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“Kenyans don’t eat GDP” CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge clash with Treasury over impacts of GDP on livelihoods

CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge clash with the Ministry of Treasury over the impacts of GDP on the livelihoods of Kenyans.

Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), Patrick Njoroge, and Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Ukur Yatani, have publicly disagreed on the effect of the GDP on the economy and way of life.

Njoroge remarked that citizens are not interested in the country’s GDP but rather are concerned in how those monetary values assessed by the government through the Treasury help them. 

CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge spoke during the introduction of Members of the National Assembly.

“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.

However, in an apparent response, outgoing Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani claimed that former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration had brought economic success to Kenyans by mentioning the country’s GDP during the Senate induction on Thursday.

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

CBK had in 2020 reported a decline of 0.3 percent in the country’s economic growth before a rebound at 7.4 percent in 2021. 

The country further experienced 6.8 percent in the first quarter of 2022.

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Yatani disputed assertions that the government had only Sh92 million in discretionary funds remaining in the Treasury, claiming that the government receives funding every day to meet competing demands such as paying employees’ salaries, allocating funds to counties, the parliament, and the judiciary, and paying off debts.

“You hear some people saying Treasury has Sh92 million left. That is ignorance. The government doesn’t collect money and keeps 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 at 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.

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