NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 14 – The Parliamentary Budget Committee on Thursday said that it would reduce the proposed financial allocation to the Ministry of Planning, National Development and Vision 2030 and divert the extra monies to the Education Ministry after the minister failed to appear before it.,
The committee wanted Wycliffe Oparanya, or the Assistant Minister Peter Kenneth or Permanent Secretary Edward Sambili, to appear before it and defend an increment in their budgetary allocation for the year 2011/2012 where they received Sh24.4 billion up from Sh16.5 billion for the financial year 2010/2011.
Committee Chairman Elias Mbau accused the ministry’s top officials of snubbing the committee by deciding to send junior officers to defend the proposed allocation on their behalf.
Mr Mbau declined to take submissions from two officers who were sent by the ministry and instead asked them to leave. He argued that they would not be able to defend the ministry’s position as well as the three top officials would.
Mr Oparanya and Mr Sambili are reported to be out of the country on official duty while Mr Kenneth was out of town.
“I want them to understand that we wanted the minister here so that he can clarify things in the event that they go wrong,” said Mr Mbau.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) had appeared before the committee on June 28 and asked it to increase the budgetary allocation for education. The KNUT officials called for the employment of extra teachers adding that those that were already employed ought to be properly paid.
Committee member and MP for Garsen Danson Mungatana argued that the money be withdrawn from the Planning Ministry and be used to pay teachers saying that the minister was not serious in carrying out his duties.
The committee was scheduled to leave for Nyeri later and prepare its report on the budget before presenting the recommendations in Parliament next week.
“Please tell your minister that his ministry is very disadvantaged as we go to report-writing. You need to remind them that this exercise was more important than the outside safaris because they may not be able to travel next year if we cut the travel allowance,” retorted Mr Mungatana.
Naivasha MP John Mututho also criticised the top officials for ignoring the meeting saying that their actions should be reported to Parliament. He also said that their travelling allowances be reduced by half so that they could pay more attention to their national duties.
“This will make sure that they travel less and do their jobs more because they are not paid as tourists,” argued Mr Mututho.