• The 2015 Abdikadir Parastatal Report recommended reducing the number of state bodies from 262 to 187
• Last year, over half of the still existing 247 state firms made losses and required government subsidies
The Treasury wants to tackle the budget deficit by finally rationalising the multiple agencies and parastatals in the public sector (see P12).
As a former Finance minister, incoming President Uhuru Kenyatta initiated a Presidential Task Force on Parastatals Reforms that in 2015 recommended reducing the number of state bodies from 262 to 187.
There has been little progress since then. Last year , more than half of 247 state firms reported losses. They all have to be subsidised by the taxpayer and government yet many of their functions are duplicated by other state bodies or by the private sector.
For instance, why should the government pump billions every year into supporting the National Oil Corporation when motorists prefer to fill up at stations like Hass or Rubis? That money should go into improving hospitals or primary schools.
Some loss-making parastatals such as Kenya Airways need to be supported because they are of strategic national importance. But most are not.
In this crisis year, it is time to finally implement the 2015 Parastatal report to close or sell off loss-making parastatals and to turn bloated state agencies into mere departments in government ministries.
Quote of the day: "There is a crisis of public morality. Instead of policing bedrooms, we ought to be doing a better job policing boardrooms."
The former American Secretary of Labor was born on June 24, 1946