Kenya’s Kes 3.66 trillion budget that is set to be approved today has been slightly tapered by Parliament to move resources around while also allocating more funds to their constituencies.
The Budget and Appropriations committee cut Sh20 billion from some budget lines and added Sh24.4 billion on others reallocating money that led to a zero effect in most budget lines.
The gainers were the MPs who ensured the Jubilee tail-end budget sets aside an additional Sh3 billion to the National Government Constituency Fund to ensure their backyards receive goodies before they go vote hunting.
Lawmakers also ensured that political parties fund savored Sh500 million more, which will be shared among them.
Further, election fervor extended to electricity spending where an additional Sh500 million was splurged on the last mile project.
MPs also gave more money for electricity transmission to Loiyangla-Marsabit line (Sh200 milion), Marsabit Isiolo line (Sh200 million).
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga handshake continued to reap fodder as more resources under devolution were allocated to a convention center in Kisumu, which was awarded an additional Sh600 million.
This together with a Sh1.6 billion additional emergency relief fund helped boost allocation of the department by Sh2.4 billion.
The National Treasury spending got the deepest cut, losing Sh9.6 billion meant for public finance management, general planning, support and the Lapsset infrastructure project.
Secondary schools will have to do without Sh1 billion for school infrastructure while Sh500 million has been nipped from Geothermal Development Company.
The Nairobi Metropolitan Services has lost Sh300 million-the only vote under the presidency that took a haircut in the final budget position.
Infrastructure saw a Sh2.7 billion additional fund mainly Sh3.3 billion for road rehabilitation but cut Sh600 million allocation for Marsabit Shegel Road.
During budget hearings, State functionaries gave the budget committee a Sh85.7 billion wish list for additional funding but the committee said due to cash shortfalls most of the requests were denied.
The MPs also noted that Kenya was under a strict International Monetary Fund scrutiny under the $2.4 billion debt programme, which required reforms in procurement and tax administration, containing public wage bill, restructuring parastatals and reviewing state projects.
“Now more than ever, the country must tighten its belt and limit spending to high priority areas in order to ensure citizens’ most urgent needs are being met in an efficient and cost effective manner,” the committee said.
MPs said the CS Ukur Yatani budget had tried to keep within prescribed limits but they cast doubt on the Treasury’s optimism by basing the budget on ambitious growth of the economy even as most Kenyans remained jobless from the fallout of Covid-19 pandemic which has cut consumption.
They said the Treasury has also failed to factor in possible delay in tourism recovery if the pandemic persists.