Parliament slashed the finance ministry’s budget by 9.6 billion shillings, casting doubt on the operations of various infrastructure projects that President Uhuru Kenyatta put on the record last year.
The Budget and Appropriations Committee (BAC) reviewed the treasury budget of 167.84 billion shillings to 155.17 billion shillings for the year beginning in July. MPs, however, gave the treasury a token of 980 million shillings for public participation and 700 million shillings for a parking space in Malaba, which lessened the blow.
The budget hole means Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani will struggle to implement several projects including public ports, railways and pipeline services which have been transferred to his case under the aegis Kenya Transport and Logistics Network (KTLN).
“While the committee appreciates the need to place some key projects under seemingly high performing ministries, it is feared that the major problem is the timely flow of the Exchequer,” said the BAC chaired by Kanini Kega in the report to Parliament.
The cuts targeted general planning and support to the tune of 6 billion shillings, public finance management (4.9 billion shillings) and the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (Lapsset) Corridor Project ( 600 million shillings).
“It is noted that in the next fiscal year, the National Treasury will become an executing agency for projects such as Dogo Kundu Special Economic Zone, SGR Nairobi in Naivasha, Mombasa Port Development Project, Lapsset and Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company, ”the committee said.
“The public treasury will find it difficult to strike a balance between being a public finance performer and being a sector performer of these sector infrastructure projects. “
Last year, President Kenyatta issued a decree bringing together Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) and Kenya Pipeline Company Limited (KPC) under the coordination of the Treasury’s Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC) .
The Treasury is expected to strengthen its internal capacity by ensuring the necessary technical skills and competences to effectively oversee the management of the investment portfolio.
Some of the notable cuts included 1 billion shillings for school infrastructure, 300 million shillings from metropolitan services in Nairobi, 500 million shillings from the geothermal development company for power generation in Bogoria.
MPs gave more resources to the NG-CDF for an additional 3 billion shillings ahead of the 2022 elections.