Budget and Liaison Committees hold stakeholders’ engagement over Budget
The National Assembly’s Budget and Appropriations Committee chaired by the Hon. Kanini Kega (Kieni), in a joint sitting with the House’s Liaison Committee(Chairpersons Committee); chaired by Deputy Speaker, the Hon. Moses Cheboi (Kuresoi North), have this weekend convened a pre-budget review conference with various government agencies in Mombasa County. The two-day forum is scheduled to deliberate on the status of implementation of the budget for the Financial Year 2020/2021, as well as review the 2021/2022 budget proposals.
While making their opening remarks during the convention, the Leader of the Majority Party, the Hon. (Dr.) Amos Kimunya and his Minority counterpart, the Hon. John Mbadi, highlighted the hurdles that the National Assembly as a key stakeholder faces during the budget making process and during its implementation.
“There is an assumption that the government speaks one language, while in reality, the Ministries keep coming back to Departmental Committees asking for more money, yet the resource had been shared at the wider government level,” decried the Hon. Kimunya.
The two and the Committee Chairs further raised serious concerns with regard to the inconsistent trend the National Treasury has adopted in the disbursement of funds to Constituencies and County Governments.
“If the National Treasury can quickly get funds for off-budget expenditures like railway development, how come you cannot get funds for National Government- Constituency Development projects, which is budgeted for? Does it make sense?”, posed the Hon Mbadi.
Leading key government stakeholders was the Cabinet Secretary for Trade and Industrialization, Ms Betty Maina, who apprised the two House committees on the Status of implementation of the Big Four Agenda of government. While making a review of the milestones attained so far on the agenda, she acknowledged that financial challenges experienced by the government had slowed down the implementation of certain projects, and appealed to the Budget Committee to look into the matter in the next budget.
On her part, the Auditor General, Ms. Nancy Gathungu took the lawmakers through the best possible ways for all stakeholders to ascertain a strong linkage between the stages of the Budget making process, and Audit reports.
Speaking during the conference, the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, Dr. Patrick Njoroge outlined the key areas of focus in the 2021 Budget Policy, from a central banker’s perspective. The governor challenged the MPs and Ministries to ascertain the attainability of projects, vis-à-vis resources allocated, with an emphasis on the fact that many a time, it is the reason for failure of projects.
The legislators also received submissions from the Commission for Revenue Allocation on the pertinent issues surrounding the vertical sharing of revenue in the Financial Year 2021/22 that should form the priority of the House in the consideration of the next budget.
This forum comes hot on the heels of the tabling of the Budget Policy Statement (BPS) on the floor of the House last week. The tabling of the BPS usually heralds the process of the review of the National Treasury’s budgetary proposals by the House.