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Parliament watchdog casts doubt on Big Four

BUSINESS
By Frankline Sunday | June 9th 2021

Some of the housing units under the government's affordable housing plan at Nairobi's Ngara.[Wilberforce Okwiri]

The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) has raised questions over the National Treasury’s Sh135 billion allocation to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four legacy projects. 

It said the Treasury’s spending plan on the key sectors of universal healthcare, manufacturing, food security and affordable housing lacks clear targets despite their massive allocations. 

“The link between the proposed budget and ‘high impact’ growth expenditures particularly under the Big Four agenda as well as the post-Covid economic recovery strategy (ERS) is not very clear,” said PBO in its latest report on the 2021-22 budget. 

In the Sh3.6 trillion budget that Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani will present to Parliament tomorrow, the government has set aside Sh26.6 billion for the post-Covid 19 Economic Stimulus Programme.

The programme includes Sh8.6 billion for enhancing liquidity to business, Sh6.4 billion for improving education outcome and Sh7.4 billion for improvement of environment, water and sanitation facilities.

Another Sh1.97 billion has been set aside for improving agriculture and food security with Sh1.2 billion allocated for the recruitment of health interns.

PBO, however, says the various allocations are vague with no clear expenditure lines or targets set.

“The post-Covid ERS has not received much prominence in the budget and is phrased in a manner that does not identify any key performance indicators and targets for the coming financial year,” said the report.

“The Big Four agenda appears to be very peripheral to the budget despite having been allocated approximately Sh135 billion. With 2021-22 being the last ‘full’ financial year of implementation, it is apparent that many of the Big Four targets will not be met by the current administration.” 

The budget watchdog further queries Treasury’s lack of a review of targets set the previous year and its failure to provide Equalisation Fund estimates and a Citizens Budget to allow for public participation. [Frankline Sunday]

 

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