The government minted Sh29 billion in the 2016/17 fiscal year from investment earnings, the bulk of which was in form of dividends from telecommunication firm Safaricom .
The 2017 budget review and outlook paper shows that the earnings were Sh2.4 billion above target, indicating better than expected performance by State-owned corporations and regulators who submit surplus funds to the exchequer.
“During the fiscal year 2016/17, the government received investment income in form of dividends, surplus funds and directors’ fees of Sh28.9 billion against a revised target of Sh26.5 billion, resulting to a positive variance of Sh2.4 billion,” says the Treasury in the paper.
“Government equity participation in strategic investment was Sh3.6 billion in the same period.”
Dividend earnings accounted for Sh23.49 billion, against a budget estimate of Sh22.27 billion. The government holds a 35 per cent stake, equivalent to 14.02 billion shares, in Safaricom, the largest listed firm in Kenya.
Safaricom’s dividend payouts have been increasing over the years, with its most recent dividend standing at 97 cents per share for the financial year ended March 2017.
In the previous year it paid out an ordinary dividend of 76 cents per share and followed this up with a special dividend of 68 cents per share.
Other dividend paying firms in which the State has a stake include Kenya Commercial Bank and Kenya Power .