Treasury CS Henry Rotich’s 2019/2020 budget is self-evident that the Western Counties have been marginalized again, with the prevailing question revolving around the availability of the money to Kenyans and if it will be trickled down. Forget the grandiose branding of ‘trillions’ and ‘billions’. The question your MPs, Senators and MCAs must answer, break down is where, how, to whose benefit the Kshs. 2.8 trillion budget presented will be expended. In short, how much of the Kshs. 2.8 trillion will trickle down to you and me the ordinary, patriotic citizen of this country, a County, a constituency, a ward will receive in services that uplift each of our lives.
Visualize and absorb the great swindle Rotich’s budget is to you and me. Of the Kshs. 2.8 trillion, Kshs. 1.8 trillion will go to recurrent expenditure of the elected leaders in the National Government (Senate, National Assembly, Judiciary and Parliament public servants and National Government public servants). The same story of recurrent expenditure will play out in the utilization of the County Governments’ money allocated to the 47 County Governments with more than 60% going to recurrent expenditure.
So recurrent expenditure which goes to cater for the comfort, salaries of Kenya’s elected leaders, public servants in the Judiciary, Legislature National Government and County Governments and all who number less than 2.5 million of the nation’s population of 45 million. So that less than 5% of the population of Kenya is consuming 60-65% of the country’s total budget of Kshs. 2.8 trillion. 95% of the citizens of Kenya must then be left to benefit from less than 30% of the budget stated as for development – services, infrastructure. The country’s debts repayment is now consuming more than the development allocation.
Out of the 2.8 trillion budget and the resources one hopes will trickle to the Counties of the former Western Province are in competition with other parts of Kenya for development the following:
a) Big Four Agenda being universal health coverage, affordable housing, increasing manufacturing and improving food security and nutrition-Kshs. 450 billion
b) Agriculture – Kshs. 72 billion
c) Roads- Kshs. 180 billion
d) Energy – Kshs. 86 billion
e) Education – Kshs. 202 billion
f) Sports culture and tourism – Kshs. 17 billion
g) Social protection and affirmative action – Kshs. 11.6 billion
The bottom line is of the Kshs 2.8 trillion budget is how much of it will reach the Counties of the former Western Province with a population of over 6 million people? Regrettably, Kenya’s national budget is rigged deliberately to benefit the nation’s capital city Nairobi, and the neighbouring Counties, Mombasa County and Counties with big towns or cities.
The national budget must be interrogated thoroughly to clearly articulate its injustice against the region. Now that the bodaboda sector is the backbone of the economies of the region, the Cabinet Secretary is proposing to introduce compulsory third party insurance and which insurance premiums will go on to fatten insurance companies based in Nairobi County. Talk of stealing from the poor.
Could the Cabinet Secretary not have been intelligent to create a bodaboda insurance public corporation funded by the fuel levy to address the question of third party cover for passengers of bodaboda? Is that not a creative way of supporting a sector that now employs the largest pool of our youth. It’s their creativity, innovation and sheer hard work that has transformed them into the prime movers of our economy next to M-Pesa which is now being, punished and stifled by imposing on them a burden that will only make their cost of doing business higher.
The Rotich budget is not to be celebrated by the region as it plainly marginalizes the region. Elected leaders from the region must not continue to slumber in Parliament as our people are marginalized. So who were you MPs involved in the Budget making process (the Parliamentary Budget Committee) and what can they point out as the hidden jewels they fought for the region? Now that the Budget has to be debated and let’s wait and watch what the 40 plus MPs from the region will do to expose the unfairness of the budget to the region. They must fight for equity for our people before the budget is passed by Parliament. The ball is in the court of the elected MPs. Will they deliver?