As time goes on, the economy cripples and the process of the economic growth worsens. It is through this process, the insiders of corporatist system flourish as poverty bites.

IN politics as in economics there exists grievous incongruity on what economc growth means. Many appear though erroneously to be of the opinion that it is all about GDP or producing issues. It is not. Economic growth means an economy’s capability to have a society make ends meet, whatever they are- that is, that is to produce well being-increases.

As a yardstick of capturing this, GDP is a horrible measure using government figures and is thus manipulated by those gaining from such manipulated figures. GDP is not growth.

During a national budget debate, there are simple basic facts that one needs to understand to make her/his contribution relevant to the people she represents.That person is no other than a Member of Parliament, and there is no better opportunity like this to let our MPs get this simple but basic facts. So, this piece is about how to think when debating different policy proposals in the national budget context.

On May 30, 2019, the World was surprised by New Zealand as it became the first country to come up with the World’s first WELL BEING BUDGET. But the question is; Aren’t all national budgets supposed to embrace the concept of people’s wellbeing? I know, for more than seven years now, our national plan, budgets and blueprints are overusing this term. This year’s budget later in the afternoon will use it too.

In point of fact, national budget is regarded as the main reference point in consenting on how scarce national resources are utilized to take care of, grow, develop, and enhance human lives and wellbeing in the pursuit of intergenerational continuity.

And of course, New Zealand was not the first country to champion the idea of people’s well being at the soul of national policy- Sweden, France, European Union, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and others developed similar ideas before. However, what is exceptional in New Zealand’s context is the transformative approach it undertook to clinically bridge the concept of people’s wellbeing to the process of budgetary planning.

Back to our national budget. In his state of the economy speech in parliament this morning, the minister of finance Dr. Mwigulu Nchemba stated how the economy is growing and how the government targets a 4.7% growth in 2022. The minister has mentioned a litany of variables from increase of money supply to economic and social infrastructures in line with the growth agenda all in pursuit of a functioning economy.

But is it functioning? And for who?

If the economy is growing and stable, the germane issue is how is it enhancing people’s well being? This is the question that deserves the very full attention of all MPs.

Let’s put these facts clear.


By the same token, having store full of stuff is not growth. Producing to increase quantities of stuff in a country of “precariats” is not economic growth; it is just mis-utilization of our lean productive capacity. Well being does not mean needs but the ability to get out of the woods when faced with an external/ internal shock. MPs should ask the question; How does this growth the government brags about enhances people’s wellbeing in that aspect? Economic growth is measured by the increased ability to make meets end.

Examples of economic growth aren’t the tall buildings mushrooming in Dar es alaam or influx of “investors” from Oman or United Arab Emirates even when they mean eviction of the Masai from their ancestral land. When you think of economic growth, consider the western society since the days of Malthus and how their economies increased the ability to produce food. The quantity and quality have increased significantly. They use little resources to produce more inorder satisfy more wants. That is real growth. This means, economic growth entails improved ways of economizing, thus having more money to make ends meet beyond basic needs. In this regard; how did the previous budget addressed this question and how its contribution in economic growth achieve this? How is the 2022/2023 budget targeting this course?

Economic growth applies to both society and individuals. A society is considered to have improved it’s productive capacity when it has more ways to satisfy wants but with relatively cheaper ways to get there. However, this doesn’t mean or imply equal and instantaneous distribution, access and consumption but it creates a better society in a stepwise fashion.

This begs a question on the relationship between growth and equality.


In the grand scheme of things, growth does not guarantee equality.

Am I contradicting our MPs? No way.

In its strict sense, improved productivity improves the producing power of all money (of great concern) low wages, thereby making it more affordable to satisfy people’s wants and needs. It’s important to note that the distribution of attained prosperity will not be equal and instantaneous; new innovation and services will be produced somewhere, by someone- it is not possible to be produced for 60 million people instantaneously. So, the new products, jobs and productive abilities have to have the ripple effects across the economy.

As innovations happen all the time, it means at no point everyone in society will enjoy the same standard of living. And there is no other way.

In his new book, SLOUCHING TOWARDS UTOPIA; AN ECONOMIC HISTORY OF TWENTIETH CENTURY, J. Bradford Delong vindicates this historical fact as he argues that; with real growth there has never been perfect equality, for well being requires steady growth.

This doesn’t mean, we should sit pretty as the economy creates inequalities. It only means for everyone to enjoy higher living standards, some inequalities are inevitable. But we should be clear in a sense that much of the inequalities in our country is not of this “natural” kind. It is a result of bad politics not economics.

There are two forms of this problem; unfair governance system that favours the few through social and political structures- and today’s policies that creates winners and losers such as what is happening in Ngorongoro district.


Considering the economic growth phenomenon; policy-oriented inequality affects both production and distribution of prosperity.

A. Policy makes the privileged class by (a). discouraging new entrants and future winners through protecting the present capital owners. (b) protecting present capital owners by monopolization of new innovations.

B. Policy by design makes losers through prebendalistic tendencies. Policy gives more value and economic capabilities the politically aligned.

As such, policy has two effects on economic growth; it undermines the value creation and fails it’s distribution. This means, the created inequality creates winners and losers to favour those who are politically-aligned to the government of the day.

This kind of economic growth, doesn’t expand the ability to satisfy wants; rather the centre of political favouritism which constraints the basic tenets of real economic growth. In this kind of growth, value is redistributed to create market inefficiencies. The end result is that the allocation of productive capabilities considers political clout at most and the creation of wellbeing at least.

As time goes on, the economy cripples and the process of the economic growth worsens. It is through this process, the insiders of corporatist system flourish as poverty bites.

Our MPs must seize this opportunity to get rid of this politically choreographed growth so that they can make 2022/2023 budget foster the economy to adjust to realities in which creation of wellbeing is at the centre instead of favouritism. This will decrease inequality and reduce harmful effects. It would an economy where business, workers and farmers produce value for the whole society, hence economic growth and higher living standards.