Education poised for the biggest slice in the 2019-20 budget

The government intends to spend over Sh411 billion on the sector, with Sh202.5 billion on primary and secondary education

In Summary

•At least Sh2.4 billion is planned for the controversial digital literacy programme

•The powerful Interior ministry has been allocated Sh136.5 billion for the next fiscal year

Education CS George Magoha
Education CS George Magoha

The country’s education sector will have the biggest slice of the Sh2.76 trillion government expenditure budget for the 2019/20 financial year.

According to estimates tabled in the National Assembly by the leader of Majority Aden Duale on Tuesday, the government intends to spend over Sh411 billion on the sector, with Sh202.5 billion for primary and secondary education.

The breakdown shows President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government commitment to both free secondary and primary education, allocating Sh59.4 and Sh13.4 billion to the two initiatives respectively. The amount includes students’ national health cover.

At least Sh2.4 billion is for the controversial digital literacy programme where the government was to give each pupil from class one a laptop.

The Department of University Education is allocated Sh104.3 billion, up from Sh103.2 billion indicated in the draft 2019 Budget Policy Statement (BPS) while a Sh91.4 billion estimate is proposed for the early learning programme.

The sector had requested for Sh473.7 billion, up from Sh442.3 billion allocated in the ongoing financial year.

The Jubilee government plans to spend Sh172 billion on infrastructure improvement across the 47 counties.

This is Sh14 billion less than the Sh186 billion requested by the state Department of Transport headed by James Macharia for the next financial year.

The powerful Interior ministry has been allocated Sh136.5 billion to run its myriad operations against a request of Sh140.7 billion.

The docket, headed by CS Fred Matiang’i, is viewed as the key enabler of President Kenyatta’s legacy project – Big Four Agenda – on which this year’s budget is anchored.

Both Matiang’i and Macharia will collectively control nearly 30 per cent of the country’s budget.

Other ministries directly engaged in the Big Four plan have also been considered with huge budgets to realise Uhuru’s dream of ensuring employment creation, youth empowerment, supporting manufacturing activities, enhancing Universal Health Coverage, improving food security and enhancing living conditions through affordable housing.

The Ministry of Defence – according to the estimates – is another major beneficiary. It is allocated Sh171 billion to spend in the coming fiscal year.

The Health docket, which is directly engaged in the ambitious Big Four Agenda, is earmarked to receive Sh93 billion with special consideration to achieving universal health care.

The provision of UHC will get the lion's share with Sh35.8 billion channelled to implement the project launched on a pilot basis last year by President Kenyatta in Kisumu.

Under the UHC project, Treasury CS Henry Rotich has among others allocated Sh3.2 billion for the elderly and severely disabled, scaling up UHC (Sh6 billion), free maternity care (Sh4.1 billion), regional cancer centres (Sh0.4 billion) and conditional grants to level 5 hospitals (Sh4.3 billion).

Some Sh15.6 billion is allocated for ensuring food security – another key Big Four Agenda pillar. The government intends to use among others national value chain support programme (Sh2 billion), sugarcane farmers debt payment (Sh0.3 billion), cherry coffee revolving fund (Sh3 billion) and miraa industry revitalisation (Sh1 billion) to achieve the food security pillar.

Provision of affordable and decent housing for all Kenyans, according to the estimates, will consume Sh10.5 billion.

The government will spend Sh 1 billion on social housing, Sh1 billion on the construction of new affordable units, Sh2.5 billion on mortgages and Sh5 billion on National Housing Development Fund.

In the estimates, the government will pump Sh7.3 billion towards Industrialisation after slashing Sh1.9 billion from the initial requested budget.