NAIROBI, June 12 – Finance Minister Amos Kimunya on Thursday unveiled Kenya’s National Budget with the theme, ‘working together to be a cohesive and equitable prosperous Kenya’.
The budget comes at a time when the country is suffering one of its highest inflationary figures, which last month climbed to 31.5 percent – the worst since the early 1990s.
In a break from the norm, the Parliamentary session started not with the Finance Minister presenting the budget, but with the Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi standing on a point of order, to question the sitting arrangements of MPs in the House.
But the Speaker ruled that there were no special sitting arrangements.
Before the Finance Minister could start presenting, the Member of Parliament for Mutito Kiema Kilonzo stood on a point of order and attempted to hand a document, which he claimed was an alternative budget, titled the ‘People’s Budget’.
“Mr Speaker sir, the Kenyan people yesterday met and presented the People’s Budget, which they wanted to be looked at alongside the national budget,” he uttered.
“Mr Speaker would I be in order to give that document to the Finance Minister so that he could look at it alongside the people’s budget.”
The Speaker, Kenneth Marende, however overruled Kilonzo, and clad in a navy suit, Kimunya finally began laying down his proposals on how he intended to cover the Sh760 billion budget.
Earlier, a cross section of MPs interviewed said they expected the budget to address issues relating to the low and middle income earners.
Water Assistant Minister Mwangi Kiunjuri stated that the budget must mitigate the effects of post election violence on the household income.
“I would expect that this budget would be friendly to the common man and especially having struggled for the last six months and being faced by a food crisis, I would expect that it would take care of the farmer,” Kiunjuri offered.
Trade Assistant Minister Omingo Magara said groups like the youth should top the list for special consideration in this year’s budget.
“Above all we need to address the youth issues, unemployment, creating jobs for the young people who are the larger portion of our population,” he said.
The 2008/2009 budget, which exceeded the 2007/2008 one by 9.5 percent was one of the toughest budgets in the history of the country, coming after it had gone through a rough patch of near disintegration, following the post election violence.
It came at a time when Kenyans were not only grappling with high food and fuel prices, but have a skyrocketing inflation to contend with.