6.5 to 7% economic growth expected in 2007/08 and the budget will focus on strengthening the financial sector, reducing the cost of doing business, enhanced productivity and fixing infrastructure.
Some measure mentioned in the budget speech today (only heard 1/2 of it) include:
alcoholduty up on spirits, wine and some beer
auto spares Reduce import duty 25 to 10% for oil filter, but with increased excise duty on imported used spares
Banks minimum share capital increased from 250 million to 1 billion (over the next 3 years) and benchmarks will be set up to be adhered to
battery to protect local battery companies, a duty imposed on imported recycled batteries
Cigarettes tax up
east African investors get the same treatment as Kenyans, - i.e. withholding tax of 5% on dividends and improved allocation chances (will be treated same as Kenyan in pool expanded form 25 to 40%)
energy rural electrification to be continued as mini grids will be set up in large towns. 8 billion has been allocated to deal with (anticipated?) energy shortages so they don’t hamper manufacturing processes and the government will also complete the oil pipeline to Uganda and refurbish the refinery at Mombasa (even though other shareholders have refused to chip in)
Educationincreased funding for free secondary education, implement increased teacher salary agreement and hire 7,000 new teachers
hawkers 400m to be spent to construct a market for them in Nairobi
ICT 1 billion ($15 million) for TEAMS which is expected to be completed in mid-2008. Also a national fibre optic network will be in place to reduce the cost of communications. In addition a 200m ($3m) endowment fund for innovation and research will be set up and the private sector invited to top it up.
insurance companies minimum share capital raised. For Long term (50m to 150m), general (100m to 300m) and composite from (150m to 450m) – within 3 years.
leasing: Zero rate leasing of some equipment and removal of withholding tax requirement
licenses for businesses - eliminate 205, reform 371 others
Medical equipment duty removed
milkZero rate milk powder to promote local processing and value addition
mineral water tax imposed
police 25,000 new officers to be hired
plastic bags tax imposed while thin plastic bags are banned to improve the environment.
Privatization 36.1b shillings ($0.5 billion) expected from privatization: Telkom Kenya (get a strategic partner this month), Safaricom IPO on the NSE, more shares sold of Kengen (when price corrects) and National bank [these shares could be offloaded to 3rd parties and not through the exchange]
Pyrethrumextracts are zero rated to promote local insecticide production
real estate duty exemption for developed of low cost housing (but not in slums). Also pension savings can now be used as security for home loans (not just as down payment)
retirees monthly pension benefits will be exempt from tax. Also social security will accept voluntary contributions from those whose employers don’t take part
sugar development levy removed from imported industrial sugar
textiles removed import duty
trade import duty reduced from 2.75% to 2.25% for all goods from all outside east Africa and none from within east Africa
transportation removed TLB from non passenger commercial vehicles,
Tourism 2 million visitors expected this year and as benefited the local air and hotel sectors. Will develop eco and lake tourism and will create resorts in Mombasa, Turkana and Isiolo.
universities (private) duty removed on goods and services supplied to them
VAT refunds to speed up refunds (which business community has complained about), will become automatic for those companies with a proven track record
women a 2 billion shilling ($30 million) women enterprise fund to be set up – starting with 1 billion this coming year, and call on corporates to assist the fund.
youth fund allocation increase by 250m to 1.25 billion with a goal of taking it to 2 billion