Teachers Pay: Do we Print More Money or Tax More?

“Teachers should put children first without putting themselves last; Doctors should put patients first
without putting themselves last.” After writing this statement and trying to come up with a solution for
the strikes considering that I’m looking to serve the senate I first thank the teachers and doctor’s for
striking and letting the long-simmering economic tensions reach a boiling point. The current government
over the last 5 years has failed. The strikes are a serious blow to the government’s credibility on a
symbolically potent question. Today the questions that leaders, like myself, are debating are: Where do
we get the money to pay teachers? Do we print more money or Tax more? 3 weeks there has been no
answer.

As an aspiring candidate I know these are the challenges that I will face. Rather than laugh or find ghosts
to blame as some politicians are doing I have consulted extensively to find that solution. My goal is that
if I could find that one solution and at least have it published and picked up by those who care then
students would be learning again.

“Can government tax citizens any more?” I ask. “Not unless it wants to get the country to a point where
food production and supply system crush and unemployment reaches 50%.”I get an honest answer
from experts of economic systems that once explained make sense. “The government cannot use Value
Added Tax (VAT) without risking production of food decline. Advisors says increasing VAT of Fuel Tax
could lead to disruption of the food production and supply system and say the farmers are also feeling
this pain. Show me a farmer who has taken a vacation abroad after working hard to feed the nation?” is
a position that I would defend first for food comes first before education. No teacher can teach a hungry
class.

The second option is to print money and meet the budget increase through this. This is a risk that has
severe long term implications and using the Uganda case where Idi Amin printed money to the point
where the Uganda shilling became useless. “Kenya shilling is currently in the cliff headed to its collapse
and any printing of money would push it over the cliff and disrupt the Imports that a country needs
especially fuel for the supply of food,” I get an answer on the money printing. So where does treasury
get the money?

The answer to the teacher’s problem and all other workers will be found in the March 4 th 2013 ballot.
Even though I deeply share in the pain the teachers are going through and would want them to
continue the strike, the reality once this looked from every economic angle is that the money is already
squandered by the current leaders through 10% fee on projects, high salaries and even on countless
trips abroad. The joke around is that Kenyans abroad send almost $1 billion dollars and the current
ministers and some government officials return the amount through wasteful spending and are the
biggest clients for first class travel in U.S domestic flights.

As an educator and a concerned Kenyan, I want to strongly assert that educators, medics and we
Kenyans have the weapon to change the way we live and make live better. Currently we are looking
at parties based on individuals. The recent concluded elections did not feature any question about
what the persons were been elected for. This is the first change that we as Kenyans have to make to

ourselves.

Teachers have to be ready to declare and promise each other regardless of location they will vote for
better schools, better pay and education been given first priority. I ask teachers not to make tribe and
other factors the first priority. You are teachers teach the public by declaring you will vote for education.
I have the perfect Education Bill that I would like to see given consideration be the teachers and I’m
ready to discuss this.

Doctors similarly have to vow to each other they will vote for better pay and better hospitals. When a
doctor studies hard for many years to do a job sometimes more complicated than that of a legislator
then earns 10 times lower then the country is moving toward the wrong direction.

Shopkeepers, hawkers and private sector should vow they will vote for less taxation so they can be able
to grow their businesses and employ more people. Once each of us makes a commitment to work and
life better then we will be able to sort out the best candidates and the best policies to be enacted 2013
– 2017.

I humbly ask the teachers to end the strike for the sake of the children. I ask them to find ways to open
forums and invite candidates to the forums to give their platforms and budgets 2013/14 to 2017/18
showing the teachers pay that will be legislated and adopted. The teachers and parents have the power
with their vote to ensure that the country gets better.

Agnes Awour is the Senate aspirant for Siaya County and also the political leader of the Kshs 5 trillion
Platform Education bill. Email [email protected] .

 

 

 

 

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