Health gets KSh54.9 billion budget and tax exemption for medical equipment  

NAIROBI, Kenya, 30 March 2017– The Ministry of Health has received an allocation of KSH 54.9 billion in the 2017/2018 financial budget. The budget read by the National Treasury, Cabinet Secretary, Henry Rotich in Parliament on Thursday also exempted medical equipment and apparatus used in specialized hospitals from taxation.

The CS said the allocation will go towards implementation of programs aimed at promoting health; addressing health needs of children, mothers and adolescents; enhancing social health protection; improving health infrastructure and strengthening norms, standards and health regulations.

He stated that the exemption of medical equipment and apparatus from VAT will motivate investors to put their resources in the health sector and address some of the challenges that the sector faces.

In his 2016 Budget Speech Mr. Rotich  had proposed stringent measures to promote the health sector through tax exemption of goods used for construction of specialized hospitals with accommodation. The incentive had excluded medical equipment and apparatus making it unattractive to investors.

“In order to address the challenges in the health sector, I propose to extend the incentives earlier granted by exempting from VAT medical equipment and apparatus for use in the specialized hospitals,” he announced.

The CS pointed out that the country has witnessed a significant reduction in communicable diseases; maternal and infant deaths; improved immunization coverage as well as access to ARVs and the government shall continue to implement programmes that ensure Kenyans have access to safe, quality, and cost effective health services.

To improve immunization coverage and increase access to ARVs, Mr. Rotich allocated KSh0.7 billion for vaccines , KSh0.6 billion to the National Aids Control Council and KSh5.0 billion for leasing of more medical equipment to bring specialized medical care closer to Kenyans.

He also allocated KSh0.9 billion to Free Primary Healthcare to expand access to affordable healthcare, KSh0.3 billion for the Health Insurance Subsidy Programme targeting the elderly & persons with disabilities and KSh1.1 billion for the rollout of universal health coverage.

Subsequently, he also allocated KSh4.3 billion to support Free Maternal Healthcare programme noting that the number of women delivering in health facilities has increased from 660,000 to 1.2 million annually, with a drop of maternal deaths from 6,000 to 4,000 annually.

“In addition, Mr. Speaker, the National Government in partnership with the County Governments has successfully implemented the free maternity programme and equipped more than 200 theatres for emergency surgery during delivery,” he added.

Doctors and Clinical Officers and Nurses’ internship programme have also received a boost of  KSh2.7 billion, Kenyatta National Hospital KSh9.0 billion, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital KSh6.2 billion, Kenya Medical Research Institute KSh2.0 billion, Cancer Services KSh0.7 billion and Kenya Medical Training College KSh3.9 billion