Members of the public have been invited to provide their input and views on President William Ruto’s spending plan for the fiscal year 2023/24, a crucial budget that will make or break his campaign promises.
The budget, which will be Dr Ruto’s first budget since taking over from former president Uhuru Kenyatta is largely expected to address the cost of living crisis in the country.
“The public can also follow the proceedings through a link to be posted at the National Treasury website (www.treasury.go.ke) and on social media platforms.
Dr Ruto’s projected KEs3.64 trillion budget is wired to fast-track Kenya’s economic recovery amid drought, high food, and oil price-induced inflation that has given rise to the cost of living crisis.
Dr Ruto, Kenya’s fifth Head of State, will also be banking heavily on the 2023/24 budget to realize a significant number of his signature campaign promises, including lifting millions from poverty through a bottom-up growth plan.
Kenya’s public debt, which is about 60 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, ballooned during an infrastructure construction drive under Dr Ruto’s predecessor Mr Kenyatta, prompting warnings from rating agencies.
In December, Fitch Rating said Kenya’s debt servicing costs in the current financial year will see the Treasury use Kes1.4 trillion to settle principal and interest amounts, a rise from the Kes1.15 trillion spent in the previous period.
In a new year media interview, Dr Ruto said his administration seeks to collect an extra Kes1 trillion ($8.11 billion) in taxes in the next two years even as authorities at the Treasury move to axe Kes300 billion in borrowing in the 2022/23 fiscal year.
Members of the public are encouraged to participate in the budget making process in line with the provisions of “Article 201 (a) of the Constitution and section 36 of the Public Finance Management Act, 2012 which requires public participation on the budget making process,” a notice to Kenyans published in the dailies on Monday read in part.
The public hearings will start on Wednesday, January 11th, and end on Friday, January 13th.
The National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Prof Njuguna Ndung’u will give the keynote address at the opening session. Dr Chris Kiptoo, the Principal Secretary, National Treasury will give an overview of Kenya’s macro-economic outlook for the FY 2023/24.
The first day will also see presentations on agriculture, rural and urban development; health and education sectors.
Views on energy, infrastructure, and ICT; general economic and commercial affairs as well as justice and governance will be canvased on the second day of the session.
On the final day of the presentations, members of the public will be taken through the environment, water, and natural resources; public administration and international relations; as well as social protection, culture and recreation sectors.