Thursday, February 4, 2010

Kenya's Grip on its Illicit Economy Is Weak

Business Daily�- Editorial: Arms seizure shows govt’s grip on economy weak
But the repeat discovery of a large stock of arms in a private residence in Narok is a reflection of the grim realities of our economy.

Kenyans should be deeply worried that someone has been able to move such large amounts of dangerous weapons without detection by the country’s rather elaborate security machinery or with its tacit participation.

If indeed it is true that the arms moved without the knowledge of the police, it is largely because our security apparatus has not moved with the times.

The truth is that lucrative but illicit trade in illegal substances such as arms, counterfeits and drugs has to be oiled by large sums of money.

That such business appears to be smoothly going on in our economy clearly betrays the loose grip that supervisors have on the financial services sector.

On this front, Kenya appears to be a pure reflection of Peruvian economist Harnando De Soto’s thesis that governments of the so-called Third World countries know and are in control of a mere 30 per cent of their national economies.

They have no idea of the real happenings in the remaining 70 per cent where citizens are making fortunes from a wide range of licit and illicit activities including micro-entrepreneurship, small-scale agriculture, unauthorised harvesting of natural resources, counterfeits and drugs trade.

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