Treasury seeks Sh1b for Huduma Namba

The National Treasury has asked Parliament to approve an additional Sh1 billion to finalise the Huduma Namba project, which has already gobbled up Sh7.7 billion.

The requested funds are part of Sh80.1 billion increase in the overall national spending in the supplementary budget estimates, currently before the Budget and Appropriation Committee.

MPs were curious about what looks like wastage of public funds by Treasury, now that they seem to be on a spending spree.

Treasury acting Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani (pictured) told MPs that the money will be spent on printing Huduma Namba ID cards.

Committee chair Kimani Ichung'wa said it was baffling that the government was seeking for additional funds when it had not made public the outcome of the exercise conducted between April 2 and May 5.

Made a U-turn

Initially, the government had created the impression that Kenyans would be issued with the number once they were listed, but made a U-turn and instead issued acknowledgement slips.

At the same time, the MPs protested the government’s decision to start new projects at a time it is struggling to raise revenue to fund projects that have been budgeted for.

MPs took Yattani head on over Sh6.9 billion allocation for Naivasha Special Zone (textile park) under Transport Department and Sh4.4 billion for Naivasha Industrial Park under Energy Ministry. The Naivasha project will require additional Sh355 million to be spent by Public Works.

Uriri MP Mark Nyamita questioned the CS why multi-billion-shilling projects were being taken to one region and demanded equal distribution of capital projects.

“It will be unfair to other parts of the country to have this kind of money spent in one area and when it comes to servicing the loan all Kenyans are required to carry the financial burden,” said Nyamita.

He said the committee should consider rejecting the budget estimate, unless the projects are re-distributed to other regions.

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria said budget for the Big Four agenda kept on changing since President Uhuru Kenyatta's pet projects were being run by the Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU) under Interior Ministry Fred Matiangi.

Kuria claimed that Yattani was just being used to defend the proposed allocations, stating that the House should demand the delivery unit to appear and defend their projects.

Arising shortfall

Yattani, however, defended the supplementary budget estimates, stating that the additional expenditures will be catered for by increase in local appropriation in Aid (AiA) of Sh1.7 billion and increase in projects funded by development partners to the tune of Sh26.2 billion.

He said Treasury has also mopped up surpluses from State corporations amounting to Sh78.7 billion.

“This also covers part of the shortfall arising from the downward revision in revenues,” said the CS.

Treasury said it had raised Sh559.2 billion against Sh624.9 set target by end of October from revenue collections.