, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 17 – Speaker Justin Muturi averted a crisis in the budget making cycle after CORD and Jubilee MPs gang up to reject nominees to the Budget and Appropriations Committee.
Muturi directed the House Liaison Committee to handle the Budget Policy Statement which proposes to use Sh2 trillion on infrastructure, health and education projects while Sh1.09 trillion will be allocated to paying salaries and other remunerations.
“Given that the House has voted not to reconstitute the Budget and Appropriations Committee, departmental committees will therefore present their reports before the Liaison Committee which the committee will then bring the report to the House for debate and adoption relating to the BPS.”
“The House expects the Liaison Committee to table the report not later than March 1 for consideration by the House,” Muturi ruled.
The Liaison Committee consists of the Deputy Speaker as chairperson, a member of the Speaker’s Panel who is also the First Chairperson of Committees who shall be the vice-chairperson and the chairpersons of all committees of the House.
It is mandated to guide and co-ordinate the operations, policies and mandates of all committees, consider the programmes of all committees, as well as consider reports of committees that have not been deliberated by the House and shall report to the House on the consideration of such reports.
A Cabinet meeting chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta last Tuesday approved the 2016 Budget Policy Statement, whose theme is ‘Sustaining prosperity in a volatile Global Economy’.
The Budget Policy Statement is a document that sets out the broad strategic priorities that guide the two levels of government in preparing their budgets for the next financial year.
The Treasury CS is now expected to come up with the Budget Estimates for the 2016/17 financial year, after the document goes before Parliament.
Suba MP John Mbadi who is a member of the committee took on the Minority Deputy Leader Jakoyo Midiwo (Gem MP) who had in his contribution alleged that members of the former Budget Committee allegedly had favoured their constituencies in allocating Sh2 billion for projects.
“Mr Speaker, corruption is corruption, we cannot be talking about Eurobond, and there is corruption on the House. We cannot be talking about National Youth Service (NYS) scandal and there is corruption in the House,” Midiwo stated as he led opposition.
Mbadi exited the Members in the Assembly when he said: “Let us not condemn others and we are doing the same. The Honourable Jakoyo is a Member of the Catering and Health Committee, and he has been eating for free in Parliament and we need therefore to compute all the money since he become member of the Catering Committee and pay back, because that is practical gain.”
Midiwo holds the view that the Budget and Appropriations Committee needs to be trimmed to tame the tendency of MPs to skew budget allocations in their favour.
He is currently lobbying to change House Standing Order in order for the membership of the Budget Committee to be a committee of just the chairpersons of House committees.
Jubilee Coalition MPs Samuel Chepkonga (Ainabkoi MP) and Mithika Linturi (Igembe South MP)) deferred with House leaders Aden Duale and Francis Nyenze’s call to support the list of nominees saying the committee composition had issues that must be first addressed
“Mr Speaker last year we discussed this same matter, I had talked to the chairman and we agreed that we give Sh1 billion to the IEBC, but this Committee went and removed everything. It took the President to intervene and gave Sh500 million. What is the point of having a budget committee which the President intervenes, we rather even have the President as the Budget Committee himself,” said Chepkonga, who is also the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee Chairman.
Fresh nominees to the 51 member team can only be re-introduced to the House after six months.
The team is considered powerful because it handles the budget and has the power to shoot down Bills sponsored by individual MPs.
In May last year, Midiwo raised the flag on an attempt by members of the House Committee on Budget and Appropriations to allocate themselves Sh3 billion to conduct public hearings which they intended to insert into the Budget Policy Statement.