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Billions to be returned to The Treasury

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25 – Two weeks to the reading of the 2011/2012 budget, it has emerged that all ministries and State agencies are holding colossal amounts of money that they have failed to utilise during the current financial year.

According to reports seen by Capital Business on Wednesday, as at May 20 all the 60 agencies had a cumulative Sh63.5 billion that they had not committed in the various development projects that they were supposed to implement.

The report shows that the Ministry of Immigration and Registration of Persons is the worst performer having only dedicated Sh426.7 million to various unspecified programmes out of the Sh1.9 billion given to it.

"The percentage of funds that is uncommitted by the Cabinet Office is 73 percent having only used up Sh50 million out of the Sh187.4 million allocated," the statement indicated.

The Ministries of Transport, Higher Education and Science and Technology, Industrialisation, Provincial Administration and Internal Security are the other agencies that have performed poorly.

Overall, the Sh63.5 billion represents a 30 percent of the development budget and lends credence to findings by many experts that the inability of the government to absorb funds allocated to it still remains a major problem.

However, this is an improvement in the absorption capacity to 70 percent, a rate that the government has been striving to achieve in order to have a positive impact on the economy.

The inability to exhaust funds is also seen in the recurrent expenditure, where 18 percent of the Sh437.3 billion has not been spent as at the May date despite the fact that it takes up a huge chunk of the overall budget.

Once again, the Immigration Ministry emerges tops in the category of departments that have not devoted enough resources in ongoing government expenditures with all ShSh335.3 million remaining uncommitted.

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On the other hand however, the defunct Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission spent all the Sh124 million allocated to it. Further, the Ministries of East African Community and the National Heritage and Culture performed best.

The same situation is replicated in the disbursing of funds under the Economic Stimulus Programme which incriminates the Health and Education ministries over their failure to fully expend the resources allocated to them.

For instance, of the Sh980 million set aside for the purchase of computers for schools, only Sh549.6 has been disbursed to 614 institutions with a further Sh301.1 million currently been processed to be given out to another 332 schools.

"The balance of 75 schools is awaiting clearance of requisite documentation which represents Sh129.3 million," the list from Treasury showed while a further Sh63.6 million has not been expended for tree planting in schools. However, some of the amount was re-directed to the school-feeding programme due to the drought emergency.

The Ministry of Health has also not yet completed the construction of health centres and it has also not finished the distribution of bicycles and motorbikes to health facilities, with this process currently being in the procurement stage.

Having not spent this monies, these departments will be expected to return the money to Treasury to enable it reconcile its books as the government\’s year comes to an end in June.

However, the Ministries and particularly the Permanent Secretaries who are the accounting officers of their various offices are likely to come under heavy attack especially since most people contend that this year\’s budget will be a tough balancing act for Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta.

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