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Early budget speech not a problem, but might affect funding Kenya’s 2017 elections


NAIROBI: Experts do not see reading of the budget two months earlier presenting a challenge.

They have, however, warned that there could be major surprises that could follow after the budget is read.

The experts also expressed concern that the early budget could be a flat one, with the concerns around the readiness for the Jubilee government to adequately finance the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

With a rigorous budget making process, some analysts have wondered whether there is time to immediately start funding the IEBC by July1 even as the electoral agency readies for the August elections.

Today, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich is expected to read the budget speech for fiscal year 2017-2018, a departure from the traditional June date when the statement is presented to lawmakers.

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Analysts, just as Treasury officials, have moved to allay fears that this new twist in the budget making process might throw into disarray the country’s fiscal calendar, which is supposed to run from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018.

Already, National Treasury has furnished Parliament with budget estimates, which the latter is supposed to approve. The Cabinet Secretary will then prepare and submit the Appropriation Bill for the approved budget estimates to be approved by 30th June. The budget proposal will, technically, take effect on July 1.

Maseno University Economics lecturer Scholastica Odhiambo said the Government cannot start its expenditure before the passage of the Appropriation Bill. She said what has changed is the day it is read and not the fiscal calendar.

“It is the reading date of the budget speech that has changed, but there will not be a new financial year. This is simply an administrative issue,” said Dr Odhiambo.

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