State House hit as Sh47bn spending requests rejected


The Controller of Budget Dr Margaret Nyakangó at a past event. FILE PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

The Controller of Budget (COB) rejected the bulk of spending requests by State House, 18 ministries and agencies made under the emergency clause in the six months ended December, approving only Sh3.29 billion of the Sh51 billion requested.

Most of the 31 spending requests made between July and December 2023 were for non-urgent causes, prompting the COB Margaret Nyakang’o to approve just six of them while declining others amounting to Sh47 billion.

Among the requests that were not approved were one by the State House in July to spend Sh400 million to purchase vehicles and another in October to spend Sh700 million in the construction of a modern presidential dais at the State House gardens.

The COB also declined requests by four State agencies for cash to settle pending bills totalling Sh12.6 billion, two requests by the Ministry of Energy in August to spend Sh18.4 billion stabilising fuel prices for August and September, and a request by the Ministry of Defence in November to spend Sh200 million supporting operations in response to el Nino.

The requests were under Article 223 of the Constitution- which allows the government agencies to access additional funding during the financial year if the budgeted amount is insufficient or a spending need for a purpose for which no amount had been budgeted for, arises.

“In the first six months of the financial year 2023/2024, the COB authorised a total of Sh3.29 billion under Article 223 of the Constitution. This amount was 0.07 percent of the gross budget estimates and, therefore, within the 10 percent ceiling set out in Article 223 of the Constitution,” COB Margaret Nyakang’o stated, in her report on national government budget implementation review report, running July to December 2023.

In October, the State Department for Immigration requested to spend Sh500 million for the purchase of E-Passport booklets, a request that was not approved, the COB budget implementation review report for the six months ending December notes.

The request by the State Department perhaps explains the reason why Kenyans have been struggling to get passports at the Department of Immigration, and its admission in recent weeks, that it did not have passport booklets.

“Applicants with urgent travel needs are advised to present their proof of urgency at dedicated counters in all passport application centres countrywide,” the Director of Immigration, Evelyn Cheluget said last month.

The State Department for East African Community in September also requested to spend Sh16.3 million in the purchase of the Cabinet Secretary’s official motor vehicle, which was declined by the COB.

The State Departments for Youth Affairs and the Arts, and MSMEs in August also made two requests to spend Sh250 million and Sh470.4 million.

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