Treasury raids Parliament, Judiciary allocations in 2019/2020 budget alignment

The National Treasury has proposed severe cuts to spending by Parliament and the Judiciary in its re-alignment of government spending for the current 2019/2020 fiscal budget.

In his adjustment of Ministerial and State Departments (MDAs) expenditures presented to the National Assembly earlier on Tuesday, Acting Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani has proposed a slash of Ksh.8.5 billion and Ksh.2.9 from Parliament and the Judiciary respectively.

On its part, the trim on Parliament’s expenditure, which has been attributed largely to budget rationalization, is expected to hit the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) general administration and support services alongside the National Assembly oversight role.

Ironically, the Judiciary – which was only assured of the reinstatement of its full threshold spend on November 7 – will see a hit to its general dispensation of justice.

Other State departments on Treasury’s expenditure slashing radar include the State Department of University Education, which has seen a trim of Ksh.1.98 billion from its original allocation, and Treasury’s own Planning State department which sees a retraction of Ksh.5.6 billion.

Meanwhile, ministries aligned to the government’s economic transformation agenda will count the largest benefit from the rationalization of government spending having earned a fuller allocation.

The Ministry of Health for instance sees a Ksh.22.9 billion jump in appropriations with the excess funds being additional provisioning for Universal Heal Coverage (UHC)

At the same time, Transport and Infrastructure ministry has received an additional Ksh.32.2 billion with the majority of the added funds being channeled towards the medium-term economic plan.

Ksh.16.7 billion of the net positive allocation has however been issued out to the Nairobi-Mombasa Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) ahead of the January 2020 commencement of repayments by the government to the Chinese Export-Import Bank for the loan facility.

The Ministry of Energy, meanwhile, receives in excess of Ksh.10 billion in additional funding with the bulk of funds going towards the economic transformation policy and the Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) project which also features State payments.

In spite of CS Yatani’s earlier promise of painful cuts to ministerial and State department allocations, the combined revisions only account for Ksh.5.7 billion slash to total recurrent spending inside ministries.

Development estimates have meanwhile been increased by 12.2 percent to Ksh.790 billion pushing the government’s total expenditure for the year by 2.8 percent to Ksh.3.1 trillion.

Moreover, the revisions are against a limited absorption of both recurrent and development expenditures for the first quarter which came in at Ksh.312.2 billion against Ksh.516 billion in net exchequer issues.

The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) is expected to brief MDAs on the proposed spending changes before submitting a comprehensive report on changes by November 26, 2019, ahead of the adoption of the Appropriation Bill on December 5.