Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - PRESIDENT OBAMA
PRESIDENT OBAMA’S ENTREPRENEURSHIP AGENDA COULD NOT BE
Especially in Africa. People are more preoccupied with politics and the craft of getting rich quick than
entrepreneurship. Take a look at the obstacles they place on the path of doing business. Starting a
businessislike becominganenemyandeverybodytreatsyouwithsuspicion.Thenthe authorities think
that finallytheyhave gotachance to make youpay. Itis not onlyexpensive andbothersometoscale the
registration hurdles but you also part with a bribe. It is as if you made a mistake trying to get into
Some months ago the judiciary advertised jobs in Kenya for about 50 people. This advert attracted
100,000 applicants.Itisa time bomb,indeed,unlesspeople turn tobusiness.Ouruniversities cough out
50,000 graduates every year. In a few years they will be releasing 100,000 graduates, as just recently
they were producing only 10,000. Before we reach 2030, it will be half a million, and then one million
graduates every year. To find jobs for them, together with diploma and high school leavers, will be a
nightmare of rapturousproportions.Sothe US PresidentBarackObama’sconcern,agenda and message
for entrepreneurship could not be more timely.
Those 100,000 universitygraduates whoapplied for 50 judiciary jobs in Kenya cannot be lucky because
we have no system in place. The universities themselves concentrate on teaching students for
employment rather than creation. The government provides no motivation, assistance or incentives.
Instead obstacles are placed on your path as has been mentioned above. The education generation in
Kenya is in a quagmire. This leads to criminal behaviour.
The few employers we have cannot expand and take an extra work-force, as heavy taxation acts as a
blocking influence. Many companies close down every year because they cannot afford taxation,
especially if theysleptonthe jobandhave a number of years in arrears. Those are quickly tabulated by
the tax officers and soon surcharges running in several millions of shillings are required of them. So a
medium company with turnover only in thousands finds itself required to pay sh. 300 million, sh. 700
million. It is put to you like that so you can part with sh. 10 or sh. 20 million then the figure tumbles
down below Sh. 100 million for you. That is Kenya.
Honestly,we cannotbe serious.The costof powerismade artificiallyexpensive evenwhen geo-thermal
energysubsidizesthe grid.The global oil prices can be down to 3 dollars a gallon as it was in 1960s. But
our leaderswill make sure we paythe “normal” rates so they can line their pockets. It is too expensive
for nothing. Insteadof Obamabeatingthe drumsforentrepreneurshiphe shoulddeclare waroncorrupt
leadership. Without that it won’t work.
Many employerslove tohire staff buttheyare haltedbycostlylabour.Cheaplabouristhe engine of the
economy of the Asian Tigers. Cheap labour creates jobs. Publishers send their books to Hong Kong
because printingischeapthere.American manufacturersturntoChinaandKorea for the same reasons.
Through cheap labour they attract investment and make money.
In a dishonestgovernmentlabourcannotbe cheap. Their activities create inflation which cannot allow
thisto take place.If we charge energyright, we charge oil right, we tax fairly and eliminate corruption,
labour can be cheap. We can attract investors and with tourism to boot, Africa can be super rich. Too
much inflationalsomakesusnone consumers,andwe endupunable to support our industries through
heavy purchases. We are reduced to basic consumption of our stable foods and this kills industry.
America is rich because the citizens consume. They form the primary market for their industries and
It isall in the economicsof scale. Make taxes so cheap everybody pays them. Again over 90 per cent of
Americans pay tax because it is affordable to. Hiking taxes which is a pastime of Kenya tax authorities
onlyleadstoevasion,orpayingthe tax bribe insteadof the government. The economy stagnates. But it
wouldn’tif we are realistic.Instead of makingabudgetof sh. 1.2 trillionwithoursh.800billionturnover,
we put itto sh. 2.2 trillionwhichrequiresus to raise sh. 1.4 trillion from nowhere, yet if we made it sh.
1.2 trillion,the sh.400 billiondeficitwe couldsource easily from local and off-shore borrowing, grants,
On thisthe west misled us grossly. They said no government was to do any business at all. Engaging in
business by the government was undermining free market forces. We understood them literally, and
abandoned all government dealings in the hands of the so-called tenderpreneurs. These people are
strangling this country. Everything the government wants, even things within its means to produce, a
tenderissentoutfor. Let’stake the example of Kenya’sNational Youth Service which spends about Sh.
1 billion buying commodities for its service, yet it has enough manpower, together with prisons, and
landresourcestogrow all theyrequire,sellingsome to the army, colleges and even getting a chance to
Boardingsecondaryschoolshave become no-goareasforbrightbutpoor students because they charge
astronomical feesbecauseof the tendersystem.Thishasaffectedthe qualityof educationfittingforthe
market,yetboardingschoolsusedtobe the cheapestas theyfendedforthemselves tilling the sizeable
acres of land that they sat on. Orphans could do farm work during schools holidays and through that
meet their fee expenses. The tendering system has made sure such are no more.
Employers can hardly save on house allowances, which often make up more than one quarter of their
employeesalaries.Itisworse forthe governmentbecause theyown the land, have labour, experts and
engineers, yet they pay exorbitant house allowances for employees. They can hardly save, and so can
hardly reduce taxes. The economy is jinxed.
The government’s money is hard earned, forcing citizens who are almost broke to pay tax. Then we
waste it all through easy and uncalled for outsourcing, with almost nothing in return for the
government. The tenderpreneurs are cheap and dishonest fellows. They look for the cheapest, least
non-durable itemstosupplythe government. They compromise the government officers to accept the
cheap options. They will go for imports when cheap is not available locally. Mind you cheap can also
mean fake. They go for a semi-fake option so the government comes to them for replacement soon
after.Thishas affectedevenindustries in the west, especially Europe which makes goods to last. They
go to the east for their kind of material.
Countries in development crisis like in Africa still require government input in industry, to offer
guarantorshipandevenfightcorruption.When the United States was in an economic crisis in the form
of the Great Depression of 1933 – 5, the government took the bull by the horn and got down to
conducting basic infrastructural business. Up to now the US has a central tender board which
determineswhere the governmentistobut what, inorderto protector boostthe industry and regulate
The Chinese are makinghuge profitsall overmakinguse of theircivil servantsandevenprisoners.In the
past we had public works departments that built roads, bridges, houses. Why cant the government
compete the private sector doing these jobs and exporting their services? The Chinese are now the
second largest economy, because of that kind of background. As at now our government cannot give
jobsto itscivil engineers.Whentheyformconstructioncompaniestheyare ignored forthe Chinese. We
beg the Chinese to employ them in vain. It serves us right.
FREDERICK OWINO OYARO