Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s argument that it does not make sense to use over 60% of the government’s revenue on salaries and slightly over 30% on development – hence the need to cut down on salaries expenditure - is a good gesture. The move however has put the cart before the horse.
Even as the State decries the fact that it is using 400 billion shillings to service salaries every year, the Auditor General’s report reveals that over Sh338 billion of the total government expenditure for 2011/2012 was unaccounted for. It is still fresh in the minds of Kenyans that the "Goldenberg" scandal cost Kenyan taxpayers $180 million while the “Anglo-Leasing” scandal cost the country $1 billion. No one was found guilty or charged for the scandals.
It would have been prudent for the government to address such cash leaks that are heightened by corruption, inefficiency and duplication of duties – which run in billions of shillings – before embarking on pay-cuts. The current debate should not be on the country’s limits but rather on its possibilities. Kenyans have no quarrel working on a shoestring budget as long as the country’s financial systems are efficient, sustainable and open to scrutiny.