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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Can Kenya Afford the Luxury of Poverty?

I just came across this February report on government extravagance done by Transparency International and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights. It states that between January 2003 and September 2004, the NARC government spent about Kshs. 878 million on cars that were mostly for the personal use of senior government officials. The report notes that this substantially exceeded what the government spent over the 2003/04 financial year on controlling malaria, "the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Kenya... In the year 2002 for example, it was estimated that as many as 34, 000 children below the age of five would die as a direct consequence of malaria infection. There is no doubt that had the funds been used to enhance malaria control, many lives would have been saved." Excerpts:

At the rate of a dollar (or seventy five shillings) a day, the [Kshs 878 million] could clearly be significant in reducing poverty in virtually any single constituency. Assuming that those living below the poverty line are able to meet at least half of their one dollar per day, Kshs 6840 per year would provide the other half. [Thus] it is clear that the amount would have been adequate to lift all the poor in any particular constituency above the poverty threshold.....

Suppose the Minister for Cooperative Development was also the MP for Ndhiwa constituency and he decided to donate the Range Rover to his constituents for sale at cost. Suppose also that they bought their MP a new, but modest, car at about Ksh1.2 million. Our estimates, based on their CDF allocations, is that the balance could be used to do the following:
· Construction of 7 health facilities (Kshs 3,200,000)
· Konyua Water Project (300,000)
· Construction and rehabilitation of 13 primary schools (4,000,000 )
· Construction and rehabilitation of 5 secondary schools (2,500,000)
· Supplementing bursary fund (Kshs 500,000)
· Logistics and administration (90,000 )

1 comment:

Girl next door said...

Warped priorities. If a family was operating their budget like this it means the kids are sick, out of school, with no access to water (horrifying) while the breadwinner is a highroller living the good life.