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MPs go after Uhuru’s flagship projects in changes

NATIONAL
By Dominic Omondi | June 10th 2021

Part of the Outering Road when it was under construction in 2017.[File,Standard]

Lawmakers have proposed sweeping changes to the upcoming Budget that will see allocation to some of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s flagship projects slashed.

Among the projects targeted for trimming include Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor (Lapsset), Konza City, and the laptop programme.

However, the Budget and Appropriations Committee (BAC) has channeled these funds to other projects that stand to benefit from the windfall should the National Assembly okay the changes.

The members of the powerful committee recommended the reduction of expenditures worth Sh20,413,508,823 even as others received an additional Sh24,076,168,823 in the Financial Year 2021-22.

Laptop programme

A road proposed road in Lapsset under which the recently unveiled Lamu Port belongs has lost Sh600 million under the proposal by BAC which is led by Kieni MP Kanini Kega.

And Konza Technopolis, the much-hyped ICT smart city, will see its budget reduce by Sh100 million.

Interestingly, the MPs have proposed an additional Sh75 million for a hotel at Konza.

The laptop programme, which has since been renamed the Digital Literacy Programme, has suffered a Sh600 million cut.

MPs might also be headed for a collision path with the Judiciary after they knocked off Sh310 million meant for new projects for the legal interpreters.

Instead, the lawmakers have proposed to have the money moved towards the construction of the One-stop-Border Post in Malaba which has received an additional Sh700 million in the proposals.

Public Finance Management which is under CS Ukur Yatani’s ministry, the National Treasury, saw its budget slashed by Sh4.97 billion even as its sister department, Economic Policy and Planning got an additional Sh3.97 billion.

Secondary schools saw their budget drop by Sh1.135 billion in proposals that saw the wider education sector targeted by BAC.

The Kega-led committee snatched Sh450 million from secondary schools that was meant for co-curricular activities, noting that some of those activities would not take place due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Money meant for the upgrade of secondary schools was also slashed by Sh165 million.

Recruit teachers

About Sh135 million was shaved off the capitation for low-cost boarding schools.

On the other hand, Mitihani House, which has been under construction for close to four decades, received an additional half a billion in what might have been aimed at expediting its construction.

The Teacher’s Service Commission (TSC) got an additional Sh750 million to recruit teachers.

The committee noted that it had received substantial additional request from Departmental Committees amounting to Sh85.7 billion to meet various expenditure shortfalls.

Investment in roads

“However, due to the prevailing resource constraints and the need to contain the fiscal deficit within a certain limit, the Committee could not finance most of these requests,” said BAC in a report that was tabled in the National Assembly on Tuesday.

Capital transfers for public universities amounting to Sh700 million was deducted with the Committee instead allocating an additional Sh850 million capitation grants for government-sponsored students in private universities.

Additional funds amounting to Sh540 million have also been channeled to eight universities.

The Defense ministry saw its budget reduced by half a billion.

An additional Sh1.6 billion went to emergency relief while another Sh600 million would be added to the construction of the Convention Centre in Kisumu.

The track recording system for the railway will get an additional Sh300 million.

Geothermal has got a setback after the Geothermal Development Company–Silale saw its budget trimmed by Sh500 million. Geothermal exploration got a haircut of Sh700 million.

The power transmission line, Turkwel-Ortum-Kitale also lost Sh407 million while the last mile connectivity will get an additional Sh504 million.

Investment in roads got a boost of Sh2.75 billion.

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