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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Uhuru's budget still has "computer errors"...

A parliamentary committee will question Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta over ghost allocations in his Budget speech last month.

Agriculture Committee chairman John Mututho said inconsistencies discovered in the allocation of resources to the ministry of Northern Kenya and Arid Lands Development showed a new style of mischief carried out by Treasury officials. “How can funds be allocated in a manner that does not reflect the truth? The minister in his speech gave the ministry Sh10 billion, now it actually received Sh4 billion,” Mr Mututho said.

The Naivasha MP said the minister should not have purported to allocate Sh10 billion to the ministry in his speech while the money is actually given to other ministries. The committee members said since the ministry had overlapping roles specific to Northern Kenya, technical officers should be seconded there for ease of coordination and implementation rather than “keep them in mother ministries just for accruing other ministries funds.” They said similar mistakes must be in many ministries being scrutinised by parliamentary committees and in such events, loopholes of corruption due to the confusion created technically were most likely to take place.

The funding shortage has forced President Kibaki to order the Finance minister to allocate an extra Sh5 billion to the Ministry of Northern Kenya and Arid Lands Development. The President made the decision after being told that the Sh4 billion the ministry got was too little to cater for the vast region. The increase was disclosed by the docket minister, Mr Mohammed Elmi, at a meeting with Mr Mututho’s parliamentary committee on agriculture.

The budget figures read by Mr Kenyatta indicated the ministry had been allocated more than Sh10 billion whereas the vote was a “paltry Sh4 billion”. The committee, which held a post-budget analysis meeting with Mr Elmi and ministry officials, was dismayed that the Sh10 billion turned out to be Sh4 billion. Mr Mututho said since independence, the region had received little attention from successive governments.

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