It is the election season and with it comes lots and lots of pre-election goodies.
Jubilee's pre-election goodies that could cost the Kenyan taxpayer dearly
As the Jubilee govt offers more 'goodies', the common mwananchi could end up suffering in the long-run
The season is here again where politicians will treat Kenyans to a whole heap of ‘promises’ that are better known as pre-election gifts.
Politicians will traverse across various places in the country wooing voters with promises which, well, are hardly implemented if they get voted in after the elections.
But amid all those pre-election goodies, what becomes of the Kenyan economy once they are executed? What does it mean to the Kenyan taxpayer’s pocket?
To put this issue into perspective, we shall have a look at the Uhuru-led Jubilee government.
Just the other day, during the launch of the SGR, the initial price for the Economy class was Sh900. Many Kenyans felt deceived by the price seeing that it was hardly different to the fare charged by buses (Sh1200).
Fearing that the Opposition would voice out their concern on the same, President Uhuru lowered the price to Sh700 in what was viewed as the Jubilee’s populist policy pegged on vote-hunting ahead of the elections.
The move put doubts on whether or not the SGR would repay the Chinese in four years as earlier projected.
Populist policy moves
It is a norm that has characterized Uhuru’s policy making process as his government has also made other populist moves such as free fertilizer offer, sugar, maize and milk subsidies, civil service salary increments, title deed offer, interest rate caps, promise of free secondary education and increment in the minimum wage among others.
And while all these policies/directives are done to appease the voters, the cost it might have in the long term to taxpayers and the country’s economy could prove costly.
The Government anticipates collecting Sh1.5 trillion in tax revenue, but the actual collections would be significantly smaller, considering the difficulty in raising additional funds from an already stretched tax base.
Last month, the government offered to waiver the cost of Unga that would see a 2kg packet of maize flour retail at Sh90.
The programme, which will cost taxpayers about Sh6.5 billion, has run into problems as there is an acute shortage of the same; a clear indication of how it was hurriedly executed.
The same can be said for sugar where the recent bail out of troubled Mumias Sugar is viewed as gesture purely intended for vote-hunting. The miller has received billions in shillings to revive it but massive corruption allegations have seen it struggle to get back to its feet.
Again, the government recently decided to give civil servants a salary increment, throwing to the wind all caution of ballooning wage bill.
Even then, Uhuru has always bragged about Jubilee’s high riding in the polls due to fiscal discipline.
To abandon this stance right before an election is a mistake. At best, it will confuse voters about what the party actually stands for in terms of economic policies.
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