Boosting Kenya's debt oversight


Boosting Kenya's debt oversight

The Kenya Parliament put to use WFD’s Public Debt Management Assessment Toolkit (PDMAT) to enhance its oversight on public debt, identifying crucial reform areas for improved transparency and accountability in financial management.
The Kenya Parliament utilized the WFD’s Public Debt Management Assessment Toolkit (PDMAT) to enhance its oversight on public debt, identifying crucial reform areas for improved transparency and accountability in financial management.

In a substantial step forward to improve transparency and accountability in the management of public finances, the Parliament of Kenya recently engaged in a collaborative workshop utilising the Westminster Foundation for Democracy’s (WFD) Public Debt Management Assessment Toolkit (PDMAT). Spearheaded by the National Assembly Public Debt and Privatization Committee, the workshop aimed to delve into the initial findings of the ongoing PDMAT assessment, shedding light on the Parliament's capacity to effectively oversee public debt.

The workshop, held with the support of Franklin De Vrieze, WFD’s accountability expert, proved to be successful and impactful, providing Members of Parliament (MPs) and committee staff with a unique opportunity for in-depth discussions. The objective of the workshop extended beyond the initial assessment, allowing MPs and committee staff to engage directly with consultants conducting the evaluation. The Institute of Public Finance and Geoff Dubrow, WFD Associate on Public Debt Management, guided discussions and offered insights into the best practices in public debt management.

From the initial findings of PDMAT and the ensuing discussions, several key reform areas were identified:

  • Legislation: Consideration of reforms in Public Debt Law, CFS Law, and amendments to existing laws to align with contemporary financial practices.
  • Approval of ABP: Emphasis on best practices for the approval of Annual Borrowing Plans (ABP), including robust monitoring mechanisms.
  • Indicators and targets: Advocacy for a detailed breakdown of debt-related targets and regular monitoring to ensure adherence to financial objectives.
  • Debt reporting and scrutiny: Striking a balance between forward and backward-looking approaches to enhance the effectiveness of debt reporting and scrutiny.
  • Monitoring of MTDS: Robust monitoring of Medium-Term Debt Management Strategies (MTDS) to align with the dynamic economic landscape.
  • Oversight over contingent liabilities: Strengthening parliamentary oversight over contingent liabilities to mitigate potential financial risks.
  • Tracking and monitoring committee recommendations: Implementation of a structured system for tracking and monitoring committee recommendations related to public debt.
  • Enhanced transparency in debt oversight: Exploration of innovative measures, such as public hearings, to enhance transparency in the oversight of public debt.

The workshop underscored the importance of a collaborative approach, with the National Assembly, the Institute of Public Finance, and experts like Geoff Dubrow playing instrumental roles in guiding these reforms. The initiative to embrace innovative measures such as public hearings was particularly noteworthy, promising to bridge the gap between policymakers and the public, thereby enhancing accountability and transparency in the management of public funds.

As the curtains drew on this significant event, there was a palpable sense of optimism among the participants. The journey ahead would undoubtedly be challenging, requiring steadfast dedication and unwavering commitment to the principles of accountability and transparency. Yet, the foundation laid during this workshop illuminated a pathway towards a more sustainable and responsible fiscal future for Kenya, one where public debt management would be a testament to the country's commitment to good governance and economic stability.