Some budget items are preposterous
06 June 2013, 14:54
With the budget just around the corner, every Kenyan is gearing up to hear what the government plans to spend and on what. The start of this month has seen the budget committee hold meetings with various departments of government in a bid to straighten out the budget figures.
The energetic man who was once Director of Economic Affairs at the treasury now seats at the helm of the Treasury Ministry. Kenyans are looking up to Rotich, the Cabinet Secretary for Treasury, to deliver a lenient and realistic but still all inclusive budget. His is a special case since having a background at the money-handling docket, the entire country is expecting nothing short of realistic figures that will lower the cost of living.
However, after having sittings for two days, the budget estimates seem to elicit mixed reactions from both the elite and common mwananchi. Figures being flashed around by various departments seem to be out of this world or better put, beyond Kenya’s living standards.
Justice department is seeking to have KES 300 million allocated to it so as to purchase a fixed wing aircraft. Does this make sense in the slightest bit? What does the Judiciary need a plane for when the clean up is not yet even half way?
This so called ‘fixed wing airplane’ will be a cost burden that will automatically be passed on to the tax payer. This plane will need servicing and maintenance as well as proper care which obviously will be invoiced in the excess of tens of millions every year. Who is ready to incur these costs at a time when developments are sucking us up dry?
Looking at the allocations made to the commissions, one might think that the government is bent on frustrating these constitutionally formed commissions. Most of their budgets have been slashed by 30% if not 50%. This is clearly not an advisable idea since their operations will be hampered and they might be compromised.
On the other hand, the figures tabled by the commissions need to reflect an economic body that is focused on achieving the most out of the least amount of resources. Some commissions have inflated their budgets with activities that are not supposed to be entirely there. It is only fair that the functions and duties of these constitutional bodies be clearly outlined to avoid a mix up and redundancy.
All in all, the budget seems to be on the right track as most figures show a government that is willing to cut on major costs while maximizing output.
However, the Parliamentary Service Commission needs to be checked as the figure they have put down to cater for the speaker’s travels leaves a lot to be desired. A whole KES 30 million for travels is simply outrageous. Marende and his troops used a mere KES 5 million per year. That is a bit reasonable compared to the current estimate.
Whatever figures are tabled, let them be realistic and feasible. They should reflect a lean government that is bent on maximizing benefits from the least available resources.
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