President Uhuru Kenyatta has made it clear that there is a financing gap in this year’s KSh 3 trillion budget. Photo: President Uhuru Kenyatta Source: Facebook
This is what Uhuru Kenyatta has done with your money, and why he needs to tax you more
Kenya has developed in six years under Uhuru than it did in decades under his predecessors
The many development projects initiated and completed since 2013 prove that all is not lost – Such accelerated economic growth means a bigger budget which translates to more taxes – Kenyans, however, ought to focus on the long term benefits as opposed to short-term pain Tax is inevitably the word on the lip of every Kenyan today and all eyes are trained on Parliament as Kenyans wait with baited breath to learn of the new levies they are likely to be slapped with on Thursday, September 20. President Uhuru Kenyatta has made it clear that there is a financing gap in the 2018 KSh 3 trillion budget, thus the need to widen the increase taxes and introduce austerity measures across all arms of the government.
While not denying the fact that there has been colossal wastage in government, the president has sought to outline the transformative development initiatives he has managed to deliver to taxpayers since 2013 as well as the legacy-shaping projects he wants to realise by the time he leaves office in 2022.
He has emphasised that while more development has arguably been attained in the past six years compared to the past three decades, the National Treasury, which is chiefly fed by taxes collected by KRA, is feeling the pinch.
Here, we take a look at some of the expensive administrative changes and development initiatives rolled out during his six-year tenure and their impact on the lives of ordinary Kenyans:
1. Implementing Devolution Devolution in the country, as dictated by the 2010 Constitution, has been realised under Uhuru. Over KSh 1 trillion has been disbursed to the 47 counties in the six years of his leadership, resulting in major improvements in service delivery at the grassroots level and improvements in the lives of Kenyans.
2. New government structures The 2010 Constitution drastically altered the structure of government, introducing many costly offices. The country now has two houses of Parliament; with the number of MPs rising from 290 to 349 members while the freshly-introduced Senate has 67 members. Also introduced are 47 county governors, 47 deputy governors, hundreds of County Executive Secretaries and thousands of County staff and support staff such as aides.
This is not to mention the construction of county headquarters, County Assemblies and official residences among other facilities that have cost billions of shillings.
3. The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) The 472km Nairobi-Mombasa SGR line, which cost a whopping KSh 327 billion and completed in a record four years – is unarguably the country’s most transformative post independent project. This modern railway line has redefined the transport sector in the country, ferrying over 1.5 million passengers and millions of tons of cargo in under one-and-a-half years. The 120km extension to Naivasha, which is over 50% done, will cost KSh 150 billion while the final 262km phase to Kisumu will cost KSh 380 billion. Financing for the project has largely been in the form of external loans that have to be repaid via taxes.
4. Last Mile Project The program is Uhuru’s main unsung achievement. In just four years starting 2013, the Last Mile programme saw more Kenyans connected to the grid than were connected in the 50 years since independence. An additional 3.65 million households were connected to the grid, increasing the total number of Kenyans with access to electricity from KSh 12.8 million in 2013 to KSh 33 million in 2017. Uhuru now wants to realise universal connection to affordable electricity by the year 2020. Under the project, citizens are only required to pay KSh 15,000 as opposed to the previous KSh 70,000 for connection.
5. Free maternal healthcare The president prioritised and made good his promise to provide free maternal healthcare in all public hospitals. Today, more mothers than ever before are delivering in hospitals, drastically reducing infant mortality.
6. NHIF When Uhuru assumed office, the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) was widely unpopular as it solely catered for hospital bed charges. Today, the over KSh 7.7 million NHIF principal members and millions of their dependents can use the cover to access comprehensive medical treatment in virtually every public and private hospital in the country. In February 2016, NHIF introduced a new package to cover patients with chronic diseases, with the government paying over KSh 3 billion for kidney dialysis and cancer treatment last year alone. It is no surprise that private insurance firms are now advising their clients to interchangeably use NHIF with their cover for full in-patient treatment.
7. Inua Jamii 70+ More than 700,000 vulnerable and elderly Kenyans have been receiving monthly stipends under the Inua Jamii programme, which caters for citizens aged 70 years and above. The programme is meant to cater for the social welfare of the elderly, helping them meet their basic needs. Over KSh 7.3 billion was spent on the programme in the last financial year, all drawn from taxes.
8. Mega road infrastructure The superior modern roads built across the country under the Jubilee reign are there for all to see. The roads, which have cost hundreds of billions of shillings in taxpayers’ money, include, Outering Road in Nairobi, Ngong Road, the Isiolo-Moyale Road, the Dongo Kundu Bypass in Mombasa County as well as the Voi-Mwatate-Taveta Road in Taita Taveta County.
9. Upgrading and equipping of hospitals Riding on the spirit of devolution, the government has massively improved the 47 county referral hospitals and equipped them with state-of-the-art equipment and other facilities. Today, patients do not have to travel outside their home counties to seek specialised services such as cancer and kidney dialysis in Nairobi. The government has also brought in specialists medical doctors from Cuba and deployed them in every county to further boost quality healthcare provision.
10. Modernisation of police service/security Days when police officers used to demand that wananchi fuel their official vehicles in case of emergency response are long gone. As a result of a car leasing programme introduced under President Kenyatta, the security officers now cruise around in posh Subarus, Toyota Land Cruisers and Nissan Patrols that never run on empty, boosting security. Police officers in arid areas now have Armed Personnel Carriers while sophisticated equipment invested in counter terrorism, a measure that has seen terrorism go down by over 95%.
11. Education On top of the Free Primary Education introduced under the NARC regime in 2003, President Kenyatta recently introduced the Free Day Secondary Education (FDSE) to ease the financial burden on parents with children in school. The government disbursed KSh 6.5 billion to Public Secondary Schools for this purpose in July 2018.
12. Revival of industries The government has pumped billions in a bid to revive industries in a move aimed at creating employment. A good example is the construction of the Kenya Breweries Limited Kisumu plant at a cost of 15 billion shillings. Read more: https://www.tuko.co.ke/