INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT

University of Nairobi Business School Associate Professor Bitange Ndemo says years of project planning that sources money from the poor but fails to include them in the developments is a recipe for chaos.

Dr Ndemo said the pressure is increasingly becoming unbearable for the poor, who are now being forced to shoulder the cost of economic mismanagement.

“If we don’t use the concept of inclusive development, then these poor people will begin feeling left behind in the economic growth story and start standing against some development agenda.

"One cannot assume that those people in the slums are not watching what is going on and comments being made by some public figures, which essentially underline the insensitivity exhibited in government cycles,” Dr Ndemo said.

When Kenyans were still enraged by the introduction of 16 percent VAT on fuel last weekend, Deputy President William Ruto on Monday morning bought 1,400 goats collectively valued at Sh10 million at a goat auction in Kajiado County.

GOAT AUCTION

The goats, which Mr Ruto said belonged to him and President Kenyatta, were bought in cash stashed in a black backpack, which was handed to the host, Kajiado Governor Joseph ole Lenku.

The video that went viral after the action has been a subject of great discussion, with many Kenyans seeing the purchase as insensitive.

Equity Bank chief executive officer James Mwangi, who is also the Vision 2030 Delivery Board chairman, also stoked public outrage when he supported the fuel tax, saying it is the pain Kenyans must experience to enjoy the fruits of transformation, adding that people must “tighten their belts”.

Earlier in the year, MPs had pushed Treasury to grant them Sh5 million shillings each as grants after scattering attempts by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission to remove these perks.

The MPs and Senators, who earn more than Sh1 million each every month, due to allowances — including Sh5,000 sitting allowance every time they clock in for the plenary session and Sh5,000 each for committee sitting — have been widely criticised for burdening Kenyans.

“Have you wondered why no one at Treasury ever talks about austerity but keeps singing about more revenue?

"MPs should be the first group to be targeted. The government is focusing on the wrong solution; it’s not about more revenue now, it’s about reducing expenditure,” Nairobi-based economic analyst Gitau Githogo said.

EXPENDITURE

Mr Githogo said perennial budget increases have not been consistent with a rise in revenues, placing Kenya in the current economic odds.

Official data show that the gross estimated Government expenditure almost doubled between 2012 and 2016, rising by 93 percent to Sh2.2 trillion.

This is higher than the 60 percent rise in revenues and 126 percent rise in public debt over the same period.

Expenditure reduction plans like the planned merger of parastatals in line with recommendations of a 2013 report by a parastatal reforms task force appointed by President Kenyatta, have largely been shelved.

Another one dubbed Capacity Assessment and Rationalisation of the Public Service Programme that would see weeding out of ghost workers and eliminate duplication of duties, has also been gathering dust after gobbling money developing strategies.

Other previous austerity measures that have not been fully enforced include a ban on fuel guzzlers, reduction of the money spent on flowers and refreshments, and streamlining of procurement to lower the inflated prices government pays for goods and services.

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