President Uhuru Kenyatta’s State of the Nation address offered optimism and pessimism in equal measure.
That the President emphasized job creation through better infrastructure, reliable energy and incentives to investors was most welcome.
That the President avoided to address the question of high cost of living as aided by among others inflation was wrong. The Jubilee government has consistently failed to address the question of high cost of living for the past 4 years.
In any case, there would be little or no justification to create jobs from which lowest earners won’t be able to sustain themselves.
It was equally unconvincing for President Kenyatta to casually justify the gigantic public debt on the basis of being 50 per cent of the GDP.
The government’s high appetite on public borrowing has seen the public debt double between 2013 and 2017.
We are concerned that President Kenyatta, without justification, appeared to agree with bankers that excuse that the rate-cap law could be the reason behind low uptake of loans. It is not. We hope his proposed mitigation will not include amending The Banking Act, 2016.
The President while lamenting about high level corruption in government failed to offer tangible mitigation measures to the challenge. He should have given new approaches to tackling the menace.
The question of sustained labour unrest and attendant excessive public wage bill should have concerned the President beyond the Salary and Remuneration Commission (SRC) capacity to tame the ballooning recurrent expenditure versus the shrinking development budget.