INFLATION’S UP, SHORTAGES ABOUND AND TIMES ARE HARD.
The major political parties in Kenya may be raking in ‘billions’ of shillings from aspiring candidates seeking to get their rear ends on lucrative elective seats in August, and the government’s spending like a sailor, but for wananchi times are tough and the Kenya Forum isn’t the only reputable group saying so.
IMF: REVIEW SPENDING, TACKLE SHORTAGES
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), no less, has raised its concern at Kenya’s growing public debt, i.e., how much the government is spending of your money and borrowing money it doesn’t have.
In its quarterly review the IMF has called on the Kenyan government to review its spending plans to release funding to tackle the serious drought still affecting the country and to counter food price increases.
The Fund’s review is part of process to assess Kenya’s eligibility to receive a $1.5 billion loan to ‘address external shocks’, i.e. to borrow more money.
As it stands Kenya’s public debt is estimated to be Ksh3.6 trilliion (about $36 billion) whilst inflation has now officially reached over 10% (an annual inflation rate of 10.28% to the end of March compared with 9.04% at the end of February).
INFLATION IN KENYA: PRICES RISE FOR COOKING OIL, MAIZE MEAL AND SUGAR
At the start of the year cooking oil cost Ksh130 per litre, now it’s Ksh180; 2kg of meal maize was Ksh100 per kilo, now it’s Ksh160; and 1kg of sugar was Ksh95, now it’s Ksh160.
The long-term drought has pushed up prices and other factors have hit the supply of essential food stuffs. Have you tried buying butter lately?
In his 2017/2018 budget Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich announced tax measures to counter the rising cost of living by removing VAT from bread and maize and also scrapping import duty on maize.
Rotich also announced the importation of maize from Mexico as an emergency measure to increase supplies and cut the high-street price to the consumer but a month later the Kenya Revenue Authority say they have still not received the go-ahead for the duty-free importation of maize from Mexico: hardly ‘joined-up’ government.
THE PRICE OF POLITICS
Meanwhile the political parties are coining it in from aspiring candidates. It is now estimated that from ‘nomination fees’ Jubilee have raked in Ksh256 million from would-be MPs and ODM have banked a still handy Ksh113 million.
In total, from MP candidates, aspiring Governors, Senators, Women Reps and MCA’s Jubilee have received a cool Ksh673 million and ODM Ksh286 million.
Kenya’s political class still seem to have a lot of money to spend but it’s ordinary Kenyans that are paying the price.