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Economy

Budget cut signals gradual KDF Somalia withdrawal

KDF
Kenya has slashed the estimates of reimbursement from international community for its troops fighting Al-Shabaab militia in Somalia by Sh1 billion. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya has slashed the estimates of reimbursement from international community for its troops fighting Al-Shabaab militia in Somalia by Sh1 billion, in what could be a signal of gradual withdrawal from the war-torn country.

While President Uhuru Kenyatta has repeatedly stated his intention to keep the troops until Somalia becomes stable and insecurity spillovers into Kenya are contained, budget revisions appear to indicate a policy shift.

The Treasury says it now expects Sh4 billion in refunds from African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) for Kenya Defence Force (KDF) soldiers in the year ending June. This is a 20 percent drop compared with Sh5 billion initially factored in the Budget Statement.

The revised estimates, contained in the in the latest Statement of Actual Revenues and Net Exchequer Issues, are lower than Sh4.3 billion the European Union (EU) and its partners refunded Nairobi for its role in the Amisom for the year ended June 2019.

The receipts from Amisom are projected to fall further to Sh3.5 billion next fiscal year from July 2020 and to Sh3 billion thereafter, Treasury disclosed earlier in the Budget Policy Statement (BPS).

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Kenya received Sh1.47 billion in the first five months of the current financial year through November 2019, latest exchequer statistics show, a sharp jump from Sh10.20 million in the same period of a year earlier.

The EU funds cater for allowances for the Amisom troops and police, international and local civilian staff salaries, operational costs of their offices, among others.

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