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Treasury raids ministries, State agencies for poll cash

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich addresses the Press in Nairobi yesterday during the launch of the Sector Working Groups for the preparation of the 2018/19 and medium term budgets. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG
Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich addresses the Press in Nairobi yesterday during the launch of the Sector Working Groups for the preparation of the 2018/19 and medium term budgets. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG 

Ministries, State agencies, the Judiciary and Parliament face cuts in spending after the Treasury raided their budgets for cash to finance the October 17 repeat presidential election and extend the food subsidy programme.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said on Friday that independent commissions and the 47 counties would also be affected by the action that will help cover for the unforeseen expenditure that wasn’t factored in the Sh2.29 trillion 2017/18 budget approved by Parliament.

“To finance those emerging priorities, we have to restructure some of the expenditures that we had. Basically, we are going to create savings to fund emerging expenditures,” Mr Rotich said.

The cost of conducting a fresh presidential poll is estimated in upwards of Sh15 billion.

The embattled Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has presented a Sh12.2 billion budget which is being reviewed by the Treasury, Mr Rotich said.

This will, however, cross Sh15 billion when related activities — largely security measures — are factored in, the minister added.  The Treasury is also reviewing a request for additional Sh5 billion from the Interior ministry towards security measures, with another request for additional Sh3 billion from the Agriculture ministry towards the extended Sh6.5 billion maize subsidy programme.

“We are in this regard reorganising the government planned spending for this year, which we shall in due course be submitting to the National Assembly for necessary approval,” Mr Rotich said.

The government has already banned foreign trips for its officials unless with approval from President Uhuru Kenyatta. Mr Rotich said the measures, to be presented to the National Assembly through a Supplementary Budget, also target to scale down spend on domestic travel, hospitality, non-priority development projects, purchase of furniture, leasing of motor vehicles, training, transfers to semi-autonomous government agencies, among others.

“It is going to affect all arms of government: the Executive, the Judiciary, Parliament, constitutional offices and we are also going to discuss with the county governments to reorganise their budgets to ensure that they deal with challenges like food security,” he said.

“We are going to create space within the envelope. We don’t want to go and borrow new money, we want to undertake an austerity measure, a serious one, that will ensure we fund these priority areas.”

Rotich did not, however, disclose the projected savings from the proposed budget cuts, saying they will only become clear when the Supplementary Budget is presented to the National Assembly “hopefully next week”.

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