Uhuru, Kinyua clash with MPs over Budget alteration

Busia

By David Ochami

Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and his PS Joseph Kinyua clashed with the parliamentary Budget Committee when they opposed alteration of Budget proposals tabled before the House on June 8.

Uhuru declared that “we do not have the capacity to incorporate what you have suggested”, referring to changes made to his June 8 estimates.

And Mr Kinyua claimed that the committee’s changes would require additional resources to implement and could also distort the Treasury and the country’s development path.

On Saturday, the committee made radical changes to Uhuru’s Sh1.15 trillion Budget estimates by transferring billions from recurrent expenditure to finance social spending, development, including employment of teachers and purchase of medical equipment.

Gwassi MP John Mbadi accused the minister of orchestrating excuses for a crisis he created when he presented Budget estimates almost two months late.

“Is he (Uhuru) saying that he is not obliged to take our recommendations? Is he saying that this (session with the minister) is an exercise in futility?” Konoin MP Julius Kones posed.

But Uhuru maintained that he can only alter allocations to his ministry and suggested that the committee should appeal to other ministries to do the same.

But MPs dismissed Uhuru’s proposal saying it has no basis in law.

Mr Kinyua, however, supported the minister saying, “We cannot move money from recurrent (expenditure) to development. The Treasury circulars will not allow us”.

He suggested that future transfers should be included in a supplementary budget.

But Mr Mbadi told Uhuru that the committee had not invited him to “seek permission on what to do” because, under the new Constitution it is not mandatory to refer their report to the minister”.

He accused the minister of disabling wider debate on the Budget within Government and the public when he tabled it late.