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Manage coronavirus funds transparently

NASIBO KABALE
By NASIBO KABALE
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Friday May 22 2020

On Tuesday, the National Treasury announced a Sh53.7 billion stimulus package to support businesses that have been hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said the funds will provide credit guarantee and loans and help support tourist facilities.

This came hours after he said that the World Bank would lend Kenya $1 billion in budget support, its biggest financing package yet for the country.

Early this month, the International Monetary Fund approved disbursement of $739 to Kenya to address the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

INCREASE FLOW

These are some of the measures that should increase cash flow for those in need and allow some social policymaking and relief spending in response to the pandemic.

While the pandemic has come with various challenges, it is clear that there has been an influx of funds and this has already raised concerns among many over how the money will be managed.

Past experience, however, tells us to keep our eye on the money as funds tend to be mismanaged. Many people on social media are already demanding efficiency and transparency in the management and administration of Covid-19 funds.

COVID-19 BLOG: Deaths in homes are alarming

Tuesday May 19 2020

When the Ministry of Health started giving daily updates on the coronavirus two months ago, it reported a few deaths over a number of days. The number of deaths in Kenya is now 50, the second-highest in East Africa after Somalia’s 56. Kenya’s fatality total for Covid-19 is also high compared to those of neighbouring countries such as Uganda, which has no death from the disease, and Djibouti, which has only four.

Although Kenya’s death tally has not gone up since reaching 50 on Saturday, what is quite alarming is President Uhuru Kenyatta’s announcement on Saturday that almost 30 percent of the Covid-19 deaths occurred at home.

MOMBASA COUNTY

Data from the Health ministry shows that the majority of the Covid-19 deaths in the country, as well as those that occurred at home, occurred in Mombasa. The Health ministry has confirmed that seven people from the county have died at home, the majority in Ganjoni and Old Town neighbourhoods.

The home deaths are especially alarming since the people were confirmed to be coronavirus-positive after their deaths, meaning that those around them have been put at great risk.

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ONE ACCOUNT

The International Center for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) proposes that a single Treasury account that is managed jointly by the National Treasury, Central Bank of Kenya and Council of Governors could ensure the office of Auditor-General has full access and shall publish a daily statement outlining all inflows and outflows to a government ministry, department and or agency.

The ICPC also proposes that individuals and or organisations contracted to provide Covid-19 goods and services must have their names published and their contracts and costs paid made public.  

This concept would give confidence to many Kenyans who are sceptical about how the government will spend Covid-19 funds.

Whatever approach the government takes, it must ensure Covid-19 funds are managed with utmost transparency and integrity.

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By NASIBO KABALE
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