Ruto should effect Abdikadir’s report

Thursday, March 28th, 2024 06:00 | By
President William Ruto in a past function
President William Ruto in a past function. PHOTO/Statehouse(@StateHouseKenya)/X

Retired President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2015 set up a taskforce whose recommendations will cure his successor’s migraines.

Faced with a huge debt, ballooning public sector wage bill, President William Ruto is struggling to find a remedy for non-performing and loss-making parastatals. This is due to mismanagement, lack of innovation and looting.

A number are on their deathbed because the services they were set up to offer and tools of trade have since been rendered obsolete.

The President has expressed concern that taxes invested by Kenyans in majority of the State firms were going straight into the drain or to fatten chief executives and board members.

Instead of generating own revenues, State firms heavily rely on the exchequer.

Ruto has warned that this situation is not sustainable. He says he plans to sell non-performing parastatals in an effort to help improve the upgrade of infrastructure and the delivery of services to Kenyans.

On Tuesday, Ruto announced that fiscal austerity and budget rationalisation measures will be undertaken with the view of redirecting resources to food security, job creation and health reforms.

The President directed all State corporations to rationalise the proposed recurrent budget for 2024/25 by 30 per cent based on the 2023/24 approved budget. According Ruto, no State corporation shall fund or purchase any capital item for ministries, departments and agencies.

He directed corporations to enhance non-tax revenue, reduce reliance on Exchequer and cut down on recurrent expenditure.

These measures are long overdue. But the President should not reinvent the wheel. The proposals by the taskforce led by former presidential advisor Abdikadir Mohammed provide the answer. It had recommended reduction of the number of State bodies from 262 to 187.

The Agriculture ministry, with the most bloated number of parastatals, was to be the most affected. Here, 42 were to be dissolved, 28 merged and the roles of 22 transferred to other institutions.

Some of the parastatals have had their functions devolved and the taskforce recommended that they be done away with. The team had also proposed formation a single authority to oversee parastatals with business functions.

More on Opinion