Big Four projects gain as budget soars to Sh3.13tr
By Fred Aminga and Zachary Ochuodho
Despite calls for austerity measures to ease budgetary pressure, total expenditure surged to Sh3.13 trillion from 3.04 trillion in the financial year 2019/20 as government continues to ring fence cash for mega projects under the Big Four agenda.
The energy, water, transport and health sectors were the major beneficiaries of a supplementary budget presented to Parliament by National Treasury.
In new estimates which continue to favour mega projects at the expense of those that can have a direct knock-on effect on “mwananchi” in the short term, a supplementary budget released yesterday increased by Sh80 billion the overall ministerial expenditure from an earlier approved budget as estimates hit Sh2.009 trillion.
This even as cumulative revenue collection including AIA recorded a shortfall of Sh84.6 billion for the period to September 2019, collecting Sh410.5 billion against a targeted Sh495 billion.
Ministry of Energy saw its budget for power transmission increase from Sh64.6 billion to Sh72.4 billion on account of the Big Four agenda and Lake Turkana Wind Power. Another Sh3 billion was also added to the budget under Big Four alternative energies programme.
In the statement on supplementary budget by National Treasury Cabinet secretary Ukur Yatani, the State Department for Information Communication gobbles up Sh2.9 trillion under the auspices of the Big Four for e-commerce services as budget soared to Sh7.06 billion from Sh4.1 billion.
“The gross actual expenditures (including commitments) for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) were Sh312.2 billion for the same period. This comprises recurrent expenditures of Sh224.1 billion and Sh88.1 billion for development expenditures,” he said in the statement.
Treasury nearly tripled the budget for Industrial Development and Investments from Sh3.96 billion to Sh9.1 billion on account of provision for Big Four agenda.
There is also an increase in the Ministry of Health as the CS set an additional Sh2.82 billion on account of provision of UHC for preventive and promotive services and additional Sh19.2 billion for health policy and standards.
Rail transport got an additional Sh16.7 billion for the Mombasa to Nairobi SGR and another Sh3 billion for Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zones and Kenya Ferry.
On account of the Big Four agenda, an additional Sh7.3 billion was set aside for Northern Collector and James Gichuru Express road.
Treasury set aside an additional Sh1 billion for provision of peace dams under the Water Storage and Flood Control vote.
Cabinet Affairs and State House Affairs which got Sh39.6 million and Sh110 million respectively while Interior Ministry, the Planning, Policy Coordination and Support Service received Sh2.3 billion while Policing Service received additional Sh857.9 million.
Treasury set aside Sh1.18 billion given to population services which will now go to towards financing the National Integrated Identity Management System which was established in June this year.
In the State Department of Correctional Service, the correctional services got additional funds amounting to Sh313.2 million that will be used towards the improvement of prisoners’ welfare.
The State department for Devolution and Migration and Citizen Services also received a boost of Sh33.97 million. In the same department, Sh63 million which had been provided to go to general administration, planning and support services have been reduced.
State department for Development of ASAL received additional Sh2.7 billion which will go to cater for PfR project counterpart funding for Kenya Social Economic and Inclusion Project.
Under Ministry of Foreign Affairs, about Sh324.3 million has been set aside to host Africa Caribbean and Pacific Conference and International Conference on population Development and State visits.
Social and children development received an additional Sh5.8 million. Some of the departments where funds have been reallocated include the funds which had been set aside for general administration, planning and support.
The national social safety net received an additional cash amounting Sh596.2 million to cushion the old and vulnerable.
Two months ago, Treasury told government ministries and county officials to brace for new austerity measures in a bid to cut over Sh700 billion in the fiscal deficit. Yatani said Treasury would undertake “brutal” spending cuts that must be adhered to by public institutions at both levels of government.