NAIROBI, Kenya faces a 25.29 billion shillings (about 247 million US dollars) funding gap in key sub-sectors under the general economic and commercial affairs sector which are crucial in driving growth.

The Industry, Trade and Co-operatives Ministry estimates a total of 45.44 billion shillings will be needed in the coming fiscal year to revitalize sub-sectors such as trade, industry and investment, co-operatives and tourism.

Policy-makers at the Ministry estimate that sectors under the general economics and commercial affairs sector, excluding co-operatives, directly contribute 17.2 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

In the third pillar of the medium term plan 2018 of the government’s Vision 2030 development blueprint, the big four sub-sectors — Industry and Investment, Trade, Tourism and Co-operatives — have been prioritized.

According to the Ministry, key projects will include construction and equipping Constituency Industrial Development Centres (CIDCs), acquisition of equipment and machinery, establishment of a Commodities Exchange Platform, acquisition of Regional Anti-Counterfeit Agency Exhibit Warehouses, sustaining new markets and citing booths in target market clusters, developing National Food Safety and Hygiene Standards Guidelines Compliance in Hospitality Sector and tourism recovery.

Projects already underway include infrastructure development at the Athi River Textile hub which is now 40 per cent complete, the Kenanie Leather Park which is 12 per cent complete, the modernization of Rivatex which is 45 per cent complete, the construction and equipping of the research, technology and innovation laboratories at KIRDI Kisumu which is at 70 per cent and the KIRDI South B laboratory which is 62 per cent complete.

With a projected budget of 46.44 billion shillings in the 2018/2019 fiscal year, the ministry says only 21.15 billion shillings have been proposed, creating a budget gap of 25.29 billion.

The government will now be forced to explore other alternatives to fund implementation of the projects. Proposals put forth to bridge the gap to fund priority programmes and projects include exploring Private Public Partnerships and other financing models.