The country’s economic performance last year came under close scrutiny during the release of Data in the Economic Survey 2012 and was found wanting.
It is barely a month since President Kibaki painted a rosy picture of looming better life in his inaugural State of the Economy address, but a few days later, experts from various sectors assessed the progress on the promises, and concluded that the country is moving, but not fast enough.
Data in the Economic Survey 2012 released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics and the Ministry of Planning yesterday shows that the economy slowed from 5.8 per cent to 4.4 per cent last year.
The shortfall is pronounced in nearly every sector of the economy. It resulted into weak job creation and a drop of growth in key sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing.
As a result, Kenya has slashed its 2012 economic growth projections to between 3.5 and 4.5 per cent from last month’s forecast of 5.2 per cent.
We do not know where President Kibaki got the rosy information conveyed to the nation during his State of the Nation speech, but since he is the Head of State and driver of Government affairs, our assumption is that those who wrote that particular speech were in touch with the ministry that released yesterday’s data.
Our question is: Are there any fundamental policy decisions, calamities or any other imaginable catastrophes that could have happened between the day of the president’s address and yesterday to substantially alter the rosy picture the Head of State portrayed to the nation?
We don’t see any from where we sit. What we see is a disjointed Government and agencies that are quickly losing focus of the wider picture.
During the period captured in the report, 503,500 jobs were created — a far cry from the projected 740,000, which is an indication that we are still pulling the tail as regards fulfilment of these demands.
The Tourism sector was as feeble as the others. The number of tourists, 1.6 million, was short of the expected 2.6 million.
The country is only months away from the General Elections. It will be the largest Kenya has ever conducted and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) says it needs about Sh31 billion for the exercise.
The elections will usher in a devolved system of government where County Governments are expected to take charge. This in itself requires massive resources and both government and experts are yet to point exactly where Kenya will get the resources to sustain the new lifestyle.