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Budget 2017/2018: Huge Public Service Wage Bill, Corruption running country into debts.

Nairobi, Kenya, 30th March, 2017/…. It is time Kenyans demanded balanced budgets and prudent government spending, International Center for Policy and Conflict (ICPC), has said.

The budget for the financial year 2017/2018, which is the first budget to be read before June, currently stands at Kshs. 2.6 trillion out of which Kshs. 1.7 trillion, will be collected from tax revenues. Therefore, how does the government intend to raise the deficit without increasing taxes? ICPC is calling on the government to provide clear information on how it intends to raise the Kshs. 900 billion deficit without increasing taxes.

It is also imperative to observe that within the financial year 2017/2018, it is estimated that the government will spend Kshs. 520 billion to service debts. Further, we recall the President, during his State of the Nation address, saying the government spends more than half of the revenue collected to pay less that 2% of the total population.

The Cabinet, Office of Controller of Budget, National Audit Office, Public Service Commission, Salaries and Remuneration Commission, Council of Governors, and the National Treasury should by now have produced a draft policy document on how to cut government consumption, wastage, corruption and duplication.

The government knows the depth of corruption and inflated payments of goods and services within it but has completely refused to purge and make corruption very costly. The Kenyan political system is corruptly criminal. It is about looting and plundering national wealth and resources, at the expense of the citizens. It does not produce, expand and grow the economy but extracts what is available. It must be purged, restructured and redefined. Unfortunately, the country lacks leadership of foresight and will to challenge this tradition.

The Kenyan public has been demanding for an end to irresponsible and corrupt nature of public finances which are costing Kenyans better healthcare, infrastructure, security and affordable and sustainable living.

However, the political system has been intransigent in response. The country must get rid of corruption and deficit. There should be no room for negotiations and/or sacred cows. It is time the government sheds its own fat before spreading its hands to taxpayers.

For a long time now, Kenya has lived in denial of an economic policy crisis. It has always painted a rosy picture of economy growth while the reality says otherwise. There has never been a clear policy on the role of government in economy. Further, the country lacks satisfactory leadership with courage, vision and political conviction of accepting the nature of the country’s economic policy and instead chooses the easy pacifying route.

It is necessary for the government to declare with clear actions and efforts to secure economic prosperity by cutting the corruption red tape, free businesses from bureaucracy and create an environment in which enterprises can flourish. It is important to stream the national planning policy to put county plans at the heart of development and growth with greater devolution of power and resources to local areas.

 

Signed,

Ndung’u Wainaina

 

Executive Director, ICPC