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CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge (left) and Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani (right)/CFM

NATIONAL NEWS

‘You can’t eat GDP’ : Njoroge, Yatani clash on GDP impact on livelihoods

Njoroge said while GDP is a key indicator of economic performance it cannot be the overring mechanism to gauge the overall economic wellbeing of the nation’s citizens.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 24 – Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Patrick Njoroge and Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani have publicly differed on the impact of Gross Domestic Product, GDP, on the economy and livelihoods.

Njoroge who spoke on Monday during the induction of Members of the National Assembly lamented that citizens are not interested in the county’s GDP but instead, are interested with how those monetary values measured by the government through the Treasury helps them.

“You cannot eat GDP. It is not GDP that people are interested in. The issue is, the incomes that we are measuring, are they helping people?” he posed.

Njoroge said while GDP is a key indicator of economic performance it cannot be the overring mechanism to gauge the overall economic wellbeing of the nation’s citizens.

“GDP is a means to an end, not an end in itself, but the ultimate goal remains improving quality of life, especially for those who are the worst off,” he said.

But in an apparent response, outgoing Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani told newly-elected senators during the Senate induction on Thursday that former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government had delivered economic prosperity to Kenyans citing the county’s GDP.

 “In the last one year, we realized a GDP growth of 7.5 per cent unheard of in the last 15 years,” he remarked.

CBK had in 2020 reported a decline of 0.3 per cent in the country’s economic growth before a rebound at 7.4 per cent in 2021. The country further experienced of 6.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2022.

Yatani also dismissed claims that the government only had Sh92 million as a discretionary income left in the Treasury saying government is funded on a daily basis in fulfillment of the competing needs such as payment of salaries, allocations to counties, parliament, judiciary and settling debts.

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 “You hear some people saying Treasury has Sh92 million left. That is ignorance. Government doesn’t collect money and keep it. We collect money on a daily basis and distribute it based on competing needs.”

Yatani argued counties have over the past years relied so much on equitable sharing and completely ignored their own sources of revenue generation.

“The county governments fully functional, with all the professionals and the infrastructure cannot create revenue on their own,” he claimed.

Treasury CS pointed fingers on the laxity in the county governments on remitting collected revenue to the national government saying the growth of the economy had been hindered by the thriving rate of corruption within county governments.

“Corruption has thrived in the county governments to the extent that I am not even sure whether the dream of the constitution making organs is fully realized,”  he said.

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