Acrimony as MPs pass key Budget report

July 27, 2011 4:28 pm


NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 27 – Parliament on Wednesday evening unanimously approved the Parliamentary Budget Report.

Speaking while making his response to the Budget committee report in Parliament, Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta called for a better framework which eliminates the acrimony that surrounded the process.

“I wish to appreciate the opportunity accorded to the Treasury by the committee to highlight some issues during our deliberations.  I would like to point out that such consultations should in future be better organised and in a more civil and professional manner to allow for fruitful deliberations that’s culminate in a consensus report to be tabled in this House,” he said.

Earlier, tempers flared with back benchers questioning the Sh13 billion allocated for planning and administration at the National Security Intelligence Service.

Gwasi MP John Mbadi proposed that Sh1.7 billion of the funds be set aside for police salary increment and a further Sh1b to boost the Strategic Grain Reserves (SGR).

Mr Mbadi had argued that additional funding to the police force would help implement recommendations of the Phillip Ransley report.  Mr Mbadi added that extra funding to the SGR was timely at a time when some Kenyans are starving.

He had questioned the huge allocation to the spy agency and claimed that the Finance Minister had set aside the cash to NSIS for the purpose of supporting his presidential bid.

“A lot of money has been lumped in the Ministry of Finance for no reason.  Is it because the Minister for Finance is a presidential candidate, he wants to use this money to campaign next year?” he said.

While seconding the proposal to slash the NSIS budget, Igembe North MP Mithika Linturi claimed that the funds were used for ulterior political missions.

A visibly furious Mr Kenyatta shot up and demand that Mr Mbadi be compelled to withdraw the statement if he could not substantiate it.

Budget Committee member Moses Lessonet also differed with Mbadi who was forced to withdraw and apologise by Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim.

Mr Kenyatta said that the matter was decided by a Cabinet Committee chaired by Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Internal Security Minister George Saitoti also got furious with a section of MPs who insisted that the NSIS budget be re-allocated to fight drought.

“Unless the MPs want to say here that we let the terrorist come here and kill Kenyans… Mr Speaker, is that what we want, we cannot allow our country to be destroyed merely because of politics.  Mr Speaker, we have an obligation to defend our own country” asserted the Security Minister.

The government managed to lobby 77 votes during voting while those in support managed 34 votes to defeat an amendment by the Gwasi MP seeking to slash Sh2.7 billion allocated to the National Security Intelligence service for re-allocation to the police and the strategic grain reserve.

Mr Kenyatta also defended the estimates saying already the government had given Sh10 billion more to buy food.

The Budget Committee had by a vote preserved the NSIS budget during a retreat in Nyeri, but Mr Mbadi opposed the decision.

The MP questioned the huge allocation to the NSIS, saying in the previous financial year the spy agency had been allocated Sh9.7 billion.


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