Why good governance is critical for Kenya's prosperity

Sheep taking water from a pothole along the Nanyuki-Naibor highway. May 24, 2022. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

Any nation’s development is reliant on its elected leaders. Elections are a fundamental part of a country’s prosperity. We are approaching the August 9 polls and campaigns are in top gear.

Political aspirants - both at the national and county levels, have embarked on an aggressive push to sell their agenda to citizens.

Unfortunately, it is disconcerting that political contenders are more focused on grand theoretical economic plans as opposed to a focus on practical solutions to issues that can be actualised through predictability and political goodwill - and have a much larger impact on all citizens beyond the elections.

Political goodwill is essential in ensuring we uphold good governance at both levels of government.

Former United Nations Secretary-General the late Kofi Annan said good governance is perhaps a key factor in eradicating poverty and promoting development.

According to the African Development Bank, good governance should be built on a foundation of effective States, mobilised civil societies and an efficient private sector. I’ll focus on good governance for an effective private sector.

Political goodwill is essential in ensuring we uphold good governance at both levels of government. [iStockphoto]

State plays key regulatory and promotional or development roles.

The regulatory role entails formulating and implementing direct and indirect measures to monitor and regulate the economic activities of the private sector.

Promotion involves increasing the social and economic overhead capital for the growth of an economy. These roles are key pillars for the business community.

If well implemented, they drive private sector growth. However, if not properly done, they stifle growth, leading to stagnation or slow economic growth and expansion. It is becoming difficult for many Kenyans to make ends meet.

This is attributed to the impact of Covid and the high cost of commodities due to various taxes and overbearing regulations, against dwindling purchasing power.

Studies by the World Bank show over-taxation leads to the informality of the economy - diminishing prospects for expanding the tax base. When this happens, the tax burden will continue to be borne by a few formal enterprises such as manufacturers.