, NAIROBI, Kenya, June 16 – Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta said on Tuesday that he would not rescind on his directive that placed a cap on the number and engine capacity of motor vehicles for senior government officials.
This is despite some resistance from a section of his Cabinet colleagues, who have cited the need to retain big off-road vehicles for official functions in rural areas.
Mr Kenyatta however observed that any special transport needs for ministers could be catered for without necessarily having more than one official vehicle.
“We are not saying that those four wheel drive (vehicles) are not necessary. There is always need for additional equipment to deal with various issues,” the minister said, assuring that the Treasury would cater for such needs as they arise.
“For example if you need a helicopter or an aeroplane to go for an emergency session, it doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be parked in your garage but it’s available in the airport and you can use it when necessary,” Mr Kenyatta quipped.
In his Budget speech before Parliament last Thursday, the Finance Minister limited Cabinet Ministers and other senior civil servants to one official vehicle each, with an engine capacity not exceeding 1800cc. A section of Ministers have publicly denounced this directive but most MPs have thrown their weight behind the directive.
Debating the budget speech Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo urged Mr Kenyatta to show transparency in the disposal of the vehicles. He however lauded the Minster for the move noting that it was welcomed.
“Let Ministers utilise the Sh3 million grant we all get at the start of our term to buy the big cars they want,” he said.
Assistant Ministers Joseph Nkaissery and Cecily Mbarire welcomed the move saying that even if it would take away some pleasure its benefits were worth.
“I know I will be losing my big car but if that means more money for my constituency it is for a good course,” Ms Mbarire said.
“The Minister said very clearly that he consulted the two principals and therefore anyone defying the directive should be fired,” Mr Nkaissery who is the Defence Assistant Minister added.
Ministers Mutula Kilonzo and Beth Mugo are among those who have welcomed the new arrangement of official cars.
While making their views on the budget in the House, MPs generally congratulated Mr Kenyatta for devolving more funds to the grassroots but some were cautious on the management of the same resources. A section urged the Minister to organise a workshop to sensitise them and the technical officers on the ground on their roles particularly on the monies allocated through the line ministries.
“We need to create a good relationship with the technical officers at the districts for good utilisation of the funds,” remarked nominated MP Amina Abdalla.
“These steps require to be matched with action. We need to develop policies to guide the implementation,” nominated MP Mohammed Affey voiced.
In the meantime, Mr Kenyatta said Treasury was formulating mechanisms for monitoring utilisation of funds that had been earmarked for various constituency projects during the budget.
“We are working on processes and procedures that shall be used so that Kenyans countrywide can monitor their programs very clearly from the beginning to the end,” he said adding that the monitoring procedures would be in place by July.