Improve quality on budget committee


The National Assembly has opened public participation for two bills which form part of the conditions attached to the Sh139 billion soft loan secured from the World Bank. FILE PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

The move by MPs to enhance their oversight over the national budget should ideally improve the management of public finances under the incoming administration.

But the reality is that lawmakers have a lot to improve on in their budget oversight if the last five years are anything to go by.

It is on their watch that the government has persistently breached its expenditure targets through numerous supplementary budgets that the MPs have faithfully passed.

It has also been unfortunate that voting on budgetary issues has on many occasions been done along party lines, thus allowing for mischief and misallocation of resources. It is the hope of Kenyans therefore that the lawmakers will use the opportunity being presented by the enhanced quarterly reviews of budgetary expenditure to keep the Treasury on its toes.

For a start, they should ensure that qualified people serve on the budget oversight and finance committees.

The Controller of Budget should also be given real-time access to monitor cash movements in the Exchequer accounts in order to keep a sharper eye on accounting officers who handle public funds.