Controller Of Budget Flags Irregular Ksh.51B Spending By Gov’t On Vehicles, State House Renovation

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Let’s take a look at the latest story on Kenyans finances. Controller of Budget Dr. Margaret Nyakang’o is questioning how the government spent Ksh.51 billion in six months without approval from her office and the National Assembly.

Dr. Nyakang’o, in her report on government spending over the first half of this financial year, indicates that the government exploited a legal loophole to spend more than the legally permissible additional funds.

The report shows that working under the cover of Article 223 of the Constitution that allows ministries, departments and agencies to access additional funding if the amount appropriated is insufficient or if a need has arisen, the government used a whooping Ksh.51 billion over six months on expenses, some of which were not emergencies.

Among the expenditures incurred under this provision are the renovations at State House. The report shows that on the 23rd of October, State House accessed Ksh.700 million for the construction of a modern presidential dais.

In July, Ksh.400 million was allocated to State House for the purchase of motor vehicles.

In August, the State department for the EAC was allocated Ksh.16.3 million for the purchase of official motor vehicles.

Ksh.1.82 billion was used for the stabilization of petroleum pump prices for August and September; a further Ksh.2.4 billion went to the purchase of relief food and non-food items by the State department of ASAL and regional development.

The Ministry of Defense accessed Ksh.200 million for support response to El Nino rains, while the State department for crop and development was given Ksh.2.24 billion for the procurement of maize drying and storage facilities.

Another Ksh.1.58 billion was approved by Treasury for the renovation of the KICC ahead of last year’s Africa Climate Summit held there.

While the law allows the government to draw funds under article 223 provisions, the same law provides that the consent of Parliament should be sought or obtained within two months of the withdrawal.

Only Ksh.3.29 billion of the total funds spent had the requisite approvals.

The report also exposes the government’s priority in spending over the same period. The exchequer disbursed Ksh.1.4 trillion to various government departments, the lion’s share of the amount Ksh.1.23 trillion went to recurrent expenditure, with Ksh.291 billion being spent on personnel emolument. A paltry Ksh.70.41 billion was used by government agencies for development.

The spending comes as the government’s Controller of Budget drew attention to the growing public debt that at the close of 2023, stood at Ksh.11.14 trillion, exceeding the legal limit.

Adongo Ogony is a Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada

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