National talks: Controller of Budget proposes measures to tackle high cost of living

Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o. [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

The Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o has presented a set of recommendations to address the high cost of living in Kenya, which has been a major concern for many citizens. 

Nyakang’o appeared before the National Dialogue Committee (NADCO), a bipartisan forum holding talks between Kenya Kwanza and Azimio parties on Tuesday, October 31, to find common ground on various issues affecting the nation.

Her presentation outlined four key measures that can be taken to ease the burden on the citizenry. 

Tax Reforms

She noted that the existing tax structure should be reviewed to make it more progressive and fair for low-income households.

The Controller of Budget further suggested reducing taxes on essential commodities and broadening the tax base by registering households in the informal sector and taxing their business activities. 

She also said that stringent measures should be implemented to eliminate corruption and ensure proper utilisation of public funds. 

Nyakang’o stressed on enhancing transparency and accountability in government operations and promoting a culture of integrity and ethical conduct for all public and state officers. 

Social Welfare Programs

She also recommended advancing social welfare programs to assist vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, disabled, and low-income families.

Nyakang’o encouraged partnerships between the public and private sectors to invest in crucial infrastructure projects. She said this can help reduce the cost of essential services such as electricity, water, transport and communication.

NADCO co-chair Kimani Ichung’wah, in a previous forum said the committee had resolved to invite experts from various fields to help them “crack the numbers and come up with proposals that will ease the burden Kenyans are bearing.”

He disclosed that the discussions on the high cost of living will kick off today at the Bomas of Kenya. 

Ichung’wah also announced that the committee had instructed its technical team to begin drafting Bills that will actualise the areas of convergence that Kenya Kwanza and Azimio have agreed on during the ongoing talks. 

The team has so far agreed on a number of issues, including the auditing of elections, and are working on the instruments to use. 

The committee has also agreed on the creation of two new positions in the executive; the office of the Official Opposition Leader and that of Prime Cabinet Secretary.

However, the talks are facing a potential deadlock after the Orange Party opposed the inclusion of experts from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the negotiations.

The two financial institutions are expected to give expert input on the cost of living in a forum convened by NADCO.