Kenya budget saga blamed on typo

May 8, 2009

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 8 – Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta said on Friday that a Sh9.2 billion discrepancy in the recently passed Supplementary Budget could have resulted from a typing error.

The error has sparked a furore with allegations that Treasury was up to ‘some mischief” in the discrepancy which was mainly concentrated in the Ministry of Education budget.

Mr Kenyatta vehemently denied these allegations and expressed confidence that the Parliamentary Finance Committee, which was probing the matter, would clear the Treasury.

“I am completely confident and sure that there was no intention by the Treasury to defraud any Kenyan and I’m sure the numbers will tally,” the Finance Minister said.

Mr Kenyatta emphasised that the issue had informed his decision to postpone debate of the Appropriations Bill in Parliament, pending resolution to the matter.

The matter is now before the Parliamentary Finance Committee which is supposed to determine through investigations whether there was intention by the Treasury to defraud Kenyans Sh9.2 billion and make a ruling by Tuesday next week

The Finance Minister was speaking on Friday while signing four financing agreements with the World Bank amounting to Sh32.2 billion.

“The money will be used for the Northern Corridor improvement project (Sh19.7B), the energy recovery project (Sh6.2B), the Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project (Sh2.4B) and the cash transfer for orphans and vulnerable children project (Sh3.9B),” Mr Kenyatta said.

“The signing of the four financing agreements increases the joint government of Kenya and World Bank supported portfolio to a total commitment of Sh127.4 billion making the World Bank the leading multilateral development financial institution in Kenya,” Mr Kenyatta said.

On his part World Bank Country Director Johannes Zutt said research conducted by the institution shows the biggest infrastructure gaps in Kenya today are in roads and energy.

“Investing in road rehabilitation and energy generation and distribution will provide the biggest economic returns in the Kenyan economy over the next ten years,” Mr Zutt said.

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