Courts should not block sale of state companies

In Summary

• Government wants to sell off 11 parastatals, virtually all of which are loss-making.

• The High Court has stopped the sale pending a hearing of an ODM application that privatisation requires a referendum

 An  activist has gone to court with a further petition to stop privatisation of 11 parastatals by government. In early December, the High Court halted their privatisation pending hearing of the ODM argument that a referendum was required.

As the saying goes, you can't have your cake and eat it. Kenyans are complaining about tax rises. If government is blocked by the courts from selling off loss-making state companies, then the pressure to increase taxes will intensify.

Presently, government is spending around Sh82 billion annually supporting loss-making state bodies (not counting KQ, NOCK and sugar factories which soak up even more cash). Why not sell them all off, or close them down, and reduce taxes?

The main argument of the activist is that the buyers will want to make a profit. But what is wrong with that? Is it worse than Kenyans paying extra taxes to cover parastatal losses? A profitable company will also pay more taxes.

Government has lined up 11 parastatals for sale. Virtually all are loss-making apart from KPC. Let their sale proceed. Government is just doing its job. At this rate, the courts will stop everything the state wants to do.

Quote of  the day: "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction."

Blaise Pascal
The French philosopher published his first Lettre provincial on January 23, 1656

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