Parliamentary Budget Office takes ministry to task over AfCFTA
Mercy Mwai @wangumarci
The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) wants the State department for industrialisation to provide details of how the country intends to capitalise on the ratification of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTFA) and the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with UK.
According to PBO, this should include plans the department intends to bank on to promote competitiveness of the local manufacturing sector and exports including the available financial resources in the next financial year.
Through AfCFTA, the continent is expected to create a single market for goods and services, in the hope of boosting trade among its nations. However, the department has not indicated how it will tap the new frontier.
The agreement is geared towards coming up with a continental customs union; eliminate tariffs on 90 per cent of intra-Africa goods; aid in the movement of capital and people between countries; facilitate external investment; and reduce non-tariff barriers, like the time it takes goods to pass through customs.
In the submitted estimates for financial year 2021/22, the National Treasury is proposing to allocate the State Department Sh33 billion of which Sh2.1billion is for recurrent expenditure and Sh1.2 billion is for development expenditure representing an increase of Sh172 million from the Budget Policy Statement (BPS).
“Noting that some countries like Rwanda have taken the initiative to negotiate with Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers to find how the jab can be produced in their countries, is there any initiative that has been undertaken by the State Department to negotiate with partners/investors to set manufacturing plants in the country (if yes) what is the resource allocation in the next financial year?,” the budget office asks in a report.
Further, PBO demanded to know the status of leasing and operation of the accommodation tower of the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI) technology centre in South ‘B’ Nairobi.
Consequently, the budget office also sought to know whether there are other government agencies that have shown interest to lease the available premises
“When is the expected date of completion of the KIRDI building and when will government agencies take up the office space, list of agencies that will occupy the building and the impact on the cost of renting by agencies under the State Department,” reads the brief.