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Friday, November 25, 2011

A Rant On Public Finances

The original blogpost is linked here.


A RANT ON PUBLIC FINANCES

by Ramah Nyang on Friday, 25 November 2011 at 08:53

A quick update on public finances – there’s a treasure trove of data out there with all sorts of interesting inferences to be made on it. However, it usually takes an specific event to trigger a search for data of a specific sort – like say, why projects are stalling and salaries aren’t being paid.

The Eldoret Correspondent, Matthews Ndanyi, sent over an interesting tidbit on how infrastructure projects worth KES 10 B across some 45 Technical Training Institutes have stalled – because of the funds budgeted for these programs has not been released.

Another 1.6 B is also missing in action – and that includes workers wages for between 3-6 months, depending on the Technical Training Institute in question. The sources for this story are scared to talk to the media. The KE Govt being the vindictive bastard that it is [Remember this? -  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGVD3jqvQ70]

their fear is entirely understandable.

Some digging led me to this article –

[http://www.treasury.go.ke/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&Itemid=54&gid=70&orderby=dmdate_published]

the first quarter review of the Budget’s implementation. On spending by line Ministries – the report said, quote,

“the Ministries that reported under expenditures includes Roads; Water and Irrigation, Higher Education, Science and Technology; Public Health and Sanitation, amounting to KES 7.5 B, KES 5.5 B, KES 4.4 B and KES 3.3 B respectively.”

So there’s over KES 4 B lying around in the Higher Education Ministry, and if you crunch the numbers a little more, it gets more interesting. It’s off target by 24.89% on recurrent spending, and a massive 60.83% on development expenditure.

The story’s sources gain credence – and a series of phone calls and text messages to the Higher Education PS, Chrispus Kiamba, are not responded to. Classical silent treatment – it’s like dealing with an moody partner, only one you religiously pay, and get shoddy returns from.

The thing is, it’s not just the Higher Education chaps that are working at the speed of racing sloths. Aggregated across all Government Ministries, development expenditure’s off target by 46.5%. That’s about half of Uhuru Kenyatta’s highly lauded “investments” not coming on line, and we’re already halfway into FY ’11-’12.

The Water Ministry, which was to spearhead part of the much publicized irrigation blitz the Finance Minister talked about in June, hasn’t touched 54.2% of its development budget. The other bit of the equation – the Agriculture Ministry – makes short work of that. 62% of its development budget is still untouched.

Inference – we’re not bloody serious about taming inflation beyond 2012. Given these figures, I would not be surprised if in 2012, we’ll still see the Central Bank Governor lamenting how food price shocks are making a mess of their efforts to tame inflation.

Also, one, Uhuru Kenyatta’s paying lip service to the business of cleaning up public finances and making sure our taxes go where they’re needed, to do what he claims they should do.

And someone wants me to take this fellow’s pitch for President seriously? Bollocks.

These books look like some failed Hogwarts experiment. Any private firm worth its salt would have the CEO & CFO fired for presenting numbers of this sort – but KE taxpayers being who they are, we either give the CFO & CEO of Kenya.Inc a free pass, or we bury our heads in the sand and assume nothing bad’s happening.

In a ruling this week, Judge Mohammed Warsame described the Government as follows.

“….the government monster in the name of security ought to be investigated and tamed otherwise it may run amok and cause more suffering to the citizens of this country….”

He was talking about the demolition of buildings in Eastleigh, but his words apply to the state of public finances as much as anything else.

This monster, must be brought to heel – but if you’re going to bet on anything, bet on KE taxpayers joyfully casting their ballot for more terrible financial managers in 2012. 

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