The proposal by the National Treasury to create a single kitty from which all ministries can draw funds for operations has been long overdue. As National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich puts it, the move will aerate government operations with much-needed efficiency and save taxpayers billions. We agree with Rotich.
Consolidating the money allocated to state entities in one fund will make budgeting easy and reduce the cost of handling money by the entities, which in most instances require boards to administer the funds. But, wait, this is not the first time we are hearing of such a proposal. The merger of state corporations, a process that started in 2015, is yet to catch on, though the government insists is on course. National Treasury has already started implementing its own, merging Youth, Women and Uwezo funds into Biashara Fund. But this is not really what the government promised Kenyans.
Initially, the plan was to create a single regulatory authority to handle the financial services sector. This would have seen Capital Markets Authority, Insurance Regulatory Authority, Retirement Benefits Authority, and the Saccos Societies Regulatory Authority collapsed into one, super-efficient financial authority. It looks like the report by the taskforce is just gathering dust, as government continues pumping money some whose functions overlap. And then there have also been reports of possible merger of the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC), National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) and the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) to set up one strong corporation to improve service delivery in the agricultural sector.
A 14-member taskforce comprising officials from the ministry of Agriculture, Office of the Deputy President, National Treasury, Public Service, ADC, AFC and NCPB has already been put together. The government should be good at following up on the promises it makes. We understand that the streamlining of state agencies will have its casualties. A safety net needs to be readied so that those who fall victim have a safe landing- a better package, for example. However, Kenyans want nothing but an efficient government.