A CRY FROM THE KENYAN POOR TO UHURU
BY DAILY NATION
The ordinary wananchi have a wish list that they would like the Finance minister to consider as he prepares to present the national Budget on June 10.
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The list has people-friendly prices for essential goods and reads as follows: Maize flour — Sh40 for a 2kg packet, sugar — Sh30 a kilogramme, paraffin — Sh25 a litre, bread — Sh20 for a 400 gramme loaf.
That is what is contained in Wanjiku’s 2010/2011 Budget wish list set to be presented to Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta ahead of the reading of the Budget.
“Price controls for basic commodities and services should be introduced and strictly implemented if the ordinary mwananchi is to survive and, at least, vote in the referendum and 2012 General Election,” reads the People’s Budget.
Various civil society organisations under the coordination of Hakijamii on Tuesday held a public forum at Ufungamano House, Nairobi, to present their proposals to the public as well as hold a discussion on the budget-making process.
Kenyans in the lower classes, notably the slum dwellers, have been hard-hit by the economic challenges that have seen the prices of basic commodities more than treble.
In 2009, the government announced a subsidy scheme aimed at lowering the cost of maize flour for the urban poor, but the scheme collapsed amid claims of corruption.
The alternate budget blames high taxes that have made it difficult even for local produce, such as maize flour, to sell at affordable prices.
“We want to make sure that this exercise (budget-making process) is not left to a few individuals who do not even know the needs and interests of the ordinary people,” argued the lobbies.
Mr Japheth Oluoch of the Kutoka Network, a Catholic parishes and institutions’ organisation involved in social justice and advocacy, said the public forums had been organised help to demystify the complicated budget-making process.
“In most cases, the poor do not identify with what’s presented in the annual Budget because issues close to their heart are neglected,” Mr Oluoch said.
He added that the release of a citizens’ budget, now in the fourth year, helps to focus attention on what is critical to the poor masses.