National Treasury seeks Budget views early ahead of polls

Treasury CS Ukur Yatani (right) with Finance and Planning Committee Chair Gladys Wanga and Likoni MP Mishi Mboko (left) at Parliament Buildings, Nairobi, on June 10, 2021. [David Njaaga, Standard]

National Treasury has kicked off preparations for 2022/2023 Budget, four months early as it seeks to conclude the process before Parliament breaks for the 2022 polls.

In a public notice yesterday, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani invited the public to give proposals on next year’s Budget by the end of August 30, 2021, ahead of the usual November 30, deadline.

“The National Treasury hereby invites governmental departments and agencies, the private sector, non-governmental organisations, and individuals to submit proposals on economic policy measures,” stated Yatani in a notice yesterday.

“Cognisant that 2022 is an election year, there is a need to fast-track the National Fiscal Budget process to ensure smooth government operations. It is therefore imperative that the process of preparing the Finance Bill, 2022 begins early enough to ensure that the Finance Act 2022 is enacted before Parliament breaks in preparation for the General Elections.”

Normally, ministries, State departments and agencies have until November 25th to draft and present the budget proposals for public participation.

National Treasury usually has until February 15th to present the Draft Policy Statement to Parliament for debate.

This gives the government four months to review the Budget proposals as well as for the Finance Bill that is tabled in parliament by June 10th.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to dissolve Parliament at least three months to the General Elections scheduled for August 9, 2022, giving the government a tight calendar to conclude operations for the current financial year.

The notice comes less than a month after the State started implementing the Budget for the 2021/2022 financial year. It is set to pile pressure on ministries, State departments and counties to fast-track their planned operations for the fiscal year. 

Treasury CS Ukur Yatani. [David Njaaga, Standard]

Last month, Treasury informed ministries and State agencies to commence implementation of the budgeted programmes, particularly those under the Big Four agenda.

"Accounting officers should take measures to ensure maximum absorption of budgeted resources, including early initiation of the procurement process to avoid last-minute purchases and award of contracts towards the end of the financial year," stated the Treasury in a circular on the 2021/2022 budget implementation.

In the 2021/2022 financial year, Treasury has set aside Sh23.1 billion to cushion businesses and vulnerable citizens from the effects of Covid-19.

Additionally, Sh10 billion has been set aside for VAT refunds and Sh13.1 billion to clear pending bills to enhance liquidity in the private sector. “The preparation of the Finance Bill 2022 will commence in August 2021. Completion and submission of the Bill to the National Assembly will be in January 2022,” stated Yatani.

The tight schedule is expected to pile pressure on the Kenya Revenue Authority to meet revenue targets ahead of the earlier close of the 2021/2022 fiscal year. 

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