Deputy Speaker of the Kenya National Assembly, Hon. Farah Maalim Mohamed, and Mrs. Phyllis Makau at the March launch.
Kenya Parliament launches Africa's first macroeconomic model
NAIROBI, Kenya - The Deputy Speaker of the Kenya National Assembly, Hon. Farah Maalim Mohamed, officially launched the Parliamentary Budget Office’s Macroeconomic Forecasting Model on March 20, 2012, noting that it is the first of its kind in Africa. In addition, this puts Kenya on the world stage as only the fourth legislative body to have a macroeconomic forecasting model (the other three being the United States, Korea and Canada). Chairman of the Budget Committee, Hon. Elias Mbau, noted that the model also marks an important milestone in the National Assembly’s transformation from “a budget approving parliament to a budget making parliament.”
The Macro Model, as it is called within Parliament, is the result of years of effort and deliberation championed by Mrs. Phyllis Makau of the Parliamentary Budget Office. As she opened the ceremonies, Mrs. Makau said that the launch of the macro model has been a “dream come true” for her office. The first mention of the Macro Model appeared in the 2008 Strategic Plan on Parliament, in support of Objective 2: To strengthen the capacity and process of overseeing the National Budget. Specifically, the vision of the model in the 2008 Strategic Plan was to support the Parliament in asserting its role and voice in the budget process.
The Macro Model is a computerized tool that will generate information for budget analysis, budget oversight, budget forecasts and more importantly provide capacity for the review of fiscal and monetary policies as contained in the National Budget Policy Strategy. Specifically, the model will provide the PBO with the capacity to conduct budget projections, perform macroeconomic forecasts, construct alternative scenarios with respect to macroeconomic variables such as growth, unemployment, inflation, productivity etc., provide options for reducing the budget deficit and provide capacity for policy analysis on budget surveillance.
Parliament now regularly reviews and scrutinizes the National Budget Policy Statement, providing alternative economic and budget scenarios should there be disagreement with Treasury’s estimates and revenue allocations. Parliament has strengthened its oversight role in budgetary analysis by holding hearings and calling members of the executive and other offices in government to account for how their budget allocations were spent. With a core profession staff in PBO and armed with budget data and forecast analysis Parliament will not only take a play a leading role in the budget-setting process, but will also become a leader in the region. Kenya, the Deputy Speaker predicted, will be known as “the most progressive parliament in the world.”
SUNY/CID’s Kenya Parliamentary Strengthening program supported through the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) provided financial and technical assistance to the PBO’s efforts in creating the macroeconomic model. This is part of our project’s long standing partnership with PBO to build internal and external capacity in budget and oversight functions, to critically engage the executive, and to provide a bridge between citizens and Parliament in the determination of resource allocation.
Posted April 9, 2012