Queries as Uhuru, Ruto offices get Sh1.3 billion additional budget

Henry Rotich, Treasury Cabinet Secretary of Kenya

The Presidency has been allocated Sh1.3 billion in the supplementary budget.

The money, expected to be spent by the office of President Uhuru Kenyatta and that of his deputy William Ruto in the next three weeks, will mainly be channelled to social programmes by the First Lady and the DP’s wife.

These include a mentoring and rewarding scheme for pupils by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and Rachel Ruto’s women empowerment agenda.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich tabled the second supplementary budget last week. It raises the total expenditure of State House for the current financial year by Sh650 million or 15 per cent.

Ruto’s office has been allocated an additional Sh626 million, to be spent before June 30, for training women on table banking among others.

Increments on such arguably non-essential programmes, with only days to the end of the financial year, will not doubt raise questions about government’s commitment to austerity measures.

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Rotich told the Standard most of the additional allocations had actually been spent and the purpose of the supplementary budget was only to “regularise” the spending.

“Most of the funds have already been spent because we at the Treasury had approved the plans so what we are doing now is to regularise it,” said the CS, adding, “You do not need to worry about the amount of time left (to the end of financial year).”

The two budget items under the Presidency are the most conspicuous in the mini-budget that increases overall spending by Sh48 billion and will be presented in the National Assembly today.

The combined budgetary increment or these programmes by Mrs Kenyatta and Mrs Ruto is over a third of the Sh3.7 billion sought by Interior ministry for recruitment of additional police officers and the additional costs of securing party primaries.

Mrs Kenyatta was expected to have provided scholarships to 782 students under her social welfare project, up from the initially planned 282.

Beneficiaries under the Rachel Ruto’s programme did not change from 4,500 women in financial empowerment and 700 scholarships for needy students, despite the sharp budgetary increment.

Rotich explained that while the events relating to political party primaries were anticipated in the national budget drawn last year, it was not possible to tell the complexities, including repeat polls.

Repeat elections meant additional costs for the police in securing campaigns and the actual polling, the CS said.

But documents presented do not show any additional recruitment of police officers. Initial and revised targets remain at an enrolment of 8,000 new officers.

“The increment of Sh3.7 billion is to cater for recruitment and training of police officers and enhanced security in preparation for the General Election,” reads the mini-budget.

Of the additional amount, Sh2.2 billion was given to the Kenya Police Service (regular police) to recruit more officers above the initial target of 4,000, among other expenses.

A new allocation of Sh922 million has been granted to Administration Police arm.

Interior CS Joseph ole Nkaissery justified the additional budgets by his ministry in a closed session with members of the Budget Committee of the National Assembly yesterday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

An independent research arm of Parliament had last week highlighted a vote of confidential expenditure worth Sh962 million in its report to the Budget Committee chaired by Rev Mutava Musyimi.

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Parliamentary Budget Office cited the planned expenditure from its privileged access of the Integrated Financial Management System, which is however not captured in the mini-budget. 

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