BY ELIUD OWALO
The budgetary provisions made by Jubilee Government for the next financial year was hailed by some quotas as a good budget with some reporting it as transformative.
This is the trend that has been there before after each and every budget speech. However, besides the noise, there is need to pay attention to the key parameters against which this 2015/2016 budget needs to be discussed. These fundamental variables are the constitutional provisions, current economic realities, our developmental blue prints as well as our past experiences.
The public financial management provisions in Chapter 12 of the Constitution was significantly informed by the need to correct past executive excesses and abuses inherent in public financial management and create systems of checks and balances as well as accountability in the management of public resources. Chapter 12, Article 201 of the Constitution articulates the guiding principles and framework for public finance, which if strictly adhered to should inform policy formulation and the management of public resources. No wonder, the top principle of public financial management as per article 201(a) is the requirement of openness, accountability and public participation in the management of public financial resources.
However, the leading budgetary allocations by Jubilee Government hardly comply to the Constitutional provisions. For example, a whooping Sh224billion has been allocated to security spending, which is an additional Sh13billion from the allocations of the last financial year. The additional investment should either be justified by returns on investment or clear feasibility report of potential returns. However, far from this, Kenyans are raising increasing concerns about the security budgetary allocations.
Besides being opaque in its presentation, use and accountability, there have been doubts of value for money in the heavy security investments. This is because Kenya’s security situation has been deteriorating even as more money is allocated to it. A further concern is on the very many confidential votes within the security budget which have been abused and corruptly disbursed by the political class. This has ensured that our security apparatus does not get the necessary improvements, resources and tools to effectively deal with the current security challenges.