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BUDGET CUTS

Why activities at Environment ministry may stall

This means Nairobi River clean up will also be compromised.

In Summary

• Tobiko said almost Sh500,000 was slashed from the ministry's budget, a move that  "seriously compromises and jeopardise the capacity of ministry and its entities to deliver".

• Owing to lack of funds, Tobiko tasked the 10th board to come up with strategies that will enhance country's forest cover.

Environment CS Keriako Tobiko
Environment CS Keriako Tobiko

Key activities at the Environment ministry are likely to stall following budget cuts.

This became apparent on Wednesday after Environment CS Keriako Tobiko raised concern.

"We are concerned about the budget cuts. As you know, the Nairobi River clean up and restoration have a zero budget. Other critical projects are Ngarisha Lake Naivasha, Suswa, and Lake Magadi," Tobiko said.

 

Tobiko said almost Sh500,000 was slashed from the ministry's budget, a move that  "seriously compromises and jeopardise the capacity of ministry and its entities to deliver".

This means Nairobi River clean up will also be compromised.

He, however, said that the issue of lack of funds was being discussion by the Cabinet and Treasury.

The CS made the remarks when he presided over the unveiling of Kenya Forestry Research Institute board at the institution headquarters in Muguka.

Board members inaugurated include Sammy Letema, Julius Kamau, Maureen Mwangovya, Kevin Kariuki, Naomi Apali, Antony Getambu, Ali Mohamed, Margaret Maimba, Henry Obino and Felix Ateng'.

They will serve for three years.

The ministry has four directorates- directorate of Environment, directorate of Forestry Conservation, directorate of Climate Change and administration and Support services.

 

Directorate of Environment is the largest with five departments.

Parastatals in the ministry include KFS, NEMA, KWTA, NETFUND and NECC.

Owing to lack of funds, Tobiko tasked the 10th board to come up with strategies that will enhance country's forest cover.

Tobiko tasked the board to put strategies in place to ensure that the forest cover, which is currently 7.2 per cent, is increased to 10 per cent by 2022.

"You must focus on the big four agenda by coming up with clear institutional strategy of increasing the forest cover to 10 percent," he said.

The CS also urged the board "to move from boardroom" to the filed as well as in sensitising the public on the need to plant trees.

Tobiko urged the new board to tap technology, and seek alternative ways of generating own revenue decrying that funds in the ministry had been slashed.

The CS also toured various departments.

Tobiko said Kenya is faced with serious environment challenges of all time.

"Rains are unpredictable. Heat waves are now being experienced in Nairobi, flash floods are causing havoc," Tobiko said, adding that water towers have dried up.

Tobiko said that to hit a threshold of 10 per cent by 2022, there is need to grow 360 million seedlings per year for the next three years.

He said Kefri's seed production capacity is presently 16 metric tones. 

"We need to increase seed production in the current year to 24 metric tones," he said.

Tobiko said he is convinced that the forest cover will be achieved by putting several strategies in place.

 This includes provision of quality seeds and by encouraging Kenyans to plant trees during various occasions.

Tobiko lashed out at politicians who gang up whenever there are evictions from forests.

He warned them to keep off politicising the evictions adding that the second phase of Mau evictions is on course.

During the first phase, 11,000 acres were reclaimed.

Tobiko said environment knows no tribe, or political party.