Nearly half of the ministries and State departments surpassed their budgetary allocation for the first quarter of the financial year by nearly Sh78.14 billion, shining a spotlight on austerity measures announced by the William Ruto administration.
An analysis of government expenditure between July and September shows that 20 State departments spent more than the targets set by the Treasury.
The data published by the National Treasury indicate the departments spent Sh233.77 billion for recurrent and development projects against a target of Sh155.63 billion.
This means the 20 departments cumulatively overshot budgets by 50.20 percent for the three months.
This came at a time total expenditure by the National Government, including the Judiciary and Parliament, amounted to Sh505.75 billion, representing 85.3 percent absorption of the Sh592.76 billion target for the first quarter.
This was after 17 other departments absorbed less than half of the budget estimates for the review period.
The Ruto administration has pledged to manage expenditures in addition to growing tax revenues to narrow the budget deficit to 5.4 percent of gross domestic product this fiscal year ending June 2024 and slow down on borrowing to fund government operations.
“The over 100 percent expenditure was due MDAs [ministries, departments, and agencies] committing beyond their budgets,” Treasury officials wrote in the 2023 Budget Review and Outlook Paper (BROP) published earlier in the month.
The data shows that the Investment promotion department overshot its budget by the biggest rate after exceeding its Sh384 million target more than four-fold (371.35 percent) to Sh1.81 billion.
It was followed by the Water and Sanitation that surpassed the Sh1.69 billion target by 364.5 percent to Sh7.85 billion.
The larger departments which exceeded expenditure targets included Transport which spent Sh14.31 billion or 270.50 percent more than the Sh5.29 billion estimates for the review period, while Roads absorbed Sh10.09 billion more than Sh34.11 billion budgeted for the quarter.
The data shows that all, but one department (Correctional Services), under the Ministry of Interior and Administration of National Governments surpassed their budgeted allocations.
Immigration and Citizen Services was forced to undertake changes to clear piling backlogs of passport applications, exceeded its budget by Sh1.17 billion, or 39.17 percent, to Sh4.17 billion.
The National Police Service, which battled opposition-led anti-government protests over the deepening cost of living crisis in July, spent Sh1.52 billion more in the review period than a target of Sh28.15 billion while the Internal Security docket received Sh7.62 billion against a target of Sh7.06 billion.
The Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) and Regional Development, which is in charge of mitigating the effects of biting drought in northern Kenya, spent Sh4.84 billion, double the Sh2.43 billion budgeted.
The Higher Education and Research docket withdrew Sh58.38 billion in the three months, Sh25.34 billion more than the estimates, while the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) department overshot expenditure by Sh1.18 billion to Sh6.81 billion.
Public Health exceeded by Sh1.95 billion, Energy (Sh2.39 billion), ICT (Sh1.57 billion), Blue Economy (Sh1.58 billion), Wildlife (Sh1.20 billion) and Public Service (Sh4.08 billion).