“A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”– George Bernard Shaw
This January, the Parliament made a Report (REPORT ON THE STATUS OF FUNDING FOR SUB-COUNTIES AND TOWN COUNCILS, January 2019) into the creation of new Town Councils and Sub-Counties, the Local Governments if you may. As the National Resistance Movement (NRM), have with swift haste over the recent years split up the Republic in record speed. As they are continuing to do so. There are added expenses and more salaries to pay, even more officials and public buildings to procure or facilitate. As the Local Government does gain revenue over night either.
Therefore, the release of this report is a story been told before, about how the Parliament are enacting more districts, but doesn’t have the pocket to facilitate it or the fantasy of thinking of the costs of doing so. In the same vein comes this report, that is rewind of the previous ones, but still important to address.
“Government created 108 Town Councils to commence operations on 1st July 2017 and 95 Town Councils to become effective on 1″1 July 2018. Government also created 204 Sub-Counties that became in FY 2018/ 79 (refer to annex 1). However, the operationalisation of the newly created local governments units has not been matched with the requisite budgetary resources”.
“Government created a total of 203 Town Councils and 196 Sub-Counties which have not received operational funds. However, during the FY 2017 118, a provision of Ush. 2bn in the budget was made to cater for startup activities for the 35 Town Councils. In FY 2018/ 19, government released Shs. 2.5bn to cater for startup activities for 50 Town Councils. However, the Committee notes that some Town Councils received partial funding against what had been approved by Parliament”.
“The funding requirement for operationalization of the newly created 203 Town Councils and 196 sub-counties is estimated by Ministry of Local Government at Shs. 108.5bn and Shs. 30.7bn respectively and this excludes costs for public administration such as establishment of a police post, health and education facilities in line with the current government policy”
The final quotes from the report, which is the recommendations is worth to mention as well: “The government should provide Shs. 139.2bn for operation of all approved Town Councils and Sub- Counties in FY 2019 l20” (…) “The government should review the policy of creation of new, districts and other local government administrative units in view of the constrained resource envelope”.
Surely, we can see that the state is not sufficiently ensuring the creation of the new Town Councils and neither the Sub-Counties. This is the costs of office equipment, the payment of salaries of the local government and all the procurement that needs to be done.
That is if these entities matters or supposed to govern locally. If not it is just made up areas before the elections to garn voters and spilt the districts to ensure problems for the opposition. Which seems more likely. Since the state, haven’t done much to facilitate or even tried to make them functional.
Even with the funding proposed by this Parliamentary Committee, they are still not discussing the other needs for public administration, police posts, health care or education facilities. Which should be the basis for these entities in general, if not their offices with no portfolio in the districts. That is how it seems.
Surely, the Memo on this matters are the same as before, a ploy to gain voters and promise patrons and cronies of a job after elections, but not having the bank balance or the funding to actually do it. That is how the state operates in these matters and that is why this is a recurrent issues. That is always coming up to discussions about the splitting of districts, sub-counties and town councils. It is just reappearing like the monster of the past and the government acts clueless about to get rid of it. Peace.
“One of the leading causes of obesity is the misbelief that, when it comes to juice, ‘100%’ means ‘sugar-free.” – Mokokoma Mokhonoana
In the Philippines, there been a long tradition of Pork Barrel or specific payout for government projects for Representatives in the Lower House, the House of Representatives and the senators in the Senate. Because this week has been hectic in touch with tradition. There are back and fourth. There is no end in sight for this rodeo. I will show pieces of it, because, I cannot make sense of it.
If there is, then there is, if its not, its not. However, after the recent week action in the headlines and following the wires. I got nothing. Because, even I am unsure. It is hard to know if there is Pork Barrel within the ratified Budget for 2019, which was ratified on Friday on the 8th February 2019.
Let me show some statements that isn’t coherent, reporting that is not backing each other. From various of sources. Since I feel this is important, because there is lack of consistent messaging, therefore, the truth might surface later. However this is what I have by today.
GMA Reported: “Senators took exception to allegations by House appropriations chairman Rolando Andaya Jr. that they will get P3 billion each in pork allocation in the 2019 budget. Senate President Vicente Sotto III, in a text message, said the accusation of P3 billion per senator as pork “is a slur against the Senate.”” (Amita Legaspi – ‘ No P3-B pork in 2019 budget, senators insist’ (08.02.2019) link: https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/684334/no-p3-b-pork-in-2019-budget-senators-insist/story/).
CNN Philippines Reported: “He was referring to the funds that current House committee on appropriations chair Rolando Andaya said were illegal insertions made by Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno — a charge Diokno has repeatedly denied. Lacson said that around P51 billion of the controversial P75 billion funds have been distributed to all members of the House of Representatives in P20 million chunks. “Of this amount, 20 billion pesos was distributed equally among the almost 300 congressmen, which translates into P60 million per congressman plus additional allocations to those close to the leadership of the House of Representatives. These are all embodied in the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) or the House version transmitted to the Senate,” Lacson said” (CNN Philippines Staff – ‘Lacson: New House leadership continued pork barrel mess’ 08.02.2019, link: http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2019/02/08/lacson-andaya-arroyo-pork-barrel-2019-budget.html).
Manilla Standard Reporting: “In total, the Senate proposed some P25.4 billion in adjustments while the House introduced P20.65 billion in realignments or a total of P46.35 billion under the DPWH where legislators can identify specific projects. Andaya confirmed that each congressman will get P160 million in itemized projects” (Maricel Cruz and Macon Ramos-Araneta – ‘Congress approves budget’ 09.02.2019, link: http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/mobile/article/287358).
Sen. Franklin M. Drilon Press Release: “The minority leader also denied reports that senators will get P3 billion in pork allocation, including a province in the Visayas getting more than P3 billion. He called the allegation “grossly unfair”” (Franklin M. Drilon – ‘Drilon says no to 2019 national budget’ 08.02.2019, link:http://www.senate.gov.ph/press_release/2019/0208_drilon1.asp).
Sen. Leila M. de Lima Press Release: “Kudos to my colleagues in the Minority bloc – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senators Bam Aquino, Risa Hontiveros and Kiko Pangilinan – and, of course, to Sen. Ping Lacson, for their rejection of the pork-laden 2019 budget” (Sen. Leila M. de Lima – ‘Sen. Leila M. de Lima on her colleagues’ rejection of the pork-laden 2019 budget’ 09.02.2019, link: http://www.senate.gov.ph/press_release/2019/0209_delima3.asp).
We are clearly seeing mixed messages, but both sides of this. Where the allocated funds are seen as differently. Therefore, we will see if these allocated funds are for the Pork Barrel or not. Since, the various explanation for these funds are really special. They are showing something and how to interpret the budget itself.
If one side is lying, than they are receiving funds and telling porkies. I am not sure, because if it is, they have tried to be sophisticated, but somewhere the funds leaked out. Someone spoke out and then the ones loyal to the President and the Government calling it “offensive”. Which makes it all weird. Since, why should people lie about special pay-outs, wouldn’t that be a happy-day to see your bank-account to be pregnant?
The Pork Barrels are there maybe or maybe not. By this report and these statements, it could be anything. Certainly porky porkies and even slices of pork chop from those Pork Barrels. Peace.
“[Credit is a system whereby] a person who can’t pay, gets another person who can’t pay, to guarantee that he can pay.” – Charles Dickens
We have seen it for a while, as the Kenyan government have spent much more, than they are actually collecting revenue and getting grants. The Jubilee government have not only siphoned funds, but borrowed funds like a drunk sailor. This administration have not considered the implications of the loans and the deficit, they have created.
Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto has ordered this ship, it has been known. The Grand Corruption by this government alone has made huge losses. Jubilee knows this and the ones that has followed this government. Have seen it with time and discussed it.
Now suddenly Dr. Wagacha says this:
“ Dr Mbui Wagacha, a policy analyst who left the advisory role in the top office last December after five years, says Parliament has looked the other way as the National Treasury gave the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) unrealistic revenue targets only to fall back on debt and expenditure cuts. “We borrowed so much and our headroom for debt has narrowed … there was an over-commitment to capital borrowing and that has left us with narrow headroom for debt,” said Dr Wagacha. “If you look at 2011/2012, we were spending only about 11 per cent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) directly to repay debt. We are now talking about 57 per cent of GDP in public debt.””(Alushula, 2019).
We know that the state has issues, when the Jubilee are putting austerity measures given by the International Monetary Funds (IMF). While the Jubilee are taking more debt, taking more infrastructure grants and loans, as well as the state is not having the revenue to cover the deficit that has created. This is why the state is paying more of the GDP now, compared to what they did when Kenyatta and Ruto took power.
The Jubilee government could have carried it differently. The Jubilee have used the Eurobonds twice to get fiscal stimulus, but it was also a loan. Therefore, the Jubilee will have to repay those. Just like it has to do with the Chinese loans for the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and others, loans that the state has absorbed within the years of Jubilee.
Dr. Wagacha is speaking the truth, but the state has taken the Kool-Aid. Will it find a way to move forward wisely or will it continue the negative cycle of loans to pay-off the old loans, instead of finding revenue and creating a healthy economy. If not just living within its means and not pushing for more, than you can pay for without credit. Peace.
Patrick Alushula – ‘Ex-Uhuru adviser says debt may affect growth in Kenya’ 05.02.2019, link: https://www.nation.co.ke/lifestyle/smartcompany/Ex-Uhuru-adviser-says-debt-may-affect-growth-in-Kenya/1226-4967482-b1tau4z/index.html
Isn’t it convenience in the beginning stages of the negotiations of the Budget Sessions for the Financial Year of 2019/2020. The National Resistance Movement (NRM) have secured the allocated funds for the President Donations Budget, so that the money is secured for the President Welfare Fund, which he can use as he pleases. This is something sorted out, as the NRM and President is already planning the Campaigns for 2020/21. That is the initial reason for this, nothing else. Since, the campaign season boast lots of funds, spending and usage of state resources to settle grievances with plenty of people, also paying added staff, buying cars to VIPs, campaign material and everything else.
So the President needs this secured early, as we can anticipate supplementary budgets for the State House and the President Welfare Fund, as the spending will run-off the roof. That is just what they do and also did with the last General Election Period.
Take a look!
“Cabinet has resolved that Parliament should continue allocating money to the president’s welfare fund. This is the fund that the president uses to deliver financial pledges. There has been concern from civil society over reduction of funding for the Youth Livelihood Fund implemented by Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development in the planning for the 2019/20 financial year and creation of a vote for a Youth Fund under State House. The creation of the Shs130 billion Youth Livelihood Fund under State House has resulted into the reduction of Gender Ministry funding from Shs 66.6 billion in the 2018/19 financial year to Shs 4.62 billion in the 2019/20 financial year.” (URN – ‘Cabinet endorses Museveni’s donation budget’ 29.01.2019, link: https://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Cabinet-endorses-Museveni-donation-budget/688334-4956718-axn6arz/index.html).
This here is a direct show of money, that the state is preparing its war-chest and securing funds for the campaigns. That is what this seem like, as there is a movement and quick resolving the needs of the President, as he needs the mobility and ability to donate as he see fit. That is surely to ensure the needed funds for campaigns.
If I am wrong, please tell me, but I can securely say, as the NRM put out their Roadmap for the upcoming elections recently. The drive and the need for funds are there. The President needs to pay-off possible loyal MPs, Pastors, Bishops or whoever it is. To secure, the sympathy and continued chronic cronyism, which he has installed while being in power for over three decades. Peace.
Just as the New Years of 2019 is coming and the South Sudanese are working on the R-ARCSS or the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, which was reached last year. This has changed the Transitional Government of National Unity, which means the administration in Juba have to evolve, become bigger and also more costly.
That is why the President in his speech on New Years Eve had to speak upon the finances. This is happening as the government of Khartoum are controlling and having more oversight of the Oil Industry. While the South Sudanese are securing their weapons and others imports, as the arms embargo is violated and the same with regional indifferences.
“Speaking to the peace party leaders and members of the diplomatic corps at a dinar on the Eve of the New Year, Kiir said: “I also call upon our international partners to help with the necessary finance to implement the agreement,” Kiir also said his leadership is ready to dialogue with groups that are still outside the agreement to take part in it. “My message to you all to those still holding out against peace is that whatever it is, we can find a solution so that all of us participate in the business of building our country.” He also called for cooperation among the parties leaders to protect the peace from collapsing. “I urge all of you to be patient, let us work together and not allow this peace to get out of our hands again.”” (Memoscar Lasuba – ‘President Kiir urges intl community for financial aid’ 02.01.2019, link: http://www.eyeradio.org/president-kiir-urges-intl-community-financial-aid/).
We know, why the President is asking for more money to implement the Peace Deal. As the South Sudan government will be expanded and get more offices, as if they are supposed to follow the signed agreement. It will be 4 Vice Presidents and 4 Major Clusters, where all parties of the agreement have their share. Also, the added strain of Central Government, Council of Ministers, State Government and other institutions who needs funding. The excessive size of the government, combined with the cost of funding it. It needs fresh financial funding of it, so that it can operate the TGoNU and the R-ARCSS.
That is why the President comes out with this, as the crisis is averted with this deal. Even as there are plenty of obstacles, there are plenty of problems ahead. Not just the allocation of funds, the laundering of money through back-channels as The Sentry has proven last year. But also, the mistrust and possible Ego’s of all parties. They all want to eat and not talk. They are used to settle the score with guns and not with negotiations. That is why, even as the months goes by.
All of this is surely to use the peace deal as a pawn, to get the needed funds. While the TGoNU should be focused on policies and secure the peace. Not just ensure, that all parties get offices and get their cut. That will not be sustainable. There is need for long term functions.
The President should consider this, the same is with the rest of the parties involved. They should ensure steady revenue without begging foreign donors. Who are seeing with the The Sentry and with UN reports, where the government and their misuse of funds. Where they are not respecting embargoes or even acting credible with funds they have at this point. Why should the international donors trust them now?
Because, they should show some progression on that part. Not only signing deals, while laundering money through Nairobi. Peace.
Today, the Governor of Machakos County appointed the County and Budget Forum. However, what was very revealing was what Dr. Alfred Mutua was implying within the documents, not who he appointed to the position. Usually that would be an important piece to look into.
However, today was the day where the Governor revealed directly that the World Bank Development secured 1bn Ksh per year for 6 years to the infrastructure building in the county. This being roads, electricity and other needed government services in the municipalities of Machakos.
Usually these sort of arrangements are done directly with the National Government or the Parliament, as to where the development is happening and where the grants are going. Which project that matter and what is sufficiently holding the standards of the stakeholders and the ones contributing the funding. Nevertheless, here the implication is that the World Bank is directly involved in all county functions from sewage to building roads. That their funding are going to do what the government is supposed to deliver. This being the natural delivery of the state and basic upkeep of the infrastructure. Instead of being tax-payers own money, they are using funds from abroad to do the needed development projects and to get the needed services in the municipalities of Machakos.
We can wonder what does the Jubilee government and Kenyatta think of this? When the Counties themselves are directly making arrangements and funding deals with the World Bank? In a republic filled to the brim of loans and lack of cash-flow, these sort of deals would be appropriate to go through the Central Government before the Local Government. However, that one has not captured the imagination. Because shouldn’t the Central Bank of Kenya or the Cabinet Secretary of Finance Henry Rotich signed it off before the County announced the loans?
That is what is bugging me, or is the counties so liberated from the Central Government now? But wouldn’t the rate of loans and grants be more uncontrolled and have less transparent system, if every Governor has the chance to grab these from Multi-National Financial Institutions and find ways to apply these locally? Even though they know directly what and where things need to be built and what is lacking. Still, they should have a rubberstamp from the CS and the National Treasury and CBK before thinking about it. Because in the mind of the Governor, he just announced it in passing together with the appointments to the different boards in his county. Peace.