I wish to appeal to His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta to tame the ever-rising cost of living and leave behind a legacy to be remembered for. Kenyans of the middle and
Employers are laying-off workers through redundancies and voluntary early retirements leading to the thinning of the formal employment bracket, salaries have remained stagnant and current pay is unable to meet the financial strains caused by the high cost of living.
Despite the Agriculture Sector playing a key role in the Kenyan economy and contributing to the country’s GDP. Kenya is still dependent on import to sustain its demand for food to feed its populace, rampant corruption, poor governance, and unemployment rate which according to the 2018 Survey by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics show 7 million Kenyans are unemployed and over 1.4 million Kenyans looking for work contribute to raising the cost of living.
The recent 2019-2020 Financial Budget has not adequately captured the needs and aspirations of Kenyans as the prohibitive cost of living rose to 5.7% in June 2019 from 5.49% in May 2019 due to increased fuel prices whose ripple effect causes a hike in prices of basic foodstuffs, currently 2kgs maize packet retails at Kshs 177.83 up from Kshs 171.66, while a kilo of sugar retails at Kshs 109.10 up from Kshs 108.87, the tax on maize, milk, and fuel is still high equally tax on consumer pricing is still high making things worse.
I, therefore, suggest to the President to adopt the following fiscal measures to curb inflationary pressure and secure his legacy:-
1. Reduce imports of products by encouraging the production of our own food products for self-reliance like Uganda.
2. Subsidize the cost of electricity to encourage investors to locally manufacture products and create employment.
3. Encourage large scale farming rather than subsistence farming that doesn’t address the food scarcity.
4. Revive Agricultural Finance Institutions to lend money to farmers and educate farmers on best farming exercise.
5. Develop irrigation schemes & water reservoirs to reduce dependence on rain-fed agriculture.
6. Remove monopoly on electricity to reduce dependence in Hydro Electric Power which is reliant on rainfall.
It is our strong belief that the President will address the pressures caused by high inflationary rates and cushion Kenyans from the ever-rising cost of living should he implement these measures.
The author is Assistant General Secretary of Kenya Plantation & Agricultural Workers Union