The 2019/2020 budget seeks to create an enabling business environment more so for the micro small and medium enterprises with the aim to create jobs; spend prudently and efficiently to curb misuse of public funds; prioritise spending on key projects to be funded by domestic resources; reduce fiscal deficit to stabilize and minimize the national budget; and to implement reforms that will enhance efficiency and make Kenya more competitive.
Additionally, Government seeks to improve business climate with the hope of capitalizing on the ripple effect of job creation and part of the strategy is to accelerate business reform initiatives that are aimed at reducing the cost of doing business. Kenya is currently ranked 61 out of 180 countries in this regard.
In regards to improving expenditure efficiency, the Cabinet Secretary proposed zero based budget process, not taking on any new projects to ensure completion of existing ones, review of externally funded programmes and realigning them with the Big 4 Agenda and, reducing expenditure on programmes of less priority.
This will be achieved by restricting extension of civil servants retiring after the age of 60, restricting recruitment of technical staff, teachers, health workers and rooting out ghost workers. Government also promised to streamline domestic and foreign travel allowances to state officers inter alia.
While the proposals by the CS Treasury are welcome, a majority of them are largely self-admission of blatant failures of government to carry out its mandate prudently, diligently and in the interest of its people.
To speak of curbing misuse of public funds and to prioritise spending on key projects 56 years after independence is distasteful. Extravagance and overindulgence of government mandarins have been decried since Jubilee Government came to power and to be talking of curtailing these two now as a means of growing the economy is stretching imagination a little too far.