Local government officers to help Kenyans understand bottom-up budget

Diaspora Affairs Principal Secretary Roseline Njogu and Kiambu County Commissioner Joshua Nkanatha led a public participation exercise at Kiambu National Polytechnic. [Interior Ministry]

Kenyans will now have a better chance to give their views on the next budget after the government engaged the National Government Administration Officers (NGAOs) to conduct public participation.

Interior Principal Secretary Raymond Omollo said the government is leveraging on NGAOs to reach out to many Kenyans during the budget-making process.

“We have to ensure that every interaction with mwananchi is marked by timeliness, credible information, and a genuine understanding of the needs and concerns of the respective jurisdiction,” PS Omollo said in a statement on Friday.

The FY 2024/25 and the Medium-Term Budget focus on the implementation of the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA), which seeks to safeguard livelihoods, create employment opportunities jobs, and revive businesses.

BETA is geared towards increasing investments in at least five sectors envisaged to have the largest impact on the economy as well as household welfare.

These include agricultural transformation, MSMEs, housing and settlement, healthcare, digital superhighway, and creative industry.

This is the first time national budget preparation hearings are happening in the counties with previous undertakings primarily conducted only in Nairobi.

The current budget hearing process which began on October 30, is designed to foster inclusive and ensuring equity as well as local ownership of the development and prosperity of the country.

The exercise will run until November 6, granting ample time to Kenyans to give their input on budgetary allocation.

Participants during a public participation exercise at Kiambu National Polytechnic. [Interior Ministry]

PS Omollo said that NGAOs are now supporting the National Treasury and playing a critical role in the ongoing nationwide public participation forum for the Financial Year 2024/25 and the Medium-Term Budget.

“We have an obligation to the people. It must also not be lost to us that it is the public that funds public services and, therefore, a justifiable expectation of quality and timely services as well as information,” Omollo said.

The PS said that to effectively address peace, security, and climate change, there is a need to improve stakeholder engagements at the devolved units.

He also challenged government officials at the grassroots level to take the lead in conducting regular public participation in National Government projects and programs to ensure transparency and accountability.

The public participation has covered 17 counties. Omollo said the process is an empowerment vision with the FY 2024/25 and Medium-Term Budget emphasising on completion of ongoing and viable stalled projects.

The development also comes as the government recently initiated a training programme for NGAOs.

Omollo said the training was to strengthen the capacity to provide effective, efficient, and responsive services to Kenyans.

“There is a need to enhance multi-sectoral coordination in planning, monitoring, and delivery of government programmes and project and administrators are better placed to realise this," Omollo said during the launch of the re-orientation early last month. 

He said that the gap that previously existed in the public involvement and inclusion in the implementation process of government projects informed the training programme for NGAOs to understand the Beta plan.

Omollo reiterated the government's stance to effectively address peace, security, and climate change, which are key components of economic prosperity. 

To effectively realise this motive, the government incorporated diverse economic aspects into the training curriculum, and disaster management to increase the ability to respond to emergencies.