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Western region has reaped from Ruto government, says Mudavadi

Prime Cabinet Secretary, Musalia Mudavadi has said that the Government has done fairly well in Western region in terms of appointments and development compared to its share of electoral votes.

He told the residents that they should not worry about development of the region noting that it is a democratic right to vote whichever way without fears about being discriminated against in the aftermath of an election.

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Mudavadi, however, advised the region to always hedge their vote where it will be meaningful after elections.

“Electoral democracy always provides a second chance in post-election deal-making. We must learn to quickly transit from sulking about electoral defeat to the reality that there is a Government of the day from which we must expect to be served,” said Mudavadi during the Mulembe Nation Inaugural Socio-Rconomic Summit2023 held in Kakamega.

“This posture may as well be correct in constitutional terms but it must be understood that elections are political bets for influence and the idea of representation itself assumes the goose will be brought home after the hunt, but also shrewd bargaining. A feeble bet often results in loss of bargaining power, especially so in developing countries where resources are scarce and competition for the same is extremely brutal,” he explained.

In the five Western counties, Opposition leader Raila Odinga garnered 60.74pcof the votes compared to President William Ruto’s 38.42pc.

With regards to Kenya Kwanza Agreement, Mudavadi said it is expressly provided that ANC and Ford-Kenya would each get 30pc of Government.

He, however, said there was a rider that the region must contribute 70pc to the presidential vote from their bastion counties of Busia, Bungoma, Kakamega, Trans Nzoia and Vihiga.

The counties account for 7 million people or 14pc of Kenya’s population, and 2.6 million voters in last year’s elections.

In a presentation made on his behalf by his Special Advisor Kibisu Kabatesi, Mudavadi said 30pc of Government would have approximately meant he is appointed the Prime Cabinet Secretary, the equivalent of Prime Minister but in name and that he was positioned third in the succession matrix from the Executive Arm of Government.

Similarly, Moses Wentagula became Speaker of the National Assembly, making him the constitutional third heir, Seven Cabinet Secretaries, 15 Principal Secretaries, 27 Ambassadors/High Commissioners/Heads of Diplomatic Missions, 75 Chairpersons of State Corporations, Directors of State Corporations and four Commissioners of Constitution Commissions among other.

In terms of development, he said the KKA Agreement provided for revival of sugar factories, 1,00km tarmacked roads, Agro-processing and Aggregation Manufacturing industries, rice-growing revitalization and housing projects.

On the economic situation, Mudavadi admitted that the country is facing probably the worst financial and economic situation it has faced in decades, as a result of the runaway national debt.

“No doubt there is manifest pain that we are taking, but it is not in vain. Honestly, it is short-time pain for long-time gain. I find no comfort and have no intention of giving Kenyans a false sense of a strong shilling or cheap fuel, which has resulted in pain. Believe me, I don’t sleep easy either,” he said.

He added: “My prediction has been to give it two years for Government interventions to begin conveying relief because we are living the realities of a distorted global economy. However, it is important to understand Government objectives for economic revival first, so that we can contextualise how taxation policies fit into and will help actualize our economic recovery plans.”

To alleviate the economic downturn that has been festering for too long, he said the Government believes it can raise revenue by having more Kenyans and Kenyan businesses pay their fair share of taxes.

He affirmed that this by no way means taxing Kenyans more saying that if everyone paid their fair share of taxes, they would eventually pay less taxes, adding that the problem lies in the labyrinth of those not paying their share of taxes, hence punishing those who pay.

“By widening the tax net, we will raise more revenue for our development objectives. We therefore do not want to necessarily tax people more. The important objective is to get more people to contribute to paying tax, and eventually measures to widen the tax net will create the conditions for taxation rates to eventually start falling,” he explained.

On the promise to create jobs, Mudavadi assured it is well on course and several other things outside the conversation on taxation are facilitating job creation.

The Hustler Fund, which provides collateral-free lending to MSMEs at single-digit rates, he said, is providing relief to especially micro-enterprises that initially borrowed from shylocks and digital lending platforms at interest in excess of 3,600 per cent per annum.

Fuliza rates have been cut by half, with more reductions on interest rates and penalties further envisaged.

He stated that MSMEs are by far Kenya’s largest employers and these measures will create more jobs, noting that they constitute 98pc of businesses in the country and have an annual job creation of 30pc of all new jobs.

“There are over 7.4 million MSMEs in the country, which employ about 15 million Kenyans in various sectors of the economy and contribute approximately 40pc of the GDP,” he stated.

Mudavadi said investments in MSMEs need resources and the Government’s measures to improve tax compliance is geared towards improving the environment for small and big businesses alike.

“When more Kenyans and Kenyan businesses pay their fair share of tax, it creates the environment for individual rates to start going down eventually. The endgame is enough financial resources to plough back into creating jobs.”

He challenged the forum to debate on whether the Government can creatively raise revenue for investment, service its debt burdens and even pay pending bills in ways that only rely on traditional taxation measures.

“Will such measures, as you may suggest, enable payment of pending bills, enable us meet our debt obligations and spur investments into the economy? Will such measures act as a stimulus in the economy, and create investment opportunities for the private sector through creating market prospects for products?” He posed.

Mudavadi insisted that the maxim on debt is that a country that saves more and borrows less.

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