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Sh1.9b deficit could hamper House role

POLITICS
By | July 14th 2010

By PETER OPIYO

Parliament may not execute its oversight role effectively this financial year owing to a Sh1.9 billion budget deficit.

Clerk of the National Assembly Patrick Gichohi told Parliamentary Budget Committee the shortfall would affect committee operations.

Committee Chairman and Maragwa MP, Elias Mbau and Isiolo South MP, Abdul Bahari, however, questioned Treasury’s action of slashing Parliament’s budget.

The National Assembly had submitted a Sh9 billion request but Treasury only allocated Sh7.1 billion.

Gichohi and parliamentary Service Vice-Chairman Walter Nyambati raised concerns that this will impact on the envisaged expansion of Parliament and its operations.

Also to be affected are the pension benefits amounting to Sh214 million for parliamentary staff, who joined Parliament before 2000, as well as the purchase of broadcasting equipment worth Sh40 million.

Well-wishers

Nyambati has called for the establishment of a Parliamentary Fund to allow the National Assembly receive grants from well-wishers.

This, he argued would ease the burden on Treasury and help Parliament achieve its mission.

The Clerk said Parliamentary Service Commission will request Treasury to factor the shortfall in the Supplementary Budget to be presented to Parliament in March next year.

Gichohi pointed out that some parliamentary committees hold their meetings at the MPs’ lounge while some MPs work from the corridors due to lack adequate office space.

Parliamentary Committees perform the oversight role of the Executive by scrutinising Government operations to ensure accountability.

"It is not neat for committees to sit in the lounge. Others queue to take up rooms," he told the committee, which was scrutinising the National Assembly’s budget at Continental building.

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