MPs fail to constitute House budget committee

MPs yesterday shot down a motion to re-constitute the House Budget and Appropriation Committee.

This throws budgeting into limbo since the committee guides the process by considering and allocating money to Government entities.

The rejection came minutes after Majority Leader Aden Duale tabled the Budget Policy Statement (BPS) and Speaker Justin Muturi's ruling that the same be immediately committed before the Budget committee and all other departmental committees. This normally gets the budget cycle rolling.

Despite the speaker cautioning that failure to form the committee could throw the budget making process off balance, MPs overwhelmingly shot it down, voting 133 against 63.

 Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo led the Opposition against the reconstitution of the committee, saying those who served in it had been "espousing wanting behaviour towards budgeting processes". In a stormy session, MPs questioned the integrity of the 51 members who were being retained following their decision in the last financial year to allocate the team Sh3 billion for public participation. Mr Midiwo said this money was meant for projects in their constituencies.

Opposition against the committee members grew, and attracted support from both sides of the political divide.

In a rare scenario, Midiwo's position was supported by Samuel Chepkonga (Ainabkoi) and Mithika Linturi (Igembe South), while Mr Duale's motion was supported by his Minority counterpart Francis Nyenze (Kitui West) and John Mbadi (Suba).

Mr Mbadi said all committee members were drawing benefits from the committees they were in.

Duale challenged Midiwo to table evidence that members of the Mutava Musyimi-led committee had made undue gain by allocating themselves the Sh60 million each.

The Speaker said the Liaison committee would handle all the Budget committee's duties, unless legislators receded their decision on the motion as per Standing Order 49 (2). The motion forming the committee cannot be re-introduced for six months.