Politics and policy
Spy agency retains veil of secrecy on its spending plan
Posted Sunday, May 5 2013 at 21:58
- Expenditure estimates that the Treasury submitted to Parliament last Thursday shows that NIS has been allocated Sh13.98 billion for the next financial year.
- However, there is no indication as to what portion of the money will go to recurrent or development activities.
The spy agency, the National Intelligence Service, will once again spend billions of shillings without telling the taxpayer, even in the broadest terms possible, how the money will be used.
Expenditure estimates that the Treasury submitted to Parliament last Thursday shows that the agency, whose budget doubled in the past five years, has been allocated Sh13.98 billion for the next financial year, but there is no indication as to what portion of the money will go to recurrent or development activities.
Next year’s allocation is Sh500 million more than the current year’s. The agency has not disaggregated its budget, choosing instead to paste the same line throughout its one-and-a-half page presentation to Parliament.
There is no indication of the number of employees nor the purpose for the allocations, making it difficult to establish how much the spies are paid or the bureaucratic and asset structure of the agency.
“In 2013/14 Financial Year, the National Intelligence Service seeks to provide actionable intelligence that adds value to decision making by the government,” says the introduction to the agency’s budget.
Last year, an attempt by the parliamentary committee on defence and foreign relations, then chaired by Adan Keynan, to lift the veil of secrecy over the agency’s spending came a cropper after its director-general, Michael Gichangi, declined to appear before the committee.
Mr Keynan’s committee reacted to the snub by slashing and reallocating Sh2.7 billion of the spy agent’s budget to other government functions, but the Budget committee reinstated the cash, saying the said functions had enough allocations.
The NIS’s budget is expected to fall by Sh145 million in the 2014/2015 financial year —probably reflecting a decline in threat to national security or completion of capital investment—but rise to Sh14.3 million the next year.
The paper names the single programme financed as “maintain and safeguarding of national security”. Programme outcome is tagged “ensuring continued sovereignty and integrity of the nation is maintained” stating the output as “intelligence reports”.
In the medium term, performance targets and indicators are given as “actionable reports”. It will be interesting to see whether Mr Gichangi shows up to defend his budget in Parliament either in camera or in public where a US Congress-style interrogation would happen.
Most of the cash to constitutional commissions and agencies goes to the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), the teachers’ employer, which gets 82 per cent of the budget or Sh143.1 billion.
Out of this 99.6 per cent (Sh142.5 billion) will cover salaries and allowances of the estimated 250,000 teachers, according to the Budget estimates released last week.
The allocation, if approved by Parliament, will represent a 4.4 per cent increase over the Sh137 billion that was allocated to the teachers’ employer in the current financial year.
“We are yet to fully analyse these figures but at a cursory glance, the Sh6 billion that has been added to this year’s TSC allocation will definitely not be adequate to finance promotions, allowances and recruitment of new teachers,” said Wilson Sosion, the chairman of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut).