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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Treasury to push for early approval of 2017-18 budget estimates, CS Rotich says

Treasury CS Hentry Rotich ahead of the presentation of the 2016/17 financial year budget.  /FILE
Treasury CS Hentry Rotich ahead of the presentation of the 2016/17 financial year budget. /FILE

The National Treasury has hinted at plans to have Parliament approve the 2017/2018 budget estimates by March.

This will shift from the traditional budget making process where MPs approved government expenditure in April.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said this would enable the government as to avoid challenges that might come with the general election.

The National Treasury had planned to have the same approved by January, therefore falling short of its target by two months.

Rotich said that the stakeholders kicked off preparations for the 2017/2018 budget in mid-July 2016.

"Stakeholders have been working on tight timelines to ensure the budget will not be affected by the elections," he said.

Initially, the Treasury had presented it request for adjustment of the budget dates a move that required approval by National Assembly.

"We have to comply with the Constitution. Treasury is discussing with Parliament and other stakeholders on the changes that needs to be made to the budget calendar during election year," he said.

ELECTION FUNDING

The funding for the next elections is split between the 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18 financial years.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi had earlier warned of a possible financial crisis if the budget dates were not changed.

Muturi pointed out that the law required Parliament to adjourn sittings two months before the elections this is in order to facilitate parties to carry out their primaries.

The Elections Act requires parties to finish their nominations 60 days to elections.

He had argued that in an election year, it would be difficult to get the requisite quorum to approve the Budget in June.

In the last released estimates by the Treasury’s Budget Review and Outlook Paper (BROP), the national budget 2017/2018 is expected to grow by Sh162 billion.

Public expenditure is also expected to hit Sh2.23 trillion, up from Sh2.07 trillion in 2016/2017 financial year.

Read: Election budget to hurt Kenya’s credit outlook

Also read: State’s budget allocations do not meet the people’s wishes

More on this: Rotich likely to read next year’s budget in May before Parliament is dissolved


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