Procurement laws an obstacle, protests PM

July 25, 2012
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Odinga was speaking during a forum on low absorption and implementation capacity among government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs)/PMPS

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 25 – The country’s procurement rules are frustrating the smooth implementation of government projects, Prime Minister Raila Odinga has said.

The premier criticized the current procurement laws, saying that were imposed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to curb financial irregularities at a time when corruption was rife in the country, and hence have outlived their intended purpose.

“We need to review these procurement rules as they may not be in the interest of the country at the moment because they were introduced as conditionality to cut down on corrupt practices” he said.

Furthermore, under-absorption he said, was being fuelled by failure of ministries to plan funds ahead of the budget, which was evident in the amount of government projects that failed to materialize within the expected timeframes.

Odinga was speaking during a forum on low absorption and implementation capacity among government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

The low utilization of budgeted funds impacted negatively on donor funded programmes and projects, he added, putting more of a burden on the government that has to repay the loans with interest.

The Year-on-Year rate of absorption of recurrent expenditure for the 2011/2012 Financial Year was 84 percent, while development expenditure was at 55.1 percent.

The worst performing MDAs in absorption of recurrent budget, in that same period, were the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Ministry of Local Government, the Ministry of State for Public Service, the interim Independent Electoral Commission, Ministry of Housing and Ministry of Water and Irrigation.

When it came to development expenditure, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Cabinet Office, Ministry of East African Community, Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs and Ministry of Labour were the worst performing MDAs.

However, Odinga put the legislative and judicial arms of the government to task over failing to respect the input of the Executive before a budgetary proposal was approved.

He criticized Parliament for insisting on preparing and approving its own budget without involving the Executive, to establish the amount of revenue generated or projected at a given financial year to meet such obligations.

“The legislature should only examine, approve or refer budgetary estimates to the executive whereas the judiciary can be functionally independent but organically part and parcel of the government” he said.

Finance Minister Njeru Githae warned MDAs that if they failed to utilize their budget funds in the first quarter of the financial year, they risked losing resources adding that unused finances would be redirected to other projects in need of funding.

A report on the resolutions and way forward from the meeting is expected on Thursday.

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