Reprieve for Judiciary as MPs veto budgetary cut - Beaking Kenya News

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Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Reprieve for Judiciary as MPs veto budgetary cut

The Supreme Court. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA
The Judiciary received a major reprieve yesterday after a parliamentary committee reversed a proposal by the National Treasury to slash its budget for the current financial year by Sh3 billion and instead reduced it by Sh220 million.
CIRCULARS
This came after the National Assembly’s Budget and Appropriations Committee tabled its report on its consideration of the supplementary budget yesterday afternoon. In the report, MPs also allocated the Judicial Service Commission an additional Sh136.5 million for its planned activities.
Parliament was also spared huge cuts as the MPs only recommended a reduction of Sh1.3 billion compared to the Sh4.892 billion that the Treasury had proposed to slash from its budget.
They also warned the Treasury against tampering with Judiciary and Parliament budgets in future.
“The National Treasury should not effect any reduction in the approved budgets of the Judiciary, Parliament and all government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) through IFMIS and Treasury circulars before approval by this House as it is illegal to do so,” the committee’s report recommends.
MPs also trashed the proposed slashing of Sh5 billion from the Sh39 billion allocated to the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF).
RECURRENT
The recommendations of the committee chaired by Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wah is a significant climbdown from its earlier move to reject the supplementary estimates in total. However, it drastically mutilates what the Treasury had proposed in the supplementary estimates tabled in the House on November 12.
The Treasury had proposed to increase the overall budget by Sh80.1 billion — from Sh2.73 trillion to Sh2.81 trillion — about a 2.9 per cent increase, which included a decrease in recurrent expenditure by Sh5.7 billion (0.5 per cent) and increase in development estimates by Sh85.8 billion (12.2 per cent).
However, the committee is proposing a reduction in recurrent expenditure by Sh799.02 million and an increase in the development budget by Sh50.57 billion, which is an overall increase in the total budget by Sh49.77 billion.
WORK PLANS
Just before the supplementary estimates were tabled in the House, the Treasury had already started implementing budget cuts in various government agencies, with the Judiciary and Parliament the worst hit.
This prompted the committee to recommend that once MPs approve the annual estimates, the Treasury is required to load the approved budget into the Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis) within seven days.
This, according to the committee, is to ease implementation of annual work plans, procurement plans and clearance of pending bills. A status report should also be submitted to the House every quarter, the MPs said.
The committee has also reversed the proposed addition of Sh1 billion to the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS), popularly known as Huduma Namba.
FORENSIC AUDIT
Instead, the committee wants the Office of the Auditor-General to undertake a special forensic audit of NIIMS to establish the value of the Sh7.7 billion used in the Huduma Namba registration and submit a report to the House by March next year.
The committee also wants the funding of Universal Health Care, one of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four plans, channelled through counties as conditional grants instead of the ministry of Health by amending the Division of Revenue Act.

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