County governments should invest more in the people
By Onyiego Felix
| Sep 8th 2016 | 3 min read
The problem in Kenya is that we associate development with building of infrastructure -in form of construction of roads, schools and other institutions.
Much as these are important for the growth of the people, it is of utmost importance that county governments shift their attention to improving the lives of the people.
It is meaningless to build schools which many learners cannot afford to attend. The same goes for hospitals and other institutions.
Why would you build good roads that may be of little good to the people who do not have economic capability of enjoying their benefit?
A wise county government should not be in unnecessary competition with the central government.
What is the benefit of putting in so much money in road construction while knowing fully well that this is a shared function with the central government?
It is prudent to use taxpayers money on fully devolved functions.
There is always obsession with infrastructure development at the expense of direct economic investment in the people for the reason that things like roads and buildings will be used for political mileage come the next elections.
The other reason is that infrastructure projects get huge allocations running into millions of shillings that are a cash cow for leaders in ‘get rich quick schemes’ that sink tax money into private pockets every financial year.
Why apportion all money to building roads and buildings while there is no piped water, electricity, sewerage system, agricultural extension service, adequate security and so on?
Why not first invest in the immediate basic needs of the people before tackling the secondary wants?
You move around the regions and notice poor livestock for lack of investment in modern technology in the agricultural sub-sector, farms ravaged by soil erosion as a result of no agricultural extension officers available to guide the farmers and so on.
In comic drama, chiefs, headmen and their vigilante wake up every morning and spend the whole day chasing the people up and down the hills in search of illicit brews. However, the problem is fundamentally one of under-investment in the people.
To put county money in the economic activities of the people is to empower them to lead more promising lives and thereby predilection to alcoholism and drug abuse will be lessened.
For example, with so many young men and women jobless, would it not be prudent use of Government money to initiate self employment projects that train this population segment on entrepreneurship and set aside adequate funds for the same?
Agriculture, still being the biggest sector why shouldn’t it be allocated a sizable allocation in research work, extension and investment in order to spur expansion and growth?
This in turn will create more jobs, food security, surplus for export and will even create more opportunity in other industries that will spring up in the value addition chain.
Some advice for the in coming government after elections, it will be safe to assume enough money has been expended in infrastructure development. Therefore, there is need to place the bulk of county allocations on direct value addition to the people in the regions.
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