Rerun, free education eat into budgets of key ministries

Monday October 02 2017

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich speaks to the press during the launch of the Sector Working Groups, at KICC on September 15, 2017. Several ministries will be hit by budget cuts. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Construction of roads will be hardest hit by the Sh30 billion cut in development spending proposed by the National Treasury in the Supplementary Budget, according to details submitted to the National Assembly.

The Transport and Infrastructure ministry has suffered the biggest reductions in development spending as its budget has been cut by Sh12.8 billion.

In a summary of the estimates submitted to the National Assembly last week, the Department of Infrastructure has had its budget for development reduced by Sh5 billion while Sh7.8 billion has been taken from the Department of Transport.

Details of the exact effects of these reductions are likely to be exposed during the scrutiny of the mini-budget by the ad hoc committee set up last week.

Treasury said the adjustments were made necessary by “challenges with huge financial implications” that have emerged since the start of the current financial year.

These include: prolonged drought, insecurity, implementation of collective bargaining agreements, the repeat of the presidential election and shortfalls in revenue collection because of the bad business environment.


“Given that the economy has not generated new resources to finance the emerging needs, we are proposing to reorganise the planned expenditures for the financial year 2017/18 in line with the Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act,” Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich says in the document.


Overall, the recurrent expenditure will go up by Sh52.9 billion.

Another department whose development expenditure has been cut in a big way is Planning and Statistics, whose allocation has gone down by Sh9.5 billion — a 22.5 percent cut.

Universities will also be hit hard by the reductions, as Sh7.2 billion has been taken from their development allocation.

Of this, Sh6.7 billion is being taken from the funding to the universities and Sh454.4 million from that for research.


On the other hand, the universities will get an additional Sh5.17 billion for recurrent expenses.

This could be the budget to cater for increased salaries for lecturers.

Also losing money planned for development is the Department for ICT, which will be forced to give up Sh5.8 billion.

Other main features of the estimates is an allocation of an additional Sh9.95 billion for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission for the repeat presidential election.

The security sector is also a major beneficiary as the Interior ministry has been allocated Sh4.62 billion, the National Intelligence Service Sh3.15 billion, the Kenya Defence Forces Sh1.8 billion and the Free Day Secondary Education programme Sh24.77 billion.

Both the Jubilee Party and the National Super Alliance had promised to make secondary education free.

Nasa had pledged to implement the programme immediately it takes power while Jubilee said that would be done at the start of the new school year in January.

“The austerity measures are meant to accommodate other emerging issues, which we didn’t anticipate like the presidential rerun.

"We also revised the budget to ensure the free secondary education is effected,” Mr Rotich said.