Politics and policy
Planners yet to get priorities right as Budget size grows
Posted Thursday, June 14 2012 at 21:58
The Sh1.45 trillion Budget, like in all previous years, does not support the building of a fair and inclusive society.
One year from today (Friday), poor Kenyans will remain just that; if not poorer. Those that were on the low income 10 years ago are still on the fringes of the economy.
Not every Kenyan is benefiting from the progress of the nation. To realise our vision, we need to create more opportunities for low-income Kenyans, the youth and senior citizens.
The Sh1.45 trillion compares well with other sub-Saharan Africa countries. Credit goes to President Mwai Kibaki for more than tripling the national budget since taking office.
Though a mind-boggling sum, the budget translates to a paltry spend of Sh38,160 per citizen per year compared to Sh343,170 per citizen for many middle income countries.
Worse, the Budget is based on faulty promises that the exchange rate, interest rates and inflation will remain constant.
These and the next general election will possibly disrupt the revenue side of the Budget. It will be a miracle if this Budget is realised as proposed.
As an accountant, I ask: What have Kenyans obtained from the Kibaki budgets? Except for infrastructural development projects (roads and electricity) there is very little to boast of as more than half the budget is misapplied, misappropriated or wasted.
Unco-ordinated spending, so-called “fish ponds and centres of excellence” will not get Kenyans out of the poverty trap. Spending plans alone without structural reforms will not make Kenya a middle-income country.
We cannot attain the MDG status without reforming and re-aligning all spheres of government operations. Our first task is to upgrade and restructure our economy, so that we can grow by becoming more productive, and can rely less on imports.
Secondly, we must upscale investments in a multi-face IT platform interconnecting core sectors of government such as the police, registration of citizens, taxes, banking, drivers, and passport offices.
When you have Kenya Revenue Authority dealing with number plates and drivers’ licences, you clearly see why taxes are flat. It is rather obvious majority of Kenyans in the informal sector pay no taxes besides the indirect ones.
Personal income and corporation taxes have the potential to more than double the collections, just look at the Tiger economies of Asia.
We are spending billions in Somalia rather than transforming the Immigration department into a modern “Border Force.” We are spending billions of shillings on roads, yet most of our city roads are terrifyingly appalling. We are spend everywhere yet law enforcement and obeying the law is at an all-time low.
We talk about billions of shillings but no investments worth of note in the water sector, for example.