A facebook page named Uhuru_Kenyatta posed a question “If you were President of The Republic of Kenya, what would you do in the first one hundred days?”
Though this may not be his official page, it got me thinking. I typed out a few points that I think that I would do as the president.
1. Start involving all major stakeholders in consultations before enacting new legislation. The business community in general needs to have its say too. Thus the enactment of new legislation is not a surprise for the stakeholders and they do not encounter any hidden costs of operation. This is because the costs are passed onto the consumers, the poorest being hit most.
2. All major industries require capital for re-investment and expansion. KRA is sitting on billions of shilling in refunds. Economies of scale are not realised and cost of production goes up. This in turn makes goods expensive for Kenyan’s who can’t afford to buy the same quantities as before and the vicious cycle continues.
KRA needs to be taken to task and a policy that incorporates a 2% penalty on KRA for late refunds needs to be tabled – this will not only keep them on their toes but the reciprocal system will increase adherence to laws and scrutiny by KRA to ensure companies aren’t engaging in illegal activities.
3. Agriculture, which plays a vital role in Kenya’s economy, should NOT be subsidised. The government needs to come up with better sources of revenue for the agricultural sector. Constant subsidies increase dependence on the government to bail the farmers out. Also the National Cereal Board should be more transparent about stock levels and in times of surplus, instead of dropping prices of cereals, we should auction and export of the cereals.
4. Many major companies have shut manufacturing in Kenya citing ‘hurdles’ as well as lack of infrastructure. Currently it costs more to move a 40ft container from Mombasa to Nairobi than from an Asian port to Mombasa. Transport adds a very heavy expenditure to the manufacturing process. Expensive products mean lower sales which means lower revenues and the vicious cycle continues.
5. Being in the Equatorial belt, we have high levels of sunshine. The government should encourage and give tax-breaks to companies willing to set up components for renewable energy sources such as solar panels and inverters.
6. A recent invention, the RaspberryPi is an affordable (<$40) motherboard for computers. Instead of buying or receiving the laptops as gifts, we involve the computer manufacturers to set up manufacturing plants here. This will create jobs as well as meet the goal of a laptop for every schoolchild.
7. We are either complaining about floods from heavy rains or drought from lack of rain. We should look into water harvesting technologies. The water can be used to irrigate and encourage farming in arid and semi-arid regions.
I’m sure there’s many, many more viable options, let’s have your thoughts people.