Editorials

Review BBI proposals that may add taxpayer burden

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President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister display a copy of BBI Report during the presentation at Kisii State Lodge. PHOTO | PSCU

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Summary

  • The much-awaited report of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) taskforce was finally released on Wednesday, with the official launch scheduled next Monday.
  • A quick glance through the document reveals that it is a mixed bag, including a number of goods proposals, which if fully implemented will bring substantial benefits to the ordinary Kenyans.

The much-awaited report of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) taskforce was finally released on Wednesday, with the official launch scheduled next Monday.

A quick glance through the document reveals that it is a mixed bag, including a number of goods proposals, which if fully implemented will bring substantial benefits to the ordinary Kenyans.

Hopefully, such recommendations will be implemented.

Kenya is notorious for coming up with brilliant policy papers and letting them to gather dust on the shelves.

On the flip side, there are some of proposals that have to be subjected to a critical examination.

For example, granting seven-year tax holidays to new youth-led enterprises, increasing budget allocation to counties from 15 percent to 35 percent of the national revenue, and giving students more time to pay loans may look good on paper.

However, these proposals are bound to pose serious financial challenges.

The report is also proposing the expansion of the Executive and the Legislature, reflecting President Uhuru Kenyatta's and ODM leader Raila Odinga's contention that doing so will cure the winner-takes-all malady in presidential polls that has been blamed for violence every other election cycle.

While their argument sounds sensible, taking into account the instability witnessed every five years whenever we go to the polls, the concern is how taxpayers will carry the added burden of footing the bill of such new offices.

The BBI report wants the country to have in place Prime Minister and two deputies.

It is also proposing an additional 38 members of Parliament and introduction of the Leader of the Opposition.

These new positions, among others, will certainly come with massive budgets that the economy is unlikely to sustain.

The country is already swimming in public debt which stood at Sh6.7 trillion as at the end of last June.

We should be thinking about how to get ourselves out of the financial hole, not digging deeper.