Let’s create winning ecosystems for sustainable long term growth

The recent reinforcement of Michuki rules have disrupted our public transport sector albeit in the short run. Whether they succeed or not in the long term is altogether a different ball game.

As things stand, more people and businesses benefit when status quo remains. Rules are drafted. Yet vehicles that flout the rules are ‘permitted’ to operate. In turn, they part with bribes every time they need to be checked.

Lucrative bribes earn police the ‘most corrupt’ tag while officially the gov’t collects more revenue in fines than in licences. Vehicles as they can buy their way out cut on compliance, insurance and vehicle maintenance expenses. They also speed or overload so as to recover the ‘toll’ they have paid along the road. Accidents, chaos, reduced revenues and shaky insurance sector are the natural results.

We have built an industry around failure of public hospitals. Expensive insurance premiums, costly private but quality medical attention, rise of quacks, and at times ‘medical tourism’ say to India. And teams to fight the menace etc. We end up spending resources that could have been saved or invested elsewhere in our quest to become a middle income country.

In the education sector, failure of public schools (among other reasons) led to development of private ones. Competition for slots influences students to exam cheating. We end up with many ‘passes’ who through parallel and other programmes get degrees. And wanton expansion of campuses. The result is half baked graduates, no real motivation to study and diminished investments in research. So when the plug is pulled on exams cheating so that merit prevails, many universities seem financially naked.

Many other cases abound. We have developed a whole ecosystem around the failure of sugarcane farming. Whether asking for extension of Comesa safeguards, or bailouts, task forces and inquiry commissions or importing duty free sugar. It can earn you a seat in parliament or damn you to political oblivion. Currently the water supply in the city consists of many private water vendors who benefit more when the public water supply is not working.

There are reports that the county gov’ts are not supporting BRT in favour of the small matatus due to the revenue they bring.As a nation, we run expensive campaigns, and giving little regards to policy or ideas. When elected, politicians will want to recover their expenses. This gives rise to power brokers, tenderpreneurs, briefcase companies, and wheeler-dealers. And corruption.

That’s why the attempts to restore sanity on our roads, or curb exam cheating, though noble may not last. Commuters are paying higher fares, and traffic is disrupted as cops inspect vehicles. In the short run, not many benefit when things are done correctly. This needs to change.

For starters, let’s try to address the root cause of the problem. Whether in schools or hospitals, let’s not take the easy route home. Focus on the core mandate, for failure of that leads to influx of other challenges .Bring back the ‘farming’ in sugarcane farming. When say public schools or hospitals are functional, private entities can chip in to complement not replace.Deliberately encourage, support and reward compliance and doing things the right way.

Adding ID feature before depositing mobile money is a good example of supporting compliance. As much as possible, digitise, but to this add character. Technology is as good as the people who run it. Finally, every company or institution has values, mission and vision. Having a culture built upon these values will never be out of fashion. Let’s cultivate winning ecosystems for sustainable growth.

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By Kenyan Digest

The Kenyan Digest Team