MPs blow Sh10 billion hole in President’s pet infrastructure projects


President Uhuru Kenyatta during the official launch of the Lamu Port on May 20,  2021. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG

Parliament has cut Sh9.6 billion from the Finance ministry’s budget, casting doubt on the operations of various infrastructure projects that President Uhuru Kenyatta placed under the docket last year.

The Budget and Appropriations Committee (BAC) reviewed the Treasury’s budget from Sh167.84 billion to Sh155.17 billion for the year starting July. The MPs, however, gave Treasury a token Sh980 million for public participation and Sh700 million for a parking spot in Malaba that softened the blow.

The budget hole means that Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani will struggle to implement several projects, including public ports, railway, and pipeline services that were transferred to his docket under the umbrella of the Kenya Transport and Logistics Network (KTLN).

“While the committee appreciates the need to place certain key projects under seemingly high performing ministries, there is concern that the major problem is the flow of Exchequer on a timely basis,” the BAC chaired by Kanini Kega said in the report to Parliament.

The cuts have targeted general planning and support to the tune of Sh6 billion, public financial management (Sh4.9 billion), and the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (Lapsset) Corridor project (Sh600 million).

“It is noted in the next financial year, the National Treasury will become an implementing agency for projects such as Dogo Kundu special economic zone, SGR Nairobi to Naivasha, Mombasa port development project, Lapsset and Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company,” the committee said.

“The National Treasury will find it difficult to strike the balance between being an implementer of public finance and being a sectoral implementer of these sectoral infrastructure projects.”

Last year, President Kenyatta issued an Executive Order bringing together Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC), and Kenya Pipeline Company Limited (KPC) under the coordination of the Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC) under the Treasury.

The Treasury is supposed to strengthen its internal capacity by securing the necessary technical skills and competencies needed to effectively oversee investment portfolio management.

Some of the notable cuts included Sh1 billion for school infrastructure, Sh300 million from Nairobi Metropolitan Services, Sh500 million from Geothermal Development Company for power generation at Bogoria.

MPs gave more resources to the NG-CDF an additional Sh3 billion ahead of 2022 polls.

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