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MPs push for automatic rise of Parliament budget

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MPs want ceilings removed and the allocations set to grow by 7.5 per cent yearly. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Parliament has set its budgetary allocation to expand automatically every year, handing itself a blank cheque to increase its expenditure without control of the Executive.

Also to enjoy the same financing flexibility is the Judiciary which has been pushing for enhanced allocation to broaden its national network.

The Budget and Appropriation Committee (BAC) is pushing to have recurrent expenditures of both the Parliament and the Judiciary being set to rise by 7.5 per cent every year as their development votes are fixed on need basis.

“The budgetary allocations for Parliament and Judiciary should be based on a 7.5 per cent annual increase on their recurrent budget. Thus discussions should be held on allocative efficiency and not ceilings,” the committee recommends in its report.

“Development budget allocation should be contested on a need basis.”

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The committee has allocated Parliament Sh37.579 billion for 2018/19 while the Judiciary will get Sh15.168 billion after a Sh2.5 billion slash.

If the recommendations are adopted by the plenary, Parliament’s recurrent expenditure for the next fiscal year will rise by at least Sh1.8 billion.

The figures tabled in Parliament by National Treasury secretary Henry Rotich had initially allocated Sh46 billion to legislative organs with Sh6.4 billion being set aside for Senate, Sh21.9 billion) for National Assembly Sh6.1 billion for general expenses and Sh12.5 billion to Parliamentary Service Commission.

The generous allocation to Parliament comes amid tight expenditure controls announced by Treasury as the Kenya Revenue Authority struggles to meet high collection targets. 

The austerity measures have seen public offices freeze new employment with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission also significantly cutting allowances payable to government workers.

As for the Judiciary, the prospect of increased allocation comes just weeks after Chief Justice David Maraga appealed for more cash to support automation as well as its brick and mortar expansion.
The bulk of current allocation go to paying salaries and operation costs of courts.

Justice Maraga wants High Courts established in all the 47 counties to “take services closer to the people”.

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