MPs approve Bill on State spending

MPs approve Bill on State spending

Lawmakers work late and pass Appropriations Bill, allowing State to access funds.

Parliament on March 28, 2013.

Members of the National Assembly on Wednesday held a rare sitting late in the evening to pass the Appropriations Bill before the midnight deadline when the current financial year comes to an end.

The lawmakers had earlier approved a Sh16 billion supplementary Budget to “regularise expenditure” in line with provisions on public expenditure, which allows government to spend up to 10 per cent but seek approval within two months of drawing the funds.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to assent to the Appropriation Bill for the supplementary budget on Thursday so as to authorise the government to spend the funds.

There was, however, an outcry directed at the Budget Committee and Parliament’s budget office for bringing for passage supplementary budgets at the last minute, leaving no room for MPs to make changes or seek clarifications and details.

Kitui Central MP Makali Mulu said with the Bill brought so late, MPs had no option but to pass it without any changes. Rejecting it would plunge the country into a crisis, he said.

Leader of Majority Aden Duale said the House leadership would write to the Treasury indicating that the supplementary budgets had to be in the House in time for lawmakers to debate and make changes.

“We have heard the outcry of members and we will meet with the Speaker and the rest of the leadership to write to Treasury making it clear that will be last time we will tolerate this,” he said.

The Garissa Town MP said the House Business Committee had agreed to have the time extended for passage of the Appropriation Bill, to beat the midnight deadline.

The supplementary budget, which takes care of additional government expenditures outside approved estimates, should also be passed before the start of the next budget cycle, when government starts to roll out new programmes approved for funding by Parliament.

The Appropriation Bill will authorise the government to spend funds allocated in the Sh2.3 trillion Budget presented by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, last month, which explains the rush by the MPs to meet the June 30 deadline.