The national government spent Sh602 billion on the construction and expansion of roads, buildings and other infrastructure projects, a record high absorption rate of development funds since 2013, a new report has shown.
The report by Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo showed the use of development funds for the financial year ending in June was at 70 per cent, up from the 66 per cent rate recorded in the previous period.
The expenditure was also attributed to a growth in construction and civil works, purchase of specialised plants, equipment and machinery, indicating a shift in the government’s spending plan amid a public outcry on huge amounts of funds used in salaries and foreign trips.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia has in the past attributed the construction of roads, expansion of ports and airports in Kisumu and Isiolo as some of the key infrastructure projects undertaken by the government.
A breakdown of the expenditure indicates that fund transfers to semi-autonomous government agencies took the highest chunk at Sh297.7 billion, while refurbishment of buildings and infrastructure recorded Sh114.2 billion.
“The total expenditure by the national government was Sh1.96 trillion, representing 84.7 per cent of the revised gross estimates.
“This comprised recurrent expenditure at Sh1.4 trillion and Sh602.3 billion for development expenditure representing 93.4 per cent and 69.9 per cent of the revised gross estimates respectively,” Ms Odhiambo said in the report released in October.
The figures for the development expenditure were grimmer in the previous years, standing at 45 per cent for the 2014/15 financial year and 52 per cent for the 2013/14 year.
On the flip side, salaries and allowances of staff increased by Sh180 million from the Sh1.2 billion spent last year to Sh1.4 billion spent this year.
This adds to the criticism the national government has faced in the past over a failure to trim staff and put austerity measures to curb the already ballooning wage bill that is eating into development funds.
The figures, Ms Odhiambo said, were attributed to salaries of teachers and staff in government ministries and departments, as well as an increase in spending on domestic and foreign travel.
The Teachers Service Commission, for instance, recorded the highest expenditure on salaries at Sh189.6 billion, which translated to 57.5 per cent of the total expenditure by all ministries and departments.
Domestic and foreign travel was the third highest recurrent expenditure at Sh15.6 billion.
Ms Odhiambo however said budget implementation in the 2016/17 financial year recorded an overall improvement compared to the previous year.
For instance, revenue received into the Consolidated Fund was Sh2 trillion compared to Sh1.8 trillion received in the year ending June 2016.