Thursday, July 10, 2008

Was Kimunya a good Finance Minister?

Last word on this Kimunya-thing then we move forward. Kimunya served for 2yrs so we probably won't see the effects of what he did or didn't for another yr. Still we can review his actions while in office on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being very good).

The finance ministry should always be judged on 4 areas:

  1. Fiscal Policy (2.5): Taxation has remained stable though growth areas such as ICT more should have been done including encouraging an ICT zone (similar to EPZ areas near Athi River). Bringing MPs into the taxation bracket is an overdue idea. Controls on spending have been dreadful on the other hand. The spending waste in ministries such as the defense ministry, OP; returned money from Roads should all be things of the past. I'd have expected him to hold firm on all the pay rises to the civil service. In effect, government overspend/inefficiencies in its various guises has been one of the indirect causes of the current sky-high inflation. Listing of several government holdings rescues him from getting a low 1 on this criteria. As does introduction of CDF managers.
  2. Monetary policy (1): He benefited from Mwiraria's loosening of monetary policy (lower banking reserve ratios, reduced government borrowing). He didn't push hard on getting banks capitalization raised and in any case Ksh1bn is a paltry amount given most banks are way above that now. He has failed to create a functioning monetary policy committee with a benchmark interest rate to guide money markets with.
  3. General Economic Stewardship (2) : Here again, he has benefited from Mwiraria's work in the first 3 years. He has not in my opinion done enough to control inflation which was rising pre-2008 and which will affect the economy going forward. He has not done enough to show what are his priority economic sectors and obviously tailor economic-policy to the same.
  4. Capacity building (1): He got Mulei fired unprocedurally and replaced him with a nit-twit; has severally tried to put political appointees in place to oversee CBK; has overseen the collapse of two stockbrokers; has failed to establish a strong financial regulatory regime that covers all the facets of the industry (stockbroking, insurance, banking and saccos) and of-course did nothing to control the spread of the harmful pyramid schemes. NSE remains a dreadful mess as does CMA and again these were all under his watch. Finally, Goldenberg, De-la Rue... all remain unresolved.

In conclusion, AK has done ok, but most of the upside was from Mwiraria's hard graft.

1 comment:

John Maina said...

Hopefully the next FM will improve on Kimunya work