, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 30 – Members of Parliament on Tuesday approved Sh374.34 billion for recurrent and development expenditure of 66 state institutions for the period ending June 30 2012.
While issuing his directive on whether or not MPs would vote on the estimates, House Speaker Kenneth Marende warned the Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta against tabling the estimates behind schedule again.
He noted that the estimates were supposed to be tabled two months before the actual Budget reading in accordance with Article 222 of the Constitution, although they were submitted to Parliament on June 8, two months past the deadline.
Mr Marende however took cognisance of the fact that the delays could be attributed to the fact that the country was still in a transitional period. He therefore ruled that the estimates be guillotined to beat the August 31 deadline.
Article 221 of the Constitution directs that the estimates be submitted before Parliament two months before the end of the fiscal year.
“The House is alive to the discussion between the Budget committee and the Finance Minister over this matter but I wish to re-state that the minister will be required to submit the estimates for 2012/2013 two months before the end of the year,” said Mr Marende.
Medical Services Minister Anyang Nyong’o tabled the estimates on behalf of Mr Kenyatta during the afternoon session which saw the expenditure proposals voted on rather than debated, as laid out in Standing Order 153 to 155.
The MPs could only debate the estimates of the Ministry of Medical Services.
Mr Kenyatta also introduced the Appropriations Bill 2011, after the Committee of Supply disposed of debate on the estimates, to give legal effect to the resolutions made by the legislators.
However MPs Bonny Khalwale (Ikolomani) and John Mbadi (Gwasi) felt that it would be unconstitutional to pass the estimates without subjecting them to debate. Mr Mbadi particularly took issue with the wording of the motion on the estimates, as read by Medical Service Minister Anyang’ Nyong’o, saying it created ambiguity.
“The way the motion is framed is unconstitutional and can be abused because of the use of the word about in the estimates,” he argued.
Sotik MP Lorna Laboso who took over the Speaker’s role when the MPs started voting on the estimates, however refused to give Mr Mbadi the forum to cite his concerns. She argued that the matter and questions surrounding the estimates had already been closed as directed by Mr Marende.
Mr Mbadi later rose on a point of order citing his concerns over the lack of quorum in Parliament. And although Ms Laboso ordered that the quorum bell be rung to summon MPs, debate that’s before the Committee of Supply does not require quorum. It cannot be interrupted under any standing order.
The estimates will be issued from the Consolidated Fund.
When MPs were debating the estimates for the ministry of Medical Services, Danson Mungatana (Garsen) and Joseph Nkaissery (Kajiado Central) asked the government to put more focus on the purchase of cancer machines and also increase its overall budgetary allocation to facilitate proper medical care.
The Kajiado Central MP argued that the Millennium Development Goals would remain a mirage if the country failed to put more focus on the provision of health care.
“It is inhuman to retain dead bodies in hospitals because of non-payment of money. I would like the ministry to come up with a policy that can sustain such hospitals,” he said.