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Delayed economic survey set for release, KNBS says

By Anthony Mwangi
Tuesday, September 7th, 2021 00:00 | 2 mins read
KNBS director general MacDonald Obudho (left) with senior Finance manager Elias Njoroge when they appeared before PIC in Nairobi, yesterday. Photo/PD/GERALD ITHANA

Treasury stopped Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) from releasing the critical Annual Economic Survey 2021, lawmakers heard yesterday.

Director General MacDonald Obudho told a parliamentary committee that his office was in the process of seeking an appointment with President Uhuru Kenyatta to brief him on the findings before Treasury, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) stepped in and asked that the survey be shelved and reviewed afresh.

Obudho who was appearing before the Public Investments Committee (PIC) of the National Assembly said the report was to be released on April 29 before Treasury’s intervention.

“We are now ready and the Annual Economic Survey 2021 will be released tomorrow,” Obudho told the committee during a hearing at a city hotel.

Committee chairman Abdulswamad Nassir sought to know why the report was delayed given its importance to the country in terms of planning.

“Are you aware that your incompetences have resulted in serious problems in terms of planning by many State agencies?

The agencies cannot review salaries or plan their development projections,” said Nassir. 

In response, Obudho said the bureau was ready to make public the crucial report only to be stopped by Treasury which insisted that the report be looked at afresh.

“Your statement shows that either your report was badly done or that the figures therein were so scaring for the country to be informed, that is the reason they did not want the President to look at the report,” Nassir claimed. 

But Obudho maintained that they were equally taken aback by Treasury and KRA’s move but had to comply.

“The report is now ready and will be released without further delays,” said Obudho, prompting Nassir to question whether the report had been doctored to suit the Treasury’s interests. 

Garissa Township MP Aden Duale first raised the issue of the delayed release of the report and called for a probe of the bureau for failing to release critical reports including the critical Annual Economic Survey 2021.

Annual budget estimates

The Annual Economic Survey 2021 was to be released by April 29, 2021 to inform Parliament and National Treasury on the processing of annual budget estimates for the financial year 2021/2022 and the medium term. The report is yet to be released to date.

The bureau is the principal agency of the government for collecting, analysing and disseminating statistical data in Kenya. 

It is also responsible for among other things establishing standards and ensuring the use of best practices and methods in the production and dissemination of statistical information across the national statistical system and collecting.

It also compiles, analyses, abstracts and disseminates statistical information on the matters specified in the First Schedule to the Act.

Duale told Parliament that the delay and non-release of these critical reports risks jeopardising government operations, especially the House which relies on such information in performance of its functions including approving the national budget and formulation of legislation.

“The KNBS has acted in breach of the Statistics Act, 2006 by delaying and refusing to release very critical reports,” Nassir said yesterday.

Duale wanted the National Assembly to establish why the KNBS board should not be disbanded for neglect of duty and failure to produce the reports as required by law.

Anthony Mwangi

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