Kenya Budget 2017/18: Summary of ICT Gains

Kenya Budget 2017

Most of us are used to the June presentation of Kenya’s national annual budget. But it being a general election year, the constitution gives a deadline of April for it to be tabled in the National Assembly.

Naturally, the budget includes several economic policies, plans and implementation procedures. For this reason, this piece will focus on the gains and setbacks (if any) based on ICT.

The finance cabinet secretary, Mr. Henry Rotich mentioned that the government will invest in ICT to augment prompt access to crime scenes by comprehensively mapping crime incidences. The database that will be built out of these events will then be used to formulate plans and deployment of equipment as well as management towards the dissection of how crime takes place.

The budget sheds light on quality and relevant education access for all Kenyans. Kenya Government aims to achieve its mandate in this sector by enhancing access to education and training to people, coupled with improvements in quality and relevance as well as encouraging science, technology and innovation.

One of the strategies of ensuring the success of the mentioned targets is the plan to boost ICT integration in all levels of education as a stepping stone in enhancing science, technology and innovation. In essence, the strategy will be given priority through policies, research licensing, and accreditation of research programs in various learning institutions.

Another notable point from the budget speech is the focus on the ICT, Energy and Infrastructure sector that will receive 26.7% of the total discretionary expenditures. This is a key priority for the medium term budget and showcases the government’s ambition in improving the named sectors to give the country a headway towards development.

The Infrastructure and Information, Energy as well as the Communication and Technology Sectors are associated with major projects such as county connectivity, National Optic Fiber Backbone Infrastructure (NoFBI) Phase II, Digital Literacy Program, to mention but a few. These programs are still the priority for the Financial Year 2017/18 – 2019/20.

To ensure their success, the Government promises to guarantee the completion of these projects by allocating KES 427 billion, KES 491.3 billion and KES 507.9 for the financial years 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20 in that order. Similarly, their recurrent and development expenditure for the three financial years is KES 66.5 billion, KES 70.1 billion, KES 70.6 billion and KES 360.5 billion, KES 421 billion, KES 437.4 billion respectively.

On the other hand, the Government committed to promote the uptake of information technology as well as the development of paramount infrastructure, not to mention the use of best practices in maintenance and operation.

Mr. Rotich also emphasized on strengthening Kenya’s position as a global leader in mobile money technology, which has been one of the primary financial sectors that have supported economic growth. However, the Cabinet Secretary warned about technological disaster should the system ever be compromised because information technology drives financial innovation in mobile money transfer, not to mention that it constitutes 0.9% of the GDP (2015).