NAIROBI, Kenya, March 19 – The National Council of Churches is demanding the down-sizing of the ‘bloated cabinet’ by half in a bid to cut government expenditure amid the global financial crisis.,
Secretary General Peter Karanja says the admission by government that it was facing hard economic times should be followed by prudent financial management of its resources.
“Why should a government that is cutting down on development spending continue to spend so much money to finance a bloated and non-performing Cabinet?” Canon Karanja questioned.
The church leader castigated the government for failing to put its priorities right.
“It is hypocritical to maintain a bloated Cabinet when we do not have money to run the affairs of government,” he said.
The comments come in the wake of revelations of excessive spending by government on purchase of luxuries amid reports that the country was faced with a budget deficit of over Sh100 billion.
Canon Karanja asked Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta to outline clear cut measures to ensure prudent financial management in government.
“He should make strong recommendations on severe punishment for government officers engaged in wastage of public resources through unnecessary spending,” he said.
Last week Mr Kenyatta announced a freeze on government recruitment with the exception of security related ministries. He said the government would reduce recurrent expenditure through measures like cutting on domestic and international travel, conferences and workshops, training and purchase of furniture.
Finance Permanent Secretary Joseph Kinyua has also sent a circular directing ministries to institute cost cutting measures as the financial crisis persists.
The Minister however allayed fears that the government was broke and assured that the proposed measures to cut expenditure were to ensure sustainable running of the government.
However, Canon Karanja further called for the inclusion of all constitutional office holders into the tax bracket.
“These people hold money that rightfully belongs to Kenyans. Unless the Executive was to move strongly and demand that this is done, we don’t think these people are willing to make this sacrifice,” he said.