outcomes.
With regard to climate change resilience where women are disproportionately affected, the Treasury proposed ambitious allocations aimed at enhancing resilience to climate change risks to smallholder farmers and pastoral communities in Kenya.
These include Sh1.5 billion for climate smart agriculture, Sh625 million to enhance drought resilience and sustainable livelihood, Sh318 million towards ending drought emergency projects and Sh300 million to crop insurance schemes that would reduce vulnerability of farmers to disease and natural disasters.
Being the maiden Kenya Kwanza budget, the National Treasury aims to address five key priorities: high cost of living; high unemployment; high tax burden; wastage of public resources; and high public debt.