Analysis of Kenya’s budget 2017/18: What’s in it for the poorest people?


The Kenyan government will read its 2017/18 budget in parliament on 30 March 2017, ahead of national elections in August. Prior to the reading, Development Initiatives analysed budget documents released between September 2016 and February 2017 to understand the extent to which the budget is pro-poor.

In this report we examine aspects of Kenya’s 2017/18 budget that relate to the redistribution of national resources or to budgetary allocation to sectors with programmes that target poor and vulnerable groups. 

Key findings

  • The Government of Kenya plans to spend of Ksh 2.29 trillion (27.6% of GDP) in the the coming financial year
  • Development expenditure will amount to 27.9% of the total budget – less than the minimum 30% threshold provided by the Public Finance Management Act 2012
  • The government aims to raise Ksh 1.71 trillion (20.6% of GDP) through collection of ordinary revenue and appropriation-in-aid
  • There will be mounting pressure on the domestic market in the 2017/18 financial year, as the government plans to finance 60.7% of the fiscal deficit and fund 58.7% of development expenditure using domestic sources
  • The government plans to increase net domestic borrowing by 12.4%
  • High debt repayment plans between 2017/18 and 2018/19 are likely to have an adverse impact on poverty programmes – reducing funds for services and infrastructure.

Almost all of the programmes favouring poor and vulnerable groups that are assessed in the report have been allocated more resources than they were in previous financial years. However, there is a financing gap between actual allocations and target resource requirements (as indicated in the various sector medium-term expenditure frameworks). Deficits are found in allocations to health insurance for the elderly and disabled persons programme; school health, nutrition and meals; and the National Social Safety Net programme.

The absorption capacity of the education and health sectors (the degree to which their development programmes are implemented by the end of the fiscal year) has been reported to be low, which may have negative implication on the quality of services.

Furthermore, some of the sectors have been adversely mentioned by the Auditor General’s report indicating that expenditure performance needs to be as closely scrutinised as resource allocation.

Read the full report 

Read the factsheet

Photo: Living Goods