By DANN OKOTH
Lack of funding due to poor budgetary allocation, transparency and accountability could derail the implementation of the National Land Policy Act, a new study finds.
This could come with heavy social and economic costs given that the country is still smarting from devastating effects of post-election violence, which was linked to the issue of land.
When the Narc government swept to power in 2002 in a euphoric atmosphere, it assumed leadership on a platform of reforms and immediately initiated various reform agendas — including reforming the land sector and addressing historical injustices in the sector.
The Coalition Government on its part took the initiative further by developing the National Land Policy Document, which led to the land Acts that envisaged bringing some sanity to the sector.
But the new study, Budgeting for Land Reforms: Ensuring People’s Participation, reveals disturbing trends in budget allocation and use of funds meant for reform programmes in the sector.
The available documentation suggests inadequate planning and budgeting for land reforms mandated by the Constitution.
For instance, the study finds the amount budgeted for land has been revised by over Sh800 million between the 2012 budget policy statement and the financial year’s budget estimates even though these two documents were tabled in Parliament in the last half of April.
“This raises serious concerns about whether the budget figures the Treasury releases to Parliament are credible,” observes the study done jointly by Hakijamii and International Budget Partnership (IBP).
“Another concern is that the Ministry of Lands maintains a stable budget (recurrent plus development) in financial year 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 even though the National Land Commission should come into effect next year.
“One would expect budget for the ministry to reduce, while the total budget for the sector would increase to provide for new institutions and their operations,” it adds.