NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 21- The Director General of the Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat (VDS) Mugo Kibati has discounted criticism by both local and international economists who have suggested that Kenya will not manage to transform into a middle income society within the next two decades.
He asked Kenya’s development partners including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to stop chastising the country’s long term goals.
Mr Kibati who admitted that the country was lagging behind in terms of goal realisation, however said that Kenya would strive to get the plans back on track.
“I have never believed in changing targets because they become too difficult to achieve; maybe because external shocks have come into play. When the going gets tough the tough get going. We shall assess at the end of the period where we failed; we shall not change goals midstream. No one ever runs a programme that way. And if that’s what the World Bank is asking for, I say No,” he told a meeting with members of the Media Owners Association on Monday.
Mr Kibati said the Secretariat had been forced to extend the deadline for the first medium-term goal which had originally been set for 2012, to 2015 but blamed the extension on the effects of the 2008 post-election violence coupled with the global financial crunch whose impact trickled down to the Kenyan economy.
“The 10 percent economic growth rate by 2015 is not an original goal. It is an adjustment because we are unable to reach the target by 2012. We should have been faster than we were in setting up structures like the Vision Delivery Board and the Vision Delivery Secretariat,” he stated.
Mr Kibati further said that the country would have to look into alternative means of generating income to fund the Vision 2030 projects, citing private-public partnerships as a way of generating the much needed income.
“We will look into internal and local private sector funding, international investors and we are also going to do road shows across the world for people interested in undertaking major projects in this country and running them. Borrowing from the international donors is part of the budgeting cycle; it’s not going to be anything new,” he said.
Mr Kibati however maintained that the bulk of the funding would have to come from the Kenyan tax payer as the country could not just rely on external sources of revenue.
“We hope tax proceeds will grow with the growth of the economy. Obviously the Treasury is very careful about looking at the state obligations this country is shouldering. So far at 40 percent of the GDP, we are not doing so badly,” he said.
He also said that his Secretariat would use the experiences and mistakes of the current medium term plan to inform the subsequent Vision 2030 plans.
Although the country’s targeted growth rates are commendable, some analysts have said that they are unachievable. Weather-related changes, the political environment and a slowly recovery of the global economic conditions are likely to derail the country’s targets.
Critics say that Kenya’s management of macroeconomic facets of Vision 2030 could be secured by a steady framework that takes into account the risks the country faces.