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Parliament’s budget slashed by Sh21 billion, forcing spending cuts

Parliament will rethink its expenditure plans in the next financial year after its budget was slashed by Sh21 billion as per the estimates approved by MPs on Tuesday evening.

The reduction, according to the recommendations of the Budget and Appropriations Committee, was to align parliament’s expenditure plans to the Budget Policy Statement (BPS) approved by the House in March.

The National Assembly and Senate had projected to spend Sh65.8 billion in the 2024/25 financial year that starts on July 1, 2024, in line with the estimates tabled on April 30.

However, a report by the committee chaired by Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro – upon considering the estimates of the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary – slashed the budget to Sh44.6 billion.

Once signed into law, the Appropriations Bill will give government agencies the legal mandate to expend the sums allocated as approved by the House.

“The gross total resource requirement for the 2024/25 financial year, which I now lay on the table of the National Assembly and request that it be considered and approved is Sh65.8 billion,” the document presented to the House on behalf of Speaker Moses Wetang’ula reads.

The Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) noted that the ambitious estimates were cast on the assumption that the BPS-approved ceiling of Sh43.6 billion would be adjusted upwards to accommodate the financing gap of Sh22 billion.

“It is observed that the legislative sector has made significant progress towards realising the national goals and objectives,” the document reads.

“Adequate resources for the sector will enhance services and effectiveness in the oversight and representation functions.” The budget is, nonetheless, an increase compared to the Sh40.74 billion allocated in the current financial year.

Parliament has four votes – the PSC chaired by Mr Wetang’ula, the Parliamentary Joint Services (PJS), the Senate and the National Assembly vote. In the estimates presented to the House, the commission had proposed an allocation of Sh3.06 billion, National Assembly Sh32.49 billion, PJS Sh8.63 billion and Senate Sh14.42 billion.

However, the biggest casualties were the National Assembly and Senate, losing Sh6 billion, followed by the PSC with PJS’ budget shooting up. The approved figures have PSC allocated Sh1.2 billion down from the proposed Sh3.06 billion, National Assembly Sh26.8 billion down from the proposed Sh32.49 billion and Senate a reduction of almost half – Sh8 billion down from Sh14.42 billion. The PJS allocation shot up by tens of millions of shillings – some Sh8.65 billion from the Sh8.63 billion as had been proposed in the estimates.

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