• Harsama says it is normal for governments to have some deficits in their budgets.
• There is no government in the world which does not operates without a deficit.
The government's fertiliser subsidy will continue as planned.
State Department of Crop Development PS Kello Harsama denied media reports that the fertiliser programme is in limbo because the ministry has a deficit of Sh14.7 billion for the subsidy.
He told the National Assembly Agriculture committee on Monday that the ministry has a deficit of Sh14.7 billion for the fertiliser subsidy programme.
Harsama said the budgetary requirement for the rollout of the programme was Sh19.2 billion but the project was allocated only Sh4.5 billion by the Treasury.
“This translates to a Sh14.7 billion resource gap that the state department now fears could hamper the programme. The government will not be able to provide 4.28 million bags of fertiliser, thus reduced production,” the PS told the committee.
But while speaking to the Star on phone on Thursday, the PS said that the deficit will not affect the fertiliser subsidy programme, and that the government has the capacity to address the shortfall.
Harsama said it is normal for governments to have some deficits in their budgets.
“There is no government in the world which does not operate with a deficit. Even the biggest economies like the US, Japan and Germany all have fiscal deficits. Having a deficit does not mean the fertiliser subsidy programme is incapacitated as reported,” he said.
The PS assured Kenyans that there is no uncertainty in implementation of the programme and that the government has the capacity to address the fiscal deficit.
“We know how to seal the fiscal gaps and there is nothing wrong in expressing a deficit. Even if we told Parliament that we have a deficit, this does not mean that the fertiliser subsidy programme will end or be interfered with,” he said.
Data from the Ministry shows that so far, more than two million bags of subsidised fertiliser have been distributed to farmers in 32 counties.
Farmers have been able to pay Sh9 billion on fertiliser subsidy and a total of 2.523 million vouchers have been issued to maize farmers from the government’s registration platform. Out of these, 395,653 e-vouchers have been cashed to date.
Counties where farmers have received vouchers include Baringo, Bomet, Bungoma, Busia, Elgeyo Marakwet, Embu, Homa Bay, Kajiado, Kakamega, Kericho, Kirinyaga, Kisii, Kitui, Machakos, Makueni, Meru, Migori, Murang'a, Nakuru, Nandi, Narok, Nyamira, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Tharaka Nithi, Siaya, Trans-Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, Vihiga and West Pokot.