Editorials

EDITORIAL: Address challenges early as the New Year begins

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Summary

  • The start of the New Year today provides us with an opportunity to retrace our steps and find ways of mending our bobbing economy.
  • The past year was an extremely rough one for Kenyans going by the numerous job cuts, profit warnings and firms closures as well as a pile up of debt to suppliers for goods and services rendered.
  • All these were no doubt a worrying manifestation of an economy that was quickly careering towards recession.

The start of the New Year today provides us with an opportunity to retrace our steps and find ways of mending our bobbing economy.

The past year was an extremely rough one for Kenyans going by the numerous job cuts, profit warnings and firms closures as well as a pile up of debt to suppliers for goods and services rendered.

All these were no doubt a worrying manifestation of an economy that was quickly careering towards recession.

It is therefore imperative that these challenges are addressed at the earliest opportunity possible so that Kenyans are spared more pain in the New Year.

Critics had singled out wastage of public funds and non-payment of bills as some of the biggest drawbacks to economic progression in 2019. These should form the focus of journey towards mending the economy this year.

The National Treasury should redraw its expenditure plans and focus only on essential development projects this year. Investing in development projects has a direct beneficial effect on the economy in that ventures such as roads, power plants, affordable housing and healthcare among others place money in private hands through demand for raw materials, which ultimately creates jobs and sales for companies.

This has been lacking over the past year forcing most companies to downsize their operations or even shut down altogether, leaving behind a wave of destitution.

But reorganisation of expenditure isn’t enough, officials must also guard against theft of public funds because it denies the economy an opportunity to thrive. The purge on corrupt public officers should be stepped up this year so every cent set aside for development is fully accounted for.

The state should also not renege on its pledge to clear all pending bills to firms that have delivered on their contracts.It is unfair to pile cash flow challenges on firms that have duly honoured their end of the bargain and delivered goods and services only to be thrown into an endless chase game for months or even years.

Many firms secured debt to service their contracts and it is only proper that they are paid the billions of shillings owed to them to avoid the wrath of lenders.