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President Uhuru's office gets Sh4.4b more as Ukur Yatani breaks law

CS Ukur Yatani at The National Treasury, June 2020. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

The Office of the President has received an additional Sh4.4 billion in the latest budgetary allocations that also saw National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani admit to breaking the law.

Most of the additional cash, about Sh3.3 billion, went to State House Affairs and was used for enhancement of operations, including the burial of former President Mwai Kibaki.

The second supplementary estimate tabled in the National Assembly on Tuesday shows the government spent Sh260 million on Kibaki's State burial.

The just-concluded Africities Summit that was held in Kisumu for three days recently gobbled up Sh600 million with the National government providing Sh200 million for the event. Nairobi Metropolitan Services, which is under the office of the President, has been allocated Sh1 billion more in the latest mini-budget.   

The increased allocation pushes the additional allocation to the office of the President in a month to Sh7.7 billion after it was given another Sh3.3 billion in the first supplementary budget in April this year. 

In total, the national government is expected to spend an additional Sh63.9 billion following these budgetary changes. This is an increase of 10.5 per cent, above the Constitutional requirement that total spending in a year should not be increased by more than 10 per cent.

This is even as CS Yatani admitted to having broken the law after he presented to Parliament a second mini-budget that pushed up the National government’s total expenditure by more than Sh203.7 billion compared to the original budget estimates.

“This is slightly above the provisions of Article 223 of the Constitution,” said CS Yatani.

Part of this section stipulates that the “national government may not spend under this Article more than 10 per cent of the sum appropriated by Parliament for that financial year unless, in special circumstances, Parliament has approved a higher percentage".

However, the CS said the additional funds will be used to address drought-related expenditure, security and fuel stabilisation, following a spike in the global prices of fuel.

The fuel subsidy has been allocated an additional Sh37.8 billion, as the government tries to cushion motorists from a spike in prices of petroleum products owing to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. This mini-budget was in the National Assembly on Tuesday, some 35 days to the end of the current financial year.

It comes at a time when the finance committee tabled its report on the Financial Bill 2022 shooting down various tax proposals on beer, spirits, maize flour, wheat and many others. These changes come at a time when Kenyans are grappling with, not only the high price of fuel but also food such as wheat, cooking oil, maize flour and cooking gas.

Revenues collected between July last year and March amounted to Sh1.52 trillion against a target of Sh1.51 trillion.

Total expenditure during this period amounted to Sh2.07 trillion, against a target of Sh2.89 trillion with the National Treasury noting that underperformance was due to low absorption of development cash.

The National Intelligence Service and the Ministry of Defence, which were also major beneficiaries in the first supplementary budget, have again reaped big getting an additional Sh1.3 billion and Sh1.8 billion respectively. 

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