Members of Parliament have reallocated Sh2 billion initially earmarked for hiring additional health workers towards Covid-19 related expenditure.
Out of this, Sh1.5 billion will be used to procure testing kits and the reagents while Sh500 million will be spent by Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) which is being used as an isolation centre for coronavirus asymptomatic patients.
The reallocation followed an initial attempt by the ministry to divert Sh3 billion meant for three national referral hospitals and some county health facilities.
This was, however, rebuffed by the Budget Committee, as the money had been ring-fenced and was therefore not available.
This forced the Ministry of Health to turn to its idle salaries vote as the ministry was yet to hire additional health workers.
Vice-Chair of the Budget Committee Moses Lessonet said that a meeting with Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache had agreed to reallocate the funds.
“The money meant for salaries was not spent in the hiring of health workers some of whom were to be stationed at Kenyatta National Hospital… considering that we were not able to release the ring-fenced funds, MoH identified money within their votes,” he said while moving amendments to the Third Supplementary Budget.
Minority Leader John Mbadi, who is also a member of the Budget Committee, said the fact MoH found an alternative vote after it attempts to divert the Sh3 billion failed points to a messy budgeting process.
Majority Leader Amos Kimunya urged the House to support the reallocation as the country scrambles to acquire testing equipment.
“We need to ensure that we don’t have a shortage of testing kits and testing facilitates,” said Mr Kimunya.
The Treasury last week tabled a Sh11.3 billion mini-budget, just a week to the end of the 2019/2020 financial year.