There is a big mystery in Kenya today. While the economy continues to register respectable headline growth rate year after year, the average Kenyan is not experiencing improvement in their standard of living.On the contrary, making ends meet is becoming harder every day. Many people now doubt whether this growth is real.
The reason behind this anomaly is because economic growth under Jubilee is not expansion of the productive economy – it has been fueled by profligate procurement led Government spending. The budget deficit, that is the difference between revenue and expenditure, which is financed by borrowing is now in the order of a record eight percent of GDP, which translates to the Government spending 40 percent more than it earns year after year.
The Jubilee administration’s mega-project preoccupation is a continuation of the trickle down economic model that has failed the people since independence.This is the mistaken belief that wealth trickles down from the rich to the poor, and therefore Government policies should be designed to benefit big business. The trickle down ideology is a legacy of the colonial division of the country into “high potential” and “low potential” regions of the country for white settlement which we carried over into independent Kenya and adopted as development policy in Sessional Paper No.1 of 1965 (see box). There is no such thing as absolute economic potential. We now know for instance, that Marsabit has the highest potential for wind power in Kenya, and neighboring Turkana has enough underground water to make its deserts bloom. More fundamentally,we are compelled by our Constitution to acknowledge the characterization of some citizens as more development oriented than others, put bluntly, high and low potential communities,is a historical injustice for which apology and redress is owed. NASA rejects trickle down economics. We believe in and stand for prosperity from below.
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