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Monday, December 11, 2023

Education, Agriculture biggest beneficiaries in new budget estimates


The Ministries of Education and Agriculture are some of the biggest beneficiaries in the recently approved supplementary budget estimates report for 2023/24 financial year. This is after the two departments received some of the highest funding of other government agencies and departments. 

According to the budget estimates, the ministry of education saw its allocation increased to help fund programmes under the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), the new University Funding Model as well as the capitation of Junior Secondary Schools (JSS). 

The ministry also received additional allocation to help boost infrastructure in JSS where the government intends to build at least 16,000 classrooms through the National Government-Constituency Development Fund.

Other areas that also received an increase in allocation include the agricultural sector with additional funds appropriated to cater for post-harvest management to purchase dryers to assist mop up maize from farmers. This follows a prediction from the government of an expected bumper maize harvest. The sector also received the additional funding for the sugar reforms for payment of arrears owed to farmers among other priority areas.

On the converse, however, some of the spending agencies that faced a reduction include the state Department for Parliamentary Affairs, Cabinet Affairs, Correctional Services, Devolution, the Ministry of National Treasury and Economic Planning, Sports, Culture & Heritage as well as Roads among others.

The budget estimates were last week on Thursday approved by the committee of supply, ahead of a debate on the floor of the House.

In the event that the Appropriations Bill is passed by the House, the report by the Budget and Appropriations Committee (BAC) would have been approved in entirety or with amendments. 

While moving the Motion on the report, the Chairperson for BAC, Ndindi Nyoro told the House that they had re-aligned government resources to priority areas of high impact to Kenyans so as to improve the economy of the country.

“The Supplementary Estimates was necessary to importantly address debt repayment by provisioning money for repayment of debts following the increased rates to make Kenya attractive for capital inflows,” said Nyoro.

According to the report, Departmental Committees held consultative meetings with Ministries, Departments & Agencies (MDAs) under their purview. 

The BAC on the other hand, held meetings with the Parliamentary Service Commission, the Auditor-General and the National Treasury to seek a common ground which informed its recommendations.

In its financial recommendation, the Committee sought for an approval to increase the recurrent expenditure for FY 2023/24 by Sh90.7 billion in respect of the votes contained in the First Schedule.

The Committee equally approved a reduction of the total capital expenditure for FY 2023/24 by Sh24.5 billion in respect to the First Schedule.

While debating on the Report, Leader of the Majority Party Kimani Ichungw’ah said the estimates were coming at the backdrop of external forces such as Hamas and Israeli war that have hugely impacted on the supply chain around the oil and gas sector.

“This First Supplementary in this financial year comes in the backdrop of a very difficult time for our economy and indeed the global economy. The global economy as we all know is still in the recovery mode post COVID-19 and this had huge ramifications on growing economies like ours,” Ichungw’ah said.

During its afternoon sitting, the House through the Committee of Supply voted to approve the increment and reduction in appropriations allocated to programs in various Ministries, Department and Agencies in different State organs.

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