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US agency says satisfied with Kenya’s fiscal transparency

MPs during Budget speech reading. FILE PHOTO | NMG
MPs during Budget speech reading. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya is among countries meeting fiscal transparency standards on its budget making process and public expenditure, the US Department of State has said in a new report evaluating recipients of US financial aid.

The department evaluated the public availability, substantial completeness, and reliability of budget documents, as well as the transparency of processes for awarding government contracts and licences for natural resource extraction.

The report, which is released annually, reviews those countries that receive financial assistance from the US to show whether American taxpayers’ money is being “utilised properly.”

Kenya is projected to receive $639,000 (Sh64 billion) in this fiscal year from $711 million (Sh73 billion) last year via the State Department’s development assistance account, according to President Donald Trump’s proposed US spending plan.

“Fiscal transparency is a critical element of effective public financial management, helps in building market confidence, and underpins economic sustainability,” reads the report.

“It fosters greater government accountability by providing a window into government budgets for citizens, helping citizens to hold their leadership accountable and facilitating better-informed public debate.”

The report concluded that documents on Kenya’s financial activities were widely available in public domain.

Kenya has in recent years shifted its budget making process to include public participation, both at the national and county government levels.

The country also publishes regular exchequer reports showing the expenditure from the public purse.

In the East Africa Community bloc, Uganda was also deemed to have fiscal transparency. However, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Sudan and Somalia were found not to meet the minimum requirements.