NAIROBI, Kenya April 23 – National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani is Friday expected to brief Senators on the framework for the expenditure of Sh40.3 billion allocation to contain COVID-19.
The Senate Ad Hoc Committee on COVID-19 Chairperson Johnson Sakaja gave the direction following public outrage over media reports indicating that the government had already spent the funds fighting the fast spreading virus.
“Members, I want to direct as follows, that the CS of Treasury do appear within the next 24 hours to explain the Sh40 billion expenditure and answer the questions that have been raised by various stakeholders. Failure to which we shall issue summons,” the Nairobi Senator said.
Yattani failed to attend a meeting with the Senators which had been slated for Thursday morning because “he was attending a meeting at State House,” his aides said.
The National Treasury came out to clarify that the funds have not yet been disbursed.
The ministry said it had budgeted the funds to mitigate the impact of COVID–19. The budgeted funds comprise Sh33.4 billion under recurrent and Sh6.9 billion under development expenditure.
Yattani is reported as having made the statement during a meeting with Parliament Budget and Appropriations Committee where he said the Treasury has already disbursed Sh13 billion to support payment of pending bills owed to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Other mitigating measures instituted by the government include the reduction VAT from 16 to 14 per cent, a 100 per cent relief to persons earning a gross monthly income of up to Sh24, 000, and reduced personal income tax (PAYE) from 30 to 25 per cent.
President Uhuru Kenyatta said his government had provided Sh10 billion for cash transfer to the elderly, suspended Credit Reference Bureau listings, paid pending bills totaling Sh13.1 billion, allocated Sh1 billion to Universal Health Care, and implemented voluntary pay cuts of salaries by senior government officials led by the President, Deputy President, and other senior government officers.