National Treasury and Planning Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ukur Yatani will be the man of the moment today, as he is expected to outline his strategy of raising part of an ambitious Sh3.6 trillion budget for the financial year starting July 2021.
Yatani, the 16th to hold the portfolio since Kenya’s independence in 1963 will arrive in Parliament shortly before 3 pm, accompanied by National Treasury Principal Secretary (PS) Julius Muia and other officials from the ministry carrying the traditional Budget briefcase.
His team will observe the Covid-19 pandemic health protocols by stopping briefly at the main gate to have their temperatures taken, and hands sanitised before proceeding for a photo session.
According to the National Assembly Order paper, the budget speech will start not later than 3:15 pm. But before Yatani enters the National Assembly to present what will be his second Budget speech, orderlies will sanitise furniture, in compliance with the Covid-19 health protocols.
The CS will deliver his speech amidst economic, and social disruptions occasioned by Covid-19, which according to the World Bank, has condemned an estimated two million more Kenyans into poverty.
Yatani will be seeking to raise Sh1.8 trillion in ordinary revenues through the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), with the balance of Sh1.8 trillion sourced from debt instruments.
With little headroom for revenue collection in the wake of adverse effects of the pandemic on the economy, the CS is widely expected to raid the wallets of Kenyans by slapping a 16 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) on basic commodities like bread and liquified petroleum gas (LPG), as well as a 15 per cent excise duty on motorbikes, in effect increasing the cost of leaving especially for the low income earning segment of Kenyans.
Other commodities lined up to attract the 16 per cent VAT after being dropped from the list of exempted products are disposable plastic syringes and others with or without needles human or animal substances prepared for therapeutic or prophylactic, Antisera and other blood fractions and modified immunological products, whether or not obtained by means of biotechnological processes.
Only a limited number of journalists will be allowed to document the session from the precincts of Parliament, as part of the enforcement of social distancing rules.