Revisit our national fiscal policy
By Eric Simatwa
The news of the MPs’ outburst a week ago on the delayed disbursement of CDF was not only a mockery to our ailing economy but is an indication of the country’s fiscal demeanour getting out of hand!
Politics is indeed a tricky game where the truth doesn’t always prevail and, in fact, rarely does, resulting in much temptation to play to the gallery rather than state ugly facts that could turn a leader into an image of pain rather than a beacon of hope.
But the time comes when the truth, however bitter, should be spoken.
It’s barely been a fortnight, since the finance CS blew a caution horn on the country’s tough economic days ahead.
Generally, this year, the global economy is projected to shrink given emerging issues from the Russia-Ukraine war to the coronavirus pandemic that weakened the world economy in the past few years.
This, though, can’t be an excuse for cozy leadership in any jurisdiction from exploring ways to protect their economies from suffocation.
Kenya too is not an exception.
Kenya, as an entity in the global field, still struggles with rudimentary fiscal challenges that, if set straight, could put her in a competitive position among middle-income counties.
At this critical economic time, it defies logic that our leaders still find the strength to fight for duplication of responsibilities.
Where is the reason for the creation of CDF and other related funds? They highly hype it for bursaries, as MCAs also ask for a Ward Development Fund with exactly the same functions, though on a lower scale.
Senators and women representatives are feeling left out and are busy lobbying for some allocation too, in the name of discrimination!
This country can save a lot if stringent measures are taken.
The government needs to streamline its financial management system and ensure that all funds are served from a single purse to discourage duplication of roles, which enables corruption and results in more wastage of our limited resources.
The wage bill is another area that marks our fiscal indiscipline. We must assess the impact of every job opportunity and evaluate the workload for every government employee, even if it means introducing contact-based employment.
I was concerned when I visited a public office this mid-month and only a few officials had reported to work!
As this bothered me, someone in the know hinted to me that most former municipal council employees in this country rarely have roles in the county government setting, and some barely attend their work stations five days a month while continuing to receive their full benefits.
Perhaps it’s time we borrowed a leaf from Japanese work ethics, where government employees are not allowed to enter the workstation with personal mobile phones, let alone get late for work.
And are encouraged to only respond to any emergency calls if any at the break times.
This is in a quest to ensure optimum production, unlike our setting, where employees spend a lot of office time on job-unrelated call conversations.
Finally, as we audit our production and management, our focus should be on specialization.
Employees should be asked to stick to their lanes.
We can encourage jacks of all trades to thrive and optimize production amid conflicts of interest.
We must ensure employees have enough tasks at their workstations and are sufficiently paid as the economy would allow, and those that can’t secure a chance are supported to engage in other gainful ventures in the private sector.
Unless we brace ourselves and consider every aspect of our economy, the current trajectory has no promise of a breakthrough at all. We can’t continue to rely on debt and misuse the same finances at the same time.
The government should therefore heed the finance CS’s distress call and activate all austerity measures to salvage the situation; otherwise, our insensitive and selfish parliamentary leadership will plunder the country into the economic abyss.
(By: Eric Simatwa | +254729708256)