Friday, December 28, 2012

Teachers, security given more cash in fresh budget

By GRIFFINS OMWENGA gomwenga@ke.nationmedia.com

Teachers, security agencies and the electoral commission are the biggest beneficiaries in fresh allocations of money by the government.

In an indication that the government was not taking chances with security ahead of the General Election, the Ministry of Provincial Administration and Internal Security has been allocated an extra Sh6.5 billion.

The government had indicated that adequate preparations would be made to ensure security agencies were prepared to deal with any incidents before, during and after the General Election scheduled for March 4, next year.

It is a lesson learnt from the 2008 post-election violence when police appeared overwhelmed by the scale of the violence that followed the disputed presidential polls.

Teachers also have benefited from the fresh allocations with the Teachers Service Commission receiving Sh17.7 billion more.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has been allocated Sh6.7 billion. The IEBC is about to enter into huge expenditure including printing ballot papers and recruiting staff to manage the electoral process.

The government has approved the injection of an additional Sh58.8 billion to the 2012/13 budget through supplementary estimates to meet various government operations half way through this financial year.

Supplementary estimates allow the Treasury the window to readjust budgetary allocations to various ministries as the needs of the government may dictate in line with section 223 of the Constitution.

The ministries of Internal Security and Defence have also received an additional Sh6.5 billion and Sh5.6 billion respectively while the Higher Education ministry got Sh4.8 billion.

Other beneficiaries in the new estimates are the Ministry of Finance that received Sh2.2 billion, the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation with Sh1.8 billion and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with Sh1.2 billion.

The Energy and Water ministries also had a budget increment of Sh3.1 billion each.

These changes will increase the 2012/13 development expenditure by Sh8.1 billion to Sh282 billion and the recurrent expenditure by Sh50 billion to Sh1.05 trillion.

The Roads ministry was readjusted downwards with a reduction of Sh6.3 billion in its recurrent and development expenditures.

The Energy ministry also saw its budget cut by more than Sh3 billion.

Less than two weeks ago, the parliamentary committee on Defence and Foreign Relations and the Administration and National Security threatened to sabotage government operations if the Treasury did not add more money for security purposes.

“We will not adjourn without the Minister for Finance Njeru Githae providing money through the supplementary budget to ensure that the new Inspector-General and two deputies have money to run security operations as we head to campaigns,” said Mr Adan Keynan, who chairs the two committees that have been investigating the Baragoi and Garissa killings.

Presidential send-off

The Teachers Service Commission also recently invited representatives of the Kenya National Union of Teachers to a fresh round of talks on a deal on new teachers’ salaries .

The teachers were recently given Sh13.5 billion pay rise that saw the lowest paid teacher take home a basic salary of Sh19,323 up from Sh13,750 while the highest paid now earns Sh144,928, up from Sh120,270.

IEBC chairman James Oswago has in the past indicated that a presidential run-off alone would cost Sh6.5 billion while the cost of maintaining security during the election period would cost the commission Sh600 million.

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