Use Budget to ease suffering

It’s Budget-making season once again, and the numerous national needs and requirements call for some delicate balancing to ensure that more demands are met to improve the people’s welfare. The most pressing problem at the moment is the high cost of living.

The latest fuel price increases are going to exacerbate the problem, hence the need to come up with measures that help to ameliorate the situation.

The long rainy season is finally here, but the country has for a long time been under severe drought, especially in the arid and semi-arid regions, which has in the past month alone increased the number of people in need of relief food from four to six million.

Efforts to import maize to ease the suffering have been hampered by the high cost of the grain in the global markets. And it has just got worse with the sharp decline in the value of the Kenya shilling, which is now trading at 140 to the United States dollar, up from 120 a few months ago.

The expectation is that the Budget will be used to ease the high cost of living that Kenyans are grappling with. Inflation has pushed many people to the edge, and the late onset of the long rains is not offering that much consolation. 

Indeed, the Meteorological Department has forecast below-average rainfall in most of the country, which is likely to reduce food yields and extend the shortages. 

However, this annual Budget is the first opportunity for the Kenya Kwanza Alliance administration to allocate funding to priority projects and programmes to deliver some of its election campaign promises made last year.

It is possible to ease the cost of living by prioritising high-impact projects.

While the government has taken a firm stand against food and other subsidies, warning that they are unsustainable, it should be a bit flexible, to protect especially the most vulnerable members of society.


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