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Yattani takes Sh131b from ministries to fund Big Four

BUSINESS
By Kamau Muthoni | October 17th 2019

Government is seeking Sh131 billion including through emergency cost-cutting measures to fund Big Four projects.

Ministries are now required to review spending to save at least Sh53 billion, while State corporations have to surrender earnings amounting to Sh78 billion.

The drastic measures are contained in a memo sent by National Treasury acting Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani (pictured) to all Cabinet secretaries and accounting officers in different Government agencies.

Mr Yattani says the 2019/20 budget has to partially be implemented in favour of the Big Four projects, while revenue collection had shrunk by Sh91 billion.

“Budget implementation could not commence at full scale as expected on account of the need to reprioritise budgetary allocations and ensure adequate provisions for the big four,” he said in the memo dated September 24.

“In addition, under-performance of revenues by about Sh91 billion implied that the baseline used for the financial year is overestimated and likely to result in a shortfall by closure of the financial year.”

From the cut, Yattani has allocated the Big Four Sh74 billion. The austerity measures also target the Judiciary, which is required to cut its spending by nearly Sh3 billion.

An internal memo by Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Ann Amadi reveals that all expenditures, except salaries, will be cut by half.  The Judiciary had also decided to do away with tribunals to stay afloat.

The Judiciary has decided to shelve mobile courts and will no longer carry adverts and publicity in the mainstream media while judges and other judicial staff will not get snacks, tea and meal allowances.

Ms Amadi, however, told staff that Chief Justice David Maraga was negotiating with Treasury and the National Assembly so that the cut can be reversed.

“The circular has proposed drastic reduction of both recurrent and development budget by Sh1.493 billion and Sh1.404 billion respectively. The office of the Chief Justice is reaching out to the National Treasury and National Assembly with aim of ensuring that the reductions are reversed and the Judiciary’s budget is not affected,” she wrote on October 9.

Biggest winners in the budget adjustments are the Department of Arid and Semi-Arid areas whose budget was boosted by Sh2.6 billion and Devolution at Sh1.6 billion.

Other winners are health whose ordinary budget was raised by Sh21 billion to support the Universal Healthcare programme.

Energy and Defence ministries, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, National Intelligence Service, Salaries and Remuneration Commission, Auditor General’s Office and Prisons are among departments which will not be affected by the budget cuts.

National Treasury’s budget was slashed by Sh6.8 billion while the Interior ministry lost Sh3.5 billion. The National Assembly will do with a budget cut of Sh2.8 billion while the legislators’ employer, the Parliamentary Service Commission, has lost just over Sh2 billion.

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