Politics and policy
Marende orders Treasury to table estimates on time
House Speaker Kenneth Marende has directed the Treasury to comply in future with Article 221 of the Constitution which requires the Finance minister to table estimates of revenue for national government two months to Budget day.
Finance minister Njeru Githae is expected to table estimates of revenue this afternoon as he issues a ministerial statement — formerly the Budget Speech — at 3pm for the 2012/13 fiscal year.
Mr Marende’s ruling was prompted by concerns raised by Gwassi MP John Mbadi who pointed out that the minister did not comply with Article 221 in tabling the estimates.
Mr Mbadi said the minister only tabled a draft estimate of revenue of national government, which had generalised figures as opposed to presenting itemised estimates breaking down how the government intends to raise funds to finance the Sh1.5 trillion budget.
Mr Githae last week defended the draft estimates he presented to Parliament two months ago, arguing that the detailed printed revenue estimates will be available after taking into account tax policies agreed upon by East African Community (EAC) Council of Finance ministers.
He said the treaty establishing the community requires that the five partner states-Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi-consult and harmonise tax proposals for the region before reading the respective budgets.
Mr Marende found that the documents tabled were revenue estimates although they were marked as a draft and did not have a detailed breakdown of how revenues will be raised by the central government.
“It is clear that the estimates required should provide such adequate details that enable the House and general public to make proposals. This can’t be met through global presentation of figures. I discourage minimalist interpretation of the Constitution.” Marende ruled.
He said the House expects estimates of revenue for national government to be submitted and clearly titled and labelled in accordance with the Constitution.
He challenged Treasury to harmonise the budget presentation with the EAC partner states in line with the requirements of the Constitution.
“I agree that there is need to harmonise our budget cycle with that of EAC partners, but this should not go beyond subordinating the Constitution of Kenya and our laws to the treaty obligations which form part of our law under the Constitution,” he said.
Mr Marende said it should be the obligation of the State to ensure that Kenya meets the EAC obligations without violating the Constitution.
“Even with the requirement that treasury must consult the trading block partners, this should not violate or delay tabling of estimates in the House,” he added.