President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed into law the 2019 Supplementary Appropriation Bill, regularising the spending of Sh161 billion in the current financial year though it had not been appropriated by the National Assembly.
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, Majority Leader Aden Duale and House Clerk Michael Sialai presented the bill for signing.
Article 223 of the Constitution stipulates that the government can spend money not appropriated by the National Assembly on emergencies like droughts, floods and insecurity but must seek post facto approval from MPs within two months of the expenditure.
It is this provision that the government invoked in crafting the bill, though several MPs, led Mr Duale (Garissa Township), Kimani Ichung’wah (Kikuyu) and Paul Koinange (Kiambaa), have expressed fears that the provision could be open to abuse by the Executive.
“It is not a good practice to submit two supplementary budgets in one financial year. It should only come in where it is beyond the control of the Executive,” Mr Duale said.
Mr Koinange noted that the article was not meant to be a cure for poor planning by government agencies.
“This provision was not meant to give money to pay for personal emoluments, rent, purchase or even maintenance of vehicles. These are ordinary operation costs and certainly not emergencies as required,” said Mr Koinange, who is also the chairman of the House Committee on Administration and National Security.
Although the Presidential Strategic Communications Unit claims that the expenditure reflects the continuation of austerity measures “that were entrenched at the beginning of the current financial year”, that may not be entirely true.
Barely a month before the unveiling of the Sh3.074 trillion budget for the current financial year, the government came up with a supplementary budget to slash it by Sh55 billion.
Therefore, the Supplementary Budget II passed last week, which actually increased the government’s recurrent budget as it reduced the development budget by at least Sh5 billion, essentially undoes the first Supplementary Budget.
Others are State Department of University Education (Sh5.3 billion); State Department of Vocational and Technical Training (Sh2.6 billion); Teachers Service Commission (Sh14.1 billion); State Department of Housing (Sh7.8 billion); and State Department of Health (Sh4.1 billion).