Kenya could lose crucial reform funds

June 23, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 23 – Kenya risks losing close to Sh2 billion of donor funding for projects under the Government, Justice, Law and Order Sector (GJLOS) due to what has been described as insufficient capacity and a bureaucratic procurement process.

The six-year GJLOS reform program had been allocated Sh4.8 billion, but only Sh1.9 billion has so far been utilised.

The project which expires in September targeted the ministries of Internal Security, Home Affairs, Justice and Immigration. The State Law Office, Children’s Department, Judiciary and the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission were the main beneficiaries of the funds.

Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo is now trying to accelerate the program and he on Tuesday met the inter-agency steering committee that has failed to meet for the last three years.

“The Committee will put plans for invigorating those departments who have not utilised the available monies to start the process,” Mr Kilonzo said admitting that plans presented by the departments had not received funding.

“It’s not just the number of people available at the departments but also skills and how the available human resource is distributed,” GJLOS Acting Chief Technical Coordinator Denis Kabaara remarked.

The program started in 2004 with an initial Sh1.1 billion but only Sh900 million was initially put to use, meaning Sh200 million was returned. Of the second tranche of Sh3.7 billion only Sh2 billion was actually spent.

“We will be meeting the donors next week (to) discuss the modalities of ensuring that this money does not leave the Kenyan soil especially at a time that we really need reforms,” Mr Kilonzo said.

Mr Kabaara said that the activation of the steering committee is crucial to help coordinate the program and overcome the challenges envisaged as they plan for the next phase.

“What we are planning is to come up with a programmatic framework that could enable us come up with a coherent reform going forward other than these individual initiatives,” he said.

In total, 32 government institutions and ministries are involved in this ambitious programme but Mr Kabaara said that they were targeting to involve at least eight more in the next phase.

By reforming these sectors, the reforms anticipated that an environment that will ensure a more responsive government, better quality of life and faster economic growth. The programme endeavors to see an end to the endemic corruption and generally poor governance of the past.


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