NAIROBI, KENYA – Fears of a delayed budget making process heightened last week when the issue surfaced in Parliament for the first time.
This is despite assurances by the government that crucial process will not be affected by the transition currently ongoing in Kenya.
The law requires that the budget committee presents that financial estimates to the cabinet for discussion and ratification two months before reading and then presents the same to parliament a month before adoption.
This will however not be possible given that the newly formed government under President Uhuru Kenyatta is yet to be completed and Cabinet secretaries are not yet in office.
Chances that that the earliest these cabinet secretaries will be in office in the last week of May given that the President presented the list of his nominees to parliament last week.
A parliamentary vetting committee will start the process of vetting the 18 nominees next week running through to mid this month.
It is only after this vetting and approval that the president can go ahead and appoint the nominees as cabinet secretaries effectively giving them the mandate to discharge the roles previously performed by cabinet ministers.
Deputy Leader of Minority in the National Assembly Jakoyo Midiwo last week sounded the alarm that the president in his delay to submit the nominees could end up violating the constitution.
In his cabinet list, President Kenyatta nominated current the National Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich to charge of Finance. He is a long serving treasury technocrat and pundits have hailed his nomination to the position.
Most Kenyans are in agreement that the government cannot beat the tight deadlines in the budget making process given that there should also be an allocation for public hearings on the budget estimates.
“It is sad that almost two months after elections, there is not cabinet in place. The deadline for submission of the budget estimates to the cabinet expires tomorrow (read May 3). We risk either violating the deadlines of giving Kenyans a document produced in haste,” said Midiwo.
Parliament is now advising the president to engage the speaker on how best to tamper with the law to ensure that the process is done in accordance with the law.
It is only after reading in parliament, debate and adoption by parliamentarians that the financial estimates can be ratified, giving government the mandate to spend on behalf of the public.
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