Balala should consolidate, not create new state body

Some agencies could be absorbed as departments into their line ministries.

In Summary

• In 2013 a Presidential Task Force recommended that 262 parastatals and state bodies should be reduced and streamlined

• The Tourism ministers wants to create a new state agency to bring international gatherings to Kenya

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala
Image: FILE

Tourism CS Najib Balala has just set up the National Convention Bureau to attract international conferences to Kenya.

Yet the Kenya government today is facing a cash crunch. The Treasury is considering how to reduce the number of government agencies.

In 2013 President Uhuru Kenyatta set up a Task Force on Parastatal Reform that recommended that Kenya's 262 state bodies and parastatals be rationalised and consolidated.


The considerable duplication in these 262 bodies has not been addressed since 2013 because it would eliminate a vast amount of political patronage.

Some agencies could be absorbed as departments into their line ministries. Loss-making parastatals could be privatised or closed. Duplicated agencies could be merged.

In the tourism sector, we have the Kenya Tourism Board, Brand Kenya, the Kenya International Convention Centre, Tourism Research Institute, Kenya Safari Lodges and Hotels, Tourism Fund Board of Trustees, and Tourism Regulatory Authority.

This bloated and wasteful parastatal sector bleeds the Treasury dry and prevents the government from investing in productive development.

Balala should be commended for his determination to bring more international conferences to Kenya but he should not be setting up a new agency to do that. He should be consolidating the overlapping tourism bodies and focussing the new super agency to bring more tourists, and conferences, to Kenya.

Quote of the day: "The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena."

Carl Sagan
The American astronomer was born on November 9, 1934