Kenya is in a financial strain, Treasury CS Njuguna Ndung’u says

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Professor Njuguna Ndung’u has reiterated the financial strain Kenya is facing as the country struggles to finance important public expenditures.

Speaking at an induction forum for the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Budget on Wednesday, Ndung’u compared the nation’s budget to that of a household budget, noting that the available resources were less than the listed expenses.

“If you live in this country, you know the financial problems we face. It’s something we have to resolve. We have a resource constraint, we don’t have enough money, but we must help each other. Once we get the money, everything will be possible,” he said.

Despite CS Ndung’u admitting that the country is on a brink state, Treasury’s statement on the Financial Year 2022/2023 first supplementary estimates transmitted to the National Assembly fell short of actualizing government austerity measures.

Out of the proposed deductions from development spending, only Ksh.106 billion was reallocated to recurrent expenditure, leaving savings of KES 13.3 billion.

The first half of the financial year saw the taxman miss its revenue collection target by KES 51.8 billion, and an under-expenditure of KES 108.6 billion was recorded.

He emphasized that the government was facing similar financial struggles as its citizens, saying “Just like you can be broke in your home, even though you have a house to live in, it’s about the needs you have and the money you have to meet those needs. The government is like your home, you have needs but not enough money to meet them. But if you wait for a little, and work hard, you will get the money to meet those needs.”

Governors are currently in a stalemate with the national government over the delayed disbursement of funds, with the 47 devolved units demanding a shareable allocation of KES 425 billion in the 2023/2024 budget, while the commission on revenue allocation proposes a KES 407 billion allocation.

The Executive has, however, insisted that only KES 380 billion was available.

The National Treasury’s focus is currently on managing the national debt, which stood at KES 8.7 trillion as of September last year.

Ndung’u stated, “If we borrow, we can only borrow to rescue the costly short-term debt, for example, domestic debt, so we have to borrow concessional to solve the expensive debt. We will solve that, it is solutions that can work, solutions that have been seen to work.”

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